Alternative Feh

Troll: (states non-truth)

Me: (link to Snopes showing it’s a non-truth)

Troll: LOL Snopesgroucho

Me: So you attack the messenger because you cannot challenge the message?

Troll: (link to Factcheck.com article “Is Snopes run by Democratic loyalists?”) See? They’re run by Democratic loyalists and they lie constantly.

Me: Did you read the Factcheck article? Because their conclusion was that the accusation was false.

Troll: …

This is the world we live in now, folks, where facts don’t matter to the True Believers.

Things are only worse because of the internet

Objectively, things keep improving. Seriously.

Crime is down. Life expectancy is up. Accidents are down.

Computers are doing more. Medical science is saving lives that would have been lost only ten years ago.

The air and water is cleaner. Our food is safer. Products we buy are safer.goodnews

More countries are democracies than ever before. People have more rights than ever before.

Graduation rates are up. Teenage pregnancies are down.

Things are better.

You’d never know this from watching the news, though, for two main reasons:

First, the news stations and the internet sites need you to watch so they blow everything out of proportion to get you to pay attention.

Second, news that never would have gotten attention outside of your local area now is known everywhere. That makes it look like there is something terrible happening every day and gosh darn it, I don’t remember that happening when I was younger! Clearly, things have gotten worse. No, you’re just more aware of it now.

It’s like reports about police brutality. Every day, there is another one, but I’m pretty sure this has always been going on and we’re just hearing about it more now, especially since everyone carries around a portable movie camera in their phones these days.

This is not to say everything is improving. Anti-science movements have censored schoolbooks and brought back diseases that had been practically eliminated. Gun deaths have increased thanks to the lessening of gun control. Income inequality is at the highest it has been since the Great Depression. Forest fires, storms and temperatures are more extreme and deadly thanks to climate change.

But when you sit back and wonder why there seems to be so much bad news these days, remember: There really isn’t. It just seems that way.

Fox News is #1 in the Ratings. So what?

Often after I attack Fox News for lying, some supporter points out that it is #1 in the ratings of news networks.

So what?

More people eat at McDonald’s than fine restaurants. More listen to Justin Beiber than Elvis Costello. More view reality shows than documentaries. More watched the latest “Transformers” movie than all of last year’s Oscar-winning films combined. FoxNewsMore read “50 Shades of Gray” than “Bloodsuckers:  A Vampire Runs for President.” (See what I did there?)

Using popularity to legitimize the worth of something is a weak argument. Yes, sometimes the most popular thing really is very good, but simply appealing to the majority doesn’t guarantee that.

And it certainly doesn’t mean it’s true. A large percentage of Americans also believe in astrology, ghosts, and various gods … that doesn’t mean they’re real.

I should also point out that the average age of a Fox News viewer is 68.8.  MSNBC is only slightly lower, at 62.5.  That’s because a majority of Americans don’t watch 24-hour news channels, and many get their news these days from the internet.

Further, Fox viewers are overwhelmingly tremendously conservative even though the majority of Americans are not. Fox News viewers are absolutely not representative of America in the same way that, for instance, viewers of the Super Bowl are.

So when you say “more people watch Fox,” you’re really saying “More old people who do not represent the majority of Americans” watch Fox.

I repeat:  So what?

Brian Williams and the Double Standard

Brian Williams’s story about what happened to a helicopter  he was on changed over the years, and become more exciting each time.  He finally admitted that he had exaggerated and apologized, and has taken a leave of absence from his job as host of the NBC Nightly News.  As he should.Brian-Williams-cc-565x318

His job requires him to be believable.  It’s a requirement.  We expect our news to be true, and if we cannot believe the newscaster, it puts all of the rest of the news in question.

But what really makes me angry is the response from the right, and Fox News people especially, who are about ready to storm Rockefeller Center with pitchforks and torches.  Really?  Come on now, Fox News lies purposely constantly, and is called out for it on many legitimate and unbiased media watchdog sites.  They even lie about being “fair and balanced.”

If Brian Williams was on Fox instead of NBC, he’d still be secure in his job.

No, all lies are not the same.  “That dress doesn’t make you look fat” is not the same thing as “There are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and therefore we should go to war.”

The lies told by Williams are not equivalent to Fox telling its viewers that Obamacare has killed jobs, or that Obama never called ISIS a terrorist organization, or that the vast majority of climate scientists think climate change is a hoax, or that Obama wasn’t born in Hawaii, or … geez, I could just go on and on.  They’re documented pretty fully in plenty of places for anyone willing to check.

If you don’t believe that Fox lies, then I guess their propaganda has worked pretty darn well, hasn’t it?  There’s one born every minute, and Fox is more than happy to take advantage of your gullibility.

