Monday, August 29, 2005

Mr. Rutten, can you at least admit this?

Dear Mr. Rutten

Thank-you for both agreeing to Hugh Hewitt's conditions for an interview and allowing us to deluge you with email. I hope you don't feel like Louisiana in the aftermath of Katrina.

May I also commend you on your general openness and attitude in the interview. Few who debate Hugh are as good natured.

For background’s sake I am currently a public school history teacher, but had 6 years experience in newspaper and radio production and advertising (in the mid-80’s). My higher educatioincludesds a minor in Communications/Journalism.

I was trained, like you, in the philosophy and craft of objective writing. That belief began to crack in 1975 the day I attended a labor march in Washington D.C. and saw how distorted its coverage was when I saw it reported on the evening newscast.

I find iunbelievablele that you think the LA Times is neither anti-Arnold nor anti-Republican. In the next month I hope to find the time to document the prejudiceI i see and forward them to you.

I'd like to take this opportunity to make one point.

In your interview you agree with Hugh that "reporting should not be condescending to the center-right of the populace." Yet you make several condescending remarks about Hugh which by extension I find condescending to me ..Andnd my politics is to the left of Hugh's.

Let me specifically note 3 instances of condescension.

1) "his Republican politics and unwavering certainty ... are standard issue"

If you want to say Hugh's opinions are standard, OK. But you'rintelligentnt and savvy and know the meaning and implication of "standard issue." You're kidding yourself if you don't think you're implying here that Hugh's opinions are either taken from Republican Party "talking points" or at least are not derived from his own experience and logic. At best it is a little "cheap shot", a denigration, a condescending attitude of someone center-right.

2)"... as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican Party, most of talk radio ...."

I recall 3-4 times in your interview with Hugh where you call him on the sources of his information or conclusions. Of course you KNOW talk radio is far from literally being a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican Party. Whether you argue as a "Column" you may have looser, less literal standards than reportage, OR if you argue this statement is acceptable as metaphoric or hyperbole, YOU MUST ADMIT you did not mean it as complimentary. Rather it IS belittling. It is again condescending to the center-right.

3) "In this, as in so many instances, the taste for talk radio is like a fondness for grand opera — to indulge it, you have to listen to the same song over and over.

Frankly, hearing this I knew I was being insulted but I had to go back to the transcript to see precisely how. Correct me if I am wrong here. This quote means: to have the opinion (indulge), that "doing unbiased journalism" is impossible, you have to hear talk radio repeat the opinion over and over because the truth of its antithesis is so obviously apparent. Sir, You Insult Me! AS I stated at the top of this letter I first came to this conclusion before the birth of talkradio. Later I saw evidence of this conclusion in every newsroom I worked, with virtually every reporter I worked. (BTW: those reporters included, one who went to work for the NY Times, another to Christian Science Monitor Radio, andthirdrid became a CNN foreign reporter.) I grant that you believe what you say. But you can't grant that telling me I can't, won't, or don't think for myself isn't patronizing ... condescending. Why can't YOU entertain the logic that many come to this conclusion out of facts and experience?

from an interview where you state its wrong to be condescending to those who politically oppose you (the center-right) you write an article where you commit that offense at least 3 times. Doesn't that suggest you may not be good at self analysis, let alone the self-restraint to achieve objectivity

If I am wrong please find the time to correct me.

Sincerely and respectfully
Joe Sterbinsky

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Something positive from CBS

Our friend and godblogfather Hugh Hewitt has oft been critical of the former leader of the MSM, CBS News. I hope Hugh and others who watched on the first night of the post-Rather era noticed this positve development. CBS did a piece on private Social Security Accounts that was neither a hatchet job nor a mindless, useless series of he said-she saids. The piece, reported by a Ms. (Michelle?) Regan was about how Chile's 20 year old privitazation system has worked.

The piece was accurately promoed.

It set the situation how the system came about, though offerred no details.

It told that it was a "forced-savings" account requiring all workers to put 10% of their gross into a private retirement account, with an additional 2.3% taken for administrative costs. It did not question this high percentage for overhead. It quoted a few workers who liked it .... for the reason that it gave them "control over their futures."

