Wednesday, September 9, 2009
After that, I turned on the TV to one of the FCC regulated channels to see what the national weather service of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration determined the weather was going to be like using satellites designed, built, and launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
I watched this while eating my breakfast of US department of agriculture inspected food and taking the drugs which have been determined as safe by the food and drug administration.
At the appropriate time as regulated by the US congress and kept accurate by the national institute of standards and technology and the US Naval Observatory, I get into my National Highway Traffic Safety Administration approved automobile and set out to work on the roads build by the local, state, and federal departments of transportation, possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel of a quality level determined by the environmental protection agency, using legal tender issued by the Federal Reserve Bank. On the way out the door I deposit any mail I have to be sent out via the US Postal Service and drop the kids off at the public school.
After spending another day not being maimed or killed at work thanks to the workplace regulations imposed by the department of labor and the occupational safety and health administration, enjoying another two meals which again do not kill me because of the USDA, I drive my NHTSA car back home on the DOT roads, to my house which has not burned down in my absence because of the state and local building codes and fire marshal's inspection, and which has not been plundered of all it's valuables thanks to the local police department.
I then log on to the internet which was developed by the defense advanced research projects administration and post on freerepublic.com and fox news forums about how SOCIALISM in medicine is BAD because the government can't do anything right."
Monday, September 7, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
Town Hall Protests Distorted By Irresponsible Media
By Steve Benen, Washington Monthly
Posted on September 3, 2009, Printed on September 4, 2009
UNDERSTANDING AUGUST.... At this point in the debate over health care reform, the Republicans' #1 talking point has nothing to do with "death panels" or "socialized medicine." It's all about the town-hall meetings lawmakers held over the August recess.
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the "the public outcry" makes it "clear" the country doesn't support reform. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said if "town meetings are going to mean anything," he has no choice but to listen to protestors. Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) said the raucous events is all the evidence he needs: "I think the voice of the people have [sic] been heard quite loudly in the month of August."
There are all kinds of problems with this kind of thinking. For one thing, the screaming, right-wing critics of reform have been confused with nonsense, and don't even understand what they think they're opposed to. For another, they represent a small part of the population. For that matter, basing policy decisions on who can throw the biggest tantrum is never a good idea.
But E.J. Dionne Jr. today raises arguably the most important question of all: "[W]hat if our media-created impression of the meetings is wrong?"
There is an overwhelming case that the electronic media went out of their way to cover the noise and ignored the calmer (and from television's point of view "boring") encounters between elected representatives and their constituents.
It's also clear that the anger that got so much attention largely reflects a fringe right-wing view opposed to all sorts of government programs most Americans support.... Over the past week, I've spoken with Democratic House members, most from highly contested districts, about what happened in their town halls. None would deny polls showing that the health-reform cause lost ground last month, but little of the probing civility that characterized so many of their forums was ever seen on television.
Lawmakers heard from plenty of skeptics -- and plenty of supporters. Rep. David Price (D) of North Carolina had someone from a television network come to his town-hall event and who told the lawmaker in advance, "Your meeting doesn't get covered unless it blows up." Price's audience was generally receptive to reform, so the network ignored it.
This, of course, is not journalism. When news outlets decide in advance that only anti-reform protestors are worthy of coverage, it's an example of the media dictating the discourse. Your opinion is only deemed newsworthy if it meets the expectations of those who decide what's newsworthy. In this case, Tea Baggers, LaRouche cultists, and assorted crazies were deemed important. Everyone else, not so much.
As Dionne concluded, "[T]he only citizens who commanded widespread media coverage last month were the right-wingers. And I bet you thought the media were 'liberal.'"
To base a historic public debate on what folks "learned" from cable news coverage of hand-picked town-hall events would be a ridiculous mistake.
Steve Benen is "blogger in chief" of the popular Washington Monthly online blog, Political Animal. His background includes publishing The Carpetbagger Report, and writing for a variety of publications, including Talking Points Memo, The American Prospect, the Huffington Post, and The Guardian. He has also appeared on NPR's "Talk of the Nation," MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show," Air America Radio's "Sam Seder Show," and XM Radio's "POTUS '08."
� 2009 Washington Monthly All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/bloggers/http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/142397/
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