Patterico's Pontifications

12/25/2008

Free Speech in Connecticut

Filed under: Media Bias — DRJ @ 10:43 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

From Ace comes a link to a Connecticut Post statement warning readers to avoid some critics of Chris Dodd and Barney Frank:

“All letters are welcome. But there are code words hidden in some that are signals to stop paying close attention — “Chris Dodd” and “Barney Frank.” According to one school of thinking, these two, more than anyone else in America, are to blame for our current troubles.

If you want to castigate their decision-making, fine. If you want to say they and they alone are to blame for the recession, that’s crazy. They didn’t even take over their congressional committees until early last year, and our problems started long before then.”

I remember a time when media slogans were things like “All the news that’s fit to print.” Today’s version is “Making news fit our narrative.”

— DRJ

29 Responses to “Free Speech in Connecticut”

  1. New “Letters to the Editor” disclaimer: All letters are welcome, including those by sacred-liberal-cow haters.

    Icy Texan (b7d162)

  2. Even ignoring their widely videotaped obvious obstructionism, Franklin Raines would be more prominent on my personal hierarchy of causation IMNSHO.

    He’s on video arguing that FM/FM are ‘so stable we should have our required asset reserve -reduced-.’ By half – or more.

    IOW: “Yes, we’re juggling chainsaws, but we could juggle – many more – chainsaws if you’d just bend the regulations for us. Basically because we juggle more chainsaws than anyone else -dares- to juggle.”

    Al (93703e)

  3. Wow! Reading this editor’s note that DRJ linked to is just priceless. If there is a course one hundred years from now on how the mainstream media made itself obsolete, this editor’s note ought to be on the on the reading list. To begin with, how condescending is it to open your piece with the following: “I love our letter writers. Really, I do”? Mr. Bailey might as well have been pictured holding his nose has he repeatedly hit the delete key on his email inbox.

    Beyond his inauspicious start, this is a horribly-written piece. Take the fourth paragraph, for instance, which DRJ has quoted: letter writers are warned that you cannot blame Barney Frank or Chris Dodd for the economic meltdown, but apparently it is all systems go for blaming George Bush, Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Ronald Reagan, Spiro Agnew, H.R. Hadelman, Joseph McCarthy, or Wendel Wilikie. After all, the editor didn’t say something along the lines of “no one person or party is alone to blame for the recession.” It simply says that you can’t blame the two dinosaur New England Democrats for it. I guess Mr. Bailey has no compunction about declaring on which side he is rowing the boat, though a more clever journalist usually goes farther to hide his biases.

    Now check the sixth, seventh, and eighth paragraphs. Is there a better example of bad writing leading to a null declaration? For instance, the sixth paragraph seems to tell us that everyone hates George Bush, but a significant subset of that group also hates Senate Democrats (I guess House Democrats are peachy keen with this group). The seventh paragraph, however, comes up with this puzzler:

    What do Obama, Howard Dean, Al Gore and Ned Lamont have that other members of their party lack? The answer — a near-bottomless supply of good will from fellow Democrats, dating back to their early, vocal opposition to the disaster that is Iraq.

    Silly me, I would have guessed the answer was that three of the four lost their elections. Mr. Bailey follows-up that howler with the eighth paragraph in which he reminds us that Democrats and Republicans don’t always vote the party line. That would be news to Barack Obama (he of the nearly perfect Democrat voting record), but that is a fight that we have already lost so no sense wasting any more time there.

    The rest of his screed is just banal and stupid. Again, when our descendants start researching why the mainstream media died out at the beginning of the 21st Century, they will find a lot of clues in the vapid and dull writing of one Hugh Bailey of the late, unlamented Connecticut Post.

    JVW (fa317f)

  4. JVW,

    Your comment should be a post of its own.

    DRJ (30954e)

  5. How soon will it be revealed that Dodd himself intimidated (ala Blagajovich) the editor into taking this stand?

    Icy Texan (b7d162)

  6. Blagojevich

    Icy Texan (b7d162)

  7. Today’s version is “Making news fit our narrative.”

    That’s always been their slogan. Thanks to the Internet, more and more people are becoming aware of it.

    Jim C. (9e7cc9)

  8. As I commented on Ace’s post:

    Whenever I feel angry about the media, I visit http://newsosaur.blogspot.com/ or http://angryjournalist.com/ .

    Always refreshing.

    Evil Pundit (843b74)

  9. The Connecticut Post is akow towing to Democrats in exchange for either a large earmark or a bailout or both.

    Perfect Sense (9d1b08)

  10. Dodd and Frank were called “influential” and “key members” well before they led committees. Dodd’s mortgage “gift” as a friend of Angelo came before he chaired, and was given because Dodd was considered very powerful.
    That said, no reasonable person can claim these two are totally responsible for the whole mess, but there media guardians are acting like they have no responsibility at all, and covering for them.

    SteveG (a87dae)

  11. “If you want to say they and they alone are to blame for the recession, that’s crazy.” That sentence is true.

    gp (4db77f)

  12. #11, How about if it said, “Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, and their fellow Democrat Party accomplices are overwhelmingly responsible for the mortgage crisis.”

