Democrats & Liberals Archives

Radical Indifference to the Truth

My first year in college, I had two classes that were fairly germane to this subject. First was Film and Electronic Media Aesthetics. Put simply, the nuts and bolts principles of camera work, audio recording and processing, and video editing. My other class was the basic introduction to journalism, which taught me a strong respect for what journalists do to get the story the right way. Nothing of what I learned in either class gives me cause to respect what Andrew Breitbart, James O’Keefe, or Lila Rose do.

Editing is magic. You can completely change the meaning of a given scene using it, or connect events that are entirely unrelated in time and space. You can compress events that take a couple hours into a couple minutes. You can cut a different set of hands in to represent the actor's, and unless you tell people, folks will hardly notice.

We were taught things like cutting on the action, keeping on one side of a 180 degree line, using cutaways, and such. Trust me: using those, you can insert a shot taken ten or twenty minutes afterwards in the middle of an action, and not only will nobody notice, but it will seem completely natural, provided the shots are lined up properly.

Media deceptions that rely on these kinds of tricks are particularly insidious. It's one thing to be biased. A person can be unconsciously so. But trust me when I say, there is nothing accidental about what those conservative media activists did. You can't slip, trip, and match a shot of you walking in with a pimp suit to a video of you talking with hidden footage of ACORN employees, nor doctor the video to such an extent that those seeing the whole video come out with a different idea.

Nor is such an accidentwhen you take full footage of an NAACP event, and cut out the redeeming portion of a speech on racism, thus ruining a woman's career. Breitbart, in this case, said something to the effect that he got the video edited as is. Well, if he's a journalist, he should want to see the whole video, even if he's a heavily biased journalist. Why? Well, the outcome of the story, with Sherrod vindicated, would be part of the reason why. If you care about your credibility, you don't want to be caught short when somebody actually looks up the source and learns more than you did.

When somebody makes a sensational claim about something on a video, and the video is editted, it becomes important to see the whole video. Like my professor said, the camera always lies. The shot you see could have been made miles away and days later. Worse yet, exonerating information could have been edited from the full information. Or, as often happens, the camera might never catch what happens next, off-camera.

As is the case in the Planned Parenthood Sting, done by Lila Rose's Live Action group. They claim that Planned Parenthood covered up for the child molesting pimps and prostitutes who sought out their services.

That, despite the fact that Planned Parenthood reported their suspicions to the FBI immediately, confusing the sting for a possible child sex ring.

How about their most recent video, their hit piece on NPR?

The Blaze, a conservative site associated with Glenn Beck found it rather questionable, noting plenty of points where mitigating dialogue and references were cut out.

Their conclusion?

And that is only on the issue of going undercover. But even if you are of the opinion, as I am, that undercover reporting is acceptable and ethical in very defined situations, it is another thing to approve of editing tactics that seem designed to intentionally lie or mislead about the material being presented.

My professor described what we do as akin to brain surgery, and cautioned us to be responsible in what we were doing. Video and audio can be very powerful and persuasive, even when they present a selective, distorted, even dishonest view of events, people, and whatever else. It's part of the reason why I don't consider something true merely because it seems compelling. But I've been taught the tricks of the trade, so I know where the editing splices may be, I know what a person on a nonlinear editor can do.

I can understand the eagerness of Conservative to believe in what these videos say. Tricks like this work especially well on people who want the communicated message to be true. I know the Conservatives love to talk about liberal bias in the mainstream media, but they should be most concerned about their own bias, as journalists and as consumers of that news.

With Breitbart, O'Keefe, and Rose, the point seems to be to attack and destroy organizations that have challenged them, or represent tempting political targets. The Sherrod attack was to get back at the NAACP. The ACORN sting was to strike at the reputation and image of a group that supported the President and other liberals, to strike at "community organizing" as well. Planned Parenthood is obvious, and so is NPR, long reviled as part of the liberal media. No doubt, many conservatives reading this will think that the organizations deserve to be attacked, and must have more skeletons in their closet.

When the sting of the sting lies more in the techniques used, though, you're not really getting what you want, and they're not really looking all that well for the real meat of the story. They're trying to provoke these incidents, trying to deliberately, strategically push the media narrative in one direction. But they're doing it short of real substance. This is simply meant to push the buttons of conservatives, to give them that feel of vindication. But for what?

NPR didn't actually accept or even think of accepting donations from a non-profit that did not have the tax records to prove it existed. Planned Parenthood reported these apparent underage prostitutes and their apparent pimps to the FBI. ACORN Employees were generally cleared of wrong doing, and the video, once seen in whole, cast doubt on what was seen in part. Shirley Sherrod? Breitbart's back to ranting about the settlement on the discrimination case that black farmers brought, and she is generally acknowledged to have been wronged.

These media artists aren't really digging up information, reporting on a case of substance, on events as they occured. They aren't doing what Michael Lewis did with Wall Street in Liars Poker or The End, showing how deep the deception went in the Wall Street of the Eighties and of the last decade. They aren't uncovering the evidence of a massive coverup, like Bernstein and Woodward did with Watergate. They aren't even really matching the Opinion page firepower of Edward R. Murrow, in confronting McCarthy over his fearmongering.

In fact, their effect on the audience is somewhat like that joke in Billy Madison: The Audience is dumber for having heard it, less well informed, with less of a grasp on reality. They are so frightened of being lead around by the nose by the Liberal media, even while their own media manipulates them worse. Worse yet, if these are the kinds of media tactics these folks employ, eventually they'll really discredit themselves, and these stings will become dismissed rather handily, and even if true, the allegations will always bear the taint of the previous dishonesty, the previous stretching of the truth.

This is not about the freedom of crusading journalists to get out the truth. This is about the responsbilities that they owe not only the public who they seek to convince of these things, but the audience who trusts them, unfortunately, so implicitly.

If the conservative media, in its compelling need to reshape the perceptions of a country to suit its political ends, compromises or sacrifices the truth to get the kind of stories they want to tell, they are building whatever rise of their party that they can inspire on a bubble of mistruth, one that will inevitably lead to a correction in the marketplace ideas, and drop in the stock of the movement.

In fact, we can say that one crash already happened, in 2006 and 2008. Stuffing their audience with propaganda for most of the decade before, FOXNews and outlets like it, rather than keep their politicians accountable, covered for them, let them get away with terrible mistakes and malfeasances. When the bill came due, when so many of the supported policies failed, conservatives were dealt a terrible political blow.

If your movement is not backed on substance, it's on a fool's errand. It will imagine crises where there aren't any, and miss them where they really exist. It will push policy that doesn't work until things break, and avoid the policies that could solve things because there is no political pressure for them to get it right. It will distort that movement's perceptions on how it is viewed by outsiders, and what kind of mandate it has.

Ultimately, even when you win by these kinds of methods, you lose. As the linked study indicates, people who were given the ability to cheat on a test dramatically overestimated their skills, overestimated the quality of their work on the next test, even though their method of taking that test meant more than any actual skill they had.

The body doesn't know the difference between winning the right way, and winning the wrong way. We feel the reward for getting what we want, for seeking out things the way we are. We can become addicted to doing things the wrong way, questioning with great uncertainty the costs and the trouble of reforming ourselves and our endeavors, until things come to a crisis, and our sorely underdeveloped skillsets are put to the test.

We need integrity and honesty, not merely because these things are nice, but because they help keep the distance between the truth and our actions small, letting us avoid the terrible consequences of building the order of our lives on deceptions. As long as conservatives sell themselves in the marketplace of ideas on these false premises, as long as they build their power on this kind of error, they will be vulnerable to what you might call a correction in that market. Their government officials will screw things up more badly, because they are not truly held accountable. Their policies will fail, because there's more propaganda than truth in what drives them. Conservative sources will bear the taint of their dishonestly, like the boy who cries wolf, until their credibility is pretty much intact only among the party faithful.

Conservatives need more folks who put the facts ahead of the movement, who check what is real and what is accurate before they follow their political instincts. A conservatism that depends on falsehood to sell it is a conservatism that cannot truly sell itself in the long run. Only by operating from a truthful place can whatever policy manifest conservatism as it should be, where it does actual good for the country. Only then can any political philosophy be a blessing and not a curse on this country.

Debate whether my politics are consistent with reality, if you wish, and I will debate you back. The only way, though, for that debate to be a productive debate is if we stick to the facts, rather than going around trying to manipulate people to positions the real facts can't support.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at March 14, 2011 2:18 PM
Comment #320128

It’s a good thing only conservatives do these types of things eh, Stephen Daugherty? Heaven forbid someone like, say, Dan Rather, get on the news and use fake information to slander someone because of his political beliefs.

