Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Path to Conservative Hypocrisy

This is from Anthony Wade's excellent article, "The Height of Hubris for the Corporate Media and the GOP, Abusing the Collective Sadness and Pain of America," at OpEd News:

The ABC Corporation has decided to air a two-night docudrama, entitled "The Path to 911." For the uninformed, ABC is owned by Disney, who also refused to run Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911 because it was critical of Bush, costing their stockholders over 200 million dollars. They claimed at the time that they did not want to appear partisan, even though at the same time, ABC was carrying Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity on nearly all of their national radio stations. That hypocrisy aside, it is time to officially bury the right-wingnut fantasy talking point that the media has a liberal bias. This docudrama, officially confirms what we have all known for some time. The increased deregulation under George W. Bush has created a corporate media machine, wielded by the GOP when they wish to deceive the American people. This 911 docu-farce is the quintessential example of that.

Read the whole article at OpEd News.

Frankly, I had forgotten about the Fahrenheit 911 business. Guess "not wanting to appear partisan" refers only to one party...

Meanwhile, this little snippet from Slate, in Dana Milbank's Zeigeist Checklist: What Washington Is Talking About, caught my attention:

ABC Overlooks P's and Q's
Homeland Security. Katie Couric is panned in her debut as CBS News anchor, but this is quickly overshadowed by ABC flub. Part of the 9/11-plus-five hubbub, the network's miniseries The Path to 9/11makes changes after Clinton officials protest fabrications. The biggest howler: Blaming the Washington Post for exposing monitoring of Osama Bin Laden's phone; it was the Washington Times.

Dig the last sentence: The Path to 9/11, written by
the unabashed conservative Cyrus Nowrasteh, originally faulted the Washington Post (biased liberal newspaper: bad) for exposing the monitoring of bin Laden's telephone, when it fact it was the Washington Times (morally upright conservative newspaper: good). Oooooops. Now, cross-reference this against the statement released on Thursday by ABC Television, in which it claims that it is "irresponsible" to criticize their little bit of fiction-posing-as-fact until after the poison has been released into America's living rooms--and yet, if not for that pre-deployment criticism, the lie about the Washington Post--and, from what Clinton-era folks are saying, who knows how many others--would have been broadcast.

Once again, any "irresponsibility" in this matter lies squarely on the shoulders of ABC Television, the Walt Disney Corporation, and every ABC affiliate that airs the program.

I hate to play "everybody knows," but I think it safe to say that if an avowed liberal writer created a "fictionalized" screenplay in which the Clinton administration (white hats for everybody!) worked tirelessly to pre-empt bin Laden only to see its inept, corrupt successor (black hats: boo, hiss!) bungle everything, there is not a television network in the United States that would touch it. Why, then, is "The Path to 9/11" considered acceptable?

Can you spell "hypocrisy"?

KSFY-TV update: Still no reply to my e-mail to them of 9/7/06. I am shocked--shocked, I say--at their inattentiveness! And yet I remain optimistic...tee hee.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Pot, Meet Kettle.

The following excerpt from an ABC Television statement issued yesterday in re "The Path to 9/11" and its concomitant controversy is interesting:

"'No one has seen the final version of the film, because the editing process is not yet complete, so criticisms of film specifics are premature and irresponsible,' the network said in a statement Thursday." (As reported today in The Washington Post)

Hmm. "Irresponsible." That's a funny word to use under the circumstances: You take a historical event, involving real people. But you "dramatize" it--that is, you make up parts of it, by all accounts to make one group of people look bad and another look good...something we lay people might call "distortion." And then when people object to these smear-job tactics, you tell them 'theyre being irresponsible?! Amazing.

Meanwhile, an update on my report from yesterday on my e-mail to my local ABC station: So far, no reply. Stay tuned, as they say.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Yet Another Waste of Time

A few minutes ago I sent the following time-waster off to my local ABC Television affiliate, KSFY:

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing in regard to the upcoming ABC Television miniseries "The Path to 9/11." Having heard and read a great deal about the production, including the fact that it was written by an avowed right-wing screenwriter and previewed only to right-wing columnists and commentators; as well as the fact that several Clinton Administration officials who served as advisors to the producers, and President Clinton himself, have complained about inaccuracies and outright falsehoods in the production, I can conclude only that, in its current form. it is a blatant right-wing smear campaign, one which attempts to place the blame for 9/11 at the Democratic Party's doorstep while glossing over the Bush White House's missteps and fabrications.