    Would that sentence be more accurate?

    Ropelight (d40bc3)

  13. Here’s another tender morsel of inanity:

    In terms of the debate over same-sex marriage, there might be something more offensive than writers equating homosexuality with pedophilia, but I can’t think of what. We get it — some of you are uncomfortable with what other people do in their bedrooms. Guess what — no one wants to know what you do behind closed doors, either. And again, some people don’t think you should get the final say on such matters.

    You think that a guy who’s made it all the way to Editor would be able to recognize that same sex marriage isn’t about what happens behind closed doors. It’s entirely about how marriage is defined in the public arena.

    Bailey, contrary to his assertion, does not get it.

    Pablo (99243e)

  14. But, as many rational people know, national level problems of this nature do no pop up overnight, or even in 8 years. Things of this magnitude take years and years of bureaucratic mismanagement, political chicanery, and downright ineptitude to produce.

    So to be fair to the Republicans as well, I think that the Post should also post the following graph:

    “All letters are welcome. But there are code words hidden in some that are signals to stop paying close attention — “George Bush” and “Karl Rove.” According to one school of thinking, these two, more than anyone else in America, are to blame for our current troubles.

    If you want to castigate their decision-making, fine. If you want to say they and they alone are to blame for the recession, that’s crazy. They didn’t even take over the White House until 2001, and our problems started long before then.”

    Charlie Foxtrot (c3c634)

  15. Comment by DRJ — 12/25/2008 @ 11:56 pm

    Such a thing can be arranged…

    In fact, I think it just was arranged

    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  16. The answer — a near-bottomless supply of good will from fellow Democrats, dating back to their early, vocal opposition to the disaster that is Iraq.

    What a disaster that Iraq celebrated Christmas yesterday, a Christian holiday being a national holiday in a Moslem country, what a disaster.
    Its ironic that the liberals in America are the self promoted defenders of “human rights”, but I guess that really depends on what humans are getting what rights.

    That type of reasoning would also suggest that Hugh S Bailey thinks the defeat of Germany in WW2 was also a “disaster”.

    ML (14488c)

  17. There may also be a near-bottomless supply of goodwill from our enemies. Charles Lindberg was given a medal by the Nazis. It caused him a lot of trouble later. I wonder if that same supply of goodwill could ever be a problem for those named. Like after a nuclear weapon goes off in NY City.

    MIke K (2cf494)

  18. Yeah, how strange that a newspaper from Connecticut would see the name of one of that state’s senators as a “code word.”

    These guys aren’t owned by the Tribune Company, are they?

    (Nope: They’re owned by Hearst.)

    The amused Dana (556f76)

  19. They’re simply trying to confirm the success of the democrats in congress. Remember in 2006 when the U.S. stock market was bumping 15,000, (unemployment was 4.5%) and was the fastest growing economy in history, the democrats promised to change that direction of the country if you put them in charge. From the look of the economy today they exceeded even their own expectations.
    Didn’t I just read that if Conn. maintains it losing pace they will make Darfur look like a desireable vacation spot in less than a year?

    Scrapiron (ce69ff)

  20. JVW – Another thing Obama, Dean, Gore and Lamont have in common is that none of them were actually called to vote on the AUMF in Congress. Making brave speeches about it is one thing. Actually voting on the record is another and no matter what those blowhards say, none of them did it and whether or not they would have voted against it under pressure is pure speculation.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  21. “The notion that the tens of billions of dollars we spend killing people in Iraq could be better spent on schools and hospitals in this country is not radical.”–Liberal Hypocrite

    The United States has fought four major wars in the last 100 years (WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam). We lost around 600,000 dead, and we killed millions of people in those wars. The liberal Demcocrats got us into every one of those wars. The Republicans have NEVER gotten us into a major war. Not ever.

    So, spare me your hogwash about schools, hospitals and killing folks. It won’t wash coming from liberals.

    Dave Surls (ef70fa)

  22. “All letters are welcome. But there are code words hidden in some that are signals to stop paying close attention — “Chris Dodd” and “Barney Frank.” According to one school of thinking, these two, more than anyone else in America, are to blame for our current troubles.

    If you want to castigate their decision-making, fine. If you want to say they and they alone are to blame for the recession, that’s crazy. They didn’t even take over their congressional committees until early last year, and our problems started long before then.”

    (Oh, gawwd…)

    Words, in and of themselves, are innocuous, and meaningless if they are used out of context. Individual words don’t have any power to convey ideas more complex than their own meanings unless they are ascribed greater meaning by people like this propagandist with a (presumed) journalism degree!

    What guys like Hugh Jassel Bailey are trying to do is head off your thinking process by suggesting that a cogent, logical, and perhaps convincing argument they oppose is instantly invalidated because one or more of the words they use is supposedly indicative of a mutually-agreed upon outrageous concept.

