‘Meet the Press’ follies: Even modest standards of critical thinking disappear

I fear I may become increasingly useless, not-to-say repetitive, as a blogger the more I try to apply modest standards of critical thinking to what some politicians and some TV pundits say on the air. But before they cart me off, a couple of items from Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” which I still persist in watching.

NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell was in Iowa covering an event at which former Florida governor and undeclared presidential candidate Jeb Bush was attempting to woo support. “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd debriefed her on camera, thus:

Todd: “Brass tacks, what did you learn from yesterday’s cattle call?”

O’Donnell: “When I talk to Republicans here, they say Jeb Bush’s biggest problem is trying to appear new. [Me: What could that possibly mean, and how might a 62-year-old man who first ran for office in 1992 go about “appearing new.”]

O’Donnell: “So I think what he tries to do is to bring his Florida resume here, to talk about what [he] says are conservative accomplishments…” [Makes perfect sense for Bush to talk about what he accomplished as governor, the only office he’s ever held. But considering he left office eight years ago, what could this have to do with “appearing new?”]

Then, as old hands at the folkways of Iowa Republicans, Kelly and Chuck shared a laugh at Bush’s utter cluelessness, thus:

O’Donnell: “He came to the Pizza Ranch [and] said he ‘came here for the pizza.’ But, as you know, Chuck, when you come to the Pizza Ranch you really order the chicken. So Jeb Bush has some work to do here.”

Maybe Bush knew that candidates always order the chicken but he was attempting to appear new.

Later, Todd interviewed Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC.

Graham, who is mostly known for hawkish views on foreign and military policy, spent most of the segment describing Iran as our enemy. (“Iran is our enemy…They’re the enemy of us. They’re an evil regime… I fear Iran more than I fear ISIL… Absolutely, it’s not even close.”)

But because Graham has confessed to also exploring a presidential candidacy, Todd followed a line of questioning that I appreciated, on the recent good economic news. As part of Obama Derangement Syndrome, most Republicans find it difficult to say that anything positive might’ve occurred under the current incumbent. So Todd put Graham on the spot. The latest unemployment rate, 5.5 percent, is the lowest in seven years. The most recent report showed that unemployment had come down in every state in the union, which last happened in 1984.

Asked Todd: “You and other Republicans put out a lot of doom and gloom about Obama’s policies in 2009 and 2010. I understand that we’ve still got some wage issues to go. But do you now acknowledge that some of this rhetoric was wrong and that there has been some progress?”

Replied Graham, whom I used to rate as a relatively straight talker: “I think that we have stagnant middle-class wage growth. And I think the labor participation is at an all-time low. So if your argument is that we’re on the road to recovery, that we have a sound economy under President Obama, no I don’t agree with that at all.”

Todd: “So you don’t believe any of these improvements are good?”

Graham: “I believe it’s always good to have lower unemployment. But it’s never good to be underemployed. It’s never good to have the greatest number of people in the history of America not looking for work anymore. And I think the structural problems created by Obamacare are yet to come.”

Todd let it go. He didn’t mention that the recession of the past seven years began under President George W. Bush and was the worst in the United States since the Great Depression. It’s a little silly, although quite normal, to assume that everything that happens to the economy is the fairly direct result of the policies of the current occupant of the Oval Office. But if Obama is responsible for the slow recovery, how does Graham or other derangement sufferers deal with the fact that the economy went off the cliff under Republican presidential leadership?

Comments (49)

  1. Submitted by Robert Moffitt on 03/09/2015 - 09:03 am.

    At the risk of sounding trivial, O’Donnell was right…

    …the pizza at Pizza Ranch is terrible. Chicken is a much better call.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/09/2015 - 09:47 am.

      Pizza Ranch

      It was always my understanding that the food was secondary. What was important was making an appearance to show support for the folks who run a religious-themed restaurant chain.

      • Submitted by Robert Moffitt on 03/09/2015 - 02:07 pm.

        Religious-themed?

        The Pizza Ranch?

        • Submitted by jason myron on 03/09/2015 - 02:35 pm.

          Yup, religious themed.

          It’s a Christian based company whose vision, according to their mission statement is”To glorify God by positively impacting the world we live in.” Which is why every GOP candidate makes a beeline for the place to solidify their religious credentials. It’s the culinary equivalent of putting a flag pin on your lapel.