Let’s all thank… Ourselves.. that liberal news journolists are as clean as the wind-driven snow and above this type of behavour.

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 14, 2011 4:12 PM
Comment #320133

The people at Huffington, Daily Kos and MSNBC and a few other Liberal Media outlets never use half truths, Right Stephen. LOL

Posted by: KAP at March 14, 2011 5:09 PM
Comment #320136

Of course Michael Moore doesn’t do those kind of things, does he SD. ABC, CBS, NBC, et al have never onece done those kind of dastardly deeds, have they SD.

And just for the record James O’Keefe is a progressive liberal as he has said he is in his own words on someone elses camera. But you know those cameras could be a mile away and give the wrong perspective.

Are you so ignorant that you believe all the footage shot is of value to anybody? People in the industry edit all the time to get the 30 secs that are alloted on the broadcast.

So let me get this straight. SD believes PP, Acorn, and NPR said some things on camera, but other people put the stuff together so that chronologically the footage was edited to show something else.

SD how many people on WB got off the boat last night?

The FBI has not said they got any reports from PP for anything. Ya gotta get better sources SD.

When you plant your watermelon, watch out you might get cumquatts.

Posted by: tom humes at March 14, 2011 6:27 PM
Comment #320139

BTW-Your title of this post fits what you have written very well.

Posted by: tom humes at March 14, 2011 6:41 PM
Comment #320140

You know, Stephen, you don’t have to put up with the crap thrown around by these posters. They are abusers in every sense of the word and they find safety in the pack.
You have been very much an integral part of this site for a long time and you deserve and need to demand better.
The pack mentality has engulfed them and they smell blood……too bad most of it is their own.
You notice that most of the long-time frequenters of this site have stopped coming in, and we know exactly why that is.

Posted by: jane doe at March 14, 2011 7:01 PM
Comment #320141

Well Jane when only half truths come out in a post, what do you expect.

Posted by: KAP at March 14, 2011 7:18 PM
Comment #320142

I find it interesting that Mr. Daugherty took two classes as a freshman and is now, by his comments, pedaling himself off as some kind of cinematic expert. I couldn’t read through his entire post as my eyes began to glaze over from the “puffery” so I don’t know if he took more advanced classes or not. Did he pass the classes I wonder?

Regardless, what do you call a person who finished last in his/her class for a degree in medicine?


Posted by: Royal Flush at March 14, 2011 7:46 PM
Comment #320144

The difference is Dan Rather was telling the truth.

Posted by: Jeff at March 14, 2011 7:50 PM
Comment #320145

Thanks for the laugh Jeff. Even his own employer didn’t believe him.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 14, 2011 7:52 PM
Comment #320146


I heard a rumor that Dan Rather had it so bad he was going to leagally change his name to Damn Blather. lol

Posted by: tom humes at March 14, 2011 8:02 PM
Comment #320147

Tom Humes wrote: “The FBI has not said they got any reports from PP for anything. Ya gotta get better sources SD.”

Of course they haven’t. The FBI and the DOJ have stated in response to questions about the PP issue, that they don’t comment on current investigations. That’s hardly a statement that they haven’t received any reports.

There is no factual issue as to whether the national PP contacted DOJ about an apparent hoax in a number of PP locations in different states or the actual existence of an underage sex trafficking ring. The letter is available to anyone who wishes to see it.

Posted by: Rich at March 14, 2011 8:04 PM
Comment #320151
First was Film and Electronic Media Aesthetics. Put simply, the nuts and bolts principles of camera work, audio recording and processing, and video editing. My other class was the basic introduction to journalism, which taught me a strong respect for what journalists do to get the story the right way.
Posted by Stephen Daugherty at March 14, 2011 02:18 PM

Liberals dominate hollywood.
Liberals dominate the media.
Liberals dominate the press.
Liberals dominate government, by rote.

Why do you think your education is special, Stephen Daugherty? What makes you an objective expert?

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 14, 2011 10:01 PM
Comment #320155

His education is special because he is an elitist liberal and his po don’t stink. Honestly, I don’t think a person could believe anything he says.

Thank you Jane Doe for your words of wisdom. One can always count on you to come to the rescue of a liberal looser. Thank you for your snippets…

Has anyone ever noticed how small dogs are? First, small dogs always have a bad temper, and then small dogs yap a lot, and last of all, small dogs always wait until you have turned your back on them and then they snip at your heels.

Posted by: 1776 at March 15, 2011 12:07 AM
Comment #320156

Royal Flush-
Tell me what a bleach bypass is. Tell me why Spielberg messed with the angles on his shutter. Tell me what a subdivision surface is, and what makes a procedural texture different from others. Tell me why it took Mel Gibson three shots to kill one man, and why barely anybody notices it. Tell me how Ron Howard was able to seemlessly meld footage taken in Zero-G aboard a NASA training jet with shots of his actors swaying on top of apple crates. Tell me why Dustin Hoffman seems to take forever to run along what looks like a short sidewalk in The Graduate, and how Stanley Kubrick managed to shoot apes on a conventional soundstage, yet make the exteriors look like he shot in Rift Valley Africa.

I’m not an expert in compositing, but I can rotoscope somebody out of a shot. I’m not an expert cinematographer, but I know about exposure curves, critical focus, speeding up and slowing down apparent frame rate. I know why people shooting in slow-mo have to pound the subject with lights to get it to come out right, and why certain filmmakers like to use HD to shoot night exteriors.

I know why practically nobody noticed that television shows quit shooting on film, why 1080i is considered HDTV video, but 1080p, with its greater actual resolution, is not. I can tell you what the difference is between the way a CRT screen renders an image, and how an LCD screen does it. I can even tell you the difference between that, and the new so-called LED TVs they have on the market.

What can you do? You can snidely imply I don’t know what I’m talking about. It’s only the subject I’ve spent the last thirteen years studying in depth, with a professional interest.

Weary Willie-
Why do I think my education is special? Because it allows me to understand the tricks another filmmaker is pulling. I can understand the choices necessary. As for your litany?

Wake up. Your people have been winning many of the political fights for some time now. Your policies just haven’t been producting very good outcomes. If there’s one thing I learned as a media student, it’s that there’s limits to the extent a message like mine can change the real world. We can comment on the real world, we can’t magically make something that’s bad policy good, or take the value from good policy we unfairly malign. Reality has a way of reimposing itself despite our best efforts at messaging.

All of you-
I thought of this response almost immediately, when I heard Dan Rather’s name come up. Well, Dan did get something pretty damn wrong, and that ended up being the end of his career as a national anchor. He does cable news specials for HDNet now. Not exactly going out in glory, is he?

For that proven failure in reporting, Dan Rather’s career has taken a mighty hit.

I know Republicans and right-wingers are going to talk like all the mainstream media and left-wing outlets are all lying just as much. Well, ****ing prove it. I don’t have the patiences for people who float BS CT and just expect me to buy the equivalence. I’ve put forward actual evidence here that Breitbart and his proteges deliberately or recklessly disregarded the truth, not merely of the real story, but of the story that they recorded and likely watched themselves. They shaped the elements of the real story into something that was not it.

CBS decided to can Rather. That so-called liberal media outlet.

But are FOX and Friends going to ostracize, and similarly acknowledge a loss of reputation for O’Keefe, who not only accepted documents that turned out to be bogus, but have created the fraud themselves?

Come on guys. It’s easy. Just say it with me: Breitbart and company should endure the same punishment as Dan Rather, because just like Stephen, we believe that folks ought to report the truth, the facts as they lay, not through recklessness or intent create a fraudulent fiction for an audience willing to take it in.

I know, in the heat of the campaign, knowing that much of the substance of the charges were true, I fought those who were trying to sink Dan Rather. But even then, I was willing to admit that forgery and fraud had no place in a legitimate story, even when it benefited my side.

I’m willing to do that, because I see things from other than just a Democrat’s perspective. I see it from the perspective of somebody who doesn’t want to be deceived or manipulated, no matter who does it.

I much prefer straight news to political, by the way. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy some Keith, or some Maddow, but I don’t like having my opinion spoonfed to me. When Bill Moyers was headlining NOW, the news program on PBS, I couldn’t sit through it, even though I loved Moyers other programming. There was just too much “just-so” rhetoric, too much of that antidote approach to the news.

I don’t need to be flattered that way, or indoctrinated. I don’t need some nutty guy with a chalkboard laying it all out for me through a bunch of half-cocked assumptions and symbolic BS, like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have so brilliantly parodied.

I grew up on news that was more facts than flash, more about in depth discussion about things. People understood that you didn’t have to sex things up, that substance could sell, presented right.

