US 'Shock jocks' – balance shifting?

An interesting piece in yesterday’s Guardian about Al Franken and how Air America is beginning to make some inroads in to what to date has traditionally been a predominantly right week media haven. Possible future analogy for bloggers?

The truth about lies

Leftwing radio talk show host Al Franken has won a ‘breakthrough’ award for his wisecracking war against the claims of the American right. James Silver reports

Monday June 27, 2005
The Guardian

His three-hour radio show over for another day, Al Franken – to many liberals, one of the Last Great Hopes of the American Left, and “an obnoxious prick” to his rightwing detractors – steps out into the blistering New York City heat and wilts. A sore back explains his painful-looking waddle to the coffee shop. The Al Franken Show, on fledging liberal talk radio network Air America, has just moved studios from the skyscrapers and buttoned-down shirt chic of 6th Avenue to the rather more down-at-heel bagel-shop obscurity between 10th and 11th Avenues on the far west side of Manhattan. He appears to be still getting used to it.

Is Franken, 54, over-doing it? His goofy features seem to adorn every third taxi in the city. There are the bestselling books (his most recent hit was Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right), the TV appearances, the political street-fighting, the corporate event pay-days, entertaining US troops abroad, and – perhaps, above all – his seemingly solo jihad against what he tactfully calls “the greedy, evil, warmongering bigots and scumbags of the American Right”. Oh, and next year he will be moving his radio show to his home state of Minnesota as he gears up for a possible run for the US senate in 2008.

Tonight the former Saturday Night Live star steps on to the stage at the city’s China Club to become the first recipient of the prestigious New York International Radio Festival’s World Achievement Award for Breakthrough Radio, which is “only periodically given to one radio on-air talent who has made a great political or cultural impact in his country and/or throughout the world”.

Award show hyperbole aside, there is no doubt that Franken and Air America – which has been going for 18 months and is syndicated in 65 cities around the US, attracting 2.7 million listeners – have carved out a niche in enemy territory. Political talk radio has traditionally been the home of rightwing shock jocks.

Now a Jewish, wise-cracking, unabashed Manhattan-dwelling liberal, in a country where that is often a dirty word, has parked his camper-van in middle-America’s back yard.

“Rightwing radio still does dominate,” concedes Franken, “but before Air America it was a monolith.” The Right, he patiently explains, cornered the market in talk radio in the late 1980s when the Fairness Doctrine, which ensured that radio stations had to be balanced, was revoked. His nemesis, top-rated talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who claims up to 20 million listeners, launched his station and spawned a generation of copy-cats. Rightwing talk flourished, while there was no real equivalent on the Left.

Franken’s routine uses wry humour to debunk inaccurate claims made by rightwing commentators and politicians. Given his heavy workload, he secured the services of 14 students – a “ragtag bunch of Harvard misfits” whom he named Team Franken – to do the fact-checking and research required to write Lies.

“What we do is set up a lie and then debunk it,” he explains. “I think we are developing a kind of a cottage industry. I’m very entertained by the debunking process and also at the same time I’m outraged by the lies. I really do see the serious corrupting effect Fox, talk radio and many commentators on the right have on America. A lot of people in the mainstream media think it’s beneath them to debunk it. And it’s not. These people need to be subjected to scorn and ridicule. Someone has got to be willing to get down in the weeds and fight them.”

He cites a recent example from his show. “[Fox news anchor] Bill O’Reilly took [leading Democrat senator] Joe Biden’s appearance on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos and deliberately misrepresented what Biden said. Biden was calling for an independent commission to look at Guantanamo and other US detention camps. When pressed by Stephanopoulos, Biden said that although he personally thought the US should close Guantanamo, he said that he had introduced legislation to get a bipartisan commission to make the recommendations.

