Obama vs Fox News; does the US media have a left wing bias?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by saturn5, Oct 25, 2009.

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  1. Mr44 VIP

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    May 21, 2002
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    I don't disagree with any of that DS. You basically captured my main point in that it's difficult to conceptualize what would have been done differently. In my original answer to NYJ, I think McCain's team would have hit the ground running more effectively, instead of the false and re-false starts we saw at the beginning of the current administration. But really, there's still no comprehensive economic program in place.

    And I do agree about the danger of lionizing business figures, but the same can be said for demonizing as well. It's not like the public would go "ewww..Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Federal Express, etc..what a bunch of hacks." As opposed to Enron, AIG, and so on which do have image issues. There is a difference between respected and non-respected business.

    And TARP is much more complex than "who started it." Ironically, the intitial 2008 Bush-era TARP was pretty successful for what it was supposed to do. It was Geithner and the current administration who modified the use of the famous 300 billion dollars for foreclosures, toxic investments and such, of which there was not a set plan or targeted area of concern. In essence, that 300 billion (which ballooned into 500 billion or so, IIRC) was flushed down the toilet with nothing to show for. That's what I meant when I said it was "shotgunned."
  2. DeathStar1977 Jedi Master

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    Jan 31, 2003
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    Granted as you acknowledge this is pure speculation, but I don't think the McCain team would've hit the ground running, so to speak. I think there would have been tremendous pressure to 'do nothing', or in other words, let the markets take care of it.

    Yes, there is a difference between good/bad business. But even within the good businesses, I've worked for a few (large and small), there is a tremendous amount of incompetence and many of the top people have their jobs through nepotism and politics. I know it's anecdotal and represents a small slice, but it was surprising to see in more than a few instances how incredibly inept these people are, and were carried by many of the other employees.

    But not to get sidetracked, because we seem to agree on that anyway, yes TARP is more complex than 'who started it', especially considering it was started by the Bush administration and almost immediately handed to the Obama administration to administer. But I don't think your analysis is accurate. I think so-called toxic investments being purchased was one of the original intentions. And to say $300 billion was 'flushed down the toilet' is most certainly inaccurate considering the net cost, IIRC, was recently estimated at under $100 billion. This could probably all be discussed in a more appropriate thread.
  3. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

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  4. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

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    On the one hand, he's absolutely right.

    On the other hand, all he's doing here is getting FOX and its viewer drones more riled against him.
  5. J-Rod Force Ghost

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    Or maybe it's Obama and his drones that are getting riled up?
  6. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    I don't think it hurts to clarify that Murdoch is in it for the money. He's not trying to help anyone, doesn't care whether America is a better place for its citizens.
  7. J-Rod Force Ghost

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    And Soros does?
  8. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

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    I think he's right. While both MSNBC and FOX engage in red meat journalism for their respective political bases, FOX devotes significantly more time to editorializing during the news as well as talking head programming. The majority of the talking head deprogramming I have to do comes from the FOX viewers in my medical ethics classrooms. It's amazing how much they appreciate truth when they realize they've been duped.

    And, in anticipation of the objections, this truth is actually providing things like PDF versions of the final health care bill for my students to look through, non-partisan plain language treatments of the expected shifts in health care policy, etc. FOX News is the biggest active contributor to the polarization of the American electorate, and so long as it is profitable, they will continue in that role, which is shameful. Again, I include MSNBC in this criticism as they engage in the same kind of broadcasting, but doesn't have the same volume of polarizing programming or market share.
  9. Mr44 VIP

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    May 21, 2002
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    But see, since Obama now brought himself down to that level, couldn't you say the same about him? J-Rod is absolutely correct with his question, because Obama's deflection to Fox News just represents dirty politics as usual. It seems petty. Ghost touched on it as well, right or wrong.

    There's a famous quote that says "The best indicator of success is...success." It's difficult for the administration to make this point, when in fact, unemployment continues to rise and there is no to very little growth to speak of under his watch. So in essence, Obama admits that he sucks, but the other guy is worse. And in fact, it's not even the other guy in a specific political sense, but a news network.

    Bush tried to blame the anti-war movement for the failures of conducting a war. I suppose at some level, this makes sense. I mean, if there weren't pesky protestors, then failure wouldn't ever be mentioned. But absence of failure isn't the same as success, and the movement wouldn't ever let this fly. Bush needed to look inward and communicate his viewpoint more effectively. Obama shouldn't get a pass in this area, as he is now doing the same thing. "Hey, it's not his fault, it's the fault of those who point out his mistakes...."