          • Submitted by Robert Moffitt on 03/09/2015 - 04:16 pm.

            Well, that explains it.

            If their mission statement was “to make a halfway decent pizza,” I might come back to the Pizza Ranch.

  2. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 03/09/2015 - 09:36 am.

    Persistence must have its rewards

    You’re the only person I know who will admit he still watches NBC News, much less Meet the Depressed.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/09/2015 - 11:10 am.

      Meet the Depressed

      I laughed out loud at that one. Kudos, Mr. Tester.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/09/2015 - 03:11 pm.

      Shows don’t stay on the air

      unless people watch them.
      So while your friends may not admit to watching NBC News, it obviously has enough viewers to sell ads.
      Just a different audience than the Fox News Niche.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 03/10/2015 - 02:19 pm.

      We distort, you decide….

      In 2015 the best ever O’Reilly viewership 3.3 million, best Meet the Press: 3.1 milion. guess the doors have not yet closed and the cameras gone off.

  3. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 03/09/2015 - 09:48 am.

    I agree…

    there isn’t much real reporting on serious topics going on. Either these so call reporters are morons or they fear losing their jobs if they try to do them correctly.

    On the NBC morning news today they gave a headline referring to Hillary Clinton’s “email scandal”. I didn’t know that it had already been proven to be a scandal, which would mean to me that they have uncovered something bad in some hidden emails. From what little I’ve paid attention to this GOP-manufactured issue, nothing nasty has been uncovered and it hasn’t been shown that there was any evil intend or illegality in what she did. Interestingly the “scandal” will be investigated by a committee headed by the guy who last investigated the “Benghazi scandal”. So I guess we can look forward to a lot of objectivity there.

    • Submitted by Peder DeFor on 03/09/2015 - 07:04 pm.

      Emails

      Bill, since you haven’t paid much attention to the subject, you may be interested to know that it’s not only GOP members that are troubled by what’s happened. Sen Feinstein (D-CA) is troubled and wants answers. As well she should. What Clinton did was blatantly against the rules and possibly illegal. If one of her under-secretaries had set up a personal server to handle all of their emails (confidential and otherwise), that person would be sweating jail time.
      And no, this won’t hinge on whether or not something bad is found. Right now, the only emails that the State department has are the ones that the Clintons have deigned to give them. That’s not the way this is supposed to work. It’s blatantly against the rules and *especially* the spirit of transparency.
      Even worse, what she set up didn’t have the encryption protections that the State Department had which means that foreign governments could have been snooping on everything she wrote and everything was written to her. This was unfathomably stupid.

      • Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 03/10/2015 - 08:39 am.

        the bottom line…

        You said it. The bottom line is ‘possibly illegal”. If it ain’t illegal there is no “scandal”. Another thing against the rules and borderline treasonous it for the opposition party in the senate to try to undermine treaty negotiations by the president. I have been politically aware since 1968, following elections, reading the paper and various magazines. I have never ever heard of the latest stunts by the GOP, inviting a foreign head of state without agreement by the President and trying to undermine his negotiations. I consider their efforts to undermine the constitutional balance of power to be treasonous. For all their claiming to love the constitution they will violate its spirit in an effort to rule. That is way beyond this email thing, which is admittedly stupid but only “possibly illegal”.

        Oh, and by the way, the senate exempted itself from this same requirement. Oh, here’s another point: Rubio, Walker and others all have used private accounts to conduct government business.

        You are right Peder, I haven’t been paying attention to this, but that’s because I don’t watch Fox. I’m waiting to hear how Bill O’Reilly braved secret service gunfire to fight his way to Hillary’s email server where he found the beheaded body of an Islamic IT professional.

  4. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 03/09/2015 - 10:10 am.

    An easy question

    “…But if Obama is responsible for the slow recovery, how does Graham or other derangement sufferers deal with the fact that the economy went off the cliff under Republican presidential leadership?”

    That’s easy! It – and every other national or international or local catastrophe – was Bill Clinton’s fault. Derangement syndrome is certainly focused on the current occupant of the White House, but it has roots in “Slick Willie” and his wife, the not-quite-candidate who was nicely parodied on SNL. It’s worth keeping in mind that to many on the right, it doesn’t really matter who the particular person might be. One of the nice things about Derangement Syndrome is that it can be quickly applied to just about anyone – or any idea – that offends the delicate sensibilities of those suffering from the syndrome.

