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Making the Daily Show:
Over at PrawfsBlawg, lawprof Jack Chin blogs about his experience being interviewed for a segment on the Daily Show. An excerpt:
Probably their most effective technique was one that lawyers can't emulate: Editing together a question with an answer to an entirely different question. You see, they do the interview with a single camera; first, they ask all of the questions and tape the mark's answers, and then they tape the questions, sometimes doing multiple takes, so they have several versions from which to choose. So, a couple of questions went like this:

Question: Do you think it is important that everyone have the right to vote?
Answer: Very much so, yes sir.


Question: Does the Arizona Voter Rewards Initiative make you angry?
Answer: No, but I think it is a bad idea as a matter of policy.

On TV, it was like this:

Question: Does the Arizona Voter Rewards Initiative make you angry?
Answer: Very much so, yes sir.


The last thing the Daily Show team taught me was the value of an airtight release, which they made me sign at the beginning of the process. The document made clear that they were free to present me in a false light, so nothing they did was unexpected.
plunge (mail):
This is pretty obvious to any viewer with half a brain that is familiar to their segments. They are about making people look silly and mugging for the camera. Sometimes, its even obvious that the "back of the head" of the interviewee is fake, so that the reporter can say something completely outrageous.
4.5.2007 2:18am
visitor:
so does this mean Congressman Lynn Westmoreland--who sponsored legislation to put the Ten Commandments on display in Congress--can actually name more than three of the Commandments? Incredibly disappointing if true.
4.5.2007 2:25am
maurile (mail) (www):
I thought for sure this was coming:

<i>Question: Do you think it is important that everyone have the right to vote?

Answer: No, but I think it is a bad idea as a matter of policy.</i>
4.5.2007 2:26am
Truth Seeker:
Back when Candid Camera was on in the 60s my late mother told me look how stupid people are, they'll let themselves look like idiots just for the "honor" of being on television. Seems people haven't wised up any. Why would anyone sign an airtight contract that they can be made to look like an ass?
4.5.2007 2:36am
Ramza:

so does this mean Congressman Lynn Westmoreland--who sponsored legislation to put the Ten Commandments on display in Congress--can actually name more than three of the Commandments? Incredibly disappointing if true.

According to Stewart in another interview he later named a fourth commandment but they cut that bit from the tape.

So by his own admission 4, if there is more who knows.
4.5.2007 2:47am
Kovarsky (mail):
Chin seems to miss the point or to have not watched many daily show episodes. Everybody knows those interviews are spliced farces.
4.5.2007 3:00am
Okay (mail):
Kovarsky,

Everybody? How about Chin? I suspect he didn't. I don't have much sympathy for those who don't know, but I doubt "everybody" knows "those" interviews are "spliced farces".

The Daily Show was more fun to watch before Jon decide he was the mouthpiece of the youth. Now it's like watching a PETA video edited to make you cringe, or, say watching Carlos Mencia (stealing jokes).
4.5.2007 3:31am
Blackbeard's Ghost (mail):
It's a huge leap to assume that his viewers know the editing is manipulated. Some of them are very eager to believe footage of unpopular people or viewpoints if that footage supports their preconceived expectations.

That said, I'll cut Stewart some slack after what he did on Crossfire.
4.5.2007 3:41am
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
I wonder how airtight those releases can really be. Not so much with the Daily Show-- if one of the running gags on the show is mixing one answer with another question, it's pretty clear that guests are assuming some risk of being placed in a false light or even being defamed.

But what about Borat? Apparently, Sacha Baron Cohen's producers lie to people and says they are going to be part of an educational program, and induce them to sign releases on that ground. Then, they get filmed being completely embarrassed and made fools of by Borat. Why isn't that fraud in the inducement?
4.5.2007 3:58am
Guest Poster:
Kovarsky:


You really think everybody who watches this show knows interviews are faked? Many of the people I know think the Daily Show is the most credible news source on TV.
4.5.2007 6:33am
bornyesterday (mail) (www):
I'll admit that I never gave it much thought about the interviews being fake. Some clearly were. But some of the people that they talked to I believed were honestly that stupid. I mean, when there are people out there saying that evolution is false because of peanut butter, who needs to edit interviews?
4.5.2007 6:44am
logicnazi (mail) (www):
I don't watch the daily show very much but from even casual viewing it is clear that the pre-taped interviews are not accurate representations of their targets. Admittedly I'd not given much thought to the question of whether they were spliced or the person being interviewed was in on the gag but you would have to be an idiot to take them for a real interview with the target.

The number of people using the daily show as a source of news has nothing to do with whether they believe the interviews are fake. Even knowing the interviews are somehow staged and the video clips at the beginning are carefully selected one is still informed of the major political issues of the day. Then again I watch/read a lot of news so I may just be reading in my prior knowledge.

Also why are people assuming Chin somehow didn't know he would be set up? Reading his post (some of it is sarcastic like the bit about the small probability of looking silly) it seems clear he was well aware that he might somehow be set up. Also if he was aware enough to notice that they were purposefully avoiding clocks he most likely realized exactly what was going on.

Also I have to agree that those stupid confusion segments (thinking one guy is someone else) aren't funny at all and are mostly just annoying. However, I suppose there is someone out there who finds them funny.
4.5.2007 7:44am
duran:

You really think everybody who watches this show knows interviews are faked? Many of the people I know think the Daily Show is the most credible news source on TV.


A cynic could argue that those two assertions are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
4.5.2007 8:32am
Centrist:

A cynic could argue that those two assertions are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

So could a realist.
4.5.2007 8:38am
Federal Dog:
"Many of the people I know think the Daily Show is the most credible news source on TV."