“Two days later O’Reilly cuts it together to make it sound like Biden had simply said ‘Close Guantanamo’, leaving out any mention of legislation and independent commissions. Then O’Reilly himself said ‘I believe there should be an independent commission.’ He not only misrepresented what Biden actually said, he then claimed for himself the senator’s idea. I mentioned this to Howard Kurtz, who writes about the media for the Washington Post. He replied, ‘Well, people expect that of Fox’. No one in the mainstream press holds them to any standards at all.”

Franken is disparaging of his rightwing media foes. Rush Limbaugh is “fat” and “a hypocrite”, Ann Coulter is “a nutcase”, and Bill O’Reilly “a splotchy bully and liar”. He says: “All three have very different pathologies which is really interesting.”

He has written chapters or even entire books about them, such as Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot (1996). Franken thinks Limbaugh is “anything but an idiot. That was meant ironically.” He pauses. “But he was of course very fat at the time. He was a huge, morbidly obese, fat man with a huge gut and a big fat ass.

“Rush is someone who for years had been saying, ‘Anyone who uses drugs illegally should be put away’. It turned out, of course, that he was doing massive quantities of prescription painkillers. The quantity meant that he had to get them illegally. There’s no shame in addiction, but he’s a hypocrite. He’s a guy that talks about fam ily values and he’s been married and divorced three times. Rush is a talented radio guy. It’s just that he has no fidelity to the truth at all.”

Franken, who has feuded with Coulter, memorably described her in Lies as “the reigning diva of the hysterical right”. He has seen nothing since to make him change his mind. “Ann Coulter just says terribly, awful, vicious things … About Muslims, she said we should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. Or she said the only regret about [Oklahoma City bomber] Timothy McVeigh was that he didn’t go to the New York Times building. These are things that pass for jokes for her.

“O’Reilly was sued for sexual harassment by a woman who produced a complaint that included very, very graphic transcripts of alleged phone sex from him that he never denied. In fact he settled with her. Then he talks about traditional values versus leftwing people who have these terrible secular humanist values.”

Franken claims not to mind any of them having a pop at him in return. Indeed, to be reviled by Bill O’Reilly is “a badge of honour”. He says: “If you are known by your enemies then those are three great enemies to have. And I must say the one who comes after me the most often and the hardest is O’Reilly.

“He did me the biggest favour he could possibly have done when he essentially forced Fox to sue me over Lies. They took me to court over the subtitle – A Fair and Balanced Look At The Right – and claimed that I was infringing their trademark. [Fox News uses the phrase Fair and Balanced]. There was a hearing and the court ruled in our favour and we got massive publicity. I was hoping the case would go on for a couple more news cycles.”

Nor do the mainstream media escape Franken’s ire for the “disgraceful” job they did reporting the build-up to war in Iraq – which he, of course, opposed vociferously. “What we have in this country right now is a cowed media. The Bush administration has successfully intimidated them and they’ve done that by denying access to correspondents who have challenged them. Reporters worry about losing their access, and thus their job. It’s an awful situation.”

When Franken began accusing Bush of lying, it was, he recalls, “a big deal”. But that’s changed. “Now people are much more willing to say the government was lying, for instance, over the war.” A smile creeps onto his face. “We need to broaden our vocabulary. Sometimes people aren’t lying, of course, they’re just bullshitting, or what they are saying is poppycock or nonsense.”

He reveals his next book is called The Truth (with jokes). “It’s not about the media this time. It’s about whatsisname? George Bush.”

From bloggers to pundits, his enemies are no doubt poised to respond. And when they do, Franken will be down in the weeds, waiting for them.

  • Jo

    Well, having had some recent experience of rightwing abuse which unfortunately is all too often a substitute for argument, I wish him a lot of luck. Interesting take on the “2 countries separated by the same language” argument being that “liberalism” is a term of abuse and a focus point for hatred for many rightwingers, usually accompanying the word “moron”

    Anyone remember a similarly inartriculate phase when everyone over 30 was a fascist?:)

  • 6countyprod

    Franken is blowing the Guardian trumpet. Birds of a feather, and all that. The Guardian piece is self-serving and is pure sycophancy.

