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"Is the Internet Polarizing U.S. Political Dialogue?" (FreeRepublic mentioned)
Annenberg Journalism School, USC ^ | April 23, 04 | Mark Glaser

Posted on 04/23/2004 7:53:47 AM PDT by churchillbuff

Mark Glaser Posted: 2004-04-22 ...While people on the left and right can turn beet-red with anger on TV shows such as ABC's "This Week," CNN's "Crossfire" or Fox's "Hannity & Colmes," the Internet provides innumerable forums and political sites so anyone can fire off a torrent of rhetorical brickbats. The Web is the birthplace of "flamers" and "trolls," people who launch no-holds-barred attacks on others with opposing views.

...[ship]...But despite the rise of so much partisan noise, it's hard to say without a doubt that we're living in the most divisive time, or that the Net is to blame. Research in the area is relatively sketchy, and the Net still provides a vast galaxy of diverse opinions and objective journalism.

In January, Pew Internet found that 67 percent of Americans prefer getting news from sources that don't have a political point of view, while 25 percent prefer news sources that share their point of view. Scott Keeter, associate director for the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, told me that people who use the Net are even less likely to say they want news from sources with their viewpoint. ...[snip]Other researchers believe that ideological journalism is just another way to serve a niche audience. Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, says that the recent State of the News Media 2004 report showed a demand for targeted media in general, and not just ideological media.

"We are in an on-demand world," Rosenstiel said via e-mail. "People want what they want when they want it. They don't want a one-size-fits-all news. For those who want to make their niche a conservative audience, that has given them a comfortable spot. ..."The danger of echo chambers

While news futurists have dreamed of the day people could create their "Daily Me" -- a newspaper or Web site with only the news they want (and agree with) -- one prominent political thinker believes this could lead to a closed-minded society and the eventual ruin of democracy. ...[snip]Sunstein believes that like-minded people discussing an issue amongst themselves tend to move to more extreme viewpoints. ...[snip]In "Republic.com," Sunstein even suggested that the government might have to step in and force Web sites to link to opposing opinions.

The book was originally published in 2001, but Sunstein recently told me he's softened his view on government regulation. "I didn't say that such regulation is necessary; only that it's worth considering," he said via e-mail. "I'm not sure I still think so ... The major point I'd emphasize is the risk that when like-minded people speak mostly to one another, there's more division and polarization and less mutual understanding. This is a serious problem for American democracy. Lots of options are good, but it's not so good if people sort themselves into echo chambers."

...[snip]The good side of partisan media

Of course, not everyone thinks ideological journalism is such a bad thing -- in moderation. Michael Cornfield, research director at the Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet at George Washington University, says that respectful debate has its place.

"I wouldn't be so quick to equate partisan/ideological with coarse and bad if I were you," he told me via e-mail. "There's nothing wrong with partisan dialogue, provided that it is grounded in facts, oriented to policymaking, and suffused with respect. True, some of the online dialogue doesn't meet those standards. But we can criticize, and click elsewhere." ...[snip]The Guerrilla News Network fancies itself an antiestablishment, anti-corporate Web site with music-fueled political videos. Most of its work has been critical of George W. Bush, but its top editors say GNN wants to take on powerful Democrats and Republicans. Executive editor Anthony Lappé says the site's forums are much more open to opposing viewpoints than partisan forums such as Free Republic or Democratic Underground. Creative director Stephen Marshall says GNN hopes to give more space to conservative voices in the future Related Links ABC News: "This Week" Air America Radio AlterNet Bill Powers: On the Media CJR's Campaign Desk CNN CNN: "Crossfire" Cass Sunstein's "Echo Chambers" essay (Acrobat file) Cass Sunstein's "Republic.com" Centrist Coalition Daily Kos Democratic Underground Fox News Channel Fox News Channel: "Hannity & Colmes" Free Republic Guerrilla News Network Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet Knight Ridder newspapers MSNBC National Journal National Public Radio National Review Online NewsMax Nielsen//NetRatings Pew Internet Project report Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Political Wire Project for Excellence in Journalism Rush Limbaugh Salon Slate State of the News Media 2004 TomPaine.com USA Today University of Chicago Department of Political Science University of Chicago Law School

Rick Heller, Centrist Coalition blogger

Jonah Goldberg, National Review Online editor at large

Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, founder of Daily Kos

Cass Sunstein, University of Chicago law and political science professor

Bill Powers, National Journal media columnist

Scott Keeter, associate director for the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press

©1999-2004 Online Journalism Review. All rights reserved. Site design and development by Red Metro.

