Tag Archive for 'Sullivan'


Media bias and people who are WAAAY out on the political spectrum

Andrew Sullivan points to this research by Pew on how American’s view the bias of the major television networks.  It’s nicely summarised in this diagram (from Pew):

Public perceptions of news network ideology

Andrew makes the obvious and easy comment bashing on Fox:

Clearly the public understands that the network MSM is skewed to the left. But there’s a difference of magnitude between that assessment and that of Fox. Quite simply, most Americans see Fox for what it is: an appendage of a political operation, not a journalistic one. Its absurd distortions, its relentless attacks on Obama from the very start, its hideously shrill hosts, and its tawdry, inflammatory chat all put it in a class by itself.

Personally, I don’t necessarily agree that the MSM is, on average, biased to the left (although maybe that’s just my internal biases talking).  I’ll get to that in a moment, but first …

14% of respondents consider Fox News to be mostly liberal in it’s bias!  That’s almost one in seven.  Just how far out in the political spectrum are those people? What would Fox need to do to convince them that they were neutral?  Actively promote the KKK?

Back to perceptions of bias.  Here is another graphical illustration of the Pew Research data:

US Perceptions of MSM Bias (Pew)

It seems safe to assume that anybody who thinks Fox News is liberal will consider the rest liberal as well, so that explains a large fraction of the “liberal” responses for the rest.  So, excluding the people who are personally so conservative as to consider Fox News to have a pro-liberal bias, this is what it looks like:

US Perceptions of MSM Bias (excl. people who think Fox is liberal)

In other words, when we restrict our attention to people who are not insane [1], the American public agrees with me: by and large, the non-Fox networks are pretty evenly balanced, although MSNBC  is pro-liberal.

[1] Okay, they may not be insane.  I have no evidence than any larger fraction of them are insane than in the rest of the population.  But they do strike me as having some pretty whacky personal beliefs.


The Transparent Society

During the recent US presidential election, California voted to change it’s state constitution to exclude gay couples from being married (proposition 8). Prior to the election, the Californian supreme court had overturned a regular law that banned gay marriage as being unconstitutional. Thus the (successful) move by social conservatives to change the state’s constitution.

Via Andrew Sullivan (1, 2, 3, 4) and in a demonstration of the move towards David Brin’s “Transparent Society,” I give you http://www.eightmaps.com where you can see the names, addresses, employer and amount donated of everybody that gave money to the proposition 8 campaign, all arranged on a Google Maps mash-up.


Why Obama chose Hillary for State

I like both of these answers:

Tyler Cowen:

This is exactly the kind of detailed political question I don’t follow so let’s try some crude, fact-poor economism. Hillary Clinton commands the loyalties of significant segments of the Democratic Party. The implication is that Obama will need these segments for what he is trying to do. Since Obama already has 58 (?) Democratic Senators on his side, we should conclude that Obama will try to do lots in the first few months of his term; this is the “throw long and deep” scenario.

He can always encourage her to leave later, if the relationship does not work out. Latinos, on the other hand, are stronger as voters than as a lobby or as an organized segment of the Democratic Party. The implication is that they will get relatively little at the beginning of Obama’s term — when lobbies are needed — but successively more as the next election approaches.

Andrew Sullivan:

Earlier this year, it seemed a good idea to plonk her on the ticket to defang the threat. That would have followed the “team of rivals” concept that Obama wanted to purloin from Lincoln. It would also have given the Clintons an independent claim on power. By winning without them and even, in some measure, despite them, Obama can now bring the Clintons into the power structure while retaining clear dominance. The State Department appointment is prestigious enough not to be condescending, yet also keeps Clinton off the Washington circuit more than any other position. She’ll be on a plane or abroad a great deal. Extra bonus: Bill will just love that. Sending his wife to the Middle East is the ex-president’s idea of a good time.

There’s also the small question of Iraq. Think of the appointment this way: “You voted for this bloody war, Hillary; you can end it.”

Withdrawing from Iraq will not be easy and it may well be gruesome. I have no confidence that the place won’t erupt into an even nastier civil war when the United States pulls out than it did when the United States didn’t fully push in. How does a president avoid the domestic blow-back of essentially cutting his losses on a doomed adventure? He uses Clinton as a protective shield from domestic critics. It’s also a rather brilliant manoeuvre against those elements on the right – from Fox News to Washington neocons – who came out in praise of Clinton in the spring when she sounded more hawkish than Obama on the Middle East. Having hailed Clinton as the Iron Lady of the Jews, the stab-in-the-back right will find it hard to pivot immediately and accuse her of treason if and when she ends the Iraq occupation.

But why did Hillary accept the job?

The best I can imagine off the top of my head is that (a) she really believes that the Obama presidency will be a successful one; and (b) a successful stint as Secretary of State after time in the Senate would look very, very good on the resume in eight years time.


Sarah Palin: the unholy love child of George W. Bush and Pauline Hansen

Sarah Palin did not know the countries in NAFTA, nor that Africa is a continent, not a country.

I’m with Andrew Sullivan on this one:

Now all I want to say here, ahem, is that they realized all this about this person within a few days of picking her and yet they went ahead for two months bullshitting us … and risking the live possibility that she could be president of the United States at a moment’s notice after next January.

You know: I took a lot of grief for my pretty instant realization back in August that the Palin candidacy was a total farce. But when you cop to the fact that the McCain peeps knew most of that too very early on after their world-historical screw-up, you’ve got to respect and be terrified by their cynicism. I mean: country first?

And they only lost by a few points?

What I find incredible is that people are talking about Sarah Palin as a new leader within the Republican party.  Why?