Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Jonah Goldberg recently lambasted Al Gore in the LA Times, remarking how the left (including Arianna Huffington) are all aglow over the "new" Al Gore. (See "Same Al Gore, Different Day.") Goldberg's assertion that Gore somehow lied about a summer trip to France in that the timing of said trip conflicted with Gore's tales of working on the family farm.
ThinkProgress took Mr. Goldberg to task: Mr. Goldberg responded with a typical rant about how the liberal media were 'whining' about him.
Here is my letter to Mr. Goldberg...
Regarding your article here...
Media mischaracterization of Al Gore is a well documented fact. Your efforts to bolster that misrepresentation by claiming he did not go to Cannes AND work on his family farm in the same summer are not only petty, they're wrong.
Yet when challenged on it, all you do is whine "I didn't say anything about me! Why are they making this about me?" It's not so much about you as it is about what you say, and what you do, as a journalist. You decided to pick a profoundly unimportant nit, and you got the facts wrong. In response to the 'challenge' you neither confirm or refute the facts in question!
Then you go on to refer to Gore's trip to France and say "don't you think it's really weird that this is what a fifteen year-old kid wanted to do with his summer?"
Uh, there's nothing weird about that at all. Some kids might want to visit England, or Ireland, or Russia, or I dunno, FRANCE. Your characterization of Gore's trip as 'weird' says a lot more about you than it does about him, and it ain't pretty.
This is not about you. It's about what you do, what you as a prominent journalist write and say. You pick a small, unimportant fact, then get it wrong in a deliberate attempt to propagate the fallacy of Gore as serial liar. You're contributing to the dumbing-down of the coverage of American political discourse by doing so. True, it may be a small bit of dung, but it's still dung, heaped on top of the huge pile that you and those like you have contributed to so copiously over the past few decades.
Al Gore isn't that different now than he was in 1999. It's just that the serial attacks on his veracity have waned since he left the limelight. Perhaps being off the campaign trail has let him loosen up, be more 'real' in public than he was as a campaigner. If that's the case we should not blame Gore but the rampant mischaracterization and -- yes, I'll say slander -- perpetrated upon him by the media, a mischaracterization and slander you seem all to willing to revisit and perpetrate.
Gore was right about global warming, right about Iraq, right about corruption, right about so many things that President Bush was / is wrong about. With all that going on, why do you focus on a summer in France forty years ago? You write for the LA Times, for god's sake. Can't you do better than that?
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Regarding Ann Coulter's screed on the Rohe speech:
To say that Rohe's speech did not take courage is ignorant. Sure, you may take some comfort that the masses agree with you. But in the end you're up there in front, in front of figures of authority, sticking your finger in their eye. It's hard, and it's scary.
Aside from Coulter's anile dismissal of Rohe's all-to-real fear, she also disses the student's real-life learning experience, somehow insinuating that a summer spent in Cuba makes her a Communist.
Another distinction Coulter fails to make is the difference between disagreeing with someone and hating them. Coulter claims that "Literally every person Rohe talked to the day before the ceremony opposed the war in Iraq and hated McCain with blind fury." The students may or may not have hated McCain 'with blind fury,' but their objections were with his policies, opinions and his track record. But in the dank recesses of Coulter's twisted mind to disagree with somone is to hate them. Thus she assumes that the spitefulness, ignorance and ugly hate she continutally exhibits in her writings and lectures also festers in the souls of those she opposes.
Oh, and more inane name-calling. "Illiterate speech." "Gutless to suck up to the audience." "Toadying." "Brown-Noser." "Spineless Suck ups." Thanks for elevating the discourse. This of course takes no courage on Coulter's part.
More fact checking: Rohe didn't "attack McCain's speech before he delivered it." It had been delivered several times before, like, oh, I dunno, a STUMP SPEECH, which, by the way, was another reason so many students protested. This wasn't some address to the students, it was just another campaign stop for McCain.