    When are we going to get some clear-eyed, objective reporting without the tunnel-vision and nauseating back-scratching self-promotion?

  • Elvis the Dog

    I have no idea what planet 6countyprod beamed in from, but from here in the USA, I can tell you that Air America is having a lot of success, making real inroads into markets previously dominated by the pro-Bush goons (to describe these people simply as right-wing does a disservice to the many US conservatives who despise the current Republican leadership).

    This success is reflected by the fact that the station is now being broadcast by many Clearwater Stations, previously Bush-loyalist havens. Coupled with Fox’s gradual ditching of its pro-Bush cheerleading, it’s a sign that the power of the Bush-ite mind police is on the wane, at least for now.

    Listen for yourself at http://www.airamericaradio.com/ – you might enjoy it.

  • pete baker

    Bloomsday Girl

    Possible future analogy for bloggers?

    Only if you think that blogs, to date, have also been a predominantly right wing media haven.

    Quiet at the back!

  • PaddyCanuck

    Air America is great, and is tapping into, and fueling the growing dissatisfaction with the Bush regime, and the war in Iraq.

    We need people like Randy Rhodes, and the two Marks on Morning Sedition who tackle the spooks, the spin masters, and the big networks, and the press in the US, never mind the right wing shock jocks.

    Media in the US pours out drivel daily, the Michael Jackson Trial, the Runaway bride, Schiavo, and skin in a superbowl commercial, are much more news worthy than the failings of the Bush regime, of carnage in Iraq, the attack on social security, the abuses of the Patriot act and much, much more.

    The fourth estate is clearly failing in the US, we need critique from the left, and we need more bloggers with balls, and more outlets like air america. More power to them.

  • Waitnsee

    It’s clearly doing well – because I just gave up trying to listen to it after ten straight minutes of commercials.

  • David Vance

    I think “Team America” called Air America’s colours. I just love the notion by the recently departed that those like Franken offer informed argument. Let’s see – what was the name of Al’s cartoon book..

    “Lies and the Lying liars who tell them”

    Yip – fair and balanced. I’ll stick with Rush.

  • JOCKY

    Vance, Al’s cartoon book but you’ll stick with Rush, that’s just too funny. Rush informed arguement, sorry I cant believe I just typed that.

    Suppose, you’d stick with the Peabody Prize winning journo every time. Calling Rush a “Big Fat Idiot” was being kind.

  • David Vance

    So, the hero of the left exercises his intellectual superiority by calling Rush “a big fat idiot” – yip, we’re quaking in our boots.

  • 6countyprod

    Elvis the Dog,

    I suppose it takes a goon to know a goon.

    But, maybe you’re right. The constant drip of liberal pessimisism is apparently beginning to sap the American spirit, but I reckon there’s a lot of life left in the bushido creed of George W.

  • Aaron D

    I have to admit, I don’t know alot about Franken, but if he’s like the left’s answer to Coulter, O’Reilly, Limbaugh, and Savage, then I’ll just stick to NPR.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    Air America is bit up and down I find although Al Franken is amusing. His book was funny and pretty well researched by his motley collection of Harvard Students. He is not really the lefts answer to Coulter & co though as the essential difference is that the left actually bother to try to be accurate and to have fact checkers. The right here is absolutely staggering in its blatant twisting and misrepresentation of pretty basic facts. Its scary how many people just don’t care and happily nod along with Rush or Fox despite this. The biggest problem I see is that the mainstream media is so wet and weak willed about challenging the lies. The idea that the MM is a liberal media is just drivel they really couldn’t do better at pushing the Bush line if they paid them(oh wait they do!).

  • David Vance

    Yes – the mainstream media is arch-conservative in the US…..that explains why ABC, NBC, CNN, CBS, NPR, the NYT drooled all over Jean Francois Kerry. It explains Dan Rather’s unfortunate “confusion” over the “facts” of Bush’s service ecord. It fits the “facts” as well as the amusing notion that Harvard students research “the facts” for Franken. Air America – the airheads channel of choice – turn it on, tune in and …oops..you’re already drop outs!

