Dear Anonymous Relative of Mine:
Had a discussion about a Rachel Maddow interview with Tim Phillips that I posted. Don’t know this gal but found the interview worthwhile. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#32323918
Okay. I’ll try to address this as briefly as possible. But it won’t be very brief… Sorry.
“Meh, it was an angled interview to begin with.
To say that it was an angled interview, I gather, implies a TV journalist has a editorial position, which seems true. Especially since she goes out of her way to put it in that context at the beginning of the interaction. If, however you’re implying that it wasn’t fair, I’m not certain what rhetorical devices you’re referencing that seem to put her at some advantage. Presumably, it was taped live and there was apparently no editing after the fact. Unlike many similar programs that have a strong editorial flavor, I can’t imagine anyone saying that the Phillips was not given a chance to speak.
The other guy knew that going in and just didn’t care about it.
“The other guy,” Tim Phillips, is individual who for many years has made his living doing political spin. This is not necessarily a negative career path, but it puts them in an entirely different camp when it comes to television interviews. There are boatloads of liberal and conservative mouthpieces out there. Some of them honest and some of them not so honest, and in a land where we value free speech, they have their place. But, it is hard to believe that Phillips is going on there for altruistic purposes. He’s no dummy, as they say. As a spokesperson he can stand toe-to-toe with whomever. So, one might assume that he did “care about it” and was there for a purpose. In short, he is a professional.
The really interesting bit is that for some reason this is news… why is this news? What’s the point behind it?
Whether one agrees with the presuppositions of an argument or not, it strikes me as unreasonable to feel at these charges are not somehow newsworthy. I am fully aware of how often Lindsey Lohan gets drunk, of Britney Spears’ parenting skills, and the Paris Hilton’s abilities as a young bride. These things are not newsworthy. However, allegations that free speech in multiple town hall meetings—called by one’s political representatives—are being railroaded through the orchestration of corporate-sponsored public-relations groups is of great interest to many Americans who see this as an odd twist, and the ever twisting discussion of the freedom of speech.
The Magna Carta indicated that freedom of speech was a pretty big deal in 1215; the French sort of dropped the ball when they celebrated free speech during the French Revolution and then killed lots of people, and of course there was a group of white guys who decided to make it not the second or the third, but the first amendment to the United States Constitution. Noam Chomsky, noted linguist, smart guy, old crank said something along the lines of… freedom of speech means the freedom for others to say what you don’t like. Which really most of these guys alluded to.
If the allegations are wrong and these town hall meetings are all being interrupted, shouted down, and broken up by individuals who have all spontaneously adopted identical practices and methods then clearly Rachel Maddow has no ground to stand on. But for a liberal television editorialist I would be rather surprised if she didn’t:
a.) Feel that this was newsworthy and
b.) Arrive at the conclusion that this isn’t wholly spontaneous.
And you will definitely have your own opinion on this, but I believe will be hard to support the idea that this is not news.
When you start asking these questions the answers all point to the same thing… smoke screen.
Now at this point in your argument, I’m afraid that you lose me. I have heard the turn of phrase used by different groups recently. But it’s an odd expression. Because as a metaphor it seems to state that the discussion is being obfuscated somehow by an unrelated element. At least that is what I take the idiom, a smokescreen, to mean. Whether the conclusion that matter how has drawn is accurate or not, debating the organic nature of the argument seems a reasonable question.
And this may not be a very good analogy. But when unions were trying to form in individual coal plants across the country, strikebreakers were bussed in from different areas as the big guns with a company. The thought was, locals may not be too mean to locals. However, professionals with bats would make short work of noncommittal strikers. Bussing in these strikebreakers, and these were not the only people trying to stop the strike, change the complexion of the interaction dramatically. Whether you believe this is happening or not it’s an important argument.
Reason being, if the representative is trying to have a meeting with his/her own constituents and even five people are there trying to use abrasive tactics to derail a conversation then it changes the climate, the candor, and the culture. When Marshall McLuhan said that the media is the message he had a point.
If certain media can get the public to buy into a mob style accusation technique then they won’t see what’s really going on in the other hand.
