From a January 21 post by Mark Krikorian on National Review Online's blog The Corner:
Derb and Jonah's discussion on why Haiti is a basket case misses the point, I think. The question is not "Why isn't Haiti like Denmark?" It's "Why isn't Haiti like Jamaica or Barbados?" Those places certainly have their problems, but they're not dystopian like Haiti. (Haiti doesn't just have the lowest per capita GDP, based on purchasing-power parity, in the Western Hemisphere; the next-lowest, Nicaragua, is at twice Haiti's level.) It's obviously not race -- Caribbean blacks are all from the same basic background. It's not because of their different colonial masters; while Britain's influence in the world has certainly been more salutary than that of France, Guadeloupe and Martinique are also French former sugar colonies in the Caribbean, and they're infinitely better off.
My guess is that Haiti's so screwed up because it wasn't colonized long enough. The ancestors of today's Haitians, like elsewhere in the Caribbean, experienced the dislocation of de-tribalization, which disrupted the natural ties of family and clan and ethnicity. They also suffered the brutality of sugar-plantation slavery, which was so deadly that the majority of slaves at the time of independence were African-born, because their predecessors hadn't lived long enough to reproduce.
But, unlike Jamaicans and Bajans and Guadeloupeans, et al., after experiencing the worst of tropical colonial slavery, the Haitians didn't stick around long enough to benefit from it. (Haiti became independent in 1804.). And by benefit I mean develop a local culture significantly shaped by the more-advanced civilization of the colonizers. Sure, their creole language is influenced by French, but they never became black Frenchmen, like the Martiniquais, or "Afro-Saxons," like the Barbadians. Where a similar creolization took place in Africa, you saw a similar thing -- the Cape Coloureds, who are basically black Afrikaaners, and even the Swahili peoples of the east African coast, who are Arabized blacks. A major indicator of how superficial is the overlay of French culture in Haiti is the strength of paganism, in the form of voodoo -- the French just weren't around long enough to suppress it, to the detriment of Haitians.
Eighty advertisers have reportedly dropped their ads from Glenn Beck's Fox News program since he called President Obama a "racist" who has a "deep-seated hatred of white people." Here are his January 21 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
With today's announcement that Air America is shutting down, I'm sure it'll only be a matter of minutes before conservatives start gleefully insisting that this demonstrates that there is no market for liberal news outlets.
Two quick points to keep in mind:
1) You can either claim that ABC/CBS/CNN/MSNBC/NBC/NPR/NYT/WAPO/ETC are "liberal media," or that there is no market for liberal media -- but not both. Please pick one.* Thanks!
2) The Washington Times has been losing money for two decades. In the early days of Fox News, Rupert Murdoch paid cable companies $11 per subscriber to carry FNC (and Rudy Giuliani pressured Time Warner to carry the outlet in New York City.) Point being: conservative media outlets have succeeded not only because of market forces, as conservatives would have you believe, but because right-wing billionaires like Murdoch and Rev. Moon have been willing to subsidize them.
* Or neither. That works, too.
From an Anti-Defamation League (ADL) press release:
ADL: Rush Limbaugh Reaches New Low With 'Borderline Anti-Semitic' Remarks About Jews
New York, NY, January 21, 2010 ... The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said Rush Limbaugh reached a new low with "borderline anti-Semitic comments" on his radio show, in which he raised the possibility that liberal Jews were having "buyer's remorse" with President Obama in light of the outcome of the Senate election in Massachusetts.
Limbaugh told his listeners: "To some people, banker is a code word for Jewish; and guess who Obama is assaulting? He's assaulting bankers. He's assaulting money people. And a lot of those people on Wall Street are Jewish. So I wonder if there's - if there's starting to be some buyer's remorse there."
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
Rush Limbaugh reached a new low with his borderline anti-Semitic comments about Jews as bankers, their supposed influence on Wall Street, and how they vote.
