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May 14, 2008

The Voters are Smarter than the Media

-- by John Emerson

In a Mississippi special election the Democratic Congressional candidate won by 8% in a district which had gone for Bush by 20%+. Granted that white Southern Democratic Congressmen are usually more conservative than Democratic Presidential candidates (and Northern Democratic Congressmen), that's a tremendous swing.

What strikes me here is that the voters, including the fabled "heartland voters", are rejecting the Republicans even though the media still is not. To my knowledge, on national commercial TV and radio only Keith Olberman is reliably anti-Republican. There are a lot of weaselly centrists like Matthews and Stephanopolous, but mostly it's Limbaugh / O'Reilly / Savage types.

This definitely goes against the idea that the voters are slaves to the media. Even in conservative districts in Mississippi, the average ignorant voter is wise to the Republicans in a way that the media are not.

On the other hand, it confirms the idea that the media are in the tank for the Republicans. Maybe they're just sucking up to whoever's in power and actually have no principles of any kind, but they've been far behind the curve in admitting that Bush's semi-criminal gang has harmed the country.

And while this shows us the media don't control public opinion entirely, certainly the media's willingness to stovepipe Bush propaganda and their failure to confront the Republican slime machine have been very helpful to the Republicans, at the expense of the American people and democracy.

Next time someone tells you that America's problem is stupid voters, don't believe them. The American elite is stupider than the American mass.

David Broder, for example.....

Posted by John Emerson at May 14, 2008 5:32 AM

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Comments

I like "weasely centrists".
That sums up Matthews quite nicely.

Posted by: scott at May 16, 2008 10:21 AM

While it seems the author and I share many of the same ideals it's still unfortunate that he/she misinforms the public further when he characterizes Keith Olberman as anti-republican. Mr. Olberman has stated publicly several times that this is simply not the case. He is interested in bringing truth to light. He is interested in upholding the original objectives of being a journalist. If those ideals are opposite of those who identify themselves as Republican then fine, but Keith is not anti-republican.

Look, I know people want badly to undo some of the wrongs that narrow minded people have placed upon a great many of us but we cannot commit the same errors. We also have to look for positive ways to include people who perhaps don't share the same view as us and are not interested in limiting our freedoms because of it. When you spew out messaging that is exclusively anti to other groups you alienate them more. I know I don't like it when narrow minded folks do it to me.

Getting back to the point. The media does deserve your scorn. I am not sure they are intentionally irresponsible but they have dropped the very large ball we place in their hands. That means we have to continue to bring the ball to their door by hitting their base - which is advertising. It's easier said then done, but perhaps we can develop strategies that do so instead of lowering ourselves to the level of those who have made it easier for the media to lose sight of their responsibilities all together.

Posted by: Donnie Garrow at May 16, 2008 10:46 AM

By now the Republicans are a semi-criminal gang, and the Republican voters are dupes at best. They're going to have to spend the next ten years rehabbing themselves. If they remain in office, the U.S. is finished.

I imagine that under different circumstances Olbermann would be fair, but he's quite reasonably anti-Republican right now, because of what the Republicans have become. Any decent, factually-oriented person is anti-Republican today. The few remaining minimally decent Republicans have debased and degraded themselves by staying in the game; I think that Chafee knows that, up to a point.

I'm pretty comfortable with the idea that politics is an unfriendly, competitive game. I've been taking my lumps for about 40 years ago, but I think that things are going to turn around. I have no interest in including the bad guys, any more than they had any interest in including me. All I care about is getting them out of the Presidency and knocking their Congressional share down to 40% or less.

I am perfectly nice and civil when I meet Republicans in real life, but I avoid getting close to them because the political arguments quickly become unpleasant, and because I don't want to have to sit quietly after hearing them repeat outragous and vicious lies they've been told. Their political beliefs always end up slipping out.

Posted by: John Emerson at May 16, 2008 11:25 AM

I don't want a "liberal media" or a "conservative media". I want a media that lays out the facts and uncovers evils.

Posted by: EP3 at May 17, 2008 12:00 PM

You and I want different things, I guess.

By and large I think that you live in a dream world. If being partisan is forbidden, you can't have honest reporting, because often the facts are partisan. The fetish of neutrality is part of the problem today -- that's where you get "Shape of the earth: opinions differ" reporting.

In retrospect I would have phrased the sentence slightly differently to avoid the objections just stated. I could have said "Only Olbermann dares criticize the Republicans for their failures and lies". Effectively, that makes him anti-Republican, since they lie all the time and have failed many times. But perhaps I might have worded it differently.

But the healthiest actually-possible system would be a range of publications and channels -- partisan, bipartisan, non-partisan, left, right, center. There's a very wide possible range of honest opinion in politics, and pure non-partisan factuality is a delusion.

Posted by: John Emerson at May 17, 2008 12:30 PM

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