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Thursday, December 15, 2005

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Richard B. Simon

I am not sure how Froomkin sending someone in a live chat to the Project for a New American Century's website is "liberal."

This is, in fact, the think tank whose members include most of the folks who now run our nation's foreign policy -- and it is clear that what you find at http://www.newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf


It does, indeed, call for the U.S. to engage in "full spectrum dominance" over the globe -- including in space -- and to rule through "command-and-control."

There is no other word for that than "imperialism." That's not to judge the value of imperialism, but to call a spade a spade.

Note that the signatories to this document include the architects of the War in Iraq -- including Paul Wolfowitz, who is now the head of the World Bank, as well as our current acting UN Ambassador, John Bolton.

That's not to mention I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

If calling a spade a spade is liberal, then shoot. We should all be more liberal.

My "liberal" take on the Froomkin affair:

http://scorpionbowl.blogspot.com/2005/12/internet-as-epistemology.html


Christopher Fotos

Hi Richard. You can look at any one item and construct an argument. I don't think that can plausibly be done if you look at everything. If you read Froomkin on a regular basis, it comes through crystal clear (well--to me)

RIchard B. Simon

Howdy, Christopher,

Thanks for engaging.

It's probably so that Froomkin, if anything, has a left- rather than a right-bias. After all, bias is the sum of all our experience -- what we bring to the table before we sit down to discuss the issues.

But the way "liberal bias" is bandied about these days, it is as if it is some sort of pox that pre-empts critical thinking.

It just is not so. I find Froomkin to be pretty fair and highly accurate. Perhaps that's my own bias in action.

I teach critical thinking and have spent a lot of time studying how messages are delivered. Much of what Mr. Bush does -- and especially during last year's election -- is straight out of the textbook I use on propaganda. Disturbingly so, in fact.

My students, using our textbook, predicted everything about Bush's stage set at his New Orleans address based on the emotional response he would want to create in his audience in order to regain his credibility and improve his approval ratings, which were tanking after Katrina. They predicted the church behind him, they predicted the statue (of Jackson -- they said "a historical monument", and they predicted that Bush would speak from a historical site. That's powerful stuff.

It's also true that Bush has good speechwriters -- and I have to tell you, I don't disagree with what we are doing in Iraq. I am very hopeful about what's going on over there today. I hope that this experiment in Iraq works -- draining the swamp over there is a good idea.

But the way team Bush made the case for this war was dishonest. You don't have to have a "liberal bias" to know that anymore.

It is unfortunate that the country has become so divided that one cannot think critically about the President without being labeled an enemy of the President.

It was Bush who did this to the country. Rather than maintaining the unity we had after 9/11, he used the War as a tool in the 2002 elections to gain control of Congress.

They beat the Democrats over the head with the war -- never considering that Democrats in Congress represent more Americans than Republicans do.

They divided the country before going to war -- and created this climate. That virtually guaranteed a Vietnam type experience. That's why the opposition to the War is so strong, to the point of endangering the mission.

The Administration's actions show that it's more important to send Republicans to Congress than to maintain unity in Wartime -- and then the President speaks about the need to maintain unity in wartime. That is fundamentally dishonest.

And it's the kind of dishonesty that Froomkin brings to light.

Froomkin is, indeed, going after Bush. That is the job of a free press. To report on news, and also to report when things look fishy.

And there are some pretty fishy things about the Bush Administration. Much of it is in its handling of the press -- and these are issues that, as raised by this flap over Froomkin, the White House Press Corps do not feel free to raise ... because the Administration will limit their access. It is clear that the Administration has complained about Froomkin -- and perhaps threatened to limit the Post's access.

This is how it works in totalitarian regimes -- not in America. But that is what is going on. Clearly.

In any event, Froomkin's column is part media criticism and part analysis. He is covering the coverage, which is pretty important -- and looking for patterns in the coverage.

What it comes down to, I suppose, is that the President's supporters seems to believe that any information that is critical of the President is unfair, wrong, treasonous, or that dirty word, "liberal." It could not possibly be correct or accurate. They are convinced that there is no such thing as truth -- only bias.

That is unfortunate.

And it is not good for our country.


Thanks for listening.

Christopher Fotos

My students, using our textbook, predicted everything about Bush's stage set at his New Orleans address based on the emotional response he would want to create in his audience in order to regain his credibility and improve his approval ratings, which were tanking after Katrina. They predicted the church behind him, they predicted the statue (of Jackson -- they said "a historical monument", and they predicted that Bush would speak from a historical site. That's powerful stuff.

No offense, but so what? The symbols stand for what he believes in. Are political leaders obligated to undercut their own message? There's a media for that!

And no, coming from a liberal perspective absolutely is not an impediment to critical thinking. I just think it's funny when people say Froomkin doesn't frame his attacks mainly from the left.

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