Limbaugh's references to Jews and money in a discussion of Massachusetts politics were offensive and inappropriate. While the age-old stereotype about Jews and money has a long and sordid history, it also remains one of the main pillars of anti-Semitism and is widely accepted by many Americans. His notion that Jews vote based on their religion, rather than on their interests as Americans, plays into the hands of anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists.
When he comes to understand why his words were so offensive and unacceptable, Limbaugh should apologize.
HotAir.com is linking to video of a floor speech by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) under the headline "Pence: Why is deficit commission barred from recommending discretionary cuts?" and reporting that a bipartisan commission to study deficit reduction would "be limited to one option" -- presumably tax increases.
In his floor speech, Pence stated that "the devil is always in the details in Washington, D.C.," adding, "the president's proposal as I've heard about it is prohibited from recommending cuts in any discretionary spending."
HotAir gave no further indication as to the source of the claim.
But The New York Times tells a different story:
The agreement is tentative, pending consultations between Congressional leaders and some House and Senate lawmakers. Some details remained in flux.
But according to people familiar with the deal, in principle it commits Democrats to work with Republicans to do what they have not been able to do for a decade through the regular process: compromise on spending cuts and tax increases to produce reductions in annual deficits that, under George W. Bush and now Mr. Obama, have reached the highest levels since World War II.
In a poll released today, Fox News asked registered voters who they would vote for in the next presidential election: President Obama or Republicans Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney. Both Gingrich and Palin are under contract with the channel as "political analysts"/"contributors."
As Media Matters' Karl Frisch, Crooks and Liars' John Amato and others have noted, it's looking increasingly like the path to the 2012 GOP nomination is through Fox News. After all, the conservative channel provides a low-accountability forum for aspiring candidates to stay in the spotlight and blatantly promote their political interests - all while pulling a paycheck.
While not on Fox's payroll, Romney is still a frequent presence on the channel. Since the beginning of the year, Romney has appeared on Hannity, Fox & Friends (twice), On the Record and Fox Business Network's Cavuto.
From the January 21 edition of Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Indecision 2010 - The Re-Changening|
The weekly magazine's longtime media writer, Ken Auletta, has a lengthy piece in this week's issue about how the Obama administration is dealing with, or trying to deal with, the shifting Beltway media landscape, one that now features gutted newsrooms and, thanks to the Web, a nearly invisible attention span. (Ironically, The New Yorker's article about how the Internet is changing White House coverage is not available online. But Politico has the highlights, here. )
Auletta rounds up lots of the usual D.C. media suspects and gets their take on whether Obama is overexposed and if coverage of his campaign in 2008 was too fawning. Auletta also deals with the topic of Fox News and the White House's pushback from last year. But there, Auletta seems to fall down a bit.
Writes Auletta [emphasis added]:
Fox News is thriving. Glenn Beck's year-old show draws 2.3 million daily viewers, twice its predecessor's audience. The network's broadcasts now attract more viewers each evening than CNN, MSNBC, and CNBC combined. Why? Michael Clemente, Fox's senior vice-president for news and editorial programming, insists that Fox News is asking the "hard questions" that "too few people are asking."
Ugh. I mean, c'mon. Fox News' ratings are up because it's asking "hard questions" about Obama? I guess if by "hard questions" you mean calling him a racist and leading an almost pathologically hateful campaign against the president of the United States, then that quote is accurate.
Instead, The New Yorker won't say boo about Fox News' trademarked hate. And worse, the New Yorker article won't even quote somebody saying boo about that. It's the Topic That Cannot Be Discussed.
Why? Because there continues to be a collective reluctance within the "serious" press to discuss honestly what Fox News does on the air these days. Fox News is obviously not ashamed or embarrassed by it, so why do journalists tiptoe around the facts? Are journalists afraid of being accused of being liberal or partisan? But how is it "partisan" to simply point out that Fox News relentlessly promoted the candidacy of Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts and that Fox News allowed Brown to use the cable channel as a national fundraising platform?