(Excerpt) Read more at ojr.org ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Free Republic; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: alphabetnetworks; bigmedia; callawaaambulance; cheeseandwhine; dairyproducts; fr; freerepublic; frinthenews; internet; mediabais
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1 posted on 04/23/2004 7:53:47 AM PDT by churchillbuff
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To: churchillbuff
Not polarizing...just finally revealing both sides where the major media squelched the conservative/constitutional/patriotic side for so long.
2 posted on 04/23/2004 7:56:50 AM PDT by Jeff Head
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To: churchillbuff
The Web is the birthplace of "flamers" and "trolls," people who launch no-holds-barred attacks on others with opposing views.

Shows how much this guy knows. These terms AND the corresponding behaviors were around on USENET before anyone had heard of the World Wide Web. (And he has the definition of a troll wrong.)

3 posted on 04/23/2004 7:57:13 AM PDT by murdoog (I changed my tagline back)
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To: churchillbuff
No, it is enabling voices to be heard that were ignored or discounted by traditional media in the past.
4 posted on 04/23/2004 7:57:53 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Drug prohibition laws help fund terrorism.)
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To: churchillbuff
Sunstein even suggested that the government might have to step in and force Web sites to link to opposing opinions.

Ass. People who want opposing opinions can easily find them (has this clown never heard of search engines or portals?), and people who don't won't click the links.

5 posted on 04/23/2004 7:59:50 AM PDT by The kings dead
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To: churchillbuff
Whatever happened to "Let a hundred flowers bloom!"?
6 posted on 04/23/2004 8:00:48 AM PDT by Semper Paratus
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To: churchillbuff
Definitely polarizing...as the article said, people want what they want.

Soon, the only thing that will be believable, will be whatever one sees or hears themselves, in person. It's too easy to manipulate digital data.
7 posted on 04/23/2004 8:00:55 AM PDT by stuartcr
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To: churchillbuff
Sunstein believes that like-minded people discussing an issue amongst themselves tend to move to more extreme viewpoints. ...[snip]In "Republic.com," Sunstein even suggested that the government might have to step in and force Web sites to link to opposing opinions.

But can they force me to "click" on the links.....

Oh yeah.....and how about that little "Freedom of Assembly" thing in the Constitution???

8 posted on 04/23/2004 8:02:02 AM PDT by Onelifetogive
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To: churchillbuff
What a moron. Note how this propagandist wants to weigh down web sites with alternative opposing views, yet he neatly sidesteps the idea of Dan Rather, et al, being forced to turn over their chairs on TV newscasts for alternative views.

This is more left wing tripe from Marxist dinosaurs who are losing the information war.
9 posted on 04/23/2004 8:07:24 AM PDT by sergeantdave (Gen. Custer wore an Arrowsmith shirt to his last property owner convention.)
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To: churchillbuff
In January, Pew Internet found that 67 percent of Americans prefer getting news from sources that don't have a political point of view...

Anyone journalist who isn't pro-American has a point of view. He's made his choice.

10 posted on 04/23/2004 8:08:03 AM PDT by risk
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To: churchillbuff
No, web opinion sites like FR and DU are safety valves. Without this desperately needed opportunity to vent, a certain small percentage of the population would be wearing aluminum foil hats and making bombs in their garages.
11 posted on 04/23/2004 8:08:35 AM PDT by Spiritus Gladius
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To: churchillbuff
"Polarized" is a term used when the opposition objects to our unity. I may differ with other conservative/libertarian voices on some substantive issues but we know the importance of keeping the left out of power. We are polarized in the same way the colonists/revolutionaries were. Let's hope for the same success.
12 posted on 04/23/2004 8:09:29 AM PDT by muir_redwoods
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To: churchillbuff
"one prominent political thinker believes this could lead to a closed-minded society and the eventual ruin of democracy. ...[snip..."

