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 Post Posted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:13 pm 
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Jorodryn wrote:
Ok, I have to admit, my NPR comment was meant to get under people's skins. I do think they have a liberal bias though.
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Newsflash. Bias does not equal propaganda. I don't imagine there is a single news source in the world free of bias. NPR has a slight liberal bias, but as long as you are aware of this it isn't a problem. The Economist has a slight right wing bias, and ditto. NPR has a strong reality bias too. Fox has a bias against reality (with a few exceptions like Shep Smith), unless you actually believe that the deficit sprung into being like Athena from the skull of Zeus the day Obama took office and that he was brought to power by millions of ACORN employees voting as Skeletor and Huey Duey and Luey. And that George "Torture people and hold them without charges" Bush was a defender of personal liberty and Dick "Deficits don't matter" Cheney cared deeply about deficits and fiscal responsibility.


For your amusement. Jon Stewart on the Godwinning of political discourse.

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 Post Posted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:29 pm 
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Jorodryn wrote:
Ok, I have to admit, my NPR comment was meant to get under people's skins. I do think they have a liberal bias though.

No more of one than reality has.

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 Post Posted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:24 am 
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angrysunbird wrote:
Jorodryn wrote:
Ok, I have to admit, my NPR comment was meant to get under people's skins. I do think they have a liberal bias though.
.
Newsflash. Bias does not equal propaganda. I don't imagine there is a single news source in the world free of bias. NPR has a slight liberal bias, but as long as you are aware of this it isn't a problem. The Economist has a slight right wing bias, and ditto. NPR has a strong reality bias too. Fox has a bias against reality (with a few exceptions like Shep Smith), unless you actually believe that the deficit sprung into being like Athena from the skull of Zeus the day Obama took office and that he was brought to power by millions of ACORN employees voting as Skeletor and Huey Duey and Luey. And that George "Torture people and hold them without charges" Bush was a defender of personal liberty and Dick "Deficits don't matter" Cheney cared deeply about deficits and fiscal responsibility.


For your amusement. Jon Stewart on the Godwinning of political discourse.


I don't think you have seen me argue much in favor of George "Patriot Act is good for you" Bush. And I also know the deficit started long before I was even conceived. That doesn't mean that the last couple of presidents haven't done more to increase it though. And both of them by quite a bit.

As far as the torture thing goes... I'm not thrilled with it, but also not too upset by it. It is pretty light compared to some other brands of torture. My main concern in that realm is why bring the people to Gitmo in the first place? Also why propose trying, what essentially amount to POW's, in civilian court? You hold them until the war is over and then turn them loose on their own public when it is. Then again we should have never went into Iraq in the first place, but I think we have beaten that equine cadaver enough already. If we have prisoners from Afghanistan (yet another theater of war we should not be in) they should have remained there as well. Let the respective puppet governments of those countries deal with the POW's. If it's war treat it as war, if it isn't, then get the **** out and stop wasting money, time, and lives on this BS.

To Grillick: I think that reality has more of a Libertarian bias than a Liberal bias. Subtle difference I know... but then I am already programmed to think that liberal = progressive even though they shouldn't be.

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 Post Posted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:23 am 
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Jorodryn wrote:
As far as the torture thing goes... I'm not thrilled with it, but also not too upset by it. It is pretty light compared to some other brands of torture.
Torture is torture is torture. Just because the brand of torture practised by the US doesn't look the same as as what you'd see in some sick Eli Roth film doesn't mean it isn't exactly the same thing; coercion by inflicting sufficient pain. If you've inflicted sufficient pain to make someone say something they wouldn't anyway, then it doesn't matter whether you used subtle techniques or a bat with nails driven into it. You've inflicted pain.

There are really good reasons why we don't do this. I shouldn't have to point them out to you, seeing as how you were brought up in a civilised country that respects the rule of law and has strict guidelines about "cruel and unusual punishment" and like most advanced western democracies has considered the use of torture an anathema for decades. We executed Japanese prisoner of war camp people for doing to our prisoners exactly the same things as what Bush got the CIA to do. We condemned Pol Pot and other tinpot dictators of all political stripes for it. It's barbarianism, pure and simple.