The counterview presented was that of small self-employed businesses, specifically showing "farmers' market-type" vegetable sellers. It noted they weren't making enough money to put aside the 10+2.3%/year. I wondered if such people even pay into the US social security system as they would have to claim their cash income and pay income taxes on it as well as the worker and employer portion of the tax. The report didn't take note that such small cash business are in exactly the same position in the US today.

They report also implied that the system's success seemed to be dependent on the rather booming Chilean economy. It said people were getting a 10% a year return on investment ... neither saying if that was compounded nor if that were the true average over 5 years?, 10 years? 15 years?.

It also did not take the time to say how the system might have fared if the economy wasn't booming, nor did it say if investment accounts were limited in any way. It did say that the investment ... the accumulated available capital ... was a cause of the economy's boom.

On the whole the report gave me new information NO OTHER MEDIA SOURCE has given me. It was POSITIVE about an Administration proposal (to the point where a liberal could be upset that it was biased'right"). It gave me reasons to consider the viability of private SS accounts and has caused me to seek deeper information.

If this is the new CBS news ... I may begin to watch it again.

P.S. Bob Schieffer is a gentleman.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Not Grant, McClelan, Lee, or Custer, but Pickett, Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse - Vox Blogoli 2.2: if Harry Reid "Goes Gingrich?"


Should we get rid of the filibuster for judicial nominees is Harry Reid does not have the votes.

I want to be Grant. My gut says however this is Lee at Gettysburg commanding Pickett's Charge.

(Would somebody email me directions on how to include links in this. I've love to link readers to the historical illusions I'm about to make. I just know how. Then again if you've got a good OLD edition of the Encyclopedia Britanica pick it up and read about the Battle of Gettysburg especially day 3)

This battle is Gettysburg not Grant barnstorming through an indefensible rural South. The Dems stand opposite us on a ridge. Within their "hook" is the MSM ready to bring reinforcements to the argument whenever necessary. Liberal lobying Orgs. are close ready to bandage the wounded in their field hospitals.

We cannot, like Pickett charge across a mile of open field and be weakened by artillery (This is what's beginning to happen as the talking heads and talk shows discuss this fight in the preliminaries. We are already being stained in the wording of he fight. "Nuclear Option" is not good phrase to stand on. Defendinng Minority Rights IS" Everytime I hear those phrases I can feel the shrapnel hitting brother soldiers on either side of me)

We may have a successful strategy to capture "The Angle" but we must also have the additional arguments to push forward across the field, over the ridge line or else we too will find our "High Water Mark" in gathering of trees.

We are NOT YET READY for this battle. As I've suggested some words and arguments already have at a disadvantage. IF we make a stand here we need reinforcements positioned (a.k.a. proven arguments and positions ready for battles today's political battle grounds ... the water coolers, coffee rooms, lunch tables and of cource blogs.)

First, the Democrats hold the high ground as did the Union south of Gettysburg. The high ground here is the tradition of the filibuster and the protection of "minority rights." a.k.a. "The purpose of democracy is to protect the rights of the minority"

There is higher ground than this idea. Can you easily articulate it? I dare you to in the comments section. I don't think we've found that ground/argument and certainly have not laid its foundation in the square of public opinion.

Second. What is the argument for changing the rules for judicial nominees and not other cases. Is it only that we're frustrated by the Dems tactics? What is the moral reason for the difference? I can think of none, thus we this change of rules will be seen as a power grab not as justice.

Is this filibuster unjust? YES, it is! But this is the argument we must make and make and make to the electorate. If we shove this filibuster changed down their throats we will fast return to being the minority party.

Again a fundamental PR foundation must be laid. The public does not know
1) The constitutional role of advise and consent is written in the consitution is to take place in the VOTES of the whole Senate. The filibuster DENIES the Senate its role in advise and consent as 40% of the senate gets to stop the expression of the whole.
If these judges are so abhorrent to the majority of the country - FIND THE VOTES find enough elected sentors to vote against them on the floor AS THE CONSTITUTION INTENDED.