Those facts are not even in dispute. Fox News did it on national television. And yet so many press watchers continue to look away and pretend there's nothing unusual about Fox News' proudly partisan programming these days. To pretend that one of the country's three 24/7 news channels has not dedicated itself to attacking the president and the Democratic Congress 24/7.
By pretending that Fox News isn't doing what Fox News is doing, we're left with a gaping disconnect. For instance, in his New Yorker account, Auletta details the Sarah Palin "death panel" smear from last summer and points to it as an example of how the Obama White House was not able to control the news agenda.
As assertions about death panels and socialized medicine reached critical mass on conservative radio, cable shows, and the Web, the White House was hampered by political considerations. Officials didn't want to look as if they were in a personal spat with a potential foe in the 2012 elections, [Anita] Dunn says.
But the bogus "death panel" smear came to life only because Fox News (and yes, its so-called news team, not just the opinion hosts) practically co-sponsored the smear and hyped it relentlessly, and continued to do so well after it was publicly debunked. Meaning, Fox News is part of the story because Fox News has become a purely political player.
So, why, in an article about the Obama White House and the shifting media landscape, did The New Yorker leave that part out? Why didn't The New Yorker set aside just one or two paragraphs to explain what Murdoch's radical crew is actually doing?
Hint: It ain't news.
Since the Massachusetts special election, the conservative media have repeatedly claimed that voters' decision to elect Republican Scott Brown to the Senate is a reflection of how the nation feels about Democrats' health care reform legislation. They said it was a "referendum" on health care, and that voters had rejected it.
For example, on Fox & Friends, Steve Doocy said the election "may be a big indicator on how people across the country really feel about health care reform in the United States." We argued at the time that "Massachusetts is not representative of the nation as a whole since it already has a health care program that insures nearly all residents -- a unique situation that allowed Brown to argue that Massachusetts would not benefit from health care reform."
Today, Alec MacGillis of The Washington Post reaffirms that view. In an article titled, "Brown's victory in Mass. senate race hardly a repudiation of health reform," MacGillis wrote that Massachusetts voters are biased against national health care reform because they already have universal health care coverage, and if the reform were to pass, they would effectively be subsidizing the states that don't. From the article:
While many are describing the election to fill the late Edward M. Kennedy's Senate seat as a referendum on national health-care reform, the Republican candidate rode to victory on a message more nuanced than flat-out resistance to universal health coverage: Massachusetts residents, he said, already had insurance and should not have to pay for it elsewhere.
Scott Brown, the Republican state senator who won a stunning upset in Tuesday's election, voted for the state's health-care legislation, which was signed by then-Gov. Mitt Romney (R) and has covered all but 3 percent of Massachusetts residents. That legislation became the basic model for national health-care legislation. Brown has not disavowed his support for the state's law, which retains majority backing in Massachusetts.
Instead, he argued on the campaign trail that Massachusetts had taken care of its own uninsured, and it would not be in the state's interest to contribute to an effort to cover the uninsured nationwide.
Brown's message underscores a little-noticed political dynamic in a country where rates of the uninsured vary widely, from Massachusetts to Texas, where 25 percent are uninsured. Seeking national universal coverage means sending money from states that have tried hard to expand coverage, mostly in the Northeast and Midwest, to states that have not, mostly in the South and West.
Supporters of the national legislation say this transfer is an unfortunate but unavoidable aspect of expanding coverage. But, they argue, the nation is misinterpreting expressions of self-interest in Massachusetts as grand opposition to universal health insurance.
"Massachusetts's reforms continue to be popular in Massachusetts -- sufficiently popular that Brown did not repudiate them," said Paul Starr, a Princeton public affairs professor. "Here is a state that has enacted a similar reform and it is popular. That should encourage people that if it's done at the national level, that it would work as policy, and that it would be popular."