Sunday, May 20, 2007

Propaganda Quiz

Quiz: Who made the following statement:

"... the rank and file are usually much more primitive than we imagine. Propaganda must therefore always be esssentially simple and repititious. In the long run only he will achieve basic results in influencing public opinion who is able to reduce problems to the simplest terms and who has the courage to keep forever repeating them in this simplified form despite the objection of the intellectuals."

Circle the best answer:
a. Karl Rove
b. Howard Dean
c. Michael Moore
d. Rush Limbaugh
e. none of the above


Answer: e. The statement was made by Dr. Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler's Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. From THE GOEBBELS DIARIES 1942-1943, edited and translated by Louis P. Lochner, Doubleday, Garden City New York, 1948, p.56

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Fort Dix Plot: Does it Raise Issues of Illegal Immigration?

Terror suspects were arrested for allegedly trying to plot against killing people at Ft. Dix. So far, CNN has not talked about an immigration issue related to this. No mention of three of them being illegal immigrants. A search of their web site showed only this article:

http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/05/08/fortdix.plot/index.html

On the other hand, Fox News has numerous articles including this one devoted to the fact that three of the suspects were illegal aliens:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,270892,00.html

By the way, MSNBC News mentions that some of the suspects were illegal immigrants including this article:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18550502/

The BBC does as well:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6635669.stm


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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Al Qaeda Video

Al Qaeda's Ayman al-Zawahri was seen in a recently posted video. CNN's headline says he is taunting Bush (and also Iran and Shiites).

Fox News on the other hand says he is mocking Congress (and also Bush).

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

War Funding Veto: President Bush vs. Howard Dean

President Bush vetoed the War Funding bill. I checked the two main party web sites to see what they have to say. The Democratic National Committee has a brief statement from Chairman Howard Dean. The Republican National Committee has the transcript of President Bush’s statement. I thought it would be interesting to compare the two. In the left column below, I have Dean’s statement. On the right, are excerpts from Bush’s statement that match yet counter Dean’s points. As expected, two widely different perspectives.

DNC

RNC

Chairman Howard Dean

President Bush

Congress did its job by getting a bipartisan bill to the President’s desk but President Bush’s stubborn refusal to work with Congress …

We can begin tomorrow with a bipartisan meeting with the congressional leaders here at the White House. …

The Democratic leaders know that many in Congress disagree with their approach, and that there are not enough votes to override a veto.

… has kept our troops mired in an open-ended civil war.

It makes no sense to tell the enemy when you plan to start withdrawing. … . The goal of this new strategy is to help the Iraqis secure their capital, so they can make progress toward reconciliation, and build a free nation that respects the rights of its people, upholds the rule of law, and fights extremists and radicals and killers alongside the United States in this war on terror.

The President’s Iraq policies have only resulted in more violence and made America less safe.

It's true that not everyone taking innocent life in Iraq wants to attack America here at home. But many do. Many also belong to the same terrorist network that attacked us on September 11th, 2001 -- and wants to attack us here at home again.

The fact remains that President Bush’s mission is not yet accomplished and will not be accomplished until we change course in Iraq.

In the months since our military has been implementing this plan, we've begun to see some important results.

This veto ignores the will of the American people, military experts, the Iraq Study Group and Congress.

… members of the House and the Senate passed a bill that substitutes the opinions of politicians for the judgment of our military commanders.

It’s well past time for President Bush to work with Congress toward a solution so we can bring our brave troops home.

I've invited leaders of both parties to come to the White House tomorrow -- and to discuss how we can get these vital funds to our troops. … May God bless our troops.

Links to the statements:

http://www.democrats.org/a/2007/05/dean_president_7.php

http://www.gop.com/News/Read.aspx?ID=6924

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Different perspectives on an upcoming book about Hillary Clinton

FoxNews.com is covering a story from the London Times about a new book to be published soon about Hillary Clinton by Carl Bernstein. Bernstein has a lot of credibility because of his thorough work and involvement in uncovering the Watergate story. I have not seen it on CNN.com yet but there is a story in TIME (“in partnership with CNN”). The two articles have different perspectives. Here are a few quotes from each. TIME’s article is more Hillary-friendly while the London Times article on Fox is anticipating some dirt.


