Monday, February 08, 2010

Stupor Bowl Saturday?

Flipping the dials this past Saturday I stumbled upon FOX's lengthy infomercial for Sarah Palin, who was giving her much-ballyhooed keynote address to the Tea Party Convention. So far as I could tell, FOX covered the speech (which is to say, showed it) live and in its entirety. I could be wrong, and if I am I'll happily stand corrected, but I don't recall FOX giving that kind of air timeeven to a person who held an actual elective officesince I-don't-know-when (leaving aside formal wall-to-wall events like Obama's State of the Union gig). To my mind, any remaining questions about whether FOX is a serious "news organization" were answered Saturday night. 'Twould appear the network regards Job 1 as doing whatever it can to fuel Palin's presidential ambitions. Sean "DMoTV" Hannity must be especially thrilled; his body language around Palin is such that I bet he has to change his shorts after interviewing her each time.

I also have to laugh: So FOX is America's "most watched" and "most trusted" cable network, eh? It wins the ratings wars? Folks, so does The Bachelor. Absent a context, ratings
mean nothing. The reason FOX wins the ratings wars is that there's no clear counterpart on the Left; network support for Obama and the Dems is much more subtle and diffuse, spread across all three major networks and any number of other lesser players, like MSNBC. But if you want right-wing agenda, unadulterated and unapologetic—if you want to hear a worldview that you "trust"you go to FOX.

However, none of this is my reason for writing today, which is as follows: Palin at one point said something like, "America needs to get back to being a God-fearing nation" that relies on "divine intervention" to carry the day. To which I would reply, God, if you're really up there, please intervene NOW and prevent this ignorant/sanctimonious*/dangerous woman from gaining further political traction.

* Also, somebody find Palin and tell her what sanctimonious means.


Anonymous said...

And I suppose you think MSNBC is a serious news organization, as you put it?

Steve Salerno said...

Anon, I have posted often about MSNBC's deficiencies in the area of fairness, and also have written critically in the mainstream media (for the WSJ among others) about the overall lack of fairness at the networks--though I do think things aren't nearly as bad today as they were pre-Bernie Goldberg. In fact, during the '08 election cycle, I applauded MSNBC's decision to take the colossally pro-Obama Keith Olbermann off its Convention coverage.

There are times when I think some degree of overall conversance with the blog and its themes should be required of those who comment. This is one of those times.

Anonymous said...

I wish you were this passionate about the oust of Obama.

Steve Salerno said...

Steph: So you're saying you want him ousted. Can I ask why?

Anonymous said...

He has done nothing. He has his priorities completley screwed up. Instead of being so concerned with healthcare his first year maybe he needed to be more concerned with the unemployment rate.

If people had jobs they would have more access to healthcare. People don't need COBRA expanded!! COBRA is sooooooooo expensive until when you are unemployed you can't even afford to be on it. But we need more COBRA coverage and longer coverage. WRONG. Now he gets it a YEAR later. Idiot.

This is an example of priorities being screwed up. But he won't admit that. He is talk, talk, talk, blah, blah, blah. This is MY agenda. Why doesn't he stay in the White House and WORK?

I could go on.... but I think you get the point. He works for the people. We don't work for him and we don't need to be the one's to change. He does.

The people will speak in the next election. He won't be back.

And please don't think I am implying Palin would do a better job because I am not.

Steve Salerno said...

Steph: I'm curious, did you vote for the man originally and now you're disillusioned? Or were you never--illusioned--to begin with?

I would also ask you to consider 3 things. 1. How much of what we've seen over the past year was the inevitable vestige of George Bush? Do you actually think all this happened only because Obama is in office? 2. What could Obama have done to create jobs, do you think, that wouldn't have involved even greater "meddling" in the American free market, which was on the verge of total collapse when he took office? And finally, 3. How can you really blame the man when the GOP membership (and even members of his own party) have fought him tooth-and-nail over every semicolon?

LizaJane said...

All you need to do is get everyone to watch the documentary "Outfoxed" and you'll never have to debate or even discuss whether Fox is or is not a "news" outlet again.

I wouldn't mind Fox, and could ignore it along with a host of other programs (e.g. "The Bachelor") if they were honest and straightforward and said, "This is opinion. We are here to confirm what you already believe, make you feel good about yourself, and show you exactly what you want to see. We are not here to inform or educate." But they don't.

Have you read "Your Call Is Important to Us: The Truth About Bullshit?" If not, do. I really think you'd enjoy it.

Steve Salerno said...

LZJ: Yes, I did indeed read the book. Along with the other one, "On Bullshit," which sketched the teleological underpinnings, if you will, of bullshit. Apropos of Ms. Penny's title, I am reminded of the inspired irony of Southwest Airlines' customer-service programs back when the airline was being run by the mad genius, Herb Kelleher (whom I once profiled for Worth Magazine, when it really stood for something). In those bad old days, if you called Southwest and were on hold for a while, you'd get a recorded message like so: "If you've been on hold for more than 45 seconds, please press 8 now. It won't make anything happen, but it may make you feel better..."

Markus said...

Steve, are you aware that Sarah Palin used crib notes during the Q&A?

