November 2, 2008

VFTR called out by OBR - film at 11

In a viscious (and viscous) and unprovoked spitball of a post, the author of the Outer Banks Republic Blog, one Monticello
(hereafter referred to as "He who just doesn't get it about the press or Barack Obama or Sarah Palin or much of anything else except beach nourishment and SS Mayor Don Smith" or Hwjdgiatp[or] BO[or] SP [or] moaeebnaSSMDS for short)
has chosen to link my shots at Repubican VP candidate Sarah Palin (here, here and here) to the great liberal media conspiracy to elect Barack Obama. Before I skewer his thesis about the press let me begin by telling my good friend a simple fact of life. I AM NOT UNBIASED. I have never claimed to present a balanced view of anything and frankly you don't either (though I did think that OBR's piece on not voting for Obama was thoughtful and had some balance, wrong of course, but not entirely one sided), Anyway. I express opinions generally supported by facts I have chosen. There are often elements and arguments that may have some limited merit that I choose to flagrantly ignore. Ergo (therefore in Plato talk) get off my case and certainly don't compare my efforts to keep my blogspot subscription from expiring to Fox News. Those are fighting words. I am not mainstream media, don't claim to be. I do try to present my biases up front, especially when discussing local issues. So here goes, I voted for Barack Obama, among my reasons was the fact, FACT, that Sarah Palin does not have enough experience in national or international affairs to be President. Some people think Sen. Obama doesn't either but I am clearly not one of them. With the fact in mind I have chosen to post a couple of stories that bespoke to her inadaquacies. Apparently OBR, or Hwjdgiatp[or] BO[or]moaeebnaSSMDS as he is also know, only reads my blog and the headlines on CNN. If you don't like what I wrote then write something that debunks it. Oh that's right you did. You don't see me pointing out that while you didn't like my jab at Palin over the Kahlidi thing, you chose to ignore the fact that a group led by McCain give Kahlidi's group about a half a million dollars. I don't throw stuff like that in your face do I? I post a piece by a woman who unlike you has actually met Sarah Palin and you say that she is bitchy? You don't dispute a single fact she presents but you say she is bitchy and I am biased. Hey, think for just a minute about the fact that I can see into every room in your house [metaphorically] before you go tossing those ballast rocks at my log cabin!
But enough about me, lets talk about the national press. The First Amendment to the US Constitutions reads as follows:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
It does not say that: Congress shall pass a law that insures the press is fair and balanced in its coverage of the news. Do you know why? Because there is no fair and frankly the press, particularly the for profit press which is nearly all of it, is not designed to be fair. The whole reason to protect the press is so it can say whatever it wants no matter how biased or even inaccurate it is.
Why is this important? Well, lets see, first of all who gets to say what "fair" or "balanced" is. I'll take the job but you might not like my take. Likewise I don't plan on letting you set the rules any time soon. So if we can't do it then who should? The answer is simple, no one. In the marketplace of ideas the people get to vote with their eyes and ears. Unfortunately the media has become better at attracting eyes and ears than at telling the truth (if there is such a thing). The only saving grace is that the Internet lets people like you and me scream foul to anyone who will listen. I tend to do it on local issues like the OB Sentinel on historic homes. You, apparently set your sights a little higher, like trying to make the major networks dance to your choice of stories and spin. Good luck. Even though you may be right it doesn't matter, the media doesn't respond to right, just to readers.
Some media chose to draw ad dollars by providing very straight news, the Coastland Times comes to mind. The opinion is found on the editorial page, the news is straight, although some stories make it and some don't, value judgments are made. The alternative is the Outer Banks Sentinel. the Fox News of the Outer Banks. The Sentinel has chosen to run a number of press releases for me and I appreciate that. The editorial page was fair to us during the beach nourishment referendum but the paper, as a matter of policy, slants its stories. It tries to sell papers by selling scandal and sensationalism, It is their choice and I am happy they can make it.
Somehow OBR seems to think the world isn't driven by profit and markets. That we only need one news source that tells "The real balanced story". Not going to happen and it shouldn't. YOu choose your sources and I'll choose mine and maybe between us we will come close to the truth.
He remembers de'Tocqueville but forgets Ayn Rand. News networks, newspapers, news web sites all are driven by advertising dollars. Their decisions are dictated by what stories sell. The frame stories by what they find people respond to.
It is hard to understand why Monty would expect anything else. The framers of the constitution understood much better than we do that the press is a political tool. In 1776 papers were partisan, totally partisan. Slander and distortion were common tools. The framers understood that even if they didn't like some papers, it was important that they be allowed to say whatever they wanted and that the market would control who succeeded and who failed. The government could not be allowed to do it because there was too much at stake.
Enough about theory. The press is running stories detailing the problems in the McCain campaign because the problems are there. The don't run those stories about the Campaign for Change because Barack Obama and his team have run a masterful campaign. Very few mistakes, always on message, no infighting, no one pissing outside the tent. All the disputes and debates have been kept inside. This means the press can't write about Joe Biden's wardrobe for 4 days straight, they didn't make that mistake. Obama's choice for VP could give coherent answers to policy questions out of the gate, no stories there. The McCain campaign changed horses and themes like a surf fisherman who isn't catching fishing at Cape Point and who knows he may never get back again because of ecoterrorism. Obama didn't create his own negative news, McCain did. End of story.
There are so many things wrong with OBR's post. He complains that CBS featured the CBS polling data to the exclusion of others. Well gee last time I looked McDonalds didn't post Arby's menu. Of course they focused on their poll to their views. What should they do start saying "Well our poll says this but go over to NBC because their poll says that so they must be right" Come one Monty, get real. Of course CBS features their poll, they did the poll so they could feature it not to compare it to other polls - THAT IS OUR JOB!!
Enough rant. Here is the takeaway. I am biased, the press is driven by the market not by balance and that is OK because the alternative is worse. Finally it is everyone's responsibility to get the news they need and if they don't like it to create their own version of it. Just like me. Just like Outer Banks Republic. Your posts aren't balanced either and that's good and that's why I continue to read them.
Ciao
Note: If you really want the best news service in this country listen to NPR Morning Edition, BBC World News and All Things Considered. This is the most thoughtful and in depth coverage of national and internation events going. It is even fun (except at fund raising time).

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