The catch phrase can/should be the Democrats are guilt of TYRANNY OF THE MINORITY

2) The filibuster is NOT in the constitution.
The constitution does NOT provide for a filibuster
It exists because the constitution allows for each body of Congress to write its own rules and the Senate ALONE has chosen this rule.

This rule was changed before in the '60s
Make the Robert Byrd tie, again and again and again.
Byrd filibustered civil rights legislation in the '60s and is filibustering judges who believe the CIVIL RIGHTS of the UNBORN.

(I believe we can ride the abortion issue to victory here. Most AMericans ARE against abortion. Give them cases of rape and incest. Give them when the mother's life is in danger. Never give them the mental health - its a universal catch-all. Take the partial victory. Get momentum on our side. Reducing the number of abortions by 80% would be a tremendous victory even if it codified the above exceptions for a century)

IF WE ARE TO FIGHT THE BATTLE HERE we must also wait out the enemy some. Lee could have surrounded the Union and weakened them with starvation. We need to weaken the Dems with a series of reasonable attempts to get judges through. Let them filibuster. Let them close the Senate for a while ... Then We Pull Back A Nominee FOR THE GOOD OF THE COUNTRY! Yes, sacrifice a nominee! Watch....

Put up another ... better qualified one. LET THEM FILIBUSTER and close the Senate again. Who's starting to look like they're obstructionist. A public debate over this second nominee will take place. The polls will tell us whether we push this one or not. In any event we need to be humble, and self-sacraficing AGAIN, for the good of the country

Would the Dems dare try this again!. They simply look bad if that's the only way they can govern. Its a reciepe for disaster .... if we lead them there.

IF WE ARE NORMAL, REPUBLICAN, "TYPE A," General George Armstrong Custer Full of Ourselves Jerks WE WILL FIND A WAY TO SHOOT OURSELVES IN THE FOOT or the MSM will do it for us!

Again. This calls Not for GRANT but for Andrew Jackson ... or better still the Sitting Bull & Crazy Horse who defeated Custer at Little Big Horn!

So. It's not McClellan, nor Grant, nor Lee, we want to follow. Rather lets follow Picket's advice to Lee.

The enemy is in our sight. We can lose him if we do nothing. We can lose us if we are not superior in every facet of the battle field.

Define the battlefield. Define each place we need to be superior. Get superior. Then start the battle on our terms, by our design.

When you play chess you give up some wonderful, qualified judges ... ah, pieces in order to protect your king and queen and capture theirs.

How many Supreme Court openings might there be by 2008?

Sunday, January 16, 2005

The Ist Amendment to a New Bill of (Blog)Reader's Rights

I sat down this morning to finish a response to Hugh Hewitt's response of a Howard Kurtz article.

Stopping first at (blog-godfather) Hugh's site, I read his disertation on the ethical failures of the Kos/Armstrong Williams/John Lauck blogs to disclose that each was receiving money from a particular political organization.

They have dirtied us all.

I teach 8th grade U.S. History and tried this week to convey to my students the responsibility and excitement George Washington felt as FIRST President of the U.S. Everything he did set a precedent.

I feel that same excitment about the blogoshere.

So let me propose a Bill of Rights for Blog Readers.
Let me propose Bloggers convene to discuss the ethical standards we will set and agree by which to abide.

Now ... where to have this Ethics Setting Convention ...
a humid Independence Hall in Philadelphia?
the spas of Park City?
I've got it how about right here in my virtual Convention Hall ... a.k.a the Comments Thread of this article.

You're all invited. Or as we say at my church, "All Are Welcome!"