    Give me Ann Coulter over Franken anyday.

  • Jo

    Duncan,

    You repeat a lie and then repeat it again and if you get it on prime time..suddenly, hey presto!

    Associate the word “liberal” with “moron” often enough and funnily enough they BOTH come tripping off the tongue without the need for any involvement of higher brain functions at all! Look at the way the phrase “Trade Unions holding the country to ransom” entered the common vocabulary in the early days of Thatcher.

    Forget complexity – the world CAN be black and white: all you have to do is become right-wing in your outlook.
    Easy, really.

  • David Vance

    The world is so complex, politics is so nuanced, it’s impossible to tell right from wrong, one cannot expect to find straightforward solutions -jaw jaw is better than war war – oh, and America is ALWAYS wrong.(Unless a Dem is in the White House) The cri de coeur of “liberal morons” everywhere even on Slugger.

  • 6countyprod

    What is black and white is the fact that the liberal media in the US and UK are unashamedly anti-Bush, and will do anything to undermine his administration.

    This month’s example:

    Amnesty and Senator Durbin criticise the detention centre at Guantanamo, making ludicrous allegations, and the Bush-hating section of the media give it front-page coverage, running for days.

    Enter some Congressional Democrats who, after a visit to Gitmo, make positive noises, and their comments are either ignored or buried in page 22, or somewhere equally obscure.

    Is it any wonder a recent Pew Research Center poll shows that Americans now trust the press less than every other major institution, including government, medicine and banks?

  • Jo

    Sorry that the world is so complex, but hey, lets all live long enough to see more of its wonder, rather than visit exotic places and meet exotic people and…er…instill regime change wherever we can. 🙂

    Apologies that my posts don’t include the “eff” word, David, I know how much you appreciated the phrase “F***ing Liberals” on ATW.

  • Jo

    6county

    “What is black and white is the fact that the liberal media in the US and UK are unashamedly anti-Bush, and will do anything to undermine his administration.”

    Is that anything to do with Duncan’s point about the weakwilled nature of the US 4th estate?

    Do you think executive authority should always go unchallenged?

    Do you see the point of a government/opposition system as in Westminster?

    Bush will be undermined by the contradictions in his own position. He has declared a war unlike any other with an intangible enemy which is to be fought using, not intelligence, but brute force and increasingly brutalised assertion and manipulation of language.

    Defining your opponent as “evil” is not historically unprecedented – having the sheer unopposable might of the USA is – but might don’t make right, black, white, or anyone who criticises the United States, evil.

  • David Vance

    Jo,

    It’s not a phrase I use, as you know. I prefer the suffix “moron” when discussing liberals. I find it apt.

    6countyprod,

    Well said.

  • 6countyprod

    Jo

    Accountability is an essential element of democracy, so the words and actions of political leaders need to be tested and challenged. George Bush, like any leader, has made mistakes, and needs to be held accountable.

    However, when news sources, which are supposed to be accurate and objective, are continually guilty of fabricating stories to try to harm Bush, they are not only shooting themselves in the foot, they are destroying America’s reputation and credibility in the world as well.

    The bright side for Bush is that the percentage of Americans saying they believe most of what they read in their daily newspaper has dropped from 84% in 1985 to 54% in 2004. After the recent spate of Bush non-stories, that percentage is certain to continue to slide. (http://people-press.org/reports/display.php3?ReportID=248)

  • jocky

    Vance.

    so if you like Franken you are a “liberal moron”. Yet you still dont get it.

    I leave you with Rush.

  • Stalford

    It will probably come as no surpise – I am an enomous Rush Limbaugh fan – I think he gets it right every time.

    The network coverage of the Presidential election was so unbelievably biased, he was a great balance.