The point I would make here, is that the abilities of people like me can be used to clarify and concentrate truth in messages, give a good overview, or they can be used to take the truth screaming off the cliff, a casualty of the vain ambitions of those who believe more in their messages than in the necessity and responsibility of dealing with the real world when they call themselves journalists.

I guess, long story short, I want news outlets to focus on news, not propaganda. We don’t need to be feed somebody’s opinion, we need to be given the facts necessary to form our own opinions well, whatever they may be.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 15, 2011 12:12 AM
Comment #320157

The next post of this kind gets deleted. The comment policies are clear.

But to answer your implications, it’s pretty simple. My education means I’m qualified to tell you what these people did, and why folks shouldn’t trust them on that account.

I mean, the people who edited these videos had to say to themselves, “I don’t think this would be controversial or embarrassing to these people simply on the facts, so I’m going to cut out this explanation, splice together these two unrelated parts for effect, and then completely forget to mention that these people did call the authorities about these apparent child molestors.”

Film, video, and audio create very vivid impressions on people. So do new, fast-breaking stories. The controversy sells, the screaming matches and all that.

We need better from that, and if that means folks on both sides need to shape up, so be it. I don’t much like the tabloid style of journalism. I wouldn’t die if I failed to learn of Lindsey Lohan’s latest tweet.

I happen to think it’s a very elitist thing to deliberately deceive people the way Breitbart, O’Keefe, and Lila Rose have done. They don’t think you can come to their conclusions if they just give it to you straight. So they just lie to you, deliberately deprive you of knowledge that might have changed your mind in a different direction.

If you really want to be free, you have to know when you have cause to take a certain rout in politics. If you simply let party bosses feed your media figures talking points, and they feed you the arguments in turn, you are left with your freedom, but without the will to use it when the facts, if you knew them, would lead you to go your own way.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 15, 2011 12:26 AM
Comment #320158

Your education is irrelevant. Your qualifications are irrelevant. Your beliefs are liberal/socialists and therefore your comments are liberal/socialist.

Posted by: 1776 at March 15, 2011 12:39 AM
Comment #320159

Stephen Daugherty, Wake up! Your philosophy have been losing political fights for quite a while. Your movement is not breathing, it’s gasping.

Sure, we’re going to suffer for the short term. It’s long over-due. It all boils down to how hard the cry-babies are going to stay awake.

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 15, 2011 1:00 AM
Comment #320160

jane doe is wrong. Visits to WatchBlog have increased by 20% since the separation.

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 15, 2011 1:06 AM
Comment #320161

Let’s see. They edit their videos deceptively, and my education allows me to know how. It allows me to understand the kind of decision- making necessary to make that many deceptive cuts.

These people had to know what they were cutting.

I know because I’ve edited short movies myself. I’ve cut out camera fumbles, inadvertent noise, papered over gaps in the audio, and so on and so forth. There’s a lot you can do to fool people, with what I know.

So the only thing irrelevant here is your bringing your political bias into it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 15, 2011 1:41 AM
Comment #320163

Stephen, they can gain support by using their tactics, but as we are seeing, once they start putting their agenda into practice, the support begins to melt away.

There are a lot of people in this country who are regretting their vote last November. I can understand why the people voted for these jerks, they had no choice. They elected Obama and the Democrats to change the road we are on and they did not do it.

The tea party will soon be going the way of the silent majority.

Posted by: jlw at March 15, 2011 2:24 AM
Comment #320168

They may have felt they had no choice, but that’s different from not actually having a choice. They shouldn’t have trusted the GOP to so quickly change its attitudes, especially when they weren’t forsaking their old ideas, just promising to push their old ones with greater fervor.

I don’t think the Democrats in Washington fully appreciated the gift or opportunity they were given. But their policies, if allowed, would still have been an improvement over what came before, and people are beginning to see by how much.

They should also realize something else: the defenders of the status quo are strong, and they have rich and powerful people in their corner. I believe the Democrats have the best policies to offer, and the best platform, but I also believe that the good will not come out of my party or any other, until the strength of the people themselves comes to bear on our leaders, and they know who’s boss.

There is no magic solution to this problem. It is the product of decades of successive deferences of our power as individual voters, and our faith in democracy to represent us that has us facing this crisis. It is not enough to tell people that the government belongs to them, that their vote matters, even in the face of corporate money and influence, they must believe in it and insist on it, because only in the face of their committed action will politicians in Washington feel the heat. Use your power as an American voter, or lose it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 15, 2011 7:23 AM
Comment #320169

Real investigative journalism is an obstacle to a conservative worldview where the priveledged go unchallenged. Okeefe and Breitbart represent the only kind of journalism the conservative posters on this site will accept and their methods, however dishonest, shall not be questioned.

Posted by: Schwamp at March 15, 2011 8:22 AM
Comment #320170

Stephen, so you are saying that the left wing media clowns don’t edit their tapes deceptively? Your saying Shultz, Maddow, Matthews, and the people at the Huffington post and Kos are giving the full story and not editing to make the left look good? If you are IMO you need to go back to school and start at square 1.

Posted by: KAP at March 15, 2011 8:23 AM
Comment #320171

“Stephen, so you are saying that the left wing media clowns don’t edit their tapes deceptively?”


You are free to provide examples of the “left wing media clowns’” deceptive, dishonest and misleading editing practices. It would be hard to believe that the right wing media outlets and FOX news are the only perpetrators of this practice. There must be numerous recent examples of similar left wing distortions.

Posted by: Rich at March 15, 2011 9:10 AM
Comment #320172

Come on people!
Stephen has put out an interesting opinion that deserves honest debate. Granted, he intentionally leaves out leftists of the ilk of moore, and all the radical indifference to the truth in trying to silence and get rid of Palin, but that in no way invalidates his point.

And what the hell is this crap about his schooling? The dude has experience in the field and it is good that he can use that experience to help qualify his opinion with it.

People are always going to stretch what they need to in order to “prove” the point they want. For that reason, I think the problem lies with those watching and listening, and their willingness to allow personal beliefs to determine what is the “truth.”

Posted by: kctim at March 15, 2011 9:21 AM
Comment #320173

“This is not about the freedom of crusading journalists to get out the truth.”

First of all Stephen excellent post. Secondly, the problem seems to be the confusion of these 3 with journalism. Breitbart is in the propaganda business. His only association with journalism is when he reads the paper, if he does. His hired hand O’Keefe is a puppet doing the bidding of his boss. Never forget these guys make their lining off of misinformation half truths and outright lies. They prey on the gullible as we see in these comments from the righties. This is how Goebells worked and it is how Breitbart works.

The propagandist such as these guys are effective as we can see from Tom’s rather sad comment.

“And just for the record James O’Keefe is a progressive liberal as he has said he is in his own words on someone elses camera.”

It seems to me the only difference between the people of Germany during the ‘20’s-‘30’s and the conservatives of today, that actually believe Breitbart and his propaganda, is 85 years or so.

Posted by: j2t2 at March 15, 2011 9:48 AM
Comment #320174

“guys make their lining off of misinformation half truths and outright lies.”

should be “guys make their living off of misinformation half truths and outright lies.”

Posted by: j2t2 at March 15, 2011 9:59 AM
Comment #320175

Got No Arguement? Just Call Them A Nazi! That ought to do it!

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 15, 2011 10:11 AM
Comment #320176

I find it very instructive that those in the Acorn and NPR videos resigned or were fired. If they were incorrectly depicted, then why resign?

On another note, I call what O’Keefe does junk journalism. He claims to be doing what 60 Minutes has always done. Not even close.

O’Keefe and some of his cohorts spent considerable time at a so-called Leadership Institute in DC where one is trained in grassroots techniques on how to change public opinion. Most of the institute’s curriculum is fine; however, a portion of it grooms activists and propogansists masquerading as journalists or grassroots champions.

Bob Steele, a longtime expert in the field of journalism ethics, and a member of the Poynter Institute, gives us some things to think about regarding what is ans isn’t considered ethical.

It is sometimes a slippery slope, and many people are divided on what is considered ‘off limits’ in gathering a story. It is a great debate. In fact, as Stephen pointed out, Glenn Beck’s Web site The Blaze did some very good journalism and took a closer look at O’Keefe’s latest NPR video and debunked a lot of the rhetoric.

The question is: Is it o.k. for a journalist or other citizen to edit portions of a video that either misrepresents, takes out of context or distorts the truth?

That said, again, why did the Schiller duo resign if they were duped? Why did the Obama White House with knee jerk speed have Tom Vilsack, et al, fire Shirley Sherrod?

