The latest opinion poll on how Americans perceive the political situation in this country, conducted by The New York Times and CBS, is interesting and encouraging for more than one reason. Not only Bush's approval ratings keep spiraling down, but the Republicans are losing to the Democrats on almost every count. And the few exceptions are very revealing.
For example, Americans think that Democrats represent their moral values better than Republicans 50-37 (the numbers don't add up to 100 because of the usual undecided). This is astounding, considering that “moral issues” gave the presidency to George the second time around (well, actually the first time, since in 2000 he stole the election). It means that Democrats – despite their lack of ideas and leadership – have managed to turn around the moral tide that kicked them out of the House, the Senate, and the White House in recent years. Good news for the 2006 elections.
It is no surprise that Democrats do better than Reps on issues such as immigration (45-29), the war on Iraq (48-30), education (a whopping 53-25!), protection of civil liberties (62-22), health care (62-19), and even gas prices (57-11). What is interesting, on the other hand, is that the progressives beat the conservatives at an issue such as taxes! 55% (against 27%) of the interviewed people said the Democrats would ensure a more fair system of taxation than Republicans. Could it be that the people are beginning to realize that the Republican version of the American Dream is a big scam meant to favor the already ultra-rich?
What is really fascinating (or, rather, irritating), however, is that the poll also shows that a large majority of Americans (55-29) still thinks that Republicans do a better job at insuring that we have a strong military – despite the obvious failures of said military in Iraq, thanks to the unconscionable “leadership” of Donald Rumsfeld (and let us not forget that 9/11 happened under Bush's, not Clinton's, nose). Even here, however, things are not quite so honky-dory for the hawks currently inhabiting Capitol Hill, since they win on the question of making the right decisions when it comes to dealing with terrorism, but only 40-35, a rather slim margin indeed.
Given all this, is it a surprise that the White House and his Republican allies are betting everything on stepping up the fear mongering and the “we are at war” rhetoric? (One cannot possibly be at war with a terrorist organization, just as there can't be a war on cancer, on drugs, or poverty -- all of these are category mistakes, but that's another story.) It's all they've got, folks, and if the American people begin to see through that last desperate gimmick, well, we might be in for some real change over the next few years.
About Rationally Speaking
Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Dems ahead, except for the fear-mongering factor
Posted by Unknown at 9:35 PM
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Yeah, expect a few raises in those ridiculous "terror alert" color codes (that I've heard Fox News displays on their screens a lot) here and there in the coming months...ReplyDelete
"Yeah, expect a few raises in those ridiculous "terror alert" color codes (that I've heard Fox News displays on their screens a lot) here and there in the coming months..."ReplyDelete
Is that all you saw?
I've noticed a lot of other things about Fox that are a lot more divisive and confusing than that.
Such as, a famous lingerie maker's "fashion show" wedged right in between a news show that a lot of families watch (because of the time), and another that a lot of guys watch. What's up with that? I personally wouldn't even call Fox conservative.
I've posted this commentary before, but, oh well..
"... Not to be outdone by Hollywood liberals, Fox News, under its banner of "fair and balanced reporting" regularly provides titillating, tantalizing and tawdry stories for our consideration and consumption as if to be providing a legitimate public service by doing so. Posturing as respectable they are able end-run the conscience of their conservative viewers and readers who trust and accept Fox's self-polling and shrewd programming mix of prudence with perversion ONLY BECAUSE it has not been officially declared "liberal" by a compromised collective.
" This is exactly how the Hegelian Dialectic seduces its victims, my friends...dressing up as one thing while being another, mixing and blending right and wrong, good and evil, liberal and conservative until the confusion of compromise makes everyone and everything indistinguishable. That's the consensus process and the wily ways of The New World Order." Psalm 12:8
FOX is successful because it gives people the idea they are watching the news & getting well-informed, but the stronger message is the emotional subtext.ReplyDelete
What is the difference between an Al Gore supporter and a puppy?ReplyDelete
Eventually, the puppy opens its eyes and stops whining.
