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An Understandable Mistake

Posted by Rick · June 22nd, 2004 · 4 Comments

This week a film that has received a lot of hype will be hitting the theaters. I haven’t been to a theater in possibly close to two years (I’m fearful that I’ll end up in jail for teaching someone that talking or playing basketball during the movie is rude), but I’ll be there to see whether the film lives up to the hype.

The film, of course, is Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore. And this article is not about that movie.

Instead, I want to talk about something much more important, something which has, of late, become something of a favorite topic of mine. And if I can keep it interesting enough for you to read it, I think you’ll eventually start to see why this topic is perhaps one of the most important topics we, the People, should be concerned about today.

“Any attempts to libel me will be met by force,” he said, not an ounce of humor in his familiar voice. “The most important thing we have is truth on our side. If they persist in telling lies, knowingly telling a lie with malice, then I’ll take them to court.” — Shenon, “Will Michael Moore’s Facts Check Out?” (June 20, 2004) The New York Times: Movies, p. 3.

We, the People — of, by and for whom our government exists — have a difficult job these days. In fact, it’s damn near impossible. Our current apathy regarding our government, our willingness to think of “it” (or, perhaps sometimes “them”) as being responsible for how our country operates while we go about living our daily lives to the best of our abilities blithely ignorant of how “it” (or “they”) do “whatever it is they do” is an understandable mistake.

This article primarily talks about why it’s understandable and makes some comments about what we can do to stop making the mistake nonetheless.

The Mistake

First, though, it will be necessary to understand why it’s a mistake.

I frequently use a phrase from Abraham Lincoln’s famous “Gettysburg Address.” Even as a child, that speech struck me as being just about the shortest way to explain what America stood for; not for it’s shortness alone, it’s one of the few historical speeches I ever memorized. Now that I’m on the way to becoming an old man (on the way, mind you, with still a ways to go!), I can no longer recite the entire speech from memory, but it’s fair to say that this speech, above all others, drives my thinking about the United States of America to this day.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under G-d, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. — Lincoln, “Address Delivered at the Dedication of the Cemetary at Gettysburg,” (November 19, 1863) English version found at the Library of Congress online.

This speech, giving by President Abraham Lincoln before the end of the Civil War, represents to me one of the most succinct statements of what it means to be a citizen of the United States of America. In our not-really-so-long history — as I get older, it occurs to me that just over four half-centuries is not really that long ago — the success of the United States has always depended upon “the people.” Some of us have died for that success; until recently, most of us worked for it. But if this country is to remain the great and free country that it has been for just over four half-centuries, it is for all of us yet living to dedicate ourselves to ensuring that government of the people, by the people, for the people continues to exist.

Lincoln did not say “it is for all of us in government” or “it is for all of us politicians” to be dedicated to that task. He understood that such an approach is impossible. What has made the United States different from other countries is that we, the people, are not merely governed; through our democratically-structured Republic, we govern. What has made the United States such a powerful nation is that the entire people, collectively, have been intimately involved as citizens in the functioning of this grand experiment.

The American institutions are democratic, not only in their principle but in all their consequences; and the people elects its representatives directly…. The people is therefore the real directing power; and although the form of government is representative, it is evident that the opinions, the prejudices, the interests, and even the passions of the community are hindered by no durable obstacles from exercising a perpetual influence on society. In the United States the majority governs in the name of the people, as is the case in all the countries in which the people is supreme. The majority is principally composed of peaceful citizens who, either by inclination or interest, are sincerely desirous of the welfare of their country. — de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (Bantam 2004) pp. 198-199. [Editor’s Note: Democracy in America was first published in 1835; numerous translated editions of the text exist today.]

The problem — noted even by de Tocqueville in 1835 — is that

[The people] are surrounded by the incessant agitation of parties, which attempt to gain their co-ooperation and to avail themselves of their support. Id., at p. 199.

And the mistake we’ve made is that the “incessant agitation” of these parties has become blatantly misleading — to the point of lying — and we do not hold them accountable. Indeed, we do not even pay attention!