  • Jo

    6co:
    No paper will last if it continually makes stuff up. I think that the UK press can comment on the US administration as what that administration does increasingly impacts on the entire world.

    If a paper gets it wrong, you are correct, people will either not believe what is written or they will stop buying it. If Bush gets it wrong, as he has and as people increasingly believe he has, he tells the America people (last nights TV) that they will continue to sacrifice sons and daughters for his policy and wars.

  • Stalford

    I was recently on holiday and the only news I could get was watching BBC World – Guantanemo story I think ran for three days at the top of the broadcast.

  • Stalford

    From Limbaugh today:

    THE SWIMMER (Ted Kennedy):The president needs an effective strategy to bring the international community into Iraq, and to achieve the adoption on schedule of a Constitution that protects all the people of Iraq.

    RUSH: Stop the tape. Is this a one note samba or what? This is a rehash of the John Kerry campaign of 2004, and it’s a rehash of everything that started when we first went to the UN Security Council. “We need international support. We need the international community. We can’t do this without France and Germany,” he is saying. And then he says we need to have the adoption on schedule of a Constitution that protects all the people of Iraq. Senator, you didn’t even think that the sovereignty hand-over — which the anniversary date is June 30th, by the way, two days from now — you didn’t think that could happen. Then you didn’t think, along with your party, that the elections could happen. Now, the Constitution process is on track and all of a sudden after everything you said couldn’t happen happened, now you’re telling the president what he must do. You have no place, sir, advising or suggesting or demanding what this president do because you don’t have the attitude overall that it can be done anyway.

  • Jo

    Stalford:

    Do you not think it is worth anyone considering at any time a situation where hundreds of people have been detained without trial for more than 3 years?

    Is it because it is the United States which is the detainer, rather than a regime which you do not agree with, that gives you a problem with this coverage of one democracy by the media of another? Im just asking.

  • Stalford

    Jo

    No not at all – I think the media is perfectly entitled to ask questions about the situation at Guantanamo Bay. My objection lies in the fact that BBC World seemed to think the story was of such earth shattering importance that it merited three days coverage in the news.

    The General Election result doesn’t get that amount of coverage. I think most observers would aggree that the “mainstream media” has an natural inclination towards the Democratic Party and an antipathy towards Bush.

  • Jo

    Thats fair enough.
    Apologies if I appeared confrontational there, but it does seem to me that some bloggers equate any criticism of the US as tantamount to a treasonable offence. 🙂

  • TC@LeatherPenguin

    Bloomsday Girl: how could you take this article, or “award,” seriously?
    Tonight the former Saturday Night Live star steps on to the stage at the city’s China Club to become the first recipient of the prestigious New York International Radio Festival’s World Achievement Award for Breakthrough Radio, which is “only periodically given to one radio on-air talent who has made a great political or cultural impact in his country and/or throughout the world”.

    Either it’s the first time the award has been given or it is not, which puts to lie the “periodically” malarkey and shows the reporter just cut and pasted that part of the article from a PR handout. And the group giving the award has absolutely nothing to do with the radio industry; they’re a UN advocacy outfit.

    Look up Air America’s Arbitron ratings in any major American radio market and you will see them being regularly trounced and huddled at the bottom of the heap compared to the likes of Limbaugh, O’Reilly et al.

    They were in such rough financial shape they had to sell their souls to big, bad, vast right wing corporate conspirator Clear Channel to get played on a vast majority of the stations they are currently heard on, where they replaced underperforming (oft-times minority-directed) programming.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    As a query how do those of you on the right deal with the contradictions of some of these personalities you admire? I assume that large part of the frame through which you look is coloured by your respective Christian faiths and the moral certainties that your particular brand of Christianity espouses. So how does that square with the moral failings of men like Rush, O’Reilly? If it’s a forgiveness thing then why not forgive Clinton his failings?

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    “It will probably come as no surprise – I am an enormous Rush Limbaugh fan – I think he gets it right every time.”

    Did he get it right when he sent his Mexican maid to buy him large quantities of oxycontin from some men in a car park?