    The reality is that the buck stops with the President. For him to blame others just opens him up to have that blame reflected right back at him.
  10. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

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    Wait, someone calling out a mainstream news organization that blurs the line between information and partisan rhetoric in an interview is admitting or trying to deflect blame for mistakes? There are some significant gaps in that logic that you'll have to fill in.

    If someone has the actual Rolling Stone text, they can contextualize the comments, but it seems that he's commenting on their role in the political landscape. Full stop.

    EDIT:

    If anything, these comments are akin to Stewart's argument against Crossfire's existence and part of the reason for the Oct. 30th rally in Washington - the political climate is being pushed towards even further polarization and extremist rhetoric. FOX News has been capitalizing on this for a long time, and Obama (among many others) is tired of it. That's not deflection of criticism.
  11. Mr44 VIP

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    But what you're ignoring is that such comments by Obama serve to further flame the partisan divide in their own right. Obama isn't talking about the "polarization of the news media in general," that's just you giving him a pass. He singled out Fox News, just because they paint a view that disagrees with him. Sorry, I mean, Obama paid lip service to "their right to do what they do, he just wishes that they didn't," which makes all the difference. What's next? If Obama said "I respect the voting process in the country as long as everyone votes for me," there are still those who would agree with him and not see anything wrong with the statement.

    Again, I just used the economic issue as an example, because it's as polarizing as the war issue was back in the heyday. So, I take it you agree with the assessment that the anti-war movement was the reason for the polarization of the war, not the details themselves? I sure hope you don't have that view.

    The President shouldn't comment on the news media in general, unless he's clarifying a specific story that deals with him and the role of the executive. Obama didn't have to in this case. It just seems petty, which presumably, is what he mentioned.
  12. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

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    Not to the same extent that the talking heads have fanned the flames. Calling attention to the problem may draw the ire of some people, but he isn't attacking the people who view that medium. He isn't critiquing the Republicans or the Republican base, he's critiquing a particular news organization and the role it is taking. There's a fundamental disconnect between what he's doing and how you are spinning it.

    I never claimed he was talking about the larger problem, nor am I giving him a pass. I critique the political red meat journalism on both sides of the aisle precisely because it makes my job more difficult (as I now have to address journalistic bias and pop culture perception when discussing complex issues in medical ethics). Additionally, he doesn't do it "just because they paint a view that disagrees with him" - he acknowledges the political difference, but what he is stressing is the shift from informational journalism to editorial/partisan journalism. Fox News explicitly pushes an ideology on its viewers and, as I have noted before, capitalizes on their ignorance (i.e., lack of information necessary to fact check the claims being made). That's *way* more than "They disagree with me", and you can't reduce his objections down to simple partisan differences, especially when the organization claims to be "fair and balanced". He's calling them out on dishonesty and manipulation, not political disagreement.

    This is a bad characterization of his position, and I suspect you know that.

    I'm not commenting on the war issue, precisely because the context in which FOX News pushes bias that impacts me directly is the health care issue, which is demonstrably and objectively false and biased. I'm happy to go toe-to-toe if you want to push on that one. :)

    Obama is recognizing a political reality - media presentation impacts public perception. FOX News pushes an ideology, and does so in a way that mischaracterizes complex policy issues. They are the network of Death Panels, they are the network of the Tea Party, and they are the network that shows, time and again, that they are willing more than anyone to skew news reportage to impact their viewers. A healthy political environment is one in which honesty is not an exception to the rule, and it isn't inappropriate for him, either as a public official or as a private citizen, to express his views on the factors impacting public perception.

    EDIT:

    Typos. And I'm off for the evening to teach Tae Kwon Do, so no responses until tomorrow at least.
  13. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
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    Not to the same extent that the talking heads have fanned the flames.... by becoming a talking head yourself. That's the "I suck, but not as much as the other guy" aspect.

    Quix, it's no coincidence that this article came out just as Obama is stumping for those democrats in battleground states. But this is something that you already know. He didn't randomly loose sleep all night pondering the state of the news media and his role in it, which you seem to characterize his concern as. Perhaps that's the plausible deniability right there though?

