Posts Tagged ‘conservatives’

The Curse of the Mainstream Media

‘Democrats have their own SuperPAC, it’s called the mainstream media.’- Senator Marco Rubio  (October 28, 2015 Republican Presidential Candidate Debate)


Anyone who’s ever worked at one of the broadcast television networks knows that their staffs are composed of a hodgepodge of political (and a-political) opinions.  The only agenda is to be relevant and interesting to the 18-49 year old American adults who advertisers yearn to reach. There’s also the news division’s quest, which they take very seriously, for journalistic integrity.

Here’s something to consider. By definition, doesn’t’ “mainstream media” mean that it resonates with the majority of people; the actual mainstream?

Of course, the reason that “mainstream media” is such a tempting target for these politicians and for demagogic radio and TV personalities is that the audiences to whom they are pandering tend to be fringe groups; outsiders who perceive themselves as special, unique and superior to the majority of their fellow citizens. Therefore, media who represent the values and attitudes of those in the mainstream must, somehow, be tainted.

And who, actually, are the “mainstream media”? Are they just the ABC, CBS and NBC television networks and their cable news subsidiaries? Is Fox News a member of the “mainstream media”? What about Facebook and Twitter? One could argue, given their vast audiences and news dissemination services that they also belong in the category of “mainstream media”.

So, the next time you hear someone attack the mainstream media, it might be worth asking yourself exactly which fringe group that person is trying to impress.

The Health Of The Nation

On Thursday, the United States Supreme Court, SCOTUS to the politicos among us, will announce its decision on the Affordable Health Care Act or as master of rhetoric Dr. Frank Lunz has repositioned it, “Obamacare”. This collection of political cartoons pretty much summarizes the extent and divisiveness of the debate on this issue:

Of course, most of us have been more inclined to listen to the rhetoric of this debate than have actually bothered to read about the details. Here’s a link to the summary provided by the US Senate:

Here Comes Trouble

Let me begin by stating my belief that, whether you’re having a conversation, writing a book, posting a blog, sending a Facebook message, tweeting, doing a radio show, podcasting, or making a movie, it’s all about story-telling.

A recent article in Miller-McCune magazine reports that, based on scientific research, psychologist Jonathan Haidt has determined the beliefs you and I hold are really more the result of our genes and environment rather than immutable truths. Having established that ideology isn’t based in rationality, Haidt and his colleagues have come up with a framework of 5 moral foundations. They are care/harm, which makes us sensitive to signs of suffering and need; fairness/cheating, which alerts us to those who might take advantage of us; loyalty/betrayal, which binds us as team players; authority/subversion, which prompts us to respect rank and status; and sanctity/degradation, which inspires a sense of purity, both literally (physical cleanliness) and symbolically. The conviction that abortion, euthanasia, or gay marriage is immoral arises from the sanctity impulse.

Haidt says that American liberals respond most strongly to the care/harm and fairness/cheating impulses and tend to dismiss the others whereas conservatives (and the majority of people in the rest of the world) take all 5 moral foundations into account. Another way of interpreting this information might be that liberals tend to be more optimistic and see the glass half-full while conservatives tend to be more pessimistic and see it as half-empty.

There’s little doubt that Michael Moore is more influenced by the care/harm and fairness/cheating factors than by the others described. He waves his symbolic “freak flag” proudly and merely mentioning Michael Moore’s name provokes viscerally negative reactions from political conservatives and many independents, too. He’s viewed as a caricature of an old, unwashed, left-wing hippie troublemaker.

So it will be easy for those who disagree with Moore’s politics to reject this book as irrelevant. I think that would be a mistake.

I was surprised by the humanity that emanates from this collection of stories. I listened to the audiobook , which Moore narrates himself, and was struck several times by the thought that those who despise this man might gain some useful insights from hearing his stories about growing up in working class Flint, MI, his staunchly Republican mother, his encounters with Bobby Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Harry Chapin, and John Lennon. And the life experiences which shaped Moore into the Quixotic documentary filmmaker that he is today.

You might laugh, you might cry, slam the book shut or shout at the dashboard, but you won’t be bored by the stories in HERE COMES TROUBLE.

Top TV Shows Of Conservatives & Liberals

The Experian Simmons annual survey of this year’s favorite TV shows ranked by political philosophy has been released. (Note that Independents and Libertarians aren’t listed.)

    Conservatives’ Favs

1. Barrett-Jackson Auction
2. This Old House
3. The 700 Club
4. Swamp Loggers
5. Top Shot
6. The Bachelor
7. Castle

    Liberals’ Favs

1. The Daily Show
2. Colbert Report
3. Masterpiece
4. 30 Rock
5. Parks and Recreation
6. The View
7. Glee

Your thoughts?

The Fairness Doctrine

As a political moderate and independent, I have concerns that a Democratic majority will let their biases override good sense and will create rules and laws which restrict freedom of speech on broadcast radio outlets. They seem to have some misguided notion that corporate edicts dictate the content of talk radio when, in fact, conservative talk radio replaced moderate/liberal talk radio because conservatives tended to be more passionate about and loyal to their favorite talk shows than did moderates and liberals.

Those in Congress who advocate the return of the Fairness Doctrine don’t seem to understand that when radio was deregulated during the Reagan era and there was an explosion of new frequencies on the dial each station’s programming had to become more focused and predictable in order to survive. Power was transferred from the programmers to the listeners who were able to get what they wanted when they wanted it and knew where to find it on their radio dials. Now, with streaming, podcasts, Twitter and soon WiFi distribution of Internet radio, there are abundant opportunities to hear different opinions for those who want to hear them.

Obviously, there is a liberal audience available and NPR stations whose programming tends to be more politically progressive than commercial radio boast large and loyal audiences. In fact, the success of public radio with listeners with moderate and/or liberal political views might be a reason why commercial radio stations have been largely unsuccessful in cultivating a significant audience base of those listeners.