  • Jo

    It would appear the man also has a hearing problem.

    I couldn’t possibly comment on the relationship between that ailment and any argument which he doesn’t agree with.

  • 6countyprod

    ‘moral failings of men like Rush, O’Reilly’
    – only alleged for O’Reilly, Rush kicked the habit (I think), Clinton… bad for the ticker.

    To give him his dues, Clinton wasn’t afraid to use US military might when he needed to. In fact, he put Europe to shame when he got involved in Yugoslavia. Europeans were prepared to let the slaughter of innocents continue. We’re a rather selfish bunch, us enlightened Europeans. Thank God for the Yanks.

  • 6countyprod

    Jo

    I have listened to the BBC World Sevice from 1986 and I would suggest that it is very much against the US. It doesn’t matter who is president. There is a clear anti-American, anti-Israeli editorial bias. As it (BBC) is so widespread, and broadcasting in so many languages, it has probably done more harm to the image of the US than the liberal media in America.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    Well O’Reilly paid between $6-10 million as settlement for that allegation. Maybe theres no truth to it but thats a mighty generous gesture on his part.

  • Jo

    Perhaps, Duncan, but I don’t think the 9/11 bombers were so enraged by the reporting of Charles Wheeler, John Simpson et al that they decided to do what they did.
    Of course I would say that, wouldn’t I? 🙂

    As for Israel, I have learned recently that the most anti-semitic people of all are Jews, so I have learned a lot. Indepedently of BBC reporting, knowing that the ratio of dead Palestinians to dead Israelis, since 2000, is 5 to 1, incurs my sympathy for all victims and their families, but I wouldn’t single out Israeli suffering given that imbalance.

  • Comrade Stalin

    It’s not surprising that David Vance is a follower of Ann “bomb the middle east and convert them all to Christianity” Coulter.

    Rush Limbaugh was tied up in some rather nasty drug-related scandals. Last time I checked, Vance still links to his page from ATW. Hypocrisy is flourishing the whole way across the wannabe Right.

  • 6countyprod

    ‘between $6-10 million’

    Don’t you get a little suspicious with such a vague, alleged figure?

  • David Vance

    Stalin,

    “Wannabe right”? C’mon, show some respect comrade. Who’s the wannabe?

    I love your comment about Rush and the drugs he got hooked on. I should just point out that unlike recreational drug addiction, prescription painkiller addiction belongs squarely in the medical arena. Recreational drug addiction is just that — recreational. A junkie first picks up marijuana, cocaine or heroin in order to have a good time. No one prescribes heroin for back pain. But for many who become addicted to prescription painkillers, the dealer who gets them hooked is their family doctor. Rush is imperfect unlike Franken who is merely a fool. And obviously he has a target audience. Thanks for checking my link to Rush is still working…I have a story on ATW linking to the great man. Love and Peace, man.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    It was several million dollars to end the suit thats all I know. The low estimate was 2 the highest 16 I had heard the 6-10 as a reasonable range but hey maybe it was only 1.

    O’Reilly is sleaze and a liar its really that simple. Sorry if that debunks your hero. So was it a Peabody?

  • Elvis the Dog

    No, it was a falafel.

  • 6countyprod

    Duncan,

    so, it was somewhere between 1 and 16 million for O’Reilly. Have you ever considered that he might have paid nothing, and it is all a big non-event?

    Don’t understand why you are so hot under the collar about Bill, I think he talks a lot of sense, myself. Best thing on Fox.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    Best thing on FOX doesn’t set the bar very high.

    I dont like O’Reilly because he is an arrogant blowhard who lies and bullies people in the pursuit of his ridiculous dogmatic views. He and his ilk are just poisonous.

  • 6countyprod

    Duncan

    I agree with you, Bill O’Reilly is an obnoxious, arrogant, overbearing, egotistical loudmouth, but he still talks a lot of sense, just like Bob Geldof. What do you expect from an Irishman? They speak their mind, and I love ’em!

