Saturday, October 08, 2005

Al Gore on 'freedom' of Press

TPMCafe:Gore on the Threat to American Democracy

on the face of it, seems to be reasoned speech on the value of the free press.

But there are subtle hints, here, that he thinks it is TOO free.

It would appear to the dispassionate reader that he lauds the 'net as allowing the citizen discourse on the issues of the moment... but then:
The present executive branch has made it a practice to try and control and intimidate news organizations: from PBS to CBS to Newsweek. They placed a former male escort in the White House press pool to pose as a reporter - and then called upon him to give the president a hand at crucial moments. They paid actors to make make phony video press releases and paid cash to some reporters who were willing to take it in return for positive stories. And every day they unleash squadrons of digital brownshirts to harass and hector any journalist who is critical of the President.

For these and other reasons, The US Press was recently found in a comprehensive international study to be only the 27th freest press in the world. And that too seems strange to me.

Among the other factors damaging our public discourse in the media, the imposition by management of entertainment values on the journalism profession has resulted in scandals, fabricated sources, fictional events and the tabloidization of mainstream news. As recently stated by Dan Rather - who was, of course, forced out of his anchor job after angering the White House - television news has been "dumbed down and tarted up."

The coverage of political campaigns focuses on the "horse race" and little else. And the well-known axiom that guides most local television news is "if it bleeds, it leads." (To which some disheartened journalists add, "If it thinks, it stinks.")

In fact, one of the few things that Red state and Blue state America agree on is that they don't trust the news media anymore.

Noted: Gore's reference to 'fabricated' sources, is what got Rather busted.

So in context, while we cant dispute the paid actors or paid columnists... though we might differ on how really EFFECTIVE they were, it seems to be the thought that counts.

And, Schizo Al ignores the fact that the 'digital brownshirts' (hows THAT for cloaked invective!) seem to be, on the whole, nipping at Dubya's heels or outright biting at him for some of his current policy decisions!

- Cronyism for appointments to SCOTUS and FEMA

- Immigration Policy (or lack of it)

- Spending and National Debt

What rankles here is that Gore implies that criticism by either the press or citizen journalist/bloggers is dangerous... he lauds Tom Paine, now, but neglects to note that Paine was regarded by the elite establishment, THEN, as seditious and fear-mongering.

So which is it, Al? Is the 'net - which you godfathered {that part IS TRUE, BTW}- a force for good or evil?

And you lament the 'scandalization' of the news.. are you saying that started lately... like say, ummmm, with Fox News?

I dont think it did... I think you are blowing smoke.

Yellow Journalism got it's moniker LONG before TV or even radio... and for that matter, existed before Tom Paine.
Of course, that's inconvenient for the point you are trying to make.

What I THINK is, that you are distressed that YOUR informed message isnt being accepted without quam by the idiots in the "Red States"

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, there was - at least for a short time - a quality of vividness and clarity of focus in our public discourse that reminded some Americans - including some journalists - that vividness and clarity used to be more common in the way we talk with one another about the problems and choices that we face. But then, like a passing summer storm, the moment faded.

The clarity and focus, he neglects to mention, were clarity and focus on "reporting facts" later found to be NOT TRUE! So.... tell me again how that emotional disparagement of the supposed actions of a minority 'our finest hour'?!!!!
The final point I want to make is this: We must ensure that the Internet remains open and accessible to all citizens without any limitation on the ability of individuals to choose the content they wish regardless of the Internet service provider they use to connect to the Worldwide Web. We cannot take this future for granted. We must be prepared to fight for it because some of the same forces of corporate consolidation and control that have distorted the television marketplace have an interest in controlling the Internet marketplace as well. Far too much is at stake to ever allow that to happen.

Are you SURE, AL?!!!!

And who WOULD those forces be... Google? Umm...look AGAIN, Al! They are bona fide "enlightened Liberals"! Or maybe you're concerned that they'll turn to the dark side.