Once again, I won’t say your point is indefensible, but it does strike me as a non sequitur. There are media outlets that are notably conservative. There are media outlets that are notably liberal. There are even some media outlets that tend to be down the middle. We all understand that. News outlets don’t have to fabricate items to create information that is appropriate for their demographic. All they need do is hire people who are themselves conservative or liberal or what have you. I don’t know that this is good or bad but it is historically so, and certainly true now.
In fact, if it’s spun just right they will welcome whatever suggested solution by said media as gospel truth without personally analyzing it themselves.
I gather this is the “masses-are-asses” argument that is hard to completely disregard, but is also the logic in having a more representative form of government than truly democratic. And, to be honest, I’m not certain where I come down on this argument. However, if it is true for geese it is true for ganders. Furthermore if your argument is that people are easily led, that does seem to be the argument that Rachel Maddow is advancing as well. In both cases I see it as a discussion of the human condition, rather than a commentary on worthwhile journalism.
The facts back up the president of the company in question in this case.
Without trying to be exhaustive here, I will mention that the facts, in so far as we are discussing factual information and not interpretations of the same, don’t seem to back up either group. Her claim seem to be that having multiple fronts, like Patients United Now, or Patients First, for the mother ship called Americans for Prosperity, which has ties to many corporations is disingenuous at best and hypocritical at worst. His response is “yes we take money from them, and we welcome more. Our goals and mission are not influenced by those who give us cash.” Neither of these people seems to be debating these facts. This is public knowledge because these kind of institutions must report their cash stream and affiliations.
She points out that in their literature they refer to themselves as “patients like us,” which seen this rather misleading since this is not being written by a group of hospital patients who got together because they were a little steamed, rather it’s being written by a heavily funded media juggernaut that is run by some very shrewd individuals.
She goes on to point out that there is a noticeable gap in online resume. Which item, he does not argue. Once again it seems the facts presented are not in question. He worked with Century Strategies and they admittedly targeted “faith based “communities to lobby for energy deregulation. This does not strike me as a small oversight. Further you will note this person does not say that these facts that she presents are untrue. So, once again the facts are not a question. Further since she is offering them up one could assume that they support her claims. Whether one feels that they do or not.
(On a personal note, I feel that lobbyists, while Democratic, are perhaps one of the most negative eventualities of our system. I also feel that if an energy group feels that they will get support from any “community of faith” that while it is legal to lobby their group it is morally bankrupt. Further, as a Christian, regardless of one’s belief in global warming, I find being lobbied by these groups nauseating.)
At this point he calls this “gotcha politics,” which is a catchphrase that has some legs, but in an admittedly adversarial interview, to call foul that she is asking tough questions, without debunking her facts seems a bit timid. It is not politics, it is journalism. Asking fellow media dude hard questions seems like neither, gotcha nor politics. She asks if he feels that she is being unfair. Unlike many in the trade she asks that and he concurs that she is not when pressed.
Even science says if anything is a reality today it’s global cooling rather then warming… which ironically would be combated by becoming “less green.” Not that I’m for a push for more green house gasses, but yet the media would die before admitting fault.”
Well, OK. I’m not tracking very well here. But if you’re saying that the “media” are some kind of ideological bastion I don’t share your opinion.
Here is my logic:
- Media in America is corporate.
- Corporations exist to make profit.
- To make profit media outlets require customers.
- Therefore media is driven by demographic targets.
- Conversely an unknown hidden agenda of unity to philosophy seems unlikely
These is no universal agreement as to who these guys (gals) were. Who is in and who is out. Further they were not all that similar one to the other in motivation to participate in revolution, in religion or in their opinions on the role of government. Every time I hear the term “founding fathers,” I think I am hearing from someone who has not read what these folks (whoever they include)
If you read early American history… and by this I I’ll reference Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton, the biography of Benjamin Franklin, (there are several that are worthwhile), his Excellency: George Washington by Eliis, Thomas Jefferson ( I don’t remember the author), John Adams by McCullough, and you’ll see without exception how consistently vindictive, outspoken, and libelous the “founding fathers” were. At intervals Washington was above the fray but it’s truly remarkable how these individuals and the newly founded Free Press attacked each other. And they did so using pseudonyms more often than not.(This is not considered out of bounds at that time. They disagreed and seemed to dislike each other more than not. Just like everyone else.