TIME:

"Hillary Clinton is one of the most compelling figures in the world today, and Carl Bernstein's stunning portrait shows us, for the first time, the true trajectory of her life and career," Sonny Mehta, chairman and editor in chief of Alfred A, Knopf, said in a statement Monday.

"I believe his book will stand as the most detailed, comprehensive, and revealing account we have of a woman who helped define one presidency and may well step into another."

"It shows the extent to which she was instrumental in the triumphs and troubles of her husband's governorship and presidency; and it untangles her relationship to Whitewater, Troopergate, and Travelgate," the Knopf statement said Monday.

"Finally, it details her successful run for Senate and remarkable rise to a dominant role in the Democratic party, and it sheds light on her own political brilliance and blind spots."

The only hint of problems is this statement near the end:

"Bernstein reaches conclusions that stand in opposition to what Sen. Clinton has said in the past and has written in the past," said Bogaards [Knopf publisher publicist], who declined to offer details.


Fox:

Contrast the above to this opening sentence:

Drawing on a trove of private papers from Hillary Clinton’s best friend, the legendary Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein is going to publish a hard-hitting and intimate portrait of the 2008 presidential candidate, which will reveal a number of "discrepancies" in her official story.


Later the article uses the Bogaard quote but adds more detail:

The book could revive the explosive charge, made earlier this year by David Geffen, a former Clinton donor and Hollywood mogul, that “the Clintons lie with such ease, it’s troubling”.

Bernstein has been delving through Blair’s copious records of the 1992 presidential election campaign, which could offer tantalizing insight into Bill Clinton’s war machine and Hillary’s reaction to news of her husband’s dalliance with the nightclub singer Gennifer Flowers in Arkansas.

Hillary denied all knowledge of the affair, but one writer who has followed her career closely said: “She always knew about her.” He added: “Anyone who has approached the subject of Hillary Clinton with a clear eye will run across many examples of stories that are not true.”

Links to the articles:

http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1613765,00.html

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,269085,00.html


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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Democratic Debate in Sout Carolina

Eight Democratic hopefuls participated in a debate in South Carolina. CNN’s AP article was more anti-Bush; or you could say Fox’s was more Bush-friendly. CNN’s headline was “Democratic candidates batter Bush during debate.” Fox’s headline merely notes a debate on the war with “Democrats Debate Iraq War Policy During South Carolina Debate.”

CNN’s opening sentence was very anti-war and noted the “heaping” of criticism on Bush:

Democratic presidential hopefuls flashed their anti-war credentials Thursday night, heaping criticism on President Bush's Iraq policy in the first debate of the 2008 campaign.

Fox’s opening sentence noted that half of the candidates agreed that we are fighting a war on terror (this was not noted in CNN’s article):

At the first full-fledged Democratic presidential debate of the campaign season, four of the eight candidates agreed that the United States is in a "global War on Terror."

Links to the articles:

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/04/26/dems.debate.ap/index.html

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,268900,00.html

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I know you are but what am I?

Lot's of name-calling going on as the Iraq debate continues. Here are examples of attacks of a more personal nature. These do not include nasty attacks about the actions of others; just personal attacks:

  • Reid calls Cheney the "chief attack dog" [Side note: Reid says he is not going to get into name-calling and then calls Cheney a name in the same sentence. ""I'm not going to get into a name-calling match with somebody who has a 9 percent approval rating. ... I'm not going to get into a name-calling match with the administration's chief attack dog," Reid said after being asked about Cheney's remarks."]
  • Cheney says Reid is making decisions for his own political power: "It is cynical to declare that the war is lost because you believe it gives you political advantage."
  • Kennedy accuses Cheney of playing politics and deception
  • Reid calls the President "obstinate" and "the odd man out" and "brusque" and being in "a state of denial"
  • Cheney says Reid, through his comments, is "uninformed and misleading"
  • Reid talks of the Bush administration's "incompetence and dishonesty"
  • Kucinich accuses Cheney of manipulation, fabrication, and deception
  • Kennedy of Cheney: "Vice President Cheney is the last person in the administration who should accuse anyone of making uninformed and misleading statements"

