Tag Archives: MSNBC

Tone and Timing are Important in gun discussion following horrific tragedy

The acts were unthinkable, the tragedy incomprehensible and the evil unconscionable. If you were frightened and confused after Aurora, you were devastated and depressed after a monster opened fire in a kindergarten class.

Many lamented it was hard to even believe the crimes committed in Newton on Friday were perpetrated by anyone even close to human.

After texting and calling as many of my friends as I could to tell them how much I cared about them, I sat at my kitchen table, my head in my hands and cried.

I hadn’t lost any loved ones. I only know a handful of people who even live in Connecticut, but as a human being I was shaken to my very core. I was physically in pain over this.

So when person after person in my social media timelines took to snarky, “I told you so” gun law rants, I was blind with rage that they would be so insensitive.

We were just a few hours after an unspeakable tragedy and already this had become a political argument, and more than that it was a condescending, sarcastic conversation.

As Tommy Christopher points out (and if you read this blog you know Mr. Christopher and I rarely agree) you are allowed to react however you want to this tragedy and if you want to talk about gun control that’s fine.

Just a few hours later, Christopher, after watching S.E. Cupp break down on MSNBC trying to tell this story, used a more measured tone to admit that not only is it important that we talk about the issues at hand here, but how we do it.

It’s understandable for someone to jump from “What a horrible tragedy this is,” to “This could have been a lot less horrific if the shooter hadn’t been allowed to have an assault rifle.”

But saying something like, “Is this a good time to talk about gun control?” is condescending and perverse. This sort of self-adulation has no place in the moments immediately following a tragedy. Why would anyone want to play the “I told you so” game when 20 kindergartners are dead?

Furthermore, there were people screaming all over Twitter and Facebook, “Gun control.” Ok. What does that mean? What do you want to see changed? And to those wondering about the timing of the discussion, we’ve been talking about gun control for 100 years. As long as there have been guns, there have been discussions about gun control.

If you weren’t involved in the discussion, that’s on you, but no one was preventing you from being involved. There are myriad anti-gun groups you could have joined, dozens of elected representatives you could call and e-mail. Don’t blame the world because you weren’t involved and even worse, don’t be a sarcastic prick when dozens of families were devastated by a mentally unstable vehicle of pure evil.

I was glad to see so many people were ready to blame our gutless politicians for failing to stand up to the NRA on things like extended clips and assault rifles. Check out what a .223 caliber rifle looks like and tell me if you think a 20-year-old (or any civilian) should own one.

But can we wait an hour or two after we know the facts to start having that discussion? It’s incoherent to me how anyone’s first reaction was “POLITICS” when my first reaction was searing pain and despair for the families, and I’m as political a person as you’ll meet.

What I was disappointed, but not surprised to see, was how easily those who yelled about gun control were to shirk responsibility for their own actions. President Obama has been rated by gun control advocates as worse than President George W. Bush who was a gun-owner himself.

Since 2007, six of the 12 worst shootings in U.S. history have occurred. In other words, almost half of the deadliest days in U.S. history took place under the watch of Barack Obama.

Where has his leadership been on this issue? If you want to talk politics, where is the Nobel Peace Prize winner when his own city of Chicago is more dangerous than the streets of Kabul right now?

The National Journal insisted that the discussion about gun laws had to start at the top. We’ll see if this is a seminal moment in the gun law discussion. I hope, for everyone’s sake that it is.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was critical of the president for not speaking out more forcefully against guns.

As much as I hope some good can come from this tragedy, I would never say that I hoped this would create ‘political capital’ like Alex Wagner did on MSNBC.

To the left, everything can be used for political gain, as Chris Matthews reminded us when he said he was glad for Hurricane Sandy because it helped President Obama win re-election.

I don’t want to make this about left and right, Democrat and Republican because I would hope on a day like today we could all recognize the urgent need to do something about the violence in this country.