    Rather than serving as forums wherein candidates and other public officials are subjected to some sharp questioning about recent public events, the Sunday morning “interview” shows seem to me to be more and more simply platforms for those same candidates and/or officials to bloviate. Questions from moderators have mostly been phrased so as not to offend the guest. And for that reason, I stopped watching Sunday morning TV some time ago, even before Tim Russert’s demise.

    And, so Mr. Tester doesn’t feel like he’s being ignored here, while I do like the PBS news hour, I also watch NBC and CBS, and occasionally, ABC.

  5. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/09/2015 - 11:16 am.

    For actual numbers

    Paul Krugman has some in today’s blog:
    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/03/09/demand-policies-in-two-big-recessions/

  6. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 03/09/2015 - 11:37 am.

    OK hold it. I’m no fan of Lindsay Graham, but he answered that question truthfully. Eric just didn’t like hearing the truth spoke plain.

    The labor participation rate in this country is at a 35 year low. Some of that is due to the retirement of baby boomers, it’s true, but the generations following are frighteningly unemployed, and under employed.

    Leftists love to point out that the 47% of Americans that don’t pay income tax pay other taxes, fine. But that still means that 47% of Americans do not make enough income to pay income taxes. Is that the economy Demicrats were shooting for?

    I don’t blame Obama for that any more than I blame Bush for the ’08 crash. Obama has done serious damage to this country, surely, but he has ignored the economy for the most part.

    • Submitted by John Ellenbecker on 03/09/2015 - 04:49 pm.

      47%

      There are any number of ways that people earn income and have that income shielded from the income tax. To suggest that “the 47%” don’t earn an income is nonsense. A good chunk of “the 47%” are retired people who have a steady stream of income – but paid to them in a manner that shields that income from the income tax. Some of “the 47%” are extremely wealthy, deriving their income from capital gains, thus paying no income tax.

    • Submitted by Bill DeCoursey on 03/09/2015 - 09:16 pm.

      No fan of history too?

      Lindsay Graham would only be speaking truthfully if America only had a thirty five year history. I think it may be a bit longer than that.
      While the Labor participation rate is the current favorite statistic of those looking for a shot at the President, without context it is not the great indicator that it is presented as.
      The LPR peaked in the late 90s and has been in decline since. I would think it hard to blame Obama for all of this. How much of this decline is caused by those who were successful enough in their younger years to retire before their age removes them from the potential labor force? Or those old enough to be included in this statistic that choose to remain out of the workforce to continue their education? Since there is a demographic bubble at both age ends of the labor force, these normal actions will distort the rate.
      I would also suspect a negative impact on this rate as some families having gone from two to one income earner in the recession have found that at the current wage rates the sacrifices to the family outweigh the benefits of getting that second income back.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 03/11/2015 - 09:50 pm.

      Consequences to programs!

      Do we need to prove it with labor statistics, or would you agree the US shipped hundreds of thousands of jobs over seas, and CEO’s & stock holders made billions perhaps trillions doing it. Along with the the jobs shipped off shore, a similar number of support jobs to those industries were also lost stateside. The simple point being you can’t recover from 20-30+ years of anti job creation polices, pro-business, “trickle down economics” proper term is cash flood upward to the rich economics, in 4-5 years, especially with an anti President no matter what he says congress, not to mention the US was suffering the worst financial disaster this country has seen in basically 80 years. Based on early posts its that ODS mentality that continues to take things out of proper context, and then expects learned and educated people to gobble up the twisted rhetoric? The country was saved from near total financial collapse, the right -wing obstructionists did virtually nothing to help, seemed instead to hinder any recovery. Now the ODS folks are complaining, while we are still working our way out, (note the Fed an independent Govt. agency hasn’t budged interest rates yet) that not everyone can buy a new $40,000 car and a $300K house! Oh yes, but to h— with their healthcare!
      The question, how did we get in the financial malaise in the first place if all those Republican programs were so effective at job creation and wage enhancement? Remember: House, Senate and executive branch all “R” 2003-06, 2007 First time the democrats controlled both houses since 1995. Plenty of time for the ODS crowd to have made the economy hum like a Tomahawk missile flying into Baghdad.

