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CNN's Rick Sanchez lowering the bar on journalistic standards

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I wanted to add to Digby's rant about Rick Sanchez on CNN this evening. In an earlier post I lamented the loss of jounalistic standards and ethics and Sanchez just made a bid for being its poster boy this evening. There is no doubt Sanchez was proded by some fringe winger of the GOP to get his questions out about Europeans liking President Obama being a liability. This just adds to the lunacy the wingnuttia keeps trying to put in the MSM that somehow the United States is a lone island of morality in a global sea of decadence and socialism. I have Republican family friends that can't say "Europe" or "France" (especially France) without using the word 'Socialist' in conjunction with an utterance of their name.

At first this was inexplicable to me as to why they felt the enmity and hatred was deserved until I realized that Europe (again, especially France) never really cared for Reagan and really hated GW Bush. Funny thing about the effects of that unilaterialism thing. Not only does it show disrepect to your allies, it tells them they aren't as righteous and good as we are (i.e. see Iraq and the Middle East).

Today I was listening to the BBC explain to an American journalist how the U.K. hangs on every action the U.S. takes regarding Anglo-American relations. Every nuance is intensely covered and written about extensively such as the perceived slight toward Gordon Brown during his visit here back in early March over the White House's gift of 25 DVD's. The U.K.'s "special relationship" with the U.S. is taken very seriously and includes a diplomatic dance unlike relations with any other country in the world (including Canada & Mexico).

There is no doubt Sanchez got twittered with that queston to Blitzer. There is also no doubt where it came from either.

Two reasons why the newspaper industry is in decline

I know the reasons for the newspaper industry's troubles have been discussed over the past year by any number of so called experts. Atrios points to the poor business model they used along with Athenae's rant about unchecked corporate corruption. As a former member of the industry itself for over 15 years I have my own explanation. Yes, I agree whole heartedly with both Atrios and Athena but only as it pertains to piling on to the real reason . And that real reason is simple enough: they stopped being journalist and began morphing into dictation machines. No matter who was sourced and/or quoted they were done so without question. It didn't matter what happened in the past or what was said. It only mattered for that moment. This journalistic "whiteout" whereas professional ethics and standards were thrown out the window was done so at the expense of accountability ensuring they were percieved to be "fair and balanced." No matter how ludicrous one side sounded regarding any issue it was treated with equal footing when contrasted with an opposing view. Eventually this practice of acting like cheerleaders for the local, state and the federal government without question comes at a huge expense: your credibility. Now journalist are seen to be no better than used car salespeople for their trouble. What a surprise.

Even now they don't get it. The MSM is still clueless why they are perceived as such. But make no bones about it. It is the reason they are dying. Why listen or read it if it isn't credible? (Like printing rants about weapons of mass destruction without calling them on it for proof or why it is a variable in the equation historically). Add to that the lousy business model as Atrios points out and you have an industry in deep trouble.

I think newspapers are a community necessity. Local government without a watchdog leads to corruption and bad policy. Once that voice and watchful eye is gone the bad times aren't just here to stay, they'll get worse.

NBC Nightly News' Chuck Todd getting it wrong - - again

Monday, March 30, 2009

Earlier this evening NBC Nightly News' Chuck Todd, NBC White House Correspondent, compared President Obama's firing of GM CEO Richard Wagoner (Ok, he insisted he resign) with Reagan's firing of PATCO (Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization). Where do they find these guys? President Obama insisting that Wagoner step down after tanking GM during his decade at the helm is being compared to a union striking for better working conditions, higher pay and shorter working hours in a critical profession keeping our skies safely managed and known for intense professional burnout? What a complete idiot. For one thing, Reagan fired over 11,000 employees and broke a union in the process which was no doubt a wet dream for the right. Part of Reagan's "legacy" is firing and breaking a union where the profession experienced intense professional burnout due to the tremendous pressures of the job.

Chuck Todd seems to be demonstrating on a daily basis he has no clue to the substance of his so called "reports." I used to be impressed with his political analysis. But his skills as a reporter and connecting the dots on what he's reporting is sorely lacking. When you can't fill David Gregory's shoes, you've got a problem. If Gregory was any more of a light weight he'd be floating.

