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Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Does The Press Wear A Funny Hat?

The recent efforts by "truth-seeking" journalists to leave no rock unturned in hopes of finding any thread that remotely connects Pope Benedict XVI to "cover-ups" of sexual abuse by Church authorities has demonstrated once again that the only thing that matches the levels of their invective against the Catholic Church is their ignorance of the Church and its workings. They frame the unfolding "scandal" with the same familiar narrative structure that they have so often employed with politicians. The problem with this approach--one of many--is the Pope is not a politician and serving as an effective Pope is not a popularity contest best measured by approval ratings. They've also been quick to pounce on anything that reinforces the story they want to tell and reluctant to report facts that contradict the conclusions they're all too eager to reach.

In today's WSJ, William McGurn has a piece on this shoddy journalism called The Pope and the New York Times:

A few years later, when the CDF assumed authority over all abuse cases, Cardinal Ratzinger implemented changes that allowed for direct administrative action instead of trials that often took years. Roughly 60% of priests accused of sexual abuse were handled this way. The man who is now pope reopened cases that had been closed; did more than anyone to process cases and hold abusers accountable; and became the first pope to meet with victims. Isn't the more reasonable interpretation of all these events that Cardinal Ratzinger's experience with cases like Murphy's helped lead him to promote reforms that gave the church more effective tools for handling priestly abuse?

That's not to say that the press should be shy, even about Pope Benedict XVI's decisions as archbishop and cardinal. The Murphy case raises hard questions: why it took the archbishops of Milwaukee nearly two decades to suspend Murphy from his ministry; why innocent people whose lives had been shattered by men they are supposed to view as icons of Christ found so little justice; how bishops should deal with an accused clergyman when criminal investigations are inconclusive; how to balance the demands of justice with the Catholic imperative that sins can be forgiven. Oh, yes, maybe some context, and a bit of journalistic skepticism about the narrative of a plaintiffs attorney making millions off these cases.

That's still a story worth pursuing.

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Monday, March 29, 2010
Like, Whatever

The mainstream media and most liberals tend to depict right wing talk radio hosts as one monolithic block of hating-spewing, democracy-endangering, violence-encouraging blowhards. Actual listeners of conservative talk radio recognize that there are many variations within the realm when it comes to content, talent, and tone.

The results of a recent Right Wing News poll on how right-of-center bloggers regard prominent figures on the right, there is also a variety of opinion about those on the right feel about said talk radio hosts.

For instance, two of the more popular hosts--on both radio and television--were disliked by more than a quarter of the respondents:

How do you feel about Glenn Beck?
Strongly like: 16% (13 votes)
Like: 58% (47 votes)
Dislike: 16% (13 votes)
Strongly dislike: 9% (8 votes)

How do you feel about Sean Hannity?
Strongly like: 19% (16 votes)
Like: 50% (41 votes)
Dislike: 24% (20 votes)
Strongly dislike: 4% (4 votes)

And Beck's and Hannity's approval was pretty lukewarm with less than 20% saying they strongly liked either.

Compare that to a guy who I really haven't had a chance to listen to much at all:

How do you feel about Mark Levin?
Strongly like: 40% (32 votes)
Like: 46% (37 votes)
Dislike: 13% (11 votes)
Strongly dislike: 0% (0 votes)

Levin is liked by 86% with 40% strongly liking him. I would venture to guess this has more to do with his most recent book than his radio show.

Not surprisingly, Rush stands out:

How do you feel about Rush Limbaugh?
Strongly like: 55% (45 votes)
Like: 35% (29 votes)
Dislike: 7% (6 votes)
Strongly dislike: 1% (1 vote)

Meanwhile, another host that Rush is often lumped in with takes his lumps:

How do you feel about Bill O'Reilly?
Strongly like: 9% (8 votes)
Like: 29% (24 votes)
Dislike: 50% (41 votes)
Strongly dislike: 9% (8 votes)

The fact that less than 40% of right-center-bloggers like Bill O'Reilly would probably surprise those on the left and those in the media (and the broad overlap between). For those of us on the right who pay attention, it's not unexpected.

Nihilist adds: I couldn't agree more with the Elder's point here. I've been mulling a post about how I just don't understand the appeal of Glenn Beck. It's not that I don't like him, I just don't find him interesting or entertaing. As for Sean Hannity, I quote a fairly conservative poster from NDNation's political message board whose three word critique of Hannity exactly summarizes my feelings. He calls him, "repetetive and grating."