Well, it's as credible as the NYT, AP, and CBS.
4.5.2007 8:42am
Ted F (www):
YouTube has a clip of an unedited Daily Show interview--the subject, Carl Monday, handled himself impeccably, and none of the tape was used in the final segment.
4.5.2007 8:45am
Pete Freans (mail):
It appears that Jon Stewart and Bill Maher are now carrying the flag for liberal journalism as a counterweight to Fox News. Al Franken attempted this as well with Air America. Do we see a pattern here? "The future of political journalism and liberal commentary appearing tonight at the Laugh Factory on Sunset Blvd, one night only!"
4.5.2007 8:58am
Shawn-non-anonymous:
All news is biased these days and presented for the sake of ratings, not truth.

That said, I'd rather watch a "liberal news" show and leave laughing than watch a "conservative news" show and leave with a desire to bash homosexuals.

I tend to watch the first 15 minutes of the Daily show to hear Jon's monologue. He is usually very good at spotting hypocrisy in our elected officials and giving us a laugh in the process.
4.5.2007 9:07am
JK:
Note that they makes jokes about how fake and riged the interviews are all the time. I don't think that anyone, baring perhaps the outraged fox viewer seeing a clip on O'Reilly, is being fooled.
4.5.2007 9:21am
Justin (mail):
Pete Freans,

If liberals had a platform the way Fox News does, they'd take it. Not having that, they resort to comedy. Neither Franken nor Stewart ever claimed to be in the business of journalism qua journalism - to the contrary, they both explicitly claim otherwise.

Others,

When people say they think the Daily Show is the most credible "news" program on TV, they're talking about Jon Stewart's monologues, and not the interviews, which are fluff.

Dorf has been on the show before, as well. I'm sure he could have given Prof. Chin a few pointers.
4.5.2007 9:26am
taney71:
I think news was biased fifty years ago, but there wasn't the outrage against it as there is today. Certainly a hundred years ago as well. Back then newspapers were linked with a particular political party. At least then you knew what type of view you would read. Now we just generalize:

NY Times=liberal
Wall Street Journal=conservative
ABC,NBC,CBS,&CNN=liberal
Fox News=conservative
4.5.2007 9:28am
dearieme:
One of the most interesting British journalists, Matthew Parris, says that all television lies. Simple as that.
4.5.2007 10:23am
rbj:
The Daily Show has never hidden that it is a fake news show, designed to skewer those in power. I think most viewers understand that, yet those same viewers still take it at face value for their news.
4.5.2007 10:24am
AppSocRes (mail):
This explains the Eleanor Holmes Norton interview: they spliced to make her look intelligent!
4.5.2007 10:45am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
The Daily Show has never hidden that it is a fake news show, designed to skewer those in power. I think most viewers understand that, yet those same viewers still take it at face value for their news.

Better to be a fake news show and have some people mistake it for real news than to claim to be a real news show (e.g., Hannity &Colmes or The O'Reilly Factor) and consistently distort the truth, slant interviews or outright lie and have people take that at face value.
4.5.2007 10:46am
Ramza:
People shouldn't compare the daily show to news, they should instead compare it to late night tv like Letterman or the Tonight show. Effectively that is what the show is same idea just catering to slightly different demographics.

That said it may have more news presented than some fox "commentary" shows, but that doesn't mean much.
4.5.2007 10:57am
taney71:
I don't think is fair to say O'Reilly distorts the truth or slants interviews. If one is going to charge him with doing that than every journalist is guilty of the same thing.

Not sure why O'Reilly is attacked so much on the left seeing he is a supporter of so many liberal causes (his silly attack on the big bad oil companies for one). His main thing is the protection of children and getting more gov't action to do it. Certainly the first point both liberals and conservatives can agree. However, the gov't involvement is often the liberal answer to the problem.
4.5.2007 11:09am
John Burgess (mail) (www):
Examples like this--or '60 Minutes', even more so--explain why senior USG officials are not permitted to appear on them. Live interviews are okay; anything that's subject to being edited after the fact is not.
4.5.2007 11:13am
JonC:

If liberals had a platform the way Fox News does, they'd take it.


Funniest thing I've read all day.
4.5.2007 11:17am
liberty (mail) (www):
Now it's like watching a PETA video edited to make you cringe, or, say watching Carlos Mencia (stealing jokes).

Whats wrong with Carlos Mencia? Who does he steal jokes from?

That said, I'd rather watch a "liberal news" show and leave laughing than watch a "conservative news" show and leave with a desire to bash homosexuals.

If just watching a socially conservative show makes you want to beat people up, its you who has the problem.

If liberals had a platform [other than CNN, MSNBC, PBS, ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR and most national newspapers - editor] the way Fox News does, they'd take it.

True.
4.5.2007 11:30am
liberty (mail) (www):
but also, the Colbert Report is much better than the Daily Show.
4.5.2007 11:31am
Dave N (mail):
Jack Chin's statement, "The last thing the Daily Show team taught me was the value of an airtight release, which they made me sign at the beginning of the process."

I am sure it did--and being a law professor, he might have wondered why they insisted he sign it before the interview.
4.5.2007 11:32am
Justin (mail):
There is not a single major news organization that is ran, from the top down, with the intent to promote a liberal agenda, and that coordinates their presentation and coverage with the Democratic party. Regardless of what you think of the New York Times and CBS, they never had strategy sessions with the White House Communications Office during the Clinton White House.

So I stand by my earlier statement.
4.5.2007 11:37am
SeaLawyer:

There is not a single major news organization that is ran, from the top down, with the intent to promote a liberal agenda, and that coordinates their presentation and coverage with the Democratic party.


