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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Is this the fault of FOX News or something?

by folkbum

It may be because I get my news from a variety of non-TV and non-talk radio sources, but I find the untruths and misplaced righteous anger in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's letters sections lately to be just stunning. Take tomorrow's, for example. Here's part of the top one:
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has taken us for fools. I take a great deal of offense. Regarding the failed terrorist attempt on Christmas Day, she said, "The system worked." [. . .] President Barack Obama has taken the approach of ignoring Muslim extremism, pretending it does not exist, while apologizing profusely for what the United States used to be before he came on the scene.
Where is this coming from? I mean, it would be one thing if there were truth to it, but there's not. Not at all. Consider, for example, that Napolitano did not say that "the system worked" before the attack; it's pretty clear, if you read the transcript or watch the video, that she's talking about the system of reactions and dealing with the incident's aftermath, making sure that travel was not disrupted on such a busy day and that subsequent travel was safe. This letter writer, like many in the news and righty blogs of late, is baldly taking her out of context.

And about Obama? Obama has not been silent about "Muslim extremism" at all. He talked about beating such extremists through the use of force in his speech accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, for Pete's sake. And as it turns out, we've been coordinating with the Yemeni government for the last month to attack extremists there--Yemen is where the plot was hatched. The difference is that Obama isn't on TV crowing about it. Yeesh.

Here's another letter from the paper tomorrow:
Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) held a news conference and announced that 60 Democrats were leaders. The current health care debacle is a prime example of leadership gone wrong.

The bill was conceived behind closed doors, not to be seen by anyone until the time to vote. The vote was taken in darkness, at 1 a.m. The bill contains many hidden agendas, and the cost is unclear.
Again, I have no idea where this stuff originates before it finds its way into the minds, fingers, and keyboards of the ignorati. The Senate's bill was not "conceived" behind closed doors. The bulk of it is, in fact, the bill from the Senate Finance Committee, which did its work in the most widely watched CSPAN episodes of the year. The controversial parts of the compromise were aired in public, as Senators--notably, Joe Lieberman--bellyached about the bill's contents all over the TV even before the draft was final. Reid's version of the bill was available online for a number of days before the vote, and the vote--one vote, that is; the vote that approved the bill happened in daylight Christmas Eve morning--was at 1 AM because of the arcane rules of filibustering, filibustering done by the Republican opponents of reform. The costs are not unclear, as all versions of the bill have been scored by the CBO and countless independent agencies as well; neither, by the way, is the funding mechanism unclear, something that Republicans had no concern for when they passed bills like Medicare Part D ("It was standard practice not to pay for things," one Republican Senator said about that time).

In essence, you've got the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel printing letters from people who don't just hold opinions I disagree with. No, they're printing letters from people who base those opinions on outright falsehoods, whose conclusions are supported by fictional evidence. Where these falsehoods are coming from, how these lies and fictions are making their way into the wider gestalt, I have no idea. But it would be nice if the editors of the state's largest daily newspaper would at least refuse to print such untruths in their letters sections, or if they must, run notes that offer the truth to offset the fiction.

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