Gun laws are not the only piece to the puzzle, it’s irrefutable that there is a cultural issue at play here. Poor parenting and a culture of entitlement have lead us down this path. People believe the world owes them and when the world doesn’t deliver, they freak out.

The entitlement culture has to end and that is part political, part societal and each perpetuates the other.

Gun control is one step. Taking away all guns isn’t an answer, but we can’t be so afraid to infringe on the Second Amendment – extended clip restrictions and semi-automatic assault rifle bans for civilians wouldn’t do that – that we take no action at all.

We cannot be paralyzed by this tragedy, we must be galvanized by it. Furthermore, we cannot let it divide us along partisan lines because everyone’s goal is the same: peace. We have to find ways to achieve that as a collective, or we will surely fall further and further into the dystopian hell we are building.

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Why the conservative media echo chamber effect isn’t as bad critics say

A loyal Republican friend of mine said to me in earnest after Fox News called Ohio for the President that she couldn’t understand why, for the last month, she’d been told Mitt Romney would win the election.

In order to understand this frustration, we need to add context from the entirety of the race. Most Republicans, conservatives, and disenchanted Obama voters watched the Republican primary closely, trying to handicap the outcome and determine who, if anyone, had the intestinal fortitude, the intelligence, and the likability to beat Barack Obama.

And after watching the mouth-breathing knuckle-draggers continue to lead in the polls, it became pretty clear Romney would prevail. Thoughtful conservatives like Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan never entered the race and popular moderates like Chris Christie and Rob Portman also opted out. Jon Huntsman, perhaps the only moderate candidate in the primary, was curb-stomped by 9-9-9, poor kids as janitors, and rich white milk toast a couple times over.

While I touted the laurels of Mitt Romney, I never truly believed them. I was trying to convince myself and you. And here’s where the rubber meets the road.

Conor Friedersdorf, who I admire as a writer, penned a stinging criticism of the conservative media for their echo-chamber coverage of the election.

His point was that conservative media spent so much time criticizing the mainstream media, it was misleading its base because the mainstream media got it right this time.

Now, there are a host of things wrong with his assessment, including his categorization of The Atlantic as “mainstream media,” but the most obvious is that to some extent, it’s the conservative media’s job to offer opposition to the mainstream.

Whether intentional or unintentional (and we know which one it is) the mainstream media has always been an accomplice to the sham of an Obama presidency. If you need a reminder, Fox News gave you one today.  Underreporting the state of the economy, essentially blacking out the Benghazi cover-up – which won’t last long with guys like Darrell Issa in the Hosue – spending four years not asking Obama the tough questions, followed up with a patty cake game over his campaign.

Of course Obama is going to win when he has the networks in his back pocket and his liberal attack dogs on MSNBC, Mother Jones, the Daily Kos and others.

But the issue is more specific in this case because the point Friedersdorf attempted to make is congruent with the criticism of my Republican friend: the conservative media got it so wrong.

There are a number of reasons this happened. The first and most important is that the media engages both internally, and by a result of its own actions, externally, in confirmation bias.

You read the information that confirms what you already believe to be true. Conservative media create content that is congruent with what they already believe to be true. Liberal media does the same, and unfortunately the mainstream media does as well.

So when Gallup and Rasmussen have polls that are counter-cultural in the political media, the conservatives will tout them.

After all, Gallup is the gold standard of political polling and Rasmussen nailed 2008 and 2010 despite a conservative tilt. The reality was, Gallup and Rasmussen missed badly on the way they felt the electorate would look.

I detailed the argument right before the election. And if the electorate had looked like Rasmussen and Gallup predicted it would, Romney wins in a landslide.

It didn’t, so he didn’t.

Respected political analysts like Michael Barone admitted as much.

But the “I told you so” game from the mainstream media is front-running and Monday morning quarterbacking. Sports analogy. No one really knew what the electorate would look like until they showed up on election day.

Just because Nate Silver and the Daily Kos poll was right, doesn’t meant that conservative pundits were wrong to point to Gallup and Rasmussen as evidence of the strength of their side.