Like the Convention of 1787 we'll start and now and end whenever we're done. I can only hope we create something as practical and long lasting as did those 55 Framers in Philadelphia

To start, what do you think of this:

Monday, December 20, 2004

How Will we Practice the First Amendment with Regards to Religion

I'll leave the macro-political impact of this week's national debate over Christmas songs at school Christmas, ah holiday recitials to the guys at Powerline

jeff Jarvis and Hugh Hewitt open the fray. Of course neither is right. Jeff makes too little of the debate, Hugh too much. We are in a fight ... a cultural war so to speak as to how will we practice the First amendment with regards to religion.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Media "misses" another event

Taken from Gary Bauer's 12/14/04 Campaign for Working Families - End of Day newsletter

To: Friends and Supporters
From: Gary L. Bauer, Chairman Campaign for Working Families
Date: Tuesday, December 14, 2004


Imagine that thousands of African Americans held a march urging moral renewal in our country. Imagine that the marchers insisted that marriage in our country must remain the union of one man and one woman. Imagine that the main sponsor of the event was a black church with 25,000 members and that the marchers were led by Reverend Bernice King, daughter of
the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Imagine that homosexual activists lined the streets of the march calling the African Americans “bigots” simply because they stand for traditional marriage. Sounds like it would be a major story, right?

Well, you don’t have to imagine because it actually happened in Atlanta, Georgia, this past Saturday. And, of course, the “main stream” media found it to be un-noteworthy. Other than some coverage in the Atlanta media, the national press treated it as a non-event.

The media elites would rather give us stories on inner-city crime and despair than show us black Americans who are standing for family and faith. And they certainly don’t want the country to know that the daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr. agrees with me, Dr. James Dobson, and President Bush on the definition of marriage.

Now imagine this, that the march was not an isolated event – that it was a sign that Americans of all races who believe in Judeo-Christian values are beginning to put aside the small things that divide us to embrace the larger things that unite us. Imagine we stood together against the cultural elites and radical secularists who want to turn religious America into a God-free zone. I believe it can and must happen if we are going to preserve this good and decent land as a “shining city upon a hill."

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Hewitt Symposium-Objectivity Lost Newsweek/Meacham as an example agenda hidden as reportage.

Objectivity Lost
Newsweek/Meacham as an example agenda hidden as reportage.

At 50, I’m a dinosaur. Why the public schools of Manville, NJ and King’s College of PA were willing and able to teach me the true meaning of, and method to, objectivity between 1968-1976 is a question for a later date. But, they did, and so I know Newsweek’s “Religion: The Birth of Jesus” by John Meachan is not.

This essay is a response to Hugh Hewitt’s 12/14/04 symposium: “What does Newsweek’s story about Christmas tell us about the MSM.” Hugh also assigns us to, “… write on the subject of what these articles tell us about the MSM's abilities and credibility on matters of faith and history, specifically, is the Newsweek article the religion reporting equivalent of Rathergate? What accounts for the appearance in a major news magazine of such a biased piece?

I have agendas, you have agendas, Newsweek has agendas. A Christmas article with pretty pictures especially on the front cover sells magazines. If any of my media-un-savvy aunts were alive today, one of them would’ve dropped the $4 for the magazine thinking they’d be getting a nice article on the birth of Jesus. Certainly with the publicity of the Christian vote in November believers and non-believers have a heightened sensitivity to Christmas that might result in more rack sales. Adding audience and profit is not a motivation you need explaining.

But what does the piece tell us … let me be kinder than Meacham was to Jesus, … imply about him and Newsweek. I doubt Meacham and Newsweek think the piece is biased. I’m sure they would argue that the article lays out the story as told in the Bible then looks into its contentions critically. They have fooled themselves. They believe that it is fair, that it is two sided even, to present the Bible’s story as written – one side of the see-saw – and their examination of the facts, as the other side. But that’s a false premise. The only true two-sided argument has the Bible story as the fulcrum, arguers of the facts on either side, and the reporter in the third dimension reporting objectively about what’s in front of him. Newsweek has Meacham as the arguer of fact against the proposition, and no one defending the proposition. Shame on them.

What does this imply? A) they are too stupid to know the difference in reporting, B) they have an axe to grind or C) they don’t know the difference when they have an axe to grind that they won’t admit (my choice). Mr. Meacham’s assertions go unquestioned. All become reported as truth. His personal doubts in the Bible story become the article's assumptions. His assumptions about the early Christians’ motivations … they have problems to solve in the story so they made this part up … are so weaved into the “reportage” they look like fact.