Yup. The left has done that for decades by using the mainstream media to block out conservative views. Just about ruined the Republic until the advent of the internet.
13 posted on 04/23/2004 8:09:49 AM PDT by OpusatFR (John Kerry - Cheezewhiz for the mind - marshmallow mush for the masses)
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To: churchillbuff
Free and open discourse is never polarizing...it is enlightening. The left is just scared S---less now that their one world socialist schemes are being uncovered.
14 posted on 04/23/2004 8:12:21 AM PDT by Don Corleone (Leave the gun..take the cannoli)
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To: churchillbuff
There's always a point of view.

Say you are a statehouse correspondent. There is a scandal in your state about illegal kickbacks by contractors to wives of certain officials in the administration. The Governor is giving a speech to the business council in the largest city in the state, and he doesn't mention the scandal. He is announcing a new industrial bond program to bring in a leading medical device manufacturing facility.

You have the chance to ask a question. Do you ask about the medical device facility (his agenda) or do you ask about the scandal that's on everyone's mind?

If you don't have the chance to ask a question, do you mention the scandal in your article? To you it hung over the entire event. Yet neither the governor nor any other speaker mentioned it.

There's always a point of view.

What the internet, through weblogs and Free Republic, does, is to give those who believe that their own viewpoint wasn't expressed, the opportunity to reframe the issues. Because FR, in particular, has such a broad base of informed readers, there is a very good level of factual accuracy, even as there is wholesale revision of the opinions and attitudes reflected in the news media being criticized.

This is the most exciting change in journalism in my lifetime.
15 posted on 04/23/2004 8:13:01 AM PDT by Piranha
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To: churchillbuff
Ah... USC's Annenberg School of Journalism... Home to Professor Robert Scheer (admitted socialist/communist writer for the LA Times).

Every time the USC Alumni Association calls me for a donation, I tell them that I stopped giving when Scheer started "professing" at USC and I will give again once he leaves.

16 posted on 04/23/2004 8:14:16 AM PDT by So Cal Rocket (Fabrizio Quattrocchi: "Adesso vi faccio vedere come muore un italiano")
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To: muir_redwoods
"We are polarized in the same way the colonists/revolutionaries were."

Very well put.
17 posted on 04/23/2004 8:17:47 AM PDT by Bahbah
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To: churchillbuff
What I see are leftists/socialists probing and searching for a chink in the armor of the freedom of the internet. From Hitlary's thinly valed comments to this deep-thinker's tripe, they are just dying to get control of 'net.
18 posted on 04/23/2004 8:19:47 AM PDT by subterfuge
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To: sergeantdave
Yes, I get all my news from Free Republic. All of it. I can no longer bear to watch or hear the likes of Brokaw, Rather, and the rest pitching the news. Are the liberals now upset because someone else besides liberals can post and discuss news? Is their reign of terror over? It would seem so. TOUGH!
19 posted on 04/23/2004 8:35:11 AM PDT by vandykelastone (I'm so glad Goober Pyle is the Governor of New Mexico, aren't you?)
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To: Jeff Head
"Lots of options are good, but it's not so good if people sort themselves into echo chambers."

Yes, let's all wear grey hats and pretend absolute evil does not exist out there.

20 posted on 04/23/2004 8:42:24 AM PDT by Eastbound
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To: Eastbound
The efforts that are used and lengths gone to to try and negate or minimize the depth and the size of the conservative/sonstitutional/patriotic opposition to the social/liberal/marxist/global agenda are truly absurd some times.
21 posted on 04/23/2004 8:45:33 AM PDT by Jeff Head
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To: churchillbuff
While news futurists have dreamed of the day people could create their "Daily Me" -- a newspaper or Web site with only the news they want (and agree with) -- one prominent political thinker believes this could lead to a closed-minded society and the eventual ruin of democracy. ...

Translation: If we don't read the New York Times every day, we might stray from the leftist plantation, ruining their aspirations for world domination!