  7. Submitted by jason myron on 03/09/2015 - 11:59 am.

    How has Obama ignored the economy?

    and that’s a particularly ironic statement coming from someone who wants no regulations and has stated that the free market would just take care of everything on it’s own.

  8. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 03/09/2015 - 12:51 pm.

    Can’t have it both ways

    “…The labor participation rate in this country is at a 35 year low. Some of that is due to the retirement of baby boomers, it’s true, but the generations following are frighteningly unemployed, and under employed.”

    Yet many of our social and political ills of the past decade and more are laid at the feet of unions by those of the right-wing persuasion, and collective bargaining is raised as a boogieman at every opportunity. In a contest – virtually any contest – between the individual and the corporation, it’s the individual who loses.

    “…Leftists love to point out that the 47% of Americans that don’t pay income tax pay other taxes, fine. But that still means that 47% of Americans do not make enough income to pay income taxes. Is that the economy Demicrats were shooting for?”

    It’s just a guess, but my guess is that the answer to that rhetorical question is “No.” Wages have been stagnant in this country for a generation, a situation that unions would normally have addressed in the past, but are increasingly unable to do so because so many unions have been ruled illegal or otherwise gutted by well-financed lawyers and organizations on the right who are hostile to the notion of workers taking home a middle-class wage. That middle-class wage is something that history shows is unlikely to be achieved without collective bargaining (i.e., unions), something people who like to call themselves “conservative” generally oppose tooth and nail. The Governor (and legislature) of our neighbor to the east provide ample illustration of this, and the results do not support the assertions of said governor or legislators regarding job creation or employee prosperity.

    • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 03/09/2015 - 01:44 pm.

      Unions increase wages through intimidation, not improvement of quality or quantity of production. They are undeniably behind the ruin of Detroit’s private and public sectors (twofer!), and are leading the city of Chicago down that same path.

      I live in a state that has benefitted from a significant investment from automakers. BMW is currently building a billion dollar expansion to their plant in Greer, and Mercedes Daimler has just announced a brand new plant in North Charlston to build trucks now being built in Germany. BMW alone keeps more than 65,000 people in very high paying jobs…and not a grasping union boss in sight.

      To quote the man himself, Obama didn’t build that.

      This is not the 19th century, unions served their purpose and have become a drain on society. Thankfully, they are fading into the night.

      • Submitted by jason myron on 03/09/2015 - 02:26 pm.

        How come Business Insider

        ranks South Carolina as the nations fifth worst economy? You only have one Fortune 500 company located in the state and your employment, due to right to work, is mainly temporary because those employers love the low wages and having no responsibility to provide healthcare or any other benefits. You’re 49th in education and above the national averages in teen birth, poverty and infant mortality, So, spare us the Nikki Haley propaganda speech.

        • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 03/09/2015 - 02:53 pm.

          We have only 1 Fortune 500 company *headquartered* here. We have several, GE, Bauch & Lomb, Micheline, Boeing to name just a few, that have large manufacturing facilities here.

          Your ignorance of our global footprint is outdone only by your hubris. South Carolina is on its way up, in every metric, while the stale, broken cities in the North stagnate. You see, while much of our success comes from foreign investment, there are plenty of homegrown American businesses expanding here and throughout the South; like 3M come to think of it! Thanks for those jobs!

          We’ll take the thousands of middle class jobs these investments represent, you can keep the few hundred executive positions that will remain in their hollowed out HQ’s. Oh and those unemployed Union bosses…please keep them too!

      • Submitted by jody rooney on 03/09/2015 - 02:30 pm.

        Sorry I believe unions are necessary

        To state that they are no longer necessary is to ignore the fact that those 65,000 workers are in high paying jobs because of the threat of unionization. Believe me I sat in corporate offices and watched companies raise wages just a bit ahead of a minimum wage increase so they would look like good guys.

        Unions help identify paths for people who aren’t going to college to get to good wage jobs. We need more unions and more effective unions to get the job done.

        That is not to say that the pendulum can’t swing too far in wage and benefit packages just as it can swing to far in executive compensation but on the whole organized labor is better at providing better skilled workers to make us more competitive.

        • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 03/09/2015 - 02:55 pm.