    Both sides of the aisle do this, but it has most recently been put into use by the left in general and Obamanoids in particular. McCain’s reluctance to say anything that might be interpreted as racist had them combing every syllable for something to prove their predictions that the GOP would make a blatantly racist appeal against Obama before the campaign ended. So Governor Palin’s self-identification as a “hockey mom” was magically determined to be “code” for white people. Ditto her remarks about Obama’s “palling around” with domestic terrorists Ayers and Dohrn and what that might mean about the way he views America. From that infamous Associated Press “analysis” calling Palin’s words ‘racially tinged’ (bold mine):


    Palin’s words avoid repulsing voters with overt racism. But is there another subtext for creating the false image of a black presidential nominee “palling around” with terrorists while assuring a predominantly white audience that he doesn’t see their America?

    In a post-Sept. 11 America, terrorists are envisioned as dark-skinned radical Muslims, not the homegrown anarchists of Ayers’ day 40 years ago. With Obama a relative unknown when he began his campaign, the Internet hummed with false e-mails about ties to radical Islam of a foreign-born candidate.

    Whether intended or not by the McCain campaign, portraying Obama as “not like us” is another potential appeal to racism. It suggests that the Hawaiian-born Christian is, at heart, un-American.

    At this point, it’s important for you to know that at no time in Palin’s speeches did she say “not like us” — that is a bald-faced lie from the “analyst,” Douglass K. Daniel. Her exact words were:

    “Our opponent … is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough, that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country…”

    Daniel continued:


    Most troubling, however, is how allowing racism to creep into the discussion serves McCain’s purpose so well. As the fallout from Wright’s sermons showed earlier this year, forcing Obama to abandon issues to talk about race leads to unresolved arguments about America’s promise to treat all people equally.

    Dodd and Frank are just the beginning of specious “code” accusations from this Hugh Bailey jerk — he went on to advise that those writing in regarding issues of separation of church and state shouldn’t quote Scripture because

    “No one is taking your Bible away from you. Some people, though, don’t want your interpretation of the Bible to determine the law of the land.”


    Bailey clearly takes sides in writing this — I would venture to guess that few who cite verses in their letters (if any) believe their Bibles will be confiscated. He says nothing about those who might write in and quote Scripture for reasons closer to his own heart, such as those gay marriage advocates who blather about shrimp cocktail and double-knit fabric. Indeed, he made similar well-poisoning remarks about same-sex marriage opponents and those who believe Obama will be the herald of a more socialistic America.

    Pointing out so-called “code” is a way of hijacking a point-of-view: “Because they used this/these word/s, you should reflexively reject what they are saying and instead listen to my reasons why you should be dismissive of them.” It is a strategy to limit the topics of debate to those that you believe you can “win” over a disadvantaged opponent.

    If the Connecticut Post was a decent newspaper, Bailey would be fired for this column alone. But he won’t be.

    L.N. Smithee (da0b05)

  23. “It suggests that the Hawaiian-born Christian is, at heart, un-American.”

    Well, you wouldn’t want to jump to any conclusions just because he belonged to a church who’s leader begged God to damn America.

    Dave Surls (ef70fa)

  24. You think that a guy who’s made it all the way to Editor would be able to recognize that same sex marriage isn’t about what happens behind closed doors.

    He was upbraiding readers who were “equating homosexuality with pedophilia” in the same-sex marriage debate. Not sure how or why that was unclear.

    steve (6830b3)

  25. Homosexuality is not directly linked to pedophilia and should not be. And yet, one thing that has troubled me is that there is a significant fraction of the homosexual activist community that advocates reducing or eliminating age of consent laws.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  26. He was upbraiding readers who were “equating homosexuality with pedophilia” in the same-sex marriage debate. Not sure how or why that was unclear.

    You can allow him his strawman, steve. I’d rather not. The relevant passage:

    In terms of the debate over same-sex marriage, there might be something more offensive than writers equating homosexuality with pedophilia, but I can’t think of what. We get it — some of you are uncomfortable with what other people do in their bedrooms. Guess what — no one wants to know what you do behind closed doors, either. And again, some people don’t think you should get the final say on such matters.

    I stand behind my earlier comment.

    Pablo (99243e)

  27. Don’t buy MSM. Once upon a time I confined my “don’t buy” campaign to the NYT Company properties. Then the Tribune Co. was added to my list. Now, Hearst (owner of the Post).

    Soon, I’ll get my non-blog reported or linked news exclusively from foreign sources. Like many other industries, the foreigners are simply better and unless we vote with our money every day our own news sources, like Hearst, will never improve.

    Make America better- don’t buy MSM.

    MTF (8254eb)

  28. “That said, no reasonable person can claim these two are totally responsible for the whole mess…”

    Of course not. And nobody is. And the Connecticut Post knows it.

    Hey, since we aren’t “welcome” to comment on Dodd’s well documented role in the financial mess (since it is the equivilent, in the CP’s eyes, of claiming he and Frank orchestrated the entire mess) maybe instead of letters to the editor we should give them more straw for their straw man arguments.

    Sean P (4e644b)

  29. […] DRJ speaks, and I am compelled to obey her vauge suggestion… […]

    The Jury Talks Back » Because I’m clean out of ideas lately… (e4ab32)


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