Political punditry and predicting is much like the business bloviating and prognosticating about sports. There will always be bias because you’re a fan. You have skin in the game. There’s no such thing as an unbiased political pundit or sports pundit. To a lesser extent, that’s the case with journalists as well.

Two years ago when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and a host of NBA superstars were free agents, there were rumors flying everywhere. People in Chicago were sure Wade and James was going to be Bulls, while people in New Jersey were sure they would want to be part of what is now the Brooklyn Nets.

They were wrong, but that doesn’t mean when they said it, they didn’t believe and that you shouldn’t have also believed it. They were wrong but an a posteiori judgement is silly because at the time, it may have made sense based on the knowledge on hand.

A progressive friend of mine who works on the Obama campaign told me Obama had it. I told her, she had to say that, but she reminded me that Nate Silver and most polls had it for Obama.

She was right, but I wasn’t wrong in any important way to believe that my side would turn out. I wasn’t wrong to believe that I was on the right side of history and look at the polls which most supported my theory. It was Gallup and Rasmussen against ‘everyone else’ and given how comfortable conservatives are picking against mainstream group-think, it is understandable why they went along with the theory their candidate could.

The mainstream media and the liberal media were right because their model worked, but more because their bias was underscored by what happened. Their side won.

In 1980, the mainstream got it wrong and Ronald Reagan rolled to an election victory, despite many media elites believing Carter had it in the bag.

This is how confirmation bias works. The mainstream media got it right, to some measure, out of luck. Their bias turned out to be the right one, not so much their information.

It came down to one simple idea: if the liberal model was right Obama would win, if the conservative model was right, Romney would.

That’s all. The liberal model was right and Obama won, but the conservatives can’t be blamed for believing that a model that favored their side would turn out to be reality. They just happened to be wrong.

In order to truly test the media system, we need a conservative candidate in a major race to win and see how coverage from Mother Jones et al compares with NBC and ABC. We know what Hot Air and Fox News will say. My guess is a losing liberal will be treated the same by Daily Kos as Romney was by Rush Limbaugh and the ilk.

That’s why you have partisan media.

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MSNBC: The racial watch dogs and whistle blowers

When Barack Obama was elected president, the race relations in this country were apparently supposed to magically improve, based solely on the color of Obama’s skin (ironic, I know).

Of course, they didn’t, and in many ways, the divisions among race have grown even more stark thanks to the president’s own policies and rhetoric.

But, as we know, the lefties in the media who worship at the altar of Obama, will blame the GOP for our racial problems, creating strawmen to conveniently knock down.

Someone needs to explain to the left the difference between correlation and causation, and then maybe insist they take a Politics 101 class.

Rachel Maddow, the queen of strawman Republican bashing (the problem is she sounds so eloquent and smart, that you forget she’s completely and utterly full of shit…she should be a politician), took MSNBC’s position as GOP attack dog to the next level, insisting Mitt Romney is running intentionally against minority voters in an attempt to win the support of white voters.

Here’s how Maddow and the left’s argument goes: If you run ads about welfare and entitlement spending, you must be playing into white voter’s racist subconscious.

This is a red herring, not to mention not based on any reality, given that more white people are on the government dole than minorities, but let’s not get bogged down with facts.

Noah Rothman, a columnist for Mediaite who either reads this blog, or reads my mind (or perhaps both), addressed MSNBC’s obvious race-baiting in a column yesterday following yet another segment devoted to the “racist” nature of the GOP campaign.

He went so far as to say one particular segment devolved in self-parody after democratic strategist Karen Finny insisted that despite the facts about welfare, most people associated black people with welfare.

“So, if you didn’t know that, then shame on you. If you did know that, then shame on you,” she said.

Rothman’s critique is both biting and salient:

So, progressive analysts can have it both ways. The American people are either far too removed or disinterested to know the facts about welfare recipients, so Republican attacks on welfare can be racially coded even if they’re not. It would be laughable if it were not so depressing.

