Monday, September 22, 2008

Yes, let's do keep this thing honest

A friend sends me two links. The first is to a column by Nicholas Kristof despairing of the fact that 13% of registered voters believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim. This belief is, of course, wrong and it is unfortunate that so many people are mistaken. But there are all sorts of misperceptions held by a much larger percentage of the public. The 13% number,, for example, is not much higher than the percentage who believe Elvis is still alive. A substantial majority believes that there was a plot to kill JFK, close to half believe in UFOs, majorities believe that the rich don't pay their fair share of taxes and that high income families shouldn't pay more than 25%, a high percentage are incorrect about WMDs in Iraq and the relationship of Iraq to 9-11,etc.

As these things go, the Obama is not a Muslim message is doing pretty well. Kristof can't attribute the rumours about Obama being Muslim to anyone remotely associated with the mainstream media or the Republicans/ He can only point to some obscure and unnamed sources. But that doesn't stop him from bizarrely suggesting that the McCain ad mocking Obama's pretensions "mimicked the words and imagery of the best-selling Christian “Left Behind” book series in ways that would have set off alarm bells among evangelicals nervous about the Antichrist."

Not hardly. There's a cheap shot in and of itself.

Having indulged himself in his own bit of innuendo, Kristof wants to rally his fellow journalists to clean up the game:

Journalists need to do more than call the play-by-play this election cycle. We also need to blow the whistle on such egregious fouls calculated to undermine the political process and magnify the ugliest prejudices that our nation has done so much to overcome.

Well, certainly and I look forward to the NY Times spending some time blowing the whistle on the egregious fouls directed toward John McCain and Sarah Palin by some rather substantial sources, such as the fraudulent representations of her remarks before a church in Wasilla by ABC news anchor Charles Gibson or the repetition of made up stories about Palin's belief that dinosaurs recently roamed the earth by New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd.

In fact, Kristof could start with the second article sent to me by the same friend - an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune by Robyn Blumner.

In that op-ed, Blumner uncritically repeats the charge - first made - and then modified without acknowledgement - by the Washington Post - that Palin thinks Iraq was behind 9-11. This is, of course, untrue and a rank distortion of what she said.

She then attacks Palin for suggesting that Freddie and Fannie, who she called quasi-government agencies, needed more oversight. Blumner wants her to have called them government sponsored agencies. Whatever. The government created them, enabled them, and implicitly promised to stand behind them - a promise that has now made good. John McCain co-sponsored legislation for such additional oversight in 2005 which was derailed by the Democrats. Because these entities misrepresented the nature of their portfolios and made a market for speculation on dicey loans, credit has constricted and, as Palin said, "people are fearful of losing their homes." The Governor may just have a point there. Maybe Blumner cant understand it, but I think that I can.


Billiam said...

Sorry, Mr. Rick. Won't happen. An honest media? Hell, if you stray from the MSM template, you're called 'faux'. It doesn't matter that it's a lie, for as we all know, 'if you repeat a lie often enough, people will eventually believe it.'

Anonymous said...

Are you, sir, suggesting that unidentified flying objects do not exist?

William Tyroler said...

Kristof? Does anyone bother to take him seriously anymore? (Outside NYT's rapidly dwindling readership?) Recent trenchant takedown, here, if on a different point (but nicely illustrating that on most any dispute Kristof's first and last instinct is simply to reflexively punch up left-liberal talking points):

Nicholas Kristof illustrates nicely how he belongs on the pages of the NYT: despite paying attention to the negative feedback his previous postings on the Arab-Israeli conflict have elicited, he has a flat learning curve… which means that he has an old answer, no matter how inadequate, for every new objection.

Display Name said...

If only Palin would sit down for a few more interviews, and if reporters can work up the courage to ask questions that don't involve rainbows and bunnies in the meadow, perhaps one of them will ask her what she thinks of evolution, men riding dinosaurs, charging for rape kits, banning books, why God has special plans for Alaskan tourism, or the schedule for the End Times.

What's the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull?

The pit bull won't ask the city librarian how to ban books.

Gosh, I love that joke.

illusory tenant said...

made-up stories about Palin's belief that dinosaurs recently roamed the earth ...

Are you calling this man a liar?

William Tyroler said...

Turns out that a number of smears against Palin originated with a PR firm likely connected to the Obama campaign.

AnotherTosaVoter said...

How about killing the bridge to nowhere, Rick?

You going to call out your own side for what is an obvious lie, or are you going with the milquetoast "she's not innocent either, but (Obama = Satan)...

Anonymous said...

Remember that a refueling stop at the Shannon airport = visiting Ireland.

And you think that only the Democrats tell whoppers?

Anonymous said...

Wait ... Obama isn't a Muslim?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Fooost wants Palin to sit down with the lib media.
That is funny.
Yes Fooostie, right after Obama explains to Sean Hannity his relationship with Bill "Boom boom" Ayers.
Fooost, you crack me up.
You are simp.

Anonymous said...

If Obama sat down with Hannity, would Hannity send up softballs like he pitched to Pallin? I didn't have an opinion as to her competency (or non-competency) until I watched her on Hannity's America on Sunday night. A shameless performance by Hannity, yet it demonstrated that Palin is indeed a cipher.

Anonymous said...

Wow - Foust thinks that Gibson asked her about "rainbows and bunnies in the meadow". Interesting. But I think he is confusing Gibson's interview with Palin with Gibson's interview with former VP candidate John Edwards in 2004 when he asked if Edwards was "mad" because the Republicans were going after Kerry. Or Gibson's interview with Obama after his nomination when he asked how he "felt" about breaking barriers.

Palin? No bunnies and rainbows there - just "gotchas" on the non-existant Bush Doctrine, mis-quotes of her prayer at a church, scoffing at how energy policy is important to national security, and obvious condescension and contempt that she could POSSIBLY even THINK that she is qualified to be VP.

hmmmm... nope, no bias at all...

Maybe Foust is the one seeing rainbows and bunnies everywhere, but not the rest of us...


Display Name said...

Clear you anonymi are just jealous of my superior joke.

If you had to speculate, and I think we all do because we haven't had many interviews or answers, do you think Palin believes in evolution or creationism? Could man have rode the dino?

Yes, I think the Bush Doctrine question was a bit of a gotcha. All she had to do was ask for a clarification - alas, but she felt she couldn't blink.

Gus/Mickey, what's with the name-calling? Did it strengthen your argument? Is it the way you think civil people should discuss the issues?

Anonymous said...

Ah - Sir Foust,

How is the belief of creationism v evolution relevant to governing? I'm an intelligent design fan myself, I don't find either to be mutually exclusive.

Regarding the dinosaurs, unless you believe Matt Damon and company, this internet rumor has already been debunked by the parody site that created it.

I also believe that the question "In what respect, Charlie?" was, in fact, a request for clarification.

I agree, to some extent that she should be answering more questions, but it is nearly impossible to find a truly un-biased source that could pose challenging questions without being either a complete prick like Gibson or be disregarded as a puff-ball like Hannity (although he asked tougher questions than I expected him to).

We'll see how Katie does with her. Maybe she can win back some journalistic cred.


Anonymous said...

Any doubt about the knowledge or intelligence of the Governor was answered tonight. Here is a direct quote:

"We have trade missions back and forth. We — we do — it’s very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States of America, where — where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to — to our state."

This woman is not ready for prime time. She may never be ready for prime time. This is a performance which calls to mind the poor deer in the headlights in the Miss USA Pageant.

McCain choked big time with his selection of Palin as his running mate.