Reporter Leslie Stahl tells a story in her memoir, Reporting Live, of an experience she had in 1984 when she broadcast a piece for the CBS Evening News about the gap between rhetoric and reality under the Reagan administration. She juxtaposed images of staged photo opportunities in which Reagan picnicked with ordinary folks or surrounded himself with black children, farmers and happy flag-waving supporters. These images, she pointed out, often conflicted with the nature of Reagan’s actual policies. “Mr. Reagan tries to counter the memory of an unpopular issue with a carefully chosen backdrop that actually contradicts the president’s policy,” she said in her Evening News piece. “Look at the handicapped Olympics, or the opening ceremony of an old-age home. No hint that he tried to cut the budgets for the disabled or for federally subsidized housing for the elderly.”

Stahl’s piece was so hard-hitting in its criticism of Reagan, she recalled, that she “worried that my sources at the White House would be angry enough to freeze me out.” Much to her shock, however, she received a phone call immediately after the broadcast from White House aide Richard Darman. He was calling from the office of Treasury Secretary Jim Baker, who had just watched the piece along with White House press secretary Mike Deaver and Baker’s assistant, Margaret Tutwiler. Rather than complaining, they were calling to thank her. “Way to go, kiddo,” Darman said. “What a great story! We loved it.”

“Excuse me?” Stahl replied, thinking his must be joking.
“No, no, we really loved it,” Darman insisted. “Five minutes of free media. We owe you big-time.”
“Why are you so happy?” Stahl said. “Didn’t you hear what I said?”
“Nobody heard what you said,” Darman replied.
“Come again?”
“You guys in Televisionland haven’t figured it out, have you? When the pictures are powerful and emotional, they override if not completely drown out the sound. Leslie, I mean it, nobody heard you.”

Stahl was so taken aback that she played a videotape of her segment before a live audience of a hundred people and asked them what they had just seen. Sure enough, Darman was right. “Most of the audience thought it was either an ad for the Reagan campaign or a very positive news story,” Stahl recalls. “Only a handful heard what I said. The pictures were so evocative — we’re talking about pictures with Reagan in the shining center — that all the viewers were absorbed…. It’s all about impressions, and the White House understood that.” — Rampton & Stauber, Banana Republicans: How the Right Wing is Turning America into a One-Party State (2004) pp. 149-150.

The mistake, then, is that the people, whom de Tocqueville called “the real directing power,” have abdicated the position as the true rulers of the United States of America. While the parties incessantly agitate about us, feeding us carefully scripted (more on this below) memes to artfully prod us this way and push us that, we, for our part, have stopped listening; we’ve allowed ourselves to be entertained and manipulated by pretty pictures, like so many primates intrigued by brightly-colored, but valueless, beads.

The Understanding

Before you start to think that I wrote this article because I enjoy bashing and making fun of my fellow citizens, let me make something clear: That is not my intention. If that were my goal, I would not bother to write, or at least I would not bother to write publicly; I’d stick such thoughts in a private journal, perhaps to be found after my death as a means of taunting you from the grave. The truth, however, is that I need you, I value you, and I think it’s perfectly understandable that you’ve come to have a laissez-faire attitude towards our government. As a matter of fact, it’s my feeling that those currently in control of our government are quite pleased that the majority of Americans don’t pay attention, don’t care and, most importantly of all, don’t vote. It means less people politicians need to trick into voting against their own interests.

But why have we done this? Why do so few of us observe our privilege to perform our duty as citizens of the closest thing to a democracy in the world today? Why, for example, do so few of us vote?

Anthony Downs, in the 1950s, noted a tendency of Americans not to vote, suggesting that a personal “cost-benefit” analysis was the reason. The increasing prevalence of the things that Downs noted made voting seem less beneficial and more costly are the very things that I say make our mistake — our abdication of our role as citizens in a government of us, by us and for us — understandable.

Downs began with the assumption that the political system is driven by individuals acting to pursue their own interests. He used a cost/benefit approach to explain why it may not always be rational to vote. He suggested that people might not vote because the costs of voting may outweigh the benefits involved. By costs, Downs primarily referred to the time involved in the voting process. It takes time to register to vote, so become informed and go to the polls on election day. The costs of becoming informed are the most significant because candidates are often elusive an issues can be highly complex. — Satterthwaite, “Is it rational to vote?” Questions & Answers Archive: ThisNation, emphasis added.