Cornyn & Bachman get their wingnuttia mojo on

Right wing loonies in the GOP seem to be a dime a dozen these days. But Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Michelle Bachmann seem to be defining the benchmark for wingnuttia in general. While Cornyn proclaims that Minnesota could be years without a Senator while the state supreme court decides on a date to certify Al Franken's 225 vote win for the U.S. Senate you have Bachmann calling President Obama's economic policy nothing more than "economic Marxism." It's as simple as that. What amazes me is not the rhetoric itself but the certainty of her proclamation.

When Barry Goldwater ambled up to the podium at the Cow Palace in San Francisco on July 16, 1964 and uttered his nomination campaign speech's most famous line, "Let me remind you that extremism in the defence of liberty is no vice" I'm sure he never imagined a GOP evolving into what you see today. While Goldwater called out to a nation to adopt a non conciliatory policy tone with regards to defense policy Cornyn and Bachmann are calling for actions that go beyond elected outcomes. One only has to wonder when lines of decency will be breeched before a voter back lash kicks in.

Glorius Johnson's Democratic Party Two Step

Monday, January 26, 2009

Glorious be! Now that the redoubtable Ms. Johnson of the Jacksonville City Council has seen fit to switch parties I find it quite amusing that Lenny Curry, the local Duval County GOP chair, is shocked and dismayed that a party member has jumped ship after her war chest was filled with GOP funds. The "Dixie" loving African American certainly knows how to get attention and seems to know a thing or two about timing.
As I read the article the Suzanne Jenkins party switch came roaring back to memory as she too jumped ship with DCDEC funds after a famous tearful appearance before the party's executive committee . There was no doubt she had plans to run for mayor. The DCDEC chiar at the time, Clyde Collins, tried to warn her if she jumped the GOP would marginalize her and she would never be heard from again. Other than her seeming campaign to be Wal-Mart's personal Duval County representative not much has been heard from her since. Looks like Clyde Collins was right.

On the other hand I'm not sure what Glorious Johnson is looking to gain here. David Hunt of the The Florida-Times Union seems to be speculating that Ms. Johnson is going to make a run for mayor. The local GOP has a nasty habit of cutting off competitors at the knees once they've decided on a favorite making their primary nothing more than a rubber stamp for their chosen one. Though one can only applaud the efforts of the current local DCDEC chair, Travis Bridges, the Duval County Democratic party is still no where near being on the same level as the local GOP as far as organization and funding for local candidates are concerned. If the DCDEC wanted to employ the same practices as the local GOP seems to do regarding favored choices for a particular office, the local DCDEC is in no position to do so even if they were inclined. One thing for sure is certain. Glorious Johnson won't be marginalized by anyone, especialy the DCDEC.

All one needs to do is read the comments left on the FTU online story and see that many jacksonville residents still live in the day of Lester Maddox and his bigoted perspective on race desptie the racial makeup of the current POTUS. The odds are not favorable for her. It will be interesting to see how she does in a primary.

John Boehner speaks out

You can't make this stuff up. Yesterday on C-Span I was watching the House of Representatives Republican minority leader, John Boehner (OH - Rep #8), bloviate at length about Gitmo, out of control spending, and right to life policies. Suddenly Republicans are concerned about out of control spending? I must have missed the last eight years. His impassioned assertion about his right to life beliefs was yet another hypocritical moment considering his position on SCHIP. Those Republicans. For you when you are a fetus. Forgotten after the moment of birth. Yes, a typical "family values" politician.

The most striking thing though was his rambling about the closure of the Guantanamo Bay U.S. detention facilities. These guys are incredible. For eight years under Clinton they screamed "rule of law!" right up until he was impeached. Then the USSC imposed George W. Bush on us and they followed in lock step with his shredding of the U.S. Constitution and the Guantanamo detention facilities flying in the face of American ideals. Yesterday, he does a hand wringing routine about the fate of the detainees after the base closure. Here's a suggestion for the impassioned minority leader. Crack open a book on U.S. military history. Look up the case of George John Dasch and his military commission trial from WWII. Bring those detainees left to the United States and let them have their day in court under the provisions of our Constitution. It's worked for us for 200+ years to date.

An Aerial View of Inauguration Day 1/20/2009

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Somehow even this aerial view of one of the most seminal moments in American history does not do it justice. I'm still in awe of how we have arrived at this moment. I still have memories of going to school in the 1st grade in segregated North Carolina. I'm still pinching myself to know that now race has been put aside as a barrier to becoming POTUS. This by no means marks an end to racial barriers across the landscape. But it does mean we are closer to a racial reconcilliation that Lincoln could only dream about.