Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Defending people in news articles

I just posted my fourth article about journalistic integrity. All four of them have been in defense of conservatives. I don't particularly care to defend them, but I seem to get defensive about attacks on them in the press. I wonder why that is. I'll gladly attack them myself. I may have to chew on that one for a while.

Journalistic crap - yet again

I get riled up by articles that are presented as news, but are really just political attacks.

The current one in question is about a Southern Republican governor from Mississippi. I don't know Haley Barbour's reputation. Most likely, he claims to be an Evangelical Christian and a fiscal conservative. You can't seem to get elected as a Republican in the South without these credentials. I'm going to make that assumption and roll with it because it fits the agenda of this rant.

Those credentials don't mean that you're a racist, but there's no doubt that the power structure that historically ran the segregated South before the Civil Rights Movement will find its descendants in the Republican Party. That doesn't mean that if you're a Republican, you're a racist. It probably means that it's more likely, but the assumption is patently unfair.

Based on my experience in the South, I don't know anybody that believes segregation or racism is right. I do know a good number of prejudiced people. I also know a number of people that live in a bubble that have no idea what goes on outside their nice little community. There are people who pine for the 1950's, but not because of race issues. While I have met many racists in my life, I cannot recall having ever met a person who longs for segregation.

The article is entitled: Barbour doesn’t recall civil rights era being ‘that bad’.

The implication from the title alone implies that he's a racist segregationist. I don't know the guy or his reputation. Maybe he is a racist segregationist. From the title, we'll find out the proof, right?

If you actually read the article, he makes comments to the effect that he doesn't remember race relations being bad during that era. He's referring to violence and tension that history describes in many areas of Mississippi at that time. He doesn't remember his hometown having those kinds of problems. That's it. That's his recollection. He doesn't remember it being that bad. Of course, he's white, but that was his answer to a question. Maybe he could've qualified it to be clearer. Maybe he did and the author had an agenda?

The article is trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill because this guy apparently has aspirations of running for president in 2012. Just smear him as a racist and it's a job well done. It's done by a news blogger, but it was on Yahoo's front page and is part of Yahoo News. Blog or not, if it's presented as news, there should be some journalistic ethics behind it. This is pure political drivel meant to smear and I don't like it.

This is not support for Barbour because I don't know his politics. This is merely a rant about partisan journalism.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

300 Sextillion Stars, But We're Special!

I'm blown away. I can't even comprehend the number.

Number of Stars in the Universe

However, it does help put some perspective around human arrogance:

God put his special people on a puny planet that is third from a medium-sized star (of which there are approximately 300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) in a medium-sized galaxy (of which there are anywhere from 100,000,000,000 to 1,000,000,000,000) ?

... and we're the only life in it?

Tea Party, Earmarks, and Journalism

What is this article saying?

Tea Party Caucus and Earmarks

It sounds like a cheap shot at the Tea Party. I've noted before about my feelings with regard to the Tea Party. However, this article is trying to make them look bad by showing all of the newly-formed caucus members extravagant earmarks to the tune of $1 billion. The Tea Party is patently against earmarks. It calls out many of the caucus members for their apparent hypocrisy.

However, at the end of the article, it seems to point out as an afterthought that when members joined the caucus, they stopped introducing earmarks and removed themselves from those attached to pending legislation. That seems consistent with the philosophy to me.

I certainly have no problem with watchdog groups looking for hypocrisy, but maybe there shouldn't be quite the attempt at the proverbial witch hunt?