On Mitt, Victims, NPR, FNN & Other Toxins

On Mitt, Victims, NPR, FNN & Other Toxins

No spin? No SPIN???? Let’s get it right: the SPIN IS NON=STOP.

I’m not an avid NPR listener although I do support public radio and television and think they have a value. I usually listen to NPR nightly news where they do air various viewpoints and that word “balance” isn’t an obscene misrepresentation of what they do, just a bit misguided. I also like NPR programs on Saturday where I learn about cars and gardening even though I’m dangerous with tools and live on a plot of sand near the ocean where nothing grows except nut grass. This week, I heard some absolute trash on NPR. Very slanted, very misleading. To my liberal friends and readers, don’t cry “foul” quite yet, I’ll get to the conservative propagandists on the “fair and balanced” network soon, but for now, I’m going to point out the liberal propaganda.

Coming home from a show on Wednesday night, I turned on NPR’s WHYY in Philadelphia and heard a few minutes of a talk show. I didn’t get the names, and turned it off because it was so slanted, especially when made several inferences and then treated the inference as if it were fact. I thought Bill O’Reilly had a patent on that process.

In the interview, the woman being questioned noted a “scientific” study where sophisticated imaging of the brains of conservatives and liberals showed actual differences in neural structures and then she started to name some specifics including the “fact” that in conservatives, the “amygdala” was larger than in liberals: side note, she mispronounced “amygdala” giving me the impression that she had no idea what she was talking about.

What’s the “amygdala?” In a trivia contest, my hand would shoot right up. I used to teach this stuff and I’d hit the buzzer and say “it’s the part of the brain that’s believed to control our fear response.” Unless this was jeopardy when Alex would shake his head and tell me I don’t get credit because my answer wasn’t in the form of a question, which we all know is a tactic reserved for politicians.

Back to being a professor. When I heard a student say  something like this – point to a “scientific study” or express a “percentage” along with an assertion (four out of five dentists recommend… or 64% of all blondes have brown eye: someone actually stated that once) or make an assertion that I either believed was outrageous, wrong or just in conflict with my own common sense, I wouldn’t declare it to be “bullshit”, even if I thought it was. I’d ask them to “cite the source.” Give credibility to the comment and at least give me a chance to check it out for myself and not depend on a comment as revealing a fact.

The host conducting the interview never did that or anything like it as the guest continued to make rather wild and what I believe were invalid assertions about conservative and liberal brains and minds. She also never did comment on what the significance of a larger amygdala actually is. She did however make some generalities about the meaning, the most interesting of them being that liberals were more able to accept and enjoy plays that didn’thave a happy ending. I’m not making this up. Her inferences from the results of this study, amazingly enough, seemed to indicate that liberals were more open minded, better abstract thinkers and generally superior. This is in conflict with my own common sense where I personally know many people who are conservative and very open minded. I don’t think it’s radical or irrational to say that there are differences in mindsets, but this was a gross overgeneralization, and lacking credibility. This was bullshit.

Now let’s look at the conservative toxic waste aired by the Fox News Network. When Mitt Romney’s comments on the now famous video became public and spread on youtube and social media, and the networks,  the “Fair and Balanced” Fox News Network began a process they’ve done over and over again through the years: they invented the news instead of reporting it.

One “reporter” after another on this house of barely intelligent discourse, attacked Mother Jones Magazine, the source of the Romney video as being extremely liberal. This does appear to be true, but – perhaps I should be clearer – BUT the political leanings of Mother Jones is absolutely, completely, 100% IRRELEVANT. It wasn’t them reporting on what they state Mitt said, or making inferences into what his words meant. They released a video where the candidate did the talking, said what he said and there was no context to be manipulated. Romney said it – it’s true whether it was Mother Jones or Rush Lumbaugh who put it out to the media. There is no “source” issue here at all and yet Fox News, over and over, complained about that. It was an empty assertaion for the sake of attack and diminishing the credibility of the information. Deduct a point from the “fair and balanced” scoreboard.

This is a presidential candidate and “fair and balanced” reporting should indicate that if that’s what the candidate said, then that’s what he said whether you like it or not. But his is about slants, not reporting. Yet another incredible misdirection employed by FNN or put another way, a total absence of credibility. Truly, this is  exceptionally poor reporting.

So about Mitt’s comment and the 47% of people who believe they are victims. What’s your source Mitt? Are you overgeneralizing? Are there good, hard-working, independent people with good minds and hearts who are supporting the President’s reelection? This “47%” strikes me as relevant and supported as 64% of blondes have brown eyes. A.K.A. a fabrication and when spoken or written many will simply believe it even if it’s pure fiction. I believe this number is pure fiction or at least, I’ve not seen any credible evidence that it’s not. In the meantime, the “fair and balanced” reporters on Fox News Network have started a montra that Mitt hsould run on this statement: a campaign with a fabricated foundation. Good advice guys.