          Jody, there is no threat of unionization here; please trust me on that. Our companies pay well to keep and attract good workers.

          • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/10/2015 - 07:42 am.

            Is that why “food stamp” enrollment is so high and the federal government has to subsidize the fair state of SC in order to retain their proud history of poverty? 15% live in poverty in SC (above the national average of 12%)

            SC is ranked 45th in income and 49th in GDP per capita.

            Sounds like a capitalist dream, for big business, at least

          • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/10/2015 - 07:53 am.

            Median household income 2012–2013

            SC……$ 44,398
            MN…..$ 61,800

  9. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 03/09/2015 - 03:56 pm.

    Unions and their “bosses”

    May I suggest that while the auto workers in South Carolina are not unionized, they wouldn’t be doing nearly so well if the unions in Germany weren’t strong enough to ensure that all German auto manufacture workers are well paid?

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/frederickallen/2011/12/21/germany-builds-twice-as-many-cars-as-the-u-s-while-paying-its-auto-workers-twice-as-much/

    http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/the-end-of-poverty/why-are-bmw-and-mercedes-so-rich

    Workers are fortunate in South Carolina are essentially free riders who don’t have to pay union dues to get the benefits of working for unionized multinational firms. Just like the white collar and other workers in this country who enjoyed the benefits won for all workers by collective bargaining when unions in this country were stronger. Union busting has paid off for the kept classes in the US.

    I’m surprised to hear Lindsey Graham express any concern about the underemployed or the wages of a no longer extant middle class. I’d like to hear what any Republican elected official has to offer to remedy this. Cutting corporate taxes and progressive tax rates for the past thirty years certainly hasn’t worked.

  10. Submitted by joe smith on 03/09/2015 - 06:08 pm.

    Unions were very important in helping workers get better wages and working conditions. However, it has been years since they’ve helped the middle class. All I hear from progressives is things change and you have to change with the times. The workers never changed, their leadership changed and let them down. Unions morphed into a huge corrupt political tool of the Democratic Party, that is why they have lost members steadily for decades.
    Very few viewers watch MSNBC or any other left leaning programming for some reason. I’m always shocked because at places like Minnpost 80% of the comments have a left leaning twist. I’m semi retired and wintering in a warm climate so I read up on what is going on in my home state on line. Folks down here laugh at us steady for having elected Jesse V. and Al Frankin. Hard to argue with them. BTW, most don’t watch any NBC programming down here either.

  11. Submitted by Peder DeFor on 03/09/2015 - 07:17 pm.

    The Numbers

    I don’t really watch Meet the Press anymore. Does Chuck Todd ask all politicians to find some way to praise the opposition? Or is this some kind of one off thing?

    I find the attempt to credit the President with all of the recent economic news while never debiting him with the bad stuff previously, a little goofy. Is this success finally happening because of the wonderful stuff that he did with a Democratic congress more than four years ago? Or did he personally will this to happen during the constant shut downs and threats of same? Do we have some theory that’s a touch more sophisticated than ‘my people do great things/your people do terrible things’ or is that the best we can do?

    I’m glad that the economy is finally turning up (or at least I hope it is). But if we can’t confidently point to actions A, B and C for why it is, then we shouldn’t get so upset about assigning praise and blame.

  12. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 03/09/2015 - 09:12 pm.

    Who is new

    Hillary Clinton tries to “appear new” http://www.examiner.com/article/hillary-clinton-tries-rebranding-herself-again… But she is still same old, same old – http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/08/opinion/sunday/maureen-dowd-only-the-shadow-knows.html?_r=0.

    Sure, it is all Bush’ fault… after 7 years – seriously? Bush had to deal with 9/11 fallout if you remember. If this happened now, the economy would die. Bush managed to keep it alive.

    Additionally, you may find these articles interesting: http://www.gallup.com/opinion/chairman/181469/big-lie-unemployment.aspx and http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2015/02/11/unemployment-is-dropping-thanks-to-a-republican-policy-that-obama-opposed/ – they show where economy really is.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/10/2015 - 09:03 am.

      You’re getting your ‘facts’

      from gossip columns; whether left wing or right.
      I’ve posted some links to real numbers (from a real economist) above.

