Dumbing the liberal world way down!

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2014

This really can’t yield good outcomes:
If you want a taste of the heinous, we’ll suggest that you read this whole post.

In our years at this site, we’ve done a lot of work on the way the press corps has covered presidential campaigns. Dating to 1972, the track record is heinous, especially for Democrats, a point we expect to explore in the next few weeks.

(For forty-two years, the liberal world has just sat there and tolerated this nonsense.)

We’ve also covered the coverage, or the non-coverage, of certain policy issues. For example:

Why do you never hear the most basic facts about American kids’ rising test scores? Why do you hear so little about the mammoth costs of American health care, as opposed to the cost of health care in other developed nations?

Why do you never hear about that corporate looting on MSNBC? That innocent question leads to our third point of emphasis:

At some point, we began to focus on a third area—the development of allegedly liberal/progressive news sites like MSNBC and the new Salon. In our view, this is still the most fascinating topic in current American media.

Understandably, we liberals want to believe in those sites. We want to believe in the people we see at those sites.

We want to believe in their savvy, their smarts. We want to believe in their honesty, their sincerity.

More broadly, we want to believe that Our Tribe, the liberal tribe, is good and smart. We want to believe that Their Tribe, the conservative tribe, is stupid, bad and vile.

Throughout human history, we the people have wanted to believe the best about our own particular tribes. At present, we suspect that this impulse will yield bad results for progressive interests.

Yesterday, we really saw the liberal world getting itself dumbed down. For starters, we read a piece by Amanda Marcotte which sat beneath these headlines at Salon:
Why conservatives prefer propaganda to reality
A new Pew study on America's media consumption offers a window into the right's collective mindset
To a distressing extent, the piece was pure propaganda—low-IQ propaganda designed to be pleasing to us.

Not much later, we clicked three links in a piece by Joan Walsh, who was once such a mainstream squish. It ran beneath these banners:
America’s modern political nightmare: Two electorates, separate and unequal
The glee with which the GOP relies on Obama-hate to turn out its base shows the disturbing racial reality of 2014
Silly us! We clicked all three links in the fourth paragraph. In all three cases, the source materials didn’t support the pleasing claims Walsh was making.

We were impressed by the low quality of those pieces at Salon. Then we watched last night’s Maddow program.

Most horrible was the closing segment, in which Maddow, for the second straight Friday, basically told us the viewers that she thinks we’re dumb. That said, we thought the whole program involved the type of feckless overstatement Maddow was loudly condemning on the part of The Other Tribe.

Many liberals want to believe in the people we meet at our new liberal sites. We think that isn’t a great idea. We’ll explore that topic next week.

Understandably, some readers don’t like it when we state such concerns. In this matter, we think their instincts are wrong.

In our view, the liberal world is being dumbed down in ways which are likely to do it harm. With that inappropriate thought in mind:

If you want to support the work of this site, you can just click here.


To watch that segment: For the second straight Friday, Maddow ended her program with a kitschy game show segment, The Friday Night News Dump.

To watch her hype the segment, click this. Warning! You’ll find yourselves being talked down to, in a fairly obvious way.

To watch the full game show segment, click here. Warning! Brain cells dying!

Presumably, this is a ratings move. It reads like defeat to us.

44 comments:

  1. "some readers don’t like it when we state such concerns"

    Well, we need to first be sure they come from someone capable of observing reality.

    Our national leaders are less extreme than theirs. Our policies are better than theirs. Our voters are motivated by fear and falsehoods to a much lesser degree than theirs. These aren't tribal thoughts or points of view. This is objective reality.

    So the reason we engage in tribal thoughts is because for us, unlike for them, _they're true_. This needs to be acknowledged. Then you can proceed to tell us we still have tons of room for improvement or that we can't treat the other side like dirt or that Maddow is lying and pandering (to a much lesser degree than Fox News, of course) or whatever.

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    1. "some readers don’t like it when we state such concerns"

      Not sure if I agree. I am still so angry and furious with Carol Costello for ruining the world I haven't thought about this.

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    2. "... some readers don't like it when we state such concerns."

      However, the wingnuts and teahadists love it because this crap reinforces their stereotypes of liberals and progressives. The "both sides do it - therefore both sides are the same" proponents also enjoy a "putative liberal leader" constantly echoing their mantra.

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  2. If you read Jonathan Haidt, liberals and conservatives emphasize different values. Our policies are better based on our values but not according to the ones conservatives care most about.

    We are motivated by our own fears -- about war, global warming, poverty, and building a good life. All people have fears, but about different things.

    Somerby is concerned about our leaders increasingly telling us lies the way Fox does. They will be different lies because we care about different things, but lies nonetheless. Assuming that we are more objective will blind us to the lies. It is easy to see conservative lies because they are not about the issues we care about --not aligned with our preferred beliefs. It takes effort to recognize the lies told to manipulate us, because they are what we want to hear. So admitting that our side has it right while theirs doesn't is a step in the wrong direction, in my opinion.

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    1. Quick. Name five lies "we" have been told by "our" leaders. And be sure to name those leaders, please.

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    2. Obama: 'If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan'
      Obama: Benghazi!
      Obama: Benghazi!
      Obama: Benghazi!
      Obama: Benghazi!

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    3. Very good gravymeister. You win a slot on Rachel's Friday night news dump.

      Obvioulsy I wanted the answer to come from a Jonathan Heidt reader.

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    4. Leaders refers to liberal media figures (it is juxtaposed with Fox). Somerby documents those lies regularly. It is Haidt not Heidt, if you are planning to look up his book.

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    5. Shorter response: No, I can't name any.