Rothman goes on to mention a phrase coined by the left about “dog whistle” campaigning, a somewhat ironic term given the way dogs have long been involved with race relations.

The image invokes one of a coded message, meant only for some ears. It’s laughable at best.

Just because Mitt Romney does well with white voters and not so well with black voters doesn’t make the campaign racist. It means it’s a campaign.

Barack Obama has support in the 90s in terms of percentage of minorities. Is he running a racist campaign? No. He’s galvanizing his base.

There’s absolutely no actual evidence that the GOP’s strategy is racist. In fact, the more compelling evidence is that it’s Obama himself running the dividing campaign.

Think of how he’s portrayed Mitt Romney: as the rich white guy.

By the left’s own logic, these ads are targeted at minorities since minorities are disproportionately represented in the poor population in America.

Class warfare is inherently racially motivated for this very reason. The GOP is not fighting that fight, but rather focusing on the economy and actually changing the circumstances of people.

It’s unconscionable to me that a party associated with a president who has helped create the worst labor conditions for minorities in half a century are blaming the other party for playing race games.

It’s the Obama campaign using scare tactics, lying their way to try and court the seniors vote. Wow, the left must be ageist.

These claims are utterly ridiculous and there’s no evidence to support them, but if we say it enough, maybe it will make it true.

What I find truly abhorrent about these race-baiting claims is that it implies white people, in some large numbers, are racist, and specifically, more racist than other people.

In order for the left’s trumped up claims to be true, there’d have to be a large section of the white voting population with strong conscious or sub-conscious racial feelings.

Where’s the evidence to support that?

There is no evidence, but the left’s best approach is to scream enough inflammatory, incendiary, and patently false claims and hope a few of them sink in with the American people.

Having MSNBC as its accomplice certainly doesn’t hurt.

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The Patriotic Fallacy

Every so often the specific references change, but it seems some popular culture theme creates what I call the patriotic fallacy.

It’s really a composition fallacy, a false choice created to set one’s allegiance to his or her country up for discussion.

In the 1950’s, it was Joseph McCarthy and the Red Scare.

If you didn’t follow a certain pattern, you were a communist.

If you didn’t support the Vietnam War, you were unpatriotic. Ditto for the Iraq War.

This is, of course, not true. You can disagree with the things your country does and still love your country, much in the same way you can belong to a religious group and not agree with everything they stand for.

Unfortunately, this comes up in political arguments all too often. There are those on the right who insist Barack Obama is a Muslim, attempting to play on the widespread Islamophobia in the U.S.

The underlying implication is if you’re a Muslim, you’re not an American or worse, anti-American.

Obviously, that’s ridiculous.

A tactic like this is particularly popular on the side of an unpopular president and the media has contorted itself into impressive pretzel-like positions, bending over backward to defend our current unpopular president.

A group of ex-military make a PAC to run ads attacking Barack Obama for taking too much credit for Osama bin Laden’s death and they must be anti-American.

General Martin Dempsey, of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, expressed his dismay that “the uniform” would be used for political gain, but let’s be honest, everyone, even military and ex-military, have freedom of speech.

So when a GOP strategist attempts to explain why Gen. Dempsey may not be the most unbiased source of authority in critiquing this case (he works for President Obama), MSNBC and lefty hack Martin Bashir refuses to allow such an explanation on the grounds that it’s unpatriotic.

This is hackery at its finest, but also the patriotic fallacy in all of its glory.

We should be able to have a discussion about something without having to pull the “This is America” card every two seconds.

This country deserves respect to be sure, but to allow the flag to become a shield for those who’d rather not make a rational argument or counterargument actually runs in direction opposition to everything on which America was founded.

We can disagree with people in power, disagree with the actions our government takes and still support our country.