These are important questions. Because it reveals a lot more than supposed ‘junk journalism,’ it reveals a lack of trust and leadership on the part of the administration and/or organiztions that ‘acted stupidly.’

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley, again, looks to be a ‘scapegoat’ of the Obama administration for speaking the truth. Surely Obama can’t have someone working for him in the State Department who is a whistleblower and whom is looking out for ones’s constitutionally-given rights, not to mention someone who points out treatment that is antithetical to even the basic rights enumerated in the Geneva Convention on treatment of enemy combatants.

I’m no Pfc. Bradley fan; however, I do know that the presumption of innocence is a widely held principle that our country deeply believes in. Pentagon assistant secretary of state Crowley did the right thing by pointing out some glaring problems with Mr. Bradley’s confinement. Sec. of State Clinton and the White House acted ‘stupidly,’ once again by forcing a hero out of the administration, but I digress.

Have we treated Fort Hood shooter Nadal Hassan poorly in prison while awaiting trial? Did we treat or torture Oklahoma City bomber and mass murderer Timothy McVeigh while he was incarcerated?

The Eighth Amendment states that ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ is wrong. Regardless of how we feel about the defendant and/or how egregious their acts have been.

Posted by: Kevin L. Lagola at March 15, 2011 10:13 AM
Comment #320177

Stephen, btw, you really need to back off of the moral equivalency thing with respect to Democrats versus Republicans or Liberals versus Conservatives.

I can come up with a thousand examples of hypocritical Liberal or Dem behavior. It’s a universal issue, not a partisan one.

You completely weaken every argument you make when you attempt to hold Liberals or Dems on a higher pedestal than those with other philosophical or different beliefs.

You ply the trade you so claim as your ‘passion’ with profligate stereotyping.

It’s perfectly fine to have opinions and have assumptions (I have many), but one shouldn’t, by default, always claim the moral high ground when there is countless evidence to the contrary.

Posted by: Kevin L. Lagola at March 15, 2011 10:25 AM
Comment #320180

“Got No Arguement? Just Call Them A Nazi! That ought to do it!”

Weary who called anyone a Nazi? The simple fact is Goebbels did just what Breitbart does, It was propaganda then, it is propaganda now. Because you use propaganda does not make you a Nazi, does it Weary? It seems the “they called us a Nazi” line is used to make your weak argument in support of these propagandist seem to have merit, as merit is lacking from not only your comments but those of the rest of the righties in this thread as well.

The important issue is to realize the impact of the propaganda upon the gullible. It is easy to see the correlation to the German people and the conservatives of today, and where the blatant use of propaganda could take us. When the gullible allow this propaganda to become the “facts” they use to make important decisions it weakens the country as a whole. To allow the unchecked propaganda to fester and grow as it has this past 20 years is detrimental to the psyche of the nation. It serves your cause in the short run but we see where it led the German people and we have seen the regrets of the German people for being gullible enough to give up logic and reason.

Posted by: j2t2 at March 15, 2011 10:39 AM
Comment #320182

Here’s my Jack Nicholson immitation.


Posted by: Weary Willie at March 15, 2011 11:01 AM
Comment #320188

Republicans are always talking about dishonesty and bias in the MSM. If you truly consider yourself independent, take those claims, as you should mine, with a grain of salt, examining evidence. I mean, for some, the mere negativity of an article regarding the Republicans is proof of bias, and from there, proof that the journalist is not to be trusted.

I’ve demonstrated that the work that those I’m leveling the accusation at has done has been sloppy and deceptive. I haven’t simply expected you to take my word on it.

I’m not pointing this out to say the MSM is perfect. Far from it. But any problem the MSM has with honesty does little to exonerate O’Keefe, Rose, and Breitbart. They made deliberate choices that lead to them pushing erroneous stories, distorting people’s perceptions about their targets.

Are you alleging that your side needs to be so reckless to counter my side? Well, if bias and dishonesty are wrong for my side, why take it up from your side, even in defense? That’s an intentional desertion of the moral high ground. Personally, I don’t think I gain much if I wallow in the same moral squalor I dislike coming from your side.

Or, put another way, I don’t think we need a liberal bias to counter the FOXNews bias, because I don’t belive that cancels the other out. We need reporters who don’t let any political agenda dictate the news they’re going to report and not report. Bias of some kind is inevitable, but it should not be encouraged as a conscious goal. One bias does not necessarily correct another bias.

I don’t despise Breitbart and company becuase they’re Republican or conservative. I despise them because they’re aggressively dishonest. They callously disregard the facts that they themselves record, in order to make people look worst. They’re ambush propagandists, not real journalists, but you can’t get them to admit it.

And folks like you defend them, probably by reflex, not realizing that these are the sort who give your media operations a bad name.

It’s been some time since I last heard from you.

Thank you for your defense, even though some of it was a bit left-handed. ;-)

On the subject of Palin, the media’s far from silenced her. It often reports her many tweets, and speculation remains pretty common about her running for higher office.

But if somebody’s silenced her, it’s probably self-censorship and her handlers keeping her away from media objects with which she might hurt herself. She won’t hardly talk with anybody else but FOXNews, and her past problems with honesty and saying appropriate things (or saying them in appropriate settings) is probably a big reason why. She’s like many of those people you see in magazines, famous not for some masterful achievement of government, or inspiring expression of ideas, but because she climbed up into the spotlight and did a lot of things to grab attention.

She just doesn’t want to be challenged, and nor do many other Republicans of her persuasion. They want friendly media and friendly coverage, and the reliance on FOXNews and liberal bias theory has led them to paint themselves, and the conservative media into a corner on accountability.

Kevin L. Lagola-
The White House and other targeted organizations don’t want to get caught on the wrong side of such accusations, and in some of the cases, the folks actually did say or do some things they shouldn’t have.

Folks who can’t blame the Liberal Media for degrading their reputation have to act, rather than spin in order to avoid further controversy. I agree that they’re wrong to do so, in part because this plays into the junk journalists’ intent, but I also think that the Right would benefit from a greater sense of shame and humility in the face of possible public disgrace.

As for P.J. Crowley? If Obama wanted to hire an in-house critic of executive branch policy to publically challenge him on his policy, he would done so. Simple common sense tells you that the man is being paid to deliver the Obama Administration’s line. Expecting him to publically put himself at odds with that administration, and then keep his job, defies common sense. Did I wish he had nothing to complain about? Sure. But he should have known that he represented his administration’s position to the country, and that conflicting with that could lose him his job.

On the subject of undercover work, I would say that one has a responsibility to preserve the essence of how the person behaved, and what he was saying. If, in sum, his views on a certain group were not unreasonable, editing them in a way that changes the appearance of the substance of what he said is irresponsible unethical, and dishonest.

That’s what I mean by saying that the editing and other aesthetic operations should be done in the name of clarification.

As for moral equivalency, my point is to say that if you’re going to say that one is as bad as another, you might as well fall on your sword and say that your side’s flaws, where they truly exist, should be remedied as well. When the only premise is that the other side does the same thing, and that’s left out in the air as a justification for being free to continue in doing that same thing wrong, I think that reflects true hypocrisy- that is, when you criticize somebody for a fault, yet do not undo that fault in yourself. Since I support distortion and consciously applied bias nowhere, I don’t feel it’s fair to accuse me of not being evenhanded.

To be honest, I don’t want folks on my side to commit those errors, because I feel a certain amount of shame, embarrassment and humiliation when that kind of thing proves true. I don’t want them to cover up for or just try to spin away those errors, because I think of such butt-covering fights as losing battles in the long run. I want better politicians. I want better reporters. I don’t want to waste time defending their screw-ups that I could better use to push good policy changes.

Weary Willie-
As a fellow movie fan, I’m sure you would know that Col. Jessup in that scene has just been provoked into a rant about how necessary what he does is, which ends in him admitting to ordering the illegal disciplinary procedure that killed a young soldier.

Got something you want to get off your chest? ;-)

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 15, 2011 12:23 PM
Comment #320190

Weary, yelling at me, telling me I can’t handle the truth in lieu of a response that would cause one to consider my comments illogical doesn’t work. I would expect that you could either accept my comments as fact or show me the error of my thinking.

Certainly you cannot consider Breitbart as anything other than a propagandist for certain extreme right wing causes. Hacking videos to prove a point is a means of vilifying a person or group to further one’s cause. It is propaganda, by any definition. O’Keefe is another video hacker that believes the ends, no matter how dishonest, justifies any type of misinformation, half truth or outright lie to vilify those he opposes. That to is propaganda. Do you doubt the events that has led us to this conclusion? Do you think that because someone claims “those guys do it” justifies the actions of Breitbart and O’Keefe?