It is my hope that KSFY is interested enough in fairness and honesty to pre-empt the local broadcast of this slanderous fiction-disguised-as-fact, in the event that ABC/Disney lack the integrity to either re-edit the movie to remove its partisan biases or cancel it outright.

Thank you.

William J Reynolds
Sioux Falls

Here is my official prediction: I will receive back a canned statement to the effect that this is an ABC production and not a locally created smear, KSFY believes that a variety of viewpoints should be heard, and blah blah blah. There might also be a line in there about waiting for the slander to be perpetrated before objecting to it, and blah blah blah again. There will under no circumstances be any display of genuine integrity or intestinal fortitude. You read it here first.

Of course I signed a couple of form-letter style petitions to Robert Iger, the president and CEO of the Walt Disney Company--one at Act for Change, one at the Democratic Party website--but I imagine those to be time-wasters as well. For one thing, I have no reason to expect that the kahunas at Disney/ABC give a rip what anyone thinks, and especially anyone who isn't a fatcat GOPer. For another, I have to think all these "gang petition" ventures fairly scream Ignore Me!! when they get to wherever they're going. But I sign 'em anyhow. Sometimes the lost causes are the only ones worth getting involved in.

There are a couple of ironies (as usual, for me) associated with the "Path to 9/11" brouhaha. File them under "Conservative Hypocrisy":
  • Conservatives like to pretend there's a "liberal bias" to the mainstream media. It's been demonstrated repeatedly that this is a fiction, but conservatives like to think they're always being picked on. How, then, to explain this obvious smear against the Clinton Administration and the Democratic Party? How, then, to explain CBS's pulling of their proposed miniseries "The Reagans" a couple of years ago when the right wing objected to "distortions" of their icon's image? If the media were controlled by the left, I wouldn't be wasting time writing letters to uninterested TV shills.
  • As an outgrowth of the above, conservatives like to pretend that they are all about achieving "balance" in the media. Why, Fox News even has the guts to call itself "Fair and Balanced," by which of course they mean unfair and slanted. Obviously, "balance" is the last thing they want; what they want is to lay the blame for 9/11, civil war in Iraq, the high price of gasoline, and the gum they stepped in on the way to work this morning on Democrats in general and Clinton (on whom they have this bizarre fixation) in particular. At the same time, they want to rewrite history and current events to make the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue appear blameless, infallible, and completely without fault.
  • Conservatives like to pretend they're such fabulous Christians, but I'm pretty sure there's something against "bearing false witness" in the Ten Commandments (you know, the ones they want displayed in courtrooms). Obviously that doesn't apply to smearing people of different political parties and social opinions. One does find oneself wondering about all those rubber bracelets: What indeed would Jesus do?
  • "Don't condemn before you see it" is another swell bit of hypocrisy. See above re "The Reagans." See also right-wingers' apoplectic reaction to "Death of a President": none of them seem willing to wait till its US release before passing condemnation.
See here for a well-written review of the miniseries from Editor & Publisher:

Monday, September 04, 2006

He Said, She Said

More quotations!

As usual, the majority of these come from the wonderful A Word a Day...with one or two from here and there, just for fun.

Do not judge men by mere appearances; for the light laughter that bubbles on the lip often mantles over the depths of sadness, and the serious look may be the sober veil that covers a divine peace and joy. -E.H. Chapin

It is a sad fact that 50 percent of marriages in this country end in divorce. But hey, the other half end in death. You could be one of the lucky ones! - Richard Jeni

Anyone who isn't confused here doesn't really understand what is going on. -Man in Belfast

I am desperately trying to figure out why Kamikaze pilots wore helmets.
Dave Edison

USA Today has come out with a new survey: Apparently three out of four people make up 75 percent of the population. David Letterman

What would I do if I had only six months left to live? I'd type faster.Isaac Asimov

What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure. Samuel Johnson

The profession of book writing makes horse racing seem like a solid and stable business. John Steinbeck

The trade of governing has always been monopolized by the most ignorant and the most rascally individuals of mankind. -Thomas Paine, philosopher and writer (1737-1809)

I think the next best thing to solving a problem is finding some humor in it. -Frank A. Clark, writer (1911- )

I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back. -Maya Angelou, poet (1928- )

The nice thing about standards is that there are so many of them to choose from. -Andrew Tannenbaum, computer science professor (1944- )

The dissenter is every human being at those moments of his life when he resigns momentarily from the herd and thinks for himself. -Archibald MacLeish, poet and librarian (1892-1982)