Steve Salerno said...

Markus: Yes, I heard that.

I don't mean to be unkind, but I'm betting that this woman uses crib notes on the toilet...

Henriette said...

Gosh, this woman truly scares me. Is she as dumb as he appears? She never even told the Big O what newspapers she read.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand these vicious attacks on Sarah Palin. I listen to her and I think she's very sincere, and she has some good ideas. Where do you people come off making her out to be a moron? To me she doesn't sound all that different from anyone else in politics, for better or worse.

You talk alot about partisanship and bias. But that's just what's happening here. You dislike the woman because she represents ideas you're opposed to, so you reject her out of hand and do everything you can to tear her down. You're doing the same thing Fox is doing except in reverse.

Anonymous said...

There is a whole lot of hate for the former governor of Alaska. Why? Because she is stupid. And Reagan was stupid. And Dan Quayle was stupid. And George Bush was so stupid that he didn't even believe in global warming! Sure, he had a Harvard MBA, but he was stupid.
Bob Dole was old. And McCain was old. So if you are a Republican, you are either old (and out-of-touch) or stupid. And Fox News is a lightweight advocacy group for the old and stupid Republicans, while MSNBC and NBC, CBS and ABC are fair and legitimate news organizations.

Face it Steve, you hate Palin because she didn't abort her retarded kid. That kind of decision really gnaws at you.

Markus said...

Anonymous said...

"I don't understand these vicious attacks on Sarah Palin. I listen to her and I think she's very sincere, and she has some good ideas. Where do you people come off making her out to be a moron? To me she doesn't sound all that different from anyone else in politics, for better or worse."

Sincere has got nothing to do with it. Kanye West was sincere when he took the microphone from Taylor Swift during her acceptance speech. Doesn't mean that they're right.

As for ideas, "Drill Baby Drill" isn't an idea, it's an empty slogan.

And when Tina Fey can do an impersonation of Palin without changing the words, that does make her worse than others in politics.

She's gone from potential VP to walking punchline in record time. Letterman will have something to say about the crib notes.

Cal said...

Don't you think that Palin is this election cycles' version of Obama?
They both:

1) were unknowns until they each gave what was considered rousing speeches at their respective parties' national conventions during a presidential election year

2) had/have very thin legislative the opposite side can't point to much that would make them too controversial to the average voter

3) somewhat related to the prior point...become media darlings in some quarters because of their perceived charisma and lack of negatives,

4) they both rely on either notes or a teleprompter to an amazing degree...(trying to be somewhat humorous here)

I know Palin was supposed to be under an ethics investigation, but it doesn't sound like they have found much there. And even if they did, I still don't think it would amount to anything to stop her from running in '12.

Karl said...

God, if you're really up there, please intervene NOW and prevent this ignorant/sanctimonious*/dangerous woman from gaining further political traction.

Amen to that.

Rumor has it that she is being coached by Dan Quayle, one of the giant intellects of the GOP.

Steve Salerno said...

Not quite sure how to take all of these comments--particularly Anon 12:34, last night--but some of 'em are pretty funny.

Steve Salerno said...

I meant 11:34. Getting senile.

Steve Salerno said...

Wait..are we still allowed to say "senile"?

RevRon's Rants said...

We old guys can say pretty much anything we want. And if folks get PO'ed at something we say, we'll just forget about their anger in 5 minutes, anyway. :-)

Yekaterina said...

Are we still allowed to say senile? hahaha

I received a verbal beating from my 11 year old for referring to someone as a negro in conversation the other day. African American, she corrected me somewhat bent out of shape. (She goes to an International American School BTW) After explaining to her that "in my day" black, negro, and colored were all acceptable forms of referring to black people (I can't bring myself to use the horrible African American) it made me wonder, can our children no longer tell when someone is being insulting and when not just by context? Can the American public in general?

Steve Salerno said...

YKat: OK, but--seriously--I kinda side with your daughter here. You really shouldn't be using the word "Negro" anymore. I think you're a very nice lady, from what I know of you, and I'm sure you don't mean anything by it. But to too many others who hear it, it's going to sound like you were asleep during all those decades when racial progress was made. :)

LizaJane said...

Sarah Palin isn't "stupid." She's average. And for some reason, that's what many Americans want. They want a soccer/hockey mom who doesn't read -- someone they can relate to. Someone who resembles them (although slimmer, prettier, wittier, and better dressed).

Me, I am looking for someone smarter, wiser, more diversely educated and experienced, and more even-keeled than I, to run the country. I'm pretty smart and pretty well educated, but I don't feel qualified to run the country. I want someone "better" than little old me. And she is not. She's more ambitious, and I give her kudos for going after what she wants and being successful in the field she's chosen... but she's not smarter.

I'm not opposed to Sarah Palin because of her "ideas." I'm opposed to Sarah Palin -- as a politician, not as a human being or a mom or a hockey fan -- because she's just a regular person. There is nothing, beyond her ambition, outstanding or extraordinary about her. She appeals to those who, without irony or self-consciousness, use the words "academic" and "elitist" as slurs to mean highly educated, well-read, thoughtful.