Links to related articles:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,268002,00.html
http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/04/24/congress.iraq.ap/index.html
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,267880,00.html
http://kucinich.house.gov/UploadedFiles/int2.pdf
http://kennedy.senate.gov/newsroom/press_release.cfm?id=53729318-3866-44d1-9b21-24bb0bf0ae99
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_IRAQ?SITE=TXHAR&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT
http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSN2331671320070424?pageNumber=2


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Pics of Senator Reid

Democrats agreed on legislation which ties Iraq funds to troop withdrawal. This is a heated battle led by Senator Reid on the Democratic side and President Bush’s promised veto on the other. I found a difference in the pictures used by each. I assume they both had the same choice of AP photos. CNN chose a picture in which Reid is pointing a finger. This pic projects a strong Reid. Fox chose a “duh” pic of Reid. Fox also added a picture of President Bush seated with a general in the Oval office.













Links to the articles:

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/04/24/congress.iraq.ap/index.html

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,267971,00.html


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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Politics and Success in Iraq

On Friday, Senator Harry Reid spoke about the recent war of words that started with his "the war is lost" comment. His web site has a copy of his statement. In that statement Reid says, "No one wants us to succeed in Iraq more than the Democrats." I wonder if that really is true. Let's say the recent addition of troops really had an impact in Iraq and that things were turning around dramatically. Would that make Reid happy? Didn't he get his powerful position because the Democrats took the Senate? Didn't they take the Senate, in large part, because of things not going well in Iraq? If things did turn out well, would the Republicans take over in the next elections? So, how hard do the Democrats work to make things better in Iraq?

FoxNews published a poll that included the following two questions about the role of politics in Iraq policy. Overwhelmingly, both Republicans and Democrats believe both parties are playing politics when it comes to Iraq.


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Friday, April 20, 2007

Reid: The War is Lost; part 2

Like FoxNews.com (see my post of yesterday), the Republican National Committee is making much of Senator Reid's "war is lost" sound bite.
http://www.gop.com/News/Read.aspx?ID=6904

Yesterday Fox jumped on Reid's statement right away and CNN had nothing on it. This morning CNN is running an AP story on Reid's statement and the Republican reaction.
http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/04/20/reid.iraq.ap/index.html


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Thursday, April 19, 2007

CNN vs. Fox: War is lost?


FoxNews.com is jumping all over Senator Reid's sound bite of the "war is lost." At this time of day (8:00pm MDT) you can not find any reference to Senator Reid on CNN's home page or on its "Politics" page. You have to do a serach to find an AP article about President Bush meeting with Senator Reid and other lawmakers. I suspect that CNN may have more to say tomorrow. However, Fox highlights Reid as one its main stories on its home page and includes a video clip in its "Politics" section. I don't like the repeated use of sound bites because it tends to take things out of context as it does in this case. On the other hand, it was a pretty outrageuous thing for Reid to say.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

CNN vs. Fox: Coverage of the Supreme Court abortion decision

A little over a year ago I described how CNN used the term “late-term” vs. Fox's “partial-birth.” At that time Fox also more graphically described the specific procedures for this type of abortion. CNN seemed to try and downplay the negative aspects of the procedure and devoted more of its article to those in favor of abortion. With the Supreme Court decision today, similar things can be seen of CNN.com's and FoxNews.com's coverage. CNN runs their own article again whereas Fox uses an AP story as they did last time.


CNN's headline does not use “partial-birth” by saying “Justices uphold ban on abortion procedure.” Fox's headline says “Supreme court upholds partial-birth abortion ban act.”


CNN uses “partial-birth" twice: once in giving the name of the bill and once to say it is a term used by abortion foes:

Doctors call this type of late-term abortion an "intact dilation and evacuation." Abortion foes term it a "partial-birth abortion."


CNN never describes the actual procedure. Fox does so graphically by saying:

The procedure at issue involves partially removing the fetus intact from a woman's uterus, then crushing or cutting its skull to complete the abortion.