    I think you are out of line in saying he is a liar. He just don’t like them there liberals!

    I’m sure you have heard the one about liberals being so open-minded their brains have fallen out. That’s probably where Bill is coming from. You need to chill out a little, Duncan.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    No he really is liar as in he tell lots of untruths. As an example he said his show had won a Peabody award whereas it had in fact won a Polk. Thats a big difference and he knows it. I cannot abide that kind of dihonesty from people who claim to be so morally superior. Same with Bushco I suppose its the endless lies and half truths that really irritate me the most, oh yes and the really shitty policies as well of course.

    On the liberals thing. Arse. At least liberals had a brain that could fall out in the first place.

  • 6countyprod

    Duncan, thought you might be interested in the latest ratings figures (last 3 months) from Nielsen Media Research.

    (http://channels.netscape.com/ns/news/story.jsp?id=2005062902400002153801&dt=20050629024000&w=RTR&coview=)

    Fox News remained on top of the ratings by a wide margin in the second quarter, according to data also released Tuesday. Fox News averaged 1.5 million viewers in the quarter in primetime, up 14% compared with a year ago. CNN’s viewership dropped 13% in primetime to 721,000, and MSNBC fell 4% to 322,000 as the network was passed in primetime viewership by the resurgent Headline News, which grew 63% in primetime to 322,000. The cable news leader remains “The O’Reilly Factor,” which averaged 2.2 million viewers in June.

  • Alan McDonald

    6 County,

    Here in America we have something called Professional Wrestling. Some people confuse it with the similarly named sport of wrestling, but it is actually an entertainment. Some people make the same mistake with Fox News because they actually use the word news in the title, even though it is strictly entertainment.

  • 6countyprod

    Alan,

    I suppose there’s room for both in a good news program.

    The liberal news media is pretty good at coming up with entertaining fictional stories. (Rather, Eason, NYT, etc.) It’s a pity some of their creative writing has caused deaths, as in the recent fabricated Koran story by Newsweek.

  • Alan McDonald

    6 County,

    I would put it to you that your appreciation for the comingling of news and entertainment goes a long way to explain the decline in Americans’ reliance on the news media.

  • Jo

    Perhaps the ever expanding use of the internet for information explains why interest in the US TV news is declining. You have to listent o what people tell you. If you’d prefer to read something that appeals to your baser side – for example, if you want a rant against any or all things “anti-American” you can find endless right wing sites to support your most basic prejudice, however xenophobic it is.

    Try entering “cheese eating surrender monkeys” on Google – 23,000 hits!

    There you have it – all you’ll ever need as a US citizen to know about France, French culture, language. Whose political interests are served by this? Whose political interests are served by reducing human relations to basic oneliners and clichés? Why, the view that sees the world as pure black and white.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    “The liberal news media is pretty good at coming up with entertaining fictional stories (Rather, Eason, NYT, etc.) It’s a pity some of their creative writing has caused deaths, as in the recent fabricated Koran story by Newsweek.”

    Isikoff didn’t just pull it out of his ass you know. He followed up on allegations made by prisoners and put it to the Pentagon who did not deny the allegations at that point. Beside which on June 4th the pentagon said:

    “The U.S. military released new details yesterday about five confirmed cases of U.S. personnel mishandling the Koran at the prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, acknowledging that soldiers and interrogators kicked the Muslim holy book, got copies wet, stood on a Koran during an interrogation and inadvertently sprayed urine on another copy.” Washington Post, Saturday, June 4.

    As for the Rathergate thing. You do understand that the fuss is that some of the documents CBS used to substantiate the story about the Bush missing National Guard years turned out to be fakes. The actual substance of the story is still valid and remains. Bush did skive off and did not fulfill all his duties in the National guard. Considering the way the documents floated up, then were discredited in the right wing echo chamber the whole thing looked like classic Rove dirty tricks anyway so I don’t think it does as much to discredit the SCLM (so called liberal media) as you think.