Sarah Palin, like Dubya, would probably be delightful to have brunch with, or go to a matinee with, or even play a little golf with (if I played golf). But, just as I wouldn't consider my dry-cleaner (super-nice), my kid's pre-K and elementary school teachers (educated, but in a limited way), my mail man (salt of the earth), and any number of other "regular" folks, qualified to run the country, I don't find Sarah Palin qualified to run the country or to make decisions on our behalf. Someone making big decisions should have a big, big brain and should have stretched and flexed that brain for several decades, at the highest possible levels. For example, editing the Harvard Law Review.

No, she's not stupid. She's smart in many ways -- she knows how to manipulate people, how to market herself, how to get elected. She's not "worthless" and I see no reason to slander her (or anyone else). But she's not very intelligent or educated (formally or informally) and does not appear the least bit ashamed of that.

I want a leader who IS intelligent and proud of it -- whether I agree with every conclusion s/he reaches, or not. At least if I trust the person's intelligence and experience, I can trust that they've reached their opinions and decisions through a thorough process of RATIONAL THOUGHT, and not by, say, twirling a Magic 8 Ball or consulting a self-help guru.

Steve Salerno said...

LZJ: You said many of the exact same things my wife has said on the topic: in particular that she thinks Palin might be fun to "hang out with" and is probably a very nice lady at heart, but one that she (my wife) would never want to see running the country.

You know what, though? In observing some of the actions (or inactions) of the Obama administration, I'm once again reminded of Jimmy Carter, the last generally acknowledged "intellectual" to occupy the Oval Office before Obama. (Bill Clinton was considered very bright, but he also had that certain down-home quality, and his demons undermined him and his image). By the end of his term, people had concluded that Carter was too bright to be running a country; that he suffered from analysis-paralysis; that he was always examining a given proposal from 400 different rational angles and seeing the merit in all (as intelligent people tend to). Which is why very little got done, and America ended up getting humiliated on the world stage.

Some would argue that what we really need running America is the single-minded zealot, not terribly bright or analytical, who doesn't trouble himself (or herself) with meta-analysis, but goes with his or her gut in following Nike's slogan: Just do it. And s/he relies on advisers to supply the analysis.

Then again...didn't we have someone very much like that, not long ago?

Dimension Skipper said...

Some would argue that what we really need running America is the single-minded zealot..." yadda yadda yadda.

"Then again...didn't we have someone very much like that, not long ago?"


You mean this guy? That popped up on my Snopes new items feed today.

I find it amusing that it's so mysterious and people can't figure if the signs are pro- or anti-Obama or even what the point is exactly. I just like the idea of someone (or a group of someones) sitting back having a good laugh at folks trying to figure it out. Kind of an expensive joke, though, if that's what it is, but if it's not a joke then they probably should have made their message a lot clearer.

Yekaterina said...

You weren't asking if you were allowed to use the word senile seriously were you? It sounded as if you were making a subtle crack at the "word gestapos" who get all up in arms when someone uses non-politically correct terminology. But then you turned around and told me that I really shouldn't be using the word "Negro" lest people think I was asleep during all those decades when racial progress was being made(even though you're sure I didn't mean anything by it and you think I am a nice lady.)

This is exactly my point. Its like Pavlov's Dog. A certain word is used and people jump, sometimes all the way to indignation, in spite of what is actually being expressed.

The words moron, imbecile and idiot fell out of favor because of derogatory usage and were replaced by mentally retarded, which in turn fell out of favor because of derogatory usage and was replaced by new terminology, which will fall out of favor because of derogatory usage, and so on and so forth.

Is this progress?

Is changing the terminology from colored to negro to black to African American to "insert new terminology here" actual racial progress?

I wasn't asleep during the time the words colored, negro and black fell out of favor and were replaced by African American in U.S. culture (some of the above mentioned words fell out of favor way before my time actually, but were used, respectfully, by my parents while I was growing up.) I moved to a country where these words (negro, colored) are still in use, and acceptable. (The word negro simply means black in Spanish.)

The term African American doesn't make sense except in the United States where, generally, the people being referred to are actual African Americans. Nelson Mandela is not.

And a last little tidbit of info: The United States Census Bureau announced that Negro would be included on the 2010 United States Census, alongside "Black" and "African-American," because some older Americans still self-identify with the term.

The nice lady has sung Steve. ;-)

Steve Salerno said...

Ykat: As I often say of the blog in the overall, there are two layers here. On a purely personal basis, I don't really care what people call each other, though my of-stated preference is that we simply stop thinking in racial terms, period. I don't see why it's necessary to refer to people with darker skin as "black." As I've also said, I have distant relatives who are at least as dark as Barack--so why is he "black," when they're "white"? Of course, I refute the idea that he's "black" in any case. He's as much "white" as he is "black."

OTOH, I'm simply telling you that if you walk around in today's society offhandedly referring to people as "Negroes," and you don't happen to be one yourself, you're asking for all kinds of trouble. I'm even willing to bet that an employee who referred to fellow employees as "Negroes" would be sent to counseling/sensitivity training and then, if he or she persisted, would be fired. That's just how it is.

Yekaterina said...

Yea, I know. :-) It's a crazy world we live in...