22 posted on 04/23/2004 8:47:09 AM PDT by SunStar (Democrats piss me off!)
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To: churchillbuff
This is a serious problem for American democracy. Lots of options are good, but it's not so good if people sort themselves into echo chambers."

Yeah, places like churches and synagogues are dangerous. They're magnets for like-minded simpletons and only serve to indoctrinate fools with dangerous concepts like absolute morals and good vs. evil. The gub'mint ought to step and so something about this.

23 posted on 04/23/2004 8:54:24 AM PDT by randog (Everything works great 'til the current flows.)
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To: SunStar
Translation: If we don't read the NYT...their aspirations for world domination!

Bingo...We've got an winner..short and sweet! :)

24 posted on 04/23/2004 8:56:31 AM PDT by skinkinthegrass (Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't out to get you :)
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To: churchillbuff
I think what's happening is the people who actually care on both sides are able to more easily express themselves to others who think the same they do (especially the radicals).

I think most Americans don't take politics as seriously or care as much as those of us who post in various internet forums. The various political discussion groups on usenet have been going for well over a decade and it hasn't changed American politics all that much.

I just think it comes down to people are able to find others on the internet with the same opinion, much easier.

The press on the other hand, holds up those of us active on the internet, through sites like FR, even DU, as being representative of regular Americans, when we are clearly not.

25 posted on 04/23/2004 8:58:48 AM PDT by af_vet_rr
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To: churchillbuff
Title should be:

Have the conservatives finally found out how to use the Internet to bypass us to get to the truth?

26 posted on 04/23/2004 9:01:26 AM PDT by Preachin' (Why become a democrat if I have to lie to do it?)
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To: churchillbuff
While news futurists have dreamed of the day people could create their "Daily Me" -- a newspaper or Web site with only the news they want (and agree with) -- one prominent political thinker believes this could lead to a closed-minded society and the eventual ruin of democracy. ...[snip]Sunstein believes that like-minded people discussing an issue amongst themselves tend to move to more extreme viewpoints. ...[snip]In "Republic.com," Sunstein even suggested that the government might have to step in and force Web sites to link to opposing opinions.

Does anyone else smell the "Fairness Doctrine" again? I will happily link to a relevant article from DU, inasmuch as they are so hate filled and illogical over there that they would make my arguments for me.

I wonder if he would force the NYTimes to reference editorials at the WSJournal, or have the WashPost reference the WashTimes?

That will happen when monkeys fly out of my butt!

27 posted on 04/23/2004 9:06:50 AM PDT by SpinyNorman (i)
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To: churchillbuff
The major point I'd emphasize is the risk that when like-minded people speak mostly to one another, there's more division and polarization and less mutual understanding. This is a serious problem for American democracy. Lots of options are good, but it's not so good if people sort themselves into echo chambers.

One of the major reasons I FReep is to hear things I never could have thought of myself.

28 posted on 04/23/2004 9:12:32 AM PDT by aposiopetic
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To: af_vet_rr
..well over a decade and it hasn't changed American politics all that much.

...esp. if you discount the actions of Freepers in Fla. courthouses during "the count" after the Nat. Election in Nov. of 2000.

....when Al "the tree" Gore (and his Ilk), seemed to be trying to steal the election....Its' not how many votes you win, Its' who counts the votes....said "Papa" Joseph Stalin, right Shrillary? :p

29 posted on 04/23/2004 9:12:58 AM PDT by skinkinthegrass (Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't out to get you :)
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To: Jeff Head
True. Without the echos, the walls of Jericho would never have came tumbling down. One voice in the desert may not be heard beyond a hundred yards. But ten voices would reverberate for twenty miles -- and a 'choir' for a hundred. Let the peal of a thousand liberty bells entrain the souls of the wicked throughout the land.
30 posted on 04/23/2004 9:14:08 AM PDT by Eastbound
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To: Eastbound
Amen!
31 posted on 04/23/2004 9:19:01 AM PDT by Jeff Head
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To: churchillbuff
In January, Pew Internet found that 67 percent of Americans prefer getting news from sources that don't have a political point of view

FR is a great source for news. It is the dialog surrounding the threads that has folks like this author up in arms.