Monday, February 08, 2010
Winter Wonderland

People, please stop calling every major snowstorm to hit the east coast a blizzard. Words mean things and blizzard means a snowstorm with wind speeds at or above 35 mph. Just because a 30" of snow falls does not mean there has been a blizzard. It simply means that a lot of snow fell on Washington DC.

And, frankly, just because a lot of snow has fallen in DC doesn't mean the rest of the world cares one little bit. It's winter, you with it for crying out loud and spare the rest of the country from your silly knees bent running about behavior. We have our own winter weather to deal with. Grab a shovel, dig yourselves out and shut the hell up.


Saturday, February 06, 2010
No Sugar Tonight In My Tea

The left's seething hatred of the new conservative movement (regretfully, in my opinion, labelled as the tea party movement) continues to permeate the mainstream media. The latest example comes from yesterday's Washington Post (via today's St. Paul Pioneer Press). In describing events at the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville yesterday, Post reporter Philip Rucker writes:
Former Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., offered a fiery defense on Friday of Judeo-Christian faith and traditional American values, but there was no prayer or Pledge of Allegiance to open the convention. Nor was there an American flag in the convention hall.
Rucker is clearly attempting to undermine Tancredo's comments with completely unwarranted implications of hypocrisy. Oh sure...they talk (with FIRE) about Judeo-Christian and American values but where are the prayers and where are the flags and where are all of the other things that we would normally mock the movement about displaying had they actually been present?

The frustrating thing is that I'm absolutely certain Rucker would have written a similar condescending paragraph had prayers and flags been in abundance at the convention. I'm sure it would have read something like this:
In a convention hall still echoing with the rote prayers of the faithful and the required pledge of the patriotic, Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., offered a fiery defense on Friday of Judeo-Christian faith and traditional American values. Convention goers dutifully waved their American flags as Tancredo delivered his speech in front of an garishly enormous Stars and Stripes.
Okay, my projection of a non-existent Philip Rucker paragraph may be a bit over the top but the point is that these guys aren't even attempting to cover the conservative movement fairly. The bias is there and it is going to make it into the story despite the movement's growing popularity.

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Thursday, January 07, 2010
Bo Knows Hardball

Everybody else has an online journal, why not Bo, the conservative dog in the White House?

Right now, I'm sitting in the Oval Office with Barry, Axelrod and Chief of Staff and resident kneecapper, Rahm Emanuel, while the three chumps cool their heels in the waiting room. Barry's staring out the window, going JFK on us, trying to figure out which precise upward angle of the chin registers that weary-but-resolute toughness that the press corps laps up. If he sticks that jaw up any higher he's going to drown in a drizzle if you ask me, but the pose does seem to bring a flush to the freshly sculpted cheeks of Andrea Mitchell.

Have I mentioned that I'm a conservative? Yeah, I eat the kibble that the cook dumps in my bowl, but I can take care of myself. I killed a couple of squirrels a few weeks ago, just to prove that I don't need handouts. I still eat the kibble though. This White House is Lib-Central; you don't eat the kibble, they start thinking you're uppity and snip-snip the soft and tender places. No thanks. It's not so bad living here, but if I didn't have a sense of humor, I'd throw myself under the wheels of the vice-presidential limo when Joe Biden's doing donuts in the parking lot.

The three rubes? David Frum, David Brooks and Peggy Noonan, three GOP-approved media yappers. Pathetic. I can't even tell the two Davids apart. Couple of constipated white guys who look like they got beat up a lot in junior high and never forgot it. One of them wrote some sappy article about how proud he was to have a president like Barry because he had a crisp crease in his trousers, but don't ask me which one it was. Real genius. Yeah, next time let's elect Mr. Blackwell president. He's still alive, isn't he? Peggy...she smells good, like mahogany and oranges, but she's confusing. One minute she's in a fugue state about Barry's cool elegance, like he's Fred Astaire with the nuclear football, the next she's all weepy about teenagers who don't know who Ronald Reagan was, and how just yesterday she was talking to an old friend about the delicious chocolate macaroons they served at this little shop on Third Avenue back when Republicans didn't raise their voices, or nominate trailer trash for high office. You get the idea. Just another loony old broad with a column. Maureen Dowd without the desperation.

Bo knows his media yappers well.

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