  • 6countyprod

    Duncan, Duncan,

    Newsweek fell for it hook, line and sinker. Al Qaeda made them look stupid. The Pentagon just allowed them to take more rope to hang themselves. CBS used false documents to try to back up unsubstantiated allegations against Bush. support for major national papers in the US have gone down 13% in the past 4 years. Their ratings will continue to slide because of such perfidy.

  • 6countyprod

    Read: Support for major national papers in the US has gone down …

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    Fell for it as in it turned out to be true after all? Did you miss the Post story or something?

    The allegations against Bush have been substantiated by numerous witnesses and other documents. He was a draft dodging, coke sniffing, drunk driving , duty dodging, alcoholic prick when he was younger. Now he is just a shitty President.

    By support you mean readership? Yes fewer people read newspapers, correct. The Internet and cable TV have reduced the number of people who seek news from a daily paper. Its true in all modern western media markets.

    Oh yes I meant to respond to your wonderful Fox numbers as well. “Fox News averaged 1.5 million viewers in the quarter in primetime, up 14% compared with a year ago. CNN’s viewership dropped 13% in primetime to 721,000, and MSNBC fell 4% to 322,000 as the network was passed in primetime viewership by the resurgent Headline News, which grew 63% in primetime to 322,000. The cable news leader remains “The O’Reilly Factor,” which averaged 2.2 million viewers in June.”

    Around 30 million watch either CBS, ABC or NBC nightly news each night, 6.8 million watch 60 minutes. So before you get too excited about Fox news note that Markos over at Daily Kos gets upto a million hits a day at his website. So he is nearly as popular as Fox News and a damn site more accurate.

    Jesus what is it with you right wing wingnuts that you just don’t like facts?

  • Robert Keogh

    Duncan,

    Jesus what is it with you right wing wingnuts that you just don’t like facts?

    Those who can think, do. Those who can’t, believe.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    A lot of believers in the US of A!

  • 6countyprod

    Duncan,

    you are so easy to wind up, but as they say, there are none so blind as those who do not want to see!

    The Wash Post is probably the most respectable liberal paper, but don’t believe everything you read there. And don’t believe everything you hear on Fox either!

    The allegation about a US security person flushing a Koran down a toilet remains just that, an allegation. The minor incidents that the Pentagon acknowledged as occurring were different, some of them being accidental. The personnel involved were retrained or disciplined. What a contrast to Saudi Arabia where people have been executed or flogged just for having a Bible. Why did Newsweek or the Post not report the recent burning of the Koran by Hindus in India? I’ll sent you a picture if you like.

    I really don’t appreciate your blasphemy, so I’ll not be reading any more of your posts. One day you are going to give an account of your words to the Lord Jesus.

  • g in philly

    Listening to Rush yesterday, he was saying that global warming was only a figment of everybody’s imagination. His argument was that the more soot we put up into the air the more it stops “the really harmful gases fom getting through”.

    This fella must have a load of crack pipes lying round his house.

  • Alan McDonald

    G,

    Rush and everyone at FOX and everyone in the Republican party is on the payroll of the polluters. They may not be on crack, but they are ho’s.

  • Alan McDonald

    BTW, G,

    Will you be at the Museum of Art tomorrow? One of my favorite places in Phila.

  • g in philly

    Alan, just watching Wimbledon at the minute and will be getting the train down there after. The environmentally friendly train. Weather is really good, Chris Bowers is blogging from backstage, might meet up with him and will have to go to the ‘Bishop’s Collar’ for a few swallies.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    “One day you are going to give an account of your words to the Lord Jesus.”

    As an atheist I find that suggestion offensive, so Jesus I guess that makes us even for the god damn blasphemy?

  • Jo

    I do somehow think that there will be other people’s attitudes and other people’s words more likely to be taken into account and weighed up apart from Duncan’s July 1st Slugger post in the YOOL 2005..