32 posted on 04/23/2004 9:26:15 AM PDT by GSWarrior (Flunked Grief Counseling 101)
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To: af_vet_rr
the people who actually care on both sides are able to more easily express themselves to others who think the same

Me, I like a good argument.

33 posted on 04/23/2004 9:29:47 AM PDT by The kings dead ("No you don't." "Yes I do.")
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To: churchillbuff
It's really odd. I can't remember any of the leftists complaining about a lack of diversity of opinion prior to the emergence of Free Republic. I guess I just wasn't listening hard enough. They must have been absolutely clamoring for a different point of view.
34 posted on 04/23/2004 10:21:34 AM PDT by Chu Gary (USN Intel guy 1967 - 1970)
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To: Jeff Head
The diversion from truth, now written of by a Journalism insturctor(?) at USC, is the typical 'lie'beral way to misdirect attention ... as you said, the Net is allowing the trurht to finally surface without the deceitful filters the lieberal press uses. THAT is now characterized as 'polarizing'!
35 posted on 04/23/2004 10:29:28 AM PDT by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote life support for others.)
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To: All
A yearning for fairness (doctrine).

The left yearns for the good old days when they could waltz into local radio stations and log complaints that the stations were not fa-a-a-a-a-air and threatening the station owners' FCC licenses.

In "Republic.com," Sunstein even suggested that the government might have to step in and force Web sites to link to opposing opinions.

No surprise that papers like the nyt gave the book rave reviews. I queried amazon.com once and found that the book was a best seller at locales near major universities.

On a local talk station Sunstein was asked, "What about liberal sites? Should they be forced to be fair?"

"What?" he replied, puzzled. Then added, "oh.. uh, yes I suppose so." Like it had never occurred to him that his feeeeeeeeeeelings could be considered unfa-a-a-a-a-air.

36 posted on 04/23/2004 10:44:28 AM PDT by WilliamofCarmichael (Benedict Arnold was a hero for both sides in the same war, too!)
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To: Onelifetogive; SpinyNorman
Oh yeah.....and how about that little "Freedom of Assembly" thing in the Constitution???

Ah, well, that's not as important as making sure that you're exposed to "correct" thinking, especially if you're the type to hang around wrong-thinking message boards. And I'm sure that Sunstein had only wrong-thinking boards like FR in mind when he proposed that, or he wouldn't have proposed it at all. Or do you think that Sunstein would agree that the ADL should be forced to link to the pages of Holocaust deniers, and that the NAACP should be forced to link to Klan websites? ;)

37 posted on 04/23/2004 11:00:15 AM PDT by general_re (The doors to Heaven and Hell are adjacent and identical... - Nikos Kazantzakis)
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To: churchillbuff
I don't live in a closed conservative world. FR makes me well aware of the dipdingle liberal views out there.
38 posted on 04/23/2004 11:04:07 AM PDT by Ciexyz
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To: Jeff Head
Of course the author pretends there is a news source free of bias. We know that the RATmedia is bias personified. Pravda and Izvestia had more truth that does our currect collection of Liars. Even FoxNews is half-@ssed.
39 posted on 04/23/2004 11:05:25 AM PDT by justshutupandtakeit (America's Enemies foreign and domestic RATmedia agree: Bush must be destroyed.)
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To: churchillbuff
Ah! from the Annenberg Journalism School, USC...
major proponent of the Joseph Stalin school of objective journalism and The Chairman Mao re-education camp of Political Dissent.
40 posted on 04/23/2004 11:15:36 AM PDT by hosepipe
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To: The kings dead
Me, I like a good argument.

I enjoy one as well, unfortunately it appears to be a disappearing art. Too many people fail to use the brains that God gave them, and they reduce themselves to namecalling when they can't make a good argument. Granted we all do it at some point in the heat of things, but there are some people that constantly lower themselves to personal attacks - it's the only way they know how to debate/argue.

That's why I stay away from the usenet groups. I prefer unmoderated forums, but that invites the people who are least equipped to engage in a debate and who have no intention of looking at both sides. I remember seeing JR and others before FR, posting on usenet, and when I heard about FR, I was glad to see it.