These days, candidates are more than elusive: they have entire cadres of people whose job it is to confuse you by pumping out tons of information, the majority of which is actually false. No story is too small for their attention. A line in Citizen Kane says, “If the headline is big enough, it makes the news big enough!” That certainly proves true when it comes to the news that grips the hearts and minds of Republican pundits. In one example, early in the Clinton presidency, Matt Drudge, Republican Congressman Dan Burton, Pat Buchanan and others continually hammered on a story stating that President Clinton had caused Los Angeles International Airport to be shut down for over an hour so he could get a haircut from “a Hollywood star.” As Burton put it, Clinton

spent thousands of your tax dollars waiting to get a haircut for 200 bucks from Hillary’s hairdresser. He ought to be more concerned about trimming the deficit than his own hair. — Rampton & Stauber, supra, at p. 49.

This story is false on at least two fronts. Clinton, of course, was concerned about trimming the deficit. Remembering that he worked for all the people and not just for the rich, he delivered record budget surplus after record budget surplus, which could eventually have lead to tax cuts for all Americans. Instead, some of it was given to the richest Americans after Bush took office, and the rest was used (and then some) to start an illegal war which has been roundly condemned by the world. Yet that isn’t what matters to Republicans. As Rampton and Stauber, after needing several pages to explain all the news stories the Republicans floated about this haircut, put it,

All this might seem like a lot of attention to pay to a politician’s haircut — especially since most of the commonly believed “facts” about Clinton’s haircut are actually false. Clinton did indeed get a haircut from Cristophe aboard Air Force One, but it didn’t “tie up Los Angeles Airport in knots.” According to Federal Aviation Administration records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, Clinton’s haircut caused no significant delays of regularly scheduled passenger flights — no circling planes, no traffic james on the runways. The only flight that suffered any inconvenience at all was a single unscheduled air taxi flight that got delayed for a mere two minutes — a holdup that might seem unusual in Switzerland but is fairly ordinary in the United States. To this day, no one other than the Clintons knows what price Christophe actually charged for his services aboard Air Force One. All we know for sure is that it didn’t cost taxpayers a dime, since Clinton paid for it out of his own pocket. — Rampton & Stauber, supra, at p. 50.

Today, Republicans want to remind you of this incident. Matt Drudge recently dredged up this false story again by noting that Senator Kerry had his hair done by Christophe. The implication of this story, by the way, is supposed to be that Kerry cannot possibly care about “poor people” because he is so rich and vain that he doesn’t get his hair cut at Supercuts. But that’s like saying that Bill Gates — who apparently does go to Supercuts — doesn’t really care about the needy, particularly the Third World needy, because he is rich and lives in America. After some writers noted that he doubled the price in an effort to make Kerry look like some spoiled rich guy, Drudge had to add an update — but didn’t change his original story headline nor his original commentary — to point out that the haircut was $75. I was appalled; my stylist charges me $35 and he’s not even a famous Hollywood star!

Whether we’re talking about Weapons of Mass Destruction that don’t exist, cooking numbers (and calling it “a big mistake” when caught), using inchoate or nebulous threats about terrorism as a distraction from real issues, or working to silence opposition in the name of “educating the American people,” the Republican party, in particular, those behind the Bush Administration, have worked hard to keep you from recognizing what’s really going on.

It’s not hard to understand why the majority of the electorate consistently reacts — and votes — based on emotion and a lack of real and useful information about the candidates, rather than by choice of barber.

The Reason

What would happen if Americans were given information of value? What would happen if, instead of charging that John Kerry was a “Botox-addicted French poodle,” Republicans were forced to debate on the issues? What if, instead of discussing who trimmed whose hair, we talked about who trimmed the budget, leading to record-breaking surpluses instead of record-breaking deficits? What if, instead of trumpeting the sexual piccadilloes of Democrats (which, incidentally, can also be found among the ranks of the Republicans), they talked about the way you were getting screwed by the concerted effort to eliminate the governmental controls that keep Big Business from taking even more advantage of the public than they already do? What if, instead of distracting you from the bankrupting of our government, there was a discussion about the attempt to — as Grover Norquist, a Republican strategist, put it — “to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub”? What if, instead of silencing debate, Republicans did what Democrats always do and encouraged it?