Regardless of one's opinion of President Bush's policies, the whole "Bush stole the election" drivel is simply not factually accurate. Every single recount, even the one's done by Gore's standards, clearly showed Bush as the winner. I would think someone who prides himself on being a bastion of (sic) "Rational Speaking" would care more about facts than about falacious sensationalism, but having read Dr. P's writing for some time now, its really nothing new.
you really need to get the facts straight. Bush did not win the '00 elections, he only got the Presidency because of the shady work of his brother in Florida and the fact that he had his father-appointed Supreme Court stop the recount. There is even reasonable doubt he won the '04 ones, since even Republicans admitted to a bit of "irregularities" in Ohio.
"FOX is successful because it gives people the idea they are watching the news & getting well-informed, but the stronger message is the emotional subtext."ReplyDelete
True. But we are emotional creatures. And I don't appreciate fear mongering from any news service. But even CNN and MSNBC found out that FOX's techniques were effective, and to a certain extent, changed theirs. That is, happier, prettier, livelier conversation between news anchors and what not. And as much as we may not like to admit it, humans respond to that.
Now I don't think that I would respond differently to a more handsome or pretty anchor person, however, if they seemed to have thought through the issue carefully...but, of course, that can be a trap too, if you don't KNOW WHO YOU ARE. At 15, 16, 17, 18 my mother always reminded me of that fact when I left the house, "remember WHO you are". (that is) If you don't know who you are, you will fall for anything.
Sometimes I didn't appreciate that as much a I should have, but she was right and I was wrong.
back to the media and who WE ARE:
"Neil Postman, the author of Amusing Ourselves to Death, understood these socialist strategies. He also saw the power of a cooperative media to fuel new cravings and dull old convictions. To illustrate today's manipulation of our minds, he drew an interesting contrast between two familiar totalitarian visions: Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and George Orwell's 1984:
"Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies....
"In 1984 ... people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us."
The spiritual war against Christ and the cross is being waged on both fronts. The assault on religious freedom fits Orwell's vision. The flood of images and suggestions that distort traditional beliefs, twist Biblical values and trivialize Christian words, fit Huxley's vision.
While Orwellian repression intimidates many into silence and conformity, it also awakens faith and stirs resistance. But Huxley's "feelies" simply dull our thinking and distract our attention until trivia becomes the norm and Biblical conviction becomes -- under the new UN Mental Health standards -- an intolerable expression of deviance and extremism."...
by Berit Kjos
Is that all you saw?ReplyDelete
Actually, I wrote "I've HEARD Fox News displays", since I almost never watch TV (exceptions for hockey, rodeos and F1. Oh, and the coming World Cup, of course).
I don't know if you're resorting to the old "liberal media bias" in your post or not. I hope you're not, since there is no such thing as this bias. But I guess the world is not as simple as we'd like, therefore we can't just pidgeonhole everything in two (for Americans, maybe different for other people) neat little categories. So there's nothing to be surprised about pro-GOP fear mongering now and a lingerie show the next minute - it all reflects well in their finacial reports, right? They'll change when it does not pay to do what they do. Which goes back to what you wrote in the "Colbert-Stewart 2008" thread (and I agree with most of that): it is not only that each people has the gov't it deserves (as we usually say in Brazil), but it also has the media it not only deserves but wants.
Now, the "of course" at the end of your last post was quite appropriate. :-)
"So there's nothing to be surprised about pro-GOP fear mongering now and a lingerie show the next minute - it all reflects well in their finacial reports, right?"ReplyDelete
The owner of Fox is not a conservative. If anything, he just lets the conservative commentators co-exist in his world because it is another a market to exploit. If any of those commentators had common sense, they’d never have agreed to get into bed, so to speak, with R. Murdoch.
Like you, I have really grown to despise a lot of news and TV. I watch a minute or two to get the most important stuff, and then shut it off. Keep it on any longer, and it tends to get repetitive and tiresome.
IF one really has nothing else to do, programs that inform are alright. "Hot rocks", Nat. Geo, etc.
"I don't know if you're resorting to the old "liberal media bias" in your post or not. I hope you're not, since there is no such thing as this bias. But I guess the world is not as simple as we'd like, therefore we can't just pidgeonhole everything"
Sure it is. Simple, that is. People want their own way. That's what makes em biased. How could the media be any different than the people that it's made up from?
Regardless of the medium or source, true objectivity is just flat out rare.