(I have to digress here from the essay to comment. Isn’t this the ultimate manifestation of Left Logic? They project the worst assumptions on their opposition and then clam them as truth. I have no agenda, but the Bible writers had to justify their beliefs so let me tell you what someone with that agenda must have done … that police checkpoint 3 miles from the polling place in ____, Co FL must have been there to intimidate black voters. I hope I didn’t lose you on that logical jump)

And look at the headings … at least the ones on the Internet, I didn’t buy the magazine. They are far from objective. Rather they are progressively negative; “The Jesus Seminar,” “Little to Work With,” “An Outlandish Message,” “Elegant But Misinterpreted?” “Dubious on Almost Every Score,” “A Religion of Perplexing Contradictions,” My belief is that America does not get her news from, TV, radio, or newspaper, news. If I had the time and money to waste on a study I belief I’d find that America gets her news from TV and radio news promos and newspaper headlines. That’s where the MSM biases get most deeply transferred, which is why this article and the LA Times is so dangerous.

I’ve rambled a bit and won’t have time to edit this tightly to be an “A” symposium paper but I want to get it in today. (I have students’ papers to correct.).
I can’t prove this but Meacham and Newsweek look like secularists in fear. They see the religious in this country rising up to take back some of what’s been lost since 1963. That threatens them. They think the religious are fools to not see Darwin as God. They want to debunk these fools’ ideas. They trust people will see the folly of our ways if only we can read their truth. They go out to write an “objective” article that they don’t realize has no chance of being objective because of their own biases … but it can’t be biased, because they’re not biased, they’re enlightened. They write so immersed in their own point of view, they don’t know they’re in their own weeds. They know nothing about God and his ways and express every doubt and immature question thinking it’s the profound evidence to prove their non-belief as believers shake their heads recognizing places they have been and arguments God has made to them because they were willing to be “fools for Christ.”

Is this an equivalent of “Rathergate.”? Did Newsweek have an agenda like 60 Minutes? Yes. Did it have one as strong and directed as 60 Minutes’s? I don’t think so. Newsweek’s not trying to turn the next immediate election, they’re not on the public airwaves though I believe they are trying to change hearts and minds to eventually change elections. But remember: No documents were forged.

What does this say about the MSM? It says so long as their editors are secular, they never will be fair to God nor the Godly. Can they ever get it right? Unlikely, especially in a time when the Godly are interested in regaining lost ground. The secular are unable to because they don’t have what believers have before they have faith. I should add though that the believers are equally bad at doing the same. The best chance either side will have it to “set up the see-saw” and perhaps that’s the best upon which believers and non-believers can agree. That no argument over anything is valid unless designed as a see-saw with the issue in the middle, the advocates on either side and the disinterested on the z axis.

A Daily Prayer for our Nation

So pray with me.
God, named in our Declaration of Independence,
who entitled us to a separate and equal station among nations, and
who endows to men and women as our Creator,
with certainty the unalienable rights, of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,
on whom we rely for the Blessings of Libery, which we sought and still seek
when we wrote our Constitution,
and under whom Lincoln, at Gettysburg, asked for a new birth of freedom,
we ask now for your continued daily protection for our nation.

Please cover our lands from border to border with your hands
that none may enter who have designs to injure us.
that none may penetrate your covering with missles.
Please teach us the sound of your voice, and
a knowledge of the presence of your angels
that all of us, officially and unofficially
serving the nation in homeland or military defense
would know danger is near, and
when enemies are revealing themselves.

Father, make our President and his civil servants,
our legislators and their staffs
our judges and their clerks
our lobbiests, our media and
sensitive to Your words, Your counsel, Your Will, Your Kingdom
that all that we do would encourage peace, freedom, and safety.

And grant us Your Wisdom.

Father, we ask too for your hand in international affairs
in ways only you can do and foresee,
to touch every situation and move it in ways
to bring this war to a just and peaceful end.

As a Christian I ask for this in the name of your Son, Jesus,

But for those of other faiths I leave that open.