How dreadful knowledge of the truth can be when there's no help in the truth. -Sophocles, (495-405 BCE)

Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man's growth without destroying his roots. -Frank A. Clark, writer (1911- )

Ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have. -James Baldwin, writer (1924-1987)

From my close observation of writers... they fall into two groups: those who bleed copiously and visibly at any bad review, and those who bleed copiously and secretly at any bad review. -Isaac Asimov, scientist and writer (1920-1992)

If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. It it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day. -E.B. White, writer (1899-1985)

News is what people want to keep hidden; everything else is publicity. -Bill Moyers, journalist (1934- )

We find comfort among those who agree with us, growth among those who don't. -Frank A. Clark, writer (1911- )

The average pencil is seven inches long, with just a half-inch eraser - in case you thought optimism was dead. -Robert Brault, software developer, writer (1972- )

Uttering a word is like striking a note on the keyboard of the imagination. -Ludwig Wittgenstein, philosopher (1889-1951)

The courage of the poet is to keep ajar the door that leads into madness. -Christopher Morley, writer (1890-1957)

I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork. -Peter De Vries, editor, novelist (1910-1993)

Testing can show the presence of errors, but not their absence. -Edsger Dijkstra, computer scientist (1930-2002)

There is no coming to consciousness without pain. -Carl Jung, psychiatrist (1875-1961)

The unconscious mind is decidedly simple, unaffected, straight-forward and honest. It hasn't got all of this facade, this veneer of what we call adult culture. It's rather simple, rather childish. It is direct and free. -Milton H. Erikson, psychiatrist (1901-1980)

What progress we are making. In the Middle Ages they would have burned me. Now they are content with burning my books. -Sigmund Freud, neurologist, founder of psychoanalysis (1856-1939)

The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive. To him... a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death. Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create -- so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating. -Pearl S. Buck, novelist, Nobel laureate (1892-1973)

There is a tragic clash between Truth and the world. Pure undistorted truth burns up the world. -Nikolai Berdyaev, philosopher (1874-1948)

The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives. -Albert Einstein, physicist, Nobel laureate (1879-1955)

As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action: you liberate a city by destroying it. Words are to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests. -Gore Vidal, writer (1925- )

I love you, and because I love you, I would sooner have you hate me for telling you the truth than adore me for telling you lies. -Pietro Aretino, satirist and dramatist (1492-1556)

In the republic of mediocrity genius is dangerous. -Robert G. Ingersoll, lawyer and orator (1833-1899)

Whoever imagines himself a favorite with God holds others in contempt. -Robert Green Ingersoll, lawyer and orator (1833-1899)

We will bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security. -Dwight David Eisenhower, U.S. general and 34th president (1890-1969)

Which of us is not forever a stranger and alone? -Thomas Wolfe, novelist (1900-1938)

A king can stand people fighting but he can't last long if people start thinking. -Will Rogers, humorist (1879-1935)

The problem with being sure that God is on your side is that you can't change your mind, because God sure isn't going to change His. -Roger Ebert, film-critic (1942- )

An open mind is a prerequisite to an open heart. -Robert M. Sapolsky, neuroscientist and author (1957- )

Literature is the language of society, as speech is the language of man. -Louis de Bonald, philosopher and politician (1754-1840)

It is one of the maladies of our age to profess a frenzied allegiance to truth in unimportant matters, to refuse consistently to face her where graver issues are at stake. -Janos Arany, poet (1817-1882)

Neither a man nor a crowd nor a nation can be trusted to act humanely or to think sanely under the influence of a great fear. -Bertrand Russell, philosopher, mathematician, author, Nobel laureate (1872-1970)

I don't hate my enemies. After all, I made 'em. -Red Skelton, comedian (1913-1997)

Words are things; and a small drop of ink / Falling like dew upon a thought, produces / That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think. -Lord Byron, poet (1788-1824)

Creative activity could be described as a type of learning process where teacher and pupil are located in the same individual. -Arthur Koestler, novelist and journalist (1905-1983)

When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people. -Abraham Joshua Heschel, theology professor (1907-1972)

I place economy among the first and most important republican virtues, and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. -Thomas Jefferson, third US president, architect and author (1743-1826)

Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little. -Edmund Burke, statesman and writer (1729-1797)

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. -Albert Einstein, physicist, Nobel laureate (1879-1955)