This would create a problem for Republicans.

Over a period of decades…polls have regularly shown that a majority of the American people support the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which left the choice on whether to have an abortion up to a woman and her doctor. On the environment, more than 70 percent of the American people believe that the burning of coal, oil and other fuels is responsible for global warming, and roughly the same majority supports the Kyoto Protocol and other international agreements to limit greenhouse gas emissions. In a 2002 Gallup poll, more than half of respondents said they were concerned about water, soil and air pollution, damage to the earth’s ozone layer and the loss of tropical rain forests. Majorities of 70 to 80 percent support higher emissions and pollutions standards for industry, spending more government money on developing solar and wind power and stronger enforcement of environmental regulations. Although terrorism and the war in Iraq have recently become significant public concerns, by far the most enduring concerns expressed in opinion polls are the economy and jobs, followed usually by health care, education and national defense. On the issue of health in particular, Democrats enjoy a clear advantage over Republicans. Surveys consistently show that most Americans want an expanded government, in the form of a tax-financed universal health-care program — an idea that Republicans consistently oppose and that liberal Democrats have supported. If politics were simply a matter of debate over policies, therefore, Democrats would appear well-positioned to defeat their Republican rivals. — Rampton & Stauber, supra, at p. 8-9. [This section is extensively footnoted; I have deleted the footnotes for reasons of space. Those with the interest or desire to check these facts will find this book available at most local bookstores.]

So why doesn’t the Democratic Party do more to talk about issues? In Chapter Twelve, “Information Wars,” of The Republican Noise Machine: Right-Wing Media and How It Corrupts Democracy, David Brock, an ex-conservative who was actively involved in attacking “liberals” for a big part of his career (indeed, this is how he became the well-known journalist he is today) explains how, as Sean Hannity put it, “We’ve basically taken over!” In the opening pages of his book, Brock says,

People ask me, a former insider, how the Republican Right has won political and ideological power with such seeming ease and why Democrats, despite winning the most votes in the last three presidential elections, seem to be caught in a downward spiral, still able to win at the ballot box but steadily losing the battle for hearts and minds.

While it is not the only answer, my answer is: It’s the media, stupid.” — Brock, The Republican Noise Machine: Right-Wing Media and How It Corrupts Democracy (2004) at p. 2.

Rampton & Stauber note that,

One-party dominance has also muted political debates that would have otherwise greeted many of the actions of President George W. Bush. The presidential administrations of Ronald Reagan, the first George Bush and Bill Clinton all had to contend with opposition from at least one other branch of government, and the resulting hearings in the House of Representatives or the Senate fueled controversy and media coverage. With the same party controlling all branches of government, there has been minimal public debate over the policies of the current Bush administration, even as it has launched two wars, reversed long-standing policies on worker safety and the environment and cut taxes for the rich while 2.7 million private-sector jobs have been lost and the number of unemployed Americans has increased by more than 45 percent under its watch. — Rampton & Stauber, supra, at p. 11-12.

It is possible to learn what’s really happening; it’s just much harder than it used to be. Most Americans will not have the patience or time to file Freedom of Information Act requests with the government to get the real information, as opposed to what they hear on Fox “News,” or CNN — let alone Rush Limbaugh’s program. One way you’re still able to get such information is via publishers that are not solely controlled by Repubicans such as Rupert Murdoch. Republicans haven’t worried as much about this venue (but it won’t surprise me if/when they start to!) because most Americans, frankly, don’t read books.

The popular press, ever since the abolition of the Fairness Doctrine (described in detail in Chapter Twelve of Brock’s book) which the right-wing worked hard to achieve, has worked equally hard to convince Americans that the media is “liberal” when quite the opposite is true. Matt Labash, who has worked for such well-known right-wing magazines as The Weekly Standard, Washingtonian Magazine and American Spectator said some interesting things in an interview with JournalismJobs.com:

JournalismJobs.com: Why have conservative media outlets like The Weekly Standard and Fox News Channel become more popular in the past few years?