Or do you take exception to the reference to Goebbels as a means of comparing Breitbart and O’Keefe and their ill will? Are their actions basically the same? What makes these guys better than Goebbels?

Do you take exception to the reference to the people of Germany and the conservatives of today? Do you think the German people started out with bad intentions as they supported the Nazi’s? Or do you think perhaps they fell for the message from the movement leaders they thought to be true?

Posted by: j2t2 at March 15, 2011 12:48 PM
Comment #320191

Stephen, I have listened to both sides of the MSM and don’t hold any of them to be truthful in their commentary. I have learned in my 60+ years on this planet to find out for myself or listen to both sides and then judge which is more closer to the facts or better yet go to the source. I don’t hold any of the MSM as factual especially since Viet Nam was portrayed the way it was by some of the MSM there has been to much BULLS—T from both sides for me to believe any of them as factual.

Posted by: KAP at March 15, 2011 12:50 PM
Comment #320192

It has been a while, hopefully it will be nice to be back.

I only bring up Palin in reference of “radical indifference to the truth,” not how she is silenced. The left sent their Brietbarts to Alaska and we got the stories that were eventually proven to have been stretched or even totally false.
The problem isn’t so much that people do this, but that others allow their political beliefs to determine if it is ok or not.

Posted by: kctim at March 15, 2011 1:05 PM
Comment #320194

Mr. Daugherty asks me…”What can you do? You can snidely imply I don’t know what I’m talking about. It’s only the subject I’ve spent the last thirteen years studying in depth, with a professional interest.”

Since I am not writing a resume and looking for work, what I can, or can not do, is really none of your business.

You are asking us to take your word for something based upon, what you wrote, were a couple of freshman classes followed by a “professional interest”.

Can you define “professional interest” for us? Simply because you have watched someone make soup doesn’t mean that you can make good soup.

I took classes in chemistry, physics, astronomy, psychology and much more in college, yet…I wouldn’t pretend to be accomplished in any of those fields. I maintain an interest in all of those fields but that certainly wouldn’t quality as a “professional interest” unless I had the credentials and work experience to justify such a pronouncement.

Since when were you, Mr. Daugherty, appointed as some kind of censor who must judge what we watch or read? That I object to your comments as being full of puffery is hardly evidence of my casting snide remarks at you.

Are there any watchblog readers or writers who believe everything they see or read, especially when it is of a political nature?

Does Mr. Daugherty believe every utterance from the mouth of his democrat leaders? Does Mr. Daugherty not believe that much of the film we watch of presidents, both sitting and past, is staged, edited, and cleaned up for prime-time? Some of the film clips staged for the benefit of Mr. Clinton still leave me gagging with their recall.

Apparently Mr. Daugherty believes he has discovered that there is chicanery going on in political reporting. That’s good…you’re catching up with the rest of us.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 15, 2011 1:39 PM
Comment #320195

“The left sent their Breitbarts”?

Like I’ve said, prove they were wrong. Prove they distorted something. As far as I can see, Palin supported Earmarks for her state while Governor, and her town while she was mayor, and then turned around and said she was against them. That’s a matter of public record.

She gave a particular example of saying no to the bridge to nowhere, which is funny, because she’s on video telling people she supported it.

She said she put the Governor’s jet on E-Bay, in that folksy way of hers. Too bad it didn’t sell, and somebody had to sell it off the old-fashioned way.

Very little of what she claimed turned out true, and the evidence of that untruth is there for anybody, yourself included, to see. I think that ought to count against her.

Now the one undependable bit of gossip about her was that Trig was Bristol Palin’s kid, and for the record (you can check this out on Daily Kos) I was skeptical about it from the beginning. I wasn’t alone. There were many who thought it was true, and many who thought it was false. In particular, some folks found it alarming that she would actually take a jet home to have her baby in Alaska, when such things are not recommended for most pregnant women.

That said, I can admit to a certain level of Schadenfreude and amusement in how that rumor was laid to rest. I wasn’t expecting it to end that way.

But other than that, most of the bad things that were dug up turned out to be true, and many of her boasts on the campaign trail turned out to be hollow.

When there is real dirt to push, I don’t care to have people pushing false rumors which only end up discrediting themselves and casting a shadow on better reporting. I really wish that the authentication on the Bush papers concerning his service during Vietnam had been better, and that forgery hadn’t become such a distraction from the real evidence out there.

I want my opponents to have no room to do anything but deny documented fact and sworn testimony, or admit to whatever they did. I don’t want some rumor whose credibility is on the edge of collapse at all times.

Or, to put it another way, I like to be radically in tuned with the truth when my opponents are not. I want information solid enough to keep the pressure on and my party’s momentum up.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 15, 2011 1:47 PM
Comment #320196

j2t2, why should I accept your comments as fact when your standard is to discredit people by calling them names and relating them to past history. Your argument doesn’t hold an ounce of truth. Just saying it doesn’t make it so. I’m sorry Breitbart is stepping on your fragile liberal, good, conservative, bad position. When the news is bad for liberals they kill the messenger.

Breitbart’s webpages present stories from many left wing sources as well. Are you going to baste them with the same brush you baste Breitbart with?

Breitbart has also pointed out how liberals lie thru their teeth to make political points in an ever willing MSM. No one has been able to document the claims being spouted by the MSM when they repeatedly tried to claim the tea-party protesters called reps the n word. It was a complete fabrication that would have worked if it weren’t for the ability of others to counter the MSM lies. When the MSM starts propagating lies other people will find their own truth. It’s ok that you have, why shouldn’t others be afforded the same luxury you’ve afforded yourself?

Your argument boils down to: It’s wrong to expose the Liberal double-standard.

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 15, 2011 2:02 PM
Comment #320198

Royal Flush-
I am a graduate from Baylor University with a Bachelor of Arts in Telecommunications, of which those two classes were the first requirements. I got an A in the film and video aesthetics class. I still have the textbook, though I don’t refer to it often.

And you’re just trying to hang on to a bad attempt at taking the argument to the person.

As for professional interest? I wasn’t so fortunate in my career path, but I’ve kept myself abreast of new developments in technology, and I continue trying to use my skills at the place where I work. The fact I could get somebody to pay for the professional software to work on such things is indication of just how valued my talents were there.

I live in the Houston area, which is not really the best place for the media-oriented. I couldn’t find a job, so I had to settle for being a computer technician. However, over time I’ve demonstrated my abilities to them, and have helped them produce a number of multimedia projects. In fact, they recently shifted my duties in that direction.

I’m not a genius, or anything, but I can produce stuff that looks professional, because I know the rules, and I know what I can get away with, and what I can’t. I know how to structure and compose a shot.

I have the credentials to justify such a pronouncement, but you’re not interested in verifying my skill. You’re interested in discrediting my claim from the bottom up.

Since when were you, Mr. Daugherty, appointed as some kind of censor who must judge what we watch or read? That I object to your comments as being full of puffery is hardly evidence of my casting snide remarks at you.

Some kind of censor? Did I go and shut down Breitbart’s operation? Have I prevented you from going to his site? Have I pressured Youtube, or whoever’s hosting them, into taking them off the server?

Good grief, quit with the melodramatic conflations.

I am addressing these people, because I know how cutting out a line or a scene can change a movie, and why. I also know, in part, why it’s wrong to do so. And in answer to your question, yes, other reporters and producers do edit their material. But they risk being accused of journalistic malpractice if they go too far, and so far, I don’t hear many Republicans going, “well they cut out that part of the interview”

They might trim down a response, do a cutaway, or go back to the interviewer, they might pick and choose an answer, but often arrangements are made ahead of time, and the threat of a lawsuit over edits that portray people in a false light is always present. You also have the problem that if the person you interview gets burned, they might not let you have access again for another interview.

My concern is not the kind of documentary propaganda that is normal in the midst of a campaign, my concern is propaganda masquerading as journalism- and by that, I don’t mean something that merely looks good, but something that provably distorts the facts in order to push a political attack.

Weary Willie-
There’s a demonstrable, not just a claimed double standard at work here. You’re essentially claiming that the Democrats who claimed to be called the n-word were lying. Were they? Why don’t you take their word for it, and admit that some in your movement don’t live up to your standards.

Ah, but that would leave an opening. Well, I got news for you: there’s no such thing as a perfect defense in rhetoric. Qaddafi’s attempting such by blaming the rebellion against him on al-Qaeda, and having his officials turn on Libyan State TV and make the scripted accusation.

But saying something doesn’t make it so, much less convince people of it. Westerners like us are likely unconvinced of his propaganda.