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MSNBC shows bias, buries new evidence in Trayvon Martin case

I don’t like to take a single act of lunacy and use it to paint with a broad brush. On the other hand, I believe the bias of MSNBC is well-documented and as a result, I think it’s fair to point out when they knowingly and willfully try to change the narrative of a story to fit their own.

It’s been obvious from the time the Trayvon Martin story broke that it would become a lightening rod.

Easy to pontificate over and easier to make bombastic statements about, the case turned into a debate about gun control, racial profiling and media bias.

Yes, the bias had gotten so bad that it became part of the story itself.

Things got even worse for MSNBC after mediaiate.com, a liberal site that I link frequently on this blog, called out MSNBC for not only burying new information in the Trayvon Martin case, but for failing to bring it up at all.

When video of Zimmerman arriving at a Florida police department surfaced that seemed to show George Zimmerman to be unharmed, the media flew off the handle, insisting that Zimmerman was a white (and this was important to them, even though it wasn’t important to you or me) vigilante out to gun down a punk ass black kid.

Let’s also be clear about something, it does appear that Trayvon was, in fact, a punk. His criminal history, coupled with the new report that he had THC in his system when he was killed,is further evidence of that.

But without equivocating, we can all agree, just being a punk shouldn’t justify getting shot. That being said, it’s relevant to bring up in the conversation because the liberal narrative of this story is that some young, promising African-American model teenager was killed.

That’s simply not true and moreover, the fact that Martin was a punk, further outlines Zimmerman’s defense of approaching a troublemaker in the neighborhood.

Back to the issue of MSNBC however, they can’t have it both ways. Video that was damaging to Zimmerman’s case should be given equal time to that which enhances his case.

The latest evidence, which shows Zimmerman sustained serious injuries to his face, coupled with the reports that multiple eye-witnesses say they saw Martin on top of Zimmerman beating him, pokes substantial holes in the media narrative.

As I’ve said all along, I don’t want to litigate this case in the court of public opinion, which is exactly what has gone on. That being said, I think the coverage of this case has been wildly inflammatory, sensationalized, and reckless.

Luckily, anyone watching MSNBC is already on board with this faux-reality created out of the liberal myth. Unfortunately, those people, and all liberals, believe so strongly in such a flawed reality.

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Political Correctness Obstructing, not Perpetuating equality

Political correctness has corrupted the fight for equality.

There’s no equivocating needed.

Hyper-sensitivity has made it impossible to for us act without fear of being judged for being racist, sexist, or any other “ist” you can think of.

Partisanship has made this problem even worse and I’ll use a pair of examples to show what I mean.

In the last week, Mitt Romney has hired an openly gay spokesperson. Richard Grenell is a former George W. Bush aid who has a twitter feed which he likes to use to poke fun at political figures.

God forbid he say something funny about a woman and her appearance.

The left, usually a friend of anything homosexual-related, blasted Grennel for his “sexist” remarks. The Jezebel article cited a number of Grennel’s tweets, which have subsequently been deleted, as the reason for saying he’s a misogynist.

Grennel asked if Newt Gingrich’s wife’s hair snapped on and made a quip about her being the first lady, but not her husband’s first lady.

Apparently, a man can’t make a joke about a women without being accused of being sexist. There’s a different between making a joke about a woman and making a joke about being a woman.

There’s no equality in having woman be off-limits in political tongue-and-cheek barbs. True equality means women are fair game and that includes their appearance.

Making reference to a woman’s appearance isn’t inherently sexist, in fact, in many cases, it’s simply observatory. Feminists might argue that a woman shouldn’t have to live up to my standard of beauty, and they’d be right. No one does. We all set our own standards. I can still call someone butch if they look butch.

That’s not sexist.

Let me use a second example to show why this hyper-sensitivity has actually been an impediment to equality.

Several days ago, S.E. Cupp caused an MSNBC panel to lose what was left of their minds when she said she didn’t want gender equality in the Secret Service.

Her point wasn’t that women shouldn’t be Secret Service agents, but rather that the most qualified candidates get the jobs.