If you believe that I have some magic beans for sale.
4.5.2007 11:50am
Dave N (mail):
Justin is one of those who apparently believe that Fox News gets its talking points straight from the White House Communications office. Of course he is wrong--but hey, it's a good thing to believe if you want to believe those evil conservatives are out to manipulate the news.

As for whether the New York Times or CBS News needed to have "strategy sessions with the Clinton White House," that is a strawman. There doesn't have to be an actual meeting for those news outlets to be biased toward the left.
4.5.2007 11:50am
Pete Freans (mail):
Neither Franken nor Stewart ever claimed to be in the business of journalism qua journalism - to the contrary, they both explicitly claim otherwise.

Apparently Mr. Franken claims he is qualified to be in the business of a United States Senator. The idea that Mr. Stewart held the illusion that he was a serious journalist started, at least in my opinion, with his interview on CNN's crossfire. I'm sure that the readers of this blog can distinguish comedy from real political thought. I do not hold that same confidence for others.
4.5.2007 11:51am
Timothy Z:
The idea that Mr. Stewart held the illusion that he was a serious journalist started, at least in my opinion, with his interview on CNN's crossfire.

Actually, I think he disavowed any journalistic pretense. "My show comes on after puppets making crank phone calls" or some such comment.
4.5.2007 11:58am
Justin (mail):
Okay, does anyone have any infamous "CBS News" memos about using news coverage to implement political strategy? I mean, I could be wrong here, they may exist. I just haven't heard of them.
4.5.2007 12:00pm
Justin (mail):
Pete,

I never claimed that Franken believed he was qualified to do anything - just that he does not claim to be in anything other than comedy, political opinion (think Rush Limbuagh), and perhaps now electoral politics business. That he's running for a Senate seat in 2008 seems to be neither here nor there, other than obvious relevant to the fact that you personally dislike him.

As for Stewart, I think, as Tim Z said, that any reasonable interpretation of his Crossfire appearance would lead you to the exact opposite conclusion that you cite the appearance for.
4.5.2007 12:08pm
Dave N (mail):
Justin,

I have no memos--though I do have Bernard Goldberg's book, Bias. It is a pretty decent book.

Oh, that's right, Goldberg isn't credible, because, well, you disagree with him.
4.5.2007 12:12pm
AppSocRes (mail):
Justin: Are you referring to the infamous "CBS News" memos fabricated by Dan Rather and his friends in Texas to try and support their dishonest claims about George W. Bush's military service?
4.5.2007 12:15pm
JonC:
Stewart's problem is that he wants to have it both ways. He fancies himself serious enough to deliver stern dressing-downs to actual CNN pundits, repeatedly chastising them that they're "hurting America," like a self-righteous schoolmarm. But then when he gets called on his own shenanigans, he retreats behind his comedian mask.
4.5.2007 12:16pm
JonC:
Stewart's problem is that he wants to have it both ways. He fancies himself serious enough to deliver stern dressing-downs to actual CNN pundits, repeatedly chastising them that they're "hurting America," like a self-righteous schoolmarm. But then when he gets called on his own shenanigans, he retreats behind his comedian mask.
4.5.2007 12:16pm
Ramza:
Stewart on his crossfire appearance said he isn't a journalist pure and simple. At the same time "such journalists" such on crossfire should be ashamed for he is doing a better job as presenting the news than they are and that is supposedly their function.

He wasn't saying what he is doing is new, far from it, he is just extremely disappointed in how low our press has sunked.
4.5.2007 12:16pm
Anderson (mail):
[Cohen] says they are going to be part of an educational program

Well, is that a lie, really? Even the people who signed the release got educated, as to what they should and should not sign.

I never claimed that Franken believed he was qualified to do anything

Indeed. If he were qualified to do anything (even reasonably funny comedy), why would he want to be a Senator?
4.5.2007 12:18pm
Justin (mail):
AppSocRos, unless the memos were internal memos showing a top down directive to impose liberal ideology on coverage, no.
4.5.2007 12:36pm
Dave N (mail):
Indeed. If he were qualified to do anything (even reasonably funny comedy), why would he want to be a Senator?

I don't know? Why would a reasonably successful action-film actor want to be Governor of California?
4.5.2007 12:37pm
Adeez (mail):
I'll get straight to the point:

For those who like to compare Fox to The Daily Show, here's the distinction: Fox pretends to be news. And not just news, but "fair &balanced" news. Yet, to any reasonably intelligent observer, it's rightwing propaganda. A fuckin joke, yes, but not meant to be funny. The latter, contrary to some comments above, never pretends it's anything but a comedy show. And thanks to the others who correctly pointed-out that Stewart never ever claimed to be a journalist. He's actually quite modest and humble, which his opponents would learn if they actually heard/read/saw him outside of the show.

It's one thing for the average moron to be duped into thinking that the mainstream media is liberal, but not the Volokh commenters. To say that the mainstream media's liberal is as accurate as saying Bill O'Reilly's a journalist. Yes, it may be true that the Rathers and Brian Williams's probably vote Democratic more often than not. But it sure as hell does not follow that the media is liberal.

A common theme, if you will, among most liberals is corporate dominance. That is, we claim that corporations generally have too much power over our government. Another of our beliefs is that the press is an extremely important institution that is vital to a free society. Now, how can one, with a straight face, claim that corporate-owned media is liberal? It's a virtual contradiction.

