Archive for the 'Entertainment/Media' Category

This is the best headline ever.

Really, you have to see it for yourself.  What a wonderful way to highlight how absurd some of the GOP’s core economic mores are.

Petition – Shared Sacrifice: U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (Vermont)

Sen. Sanders’ speech over deficit reduction just ended.  It’ll be up in the C-Span archives in no time.  In the meanwhile, I strongly encourage everyone to sign his petition if they have not done so already.

Petition – Shared Sacrifice: U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (Vermont).

Et tu, Politifacti?

Politifact has taken a beating over its recent assessment of the claims Jon Stewart made on Sunday.  Not all of these are simple, knee-jerk reactions by a disgruntled Left.  Instead, they point to very troubling problems in Politifact’s methodology, namely its complete disregard for a study performed by the University of Maryland and its conflation of the terms “ill-informed” and “misinformed”.

I’d like to point out that the organization’s researchers and writers also applied a very weird standard when assessing the truth value of Stewart’s statement:  they rated his entire claim “false”, because part of it might be incorrect.

The way Stewart phrased the comment, it’s not enough to show a sliver of evidence that Fox News’ audience is ill-informed. The evidence needs to support the view that the data shows they are “consistently” misinformed — a term he used not once but three times. It’s simply not true that “every poll” shows that result. So we rate his claim False.

Nobody thinks like this outside of the barren tundra of formal logic, where entire statements are discounted if one of the clauses is incorrect.  It’s irresponsible, and a better rating would be “half true”.  Viewers who see Politifact’s rating trumpeted on the news and don’t have time to read the article walk away with the impression that Stewart’s broader point was invalid, or worse, that he lied.

In the end though, it appears that Stewart has had the last laugh.

Stewart vs. Fox News

The most exciting chapter unfolded this weekend in the perennial battle between a corporate media giant and… a late night comedian.

Jon Stewart did an interview with Chris Wallace this Sunday on Fox News.  Despite some heat and Stewart’s not-so-Freudian slip in the beginning (“you’re insane”), the tone of the event overall was remarkably cordial, especially in light of Stewart’s open hostility to the network in the past. Chris Wallace also deserves praise for his part in the conversation; one wonders why someone as apparently respectable as him would even want to be seen on the same channel as demagogues like Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck.

Towards the end, however, Stewart makes a big mistake in claiming that conservatives are unfairly accused of racism, bigotry, etc.

People on the right are called racists and they’re called things with an ease that I am uncomfortable with — and homophobic and all those other things. And I think that that is absolutely something that they have a real right to be angry about and to feel that they have been vilified for those things. And I’ve been guilty of doing some of those things myself.

Stewart here misses the bigger point.  While it’s true that conservatives from both of the major parties have been labeled those things, the real issue is whether or not such accusations are accurate.  There’s nothing unfair or prejudiced about pointing out that the leading conservative publications like the National Review were opposed to Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s.  Or that Ronald Reagan played on the racism of southern Democrats during the 1970s in his drive to vilify the country’s social net.  Don’t forget this little gem, which appeared only a few weeks ago.

Naturally, this doesn’t mean that all, or even most conservatives are bigoted.  But there’s an undeniably strong link  between the conservative movement’s amazing success during the past 40 years and political campaigns stroking the bigotry of its voting block.

Richard Thompson performs “Oops, I did it again”.

Richard Thompson, the undisputed master of folk rock, shows how even the most annoying songs can become works of art in the right hands: