The kids are alright.

Like a lot of Americans who have had it up to here with the current administration, I watch Keith Olbermann on MSNBC. Like a lot of people who watch Keith Olbermann, I’m not a 100 percent fan. The Special Comments set my teeth on edge, although that’s because they’re badly written, not for the content, and anyway, they’re rare. There are times when the whole business just grates, too — the Fox-baiting, mainly, which feels a little like junior high school. I tire of the same old Washington Post talking heads; give Dana Milbank and Eugene Robinson a night off once in a while. But I give Olbermann, and MSNBC, credit for trying to create an alternative to the rest of cable news, a place where people who’ve had it up to here, etc., can feel a little less alone, if not in the world, then in their living rooms.

Through Olbermann I found the delightful Rachel Maddow, who is such a joy to have a girlcrush on. I love everything about her, but especially her flaws. Her eye makeup looks like it was settled on in a high-level conference between the leadership of the National Organization for Women and a drag queen. Maddow, whose off-the-air aesthetic is crunchy-granola lesbian, with the short hair and the Buddy Holly glasses and the no-fuss wardrobe, wears her required-for-TV blazers as though their linings were actually hairshirts, and who can’t love a girl who’s uncomfortable on TV? I was on TV for a few years, and I was never comfortable there. I feel Rachel’s pain, and love the way she bears her burden with such good humor, destroying Pat Buchanan and the other geezers they put before her. I would love to see her one-on-one with someone like Ann Coulter or Bill Donohue or Sean Hannity, all of whom she would bring down effortlessly with the beams of truth in her mild gaze.

It’s always fun to watch someone on their way up in the world, because you know the next thing is coming. That it would be her own show preceding Olbermann was no surprise, but I was a little taken aback by this memo from the ivory tower, by Rem Reider on the American Journalism Review website. He calls the elevation of Maddow to Dan Abrams’ old seat “a good call,” then harrumphs:

It’s yet another step in the polarization of the American media. Keith Olbermann followed by Rachel Maddow means two back-to-back hours of hard left television.

Whuh? “Hard left?” I must have missed something. Olbermann is a millionaire, and Maddow, if not one already, will certainly be one very soon. To me, millionaires aren’t hard leftists. What both of them are is anti-Bush. To the extent that Rove, et al have succeeded in labeling anyone who opposes the policies of the current president “hard left,” well, I salute them. Good work, comrades!

Reider continues:

For years, American newspapers and television news organizations clung to the idea that they were nonpartisan, down the middle. Sure, there was the endless whining from the right about the “liberal” media. (Today, of course, cries of media bias from the left are at least as vociferous as those from the right.) But however imperfectly, most news organizations tried to report the news without an obvious political point of view.

Then along came Fox, a 24-hour news cable channel with a clear right-wing orientation. And it was a major success, outdrawing cable news pioneer CNN. There obviously was an audience eagerly waiting for it.

…Following Olbermann with Maddow …reflects and reinforces the trend toward separate megaphones for separate audiences. As in the blogosphere, with its pugnacious mix of conservative and liberal Web sites, there is political TV for the left and political TV for the right.

Increasingly, we are a nation of partisans talking only to themselves.

I think about this a lot. A friend who went through j-school with me said the other day, “We were taught that if you shone the light of truth on something, it would be enough.” But it wasn’t. Isn’t that the lesson of the Lesley Stahl/Ronald Reagan flag story? The truth isn’t what you say it is; the truth is always malleable. Shine the light of truth on some people, and they’ll make shadow puppets. Or they’ll say, “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.” “True enough” is plenty good for most.

Jon Stewart is another one of my faves. I love Jon Stewart because, alone among people who sit behind a desk and talk to me, he seems to be telling me the truth. Middle-aged folks are always clutching their chests and bemoaning that young people watch Stewart the way their parents watched Cronkite, and oy what a crime that is. Well, no. Have any of them watched “The Daily Show?” Have you ever seen him do an interview? It’s funny, but it’s also really, really good. He asks questions you wish so-called legitimate journos would, like, “Are you serious?” The point in his interview with Jonah Goldberg where he throws his head back, mouth agape, and stares at the ceiling says more about his subject, and certainly his subject’s preposterous book, than anything written in the serious media.

It’s true that we’re a nation of partisans talking to ourselves, but maybe that’s not such a terrible thing. Fort Wayne, Indiana, once had six daily newspapers, and it survived. There were probably a dozen or more in the larger cities, and they survived. The so-called “objective” press is a fairly recent invention, and came, I’m convinced, from the business side, not the ivory tower — it’s a lot easier to sell newspapers to everyone if you at least pretend to be fair. (There’s a downside to that. Exhibit one: The editorial page of most newspapers, full of on-the-one-hand-this-on-the-other-hand-that chin-stroking, which ends in, “Who is right? Only time will tell.”)

I do worry what will happen when everyone seems to be working from their own set of facts, but I have to have faith that facts are stubborn things and can be sorted out. You don’t hear so much about the Obama-is-a-secret-Muslim thing these days.

Maybe it’ll be easier for Reider, et al, to think of Olbermann, et al, as entertainment, like Jon Stewart, et al. It is for me, certainly. I read 50 news sources a day, at least. Certainly I can indulge myself in a little Olbermann/Maddow one-two once in a while, right?

I’ll visit your armed camp if you’ll visit mine. A little prisoner exchange, say.


Twelve-year-old boy taken to hospital after accidentally igniting a gas can while trying to light a fart. When I discussed this with Alan last night, he confessed he’d never actually seen this done and wondered about the length of the flame. Bic-length, or flamethrower? Poor boy (Alan). How did he reach manhood without witnessing this Boy Scout spectacle?

Also, poor boy with the burns on his ass.

Have a good day.

Posted at 11:40 am in Media |

37 responses to “The kids are alright.”

  1. alex said on August 21, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    I can’t say I’ve ever seen a fart lit, either, although I’ve watched plenty of people try. Those stories of people blowing themselves up while on the john with a cigarette are totally bunk.

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  2. Catherine said on August 21, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    I don’t worry about the existence of partisan camps. I do worry about the lack of communication between camps. I tend to think that objective reporting is more of a goal than a realizable thing. We all come to the table with biases, and although one can relate pure facts (and yes, facts are good), it’s unusual to do so without some context. Context is where bias comes in. Since I don’t really believe strongly in objective truth, my concern is: how do we share our different realities in a way that encourages dialogue, compromise, and thinking? PS, I think this blog is one place where this starts to happen.

    OK, now feel free to attack and tell me that those 2 years in grad school reading post-modern philosophy were a complete waste of time. You won’t be the first.

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  3. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 21, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    It’s not unlike learning history from fiction. You can always show that people pick up errors that may or may not be intentionally commited by the author, but most people mostly can intuit when you’re learning something worth noting as fact (reading “Johnny Tremain” and associating Paul Revere with Boston) and what’s likely a whole cloth creation (reading “The Blue & The Grey” and wondering if Jeb Stuart really was always surrounded by young ladies) and what’s clearly manure (reading “Flashman” and having him show up everywhere).

    I enjoy MSNBC and have never watched more than fifteen minutes of Fox, usually not willingly or intentionally at that, and fill in with CNN, but i’m still a conservative (and even like Jonah Goldberg). If i think Jon helpfully edited his interview on “Liberal Fascism” to his own benefit, it neither breaks my leg or picks my pocket.

    Colbert absolutely rocks, and you can learn most of what you need to know between him and Jon; how that works, exactly, would take an algorithm beyond my skills, but you can just tell where the polemic begins or the parody starts, can’t you? (Cue Potter Stewart ref’n.)

    Except for Dobbs and O’Reilly. I just can’t figure if they actually are Elmer Gantrys or if they truly believe in their stated perspectives.

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  4. Jason T. said on August 21, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    I keep mixing up Ira Glass with Rachel Maddow. Are you sure they’re not the same person?

    As for the rest of your piece — Amen.

    One of the things that chafed my Hungarian rear during my mediocre career in newspapers was the insistence on equivocating about everything.

    I remember one particularly vivid conversation with an editor who was insistent that I get an opposing viewpoint on a subject that was cut and dried from every angle.

    I was already looking for another job, so I told him, “When we write a story about child molesters, we don’t call NAMBLA to get their side, and when we do a story about racist graffiti, we don’t call the Klan, so I’m not doing it on this story.”

    He told me he was sorry he had hired me.

    I was, too.

    I wonder why people don’t read newspapers any more? Hmm.

    Both sides may have an argument. Only time will tell.

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  5. Gasman said on August 21, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    A couple of great links to the Jay Rosen article and Jon Stewart’s deflation of Jonah Goldberg. I’ve been mystified as to why so many still believe the mythology regarding Reagan. He was a bumbling moron and had no idea that we even had a constitution, let alone that he was bound by it. Goldberg exemplifies the pseudo-scholarship, the intellectual sloth that personifies the contemporary right wing apologists. I cannot think of a single right wing spokesperson that debates any point with true intellect or advocacy of ideas. They all, yes I do mean ALL, use ridiculous hyperbole and ad hominem invective to trivialize liberalism with contempt and disdain.

    Stewart exercises the kind of skepticism that the press should possess. I’ve heard many print and on air journalists state that their job is not to question authority, but to merely report. The questioning, they maintain, should be done by the political opposition. Aaron Brown and Charlie Gibson are but two who’ve stated that opinion in recent memory. It seems to me that both Brown and Gibson would have said otherwise toward the beginning of their careers.

    I agree that Olbermann has, as of late, adopted a rather snarky tone for some segments. I think it tends to discredit his otherwise valid critiques of the right wing. It can seem too much like a mirror image of the right wing snarky crap on Fox. However, Olbermann is still one of the few on air talking heads showing sufficient outrage at what Cheney/Bush et al are doing to our country. For that I am grateful. Go Keith.

    I think that three on air people are primarily responsible for helping to change American’s perception of the Bush Administration:

    1. John Stewart – More of a journalist than most in the profession.

    3. Bill Moyer – He has exhibited an unwillingness to accept the status quo of passive journalism. He also gives a forum to genuine critics of journalism and Bush who also have real intellectual bona fides.

    3. David Letterman – For his “Great Moments In Presidential Speeches.” I am convinced that Letterman’s nightly airing of Bush’s unedited verbal gaffes helped people realize what an imbecile Bush really is.

    During the 2004 campaign, Letterman would run short, comically edited clips making poking fun at the candidates by making them appear to say something ridiculous. The editing was so ham-fisted and obvious that it was the joke. (Limbaugh has used the same technique in audio clips for decades, but the editing is more artful and not obvious, lending a decidedly mendacious quality to the practice.) However, Letterman realized that with Bush they don’t need to edit. They can randomly pick practically any 10-20 second segment of him speaking and come up with incomprehensible gems that fairly accurately encapsulate his intellect. The effect has been spectacular.

    The rise of Rachel Maddow gives me hope that the right wing’s stranglehold on the media is beginning to lessen. She has a brain and is unwilling to passively cede any point to conservatives that think they can bluster they way through an interview. It does no service to the American people to have a sycophantic press corps that are passive, willing foot soldiers prepared to echo, without question or thought, any statement the White House offers. We can turn to Donna Perino for that. I’d rather listen to Maddow. I don’t see her as a left wing shill, merely a polar opposite foil to those on Fox. I think she would be just as unwilling to accept incompetency, lying, and intellectual sloth from the left. (Except, when was the last time you saw those traits from the left?) Let’s hear it for the lesbian!

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  6. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 21, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    I think Letterman edits, actually. Watch Bushitler in his interview with Costas last Sunday night. He doesn’t fart but once, as i recall.

    Hey, i laugh at the Great Moments segment, which i firmly believe will continue whomever the Current Occupant is at 1600 P.A.

    By the way, did anyone read the Jay Rosen piece to the end? In the immortal words of “The Princess Bride,” i don’t think that article means what you think it does. About Reagan, and a few other things. But it is a great piece, worth the time to scroll allaway thru, or even select all/copy/paste into a text file and print to read sloooowly. Jay’s tops.

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  7. LAMary said on August 21, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    Off track…
    Our long national nightmare of bikini beach volleyball is over. Decathalon, which may or may not be covered, starts now.

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  8. alex said on August 21, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    Hey, Jason, hello to your Hungarian ass from mine!

    When I was in Chicago, I knew a Hungarian Reformed pastor who’s wife was from McKeesport, but blanking on the name.

    And, yes, I agree with what you say above. It has always chapped my gay ass that the media couldn’t discuss the subject of homosexuality without giving equal time to the likes of James Dobson, et al. Only relatively recently has this been changing.

    Edit: Desmond Parragh, that was the name of the pastor. Know them by any chance?

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  9. Halloween Jack said on August 21, 2008 at 1:42 pm


    As for me, I may have found a reason to watch MSNBC.

    Never lit a fart. I learned about the phenomenon a little bit after I’d figured out new uses for some of the other things down there, and didn’t want to risk damaging them.

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  10. Deggjr said on August 21, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    The people who complain about getting the news from Jon Stewart are incomprehensible. As just one of many examples, how would anyone know that Bush I signed the off-shore drilling ban unless they watched the Daily Show and saw their clip. I haven’t seen that information anywhere despite all the chatter about off-shore drilling.

    The competing television news carries the fires, car accidents, celebrity reports, sports results, lottery results, celebrity (of the particular network) interviews, pictures taken by viewers, weather, etc. How could all that possibly have the equivalent news value of The Daily Show?

    I endure the Chicago Tribune. They had a front page article recently about John McCain’s role in a POW church riot with the expectation that people should pay for that campaign literature. They print a column by Dennis Byrne (curmudgeon) a couple of time a week. He also has a website. Here are the comment totals for his last 10 posts: 0-7-1-2-1-0-0-7-0-0. As a point of contrast, here are the comment totals for Glen Greenwald’s last 10 posts: 74-36-159-228-173-178-188-144-563-63. The Tribune isn’t dying, it’s relentlessly committing suicide through 1,000 cuts and it is not unique.

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  11. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 21, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Alex, trust me when i say there are myriad many evangelicals who do not give a Hungarian’s hiney follicles for Dobson’s opinions on anyone, especially including their matrimonial preferences. We got Robertson off the TV, but Dobson buys his own radio time, so i guess we’re stuck with the cranky doctor from Colorado Springs on slow news days.

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  12. MichaelG said on August 21, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    I’ve done my serious for the month. I will, therefore, attest to the fact that hominid exhaust emissions can be set afire. The flame is blue. The duration is, . . . well, . . . a function of the duration. Talk about mileage varying. This was an old college dorm and army barracks pastime. I never saw anybody harmed by it other than having beer forcibly ejected from their nose whilst observing the process, although I never saw it attempted in proximity to an open petrol can. By the way, if certain unpleasant vapors are encountered in an enclosed space, lighting a match or lighter can improve the atmosphere. Burns up the remnants. Really.

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  13. Gasman said on August 21, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    I’ve seen my fair share of the Letterman “Great Moments” segments and I have not seen a single one that was edited. I’ve been a recording engineer/audio editor for 20+ years and am somewhat sensitive to the misuse of the skill. There have been many other Letterman segments, about which I was speaking above, that intentionally use awkward, but obvious edits to make the gag. However, as someone that is fairly aware of the technical practice, I have not seen any “Great Moments In Presidential Speeches” in which I could detect use of a video edit. The visual edits are much more obvious than audio, but I don’t recall any in which I even suspected an audio edit. They simply don’t need to. In fact, any of the “Great Moments In Presidential Speeches” that I can recall are continuous single camera shots, which are virtually impossible to edit in that context.

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  14. nancy said on August 21, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    An old boyfriend lit a fart for me once when I expressed disbelief that it could ever be done, and I laughed so hard I could barely breathe. I always was easy to amuse.

    As for comments, this is an interesting phenomenon to me. I often wonder, why are my comments so good and the Freep’s so awful, and they require registration? Newspaper comments in general are so awful, in fact, that many are starting to disable them, just because they suck so hard and must be monitored constantly. This is a master’s thesis, somewhere.

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  15. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 21, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    ….should have said selected! Not edited. And that’s my point as to the durable future of “GMIPH.” Thankful i am that i don’t have to watch video of every week’s sermon, let alone the announcements pre-service (hello, Dr. Spooner).

    Didn’t mean to impugn Letterman’s staff, just that anyone filmed long enough speaking in public will give off plenty of material, hence my emph on “selection.”

    Why light farts when you have cans of Off! to light and blowtorch around? That, and tying a bread bag in knots, hanging it off a branch over a bucket of water, and then light the lower end. You get both cool visuals and audio excitement, plus various brands with different color inks give a weird spectrum of flame colors.

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  16. Gasman said on August 21, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    I did read the entire Rosen article. I felt it a fair critique of the media but still a bit overawed with Reagan’s alleged political wizardry over the media. Reagan was a man with little regard toward democracy whose Alzheimer’s was probably showing its earliest effects by the end of his first term. He was the prototype for the malleable fool currently occupying the oval office. He was obsessive about Soviet communism, but seemingly unaware of Chinese communism. He did this nation and the world great harm. What were his lasting achievements?

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  17. MichaelG said on August 21, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    I don’t believe there were cans of Off in those days. Can’t recall having seen one, anyway. We used to flamethrow with spray cans of Right Guard. It was judged to be the best after some modest trial and error.

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  18. Gasman said on August 21, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    A shout out to the Hungarians. My mother’s maiden name was Horvath. Cut me and I bleed goulash, only now it’s vegetarian.

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  19. Kirk said on August 21, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    MichaelG, many were the times when I was a little feller that I asked my mother to light a match in the bathroom because I had to use it and my father had just befouled the air. And, yes, it did work.

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  20. alex said on August 21, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    My first experience with flamethrowing was with an aerosol can full of some cheap-ass men’s cologne. My brother picked it up for a couple of cents at a garage sale, jammed it into “on” and lit it — right in the backyard of said garage sale. We were chased from the premises and our mother had already been called before we arrived home.

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  21. John said on August 21, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Canned Lysol flames beyond the ten foot mark. Acetone, tennis balls, and third floor dorm room overlooking a street make for some interesting experiments. Paper airplanes loaded with pop bottle rockets also do the same.

    But I have never seen a Mythical Order of the Blue Flame demonstration.

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  22. Laura said on August 21, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    Olbermann sort of canned Dana Milbank (or he quit, depending on who you believe), FYI. Sadly, I have no special knowledge regarding lighting farts.

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  23. coozledad said on August 21, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    I’ve seen a guy torching farts in a dorm room. I have to say it was one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever witnessed, and Ive helped my wife wash maggots out of a wounded duck’s back. I don’t think I’d have been significantly more weirded out if he’d farted his viscera across the floor in a big wet glob.
    Maybe it was the dope I was smoking, or maybe I’d had enough of that “Animal House” shit to last a lifetime.

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  24. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 21, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Off! cans in 1968, orange and light blue angles all askew looking Howard Johnson-ish, and a nozzle that could shoot flame a yard and a half lit off an Ohio Blue Tip match.

    Or were you going back earlier than that, Michael?

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  25. coozledad said on August 21, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    I didn’t know Rachel Maddow was a Rhodes Scholar. It’s good to see that talent breaking into prime time. She’s a classic beauty, too. Could have stepped out of one of the frescos at Pompeii.

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  26. coozledad said on August 21, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    Sorry I’ve set up camp here, but I twisted my back somehow, and I’m just sitting here having some medicine. It just ocurred to me that there may be some Roman frescos on Lesbos, too, since they used to holiday there around the dawn of the common era. That reminded me that some of the inhabitants of Lesbos resent being associated with the girl’s team.
    Has this joke made it into a bad Danny Devito film yet? Two mobsters, one from Jersey, one a Greek, meet on a yacht in Piraeus. The Greek proffers his hand “I’ve heard about you. I’ve got a cousin in Trenton. he builds houses there.”
    The Jersey guy thinks for a minute.
    “Yeah, yeah. Archie Pappalas. Built a house for my niece. Small world. You been to Trenton?”
    “No, actually. This is the first time I’ve been away from home. I’m a Lesbian.”
    The Jersey guy slaps him on the back and laughs “Ain’t we all, pal. Ain’t we all.”

    I’ll stop now. Try the Knishes.

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  27. Colleen said on August 21, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    Nothing of import to add, but I didn’t want MY Hungarian behind to go uncounted.

    And really. Since it’s a Hungarian behind, it’s hard to miss….

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  28. MichaelG said on August 21, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    Between college and military we are looking at about ’62/’69. Sounds like we were using inferior products. I’m not Hungarian, I’m Irish. You can probably tell. And you can count me in as a member of the R. M. fan club.

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  29. joodyb said on August 21, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    you discount, jeff tmmo, the irresistible combo of fire and whatever emanates from the human body.
    still not over having spawned a male child

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  30. Scout said on August 21, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    The biggest problem I have with the “truthiness” of modern day journalism is the sales job they’ve sprung upon us that there are always two absolutely equal sides to every story… even when it is obvious that one side is completely full of shit. Take global warming for instance. For every kajillion scientists that present data supporting the fact that it is indeed occurring, cable news goes out of its way to present the one lone wolf (usually on big oil’s payroll) who is paid to refute it. What is so infuriating is that the “unbiased” telejournalist will sit there and conduct this maddeningly innocent devil’s advocate moderator interview of two people, one of whom represents the majority view, the other the lobbyist view, that leaves the largely low info person with the impression that ” Well hell! Science just isn’t sure yet, so I’ll just go out and buy that Hummer! Oh and screw recycling too!”

    The Jonah Goldberg interview was hysterical. I don’t know who was funnier; Jonah trying to talk in so many circles he eventually made himself dizzy, or Jon’s succinct take down of the Pantload’s silly piece of garbage. Given the premise of his magnum opus, I honestly don’t think Jonah probably did much better in the stuff they cut.

    Oh and one last thing: Rachel Maddow rocks.

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  31. Linda said on August 21, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    Re: the two sides not “communicating” with one another. It’s worse than that. If you read newspapers, you might accidentally be exposed to something you hadn’t thought of, or disagreed with. Now you can check out only the websites you want, and specify which type of stories you want to read. I actually read a comment in (’cause I read all kinds of stuff) that said Fox was getting too left-wing; from now on, he would only get his news from freerepublic or Newsmax. You can create your own little reality, uncluttered by jarring things from that other reality.

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  32. grapeshot said on August 21, 2008 at 11:19 pm

    Hello Jason and Alex and Gasman and Colleen, from yet another Hungarian. It must be Hungarian Day at

    I discovered Rachel Maddow on podcasts from Air America and was struck by her crisp reporting and good sense — and her wit. I don’t watch any of the 24-hour news channels, so I missed seeing her on TV. However, I’m very pleased that she has her own show now, and you can be sure that I’ll be tuning in to see how it goes.

    According to Wikipedia, she actually has a PhD from Oxford in political science. I’m very impressed, and cannot think of another pundit on the 24-hour news channels who has such an impressive credential. Unfortunately, credentials and smarts get you nowhere on TV. Let’s hope that her ratings numbers are successful. I think they will be, but then, what do I know. I thought Keen Eddie would last more than 7 episodes.

    Maybe Rachel will guest on The Daily Show? You know, to hype her new show. Wouldn’t that be too cool for school!

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  33. jcburns said on August 21, 2008 at 11:46 pm

    Wow, a John McCain banner ad on your site, Nance! (At least here, now, on this particular call-up of the page.) They must be trying to target the Hungarian demo.

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  34. Dexter said on August 21, 2008 at 11:53 pm

    Get Sirius XM Radio and listen to Air America in the afternoons on the XM side, Channel 167. Randi Rhodes is THE BEST. Smart as hell and she gives it to McCain hard, and Ms. Rhodes is entertaining in a manner that make you hate it when you can’t listen all the way through the show. Ms. Maddow is on Air America, too, and she’s great, too…I just prefer Randi Rhodes.
    Very habit-forming.

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  35. Jason T. said on August 22, 2008 at 10:15 am

    Jaj Istenem! Magyars!

    In fairness, I’m also half-German. My ancestors are all proud people with a lot of reasons to be modest.

    Alex, I don’t know the Parraghs, but my mother’s side of the family were Hungarian Reformed. She visited the Big D several times as a teen-ager in the church youth group; apparently, Detroit, Cleveland and McKeesport are big hubs of the Hungarian Reformed Church in America.

    I used to be a passionate believer in “balanced” journalism. The older I get, the more I feel that journalism has to be accurate, even if it comes at the expense of artificial balance.

    Calling a spokesman from a trade organization is rarely useful for any story. Getting out of the office and using your two eyes to look and your two ears to hear are more important for any reporter than regurgitating second-hand information.

    The problem with cable news, and the Internet, is that too many of us aren’t even working with second-hand information; we’re writing about subjects we only know about third- and fourth-hand.

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  36. brian stouder said on August 22, 2008 at 10:46 am

    Olbermann sort of canned Dana Milbank (or he quit, depending on who you believe)

    Laura – Yes! I caught just the end of Olbermann’s remarks about Milbank, and didn’t understand – and then your comment prompted me to Google it, and I came up with this –

    and this passage struck me

    Dana Milbank of The Washington Post, who notified us today that after four years appearing with us, he had accepted another television offer. This saved your crack Countdown staff an increasingly difficult decision.

    For nearly a week we’d been waiting for him to offer a correction or an explanation for his column from last week in which he apparently reported an Obama quote without a full context turned the meaning of the quote inside-out.

    OK – I ‘get’ that guest commentators might generally share a host’s POV – and indeed, others might predictably disagree, and still be regular guests…..but what I don’t get is Olbermann’s “increasingly difficult decision”.

    I suppose we can dismiss it as an example of what Nance was referring to, regarding “badly written” commentary.

    Plus – what DO these guest people get paid, for their seat-of-the-pants kibitzing? If someone opts to “accept another television offer” – what would that offer be, I wonder?

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  37. BOSSY said on August 24, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    Bossy came over here *just in time* before you were able to steal Bossy’s boyfriend Rachel Maddow. Phew.

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