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    6. More acurrate response:

      Leader 1: Liberal Media Person/ Lie 1 : See Bob
      Leaders 2-5/ Lies 2-5: Ditto

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    7. Jonathan Haight in the Happiness Hypotenuse decribes all the right metaphors necessary to mix with Bob's theory's of blind men and elephants.

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    8. Jonathan Height's work on elephant riding may be recognized by Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, who have worked for decades to fund a solution to poaching through fees funded by speaking to concerned college students.

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  3. Steeve, it might be better if you phrased your points differently.
    We both start our political philosophy from different ideologies, but history has proved some ideologies perform better in the material world than others.

    “Our national leaders are less extreme than theirs.”
    Extreme left wing candidates don’t get elected, extreme right wing candidates get elected handily.

    “Our policies are better than theirs.”
    Conservative economic policies do not provide the “greatest good for the greatest number” nearly as well as do liberal economic policies.

    “Our voters are motivated by fear and falsehoods to a much lesser degree than theirs.”
    This statement is demonstrably true. Much research has supported it.
    It might be better to phrase it that conservatives reduce their fears when they obey strict authoritarian rules and maintain as immutable a social order as possible.
    Liberals realize that change is inevitable, and thus are more accepting of change and uncertainty.
    Liberals and conservatives both strive to maintain their comfort zones, even when circumstances prove that to be impractical or impossible.

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  4. These were bad indeed Bob. But nothing compared to old Carol
    Costello ruining the whole darn world.

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  5. Even the most ardent fan in Bob World has to admit Bob's analysis here is not nearly as convincing and thorough as his important post on the Professor and the Pumpkin Fest.

    He tried to touch too many topics in one post. Typical of your Saturday post dump.

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  6. Bob...You really had to follow the link Salon gave to the study to see how the Salon opinion was formed...And it was much better than you claim.

    Just the fact that very conservative responders are tightly clustered around one single major news source (Fox News obviously), and reject as untrustworthy virtually all others, while liberals at all levels have a wide variety of sources speaks volumes....Unless you're gullible for all encompassing theories, you don't qualify for the very conservative team

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    1. Omitted word..."All encompassing CONSPIRACY theories".

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    2. Your comment does not advance progressive interests,

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    3. Strange thing to say Anon 6:46, unless you believe verifiable facts are somehow contrary to progressive interests.

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    4. We know from years of hard work by TDH progressive interests are best served by recognition of the progress our schools have made, especially for black children and how badly we are ripped of by corporate health care looters. But the press corps are elites who dumb us down to serve themselves and their masters.

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  7. Anyone see Cicero? Or does he just come out in defense of the Palins?

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  8. One side believes an entire constellation of crazy things are irreducible facts. One side does not. Bob is wringing his hands, deeply concerned about the future, because of the side that does not believe crazy things.

    I want to like Bob, and see his site become relevant again. But it won't happen when his arguments all boil down to that construct.

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    1. The side that believes crazy things thinks the things we believe are equally crazy. How do you convince them that isn't true? We need converts and middle ground. That doesn't happen when people call each others beliefs crazy. We need to win elections. That doesn't happen when you are high handed and dismissive and don't bother addressing concerns of potential voters.

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    2. You won't "convert" anyone by attacking your own side. "Hey, we're just as batshit crazy as they are. Come join us!"

      It's one of the internal inconsistencies of Bobism.

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    3. He's not "attacking" unless you consider any criticism an attack. He is suggesting that we need a better approach.

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    4. Bob went beyond reasoned criticism some time ago. Now, he's engaged in one long endless attack on the left, without advancing a positive message of his own. Complaints about the 2000 election, attacks against Maddow and MSNBC and lately, Salon. You come to this site and you know what you're going to get, because it's always the same. These days when he writes something good, I'm actually surprised.

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    5. I disagree. But this raises the question why are you here?

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    6. Bob thinks we are losing because we have been diverted into talking about things that don't matter, like
      resegregation, pay equity, gay rights, climate change

      We need to win elections by talking about black kids
      test score progress, corporate looting, tax inequity and the unfair press.

      If you don't understand how the issues we have chosen and our methods of calling the other side stupid are stupid are dumbing us down, you are just plain dumb. And tribal.

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    7. The question "why are you here?" is divisive and dumbs us all down. The question "why are we here?"
      is central to mankind's intellectual place atop the food chain and should unite us. Wars throughout the history of civilization caused by different answers to that key question have proven how smart the plutocrats are in dividing us.

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  9. One reason you don't hear about corporate looting is that it's generally complicated. Also, many cases involve corporations as the victim. I was involved in two such.

    Many years ago, I joined a company that had appointed a crook as a sub-agent. He had the power to issue any policies he wanted to on behalf of the company. His misdeeds cost the company around $30 million. There was no criminal prosecution, because authorities considered the case too complex for a jury. I don't think this case ever made the news.

    More recently, I was a consultant in a lawsuit against AIG. Their misdeeds had cost other insurance companies hundreds of millions of dollars. Here again, there was no criminal prosecution, although the evidence was clear that many top executives knew what was going on. News of the civil suit was limited to business pages. This case was difficult to explain. I assume that's why it wasn't front page news.

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    Replies
    1. That is one reason. Another is money talks.

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  10. For better outcomes we need more Jay Lenos talking to average people. Plus gatekeepers. In theory.

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  11. Dumbing up!

    http://thedailybanter.com/2014/10/honey-boo-boo-palins-different-families-redneck-reality-show-drama/

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  12. Speaking of heinous, Nancy Reagan's astrologer just died. Boy is that Rachel maddow clairvoyant, or what?

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  13. Maddow and MSNBC improperly elevate partisan distinctions between us.

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    Replies
    1. Yes. And this infuriates the people who watch FOX, causing progressives to lose as a result.

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    2. Everyone loses.

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