Link to my previous blog:

http://cnnvsfox.blogspot.com/2006/02/late-term-vs-partial-birth-abortion.html

Link to the articles:

http://www.cnn.com/2007/LAW/04/18/scotus.abortion/index.html

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,266724,00.html



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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tragedy

The slaughter at Virginia Tech is unbelievably tragic. 32 innocent bystanders killed and others wounded. It is hard to fathom what the VT community and their families are going through. I couldn't help but think though about how awful it must be to live in a country like Iraq where this useless killing is almost a daily occurrence.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

CNN vs. Fox: Treatment of Gonzales

There are certainly two perspectives on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales today. CNN and Fox News each have links to their stories on their home pages. Gonzales testifies in two days concerning the firing of several district attorneys. He wrote an op-ed piece for the Washington Post and his statement for his hearing has been released. CNN's article is much hasher towards Gonzales than Fox; or you can say Fox is kinder towards him than CNN.

Headlines. CNN focuses on the expected grilling Gonzales while Fox provides some defensive wording.

CNN.com: Specter: Gonzales to face 'serious questions' on firings

FoxNews.com: Attorney General Gonzales Insists U.S. Attorney Firings Were Not Improper


Opening sentences. The same thing can be noticed in the opening sentences.

CNN.com: The Senate Judiciary Committee's ranking Republican warned Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to avoid generalizations and "deal with the facts," two days before Gonzales is expected to answer questions about the dismissal of eight U.S. attorneys.

FoxNews.com: The firing of eight U.S. attorneys could have been handled better, but the prosecutors were not dismissed for any "improper reason," Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will say Tuesday.


Gonzales quotes. For both articles, I counted the number of words used in directly quoting or paraphrasing Gonzales from the op-ed article or his statement. Here are the results.

CNN.com: 229 words out of 1081 total words in the article. This is 21% of the article.

FoxNews.com: 557 words out of 1291 for 43%, over twice CNN's percentage.


Links to the articles:

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/04/15/gonzales/index.html

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,266180,00.html



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Saturday, April 14, 2007

100 Days of Congress and What Have We Got?

The two major parties definitely have different views on the first 100 days of Congress. Howard Dean released a statement saying:

“After 100 days, Democrats are working hard to keep our promises to the American people. I applaud Democrats for passing ethics reform, increasing the minimum wage, implementing the recommendations of the 9/11 commission and restoring fiscal responsibility to Washington. Under the strong leadership of Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid, we are holding President Bush and his allies in Congress accountable for their permanent commitment to a failed strategy in Iraq and we are making sure our troops and veterans get the resources they deserve. We will continue to make sure the interests of the American people are always placed above partisan politics.”

The Republicans have a different press release entitled “100 Days of Delay, Disarray, and Dysfunction.” They make these points:

DEMS HAVE NOT PASSED ANY OF THEIR PRIORITY LEGISLATION

DEMS VOTED FOR LARGEST TAX INCREASE IN U.S. HISTORY

DEMS BREAK PROMISE OF FIVE-DAY WORK WEEK

DEMS LAUGHED AT CONSEQUENCES OF WITHDRAWAL IN IRAQ

DEM LEADERS DECIDED TO CUT FUNDING FOR TROOPS

DEMS WENT ON VACATION INSTEAD OF FUNDING TROOPS

DEMS LAID OUT "CONVOLUTED" PLAN FOR IRAQ

DEMS ADOPTED ROSIE' O'DONNELL'S VIEW ON WAR ON TERROR

Links to each:

http://www.democrats.org/a/2007/04/dean_after_100.php

http://www.gop.com/News/Read.aspx?ID=6893


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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Nifong and the Duke Lacrosse case

Normally I like to compare how two web sites cover the same story. Usually this is CNN vs. Fox or DNC vs. RNC. In all cases I like to pay particular attention to specific words and terms that are used. Today, I want to just examine Mike Nifong's statement regarding the Duke lacrosse case after being slammed by the state attorney general. His statement can be found at: http://i.a.cnn.net/cnn/2007/images/04/12/0247.001.pdf


Here are some comments:


In the second paragraph he says “... it is important to remember that the Attorney General had the opportunity to review this legislation and to make this decision because I requested that he do so.” Surely he is trying to present himself in the best light possible but it comes across as a little disingenuous to me. I imagine he felt pressure to do what he did and was in effect forced to do so, although I cannot say for sure.


