Monday, October 29, 2012

The answer to a good question...

We recently had breakfast with some friends here in Albuquerque, and one of them asked me how I got into Cisco Systems in the first place. I gave her my now pat answer: "I got into Cisco Systems because a guy hit on my girlfriend." They both looked at me, and I smiled and said, "It's a pretty good story." 

When I was in school in Phoenix, 1984 to 1988, we lived in an apartment complex about two blocks from school. It was a new complex and we both liked it. One day Row and I were cooking on one of the complex's outdoor grills and she had just come back from checking things; she told me she'd met one of the residents. He was a guy name of Jeff from California, who worked at Intel in Phoenix, and his balcony was right above the grills. I asked her how he seemed, and she told me he had seen her, had come down, and introduced himself. He flirted with her a little (this was years before he and his wife, Maggie, met), and Row told him her boyfriend was a student at DeVry University. He told Row he'd like to meet me. 

A couple of weeks later we invited him for dinner and we chatted about college, Intel, and Silicon Valley, where we were planning to go after my graduation. Jeff told us he could show us around as that was where he grew up. We stayed in touch with Jeff, and when we moved to Mountain View, CA, we met Jeff's mom and dad, Adelaide and Bob, two of the dearest, sweetest people to ever live, and spent time with them all. Jeff told me several times that if the situation ever presented itself to get in touch and he could maybe help me find something. 

I was recruited by Perkin-Elmer right out of college as a field-service engineer, and had been there for about 18 months when the stress and almost constant traveling and driving (sometimes hundreds of miles a day) finally got to me and I suffered what my doctor said was probably a transient ischemic attack (TIA), based on the symptoms I had described to her. During our appointment in her office she asked me about about my job and what I did, day to day. After a good 20 minutes of this she took out her script pad, wrote on it, tore off the page, and handed it to me. 

It said, "Michael... find a new job!" 

So, I went home and talked to Row and she reminded me what Jeff had said so many times. I called him the next day. A couple of weeks before he had just started working for a then-tiny start-up called Cisco Systems, whose IPO had happened only a few months before that, and although I was nervously hesitant to go the start-up route, as even back then Mountain View and the Silicon Valley were expensive places to live, I took my doctor's advice, took a chance, and took my résumé to Cisco, then on O'Brien Drive in East Menlo Park. 

As luck would have it, and with, no doubt, some good words from Jeff, I got an interview with Sandy Lerner. That was July of 1990, and I was with Cisco until November of 1999. Now, well over 22 years after my doctor's "prescription," I smile every time someone asks me, "So, how did you get into Cisco Systems anyway?" 

I know I've thanked him before now, but... thank you again, Jeff, more than I can ever express. I am so glad you decided to flirt with Row that day.

Friday, October 26, 2012

A brief rant about baloney…

With the advent of blogs, such as this one, and with myriad (re)sources available for finding information, misinformation, disinformation --- thanks to the Internet and World Wide Web --- a popular pastime has emerged: finding information that fits a viewpoint (also called "confirmation bias"), and repeating it somewhere, usually on a blog, or on Twitter, or on Facebook, and forcing it to fit a preconceived notion or the already held viewpoint. This (mis/dis)information can be used to reinforce a position, to shape a position, to refute a position, to confuse/obfuscate a position, or to create a false straw-man position. Hopefully this is done ethically, with information, and not (dis)misinformation, done responsibly, done to move a discussion forward, done to at least attempt to offer something constructive. 

But all too often lately it's being done with a prior/assumed claim to protected speech, with the idea that an opinion is somehow being expressed in the very act of repeating something true or something false, and that because we're all entitled to our opinions we can pretty much say/post/repeat anything we want.

However... there's a huge gap between expressing opinion and simply repeating baloney.

As an example, just one small example, take The Donald's recent "very big" announcement about President Obama. The Interwebs were awash with speculation about what Mr. Trump might be planning to say. Ultimately what he did say (his grand offer of paying a charity upon release of information, a.k.a. extortion) was absurd on its face, but the most heinous and hateful of these speculations was perhaps that The Donald was in possession of divorce papers belonging to the Obamas, that one has filed for divorce against the other, a piece of “intel” for which there is zero evidence extant, and about which the source was an anonymous someone who is close to The Donald. This "fact" was "reported" on Tuesday, 10/23/12, by several bloggers, and, sadly, repeated either in or out of context by many others. All this did was play on and put forward another of the tired anti-Obama themes that had been flying around the blogosphere since the 2009 inauguration.

Now let’s be clear: a fact is something that has tested substance, that has been verifiably tested and proven, that can be, therefore, taken as being true.

An example of a fact follows: The Obamas are married.

An opinion, on the other hand, is a viewpoint, a theoretical take about, a speculation on, or an interpretation of some fact or some hypothesis. 

An example of an opinion follows: The Obamas are married (fact), and to me they seem happily so (opinion).

This opinion is probably based on something aside from the underlying, reported, or verified fact (e.g., a marriage license that is probably available as a part of the public record; guests who attended the wedding being interviewed; etc.). It’s probably based on a perception, an observation, a gut-feeling. The underlying fact supporting the expressed opinion is still a truth, but the interpretation is where the opinion part lives.

Baloney regardless of its quantity is still baloney; it's just a smaller or a larger pile of it.

Baloney, the repeating of something that might not be (and probably isn’t) true, offering something that is just speculative, repeating something that has no basis in fact, is just that: it's baloney. For example, repeating as fact that The Donald has said he has divorce papers in hand is baloney, and then offering that this may or may not be true is also baloney, and then defending the act of offering this disinformation as an honest expression of opinion is just more baloney heaped on the previous baloney. 

Baloney regardless of its quantity is still baloney; it's just a smaller or a larger pile of it.

Some of my students used to become frustrated during class discussions when I or a fellow student would call them on stating opinion versus stating fact versus stating baloney. One of them might have said what he or she honestly and innocently felt was his or her opinion and would then take offense to any disagreement based on this prior assumption of free speech, as stated above. To help clear up these sorts of misunderstandings, Carl Sagan developed his Baloney Detection Kit, which I heartily urge anyone to read. My nowhere near as complete measure for baloney detection is as follows:

Is the thing you said…  

  1. verifiably true, that is, did you do the work necessary to verify it as true, and are you now offering a verbatim presentation or, at least, a closely paraphrased approximation or report of this verified true fact, or
  2. just something you heard or that you read, that you did not bother to verify one way or the other, and that you are now just repeating, either paraphrased or verbatim, as if it’s a fact?
If it's 1, then it's probably a fact and you are offering your opinion on it; however, if it's 2, or something like this, then it's possibly not a fact and, until it’s verified one way or the other, is just as possibly baloney and definitely not an opinion. It's important to understand which is which. And verification is based not just on how many times something is repeated on the Interwebs, but also by whom it's being repeated: there are good sources, and there are bad sources, and it's necessary to glean one from the other. If a source has an agenda, either for or against something, then it's probably not reliable. The challenge is finding objective sources.

Yup… we do have free speech, and thank goodness for this, but I’m not sure we’re equally free to spread baloney on anything other than slices of bread. And even if we are free to do this, does the ability to spread baloney on anything make it the right thing to do?

Fact is fact and opinion is opinion, but baloney is neither of these: it's just baloney (and a lunch meat).

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Why are second terms usually trouble for POTUS's?

OK. Hear me out on this. As of the Twenty-Second Amendment, proposed in 1947 and ratified in 1951, we no longer allow a person to serve more than two terms as President of the United States. We have term limits on POTUS. Starting with Harry Truman, the maximum became two terms. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the last person to serve more than two, and only four presidents have been re-elected since then: 
  1. Nixon elected 1968, re-elected 1972, although he didn't make it through his second; 
  2. Reagan elected 1980, re-elected 1984; 
  3. Clinton elected 1992, re-elected 1996; and
  4. Bush the younger elected 2000, re-elected 2004. 
The other presidents since then either died, did not choose to run, or ran, but couldn't manage to be re-elected after their first term. But is that second term really a good idea and what costs are we willing to pay for that second term? And, have those second-termers really had positive, worthwhile experiences? Were their second terms worth the trouble?

Answers to these questions have been posed by others, but by way of answers here, first look at what's happened to all four of these two term presidents since Nixon. In each case, something occurred during their first terms, or came to light during their second terms, that made their second terms at least problematic and in some cases down-right scandalous. 
  • For Nixon it was his own hubris and paranoia that brought him down by August of 1974, half way through his second term. 
  • Reagan was re-elected in a landslide in 1984, but by 1986, he and his administration were knee-deep in Iran-Contra. 
  • William Jefferson Clinton was re-elected in 1996, beating Robert Dole by almost nine points, but by 1998, his fondness for cigars and interns, the hatred so many seemed to have for him and his wife, made his second term an affair to forget. 
  • And by the beginning of George W. Bush's second term, his ham-handed attempt to "spend political capital" on privatizing Social Security, an idea it turned out no one liked, was akin to writing a political check that bounced almost immediately. This and two unpaid-for wars assured his second term would be cast poorly by historians. 
But why did the second terms of these men end up in so much struggle and strife for them, for their country, for us? Was it just some mistake they (or someone in their administrations) made that mucked things up, or is there more to this? 

Each man suffered in different ways and to differing effects, but each suffered, each was made to suffer, of this we can be certain. Honestly, just how much can any one person really do if he or she A) continues to remain visible as a target for enemies during that second term, and B) spends a not-inconsiderable portion of the first term running for the second? 

And how much does familiarity possibly breed contempt as that hard-fought second term unfolds? In this era of the Internet and the World Wide Web, doesn't that contempt breed even more quickly and more ferociously? So what's the solution? What can help future presidents from having their second terms end so badly? 

It's such a simple solution: eliminate the second term. Here's how. 

Make the time that any one person can serve as POTUS a single five-year term.  The election is held in November, and the inauguration occurs in January when the president starts working, just as now. But be honest, in a 48-month first term, how much time does anyone really spend doing the things a POTUS is supposed to do before he (and eventually, she) has to start campaigning again, assuming he or she will run again? Were you to listen to critics, this time gets shorter with every new president. Conversely, most presidents will start their "last" campaign well over a year before the second election --- George W. Bush announced his candidacy in June 2003; Barack Obama announced his candidacy in April 2011 --- so let's call it an average of 16 months of campaigning before that second election. In a 48-month first term, therefore, that's fully one-third of the time spent on the stump and off the clock, which means the actual work of being president (i.e., sans last-campaign distractions) is getting done for about 32 months, or a a little over two-and-a-half years (2.6666 years, to be exact). 

Now, if you add 32 months of the first term and 32 months of a potential second term, you come up with 64 months, or five-and-one-third years (5.3333 years, to be exact), so let's call the single POTUS term five years: from January of Year N to January of Year N+5, with the time between the preceding November's election day and the following January's inauguration day the time needed to get up to speed, just as it's intended and spent now. 

Think about the benefits...
  • The time and effort and distraction of having to campaign between terms? Gone. 
  • The time wasted not actually doing POTUS-related work? Gone.
  • The political gamesmanship that always occurs when a sitting president legally and rightfully campaigns but is criticized for doing so? Gone.
  • The need to raise that massive second-campaign cash? Gone.
  • Once again exposing oneself to the potential for special interest influence brought about by these gobs of cash? Gone. 
  • The extra time spent being a target for enterprising enemies to claim something that disqualifies a person in that position? Gone.
  • The effects of second-term PAC money, thanks to the Supreme Court, which will have a larger and larger emphasis going forward? Gone. 
The person who is elected to the single five-year term is free to operate in a climate based almost purely on the expectations generated for that one election, and doesn't have to think about being re-elected, feel obligated to special interests intent on that success, or pressured by special interests intent on that failure.**

In other words, if promises are made and kept, great! Those who voted for him or her are happy, and although those who didn't won't be, but they won't have to wait too long to try to regain power. Who knows, maybe the next person will continue that good work, assuming it is. 

But if promises are made and broken, then no matter: that POTUS is gone after five years anyway, guaranteed. Detractors don't have to feel frustrated that he or she might run again, and supporters don't have to feel conflicted about deciding whether or not to vote for him or her again. Fewer undecideds might be the result. 

Everyone wins, but the biggest winner is the American public. We do not have to be bombarded with elections every four years; instead, they'll occur every five years and there will be more new people running each time, giving more people a chance at the job (who'd want it, I say, but... some do), and allowing fresh ideas to be aired every five years instead of every eight, potentially. 

The difference between the first four-year term in the current system versus a mandatory single five-year term in this new system, is only one year and includes the added benefit of ensuring that someone who is unliked will serve only one term, and not have the chance to force that second term via obscene PAC spending and a 24/7 barage of attack ads. This could also make third and fourth-party (and more) candidates more viable, by ending the gridlock of the current two-party system. With each five-year cycle, primaries would be held for all party's candidates, not just the party out of power during that first term. What's wrong with a far more level playing field, far less money attempting to influence dubious outcomes, far less time spent making promises, and far more time spent doing the job of POTUS?

Look, I'm sure I've probably missed something here, like term-limiting congress somehow, or something I haven't thought of (it is late after all). But I'm just tossing this at the wall and seeing what sticks, so where's the harm?

**Now here's where disagreement might arise. Some might ask, what's to prevent a total wing-nut from doing something truly damaging in that single term? Well, what's to prevent that now in either term? Those same checks and balances, that same oversight, will still be in place. There's always a way to game just about anything, but has that ever stopped new ideas before?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Six of one, meet half dozen of the other...

Last night in the last 2012 debate Mitt the Moderate led his pander parade even farther left as he embraced, condoned, and supported so many of the current administration's policy positions that it begs a couple of questions: 
  1. If Governor Romney wants to be POTUS and would do pretty much everything President Obama is already doing, as he claimed he would last night, then six of one, meet half dozen of the other: why in the world would anyone want to change horses? The break-in period is too expensive and messy.
  2. And if the neo-cons and Tea Party folks --- who are tacitly supporting Romney only because the "true" conservative(s) they really wanted didn't get the nomination --- don't agree with anything Mr. Obama wants, says, and does, which they don't, but their nominee Mr. Romney agrees with pretty much everything Obama wants, says, and does, which as of last night he claims to, then how can the neo-cons and the Tea Party folks stomach Moderate Mitt? 
The answer to the first one can be summed up with, "Why indeed" but the answer to the second one, while also pretty simple and something I talked about almost a year ago, is the real reason behind what is going on in this election.

It's because the neo-cons and Tea Party folks running the GOP side of congress --- and the handlers holding their leashes --- hate Obama as POTUS more than they hate Romney as their party's nominee, and they do hate Romney as their party's nominee. They are so anxious to see Obama out of office that they will deny and abandon everything they claim to stand for in order to get Romney into office. This is why they're silent about the emergence of Moderate Mitt, a guy they dislike only slightly less than they dislike Obama. But the positions that the president stated Monday night are positions he's held since day 1 of his presidency, and since that same day they are policies the neo-cons and Tea Party folks have railed against, but now with Mr. Romney's embrace of these same policies, they all fall suddenly silent. OK.