Likewise, people like me are skeptical about the claims by some that the Tea Partiers are some saintly group that doesn’t do any of that unsightly or difficult to listen to stuff.

You’re only convincing yourself, really. We’ve seen the race-baiting with our own two eyes. We’ve heard the prejudiced comments.

You can convince us that you are not with those people, that you don’t believe like they do, but it seems like your folks either are too afraid to give us an opening to confirm what we were saying when it could do you some harm, or you simply don’t disagree with what’s being said, but know it won’t go over well with the public.

I’d like to think you don’t harbor such opinions. but I think the Republicans would be better off if they quit worrying about being imperviously self-consistent, and instead focused on challenging their own beliefs.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 15, 2011 2:25 PM
Comment #320199

My point is that the evidence of truth is always there for all to see but we allow our politics to determine if it is worth seeing. I use Palin because the unexplainable hatred the left has for her causes you guys to accept ‘Brietbarting.’
Stories about who is Trigs mom, Todds affair, emails, the “militia” group, the crosshairs map etc… are all full of twisted assumptions and part truths which are ‘edited’ to show Palin is the most evil woman in the world.
It is the same kind of ‘radical indifference to the truth’ you speak about here, but IMO, it is our fault, not Breitbart or moores, because we gladly accept the BS we agree with without question and only condemn what we disagree with.

By all means, hold her to task for what she did say, just don’t forget to do the same for the NPR, PP and Acorn people.

Posted by: kctim at March 15, 2011 2:28 PM
Comment #320200

Why are Democratics above challenging their own beliefs, Stephen Daugherty? Why must republicans always be expected to see it the Democratic way? Why are republicans expected to tow the Democratic Party line? Why must republicans always be the ones to compromise? I think it’s an arrogance that comes from a party that has been in existance far too long.

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 15, 2011 2:38 PM
Comment #320201

Mr. Daugherty commenting on Weary Willie’s post…”You’re only convincing yourself, really. We’ve seen the race-baiting with our own two eyes. We’ve heard the prejudiced comments.

Using Mr. Daugherty’s proclivity for ferreting out the truth in what we watch and hear, I wonder why he is so convinced that what he saw “with our own two eyes” and the prejudiced comments he “heard” were not manufactured as well?

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 15, 2011 2:40 PM
Comment #320202

Stephen, both you and Kevin need to fall on your swords.

In the race to support the status quo, Boehner would beat Obama by his alcoholic nose. Harry Reid is about one ounce less of a supporter of the status quo that McConnell.

These big unions that I have been helping to defend against the attacks from the right are some of the staunchest supporters of the status quo.

I doubt seriously that the teachers union would support the janitors if they were replaced by illegal immigrants. The teachers support the illegals and are strong supporters of the amnesty bill.

Go ahead, try to convince me that illegal immigration is not a major project of the status quo. Congress is in the unique position of defending the illegal immigration whether they are for or against the amnesty bill otherwise known as comprehensive immigration reform.

The energy unions support the Republican energy policy, no CO2 emissions controls and they give lots of money to Democratic politicians to make it so.

So you have the unions providing funds to Obama who is also the largest recipient of British Petroleum PAC funds.

These guys on the right are brothers to the union workers and many professional class liberals in that they equate what is best for them as equal to what is best for the country.

At best, you can only claim that the Democratic politicians are a little less enthusiastic than the Republicans in their support of the status quo. Status quo light.

I don’t buy the argument: Dem’s good, Rep’s bad. Dem’s bad, rep’s bad is the reality the people are facing.

I warned you Democrats that the professional classes and the big unions would be next on the hit list. First they came for the workers and no one offered to help.

The time for the big unions to take to the streets was years ago, when outsourcing and insourcing began. But, at the time it was not in their best interests to do so. No money for organizing other workers. To busy buying politicians to protect their special interests.

I will continue to support their undeserving asses because UNION is more important than they are. If bed pan changers don’t support teachers and teachers don’t support bed pan changers, they both loose.

“Capital organizes and therefore labor must organize.”

Theodore Roosevelt.

Posted by: jlw at March 15, 2011 2:45 PM
Comment #320203

“j2t2, why should I accept your comments as fact when your standard is to discredit people by calling them names and relating them to past history.”
But Weary who have I called names? I suggest you accept, not my comments but, the actual facts Stephen posted regarding Breitbart and O’Keefe as evidence of their wrongdoing. If you cannot see a parallel between the propaganda of Goebells and that of Breitbart then I am sorry but that just doesn’t make my point wrong. Perhaps you need to step back a bit and take a good look at conservative movement leaders such as Breitbart and hold them as accountable to truth as you would Rachel Maddow.

“Your argument doesn’t hold an ounce of truth. Just saying it doesn’t make it so.”
Yet all you can do is counter my comments with “blame the messenger” responses. I would think that if your accusation held any truth you would be able to show me something other than vague generalities and denial.

” I’m sorry Breitbart is stepping on your fragile liberal, good, conservative, bad position.”

Weary I am not asking you to be sorry for Breitbart’s actions. I am asking you to see his actions for what they are, intentionally stepping on the truth with misinformation half truths and outright lies.

” When the news is bad for liberals they kill the messenger.”

It seems all that has been “killed” here Weary is the truth when we allow the Breitbarts of the world to get a free pass on responsible journalism. When we do not demand accurate information, when we settle for propaganda as journalism.

“Your argument boils down to: It’s wrong to expose the Liberal double-standard.”

No it doesn’t Weary. It boils down to asking conservatives to look at their movement leaders with the same hate and contempt as they do with liberal leaders. You and your fellow conservatives have been misled and seem unable to tell truth from fiction when you accept Breitbart and his propaganda as journalism. Reminds me of Germany in the ‘20’s.

Posted by: j2t2 at March 15, 2011 3:16 PM
Comment #320204

The militia group connections are actually relatively strong. Her husband is on record as having been as part of the party, she did do a message to the opening of that party’s convention, and the details about the sentiments, especially the founder, and the founder’s untimely demise are also matters of fact.

I think the Trig stuff and Tod Palin affair stuff was BS, and I said so. And the crosshairs map? Do you honestly expect us to believe that most people look at a pair of crosshairs and go “Oh, yeah, surveying.”?

It’s no secret nor a lie to say that Democrats like myself deeply dislike her. But I think we have good cause. Can you truly dispute that she was associated with the Alaska First Party, or that its founders had the views they did? Can you dispute the videos from Alaska firsters that show them acknowledging a positive link between them and Palin?

Can you dispute that many of the things she claimed to be for in that first speech just weren’t true, prove that my facts were wrong?

And really, when she says the kinds of things she says against Democrats, do you actually think she can say those things, and not have Democrats resent her?

Weary Willie-
1) They’re not.
2) They’re not.
3) They’re not.
4) Because they don’t, and the Democrats have to do more than their fair share of it.

As for arrogance due to long existence, please recall that your party is just forty or fifty years younger than mine. It’s no Spring Chicken.

Royal Flush-
Funny how you’re trying to prove I’m the delusional one, even as I’ve been the one good enough to provide my audience with some facts to back my conclusion. Anybody can make a charge, the question is, can you prove it?

I can prove what I allege. Can you prove me false?

I can work with the Democrats. Their base wants something better, and is willing to go in an actual different direction. I left the GOP a long time ago, because I felt there was no room for somebody who didn’t believe the whole checklist. I didn’t want to forsake the science I knew to be true, the social justice I knew to be good, the New Deal Reforms I knew to be important safeguards.

I need a party base capable of getting something done. The Democrats have that. I need a party whose views closely resemble mine. The Democrats have that. I need a party that me and my likeminded friends actually have some chance of changing for the better. To me, that slight difference isn’t a qualification, it’s the best opportunity I see. The Democrats have been made to change for the better before, I think they can be made to change for the better here as well.

There’s much we can say about what people should have done, or could have done. But as that fellow in that bad movie said, the future is where we’ll be spending the rest of our lives, and as such I’m committed to the future of the Democrats, even if the Present is such a sorry mess.

And no, I’m not simply expecting my party to magically recover. You’re right that we lost so many of those opportunities. But we have to deal with our situation now, and make it better, regardless of how harsh it is. Otherwise, things will just get worse, and I’m pretty tired of that.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 15, 2011 3:40 PM
Comment #320206

Unlike many states and our national government, Texas has been lead by conservative principles and saved some money for a rainy day. Mr. Daugherty is so proud of his “party base capable of getting something done” and yet, getting something done always involves more spending and more taxes.

Being proud of a party that can only spend and tax must require some very mushy thinking.