Matt Labash: Because they feed the rage. We bring the pain to the liberal media. I say that mockingly, but it’s true somewhat. We come with a strong point of view and people like point of view journalism. While all these hand-wringing Freedom Forum types talk about objectivity, the conservative media likes to rap the liberal media on the knuckles for not being objective. We’ve created this cottage industry in which it pays to be un-objective. It pays to be subjective as much as possible. It’s a great way to have your cake and eat it too. Criticize other people for not being objective. Be as subjective as you want. It’s a great little racket. I’m glad we found it actually.

                                                                                                            * * *

JournalismJobs.com: What type of journalist would you describe yourself as?

Matt Labash: A magical one? {mock-serious}. I work in the right-wing world, but we have a good understanding at the magazine that everyone gets to follow their interests and eccentricities. Our editors encourage that. It makes it a good place to work. They give us a lot of writerly freedom. I’m less interested in scoring ideological points than in finding good stories. Good stories shouldn?t have to conform to some predetermined formula. A lot of times they don’t.

The best stories are the ones that take a left turn somewhere and surprise you anyway. I basically come off of a piece and if it’s a piece I’m proud of, there’s about 30 minutes of satisfaction and then I’m like, “Geez. I’m never going to find another good piece again.” I’m just swinging from vine to vine looking for good pieces. If they conform to our ideological template, that’s great. If they don’t, I’m much more interested in keeping my readers amused or interested. — JournalismJobs.com, “Interview with Matt Labash, the Weekly Standard,” (May 2003).

In that same interview, he admitted that “news” these days is more about “performance art.” (“Tucker Carlson used to work at The Weekly Standard and now he’s on CNN. He’s a natural — one of the best. He can go on the air and know nothing about a subject and pull off a beautiful piece of performance art. I’m not convinced I can do that. It’s a skill.”)

The Solution

In reality, there is no one solution to this problem. To fix things, we’d have to get back to a situation that, frankly, the Republicans will never allow. The Fairness Doctrine, which ensured that Americans would have equal access to the views of other political parties is probably irretrievable. Once people have been brainwashed — many of the comments posted to this blog prove this point — you can hand them the truth on a silver platter and they’ll still refuse to believe it. You can retrieve the facts from our own governmental archives via the Freedom of Information Act and people will still insist that the lie is the truth.

There is at least one thing, however, that has yet to be tried. And Republicans themselves should be pleased about this one, since they are fond of quoting the Founding Fathers. Thomas Jefferson, you see, faced a problem similar to (but not on the scope of) that faced by liberals today and in his Second Inaugural Address, he had a suggestion.

During this course of administration, and in order to disturb it, the artillery of the press has been levelled against us, charged with whatsoever its licentiousness could devise or dare. These abuses of an institution so important to freedom and science, are deeply to be regretted, inasmuch as they tend to lessen its usefulness, and to sap its safety; they might, indeed, have been corrected by the wholesome punishments reserved and provided by the laws of the several States against falsehood and defamation; but public duties more urgent press on the time of public servants, and the offenders have therefore been left to find their punishment in the public indignation.

Nor was it uninteresting to the world, that an experiment should be fairly and fully made, whether freedom of discussion, unaided by power, is not sufficient for the propagation and protection of truth — whether a government, conducting itself in the true spirit of its constitution, with zeal and purity, and doing no act which it would be unwilling the whole world should witness, can be written down by falsehood and defamation. The experiment has been tried; you have witnessed the scene; our fellow citizens have looked on, cool and collected; they saw the latent source from which these outrages proceeded; they gathered around their public functionaries, and when the constitution called them to the decision by suffrage, they pronounced their verdict, honorable to those who had served them, and consolatory to the friend of man, who believes he may be intrusted with his own affairs.

No inference is here intended, that the laws, provided by the State against false and defamatory publications, should not be enforced; he who has time, renders a service to public morals and public tranquillity, in reforming these abuses by the salutary coercions of the law; but the experiment is noted, to prove that, since truth and reason have maintained their ground against false opinions in league with false facts, the press, confined to truth, needs no other legal restraint; the public judgment will correct false reasonings and opinions, on a full hearing of all parties; and no other definite line can be drawn between the inestimable liberty of the press and its demoralizing licentiousness. If there be still improprieties which this rule would not restrain, its supplement must be sought in the censorship of public opinion. — Jefferson, “Second Inaugural Address” (March 4, 1805).