This is unequivocally not a sexist position to hold.

There is nothing fair or just about striving for equality if equality doesn’t produce the best possible outcomes. I’m certainly not advocating that women be left out of the Secret Service, but if they aren’t the most qualified applicants, there should be no reason why they should be hired.

That’s true in any realm, public or private. It’s true for race, gender, sexual orientation and any other delineating characteristic you want to pick.

My father always told me fair isn’t always equal and equal isn’t always fair.

The heart of feminism is to put women on an equal plane as men, a fine goal to be sure.

But if that means unfairly tipping the scales in favor of one gender or another in order to achieve equality, then there’s no intrinsic value or inherent good to that.

True equality, real fairness, means an employer can pick the most qualified applicant, period. Equality means comedy is an equal-opportunity field.

The hyper-sensitive, politically correct culture perpetuates neither fairness nor equality because it constantly separates us by our differences.

Equality, fairness, these are ideas steeped in the understanding that we are more the same than we are different. Until that re-enters the discussion, we won’t have true equality or justice.

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Obama, ultra-liberals in Congress to blame for Republican move to the right

Have you noticed something? When was the last time the topic du jour in the media was a substantive issue?

When Obama offered his budget?

When he gave his state of the union?

Is it a coincidence that Obama’s campaign doesn’t plan on using substantive issues to tackle the Mitt Romney challenge, but rather divisive rhetoric and ideological debate?

It’s interesting, then, to see Mediaite – a website I use often to link on this site, but has a decidedly liberal editorial staff –  criticize MSNBC and other liberal pundits for failing to address the growing ideological divide among Democrats.

The article was based on a remark made by S.E. Cupp, a prominent female conservative writer for the New York Daily News.

Mediate Noah Rothman cites examples of the moderate losses the Democrat party has sustained and the potential reasons for it. His summation though, points out an interesting paradigm.

It says quite a lot about the state of Democratic commentary that it is heretical to admit that the actions of the 111th Congress and the Democratic president fostered the present conservative iteration of the Republican party. By not admitting that fairly demonstrable fact, the liberal commentariat will not be able to learn from history and receive the catharsis that comes from such an admission of fault.

His point, more or less, is that the Democrat move to the left, particularly thanks to ultra-liberals like Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama, is a major contributing factor to the Tea Party movement and a changing of the Republican guard.

CNN had an interesting editorial today from historian Julian Zeitler that pitted Obama and Romney as two pragmatic problem-solvers rather than ideologues.

While I disagree, to some extent, with the premise that President Obama hasn’t been a staunch ultra-liberal, he has been willing to compromise with Republicans on things like deficit reduction.

In some ways, Mitt Romney is an excellent counter-argument that the Republican party has been the driver of political polarization in the country, as the MSNBC pundits suggest.

I want to point out something that’s important here. Politicians are elected. That means people have to vote.

It’s why we have the best system on earth.

So when the liberal ideologies of President Obama failed, there were sweeping changes in 2010 because the people asked for them. It’s nothing more than sour grapes for liberals to suggest some of this is political ideology run amok.

We live in a center-right country, a nation of people who, outside of the political elites, are more conservative than they are liberal.

In 2008, just 38% of people believed the Democrat party was “too liberal.” By 2010, it was up to 49%. The major change? Our president.

Furthermore, no president in modern history has done more to perpetuate the divide between Republicans and Democrats than our current and soon-to-be-former president.

Every failure has been the Tea Party’s fault and every success has been solely by the hands of Obama and his social-engineering agenda.

There can be no debate that the Tea Party’s rise was a result of the leftist policies of President Obama and his liberal Congress.

The Tea Party’s driving message has been the antithesis of the tax and spending, big-government liberal mythology driving the Democrat party since 2008.

Tea Party members and Republican activist legislators have become rockstars in Congress because people support them. That’s the way Democracy works.

I wouldn’t expect a liberal to understand.

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