      Re: Bush and 9/11:
      Historically, the economy has profited (at least in the short run) from wars and the weapons production that they produce. By the end of his second term the ecomedy was pretty droopy.

  13. Submitted by Neal Gendler on 03/09/2015 - 11:38 pm.

    Re. Franken

    People around you down there laugh at Minnesota electing Al Franken because those people are ignorant. Franken — with whom I’m not a personal friend — has drawn considerable (often surprised) praise for his seriousness and hard work.

    One can disagree with Franken’s political views, but it’s not possible for anyone who pays any attention to the news to describe him as frivolous.

  14. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 03/10/2015 - 08:57 am.

    I’m Always Fascinated by the Main Stream Media

    which is currently owned, lock, stock and barrel by those who require their employees to serve their OWN (1%er) self interest, the country and the planet be damned,…

    constantly trumpets ideas carefully vetted to underline the propagandistic messages those same media outlets and their owners have tried to drum into the hearts, minds, souls and imaginations of those whose preexisting dysfunctions predispose them to believe those things MUST CERTAINLY be true,…

    while the media makes sure those folks are never made uncomfortable by the presentation of the facts that would raise even the slightest question about those “cherished beliefs,”…

    with the weasel pathologically lying to misinform it’s viewers,…

    and other sources being a bit softer in their approach, but no less dishonest, in the end,…

    and by commenters, here, who continuously spout those same “must certainly be true” ideas,…

    (the “free market’s” freedom to exploit workers and destroy our planet’s ecosystems is a panacea of good,…

    “environmental regulations and worker organization and/or power are the root of all evil” in all their permutations and mutations)

    while steadfastly batting away any and all facts presented to disagree with that idea

    as if those “must certainly be true” ideas were the dictates of a “free market/anti-labor” “god” who controls any and all events in the universe to make sure those dictates ARE true, somehow,…

    the demands, cautions, and admonitions of the Hebrew prophets notwithstanding,…

    (a “god” who seems curiously absent in the world).

    The sad thing is, that the fact that you have believed, your entire life, that cigarette smoking doesn’t cause cancer or heart disease is NOT going to help you when the lung cancer is discovered or the or the heart attack arrives.

    Neither will your children and your grandchildren be able to find a decent job with benefits or escape from the massive disruptions that global climate change will very soon cause,…

    just because you believed that “free market” profiteers were paragons of virtue, unions were evil and climate change was a liberal plot,…

    but even then, being unable ever to accept responsibility for your own attitudes and actions,…

    those of you inclined to do so will no no doubt believe that the tragedies that have befallen you and your descendant are all the fault of someone ELSE,…

    because your dysfunctions, having been created by earlier traumatic experiences which stripped away from you the ability to take control of or feel as if you are in charge of your own life,…

    the “ruler” aspect of the human personality (Carol S. Pearson),…

    will simply not allow you to accept responsibility for anything, ever.

    Sadly, those pulling the strings on this whole dysfunction/misinformation system share that same dysfunction,…

    and, because of that dysfunction, are completely unable to see that they are working their own complete destruction along with that destruction which they are visiting on the rest of us.

  15. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/10/2015 - 09:08 am.

    Waste of time.

    I’m surprised people watch these shows frankly. All it is is noise. It’s the standard pseudo journalistic practice of given someone a microphone just because of they “are” someone, rather than because they actually have something important or interesting to say. It’s just a platform for nonsense.

    Meanwhile, I hate to say but most journalist’s these days don’t actually have a lot of insight into their stories. It’s not their fault, they live in weird universe where you’re not allowed to draw obvious conclusions. So Jeb Bush shows up with an obvious plan to promote his experience as the Florida Gov. and instead of talking about his record as the Gov. of Florida we’re talking about chicken pizza. Typical. And a waste of our time. Stenography journalism has it’s limits, no matter what kind of technology you use.

  16. Submitted by Howard Miller on 03/10/2015 - 10:10 am.

    Senator Graham yet again?

    Was curious, so I searched for how many times Lindsey Graham has been on Meet the Press.
    He is second only to John McCain in total appearances on Sunday morning talk shows (not just Meet the Press):
    Sen. John McCain Republican – Ariz. 97
    Sen. Lindsey Graham Republican – S.C. 85

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/06/upshot/looking-for-john-mccain-try-a-sunday-morning-show.html?_r=0&abt=0002&abg=0

    Together they have been ever ready and available to push their hawkish brand of politically conservative governance on Sunday mornings. If Tim Russert were still running the show, at least he’d ask the tough follow ups.