And that’s what makes me angrier about this than just being misled by Williams.  It’s the blindness on the right to the meaningful, easily disproved lies that come from their preferred news source.

Most of the left is upset with Williams and want him to leave over this minor infraction (me included).  Not one person on the right has called for the removal of any of the liars on Fox.

 

No, no… the Muslims have a point

The Saudi Arabia-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation is planning to sue the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo following its publication of a front cover depicting the Prophet Mohamed.

“It’s hate speech,” they argue. And they have a point.FRANCE-ATTACKS-CHARLIE-HEBDO-MEDIA-FRONTPAGE

You see, in most of Europe,”freedom of speech” is limited.  They don’t have a 1st Amendment over there, after all. Certain types of speech are illegal, such as denying the holocaust. Nazi symbols are prohibited.  In France, there is a law prohibiting speech that is “defamatory or insulting, or which incites discrimination, hatred, or violence against a person or a group of persons on account of place of origin, ethnicity or lack thereof, nationality, race, specific religion, sex, sexual orientation, or handicap.”

What a terrible law.

But the Muslims have a point. If you are banning hate speech, you need to ban all hate speech. You can’t make it illegal for anyone to say something bad about Jews while allowing Charlie Hedbo to insult Muslims with every issue.

My hope is that this lawsuit will point out the hypocrisy of any law that punishes speech.

We have to protect speech we hate.  We have to protect speech that is insulting.

Speech everyone agrees with doesn’t need protecting.

Beating up Baby

Those brave reporters at Rupert Murdock’s New York Post always go after the big targets — those in power should tremble at the press’ pursuit of justice and truth!

Here’s their latest cover:

Chelsea-Clinton-New-York-Post

Yes, the just-born infant will be held responsible for its actions, as soon as it has any.  The fact that it is completely innocent of any wrongdoing is irrelevant to the Post.  (Hello?  Benghazi, anyone?)

Coming up next: Post Steals Baby’s Candy

Quotes from the Nerd Prom 2014

The annual White House Correspondent’s Dinner (held last night) allows the President to throw some barbs at himself and the press and is a good time to observe a President’s sense of humor first hand. Known jokingly as the “nerd prom” it gets bigger and bigger every year.  Last year I posted some of my favorite jokes from the President’s speech.  Here’s this year’s version.

I admit it — last year was rough.  In 2008 my slogan was, “Yes We Can.”  In 2013 my slogan was, “Control-Alt-Delete.”  

I want to thanobama dinnerk the White House Correspondents Association for hosting us here tonight.  I am happy to be here, even though I am a little jet-lagged from my trip to Malaysia.  The lengths we have to go to get CNN coverage these days. 

MSNBC is here.  They’re a little overwhelmed.  They’ve never seen an audience this big before. 

We have some other athletes here tonight, including Olympic snowboarding gold medalist Jamie Anderson is here.  Michelle and I watched the Olympics — we cannot believe what these folks do — death-defying feats — haven’t seen somebody pull a “180” that fast since Rand Paul disinvited that Nevada rancher from this dinner.  As a general rule, things don’t end well if the sentence starts, “Let me tell you something I know about the negro.”   You don’t really need to hear the rest of it.  

Colorado legalized marijuana this year, an interesting social experiment.  I do hope it doesn’t lead to a whole lot of paranoid people who think that the federal government is out to get them and listening to their phone calls. 

And speaking of conservative heroes, the Koch brothers bought a table here tonight.  But as usual, they used a shadowy right-wing organization as a front.  Hello, Fox News. 

Let’s face it, Fox, you’ll miss me when I’m gone.   It will be harder to convince the American people that Hillary was born in Kenya. 

Anyway, while you guys focus on the horserace, I’m going to do what I do — I’m going to be focused on everyday Americans.  Just yesterday, I read a heartbreaking letter. A Virginia man who’s been stuck in the same part-time job for years; no respect from his boss; no chance to get ahead.  I really wish Eric Cantor would stop writing me.  

And I’m feeling sorry — believe it or not — for the Speaker of the House, as well.  These days, the House Republicans actually give John Boehner a harder time than they give me, which means orange really is the new black. 

Look, I know, Washington seems more dysfunctional than ever.  Gridlock has gotten so bad in this town you have to wonder:  What did we do to piss off Chris Christie so bad? 

One issue, for example, we haven’t been able to agree on is unemployment insurance.  Republicans continue to refuse to extend it.  And you know what, I am beginning to think they’ve got a point.  If you want to get paid while not working, you should have to run for Congress just like everybody else.  

 Last year, Pat Buchanan said Putin is “headed straight for the Nobel Peace Prize.”  He said this.  Now I know it sounds crazy but to be fair, they give those to just about anybody these days.