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To: RogerFGay; Congressman Billybob
The problem of our having an electorate which allows tyranny because it is capable of electing "liberal" Democrats in general and Barak Obama in particular is, IMHO, the problem of transcending the emotional appeals of Sophists. It should be recalled that the answer to an opponent who claims superior wisdom is not to get into a "he said, she said" contest with them but to adopt the stance of the philosopher. The philosopher does not claim superior wisdom, but claims only to love wisdom. That constitutes a challenge to the sophist to stick to facts and logic.

It is common, even on FR, for people to accept the premise that Fox News Channel is conservative and that other journalism is "objective." A recent example, and my response, follows:

Personally I’m sick of conservatives who call democrats cowards for refusing to go on FOX
Democrats are cowards for refusing to go on Fox. They would be glad to, if they had facts and logic rather than showmanship behind their snake oil, but they don't - so they stay away from the exposure. The trouble with going on Fox is that you will be asked the second question. If you have the facts and logic to back up your case, that's no problem. Conservatives do have facts and logic behind their cases; it is their defining characteristic.
and then turn around and call republicans stupid for going on any of the other networks.
Journalism as we know it did not exist until the era of the Civil War. Prior to that, newspapers were fractiously independent of each other, and didn't accept claims that competing newspapers' reporters were objective. In fact, the newspapers of the pre-Civil War era were more like National Review than like The New York Times. Most were weeklies, and some had no deadline at all and just went to press when the printer decided he was ready. More than modern "hard news," they were about the opinions of their printers. Presses of that ilk naturally were ordinarily associated with political parties. The whole paper was what we'd now think of as an editorial page - and the printers couldn't and didn't try to make that a secret. That was the milieu when the First Amendment was written and ratified.
What changed that?

The telegraph. The telegraph, and the Associated Press. Suddenly the printer had available to him a font of news stories to which his readership could not be privy before he printed them. A wonderful thing for the printer of a paper! But, at a price. It was expensive in money, and the printer needed to get value out of his AP newswire. How to do that, when the printer didn't employ, didn't even know, the reporters who produced the cornucopia of newswire stories? How to vouch for the veracity of the stories? Simple - you simply launch a propaganda campaign to the effect that all reporters are objective!

Here's a news flash for you: journalists actually aren't objective! How do I know? Well, you can do a lot of ponderous research, such as (A Measure of Media Bias (research shows Drudge/Fox centrist, NYT far liberal) ), to prove it - but you need not expect that journalists will do anything but stonewall the results, no matter how thorough the research might be. Far simpler to just be direct - journalists are not objective because they say that they are objective. Simple - the only way anyone can even attempt to be objective is to start your analysis with an up-front declaration of your own interest in the question you are analyzing. If you are arguing that more roads should be built, you declare up front if your father-in-law would be the one to build them, and you would even declare your ownership of a car which would be more useful if there were more roads. Declaring your own objectivity is the precise opposite of that, so you should take it for granted that journalists who never declare anything but their own "objecitivity" are not merely not objective, they are heavily biased.

What is the inherent bias of journalism? Simple again - journalists are biased in favor of the notion that journalists are heroes. In Mark Steyn's expression, they are cardboard heroes - great at attacking "dastardly villains" such as bankers who actually pose no threat, but impotent and cowardly in the presence of actual villains such as ruthless terrorists who'll behead you for crossing them. Cowards who boast that "you never argue with someone who buys ink by the carload" - and then pick on some poor defenseless schlub precisely because he can't effectively argue back, and wouldn't hurt a fly anyway.

How does that bias of journalism play into politics? Simple again - "liberal" politicians are those who cooperate with journalists and essentially exist in symbiosis with them. You can tell that by the way journalists give them positive labels. Americans favored liberalism - which was a word for the advocacy of liberty - so journalists began to call politicians in symbiosis with them "liberals." The meaning of the word "liberal" was inverted in the 1920s, according to Saffire's New Political Dictionary. Journalists also, alternatively, call politicians in symbiosis with them "progressives." What American doesn't favor progress? And as to the label applied to "liberals'" opponents, well, I'll believe that "conservative" is intended as a positive label as soon as you convince me that marketers don't want to label their products New!

Ann Coulter has pointed out that if she goes on a book tour and is put on TV, journalists always "balance" her with one (usually more than one) "liberal" commentator to argue with her. in addition to the "objective journalist" him/herself, who will always attack as well (the usual result is that Ann has to really fight to get a word in edgewise - and as quick-tongued as she is, that's saying something). If a "liberal" goes on a book tour, when have you ever seen him/her "balanced" by a conservative? When have you ever seen him/her attacked by the "objective" journalist?

In reality "objective" journalists are sophists - and, in the original sense of the term, conservative politicians and analysts are philosophers.

Its hypocritical and pathetic.
Not only is there no hypocrisy involved in advocating that conservative politicians go on Fox but keep the "objective" journalist at arm's length, it is IMHO actually pathetic to think that they are obligated to do otherwise.
A constitutional revival, IMHO, must begin with the recognition - first by the courts, and then by the public - that the government is not a safe repository for the judgement of what is, and what is not, "objectivity." With all that that implies for the authority of "Campaign Finance Reform" and the "Federal Communication Commission."

35 posted on 05/22/2010 7:28:58 AM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion ( DRAFT PALIN)
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion
Let me support your thesis with my favorite quote from the early American newspapers. It's from the Aurora Advertiser:

“If ever a man debauched a nation, George Washington debauched the United States.” That’s not journalism. That's opinion, boldly stated. And that's what the early American press largely deal it.

It was as raucous as the supermarket tabloids today. All the surviving early newspapers are available in the Madison Building, across the street from the Jefferson Building, main building of the Library of Congress.

John / Billybob / Ben

36 posted on 05/22/2010 7:38:10 AM PDT by Congressman Billybob (
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