Fairness Doctrine

June 28, 2008

Reinstitution of the “Fairness Doctrine” has been in the news lately, with Speaker Pelosi voicing support for it. Senator Obama’s campaign is voicing some kind of opinion on it, as noted in this article.

What that opinion is isn’t at all clear to me.

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A Bitter Pill in the Senate

June 5, 2008

Many people may be surprised to know that the Senate still resorts to these tactics:

GOP halts Senate over Bush nominee

It may not meet the traditional definition of a filibuster, but it’s the thought that counts.


The Entitled Generation

June 4, 2008

Just came across this entry regarding Hillary’s public persona.

What I found most interesting was the use of the phrase “the most entitled of all generations.” I should tackle this later when I have the time, but I will say that this younger generation (Carter – Reagan births), of which I am a member, will likely have a great deal of political conflict with its parents.

They grew up during a time of incredible economic prosperity, relative peace (despite the cold war), and increasingly available education. They have furthermore presided over an incredibly peaceful, productive, low-inflation era of good feelings. For an entire decade we were at a loss for a major enemy or international issue.

Yet somehow we’re still sitting here addicted to oil, supposedly destroying our upper atmosphere, arguing over health care, waiting for a social security time bomb, with no bases or casinos on the moon.

Thanks, baby-boomers.


Americans and Their News Media

June 4, 2008

Here’s a post from a blogger observing the media’s treatment of Barack Obama.

I try to view this impartially and simply assess the situation. It appears to me that one can make a case that NBC does in fact have a bias toward Obama. On the whole, the numbers do show that he is getting the most face time. Whether this is a convincing case is a decision left to the listener. I caught a podcast of Meet the Press today, which included this week’s interview with Harold Ickes, adviser to the Clinton campaign. Tim Russert was certainly aggressive — as he often is — but I do believe the conversation was slightly more unpleasant than usual. I don’t blame Russert; this campaign is becoming more bitter because of its prolonged nature and the evaporating rationale for its continuation. Someone has to ask these questions.

The end result, regardless of any emperical evidence, is that both of the Democratic Party’s factions are beginning to dig in their heels and come to final conclusions. It appears clear that the Clinton campaign will claim that yes, Obama won the delegates, but we won the popular vote (or some mathematical derivative thereof). Furthermore, the belief that the media exercised undue influence will persist.

There is evidence that people, whoever they may be, are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the news media. Here is the excpert from the most recent Pew Research survey:

Most Americans (56%) have an unfavorable opinion of the news media, while just 40% express a favorable view. Positive opinions of the news media have declined since March 2007; at that time, 49% expressed an unfavorable view while 45% had a favorable opinion.

Women hold more favorable views of the press than do men, and Democrats hold more favorable views than either Republicans or independents. Conservatives are much more negative in their assessments of the press than are moderates or liberals.

I believe it safe to presume that this due in large part to election coverage this season. The only contingent to have a net favorable view of the media is “Democrats,” by 4%. The seemingly related “Liberal” category was close, but still holds a negative view of the media.


The Economist Blogs

June 4, 2008

The Economist has a rather well-developed and flourishing set of blogs up on their website. In fact, the Economist has a great website all around and you can read a wide variety of topics without taking physical possession of their magazine. In typical fashion, nearly all blog posts seem to be made by “The Economist,” the same prolific genius who authors all of their works.

The section on “Democracy in America” carries some keen observations on my favorite form of government in my favorite country/continent. This one leaves one thinking of lolcats, however:

Nice campaign. Be a shame if something wuz to happen to it.

One of the things I notice about the Economist is that they shift into editorial mode with nearly no warning. Their readership tends to expect this, I believe. (I also believe that their readership is fairly consistent and loyal, which may make this observation slightly less remarkable). These readers tend to expect a healthy dose of Anglo-Saxon ultraliberalism, delivered ever so gently…yet never veiled.