Thankfully, FR is free of that. Occasionally you'll see somebody at a loss for words and sink to that level (they'll question your patriotism if they don't like what your saying about this or that, or imply that you are a liberal, or whatever) but for the most part the debates/arguments are great. I think some people really come away having looked at both sides.

41 posted on 04/23/2004 11:21:47 AM PDT by af_vet_rr
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To: murdoog
Good call. Probably thinks there's no difference between the Internet and the WWW, and also probably has no clue about Usenet. Or Gopher. ;-)
42 posted on 04/23/2004 11:26:57 AM PDT by FreedomPoster (This space intentionally blank)
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To: FreedomPoster
Or WAIS or Telnet.
43 posted on 04/23/2004 11:38:52 AM PDT by The kings dead
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To: churchillbuff
Funny, just today I was listening to a song by George Harrison that seems quite appropriate for the whining liberal media establishment:
I've got a word or two
To say about the things that you do
You're telling all those lies
About the good things that we can have
If we close our eyes

Do what you want to do
And go where you're going to
Think for yourself
'Cause I won't be there with you

I left you far behind
The ruins of the life that you had in mind
And though you still can't see
I know your mind's made up
You're gonna cause more misery

Do what you want to do
And go where you're going to
Think for yourself
'Cause I won't be there with you

Although your mind's opaque
Try thinking more if just for your own sake
The future still looks good
And you've got time to rectify
All the things that you should

Do what you want to do
And go where you're going to
Think for yourself
'Cause I won't be there with you

Think for yourself
'Cause I won't be there with you


44 posted on 04/23/2004 11:47:51 AM PDT by inquest (The only problem with partisanship is that it leads to bipartisanship)
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To: churchillbuff
Sunstein even suggested that the government might have to step in and force Web sites to link to opposing opinions.
Reads a little like this:


45 posted on 04/23/2004 12:08:51 PM PDT by rightwingcrazy
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To: churchillbuff
From the early 1900s until about 1965, most liberals and leftists rigorously supported an absolutist interpretation of the First Amendment. During the first two-thirds of the last century, they opposed censorship laws, most of which were passed by state and local governments, for the sake of sexual and artistic "freedom." Sexual permissiveness was seen as a remedy for the "repressive" moral codes of past generations that valued discipline, honor, and personal responsibility over self-expression. Artistic "freedom" was considered valuable because modernist painters, sculptors, and writers agreed that the "Puritan" or "Victorian" mores of the old America needed to be overturned in place of an Epicurean, or rather hedonist, worldview. Laws banning sedition, advocacy of overthrow of the government, or advocacy of unions, cooperatives, and boycotts were viewed as instruments in the hands of the wealthy to repress the poor and their political and social demands.

By 1965 (or thereabouts), the long march of the liberals against these laws was complete. Anti-pornography laws, if not overturned by the Supreme Court, were unenforced and virtual dead letters. Virtually any loon could advocate anything from satanic rituals to Maoism without fear of the magistrate.

About this time, liberals came to realize the old right wing press barons of old, like William Randolph Hearst and the McCormicks in Chicago, were gone and their editorial staffs populated with their fellow liberals. The new national TV networks had become America's preferred way of obtaining news; these networks, especially CBS, were liberal without fail. Also, the prestige newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post were liberal, as were at least two of the three major news magazines. The Johnson landslide of 1964 gave the Democrats both houses of Congress with filibuster proof majorities as well as the Presidency. Conservatives had turned on one another, with William Buckley excommunicating Objectivists and Birchers into the outer darkness. Young Americans for Freedom was fracturing between libertarians and traditionalists, with far fringes of the two groups spinning off into anarchism and white supremacism, respectively. The Johnson administration enforced the "Fairness Doctrine," effectively shutting down conservative broadcasters.

The period from 1965 to 1980 was the "golden age" of liberalism. To survive politically, conservatively inclined men like Nixon redefined themselves as centrists, making statements like "we are all Keynesians now." Conservative public opinion was confined mostly to low circulation magazines of varying levels of crankiness: National Review, Human Events, American Opinion, and Reason, to name the more prominent. There were also numerous newsletters with even lower circulation. There were telephone services like "Let Freedom Ring," where you could hear that day's conservative message. It was sort of like trying to find model train enthusiasts in your home town. You could find them if you asked around, but you had to put in the effort to locate them.