You want liberal, read the Nation. Listen to Air America. Now compare to the evening news. Oh boy, I can go on and on and on...
4.5.2007 1:19pm
Kovarsky (mail):
There's not much point in discourse with people that can't see the difference between fox news-which professes to be a news channel-and comedy central-which professes to be comedy central.
4.5.2007 1:45pm
DeezRightWingNutz:
Yeah, large corporations, with their advocacy of regulating smaller competitors, embrace of "diversity" and "sustainability," obviously have a conservative/libertarian agenda.

I agree that Stewart is humble, and his self-depricating jokes are among the only ones I find very funny. I think he's funny in the same way I find some of Ann Coulter's writing funny. They throw out red-meat to their target audience, but I don't expect anyone on the other side of the fence to see the humor. I actually think SNL's Weekend Update does a funnier take on the news, but it is generally less political. Maybe I just don't like The Daily Show because more often than not, it's my ox being gored.

Stephen Colbert, in contrast to Steward (IMO), is a talented satarist. I do wonder if his show can stay fresh, since it seems fairly one-dimensional. O'Reilly and his ilk are pompous blowhards -- we get it.

As an aside, does anyone think O'Reilly's show has changed over the years. I've always found his personality grating, but for a time, he seemed to do a lot of serious political interviews, and he was one of very few that made politicians answer questions instead of rattling off prepared talking points. Now it all human interest stories or interviews with pollsters and opposing party functionaries.
4.5.2007 1:49pm
Dave N (mail):
You can go on and on Adeez but you really did nothing more than rant that Fox News should be disbelieved because, well, you think everything on it is right-wing propoganda. Would you provide some examples because ranting by itself proves absolutely nothing? Give a specific example of Fox being "propoganda"--just one. Oh, that's right, you don't watch Fox News, you just "know" it is biased because you know that evil Roger Ailes is the Chairman and thus the entire network can't be trusted.

Ad hominem attacks are hardly persuasive. If you want to claim that Fox News or Bill O'Reilly can't be trusted, provide specific examples.

On the other hand, several posters have pointed to the liberal bias in the mainstream news media, myself included. I mentioned Bernard Goldberg's book Bias--written by a former CBS News correspondent who claims in his book that he had never voted for a Republican Presidential candidate in his life. Of course, Goldberg has been smeared in the mainstream media for his heresy ever since.

Michael Barone, a Democrat but one with a great deal of common sense, points to another example of media bias here.

To claim that corporate ownership necessarily promotes conservativism is simply not true--or did George Soros make his billions in some way I don't know of?
4.5.2007 1:57pm
KeithK (mail):
The New York Times pretends to be news. And not just news, but "fair &balanced" news. Yet, to any reasonably intelligent observer, it's leftwing propaganda. A fuckin joke, yes, but not meant to be funny.
My edit of Adeez's comment is about as accurate as the original. Sure Fox is editorially biased toward the conservative viewpoint. That doesn't make it any less news than the NYT, which is biased towards the left. Any reasonably intellgent observer should realize that story selection, editing and focus are influenced by the opinions of the staff and editors.

Now, how can one, with a straight face, claim that corporate-owned media is liberal? It's a virtual contradiction.
This is a silly argument. OK, I will agree that the NYT, NBC, CBS, etc. do not represent idealogically pure, 100% left wing organizations. Neither is the Democratic party. But to say that they aren't left-liberal because they are corporate doesn't pass the giggle test.
4.5.2007 2:09pm
Rex:
Ad hominem attacks are hardly persuasive. If you want to claim that Fox News or Bill O'Reilly can't be trusted, provide specific examples.

This is the best thing I've read all day.
4.5.2007 2:27pm
Shari (mail):
Sci-fi reference for the day - Babylon 5 had an episode called "The Illusion of Truth" in which the main characters are interviewed by a news organization. Despite their carefully-phrased, benign answers to the questions presented, the final interview is a hatchet job. The episode demonstrates very nicely how the questions and answers were manipulated to convey the news editors' desired messages.
4.5.2007 2:31pm
NickM (mail) (www):
Hopefully some interview guest will take the joke to another level, and give truly outrageous answers (with improper affect) so that they couldn't make it funnier by cutting and splicing.

Nick
4.5.2007 3:15pm
RTG:
Dave N.,
All you did is point to a view books that agree with your statement. Do you really think that there isn't a pile of books that say the opposite (even ones written by people who are nominally republicans or conservatives)?

---
It's quite a stretch to say that Fox is simply the right-leaning parallel to the left-leaning NYT, CNN, etc. Most "liberals" are significantly to the left of the NYT or CNN, while Fox is, if anything, to the right of the average republican/conservative. Something like "Democracy Now" on PBS would be a more accurate parallel to Fox.

The same goes for the comparison of Coulter to Stewart, Coulter is far right, Stewart is center-left. A better parallel to Coulter would be someone like Michael Moore.

Not all biases are created equal.
4.5.2007 3:20pm
Jim T:
If you want iron-clad proof of the NYT and other lefty news sources bias, just look at their corrections section. How many of the corrections of fact are due to mistakes in the original story favorable to Republicans and/or Bush (~0%) vs mistakes in the original story that tend to give a falsely poor impression of Republicans/Bush (~100%).

And these are just the errors that they'll ADMIT to.
4.5.2007 3:24pm
JosephSlater (mail):
This has predictably turned into a "the media is slanted to the right!" "no, it's slanted to the left!" debate. All I'll add to that is that of O'Reilly's many documented blatant lies, my favorite is when he was threatening some poor Canadian with a "boycott" if Canada didn't support the Iraq war, and he claimed that the boycott had already cost France "five billion dollars" or some similar number, citing the "Paris Business Review." No magazine with that or similar name existed and the "boycott" of France had no noticeable effect, but he said it with such confidence. . . .

Back to the original point. I'm generally a fan of "the Daily Show." I think especially in the first couple of years of the Iraq war it was quite noble in speaking truth to power -- through satire and irony -- in a way that pretty much all other mainstream media sources were too afraid to do in this period. Plus, I think it's often flat out hilarious. So, in some ways, I agree with the folks who wrote "it's faked and it's the most credible."

But I've always had mixed feelings about the "make the average person, or quirky person look dumb" segments. Some people and ideas are fair game for ridicule, to be sure. But the type of editing Jack Chin describes -- making the answer to one question appear to be the answer to another question -- seems unfair and making it no longer really satire.
4.5.2007 3:25pm
Dave N (mail):
RTG: Titles, please of the pile of books written by Republicans or conservatives that argue against Goldberg's thesis. Those faceless, nameless authors on the other side deserve their recognition.

And in what universe are most liberals to the left of the NYT, particularly its editorial page?
4.5.2007 3:26pm
Jim T:
BTW, my favorite example of MSM bias in recent months were the straight-from-the-DNC-talking-points-memo headlines about Republicans "voting to stop debate" when they voted against cloture for some Democratic bill.

I mean, whoever thought this up at the DNC was obviously an idiot. When this idiocy is then repeated word for word as "fact" in newspapers across the country, to continue to deny that there isn't any bias in favor of the DNC is to proclaim that the emperor's clothes are amazingly well crafted.
4.5.2007 3:33pm
loki13 (mail):
Dave N,


And in what universe are most liberals to the left of the NYT, particularly its editorial page?


Interesting you should use 'universe'. First, while I believe the NYT editorials are center-left, they are mainstream in America, and certainly to the right of the true left within America. But instead of looking to the Universe (I have no idea how the Andromedans feel about our quaint discourse) let us look to the world. Our left/right divide, considered in a 'world' perspective, takes place almost entirely on the center/hard right arena. Russ Feingold would be considered moderate centrist, or perhaps even slightly to the right, in many European countries for example. This is not a criticism, but an observation- the Democratic party, from a 'world' (let alone 'Universe') perspective, is a center-right party, the Republicans are a far right party, and the majority of the American discourse varies from the slightly-right of center to the far right of center.
4.5.2007 3:35pm
Dave N (mail):
Loki--I agree in part and disagree in part.

On a world contuum, both political parties are right of center (in fact, both major political parties are members of the same international organization for right-of-center poltical parties).

However, you cleverly played a word game, describing the Republicans as "a far right party" in one paragraph to "far right of center" in next.

Frankly, the "Republicans are fascists" meme, which you perpetuate by implication ("far right party") is just as offensive and just as untrue as the claim that Democrats are "socialists."

All that said, on the American political spectrum, the NYT, particularly in its editorial page, is left wing. Not as left-wing as the Nation, I acknowledge, but I suspect well to the left of most Democratic voters.
4.5.2007 3:45pm
loki13 (mail):
Dave N,

I fear that you are reading words into my text that I never put in there. I think that any reasonable reading would have "far right" and "far right of center" to be synonymous. At no point did I accuse the Republicans of fascism, even by implication. My post was simply about the narrow constraints of what we consider the 'left' and the 'right' in America. While you may believe 'far right' equates with the Nazis, I can think of no better way to illuminate the point I was trying to make.

Would it have been preferable if I had written,
From a world perspective, the Democratic Party is a center-right party, while the Republican Party is a really, really, really right party? (But not is the sense of being correct).
4.5.2007 4:01pm
Adeez (mail):
"Oh, that's right, you don't watch Fox News, you just "know" it is biased because you know that evil Roger Ailes is the Chairman and thus the entire network can't be trusted."

No duck, you just assumed I don't watch it. Actually, every time this admin. fucks up, which is often, I tune in just to see the spin they give it. More often than not, I'm disappointed. Why? Because usually they don't even discuss the topic at all. But indeed, I do watch it from time-to-time for entertainment. And yes, that shit sure is entertaining! Until I wanna throwup, that is.

Fox is too easy. Anyone who thinks Fox is news, and who compares it to the NYT, is either ignorant, dumb, or just plain disingenuous.

Here's how "liberal" the MSM is. I cite this example b/c it's extremely current: Orrin Hatch was just on Meet the Press stating all these lies about Carol Lam; demonstrable falsehoods. Rachel Maddow, an Air America host, has been persistently writing to both Hatch's people as well as Meet the Press's people demanding a correction. No response from either. Surely, as such a "liberal" program, the show would jump on the opportunity to set the record straight and smear a Republican, no?

Since I brought up Maddow: why, when she went on Paula Zahn's CNN show on the date of the Iraq war anniversary, did she have to virtually beg the producers to make any mention of it?

Why do we never here about Afghanistan. You know, that other country we're still at war with? Every liberal I know cares dearly about the issue. Surely the "liberal" media would want to publicize such a vital national issue, no?

Every liberal I know despises the "drug war." Surely, the "liberal" media would want to show us on a daily basis what a disaster it is, no?

Why are most MSM reports reporting that Nancy Pelosi visited Syria, but conveniently leave out the fact that Repubican Cogressmen joined her as well?

Why did Fox label Mark Foley a "D" instead of an "R" in one of its reports. A mere typo, right?

I mean, these are just off the top of my head. There are books and websites that will cite more examples than I could dream of.