For while public figures, such as Michael Moore (who under First Amendment case law would be considered at least a “limited-purpose public figure”), rightly have great difficulty winning libel suits against those who attack them, they can still do so if they can show that defamatory falsehoods were made with “actual malice,” which means “knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard for whether it was false or not.” (New York Times v. Sullivan (1964) 376 U.S. 254, 280 [84 S.Ct. 710, 726; 11 L.Ed.2d 686].) As the Moore quote with which I opened this article noted, he’s prepared to do just that.

The press may wish to continue distorting the truth. They may wish to abdicate their public service function of providing information — without spinning it beyond recognition — so citizens can make informed decisions before voting.

If Republican elected officials are going to knowingly tell lies and if “news” stations like Fox are going to report them while knowing they are lies, particularly while simultaneously working to prevent Democrats from speaking, then perhaps they need to be shown that, when it comes to actual malice, talk is not cheap.

Categories: Culture Wars


4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Bob // Jun 22, 2004 at 1:55 pm

    Just to be fair, spin is spin from either direction…

    Rep. Kennedy no fan of Michael Moore film ad

    Associated Press

    Rep. Mark Kennedy, a Republican, is a little annoyed at leftist film maker Michael Moore after an edited version of an interview between the two appeared in the trailer for Moore’s upcoming U.S. release of the film “Fahrenheit 9/11.”

    “I was walking back to my office after casting a vote, and all of a sudden some oversized guy puts a mike in my face and a camera in my face,” Kennedy said. “He starts asking if I can help him recruit more people from families of members of Congress to participate in the war on terror.”

    Kennedy said he told Moore that he has two nephews in the military, one who has just been deployed in the Army National Guard. But to Kennedy’s annoyance, his response to Moore was cut from the trailer, which was released Thursday. His response was also cut from the film, according to a spokeswoman for the movie.

    “The interesting thing is that they used my image, but not my words,” Kennedy said. “It’s representative of the fact that Michael Moore doesn’t always give the whole story, and he’s a master of the misleading.”

    A spokeswoman for the fiercely anti-Bush film, which has found a U.S. distributor after the Walt Disney Co. refused to release it, said she had no comment.

    A transcript released by the film’s producers shows Moore telling Kennedy that “there is only one member (of Congress) who has a kid over there in Iraq.” He asks Kennedy to help him pass out literature encouraging others “to get their kids to enlist in the Army and go over to Iraq.”

    Kennedy replies, “I’d be happy to. Especially those who voted for the war. (As Kennedy did.) I have a nephew on his way to Afghanistan.”

    To which Moore replies: “I appreciate it.”

    Anne Mason, Kennedy’s spokeswoman, said Friday that Kennedy now has one nephew in the military and another one who got out of the Navy since the Moore interview. In addition, Kennedy’s cousin’s son recently completed his military service.

    Source: http://www.duluthsuperior.com/mld/duluthsuperior/news/politics/8838660.htm

    The dishonesty and undermining agendas of the media are actually so out of hand that I believe there is a sense of hopelessness out there from people who try to read and care about the issues at any level of government.

    It also allows an administration at any level to do almost anything they want since they can spin the results and any negative reporting that may come of it.

  • 2 Rick // Jun 22, 2004 at 4:29 pm

    Well, at least you waited until you saw the film before you decided it was dishonest.

    That’s more than I could say for most right-wingers, eh? 😉


  • 3 bob // Jun 22, 2004 at 9:04 pm

    Let’s not get over sensitive here.

    I have not seen the film.

    I have not decided that I don’t like it.

    I have not decided I like it.

    I have not decided it is honest or dishonest.

    The point of the comment was to show that both sides are playing the same game. Obviously Moore had an agenda before filming his first interview just like O’Reily has embarrasing questions prepared before he even gets to his desk.

    The point is that America is being screwed by both sides.

  • 4 Rick // Jun 23, 2004 at 7:59 am

    I’ll be posting a blog entry about this “controversy” tonight. It’s nearly finished, but I have to go meet an attorney at 8:30 a.m., so I can’t finish it now.

    There’s more to this than meets the eye. Suffice it for now to say that it fits perfectly with the articles I’ve been writing on advocacy and partisanship.

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