Friday, September 30, 2005

Focused bias.

My good friend at Random Brain Dribbles has written a response to yesterday's post. He starts out...
In my defence, my statement (though perhaps poorly phrased) was more to illustrate the point that, if you are protesting the current administration, you really want to concentrate on things other than just being anti-Bush. By being primarily anti-Bush, you're really hoping that people vote for your side, as opposed to not voting, voting for a third party, writing "Mickey Mouse" on the ballot, etc.
I agree that it's more useful generally to be positive than negative, and I think the protest would have been better if it had been more focused. That having been said, I think that "not Bush" and "not war" accurately sum up the opinions of a lot of people, and it's something they agree on when they don't agree on the positive message (that is, "not Bush" captures supporters of Kerry, McCain, Dean, Nader, and Mickey Mouse). In that sense, "Bush is bad" enhances focus.

Left up to me, I think I would have made it a "no war" event. Getting personal is easy to ignore, and getting into details of alternatives is easy to confuse.
Concerning the abysmal public opinion - it appears that it might be going back up.

We switch gears slightly to things said by Hugh Hewitt:
The central part of this story, what went on at the convention center and the Superdome was wrong.
I've been reading about this a little, and I'm still not clear on what happened. Hewitt offers this:
America was riveted by this reporting, wholesale collapse of the media's own levees they let in all the rumors, and all the innuendo, all the first-person story because they were caught up in this own emotionalism.
(Emphasis added.)

I don't see how anyone can say certainly why this happened, but for a more charitable look at the situation, read Slarrow's Serious Thread at Obsidian Wings. In fact, go read it anyway. It's a fantastic look at the media and racism after Katrina. Long story short, tales of horror came from authorities such as a Chief of Police and from people who actually were inside the Superdome. Baldilocks sums it up this way:
The media believed ugly rumors about black people told to them by black people: by the evacuees and by the (black) New Orleans police chief. And, in the media mindset, why would these sources say things to make other black people look bad unless it was true? That's laziness (on the media's part), not racism.
Hewitt goes on:
If all of that amount of resources was given over to this story and they got it wrong, how can we trust American media in a place far away like Iraq where they don't speak the language, where there is an insurgency, and I think the question comes back we really can't.
He doesn't say it explicitly, but I think his message here is "Iraq is not as bad as it's reported" (as implied by "Katrina was not as bad as reported"). That's not a completely off-the-wall conclusion, but we should also allow for the possibility that Iraq is actually worse than reported. I've written about media bias before, and I don't have much to add now. I bring this up only because I find it amusing to see people (in the media!) claim "media bias" without ruling out other explanations.

Garou has this to say also:
Anyway, the point is that even a popular President can have a negative coat-tails effect.
Has that actually happened? I'm not nearly enough of a politics or history junkie to say, but that assertion on the face looks odd to me.

(I feel I should now apologize for this post's lack of focus.)
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