The one man who planted the seeds that are growing into an end to the liberal monopoly was, fittingly, Ronald Reagan, the Great Communicator. It was in his administration that the Fairness Doctrine was overturned. But it was at the tail end of his administration that a 40ish Missourian made effective use of the open airwaves to create the first mass market conservative voice in decades. The Rush Limbaugh Show generated a horde of imitators, but the EIB's "Golden Microphone" took a top spot in talk shows that no one, not Dr. Laura, not Howard Stern, not Sean Hannity, has taken away in over a decade. By 1995, the first major fissure in the liberal monopoly was broken. AM talk radio had become a fixture in the lives of many Americans, especially white males in "flyover country." It was this medium that, along with Bill and Hillary Clinton's hubris, gave both Houses of Congress to the GOP in 1994, for the first time since 1946. Not even Reagan's coattails accomplished this! The House of Representatives has stayed in the GOP's hands for four election cycles since, the first time the Republicans accomplished this feat since the days of Harding and Coolidge.

The second crack in the liberal monopoly was the Internet. As little as 20 years ago, to be an "important news source" meant having huge budgets fed by enormous advertising revenue. A practical means of cracking the news media's flagship magazines and prestige newspapers did not come along until the rise of the Internet. Then Matt Drudge, the nom de plume of a conservative whose interests combined those of a newsman and a computer geek, developed a pioneer on-line newspaper. In 2004, his Web site is viewed daily by over seven million people, more than read Time and Newsweek combined. Following in his footsteps were WorldNetDaily, Newsmax, and many others of varying quality and accuracy.

At this point, the only option the liberals have to put the genie back in the bottle is by gunpoint: reinstating the Fairness Doctrine and harrying the conservative and libertarian Web sites out of business. No one should kid themselves; given the opportunity to do so, the liberals will crush their foes by force of law. Then get used to the future: a boot stamping on a human face, forever.

46 posted on 04/23/2004 12:32:54 PM PDT by Wallace T.
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To: churchillbuff
From the liberal dictionary, Polarizing: what happens when you let conservatives actually get their message out.

Remember in the early 90s, when talk radio became huge, how "polarizing" and "damaging to the national debate" and -- wait for it -- "unfair" it was? Note to libs: you already have ABCNNBCBS, PBS and NPR. Internet and talk radio are here to stay, get over it.

47 posted on 04/23/2004 2:17:50 PM PDT by justanotherfreeper
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To: risk
In January, Pew Internet found that 67 percent of Americans prefer getting news from sources that don't have a political point of view...

And they are the first ones to ask, "But what does it mean?" when you do report just the facts.

48 posted on 04/23/2004 2:41:27 PM PDT by TaxRelief (We're sitting in traffic so *they* can fund their Public Transportation Utopia.)
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To: churchillbuff
Sunstein believes that like-minded people discussing an issue amongst themselves tend to move to more extreme viewpoints. ...[snip]In "Republic.com," Sunstein even suggested that the government might have to step in and force Web sites to link to opposing opinions.

The book was originally published in 2001, but Sunstein recently told me he's softened his view on government regulation. "I didn't say that such regulation is necessary; only that it's worth considering," he said via e-mail. "I'm not sure I still think so ... The major point I'd emphasize is the risk that when like-minded people speak mostly to one another, there's more division and polarization and less mutual understanding. This is a serious problem for American democracy. Lots of options are good, but it's not so good if people sort themselves into echo chambers."

I hate the smell of fascism

49 posted on 04/23/2004 6:08:53 PM PDT by GeronL (John F Kerry; Repeat to thyself often: The Mississippi is not the Mekong Delta)
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To: churchillbuff
Well, to be polarizing, you have to acknowledge that there is more than one point of view. Something you don't get from the alphabet boys.
50 posted on 04/23/2004 6:11:56 PM PDT by Rocky (To the 9/11 Commission: It was Al Qaeda, stupid!)
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