    Because this was featured in Rolling Stone, which has its own political leanings and target audience, and packaged as "don't blame me, it's the other guys fault." I don't think a lot of Rolling Stones readers watch O'Reilly, and vice versa, so there's not a lot of self-reflection going on here, nor was it intended to be. It's a political point designed to score political points about how a specific media scores political points. And that's more point scoring than a Chicago Bears vs GB Packers game. Regardless of the message, that's why it can be dismissed so easily in the "mirror meet reflection" sense, and plays into Fox News's hands.

    Obama could have simply stayed focused on those politicians he's stumping for. He could have pointed out his concern over political journalism in general, and let each reader figure it out for themselves. But he took the easy way, and it looks desperate, or at least represents the potential for backfiring as illustrated in the thread here.

  14. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

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    Mar 26, 2001
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    You can read the article here.
  15. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

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    He singled them out because they are the standard-bearer, by far. Odious as MSNBC can be sometimes, all they're doing is fighting FOX's fire with fire. If FOX knocked off their nonsense, there would be no reason for MSNBC to keep trying to be the FOX of the left.
  16. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
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    That's only because you're limiting yourself to Fox News.

    Let me start off by offering a anecdote. There's a satirical movie titled Thank You For Smoking. In it, representatives from the businesses of sin-tobacco, alcohol, firearms have a regular meeting and call themselves the MOD squad- "the Merchants of Death." A reporter from the "liberal press" got wiff of the meetings and revealed them as such. Both Tobacco and Alcohol lament among themselves how much negative press they're going to get, but firearms, played by the underrated David Koechner, celebrates, and actually has merchandise with the slogan made up.

    What's the point? If I were a features editor over at Fox News, I would plaster Obama's comments all over the airwaves-Hey! Obama is upset with us, we must be hitting a nerve! See, we're right about health care, or the economy, or insert hot button issue here...Obama is going to be sitting in the White House thinking "Dang, how do I keep loosing control of political topics?" so fast it's going to make his head spin. This is why. And it doesn't have anything to do with how the news companies behave themselves.
  17. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

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    Dec 17, 2000
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    I agree that from a political standpoint it was an idiotic statement to make. I even noted above that "all he's doing here is getting FOX and its viewer drones more riled against him."

    What I take issue with is the notion that what he said was in any way inaccurate or misleading.
  18. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

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  19. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

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    Feb 15, 2001
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    Yeah, 44, everything you've ever said has had some sort of sense to it. But whenever Obama comes up it seems like you're frothing at your e-mouth. That's your right, of course, but the whole defending Foxnews against propaganda charges is a little silly. Everyone knows they're biased as hell and only support the GOP or their Democratic lapdogs like Lieberman. So, really the only question that seems appropriate is this: Does Foxnews' bias benefit the public/journalism/politics?
  20. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

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    Jun 22, 2001
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    You are mischaracterizing what I wrote, intentionally or unintentionally. Obama has been fighting against FOX News and their reporting methods for a long, *long* time (remember, for instance, the reason this thread was started. He's been calling them out as biased for years now. The interviewer asked him about it in the course of the interview, and his response was in line with what he's been saying all along: FOX News skews its reporting to push a political agenda. This isn't his sudden epiphany, this has been his consistent message. As such, I'm really baffled why you have been arguing as if this is simply an opportunistic message. Yes, the article is coming out two months before the elections. So what? This isn't some kind of shocker, and while it is certainly politically expedient in the sense that he's frustrated with apathetic Democratic voters as well as the Democratic Congress, it seems that you are intentionally trying to make this article *solely* about the timing and "them, too", which is asinine and you know that. Seriously, in philosophy there is something called the principle of charity, and it is the hallmark of any good and honest intellectual discource. Ask yourself, honestly, whether you are being charitable with this issue.

    Except, again, that it is in line with many other comments he has made in other mass media outlets. If this were an isolated incident, I'd be more inclined to agree with this, but again, Obama has consistently critiqued FOX News' skew, so it's not something that makes it easy to characterize as "don't blame me, it's the other guy's fault" or "mirror meet reflection" unless someone is intentionally trying to dismiss an argument for which no refutation can be offered.

