Here’s my theory, and it’s supported by stories in Eric Alterman’s What Liberal Media and Al Franken’s Lies: conservative groups spend a huge amount of time identifying and attacking every liberal criticism. This mysterious Matt (perhaps from Ohio?) is a brownshirt on a mission. Are such personal attacks fair? No, but neither are Matt’s attempts to reframe my stories. It’s that reframing that so identifies the comments as conservative.
Answer the point, Matt. The question is about Fox news, an organization soundly criticized as biased and inaccurate by darn near every liberal, a bunch of centrists, and even a number of it’s own staff. You’re rhetorically and logically wrong to think you can disprove that by claiming other sources are more biased. But that’s how conservatives work: think Obi Wan as a republican saying “this is not the argument you’re looking for. You liberals should go chase your tail while we rewrite the constitution and shift your tax money to the rich.” Or something like that.
And that’s what’s happening in Matt’s comments to the Farenheit 9⁄11 story. Oh no! “Farenheit 9⁄11 contradicts itself.” But the Hitchins quote you offer as proof is less coherent than he claims the movie was. Here’s a fact, and let me suggest you watch Fog of War and read some psychology texts to understand it, people are not always logical, reasonable, or consistent. Furthermore, it seems people — heads of state included — will often tolerate extreme cognitive dissonance while in pursuit of money and power. The Hitchins quote plainly illustrates this fact, further darkening the sad conclusions Moore makes.
I will, however, compliment Hitchins’ rhetorical style. The play of equally unlikely and exaggerated opposites (“they do, or they do not; he is, or he isn’t”) create a lulling rhythm that leads nowhere, but appears sound.
As for Moore’s facts, let me repeat what I wrote in my earlier story: “Collectively, Bushwacked, Lies, and The Iron Triangle all lead the reader to the same conclusion Moore comes to. These authors’ references show a diversity of well researched primary sources — including government documents and qualified informants — that paint a fairly clear picture. It’s this brush that Moore uses for Fahrenheit 9⁄11.” I’ll gladly listen to any equally detailed and documented rebuttal, but please, no more empty accusations and false claims.
Finally, however, I’m amused by the apparent criticism of Moore for suggesting that troops should never have been sent to Iraq. That’s the point. Isn’t it? Our troops are suffering death and disability and and our nation deficits and diminished civil liberties in a war with no end in sight. This like like Vietnam and McCarthyism all it once if you think you can silence Moore and others for saying so.
[UPDATE]: Matt’s still at it….
Fox News is undoubtedly the most conservative news channel, and any argument to the contrary is intentionally misleading or stupid. Anybody who can count can tell you that Hannity gets three times as much air time as Colmes, and a mildly perceptive time counter will tell you that Colmes’ boss, Hannity, doesn’t allow him any time or opportunity to cross, correct, or criticize him. And that’s what happens when centrists are allowed any voice at all. Yes, one example is sufficient to characterize the entire network.
The problem isn’t that Fox News is biased, anybody who understands the history of journalism can tell you that the idea of unbiased news coverage developed sometime during WWII, peaked around 1970, and has been fading since. Democracy actually thrives amidst the cacophony of biased news outlets, so long as there is diversity and sufficient numbers of them. The complaint against Fox News is that they falsely claim the banner of “fair and balanced” despite contradictory evidence.
This is one of the reasons that former Fox News news anchor Jon Du Pre is speaking out against the channel. This is why former contributor Jeff Cohen is doing the same.
What is reframing? I put up a story about Outfoxed, you try to dismiss the argument with a comment that claims the source is too liberal to be listened to. I put up a story about Fahrenheit 9⁄11, again you try to dismiss it by claiming Moore is self contradictory. Another reader comments that he too has a family member in Iraq and is glad to find bumper stickers with a message he appreciates, and you dismiss him too. You ask what it means to (attempt to) reframe these stories? Clearly you know better than I do. Not once have you addressed the facts of any of these stories; you’ve made no attempt to demonstrate contradictory evidence.
What makes a liberal or conservative? The authors I name use primary evidence to discuss facts. Facts, by definition, can be neither liberal nor conservative. The authors don’t agree with my perspective, they’ve presented logical arguments based on independent evidence. That these authors make conclusions based on these facts that are offensive to people like yourself does not make them or their work liberal. You paint yourself as a conservative by claiming they’re liberals. Once again, these are facts, and nothing you’ve written here contradicts them.
But you knew that, you knew all of this. Why would you write such misleading comments in this blog, so far from the rest of the world? What motivation could you have? In the big picture, this conservative sniping serves a purpose, and I have to commend your efforts. But aren’t they sort of wasted here? In a larger forum, there’d be at least one idiot who didn’t see through you and would instead join with in wearing me or another blogger down with endless arguments about points off from my message.
Today, my message is about how conservatives like yourself are doing everything they can to snuff the flames of opposition. I’m up for a debate, but this isn’t debate. It’s a delay and distraction tactic. So here are your options: reveal yourself and enter a real debate with evidence to back your arguments (include citations), or leave. Further comments that do not meet this criteria will be edited or deleted as the commercial speech they are. This is an odd decision to make, as I believe strongly in the first amendment protects to free speech, but I also agree with the courts that commercial speech is subject to lesser protections. Further, I won’t let my blog, a media I pay for, be used as a mouthpiece for lies and deception in support of a candidate and ideology I oppose. That is to say, you can’t have both Fox News and my blog, but I’d gladly trade.