Or are you pointing to advocacy of the UN taking control of Domain Name Services?
Fighting over America's control of the Internet

Since the UN already arbitrates rights to URL names.. such as "fatalbert" {which it awarded to Bill Cosby, against a squatter's claim} ... one has to wonder WHY it's important for the UN to have control over DNS.

Could it be that it needs control over access to sites which dont follow "informed" speech or ideas?

So anyone who reads this, just MIGHT want to read that speech again.. and figure out for themselves just WHAT Gore advocates as a remedy.

To help you out, questionaires for journalism students and current journalists point to 85% identifying themselves as Democrat or Liberal.. and taking up journalism so as "to make a difference".

So I guess you'd have to wonder if Gore REALLY wants the press to be objective.. and report facts without bias.
Isn't it REALLY that he longs for the press that was extant during the Carter Administration, for example... where the only conservative viewpoints might be found in High-Literacy magazines like "National Review"?

Or do we have reason to rejoice in the fact that, even given Dubya's mistakes and inability to articulate, that THIS man is NOT President!
For Service, speak English

...stuck in a window of your bar or customer service establishment is likely to get you hauled up before your state civil rights commission.

That's what happened to a bar owner in a Cincinnati suburb, whose hispanic population has grown to 5000.

No.. he didnt refuse service to anyone. No, he didnt refuse to hire a hispanic.. at least that's not noted by any evidence collected by the Ohio commission.

Someone saw the poster, decided it was bigoted in content and complained to big brother.

Presumably, it made the passer-by feel "uncomfortable".

Bar's 'Speak English' Sign Discriminatory, Commission Rules
"I thought, 'Oh my God, It's 2005 and people are still living in the past," neighbor Loraine Robertson said. "It's really embarrassing where I live. I've got kids and they ask me all the time how somebody can put up a sign that's so racist toward other people."

"Racist?" - I wonder.

I wonder if a Parisian who came to town to sample Cincinnati culture would ALSO be asked to order in English.

I wonder if someone from Bavaria who was seeking out long-lost emigre family in the heavily German populated region would ALSO be asked to order in English?

I wonder that a suburban mom doesnt teach her kids the difference between 'racism' and bigotry, or maybe just 'bias'. Or maybe I know already. Racism has a connotation of 'hate'. I wonder if that neighbor would admit to any of her OWN biases?

Because the basis of the complaint is that it made the reader feel 'uncomfortable'. Thus anyone who feels 'uncomfortable' is obviously biased against those whose words or actions.. or even presence.. makes them feel 'uncomfortable'.

I suggest that Loraine Robertson pack her kids into her car at 10PM and cruise Vine Street in Cincy and see how 'uncomfortable' REALLY feels.

I doubt that will happen... as it's well known that Vine street at night is pimp and pusher territory.

The Cincy paper has an opinion, of course, and it sure doesnt come down on the side of free speech or 'right to refuse service to anyone': 'Speak English' a sign of bigotry
People should denounce bigotry - or the perception of bigotry - as soon as it raises its head because of the ugly stain it leaves on a community.

We expect no less from the progressive citizens of Mason and elsewhere concerning Tom Ullum's sign in the front window of the Pleasure Inn on U.S. 42. In block letters, it reads: "FOR SERVICE SPEAK ENGLISH." Can non-English-speaking people even understand what they're reading?

"or the perception of bigotry" - Oh my! Seems to me that's mighty subjective. How do you QUALIFY bigotry, then? If the perceiver has a degree in social sciences? Or just if they understand the difference between bigotry and racism? Or maybe if some panel finds they dont have a "biased" thought, themselves?

I wonder if it occurs to that writer that every human being has his biases.

I wonder if he'd admit it in writing. Presumably not... if he knows what's good for him, anyway. He might be hauled up on a count of fomenting 'hate-speech'.

You who come down on the side of PC'ness will be happy to note that Al Gore and a host of other progressive minded folks plan on doing something about that!

...more on that to come.