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 Post Posted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:36 am 
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NPR is consistently biased. If it were really a government organ, its political views would do a 180 every time Congress & the White House changed hands.

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 Post Posted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:08 am 
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Strictly speaking, Kea, that's not true. The Government and the Bureaucracy do not necessarily have the same agendas at all. In fact, you could probably make a good case that NPR's biases lean towards supporting an expanded "role of government" - read, make the Bureaucracy larger, with more resources and more power - regardless of the particular issue.

NPR might very well be a propaganda machine. I just happen to think that if it is one, it's producing self-serving propaganda rather than partisan political propaganda.

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 Post Posted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:11 am 
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Kea wrote:
You know what? It's strange. Why should there be any reason to believe that a publicly owned media channel will be less biased and more amenable to free speech than a privately-owned one? After all, there are many, many places in the world where the publicly-owned media functions as nothing more than a mouthpiece for government propaganda. If your democracy is healthy enough that NPR and PBS can be seen as reasonably trustworthy and free of political strong-arming, you're in pretty good shape.


I have to agree with Kea here. The idea of "publicly" owned media channels sounds peachy til you think further that "public" = "government" = "whoever is in power". And governments throughout history have used 'public' mouthpieces to advance their agendas, from mildly, to all out propaganda--and while it may not sound like a bad idea to have public media espousing "GOOD" ideas when your guys are in power, do you really want the other guys to do the same thing when they are in power? The more players there are in media the better from a free speech perspective, and the only way to have that is to have private media, preferably as many as possible.

If a government you agree with has the right to silence/limit speech you disagree with, then remember that the opposite is true as well.

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 Post Posted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:53 pm 
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dotwarner wrote:

I have to agree with Kea here. The idea of "publicly" owned media channels sounds peachy til you think further that "public" = "government" = "whoever is in power". And governments throughout history have used 'public' mouthpieces to advance their agendas, from mildly, to all out propaganda--and while it may not sound like a bad idea to have public media espousing "GOOD" ideas when your guys are in power, do you really want the other guys to do the same thing when they are in power? The more players there are in media the better from a free speech perspective, and the only way to have that is to have private media, preferably as many as possible.

If a government you agree with has the right to silence/limit speech you disagree with, then remember that the opposite is true as well.

It doesn't automatically follow that the public broadcaster will be a mouthpiece though. I mean, I grew up with the BBC, and (America conservative views on the network notwithstanding) the BBC seemed to annoy both Labour and the Tories when they were in power. It certainly is the best example of what public broadcasting can provide.

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 Post Posted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:01 pm 
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The question, really, is not ownership of media, but more correctly it's independence. The BBC in Britain, and the ABC in Australia, are both publicly owned broadcast networks, with guaranteed funding and a govenment-mandated independence. Whereas, say, the State-owned media outlets of China have no independence - they are subservient to the Communist party's desires.

One subject I'm surprised hasn't come up yet in this whole debate is the scarcity argument. It's well and good to suggest that mass media outlets, such as televisions stations and newspapers, should be a publicly accessible good, so that people who wish for a voice should be able to have one in the public eye. But there are only so many channels, and so many hours in the day*. Putting aside the profit motive of all privately-owned mass media, Media coverage is a scarce good, and at some point someone, somewhere, will have to make the decision as to what to exclude from their media outlet. Does a media owner not have the right to exclusion on their own media?

* As an aside, this is the case only for the mass medias, it doesn't relate to the Internet as a whole. The only scarcity on the Internet, really, is audience and effort, so these arguments don't relate to the internet at all.

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 Post Posted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:13 am 
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OldCrow, what organization doesn't try to justify its own existence?* Even the public library isn't going to put up posters saying "Reading is a waste of time", or "Want a book? Go buy your own, moocher!". The relevant question is whether NPR provides a valuable enough public service to be worth spending the money on it (although my understanding is that not very much of its funding comes from government anymore).

If a huge chunk of the public feels they gain nothing valuable from NPR due to its political biases, or even its poor taste in music, then by all means change or can it.

