Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Pew Survey Finds Moderates, Liberals Dominate News Outlets

What a surprise.

At national organizations (which includes print, TV and radio), the numbers break down like this: 34% liberal, 7% conservative. At local outlets: 23% liberal, 12% conservative. At Web sites: 27% call themselves liberals, 13% conservatives.

This contrasts with the self-assessment of the general public: 20% liberal, 33% conservative.

Hidden in there is that even the moderates are not all that moderate.

The survey also revealed what some are sure to label a "values" gap. According to Pew, about 60% of the general public believes it is necessary to believe in God to be a truly moral person. The new survey finds that less than 15% of those who work at news outlets believe that. About half the general public believes homosexuality should be accepted by society -- but about 80% of journalists feel that way.

This has been a sore point about the media for years - they think that they are moderate but that is only within their own select circle. Compared with the outside world, most of them are pretty liberal.

BTW, I do not disagree with the majority of journalists about these subjects but I do not fool myself into thinking that this is the moderate position either.

Can we get a little perspective

Andy Rooney is putting this as one of our nations' darkest days.

Our darkest days up until now have been things like presidential assassinations, the stock market crash in 1929, Pearl Harbor, and 9-11, of course.

The day the world learned that American soldiers had tortured Iraqi prisoners belongs high on the list of worst things that ever happened to our country. It's a black mark that will be in the history books in a hundred languages for as long as there are history books. I hate to think of it.

There are a lot of things that could be added to the list. Slavery, the policy of genocide against American Indians in the late 19th century, the Civil War and its attendant suffering, the Galviston Flood which killed more Americans in one day than any other event.

People's memories seem to be pretty short and all of these events happened before Rooney's lifetime. How about something that happened just over 30 years ago:

They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.

How did this miss Rooney's list of worst things?

There are lots of other things that could be added - the burning of the Branch Davidian compound while fire trucks were stopped from helping, all of the faces of racism including the Klan, lynchings, and segragationist laws that persisted until the 1960s. Rooney purpously slanted his list - everything on it was caused by lone crazies (assasinations), was beyond control (stock market crash), or was caused by foriegners (Perl Harbor, 9/11). He skipped over the many examples of mistakes that Americans have made.

The point here is that Americans are people. Americans make mistakes. The government makes mistakes. Many of these mistakes have been as bad or worse than anything that happened in prisons in Iraq.

The difference is that Abu Ghraib was acknowledged as a mistake. People are being punished for it. The President appologized for it on Arab TV.

There is not an Arab government that does not do similar acts against its own people as a matter of policy, even the "good" Arab governments. None of these governments are going to appologize and no one will be punished.

We made a mistake. It happens. Get over it. We are still better than most of the rest of the world.

If you believe in human-induced Global Warming, which I don't then there is only one solution - nukes.

Global warming is now advancing so swiftly that only a massive expansion of nuclear power as the world's main energy source can prevent it overwhelming civilisation, the scientist and celebrated Green guru, James Lovelock, says.

You probably already know that Kerry
is considering some slight of hand so that he does not accept the nomination at the Democratic convention.

Campaign finance reform is not working at all.

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