Perhaps, and this is conjecture on my part, if you listen to Mr. Romney’s words, you might get a sense as I did, that he was appealing for contributions from who he believes are the real “victims’ in America today: the very wealthy who are having the wealth that they’ve accumulated attacked by the 47% of those people who want the government to provide for them. Aren’t people who look to others to work for them and support them often referred to as “deadbeats?”

Since this controversy erupted, Mitt’s supporters on FNN and elsewhere have stated that Romney didn’t say he wasn’t concerned with this 47% as people, but as getting their votes in November. I think that’s perhaps a fabricated interpretation after the fact, but then again, I’m interpreting his statements as he really didn’t care about these people. He didn’t make any mention of their votes in his comments and his demeanor seemed rather flat. This is an interpretation on my part, and I’m not sure what his intent was, just his what his words were. Similarly, those defending his words as merely writing off the votes are also engaging in speculation. The are reading into the intent and so am I.

Yes, I engaged in conjecture. That’s one of the differences between Bill O’Reilly and me. He treats his conjecture as if it were “fact”, not conjecture. Other differences include that he has a very large audience and on a good week I have a couple of hundred readers; he’s wealthy and I’m not; I have a Seeing Eye dog and he doesn’t need one; I’m good looking and he’s a – no, I actually think Kermit is cute – O’Reilly’s not..

Some NPR programming and what appears to be the lion’s share of Fox News Network’s broadcasting seem to be trying to create “balance” by expanding the quantity of misrepresentation and misinformation to equal one another.  Mitt Romney’s comments were wrong and I seriously doubt, in spite of Fox News Networks assertion that Romney is right, that there is any credibility or actual support for this contention. Even more regrettable than the leak, and the content of Mitt’s kissing up to wealthy backers, is that such back room discussion happens all the time in politics. We don’t’ hear it in the grandiose speeches, but it’s there and it’s driving our politics. The country is sick and they keep feeding us poison. Even worse, we keep consuming it.

What’s your opinion? I’d like to hear from you. Please reply on this blog. “Be Heard.” Prof. Dave

4 thoughts on “On Mitt, Victims, NPR, FNN & Other Toxins

  1. You changed your O’Reilly description – he is a toad (and Kermit is a cute FROG).
    You are much better looking and you have a very handsome Seeing Eye dog.
    That’s my opinion and I am sticking by it!!!

    • Guilty as charged. I had to make the change. After the original post I received a very nasty, even threatening message about my previous description of Mr. O’Rielly’s appearance: from a toad. I don’t need the warts so I made the change.

      Thanks you for noticing and you’re WAY too kind! Prof. Dave

  2. It’s a sad state of affairs that you describe and unfortunately, I cannot find fault with anything you’ve said. Which, in and of itself is sad…. It’s almost a “given” that newscasts are all biased. I watch BBC America to try and hear as little spin as possible. They do an okay job. I don’t know what the answer is. Well actually I do know what the answer is but it’s I don’t think it’ll happen…..not anytime soon.

    A friend of mine on July 4th, posted the Declarations of Indenpendence and I re-read it. In that document it states quite specifically:
    “That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, IT IS THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO ALTER OR TO ABOLISH IT, and to institute NEW GOVERNMENT, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”

    This wonderful document simply states that if a time should come when it is apparent and abundantly clear that the government is “broken”, then “We the People” have a moral OBLIGATION to destroy said government and create a new government. So, until the we establish a better way than the 2 party system, we the people are really up “s**t’s creek” not only without paddles, but the boat is leaking and we have nothing to bale with.

    Extremes do not work. Too liberal. Too conservative. Overamped on tea parties. Hey wait….what about Libertarian? Middle of the road. Willing to work on both sides of the fence because they realise that if one side is broken, so is the other side….perhaps…..maybe…..could be…..WHO THE HELL KNOWS~!!!!! I feel like I’m in the movie “Network” and “I’m mad as hell and don’t want to take it anymore”…..

    • Interesting additional thoughts – perhaps we need to consider the source of power in this country and looking to the Declaration of Independence is an excellent starting point. I think all governments are at the consent of the people. If I declare myself King and nobody listens to me or agrees with me, then I’m a guy on the street claiming a power I don’t actually have. We seem tohave gotten ourselves locked into adversarial thinking and it not only makes it impossible for constructive problem solving, it’s the major obstacle to progress. We’re stagnating, and the primary job of those elected seems to be getting reelected and working to be part of a numeric majority.

      Democracy has been described as teh worst system of government ever invented, with the only exception being every other system of government ever invented. Perhaps it’s time for a new party, founded on ideals of working thrugh problems collaboratively, listening and respecting diverse views, recognizing that good people with strong values can see a problem very differently. Yeah, right. The networks will hate us and we won’t get many votes. Why not? The promise that we will work until we work it out is always trumped by fear.

      Thanks again for your wonderful and thoughtful comments. Prof. Dave