    But with Mr Todd running the show, it’s all about the chatter of the moment, often stripped out of historical context, and with no hard-question follow up on any topic.

    Consider that Mr. Graham is much more afraid of Iran than ISIL. Why should any American be afraid of either of them? What ever happened to “we’ve nothing to fear but fear itself” …. (paraphrasing former President Roosevelt during very dark days in our history)?!

    Has the conservative movement awakened by Barry Goldwater devolved into fearful handwringing? That fear-mongering begged for exploration.

  17. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 03/10/2015 - 07:32 pm.

    Just another once upon a time story fact or fiction; no matter..

    Take a virtual journey:
    When a reporter or a valued employee exposes the backside of an organization be it corporation or government agency like for instance, CIA, Pentagon or the State Department, whomever..and let’s say the employee loses his/her corporate position and reporter loses his media job for taking the story to its zenith in all its ugliness and tells the tale of a ‘whistle blower’ to use the common term to the public – the reporter quickly becomes too risky… and the privacy of a reporter’s sources are hacked by government or corporation – who knows – in the process…is this the promise that awaits anyone trying to do his best as an investigative reporter in a free society….or will one get mugged out of your profession for what you expose?

    Truth is a limited commodity in a world when money and power execute a fairy story…of news -we-want-to-know, but what reaches the eyes and ears of readers and listeners; just enough to satisfy an uniformed public but not seriously damage ‘unacceptable acts’ by whatever heavy power structure… only the whistle blower and the professional reporter are the victims and the public is left with a ‘crapshoot’ of misinformation…all this in a free society?

    Ah shucks, makes a great tale but doesn’t ever happen here for we are a democracy where truth is our motto and in god we trust as long as he is not a whistle blower or by god not an investigative reporter…

    Stick to the straight and narrow path that corporations and government agencies ‘encourage’/ provide and keep up the light and fanciful and the romance of being a good journalist happily ever after as the story goes?

  18. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 03/14/2015 - 11:42 pm.

    Back in 1988 while attending a summer seminar

    at the University of Michigan, I spent an evening listening to a talk by a former reporter for NPR. It was a real eye opener about how the U.S. media work.

    For one thing, according to this reporter (whose name I cannot remember, although I remember that she was wearing a dress similar to one I owned) far from being left-wing, NPR kowtows to its corporate underwriters and will spike stories at their request. It also lives in fear of Republican Congresses.

    The reason that on-air reporters throughout the media do not ask tough questions is that major political figures ask to see all the reporter’s questions in advance and will refuse to talk to any reporter whose questions are actually questions instead of opportunities to repeat sound bites. Since editors frown upon reporters who lose “access,” the reporters play softball. (The speaker said this when I commented upon a time when an interviewer on the McNeal-Lehrer Report let Eliot Abrams get away with one blatant lie after another.)

    The presentation at the University of Michigan ended with video of a single story as told by an American network (I forget which one), the BBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Company, and the Australian Broadcasting Company. The incident was the 1982 elections in El Salvador, and all four networks showed the same footage: huge numbers of people standing in line to vote. The American voiceover said that these long lines showed the Salvadoran people’s devotion to democracy and defiance of the guerrillas. Just look at all these people standing out in the sun for hours!

    The foreign voiceovers each added some background: that voting is compulsory in El Salvador, that there were only 8 polling stations for a city of 200,000 people, that the candidates ranged from right wing to extremely right wing, that the government had announced that anyone who didn’t vote would be considered a guerrilla (and you may be old enough to remember what happened to suspected guerrillas in El Salvador in the 1980s), and that soldiers watched as people voted.

    It wasn’t the first or the last time that I saw differences between the news in the U.S. and the news in other countries.

    Nowadays, there is no excuse for limiting one’s self to the news of one’s own country. Every major country in the world has an English-language press, and all of these media outlets have websites. Just the countries where English is the everyday language will give you a broad view of the world. Countries have their own agendas, but they often have interesting and perceptive things to say about the U.S.

    I no longer watch TV news or listen to radio news. I haven’t for years.

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