* It may be in large part, a question of self-selection. If you choose to pursue a career in public radio, you're probably not going to be an anti-government type.

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 Post Posted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:02 am 
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In regards to Freakboy's original question, I think it's worth talking for a moment about freedom of speech and the manner in which it is flippantly invoked.

It irritates me when Palin or Dr. Laura get on the TV and talk about how they've lost the right to freedom of speech.
I have the right to say whatever I want.
"Orin Hatch is a penis wrinkle."
I have the right to say that.
No one is going to bust down my door and drag me off to a secret prison for talking trash on a public (and not so public) figure.
Now... If I offend someone in saying that, that's a consequence of my action and the constitutional freedom of speech does not pardon me from my actions.

It seems that people think their constitutional right to freedom of speech means that they should be allowed to say whatever they want without having to take responsibility for what they're saying and that's simply not true.

Now, Keith Olbermann is losing his show because he has (or will) voice(d) opinions that run counter to comcast's corporate interest.

Is it an infraction to Keith Olbermann's freedom of Speech?
Not really.
He's not in prison and it's not like Comcast took a mob hit out on him.
I think it's a shame that we're loosing a large anti-corporate voice, but given what television is, that was something of an inevitability.
Optimistically, I hope Keith gets into viral media. Youtube is free and they have featured media now... so it's not like he'd have to spearhead his own media.

The sad truth is that Corporations have their claws so deep in America that we will likely never be free of them and the best we as a nation will ever be is self interested while that remains true.

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 Post Posted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:39 am 
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Qcks@hotmail.com wrote:
The sad truth is that Corporations have their claws so deep in America that we will likely never be free of them and the best we as a nation will ever be is self interested while that remains true.
That's what scares me so much.

In the SOTU, the President uttered a line I shall always remember for how fiercely and voraciously I disagreed with it. "I know there isn’t a person here who would trade places with any other nation on the earth." I would trade places with so many other Western nations I can't even really count them. If it was easy to emigrate, I'd be gone already.

Old Crow, would you be willing to trade your Canadian citizenship for my American citizenship? I'm betting not.

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 Post Posted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 12:38 pm 
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I think the question of whether freedom of speech legally and practically exists is a bit different from the question of whether a country's media is capable of producing the sort of diverse and productive discourse necessary for maintaining a democracy.

I don't worry particularly if one media outlet has a blatant bias. That's pretty much the norm - it's just the US that strangely insists that every outlet should be neutral. The UK has the Daily Mail, and the Guardian, and the London Times, and the Daily Telegraph, all with different political positions. I'm no fan of Fox News, but I don't worry that it's Destroying Democracy.

However, it's a problem if:
a) all your major media outlets owned by a handful of corporations
b) All those major corporations' business interests lie in not pissing off the same group of people.

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 Post Posted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:25 pm 
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FreakyBoy wrote:
Strictly speaking, Murr? The airwaves over which our broadcast stations transmit is public space, not private. They rent the right to use the airwaves from us, but they don't own it.


True, but the equipment they're broadcasting it over and the employees broadcasting it are owned/employed by private companies.

If the government was doing the censoring post-broadcast, then it becomes a freedom of speech violation.

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 Post Posted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 11:01 am 
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FreakyBoy wrote:
Old Crow, would you be willing to trade your Canadian citizenship for my American citizenship? I'm betting not.

Well, since I'm patriotic enough to have spent the last 15 years holding a Queen's Commission in the Canadian Armed Forces...no. I wouldn't want to trade citizenships. But that doesn't change that fact that I can see where my country, for all that I love it, has weaknesses that could be addressed. And yes, I think our conception of Free Speech and the protection it requires is one of those weaknesses.

If you're really so despondent over the state of your country, then you have my sympathies. But I'd be curious to know which other countries you'd rather be in and why (well, except Canada...that's a given, heh, heh). Even accepting the fact that the US has done a poor job of recognizing that some socialized services may be beneficial, I see a number of other western nations falling apart faster than the US in worse ways - their conceptions of the Rule of Law are on a downward slide.

And, to be quite blunt, I would not ever trade Free Speech for Universal Health Care or guaranteed housing. Not ever.

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