And I agree with your last post, Loki. Which is why I crackup when people actually refer to the Clintons as liberal.
4.5.2007 4:02pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Give a specific example of Fox being "propoganda"--just one. Oh, that's right, you don't watch Fox News, you just "know" it is biased because you know that evil Roger Ailes is the Chairman and thus the entire network can't be trusted.

Granted I don't watch O'Reilly or Hannity much because I can't stand them. You can find all kinds of examples of O'Reilly's lies on this website, but my favorite is when he claimed that the Paris Business Daily had reported that his boycott of France had been devastating (at the time he was threatening to lead an "O'Reilly Nation" boycott of Canada). Not only was that a lie but there isn't such a publication.

As for the odious Sean Hannity, for some reason I couldn't avert my eyes from him during the Terry Schiavo debacle. Among the many lies he told during that whole episode a couple were just so outrageous they really annoyed me. There was the woman who claimed that Terry was able to eat on her own and that she had actually fed Terry jello. Sean and the TV caption referred to her as a nurse. She was actually a nurse's aide. Then there was the parent's medical expert who Sean repeatedly called a "Nobel Peace Price in Medicine" nominated Doctor. Of course there is no such thing as a "Nobel Peace Prize in Medicine" and the idiot who wrote the Nobel Committee on that quack's behalf was not eligible to nominate him for either the Nobel Peace Prize or the Nobel Prize for Medicine.
4.5.2007 4:22pm
Dave N (mail):
No Loki--I think it would have been accurate to state that the Democrats are a right of center party and the Republicans are also a right of center party, though the Republicans are to the right of the Democrats.
4.5.2007 4:24pm
Dave N (mail):
J.F. Thomas--My point had to do with the news portion of Fox News--you know, the stuff that Chris Wallace and others anchor.

Hannity is not a newsman, he is a commentator. So is Keith Olberman on MSNBC. Yet had I cited Olberman specifically as an example of left-wing bias, I would have been accused of not differentiating between news coverage and commentary.
4.5.2007 4:28pm
loki13 (mail):
Dave N.,

Okay, but since I was trying to place them in the context of the world as a whole, placing them in context of each other isn't very helpful, is it? I *could* say that Tampa is west of Miami, but what does that tell me about how far West it is in America?

I'm not sure I understand where you're coming from. The Republicans are a far-right party, compared to the world as a whole. Doesn't mean they're Nazis. It just means that on the political spectrum of the world, they would be considered farther out to the right than most political parties. Don't you think that's a good thing? Sheesh.... never thought I'd see the day when a Republican (and I hope I'm not mischaracterizing you) was ashamed that I was disparaging his party by not being to the right of those darn Europeans.
4.5.2007 4:38pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Hannity is not a newsman, he is a commentator.

Just because you are a commentator does not give you license to lie. The instances I cited above were not matters of opinion--which of course Hannity is entitled to, he can call all Democrats evil, that is his opinion which he can say on his show. But when he calls a nurse's aide a nurse he confers on her expertise and a degree she simply does not possess. He is lying, not stating an opinion. Likewise, saying someone is a "Nobel Peace Prize in Medicine nominated Doctor" is not only a lie, it is completely stupid because any moron should know there is no such thing. He never apologized for or corrected either of these mistakes which leads me to believe that he is either a complete idiot or simply a liar who doesn't care about the truth.
4.5.2007 4:40pm
Abandon:
Dave N wrote:

RTG: Titles, please of the pile of books written by Republicans or conservatives that argue against Goldberg's thesis. Those faceless, nameless authors on the other side deserve their recognition.

And in what universe are most liberals to the left of the NYT, particularly its editorial page?


I am reminded everyday how some commentors are way out fo this planet. It is a natural reflex to restrict information to local or national sources, and Americans are not different than citizens of foreign countries in that matter. I'd recommend some to open their minds as they live in a different world they imagine they actually do. From my outsider perspective, I'm pretty confident the NYT would fail by many standards to be filed as a left paper in most countries I have lived in so far (Canada, France, UK, Taiwan).

This being said, I appreciate Jon Stewart's show for what it represents: a satirical news report, a comedy, although my preference goes for Stephen Colbert. But I do understand many may watch the show as their main, if not only, daily source of information. No matter how aware the spectators may be of the fact they are not viewing a show with journalistic pretentions, we can easily understand it may inflict the public's opinion in a certain way. One can make the parallel with editorial cartoons: they are maint to untertain rather than to inform, but they nevertheless deliver a message.
4.5.2007 4:43pm
Dave N (mail):
Loki,

My point of disagreement is that on a world-wide political spectrum, NEITHER American political party is very much more than right of center.

There are truly right-wing political parties in other parts of the world--well to the right of the Republican Party.

So yes, Tampa is west of Miami and that doesn't say much. Tampa is also east of New Orleans, which doesn't say much, either. But if you were to do a worldwide political continuum, with say, the unapologetic Communists of North Korea and Cuba on the left (on a political scale of 1 to 10, the clear 1s)--and fascistic states like Iran on the right a 10, the Democratic Party is about a 5.5 and the Republicans are about a 5.7.
4.5.2007 4:47pm
Abandon:
Please correct, in my last post's sentence, "they are maint" by the obvious "they are meant".

Geez, that brain can become some rough jelly somedays...

Sorry all.
4.5.2007 4:50pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
The CBS show "Sixty Minutes" has been accused of similar manipulation of questions and answers. Even a less severe form of editing can make an interviewee look foolish. For this reason, the controversial physicist Edward Teller had a policy of not agreeing to any interview unless it were broadcast in its entirety, or in the alternative, to allow him to approve the interview before it was broadcast. He did very few interviews. However he did appear on "Sixty Minutes," only to walk off the set in the middle of the interview. I saw that episode, and I don't blame him.

While Bill O'Reilly is a pompous blowhard, he does occasionally do a good interview, unlike Larry King who always unbearably boring and uninformative. CNN on the other hand, occasionally helps international terrorists. For example, the chief bomb designer for al Qaeda, Ramzi Yousef, learned from a CNN program that airport metal scanners couldn't detect metal below an inch above the ground. Acting on this valuable piece of information, he hid two nine-volt batteries in the heels of his shoes before boarding a PAL flight in 1994. Once on board he assembled a small bomb using the batteries and liquid explosives. On the second leg of the PAL flight 434, after Yousef deplaned, the bomb he planted under a seat exploded killing a passenger and almost destroyed the entire airplane. This was a practice run for the notorious Bojinka plot to blow up ten airplanes simultaneously. This year another CNN program aired information on the vulnerable spots of US military helicopters.
4.5.2007 4:58pm
Dave N (mail):
Abandon:
Please correct, in my last post's sentence, "they are maint" by the obvious "they are meant".

Geez, that brain can become some rough jelly somedays...

Sorry all.

It happens to the best of us--and to me more often than I would like to admit. So no reason to apologize.

As to the part of your other post responding to my comment, I was being somewhat snarky and definitely sarcastic though I was using the term "liberal" in the more narrow sense of American liberals--as opposed to Socialists or others in other parts of the world who are to the left of most American liberals.
4.5.2007 5:02pm
JerryM (mail):
Some of you need to realize that O'Reilly and Hannity are not NEWS. They are opinion and commentary shows, so saying Fox News is lying because of something O'Reilly said does not make sense.
4.5.2007 5:06pm
loki13 (mail):
Dave N,

I believe I can see our point of disagreement. I don't believe including N. Korea and Iran on the political spectrum is useful- they have more in common (as dictatorial and/or totalitarian regimes) than a simple description of 'left' or 'right' would handle. Is N. Korean a left-wing communist state or a right-wing totalitarian state? Is Iran a left-wing Islamist state or a right-wing totalitarian state?
As I should have made clear, I was confining my remarks to parties within democratic systems (perhaps I would go even further, and add "Western-style liberal democracies"). By those metrics, the discourse in America is strictly confined to issues that vary from the center to what most countries would consider the far-right. From the perspective of most world democracies, if normal discourse goes from 1-10, then Democrats would rank around 6 and Republicans around 9 (to pull numbers out of my... umm... hat).

As a thought problem, imagine transposing the Republican party to any country in Western Europe. I am fairly certain they would be to the right of the current 'right' party. By the same token, I believe the Democratic party would mesh nicely with the policies of most country's 'right' parties. Use France as an example- I believe Sarkozy, who is to the right of the majority of the French populace, would be considered a leftist within the Democratic voting populace.
4.5.2007 5:19pm
Adeez (mail):
"They are opinion and commentary shows, so saying Fox News is lying because of something O'Reilly said does not make sense."

Opinions are, or at least ought be, based on facts. So, I don't understand this point. No one here trashing--and even supporting--Fox is making the rather nonsensical point that "Fox is lying." I, and those who tend to agree, are saying that the commenters are often full of shit. A lie is a lie, whether it be made in the context of news or editorial.

And Dave N: you called me out but did not respond to my response. That's cool, and I do not try to pick "fights" with anyone here. It does seem that you're the only one of the familiar commenters here supporting Fox. I think that tells us all something. You attempted to undermine my initial comment by wrongly assuming that I never watch Fox. That leads me to the following: as a good bleeding-heart liberal, I am very open-minded. If I were the equivalent of many in this country (like our warm, compassionate V.P., who ensures that ALL TV's are tuned to Fox in his presence) then I'd limit my exposure to those with whom I agree. But I don't. I understand that true conservatives and libertarians make some valid points. I am therefore willing to learn from them. Hence the reason I'm here right now arguing with you!

I am quick to correct anyone who makes sweeping generalizations (e.g., ALL Republicans blah blah blah) b/c I know that honest and moral conservatives and libertarians can certainly contribute to the national debate. So contrary to so many commenters here who are so quick to villify liberals, I will not viscerally attack those on the other side of the aisle. But that's also the reason why I speak about Fox with such irreverance and disrespect. They are NOT what I consider the honest and intelligent representatives of the right like some who visit here, with whom I disagree but can respect. Rather, they are a perversion of the right, kinda like how Al Qaeda and Ted Haggard are perversions of their respective faiths.

Do you really want to be associated with the Fox crowd? As a flaming liberal, am I wrong to distinguish the clowns and whores on Fox from people like Prof. Volokh? Should I instead lump you all together?
4.5.2007 5:27pm
KeithK (mail):
Adeez's comments remind me of the old line "How did Nixon win? No one I know voted for him." I have firends in NYC who basically say the same thing about Bush. The fact that the NYT is to the right of the people in your circle does not make them centrist or not liberal in outlook.
4.5.2007 5:37pm
A. Zarkov (mail):

Adeez:

"I am very open-minded."


That's the kind of judgment that others make about us. It becomes narcissistic when we assert that claim about ourselves.
4.5.2007 5:44pm
David Walser:
It's obvious that opinions vary on whether or not a particular program slants left or right. In general, I think such opinions tell us more about the holder than the program itself. I will note two things in this context, in a recent survey, a majority of Democrats felt the main stream media was biased to the left. True, as a percentage, more Republicans felt this way, but it was still a majority of the Democrats surveyed who felt major newspapers and networks were biased in favor of the left.

Second, several studies document a similar result -- the media is biased in favor of the left. Here's a link to one such study: UCLA Study The study concludes unsurprisingly that the NYT is a liberal newspaper. Surprisingly, the study concludes that the WSJ's news pages are MORE liberal than the NYT! From the news release announcing the study's publication:
"I suspected that many media outlets would tilt to the left because surveys have shown that reporters tend to vote more Democrat than Republican," said Tim Groseclose, a UCLA political scientist and the study's lead author. "But I was surprised at just how pronounced the distinctions are."

While the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal is conservative, the newspaper's news pages are liberal, even more liberal than The New York Times....

"Overall, the major media outlets are quite moderate compared to members of Congress, but even so, there is a quantifiable and significant bias in that nearly all of them lean to the left," said co‑author Jeffrey Milyo, University of Missouri economist and public policy scholar.
4.5.2007 5:56pm
SeaLawyer:

Opinions are, or at least ought be, based on facts.


Tell that to the NY Times. When the liberals start holding the leftist media outlets to the same standards that they hold Fox News to, I will start to take them more seriously.
4.5.2007 5:56pm
rothmatisseko (mail) (www):
DaveN, watch the documentary Outfoxed. Fox is propaganda directly from the right wing -- just ask the news directors of the stations they took over.
4.5.2007 5:58pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"… just ask the news directors of the stations they took over."

I love to do that, how do I get in contact with them? Do you have names and phone numbers?
4.5.2007 7:13pm
KeithK (mail):
As a thought problem, imagine transposing the Republican party to any country in Western Europe. I am fairly certain they would be to the right of the current 'right' party. By the same token, I believe the Democratic party would mesh nicely with the policies of most country's 'right' parties. Use France as an example- I believe Sarkozy, who is to the right of the majority of the French populace, would be considered a leftist within the Democratic voting populace.
I'm pretty sure you're right Loki. But right vs. left relative to center is all a matter of perspective. Someone on the left might think the Dems are center-right and bemoan the lack of a left leaning parties in this country like there are in Europe. But someone on the right might similarly think the Repubs are too center-left and bemoan the lack of (sane) right leaning parties in Europe.

When talking about American media outlets we are generally talking about bias or inclinations relative to the American center.
4.5.2007 7:58pm
Adeez (mail):
"'I am very open-minded.' That's the kind of judgment that others make about us. It becomes narcissistic when we assert that claim about ourselves."

A.Zarkov: according to the closest dictionary I could locate, narcissism is "self love; specifically, excessive interest in one's own appearance, etc."

So, you have absolutely no idea who I am. You take a long-winded comment of mine, extract one tangential line, and then decide to make a personal judgment about me. And it's not even accurate. Calling myself open-minded is self-love? Huh? Why don't you try actually responding to the substance of my comment. If you have no response, say nothing. But to call me a narcissist b/c I dared call myself open-minded does not further the debate. Perhaps it's because I'm not afraid to call myself a proud liberal, you don't like liberals, thus you don't like me, so you figured you'd grab onto anything you could.

But since you brought it up, and I have time to kill, I suppose you don't consider yourself either open or closed-minded? To each his own. I would guess it's the latter, but I don't know.

But yes, I do believe suppression of the ego and utter selflessness is the key to leading a just, moral life. And yes, suppression of the ego also happens to be one of the hardest human endeavors. So, yes, loving oneself is important inasmuch as it allows one to have the self-esteem to be able to love others unconditionally. And that's why I also try really hard to be respectful here when I address other commenters directly. Because it's so easy to make snide, sarcastic remarks when one's hiding behind a monitor. So although I find some comments outrageous, I do try very hard to bite my tongue and be measured in my responses.

I respectfully suggest you take rothmatisseko's advice and watch Outfoxed.
4.5.2007 8:18pm
JK:


Tell that to the NY Times. When the liberals start holding the leftist media outlets to the same standards that they hold Fox News to, I will start to take them more seriously.

Who said that it's alright for the NYT to lie in opinion pieces? Obviously we should hold all media to the same standard, I don't think that anyone is questioning that. Your response is simply a cheap shot to avoid having to respond to the substantive evidence presented that fox news personalities have stated lies on a regular basis (note, I have no idea whether this claim is true, but either way your BS snark does nothing to disprove the allegation).
4.5.2007 10:31pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Adeez:

Your long-winded post was mostly about you as opposed to the topic at hand. My comment was meant more as a nudge than an attack.

As to Fox News, I'm hardly a fan. It's tabloid journalism with food fights thrown in to entertain—more heat than light. The whole of TV news has declined over the last forty years because news departments are more dedicated profit than public service. The 1975 book CBS: Reflections in a Bloodshot Eye by Robert Metz relates the sad story of the decline of CBS news from days of Edward R. Morrow. Alas they have gotten much worse over the last thirty years reaching a low point with their use of forged documents in 2004. Fox is simply exploiting the news-as-entertainment business model. In this aspect they do better than the other cable news channels that are desperately trying to catch up in the race to the bottom. It's all about ratings and revenue. Howard Stern proves that you can say virtually anything on the air and get away it as long as you bring in revenue for the station. Of course he eventually did go too far and had to go into orbit with satellite radio. Ditto for Michael Savage. But let's face it. The MSM has aliened a lot of people with their obviously biased coverage creating a void that gets exploited by the likes of Fox.
4.6.2007 7:50am
Aultimer:
Loki - You mock a previous poster for failing to consider Andromedan's political leanings in using "universe", and then casually redefine your own cynical use of "world" to mean "Western-style democracies."

Is that OK because darker people obviously don't compare to Western-style (white) ones as well as green aliens do?
4.6.2007 11:53am