The closest Coulter comes to making a fair point is in contesting Rohe's statement that "we have nothing to fear from anyone on this living planet." True, there are people out there who want to kill us. Not, as the racist Coulter would have you believe, because of who we are, but because of what we've done. Perhaps if this nation had done things differently we wouldn't have so many peoples in the world hating us. An ounce of prevention -- in the form of treating other nations and peoples with fairness, respect and consideration -- is far preferable to the pound of dubious "cures" represented by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, NSA phone monitoring, etc. etc. that we find ourselves paying for now to the tune of a trillion dollars. Naive? Possibly. But it's the only solution that will really work in the long run.
In concluding, Coulter says "don't insult my intelligence by telling me they're brave." Once she starts showing some intelligence, then we can debate whether or not we are insulting it. In the meantime it's obvious to this writer that Coulter has forgotten what it's like to be brave. She makes her living by offending people with racist rants, slanderous utterances and outright defamatory lying. The more outrageous she is, the more money and attention she gets. Coulter has long lost that impulse that tells us to be kind and considerate to the feelings and opinions of others. Thus the kind of courage that Rohe displayed is utterly incomprehensible to Coulter.
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Dear Mr. Cohen:
I just read your editorial about Stephen Colbert's appearance at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner. You said Colbert was 'not funny' and that he was 'rude.'
You said "speaking truth to power" is a tired phrase and that it's meaningless, that mocking Bush's shortcomings to his face will result in no consequences at all. Such a claim is either incredibly naive or willfully ignorant. When you're in the same room, even feet from The President Of The United States -- even this one -- you'd have to feel a sense of awe, of wonder, perhaps even fear? What about those tired phrases like "Leader of the Free World," "Commander-In-Chief" and the like. Heck, many people have trouble contradicting their own parents to their face. Here we're talking about the President. Regardless of the content of Colbert's presentation, to claim he neither needed nor displayed courage in this situation is simply untrue.
You said he "wasn't funny." Perhaps it wasn't the material, just the room. I heard one pundit say "reading the script was funnier." Some laughed. Others squirmed with discomfort, either vicariously on behalf of the president or because they felt Colbert's barbs hit them. The audience on the whole was slower and less lively than the audience of The Colbert Report; perhaps this can be ascribed to a larger room, one less familiar with Mr. Colbert, and dare I say a bit stodgier than his core audience? Jon Stewart suffered the same problem when he hosted the Oscars. Perhaps you needed your own copy of the script, or perhaps a laugh track to better appreciate the biting irony in Colbert's caustic faux-adulation of Bush.
Lastly, you said Colbert was 'rude.' I think that a virtue, not a vice, when a comedian is calling the president to task. You also called Colbert 'a bully.' Before you belabor Colbert's rude or bullying behavior, consider the President's. He's a bully who attacked a country that was no true threat to us, who engaged in name-calling ("Axis of Evil") with other countries. There's nothing more bullying than this doctrine of pre-emptive war.
I think it incredibly rude -- to say the least -- for this president to have caused the loss of thousands of American lives in Iraq, the tens or hundreds of thousands of lost Iraqi lives, the billions of dollars spent (much lost to corruption), the utter failure to save American lives in New Orleans, the illegal wiretapping of phone calls in America, the 750 signing statements declaring his intention to not follow Congress' laws when he considers it undesirable to do so, his undermining of scientific research that fails to support his fundamentalist Christian worldview, his rolling back of environmental laws, his evisceration of labor laws and his coddling of big business, especially in the energy sector, where today profits run wild at the expense of every American.
That, sir, is rude and bullying.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Monday, May 01, 2006
Stephen Colbert delivered a flaming bag of doo-doo to the president's doorstep -- as the president stood there with the door open! This has got to be the high point of political satire for the new millenium.
Yet there is very little in the major news outlets about it. Maybe that's because Colbert reserved another, only slightly smaller flaming bag for the media.
I'm sending you here to watch the three sections of the video: