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OK, now that I’ve written about seven screens on the cover alone, let’s get on to the inside.
The inside cover is an ad, reproduced at left. It’s another one about liberal bias… wait a minute. Media Research Center. I’ve heard of those guys. Aren’t they a bunch of rabid hyper-conservatives who insist on banning anybody who doesn’t agree with [[http://www.beliefnet.com/News/2003/09/The-Gospel-Of-Supply-Side-Jesus.aspx Supply-side Jesus]]? Let’s take a look at [[http://www.mrc.org/ their wesite]]…
I see a lot of articles attacking liberal bias, yet nothing on conservative bias. There’s that false dilemma again. These people perceive a liberal bias, and conclude that a conservative viewpoint must be correct because they are unable to consider that a third position might be correct.
I found a particularly disturbing article entitled “[[http://www.mrc.org/biasalerts/meet-press-liberal-journalists-all-agree-nothing-obama-could-do-about-middle-east-crisis ‘Meet the Press’: Liberal Journalists All Agree, Nothing Obama Could Do About Middle East Crisis]]”. What’s weird is that everyone thinks the chaos currently going on the Middle East is Obama’s fault, because, um, America is supposed to run the world. Seriously, let’s quote them.
[[quoteblock]]As the press panelists deflected criticism of Obama, they proceeded to attack those voicing such criticism. Moderator David Gregory fretted that Liz Cheney had “launched a very serious attack” against the President’s policies by tweeting: “America is no longer viewed as a reliable ally or an enemy to be feared…Nor do our adversaries any longer fear us.”[[/quoteblock]]
Yes, you read that correctly. These people honestly think that the proper state of affairs is for every other country to fear America and go along with what America says, and that other countries daring to defy America is an inherently bad thing. American exceptionalism much? Perhaps this explains why Russia and China blocked needed UN intervention in Syria – since Washington has been blocking action in Palestine for so long, Moscow and Beijing feel the need to block action in Syria just to show they’re not afraid of America, thus allowing al-Qaeda and the House of Saud to fund the rebels and thus extend their own influence. Nice going, everybody.
But the other unsettling thread about that article is the idea that the chaos is an inherently horrible thing. OK, it sucks for all involved, but the uprisings in Libya, Egypt, and Syria have all been average people standing up and fighting for democracy against oppressive dictators. Isn’t that something Americans are supposed to be in favour of?
Yeah, these people are hardly the sort you want trying to expose bias.
But back to the ad. It claims that there is an incredible lack of critical treatment of Obama in the media. As an Irishman, the very notion that broadcast news media would have a bias one way or the other is a bit odd to me. To illustrate my point, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6zZQs3tUig&playnext=1&list=PLEB87D09EC2BF8C25&feature=results_video here’s Carol Coleman interviewing George Bush]].
Coleman is a journalist for my country’s state media broadcaster, which is kept at arm’s length from the government to ensure neutrality. When Americans saw this interview, there was much astonishment and wondering why their own journalists didn’t ask these kinds of questions. However, Coleman didn’t really do anything unusual. In this country, what she did is simply what we expect of our journalists, and the forcefulness with which she interrogated Bush is actually a little softer than our own elected representatives tend to be treated.
So why can’t America, which has only fully independent news media and has freedom of speech and freedom of the press written right into its constitution, field journalism like this? It really makes me wonder.
Well, anyway, moving right along, we now arrive at the table of contents. There’s a random collage of images, interspersed with article titles such as…
Oh no. No no no no no no. No. No no. No you didn’t. You cannot possibly have.
The very first article in the TOC is entitled “America the Exceptional: Why the US is not like other countries.” I would like to remind readers that this is not a parody.
Odin preserve us, there are actually people who think this way? OK, very strictly speaking, America isn’t like other countries. Neither is Australia, or Azerbaijan, or Angola. Every country has its own unique quirks and unusual things, so every country is different to every other, and America is no exception.
However, when people talk like this, they use different to mean better. OK, America does some things well – the First Amendment, for example, is something that every country should adopt. However, to say that a country where George Bush and Ronald Reagan can become president is better than others… that takes some absolutely massive testicles. Further detail will appear whenever I get onto the actual article.
Debt, abstinence, abortion, … global warming? Oh Zeus, they’re claiming global warming isn’t a thing?
It is. It absolutely fucking is.
Two other articles, one about how to improve education by limiting the role of the government (mmmmm….) and one one how to draw Obama. Why the fuck is a magazine on conservatism including an article on drawing Obama?
Then there’s the columns. First up, “Liberal Media Bias – Glee: Songs, Sex & Sleaze: TV’s biggest hit is innocent fun outside, hardcore social liberalism inside.” I have never seen Glee”, so I have no idea if that’s accurate or not, but Brahma does that come off as paranoid. Also, heehee, , hardcore. I wonder what these people would make of A Game of Thrones.
“Faith & Family: Today’s Culture War: Oscar epics and the battle for America.” Waaah, Hollywood is evil and liberal and stuff! I love how they bring up faith here; way to reinforce the stereotype of religion necessarily meaning arsehole. Also, they stick family in there, because nobody could possibly want to propagandise to rebellious teenagers.
Still, it’s cool to see they refer to it as social liberalism; it would appear that at least someone is aware of how the social and economic axes of the liberal-conservative spectrum are actually separate ideas.
“First Principles: A Nation Founded on Ideas: The principles that drove the American Revolution can and should guide us today.” No. This is not right.
The Game Overthinker did a video on why this attitude is stupid. The founders of America lived in the 18th century. The world was a very different place back then. They were a group of good men who rebelled against British domination and tried to forge the best country they could. However, the American conservative veneration for these men betrays a significant aspect of their psychology.
It’s related to religion. Just as religious conservatives the world over decide that the multi-century old writings of dead men are central to life and morality, American conservatives idolise the founding fathers in a very similar manner to the way that Jesus ben Joseph and Siddharta Guatama are mythologised by Christians and Buddhists respectively. (And yes, I am well aware that American conservatives are overwhelmingly Christian. That’s probably why they happen to view the founding fathers in a similar way to Jesus). The view exists that since the founding fathers started this whole America thing, their views are utterly absolute, inviolate, and correct for all time regardless of social change, even though Thomas Jefferson advocated having every law and constitution automatically expire after 19 years on the grounds that it is unfair to force a generation of people to live under laws they were not permitted to vote upon ([[http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/v1ch2s23.html source]]).
“U.S. History Made easy! The Declaration of Independence and What It Expects of You: A republic, madam, if you can keep it!” Can’t really say anything here. Yet…
“Libertarian View: Government Creates Poverty” The contents page tells me this was written by John Stossel. I came across a copy of his book, Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity in a second-hand book shop a while ago; I read a few pages, and came away with the impression that Stossel is more full of shit than a public lavatory at a laxative festival where all the food is supplied by dodgy Indian fast-food booths and the water has dysintery. This looks like a fun read.
“College spotlight: Patrick Henry College: Patrick Henry College, launching leaders for Christ and for liberty.” Because although freedom of religion is enshrined in the constitution, we don’t want anybody to actually interact with those heathen heretics.
“Book Reports: Great Reads of 2010-11: Ask your teacher or parent if one of these: great titles is okay for your next book report!” Remember kids, you shouldn’t read books unless it’s for an assignment, and you should only read books that have been preapproved by authority figures. Come to think of it, this sentiment perhaps explains why the cover is so clearly geared towards parents.
“Charity spotlight: The Fisher House: Student Supports Troops by Volunteering with Fisher House.” Fisher House seems to be legitimate, so no acerbic comments here. Sorry.
“Making sense: Ronald Reagan: Our First Black President?” No, this doesn’t make sense at all.
“Final Analysis: Understanding Liberals” Because liberals, like conservatives, are one great big homogenous group that all thinks the same.
Then there’s the contributors page, which has a happy black girl on it! See! They’re not racist at all!
I note that three of the contributors are attached to the , a bunch of idiotic cunts who decry as a disaster the idea of increasing taxes on the rich; two are members of the , whose primary aim is to kill all the gays; and one is from the Media Research Council, about which I have already ranted.
Oh, and this is good. All the contributors and two of the syndicated columnists have two or three of their roles and achievements listed. The other one is Michael Reagan, who is identified as “Bestselling author, Son of Ronald Reagan”. So what, he wrote one book on his dad and hasn’t done anything else? Not even gotten a degree? Thor, that’s cold.
The next page is the start of the articles, which will be analysed in part 3.