A fair and balanced hearing?

A fair and balanced hearing?

It’s that time once again, to take 10 minutes (or less) out of your day to get your recommended dose of conservative commentary.

Hearkening back to my first episode ever, the Columbia Journalism Review tackled the subject of paid liberal analysts at Fox News vs. the lack of dissenting opinion at MSNBC. Once again, the question is, “Who will give you a fair hearing, or any hearing at all?” The answer really should not surprise you, and should also be good news if you want to get your voice heard on this particular show.

The President described recent budgets (well, recent spending, since Democrats have been very reluctant to pass actual budgets) with a word that, to paraphrase Inigo Montoya, doesn’t mean what he thinks it means.

And finally, can the President get a little “rspect”? Ask Dan Quayle.

Mentioned links:

Journalism Review Explores Fox’s Liberal Pundits, Confesses Fox Is More Balanced Than MSNBC

And from the left…Fox News

With 2015 budget request, Obama will call for an end to era of austerity

austere (definition)

Dan Quayle : “Potatoe” [Wikipedia]

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Show transcript

In the very first episode of this podcast, back in June of 2012, I asked for your feedback, thoughts and opinions, so that I could put them on this show. To demonstrate that you’re more likely to get a fair hearing from a conservative than you would a liberal, I used an example issue and noted that Bill O’Reilly on Fox allowed for a far more balanced discussion on his show than did Ed Schultz on the same issue. Now we have further proof of this phenomenon.

Alexis Sobel Fitts at the Columbia Journalism Review tackled the subject of paid liberal analysts at Fox News, and here’s what she had to say. “Though MSNBC has a handful of moderate conservatives—namely Morning Joe’s Joe Scarborough—Fox stands out for the prominence it awards its on-air naysayers, many of whom occupy regular roles on the network’s most popular shows.” The liberals do have more of a voice at a network that leans right.

Fitts does note that, still, the conservatives outnumber the liberals. But interestingly, she observes that, “It’s a version of on-air political theater that some research suggests can actually further polarize opinions. Put another way, having two conservatives and a liberal can be a more powerful force than three conservatives—a counterintuitive approach that can solidify political beliefs and quash the other side.” So when Fox lines up its pundits, it might be for rating and fireworks, for more persuasion, or because they are fair and balanced. At least, more fair and more balanced than their competition.

Which brings us to MSNBC, the most obvious choice from the other side. Fitts can only list Joe Scarborough as a pundit on the Right on that network. Why is this? She thinks that they’re just too afraid of angering their base, who, it sounds to me, like they can’t abide even a hint of dissent. Take the aforementioned Ed Schultz, please. And yet,

While the liberal hosts of MSNBC often skewer conservatives, the debates happen with villains who are not in the studio: lambasted, by proxy, in news clips. At Fox, they happen in person, with a real-live liberal who is often on staff. “I still think that Fox is the one place on the cable dial for sure where that kind of freewheeling debate takes place,” said Juan Williams, who was hired as one of the network’s first progressives. “Of course I find it ironic, because it’s a network with a lot of conservative personalities.” Fox has been so supportive of the liberal Williams that he has even guest-hosted The O’Reilly Factor, the network’s top-rated show.

If you’re waiting for Joe Scarborough to guest-host the Rachel Maddow show, hold not thy breath.

This is just another example of the differences on how the Left and the Right deal with disagreement. On the whole, it seems to me that conservatives can handle and even welcome good debate, while liberals just don’t want to hear it. Examples certainly exist of folks on the right ignoring or avoiding contrary opinions, and of liberals you can discuss things with calmly and enjoyably. I know many of them personally. But when given a network to manage, the generalities do exhibit themselves. Fox does lean right, and a conservative will admit that.  But MSNBC positively dives to the left. Listen to those who criticize Fox, and you’ll find a blind spot big enough for a network to fit in.

Get a load of the first two paragraphs of this Washington Post article. Like the old Sesame Street game, let’s figure out which one of these words doesn’t belong.

President Obama’s forthcoming budget request will seek tens of billions of dollars in fresh spending for domestic priorities while abandoning a compromise proposal to tame the national debt in part by trimming Social Security benefits.

With the 2015 budget request, Obama will call for an end to the era of austerity that has dogged much of his presidency and to his efforts to find common ground with Republicans.

Did you catch it? What word in those two paragraphs has no connection whatsoever to reality, as it pertains to the subject of the article; government spending?

The word, of course, is “austerity”.  The word “austere” has a few meanings, but the one dealing with spending, according to dictionary.com, is, “without excess, luxury, or ease; simple; limited; severe.” Does anyone, anyone, on either side of the aisle, with even the slightest bit of common sense, or the merest grasp of the reality around us, believe, for one moment, that our government has been living like that?

As budget director Inigo Montoya might say, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

President Obama showed off his spelling acumen recently.

[see video above]

But hey, people misspell things all the time, right? It’s no big deal. It’s certainly not as big a deal as misspelling “potato”, right, Dan Quayle? It’s not something that will follow you around for years, and then wind up in a special section of your Wikipedia page, right, Republican Dan Quayle? The media won’t harp on it like they did for Republican Dan Quayle. You get a pass on “respect”. Dan got mercilessly pestered about it.

I wonder what the difference is? I wonder why this will be swept under the run for Democratic President Barack Obama, but not for Republican Vice President Dan Quayle. It’s so baffling.

Filed under: Budget & SpendingGovernmentMediaPartisanship