The Texas Imperialist
Wednesday, September 17, 2003
  Preliminary Review of Al Franken's Book

When I first saw Al Franken's new book (Lies and the Lying Liars that tell Them), I thought he was writing an autobiography.
If you think that was a cheap shot, then you shouldn't read this book. This book could be used to showcase the straw man form of argumentation; he attacks the worst elements of the Right (Ann Coulter and Bill O'Reilly, mainly), and thinks he has thus made a good point. He stoutly denies media bias, citing a single study in support that purports to show that Gore was given more negative stories than Bush. I am currently working on a more complete analysis of this study, but I can identify already several interesting flaws. For instance, Franken cites the fact that Gore mistakenly identified the person who accompanied him to a disaster area in a speech, this being reported all over the media. Obviously, the media was trying to sink him with this story nobody cared about. Poppycock! If the media wanted to sink Gore, they would have focused on real issues (like his nutcase ideas showcased in the environmentalist Earth in the Balance), not an issue that was admittedly a non-issue. Well, that still shows that they are fair, right? Of course not. I cannot think of one Republican who stood up and announced that Gore wasn't the right way to go because of this particular "lie" (which was really just a mistake, I'm sure).
Instead, it shows that, in an effort to appear balanced, the media will latch onto apparently derogatory stories that no one really cares about. And they will portray Gore thus as not a ravening eco-loonie, but as a man who occasionally makes mistakes.
Of course, the whole media-is-biased argument is constantly in flux, because there are countervailing factors at work; editors may well often be conservative, though that is far from a total negation of the extreme liberalism of the average reporter. Which leads to another problem- a liberal like Franken, or a conservative like his counterparts, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, will see neutral reporting as tilted and reporting tilted towards their side as neutral. That's why my dad thinks Fox is really "Fair and Balanced". They're not. But MSNBC and CNN aren't either. The biases are just hidden; that's dishonest.
In the old days, newspaper editors made no secret of their biases. They didn't pretend to be objective; they knew they would never succeed. That's why I respect Rush Limbaugh- he announces proudly his conservative affliation, whereas Franken claims that he is "Fair and Balanced". He's as dishonest as Fox, in that regard. (Don't get me wrong, I like Fox News; but I wish they'd be more honest).
More as this develops. 
Tuesday, September 09, 2003
  Sorry I haven't blogged recently, folks. Been incredibly busy all round. Starting sometime in the very near future, I'll be trying to blog once every couple of days, a big long post that will be no doubt very interesting. Until next time... 
Tuesday, September 02, 2003
  Well, everyone else has done it, but I'll jump in: Mark Steyn on Labor day. One of his best articles yet. 
  By the way, the reason I won't be blogging is because school just started. Since I need to spend most of my time practicing the Russian for, "Excuse me, but I can't speak Russian"- Izvinitye, no ya nye gavoryu pa-russki (RUSS 102), writing about obscure authors who wish they were dead (ENG 203-Intro to Literature), discussing the fact that the digital age is the end of the world as we know it (LBAR 204), reading about Henery the Aighth- "Oim Henery the Aigth I am, Henery the Aighth Oi am!" (HIST 213- History of England), explaining how stupid the general was who thought up this battle plan (HIST 230- American Military History) and, of course, showing just how brilliant Western civilization is- except for all that massacre of innocents stuff (HIST 102- Western Civ from 1660).

So I'll blog as needed. 
  Blogging will be somewhat sporadic, though I'll try to post at least one in-depth, thought-out post a day. Or at least crib off of someone else, and then claim that they stole from me! Yeah! After all, I could always go after the Puppy Blender that way! 
Philosophical, political, and random thoughts on issues and events

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