Released by The Office Of the Governor of Texas:

AUSTIN, TX (KLTV) - Gov. Rick Perry, Speaker Joe Straus and Comptroller Susan Combs today announced the decision to close out the Fiscal Year 2011 budget gap by implementing $800 million in cuts, using $300 million from increased sales tax collections over the last few months, and using a one-time draw not to exceed $3.2 billion from the state’s Economic Stabilization Fund, also known as the Rainy Day Fund.

“We have worked closely with state leaders and lawmakers to balance the current budget, which includes using a one-time amount from the Economic Stabilization Fund to help our budget deal with the impact of the national recession,” Gov. Perry said. “As we craft the next two-year budget, Texas leaders will continue to focus on a more efficient, fiscally responsible government, essential state services, and private sector job creation. I remain steadfastly committed to protecting the remaining balance of the Rainy Day Fund, and will not sign a 2012-2013 state budget that uses the Rainy Day Fund.”

“For more than a year, leaders in the Texas House and I have been working with Governor Perry and Lt. Governor Dewhurst to cut state spending by nearly $1.7 billion as our revenue fell during the national recession,” Speaker Straus said. “Now that most agencies have made substantial cuts from their current budgets, using part of the Rainy Day Fund to pay for the rest of our bills – even as we continue to look for more savings – is the conservative and fiscally responsible way to meet our constitutional duty to balance the budget. The Rainy Day Fund was created to help manage just such unexpected declines in state revenue. We will do so while preserving more than $6 billion in the fund to cover unexpected emergencies in the future.”

“I look forward to working with the members, Gov. Perry and Lt. Gov. Dewhurst to preserve the remainder of the Rainy Day Fund,” Speaker Straus said.

“I commend legislative leadership and lawmakers for their work to close the current year budget gap and do what is right for Texans,” said Comptroller Combs. “Sales tax revenue has done well in recent months because of increased business and consumer activity, which will help close the 2011 deficit. And as I mentioned in recent testimony, it is also important to keep the state’s future budget needs in mind in our decision making of today.”

By resolving this biennium’s shortfall, Texas leaders can now focus their future efforts on completing the 2012-2013 biennial budget without raising taxes.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 15, 2011 5:26 PM
Comment #320207

Others have hastened to point out the inconsistencies of the original post.

I am always amazed by the ability of the left not to understand its own tactics. The left pioneered the very things Stephen talks about and still uses them much more.

A proper articles would say simply that the quality of journalism, because of Internet, has both improved and declined. The reader now must be much more discerning. There is more good stuff available and more crap.

I know this example is unwelcome, but I will repeat as a good thing the way Dan Rather was brought down by Internet fact checking. W/o the Internet, I am reasonably convinced that John Kerry would have won the election, since RaTHergate would never have been revealed.

The Sherrod case showed the ineptitude of the Obama Administration. We all agree that those fools never should have fired her based on the information they had available.

NPR is more interesting, since the tapes revealed a general liberal attitudes that their opponents are dumb hillbillies. I don’t suppose there is any reason to deny this prejudice, since all our liberal colleagues seem to share it, which is why they misspell simple words, such as “yer”, when trying to imitate their stereotype of a conservative.

Anyway, nothing new in any of this. We all feel more aggrieved by lies from the other side, but many are not self-aware enough to recognize that the other side feels much the same way as we do.

BTW - one of the BENEFITS of having Obama in the WH is that the liberal media lays off the attack.In some ways it is good for America, since they trash the image of a Republican president (and America’s too) when the other side is in.

Posted by: C&J at March 15, 2011 6:33 PM
Comment #320211

Here are two item concerning the inepitude of the Obama administration. Now you on the southpaw side will call these reports wrong in some distorted fashion. So bring it on. What is wrong right with the left doing these things?
Are not these a couple of examples of that high and mighty moral high ground that I am supposed to blindly believe is correct?

Example #1
The Associated Press reported yesterday that the Obama Administration is stonewalling on Freedom of Information Act requests. In at least one-third of FOIA requests, the AP reports, “The administration refused to release any sought-after materials.” What’s more, the administration seems to be finding ways to deliberately evade transparency.

It was recently reported that White House aides are steering lobbyists to a complex of townhouses just off White House grounds. Why? As Politico noted:
“It allows the Obama administration to keep these lobbyist meetings shielded from public view — and out of Secret Service logs kept on visitors to the White House and later released to the public. …The White House can’t say who attended meetings there, or how often. The Secret Service doesn’t log in visitors or require a background check the way it does at the main gates of the White House.”

Example #2
John Hinderaker, a lawyer who blogs at Power Line, mused: “Obama enjoys being president, and he especially treasures the symbolic significance of being the first African-American president.”
“That’s how his supporters feel, too. I haven’t heard anyone defend his actual performance in a long time, but there is still widespread satisfaction with the symbolic value of his presidency.
“So why don’t we make him king?” Mr. Hinderaker asked. “If being the first African-American president has symbolic value, just think what it would mean for the first King of the United States to be African-American!
“The king would have no duties beyond golf, so Obama would be perfect for the job.
“Our king would need a place to live, of course. So I’m thinking one of those big houses in Newport, Rhode Island would be ideal. Safely out of the way.
“Then we could hold a special election and choose a real president.”

Posted by: tom humes at March 15, 2011 7:50 PM
Comment #320212

Tom Humes,

As for example #1, agree that transparency in lobbying is desirable. It is also disappointing that the Obama administration is reportedly stonewalling FOIA requests and shielding lobbying meetings. Nothing unusual, though, for any administration in modern times.

As for example #2, I don’t know what that racist rant is supposed to reveal.

Posted by: Rich at March 15, 2011 8:05 PM
Comment #320216

Example #1
That is bad behavior on the part of the President and it certainly is contrary to his campaign rhetoric, but I don’t see how it is inept. More like typical and should be no surprise to all but those that tend to believe campaign rhetoric. Bush let Cheney go wild with the top secret stamp and hold all kinds of secret meetings with lobbyists.

The same thing is going on over at the Congress. Secret deals in Pelosi’s office, in Boehner’s office etc.

It isn’t right and it isn’t a left vs right issue. Actually it is disgusting in a nation that claims an ‘informed public’ as a cornerstone of it’s government.

The graft, the corruption, the ineptness, the mismanagement, can all be blamed on the CEOs.

Unfortunately too many of the CEOs are either on permanent vacation or to busy staring at the mote in there brothers eye.

Example #2
Like Rich said, a racist rant.

C&J, I am a hillbilly and a hick to use Obama’s words and I do criticize liberals among others.

I agree, the Obama Administration (probably the snake Emanuel’s doing) did Sherrod wrong.

Rather was set up. I am sure his zealous attitude contributed. But the story, come on, everyone does or should know that it was basically true.

A cocaine/alcoholic rich boy deserving of favor.

Posted by: jlw at March 15, 2011 9:53 PM
Comment #320218

“NPR is more interesting, since the tapes revealed a general liberal attitudes that their opponents are dumb hillbillies. I don’t suppose there is any reason to deny this prejudice, since all our liberal colleagues seem to share it, which is why they misspell simple words, such as “yer”, when trying to imitate their stereotype of a conservative.”

C&J are you sure about that? It seems you may have fallen victim to one of O’Keefe’s outright lies. This is exactly why people like O’Keefe are not journalist as they pretend to be, but instead are propagandist.

And now the rest of the story…. or at the least an unedited version of the O’Keefe hack job.

“Schiller is actually complimentary of Republicans, and prefaces his criticism of the Tea Party by indicating that it’s his own opinion, not NPR’s. (Plenty of conservatives and Tea Party activists have averred that NPR has treated them fairly.) Baker also finds footage in which Schiller and director of institutional giving Betsy Liley express a hesitancy to disparage the “education of conservatives” and defend “intellects of Fox News viewers.”“

IMHO anybody that defends the intellect of Faux news viewers.. oh never mind. I do wonder just how many times you movement followers will fall for O’Keefe and his misinformation. It seems you are as bad as Obama and the NPR management you criticize.

Posted by: j2t2 at March 15, 2011 11:43 PM
Comment #320219

And what is racist about example #2? Liberals look for the racist card every chance they get and you took it hook line and sinker. Nothing at all racist about example #2. There are some on the left that think the Constitution is racist, so that doesn’t surprise me to hear from the southpaws one more time.

Posted by: tom humes at March 15, 2011 11:57 PM
Comment #320221

tom humes-
Number oneWhile one AP article takes an accusatory tone, the other talks about the various bureaucracies struggling with the new openness, with some of them actually succeeding. I guess which one you took up depended on what language you wanted to pick up on. In this case, I believe you’re quoting Religious Right Figure Gary Bauer.