    Unless, of course, he just said what he's said and demonstrated before, in which case the summary dismissal of the larger point he's making appears to be facetious. I'm guessing it looks "desperate" to you because you aren't a big fan of his, which means that you are likely going to be sympathetic to an uncharitable and unflattering characterization of it, which requires you to ignore the fact that it is perfectly in line with many other statements he has made.
  21. Mr44 VIP

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    May 21, 2002
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    And what I don't understand is why you guys always seem to deflect the issue. Point out in this exchange where I said Fox isn't partisan. I haven't, because I've always said that Fox is a conservative news agency. So what? But every time this topic comes up, it always seems to default to "why are you saying that Fox isn't partisan?" Fox isn't any better or any worse than any other news organization out there. Oh, I realize that the response to that is "but a network like MSNBC is slightly less partisan..." but that's like arguing that a brain-eating zombie is only mostly dead, so it's alright to have tea with.

    You guys should go back and review Alpha Red's original post. It's just a link without discussion or opinion, and basically just gives Obama a pass. (or rather, it gives Obama's opinion about Fox News a pass) But my focus isn't about Fox News, it's about how Obama was an idiot for putting himself in the debate, and about how he just gave credence to everything Fox News did up until this point.

    It's interesting, because the Chicago Tribune had a small op-ed which basically covered this same thing. The Tribune is more of a "we support your right to say things, even if we disagree with what you're saying" kind of paper, but the author asked the obvious question:

    since Obama made these comments in Rolling Stone, which is just as opinionated as Fox, do they equal a double negative and cancel each other out?

  22. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    44, what would you have expected a Democratic president to say? He's sitting for an interview and the interviewer asks "What do you think of Fox News? Do you think it's a good institution for America and for democracy?"

    I'm thinking about your earlier post:

    Where is this idea coming from, and what kind of principle is it meant to enshrine, because I don't think I get it.

  23. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

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    44- I'm not sure whether you meant your last comment to apply to me, since I haven't suggested that you are saying FOX News isn't biased. My response illustrated that the Rolling Stone interview is consistent with a point Obama and his crew have been maintaining for a long time across a variety of media, so the fact that this most recent iteration of the larger argument occurs in a magazine sympathetic to his views is irrelevant. It isn't a case of one canceling out the other or of his comments being functionally identical to or equatable with FOX News' skew.
  24. Mr44 VIP

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    But see Jabba, your question itself highlights all sorts of other issues, and illustrates why Obama backed himself into a corner. Regardless of what party he is from, isn't the President supposed to represent the entire country?

    You really have to look at the answers he gave. First off, he blamed Fox News for being destructive toward the US's growth. Ok, fine. His answer was directed at Rolling Stones readers, so he's not expressing anything new here, as Quix mentioned. This is just the basic "who is worse Fox or MSNBC" type of opinion. What he did though was cement the battle lines in a way that's probably not wise for any President to do. He lost the high ground because he certainly can't complain if someone like Bill O'Reilly simply reverses the crititicism, because they're 2 sides of the same coin.

    If he left it at a general example of WR Hurst, he could have kept some of the high ground, and would have given credit to his audience to apply the example to them. However, he went off on this tangent about how Fox has a 1st Amendment right to do what they do, he just wished they agreed with him while they did it. Sure, being President is easy if no one disagrees with you, but it's not realistic.

    So, he did answer the question about the press being good for the country, just not the ones that criticize him. It's these follow on ideas where Obama locked himself in. He wasn't just complaining about the polarization of the news, his comments appear that he was lamenting that Fox keeps pointing out his flaws.

    Your post is correct. In this interview, Obama basically said I'm a democratic President, and I'll entrench my appeal to my base. Is that bad or good? I don't know. Only he knows. But it's not a smart political play for any President to engage in, because it's going to force that choice. If you're not responsive to the voters, what's the point of being President?

  25. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    That's not what he did, though. He did not express any kind of desire for Fox to agree with him or to not criticize him.

    What he said exactly was: I think Fox is part of that tradition ? it is part of the tradition that has a very clear, undeniable point of view. It's a point of view that I disagree with. It's a point of view that I think is ultimately destructive for the long-term growth of a country that has a vibrant middle class and is competitive in the world.

    What he said in effect was "Fox is dedicated to promoting conservative ideology, and I think conservative ideology is a force that is detrimental to our nation's future."

    He then went on to point out how profitable promoting its conservative ideology has been for Fox.

    You've misinterpreted what the president said. I'm trying to imagine the context where the president should not be saying that conservative ideology is the wrong direction for the country, and I can't think of one.
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