25 Sep 2018

There is a long list of pervasive problems in the political press, and we'll go into different facets in future posts, but two false stereotypes related to centrists and pragmatists in the Democratic Party have gotten to the point where they've become a problem in need of a fact check and thorough debunking. Some in the media have been spreading the blatantly false narrative that, in the Democratic tent, you're either a progressive, or an establishment centrist. The problem with this is that the proverbial map doesn't match the territory - the reality being that the Democratic Party leadership struggle is between liberals and progressives, with the shrinking minority of moderates left in the party not having nearly enough votes to have any chance of leading the party. Dem Power Struggle Not Centrists vs Progressives This misconception is bizarre, as centrist observers and activists - many of us being ex-Democrats because of things like this - kno...

27 Oct 2017

aceFCC Changes to Local TV News It looks like Trump’s FCC will change ownership rules for local TV and media outlets. How do we look at this as a nation hoping for an informed public? I see three ways: This is inevitable. It seems scary. (However) There is opportunity. So, is it inevitable? Why does this move by the FCC make economic sense? Most TV news stations are moving digitally. The majority of the audience relies on smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Already, local TV stations are broadcasting emergency broadcasts and shows solely on Facebook Live or Periscope – bypassing traditional airwaves. Many TV stations cannot compete with Facebook or Google for ad revenue since online ads are cheaper and more targeted for advertisers. So the TV stations are saying “can’t beat ‘em, then join them.” This is routine consolidation survival for any industry. Revenues drop, so then you join a competitor and create a better product....

16 Aug 2017

Many in in America have become familiar with the term “fake news” in recent years. Whether it’s being shouted by President Donald Trump against the “liberal media establishment” or by liberal or progressives towards conservative media organizations, it has become the theme of a nonstop series of accusations. More than ever, America is polarizing itself along regional, economic, and ideological lines. The middle ground of bipartisanship and common ground is disappearing rapidly. People on both sides, caught in the polarization surrounding them, have become more divided than ever in recent times over basic facts. This has lead to a dangerously increasing rejection of the opinions and concerns of the opposite side, which has been at the very center of the issue of “fake news”. [caption id="attachment_7300" align="alignnone" width="948"] Promoted from our centrist community blog - by Oscar Berry[/caption] The President has only added fuel to th...

13 May 2011

As frustration builds with many (should I say, most?) voters, the call for a third party gets stronger.  With hypocrisy, corruption, and empty headed thinking abounding with both Republican and Democratic parties, the idea of a third party absent these qualities seems alluring. Is this real or simply a mirage? The odds against a third party winning a US national election are staggering.  Individual State requirements work to restrain any national candidacy.  Given today’s campaign financing expenditures, where would the money come from to support a third party. Some simplistically suggest the individual voter will abandon the major parties and flock to the third party with votes and money.   And, if your name is Bloomberg, why worry. Pundits say that President Obama will spend over $1 billion on his reelection. A third party candidate will be lost at sea. So is that it for third party power? I do not think so.    A third party candida...

11 May 2011

centrist pundit John Avlon being interviewed by Solomon Kleinsmith in 2012
Solomon interviewing centrist pundit John Avlon at the 2012 conventions. There aren't too many strident centrists in the world of political punditry. Some mislabel those who strive toward journalistic integrity as being centrist, but that's just being nonpartisan. To be clear, I'm not criticizing being nonpartisan - we need genuine journalism much more than we need centrist punditry, but when I see things like this it heartens me: In April, CNN.com was up over last year with 1.45 billion global page views and 100.2 million global video views due in large part to CNN’s coverage of the Royal Wedding (see full numbers below) and CNN.com’s Opinion section. CNN.com Opinion had its best month ever with 18.9 million global page views, 61% higher than last year.  The top five writers in the Opinion section for April were CNN contributor LZ Granderson, CNN senior political analysts Gloria Borger, best-selling author Bob Greene, senior political colum...

20 Apr 2011

It's amazing that people still get away with saying obviously wrong, and repeatedly debunked, junk economics like this, but here we are. Illinois congressman Joe Walsh made a comment on This Week with Christiane Amanpour, saying that "Every time we've cut taxes, revenues have gone up, the economy has grown." Politifact decided to take a look at that, and found it to be sorely lacking. Here is the main thrust of what this bit of voodoo math gets wrong (bold mine): ...economists expect tax revenues to go up each year due to economic growth, population growth and inflation, even if tax rates stay the same. So saying "revenues have gone up" isn’t particularly meaningful in that context. Given that, it would be more significant to be able to say what effect tax changes have on the overall economy. But this isn’t easy, because so many things affect the economy more than the federal tax code. What this means is that you can raise taxes during a b...

01 Apr 2011

I don't usually pay much attention to when partisans whine about media bias, as it usually is blown out of proportion and mostly just complaining that the media doesn't bend to their ideology, but this actually seems fair. Pajamas Media is one of the conservative sites I read. I usually disagree with the stances their writers take, but they have a handful of bloggers who post there that aren't extreme, and this bit from a post about how the media talks about latinos in relation to the two major parties, is pretty spot on, I think. Here's a taste: ...where the discussion really got interesting was when I made the point that Democrats were not in the clear either. President Obama’s support among Latinos is, I said, “a mile wide and an inch deep” in part because he hasn’t delivered on immigration reform as promised. In fact, his surrogates such as Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano actually go around the country bragging about how many...

09 Mar 2011

Via Frum Forum, we find out that longtime Washington Post reporter and later columnist David Broder has died.

I know that there were a lot of younger folk that didn’t like him and labeled his brand of centrism “Broderism,” but I did his columns for the fact that he had a memory of time when the political parties cooperated and got some major legislation passed.  In many ways, he was a forerunner to another one of my favorite columnists, David Brooks, in his willingness to go pass simplistic partisan commentary to the issues behind the issues.

Godspeed, Mr. Broder

03 Mar 2011

A new term was invented not too long ago, describing how press releases (essentially advertising) are increasingly being used by "journalists" to churn out mildly edited posts. They called it 'churnalism'. Its a damn shame this is only in Britain, but the idea is great (kind of reminds me of Politifact and Factcheck.org like outfits, which have been popping up around the country). Hopefully it'll make the jump across the pond. A new website called Churnalism.com will try to track these sorts of things, taking "news" sources to task for allowing themselves to be used as mouthpieces by PR people at corporations and other organizations. From Columbia Journalism Review: There are now vast quantities of PR material produced every day, a good chunk of which makes it into the independent media. Research by Cardiff University, which Nick Davies used to inform his book, found that 54 percent of news articles in the U.K. press can be at least partially...

03 Mar 2011

Speaking about the Supreme Court ruling siding with the Westoro Baptist's freedom to protest funerals: After the ruling, Margie Phelps, a member of the church who is also a lawyer, and who argued the case forcefully for years on behalf of Westboro Baptist, told CBS Radio News what she would like to tell the Snyder family now that they’ve lost their case. “This was a fool’s errand. It was un-American as anything you could have done. That boy is still dead…. Now get down on your knees, mourn for your sins, repent and obey,” cackled Phelps, the lawyer, the despised victor in a constitutional showdown they’ll be talking about until the next military funeral case gets filed in federal court. Like it or not, your constitution protects her. And if we all liked everything about what the Constitution promised, or required, or even permitted, it would be a greeting card or an anthem instead of a touchstone. It ought to be reassuring, not depressing, that ...