Whoever, in the pursuit of science, seeks after immediate practical utility, may generally rest assured that he will seek in vain. -H.L.F. von Helmholtz, physiologist and physicist (1821-1894)

The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. -Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd US President (1882-1945)

These are not books, lumps of lifeless paper, but minds alive on the shelves. -Gilbert Highet, writer (1906-1978)

In all history there is no war which was not hatched by the governments, the governments alone, independent of the interests of the people, to whom war is always pernicious even when successful. -Leo Tolstoy, author (1828-1910)

We are not the same persons this year as last; nor are those we love. It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person. -William Somerset Maugham, writer (1874-1965)

If writers were good businessmen, they'd have too much sense to be writers. -Irwin S. Cobb, author and journalist (1876-1944)

If you want to work on your art, work on your life. -Anton Chekhov, short-story writer and dramatist (1860-1904)

A society that presumes a norm of violence and celebrates aggression, whether in the subway, on the football field, or in the conduct of its business, cannot help making celebrities of the people who would destroy it. -Lewis H. Lapham, editor and writer (1935- )

When angry, count to four; when very angry, swear. -Mark Twain, author and humorist (1835-1910)

Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough. -Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd US President (1882-1945)

The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another, and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it. -J.M. Barrie, novelist and playwright (1860-1937)

Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know. -Ernest Hemingway, author and journalist, Nobel laureate (1899-1961)

When people are fanatically dedicated to political or religious faiths or any other kind of dogmas or goals, it's always because these dogmas or goals are in doubt. -Robert T. Pirsig, author and philosopher (1928- )

Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. -Francis Bacon, essayist, philosopher, and statesman (1561-1626)

The power to command frequently causes failure to think. -Barbara Tuchman, author and historian (1912-1989)

For me, words are a form of action, capable of influencing change. -Ingrid Bengis, writer and teacher (1944- )

Laws too gentle are seldom obeyed; too severe, seldom executed. -Benjamin Franklin, statesman, author, and inventor (1706-1790)

It is lamentable, that to be a good patriot one must become the enemy of the rest of mankind. -Voltaire, philosopher (1694-1778)

Literature is the art of writing something that will be read twice; journalism what will be grasped at once. -Cyril Connolly, critic and editor (1903-1974)

The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude. -Aldous Huxley, novelist (1894-1963)

In the case of good books, the point is not how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you. -Mortimer J. Adler, philosopher, educator and author (1902-2001)

Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. -Friedrich Nietzsche, philosopher (1844-1900)

The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone. -Harriet Beecher Stowe, abolitionist and novelist (1811-1896)

An idea is not responsible for the people who believe in it. -Don Marquis, humorist and poet (1878-1937)

New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common. -John Locke, philosopher (1632-1704)

Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.--John Steinbeck, novelist, Nobel laureate (1902-1968)

A quiet conscience sleeps in thunder. -English proverb

Questions show the mind's range, and answers its subtlety. -Joseph Joubert, essayist (1754-1824)

The voice of conscience is so delicate that it is easy to stifle it; but it is also so clear that it is impossible to mistake it. -Madame De Stael, writer (1766-1817)

Political freedom cannot exist in any land where religion controls the state, and religious freedom cannot exist in any land where the state controls religion. -Samuel James Ervin Jr., lawyer, judge, and senator (1896-1985)

You can't do anything about the length of your life, but you can do something about its width and depth. -H.L. Mencken, writer, editor, and critic (1880-1956)

Learning is weightless, a treasure you can always carry easily. -Chinese Proverb

To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting. -Edmund Burke, statesman and writer (1729-1797)

A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case he is justly accountable to them for the injury. -John Stuart Mill, philosopher and economist (1806-1873)

Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it. -Flannery O'Connor, writer (1925-1964)

In this age, the mere example of nonconformity, the mere refusal to bend the knee to custom, is itself a service. -John Stuart Mill, philosopher and economist (1806-1873)

The high minded man must care more for the truth than for what people think. -Aristotle, philosopher (384-322 BCE)

You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions. -Naguib Mahfouz, writer (1911- )

It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry. -Thomas Paine, philosopher and writer (1737-1809)

The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready he is to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause. A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business. - Eric Hoffer, philosopher and author (1902-1983)

A sneer is the weapon of the weak. -James Russell Lowell, poet, editor, and diplomat (1819-1891)

People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them. -Dave Barry, author and columnist (1947- )

They defend their errors as if they were defending their inheritance. -Edmund Burke, statesman and writer (1729-1797)