Archive for October, 2007

Shrum reveals the attitude of concern

A review of a memoir by veteran Democratic operative Bob Shrum provides an insight into the problems we face if honesty and integrity and respect are valued.

But what is ultimately most alarming about Shrum is that, as this era’s leading Democratic guru, he has had such influence over all these years in shaping—make that distorting—the public discourse. For if there was any doubt, his own unapologetic testimony makes manifest his contempt and loathing for those who fail to embrace his own paleo-liberal worldview. This is a man who credits his ideological foes with not the slightest decency, but rather sees them as an evil to be purged from public life. And in service of this noble mission, no behavior seems beyond the pale.

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Propaganda: another case study

The Washington Times editorializes about another case of trying to warp the message in Playing Games with School Choice.

it’s further evidence of how Democrats are playing politics with our children’s education

The confidential draft report, created at the behest of three liberal Democrats, Sens. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, Dick Durbin of Illinois and D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, was presumptuously leaked to local media before the Department of Education had time to respond, clarify and explain some of the GAO’s findings. As a result, the public heard only an incomplete picture of a program that is by many measures a success and enjoys tremendous parental satisfaction.

Understandably, federal educators were furious that the report, which apparently nitpicks at the bureaucratic minutiae involved in school administration, was released to members of the media who then predictably trumped up the findings in everything from blaring headlines to bellowing from liberal detractors.

Clearly the District’s voucher program is a success and deserves continued support. No shortsighted report criticizing a school’s lack of gymnasium or its compliance with every bureaucratic detail will prove otherwise.

Find a topic. Request a report. Leak to selected outlets before the ‘opposition’ has a chance to form up a defense. Nitpick for effect. Blast for dispersion.

You’d think the ‘save the children’ mantra would be enough to clue in the unsuspecting.

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The cost of propaganda

Michael Yon is planning a new venture to correct a malaise that he sees.

Today I am in Iraq, back in a war of such strategic consequence that it will affect generations yet unborn—whether or not they want it to. Hiding under the covers will not work, because whether it is good news or bad, whether it is true or untrue, once information is widely circulated, it has such formidable inertia that public opinion seems impervious to the corrective balm of simple and clear facts.

I’ve written often about the near complete failure of most media reporting—as the craft is most typically plied over here—to capture the truth of Iraq and accurately portray it in an increasingly commercial news environment.

it wasn’t until I spent that week back in the States that I realized how bad things have gotten. I believe we are witnessing a conspiracy of coincidences conflating to exert an incomprehensibly destructive force on the free press system that we largely take for granted.

As I travel around the world, I see that even many of our close allies have a false impression of American soldiers as brutally oppressive towards people. Even our great friends in Singapore and the United Kingdom, and the pro-American people on the island of Bali, Indonesia, think we are savaging people. This loss of moral leadership will be costly to Americans on many fronts for many generations to come.

The war is not only in Iraq and against terrorism, it is in the matter of an honest appraisal of culture and an intellectual integrity. Yon mounts a front in this war and asks for your help. You can support his efforts by visiting his site and contributing to his tip jar.

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LtG Sanchez, what he really said.

Michael Yon has one of the best transcripts of this speech by Lieutenant General (Ret.) Ricardo S. Sanchez delivered to military reporters. The controversy is again the media and its selective reporting.

What was often the banner headline for this speech was the typical BushBash citing how LtG Sanchez thought the conduct of the war in Iraq was incompetent and so on. This tended to reinforce one of his two main points for the speech.

The reality of the speech was a media teardown and a warning about bipolar politics.

it is necessary for the strength of our democracy that the military and the press corps maintain a strong, mutually respectful and enabling relationship. This continues to be problematic for our country, especially during times of war. … Today, I will attempt to do two things – first I will give you my assessment of the military and press relationship and then I will provide you some thoughts on the current state of our war effort. …

I have issued ultimatums to some of you for unscrupulous reporting that was solely focused on supporting your agenda and preconceived notions of what our military had done. …

All of these challenges combined create a media environment that does a tremendous disservice to America. …

My assessment is that your profession, to some extent, has strayed from these ethical standards and allowed external agendas to manipulate what the American public sees on TV, what they read in our newspapers and what they see on the web. For some of you, just like some of our politicians, the truth is of little to no value if it does not fit your own preconceived notions, biases and agendas. …

While the politicians espouse their rhetoric designed to preserve their reputations and their political power –our soldiers die! …

National efforts to date have been corrupted by partisan politics that have prevented us from devising effective, executable, supportable solutions. …

Our nation has not focused on the greatest challenge of our lifetime. The political and economic elements of power must get beyond the politics to ensure the survival of America. Partisan politics have hindered this war effort and America should not accept this. …

It appears that there is some diffusion of the message, as far as politics goes, in the ‘both sides do it’ realm. When he mentions the Powell Doctrine (i.e. overwhelming force or else) he treads on soft sand, too.

What can’t be missed is that there are two fronts in the war that have been highly destructive. The media has been serving as a propaganda machine and the political fracas in Washington has obfuscated intent and purpose.

An excellent example of the political side of things is the recent House resolution regarding Turkey’s actions in the first world war. Why do this nearly 100 years after the fact? Speculation is that the effort is exactly as Sanchez indicates: putting partisan political power above the needs of the country. By irritating Turkey, supply routes and an in-theater ally are threatened. It is a political action taken to weaken or damage the US effort, not support it or change it through appropriate process.

Yon does not agree with Sanchez regarding the current situation in Iraq. Blackfive has also had it with retired generals spouting off derogatory comments about their superiors as that should have been handled when they were on the job. Those are other issues, rather minor ones compared to the war of the fifth column that Sanchez described.

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Net neutrality: socialism in the dialog

Justice for the Internet by K. Lloyd Billingsley at TCS provides a good overview of what the net neutrality debate is all about.

On the one side are those who think the internet should be ‘free’ and the crass corporate greedy types shouldn’t get their greasy hands on it. Everyone should be able to have a good internet connection and be able to do with it whatever they want. They shouldn’t be penalized by pricing schemes or other barriers that limit how and what they use the net for.

On the other hand there are the capitalists. They think that those who provide internet services should be able to price their products and services as the market allows. They think providers should be able to charge the use who wants video all day more than the user who needs the I’net only for occasional e-mail. They should be allowed to charge more for high priority traffic, like VOIP, than for low priority traffic like software downloads.

Billingsley tends towards the capitalists’ view.

Net neutrality means government regulation of the Internet, specifically a prohibition of differential charges for priority traffic. … In the lexicon of net neutrality, differential or priority pricing is called “discrimination,” … Net neutrality is the latest slogan of the “digital divide,” the notion that new technology instantly creates new legions of haves and have-nots, an emergency situation caused by the market and requiring new regulation.

Anytime there is a lot of emotional verbiage that promotes governmental regulation to even things out there should be concern. Taken to extreme, that path is towards socialism. “Net neutrality” is a good example of phrases that are loaded with more emotion than logic. Take head!

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