And so I say to the neo-cons and Tea Party folks, you're welcome to him, but be very careful of what it is you're asking for, because you might end up regretting for a long time to come what embracing Panderer-in-Chief Mitt will do to your brand and its credibility; just look what eight years of a "compassionate conservative" did to your brand and its credibility, and to the deficit and debt about which you claim to care so much. 

You bought him, you saddled him, you ride him. He's all yours.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I think I've finally figured it out...

I've been listening to The Jim Rome Show on local AM radio for years. For the most part, I enjoy it. Far more often than not, Mr. Rome has a fine talk show, knows what he's talking about, invites great guests (typically sports figures, naturally), is an excellent interviewer (one of the very best), and sets up thought-provoking topics for good discussions. 

During his show, Jim Rome has an open phone line and takes phone calls from his listeners, and if his show has a weak spot, it's possibly this: oftentimes these callers are just terrible and they end up embarrassing themselves to a national audience. The pace of the show can slow after each one of these silly calls is rejected and Mr. Rome admonishes the caller for some silly or stupid or rude thing that was said. 

Now, calls can either be racked --- the show's term for its acceptance of what it deems a good call --- or rejected, usually with Jim Rome offering a vocalized buzzer sound-effect to end the rejected call. 

But it's which calls are racked and which are rejected that is most interesting. 

Apparently, if callers manage to copy the call style of previously acceptable callers, they are racked (they are deemed acceptable), but if callers do not copy other callers properly --- have a "take that sucks," to use the show's parlance --- they are rejected (they are deemed unacceptable), and oddly enough, Mr. Rome refers to his avid listeners as Clones, which is something I've not been able to figure out... until recently.

Although Jim Rome might take exception to this comparison, the name Clone is somewhat similar to Rush Limbaugh's Dittoheads (Limbaugh's listeners), and although the only things Rush and Jim seem to have in common are that they're both white males with talk shows on AM radio, it seems there is a certain similarity in the monikers of their respective listeners.

Dittoheads tend to repeat and reinforce the ideas offered by Mr. Limbaugh, and, in a similar way, Clones tend to clone the jargon of Mr. Rome as well as the call styles of other successful callers, so much so that the show has an annual Smack Off program for the best Clone callers to call in and talk smack on any topic they wish (or about other Smack Off callers), and the show also has an annual Hack Off program for the worst Clone callers (the hacks) to compete with one another in similar fashion. 

No, this is not at all important to anything or to anyone, but it's something I've been trying to figure out for a while, and I think I finally have. At least I feel better now.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

"Moderate Mitt" is a myth...

In this article Gov. Mitt Romney is quoted saying...
There's no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda. 
He said this to a reporter for the Des Moines Register on Tuesday, 10/9. But what does this actually mean? To see his trick, reformulate the sentence this way... 
There's no recipe with regards to beef stew that I'm familiar with that would become a part of my cookbook.
What happens when one encounters a new recipe for beef stew (or Mr. Romney encounters a new legislation for abortion)? Wouldn't this leave an out? Couldn't this mean one might be able to include the newly encountered beef stew recipe? Mitt instantly renders his own statement meaningless through this obvious double-speak.

Make no mistake, "Moderate Mitt" is a myth. If he believes doing so can help him somehow, he will say anything, to anyone, about any subject. Full stop. He will eventually piss off his conservative base, and soon.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Do some on MSNBC sink to Fox News' level?

In the left's post-debate angst-fest, a few MSNBC folks felt it necessary to vent harshly and vent loudly.

Chris Mathews, as one example, suggested President Obama should "bring the knives out," and Lawrence O'Donnell, who I think is a wicked smart man most of the time, referred to an analogy made by a newspaper writer who suggested the debates are like a bullfight, with Obama as matador and Romney as bull. The writer, and by using it, O'Donnell, intimated that we all know how a bullfight ends, metaphorically suggesting Romney would be killed by Obama. 

Really? A murder  metaphor? 

For clarity and in fairness, I repeat: this was not O'Donnell's metaphor, he was referring to someone else's use of it, but... O'Donnell did refer to it to make his point, ergo ipso facto.

Previously and throughout the day, a few other MSNBCers also made some fairly general statements and close-to-mean-spirited remarks, but my goal here is not to detail particular anecdotal shortcomings, it's to make a larger and, I feel, more important point.  

There has been a meme taking shape for a couple years that MSNBC is the left-wing news channel and Fox is the right-wing news channel. It's as if each is the mouthpiece for the corresponding political party. The short answer is no freaking way! 

Considering it's on record that Fox News does receive and follow memos from the RNC (see video of Steve Doocy's direct referral to one such memo on the Fox News morning show last year), there is no argument available to counter this claim. It's a fact. 

On the other hand, MSNBC's talking heads' overwhelmingly negative responses to Obama's performance is fairly effective proof that MSNBC is nowhere near the Obama tank, let alone the DNC's. If it were, MSNBCers would have spun his poor performance far more than was done, which almost wasn't done. Most called it like they saw it: Obama did not show up, he sucked as a debater, and he allowed Romney to walk all over him. 

Full stop. 

Conversely, and to be honest, when has Fox News said a discouraging word about Romney, aside from when it was trying to overtly influence the Republican primary by first favoring an uninterested Christie, then an unqualified/unbelievable Trump, and then "real" condidates Perry, Cain, Gingrich,  Santorum, and finally Romney only when it was clear they weren't going to get their way with who they saw as the "truer" conservatives? But here they are now, offering Romney as the savior of conservative thought, even as they spit over their collective shoulder after the very words leave their mouths. 

In other words, whether some of them like it or not, Fox News is in effective lockstep with the Romney parade; it's all aboard the Romney-Ryan Express. It's full speed ahead, even as Fox News accuses MSNBC of "liberal bias." 

Hello... kettle? This is pot.

Easy, albeit wholly ineffective, arguments are made that MSNBC and Fox News are two sides of a coin, but they aren't. MSNBC has managed,
for the most part, to remain "fair and balanced," able to see and present both sides of arguments, and stay above the mean-spirited and hateful opprobrium, by instead offering reasoned and thoughtful presentations, with a few exceptions: Ed Schultz's loaded questions can make him less credible; Martin Basheer's naked sarcasm is quite often tiring; and Chris Mathews recent ranting makes him seem just shrill and annoying, rather than the wise elder he clearly wishes to present. 

This is just so simple. Guys, don't be assholes. Don't be pricks. Olbermann is gone. There's no need to imitate his ineffectual anger, and more importantly, it just makes you look like the schmucks on Fox News. 

Stay above this. Don't go there. Don't drop to that low level in order to make your points. 

You don't have to do it. Look to your colleagues Maddow, Wagner, Hayes, Harris-Perry, et al., for how it's done, because MSNBC's youth movement is excellent and can teach the elders a few lessons in decorum.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Same as it ever was...

I'm sure the talking heads will be talking about last night's Presidential Debate in this news cycle, and little else, so I thought I'd pose some questions to them, even though I'm nowhere near naive enough to believe they read this blog. This said, though, I do believe these questions deserve to be asked: 
  • What difference does Gov. Romney's change in demeanor, this reset, the appearance of this new self, this Makeover n-point-O, really make?
  • Isn't he still the same inconsistent panderer he's always been? 
  • Doesn't this "performance" just point to his well-documented slippery, chameleon tendency to say anything depending on the circumstance? 
  • Didn't he just pander on far more topics than usual last night and do it all in one sitting? 

Sorry, but I just don't see how anyone who has paid even a little attention to him could take away that he's in any way sincere about anything. He's constantly changed his positions on too many things to think otherwise. 

Look, it's OK to change your mind about things. We all do this. We think a certain way, then we're confronted with a new reality, or some new perspective, or some new information, and we adapt or change our thinking in the face of this new thing (or cling desperately to the wrong position). But Romney doesn't do this. What he does is abruptly state a changed position based on the situation in which he finds himself, the people he's talking to, the person interviewing him. 

There is a big difference here. And this isn't just a flip-flop argument, rather, this is a naked-pander argument.

Regardless of what he said last night, and I admit he was well-rehearsed (more on that in a moment), he remains nothing more than who he is: Willard "Mitt" Romney, the guy who has so transparently and consistently proven time and time again that he cannot speak consistently about, or be consistent with, any topic. The guy who constantly forgets that there is a technology called video that captures for posterity that which someone says, a position someone has had, and allows for later comparisons.

Mitt is consistently inconsistent. 

And... how does the far right feel about him coming so abruptly to the middle on so many things? Didn't he just throw his base off a cliff? Didn't he just put them in a position to show they're being inconsistent, being hypocritical? Or am I just being naive... again?

Although Romney was well-rehearsed, well coached, he just came off sounding as if he was repeating, by rote, what he was told to say. I didn't get any sort of feeling that he believes what he said. He was merely doing what he has so consistently done in the past: saying anything depending on the situation, in order to close the deal.

Anyway, it makes no sense to me that anyone could come away from last night thinking Romney's somehow different than he's proven to be. 

And even as the talking heads talk, please allow me to paraphrase the Talking Heads: Romney has been, is, and will be, same as he ever was.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Diana Krall: (the) Glad Rag Doll

Oh joy. Last night I received my copy of Diana Krall's latest CD, Glad Rag Doll. I advance ordered it and have been keen to hear it for weeks. 

I've always thought Diana was a beautiful woman, but it was her voice that first drew me and continues to, as it does, I'm sure, millions of others. That smoky, throaty thrum and perfectly placed phrasing that make any lyric just work better; her wonderful arrangements; her clean piano playing; and those delightful musicians who back her up: what a combination. 

But then I opened the package and saw the Glad Rag Doll cover photo for the first time. 

Oh my. 



Heart racing.

Wh-wh-what did I order? 

And then I remembered... oh yeah... there's music on this thing... it's a CD!


Thank you, Diana, one more time.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The largest media voice is blaming the media...

No doubt about it, Fox News is the ratings winner, day after day, night after night, and week after week. One of its top-rated shows (if not the top-rated show), The O'Reilly Factor, draws among the largest audiences by far. Although Fox News claims to be "fair and balanced" and says "we report you decide"to anyone who will listen, Fox News offers a wide-range of right-centric pundits and hyper-conservative talking heads. 

Its guests are right-focused and its spin is right-focused. Its one token lefty, Alan Colms, left Sean Hannity's show years ago, and even Colms knew he wasn't a Liberal. 

Indeed, the right-focused Fox News is the heavy-weight contender in the prime-time ring, and it wins round after round by pounding down its non-right rivals with huge ratings wins. 

Yet Fox News claims to be a lightweight, to not have the influence of what it perceives as "the media," the real media, the left-aligned media. It's as if Fox News somehow feels it's unable to have its voice heard because the pervasive, omnipresent, left-aligned "media" is speaking louder. 

Sure it is. 

So the questions are...  is "the media" not anyone or anything that offers glimpses into the news of the day, the current events and topics that affect us, affect and effect our opinions, and influence both? And, therefore, is Fox News not part of the media? 

The answers are yes and yes.  

And so, by any definition, Fox News is part of the media, but to hear Fox News folks tell it, "the media" is always liberal and left, and Fox News has no place being lumped in with anything that's not right of center (i.e., not the media). 

Yup. Fox News blaming "the media" for its bias is akin to a bass blaming a bluegill for peeing in the pond.

If only Fox News, et al., could accept this simple truth: some parts of "the media" have a left-to-Liberal bias and other parts of "the media," including Fox News, have a right-to-Conservative bias.  

But this is how Fox News sees it: "The media" = left, Liberal, biased; Fox News = the truth.