Number two? I don’t even need a quote. It’s somebody extemporizing from people being proud of Obama’s achievement as being the first person of color elected to the Presidency, to Obama wanting to be King, and then him being shunted off to the side as some figure head.

So, as John Podesta says in another Article from AP, Obama’s policy is right, it’s the implementation that’s the problem.

And, I’ll concede it’s a problem. But if you believe what Obama has on his hands is a problem in terms of transparency, I can only ask why I didn’t hear you complain even more angrily about President Bush’s policy, starting with John Ashcroft, which had an unusually strict presumption against the innocuousness of any information release, which itself was a reversal of Clinton’s previous policy.

So, I guess I’ll wait for you to concede that Bush changed the culture of transparency in the Federal Government for the worse, and then, I guess, we’ll be be in agreement on the need for more transparency.

As for the character of your number two quote, I would just ask you how 1) you justify what is plainly an opinion piece as being news, and 2) How it wouldn’t sound disprespectful of Obama’s historic achievement to turn legitimate pride in a man’s achievement into a symptom of naked greed for power.

But what do you expect from an article by a person who himself mused about whether critics of President Bush on Katrina were even fully human?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 16, 2011 1:04 AM
Comment #320222

tom humes-

There are some on the left that think the Constitution is racist, so that doesn’t surprise me to hear from the southpaws one more time.

Yeah, that’s why we defend and promote civil rights, based on th 14th Amendment so often. Now the facts, the simple facts would tell you that the constitution, as it was originally written did not mention race, but did indeed mention slavery. Slavery, undoubtedly was an institution that even then was plagued by racism.

But I have never heard a liberal make your accusation, and I’m around them a hell of a lot more than you.


I am always amazed by the ability of the left not to understand its own tactics. The left pioneered the very things Stephen talks about and still uses them much more.

An easy allegation to make.

a) Are you up to proving it?
b) Is it relevant to my point who started it, or am I arguing that such manipulations don’t really have a place in legitimate reporting, regardless of what political alignment the reporter goes with or without?

I know this example is unwelcome, but I will repeat as a good thing the way Dan Rather was brought down by Internet fact checking. W/o the Internet, I am reasonably convinced that John Kerry would have won the election, since RaTHergate would never have been revealed.

Will you then support the downfall of Breitbart, Rose, and O’Keefe on those grounds? Will you see that as a good thing, even if it puts your movement in an uncomfortable position?

The Sherrod case showed the ineptitude of the Obama Administration. We all agree that those fools never should have fired her based on the information they had available.

Ineptitude is not the right word. I would say they should have suspended her, and given themselves an out either way- restoration if she was wronged, firing if she wasn’t.

But I think gullibility would be the better word. They trusted slanted right-wing news, rather than factchecking it. They reacted too quickly, and believed Breitbart, a known propagandist, too easily.

That being said, should Breitbart have kept his position? I know you supported Dan Rather falling from grace for his failure to properly check that document, why have you not come forward and said something similar about Breitbart? Are Republicans held to a lower standard on truthfulness?

And really, what media figure wouldn’t be out of a job if they tried to ambush a reporter by drawing her into a houseboat filled with… Well… educational models and romantic novelties, so to speak?

I am constantly amazed at how these people maintain careers.

As for the NPR tapes. Well, I can understand those people losing their jobs, although not all of the accusations against the main hold up to the smell test of the full video. What I can’t understand is why O’Keefe keeps his job, after so many instances of journalistic malpractice?

As for the Bush Administration?

Let me just be blunt: Between the time that Bush got into office and when he let, more went wrong on more fronts than I can remember happening in the Presidency of any other man who occupied the office.

When will the right finally admit the catastrophic level of a failure he was, and how hanging on to his legacy of bad policy is just keeping the Republicans in political purgatory?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 16, 2011 1:32 AM
Comment #320231


It is amazing that liberal, progressive, socialists know more about things that are nothing. Case in point. You know who my associates are. But, you can’t name a single one of them. Typical.

You are mixing up racism and race issues. Typical.

BTW-one of your Texas reps in congress, Sheila Jackson Lee, sure showed her loyalty in the King committee recently with her rant about Muslims. Shame on her.

Posted by: tom humes at March 16, 2011 11:59 AM
Comment #320234

tom humes-
What I find offensive is that a man who himself supported terrorism has the gall to tell loyal Americans they’re not doing enough to oppose it.

Congresswoman Lee’s loyalties should not be measured by the requirement some on the right seem to have for people to spread fear and uncertainty about our own fellow citizens in order to be seen as loyal, and not “politically correct.”

Which, apparently is worse than being racist, being a bigot, or maybe just plain being an ***hole. God forbid that people try to go along to get along, view people as equals, and not attribute to people loyalties or disloyalties their actions have not demonstrated, or qualities they have not personally shown.

I think the police and Federal Agents don’t need to suspect the muslim masses of America, but only those who good evidence puts under appropriate suspicion. Yes, we may not catch all the bad guys that way, but with an imperfect system, that wasn’t going to happen anyways. More to the point, when evidence is not of consequence, your field of suspects increases, and you are left dealing with many more people who have fewer leads, proportionately, to offer you.

This ethnic prejudice is not caution, it’s a lack of focus, lazy thinking, and invasive policy. The folks who are really interested in dealing with potential homeland security threats target those who are implicated by evidence, not an entire demographic of people, most of whom are law-abiding citizens, and loyal Americans.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 16, 2011 1:17 PM
Comment #320235

So where has Cong. Lee shown her loyalties to America? By waving the Constitution in someones face?

Just don’t forget that snake poison is 5% protein.

Posted by: tom humes at March 16, 2011 1:49 PM
Comment #320236

tom humes-
Where has she not? I don’t see her backing a foreign power against her own nation, or saying the nation’s safety is unimportant. She’s just not indulging your theory on what the threats are.

As for the snake poison, you’ll really have to do a better job of explaining the relevance of that fact. I have no idea what you mean by that.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 16, 2011 2:19 PM
Comment #320278

“Media deceptions that rely on these kinds of tricks are particularly insidious. It’s one thing to be biased. A person can be unconsciously so. But trust me when I say, there is nothing accidental about what those conservative media activists did. You can’t slip, trip, and match a shot of you walking in with a pimp suit to a video of you talking with hidden footage of ACORN employees, nor doctor the video to such an extent that those seeing the whole video come out with a different idea.”

Spot on. Good observation. It’s amazing that they do these kinds of things, and yet they continue to do them.

Posted by: Bob Terrell at March 16, 2011 11:14 PM
Comment #320289

Some say the cable news channels have run their course. They all bled viewers in 2010. Fox was down 11% for the year, a loss of 240,000 viewers from their daily average.

Posted by: jlw at March 17, 2011 2:05 AM
Comment #320296

The economics of cable news are being affected, I think by the way technology is developing.

Right now, me and my family actually get our television service over the internet, along with a high bandwidth connection. I can watch video and television series either as downloaded files or through streaming services like Hulu. Additionally, much of the internet has Flash video feeds. Implementation of HTML v.5 is going to include native video support, meaning that even without Flash or another plugin, video will be deliverable on the internet.

You see where this is going? I think the day’s going to come when you can’t tell the difference between your television service and your internet service- in no small part because there won’t be one, any longer. What were once the television networks will now just be other media nodes among the great variety on the internet. They might be subscription nodes, but they’ll still have plenty of competition. I think the major difference will be one of quality and production values, rather than privileged access to the medium.

The interesting thing, I think, as time goes on, is that I think the competition from the consumer end of things is going to grow. In fact, if you look at YouTube, it’s already there.

The world is evolving, and I think its important to ask, while we’re in the midst of this transformation, how we want to deal with the world.

The fact that we can seek out media now, rather than having to take in media from a few sets of networks, means that our own biases have become more important, and more of a problem than any bias that a news network or newspaper could indulge in. It’s become very easy to follow other like-minded people down the rabbit hole, and lose sight of the big picture. We forget we have a choice in our information consumption.

We can no longer blame somebody else alone, when we become misinformed or mislead. If we truly want to be free in this new world, we have to free our minds.

That’s why I’m asking Republicans and conservatives to reconsider their devotion to these sources. Belief can only create truth through the action of believers, and not all events change their character in the face of those actions the way those believers want them to.

A lot of people are buying into organizational efforts that take advantage of the mass synchronization of communication and interaction that the internet offers, but they aren’t considering one very important question: where are the brakes on this thing? How do we figure out how to manage our lives and the information before us in a way that doesn’t have us stampeding like a herd of lemmings after one false idea or another?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 17, 2011 11:16 AM
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