In the last paragraph he says: “To the extent that I made judgments that ultimately proved to be incorrect, I apologize to the three students that were wrongly accused.” I guess no one likes to admit they are wrong but I would just like for someone once to say “I blew it.” Nifong's wording softens the personal impact on himself as if to say “I was just making judgments and everyone knows that sometimes we make incorrect calls from time to time so I am sorry to some extent that my judgment may have been off.” He can blame his judgment if he wants but it sure seems that there is a lot more to it than that. I guess the state bar will figure that out.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

DNC vs. RNC: Iraq War

Interesting, although understandable, contrast on the main party web sites regarding Iraq. The Democratic National Committee has released their first 2008 election video ad. It shows comments from Americans contrasted with Republican candidate statements. There is a tally at the bottom of the screen which, by the end, shows Republican candidates with 3 votes versus The American People as it rolls up towards 60,000,000.

http://www.democrats.org/page/invite/YourIraqAd


Meanwhile the RNC had a recent press release entitled “Americans’ Rising Positive Feelings About The War: Five-Month High” which shows Gallup poll results showing a steep increase in the number of Americans who feel the was is going well.

http://www.gop.com/News/Read.aspx?ID=6861


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Monday, April 09, 2007

DNC vs. RNC: Romney and Obama

Both the Democrats and the Republicans are claiming false statements or changed positions by a candidate of the other party.

The DNC is picking on Mitt Romney again. They have an article entitled “Shhhh! Be Vewy Vewy Qwiet...I'm Fwip-Fwopping...” The accompanying picture is uncalled for (it has an Elmer Fudd hat on Romney due to the recent flap over his hunting experience). Here’s the link: http://www.democrats.org/a/2007/04/shhhh_be_vewy_v.php

The RNC has an article entitled “Obama's Top Ten Fabrications.” The link: http://www.gop.com/News/Read.aspx?ID=6885

Saturday, April 07, 2007

DNC vs. RNC: Who's raising taxes

Both major party web sites are criticizing the other party for raising or wanting to raise taxes. The Democratic National Committee has a press release criticizing Mitt Romney as noted below. The Republican National Committee has a Wall Street Journal article critical of the Democratic legislature's efforts.


DNC:

Ad Watch: Romney Veto Ad Can’t Override His Tax-Raising Record

Mitt Romney’s high-priced, high profile campaign to smooth talk Republican primary voters into ignoring his real record continues today with yet another television ad. His latest, entitled “I Like Vetoes”, is a weak attempt to deflect attention from his tax-raising record as governor of Massachusetts by highlighting his use of the line item veto. ...



RNC:

Thursday, April 05, 2007
In Case You Missed It: The Coming Tax Increase

From The Wall Street Journal

Editorial
April 5, 2007

[C]ongress has just lit a fuse for the biggest tax increase in history.

The new House and Senate majorities have now passed budget resolutions -- five-year budget outlines -- that include the repeal of the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003. ... [U]nder the cover of zero media attention, Democrats are constructing a budget process that will make a tax increase all but inevitable. ...



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Fox getting desparate

Seems like FoxNews.com will look for any way to get some cleavage on their web site. They are desperate today. :-)

From their home page:

'Sexy Chicken'

Texas town says restaurant mascot is violating the law

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Hillary Scary?

Poll: Dems Win in '08, Hillary's Scary

FOX News poll finds Americans think a Democrat will win White House, but 1-in-4 would be 'scared' if it's Hillary Clinton

Both CNN.com and FoxNews.com are running stories about polls of the 2008 presidential election. CNN's is a Time.com article linked from their site about a TIME poll. Fox's is a Fox News poll. Interestingly, Fox shows the Democrats winning the presidency and CNN's Time poll shows the Republicans winning. Hillary Clinton really takes a hit in Fox's article. Check out these excerpts:

“... while many voters would be enthusiastic or pleased if any one of the current front-runners were to win, one candidate scares more people than the others — Sen. Hillary Clinton.”

“The bad news for Clinton is that she leads the pack at the negative end of the scale: 40 percent of voters say they would be displeased or scared if Clinton were to become the next president, 25 percent would feel that way if McCain won, 24 percent if Obama won and 24 percent Giuliani.”

“Furthermore, one of four voters — 26 percent — say they would be "scared" if Clinton were to win — that’s more than twice as many as those who say the same of Obama (11 percent) and McCain (9 percent) and more than three times as many as feel that way about Giuliani (8 percent).”

TIME does not use a word like “scary” but they do have some potential bad news for Hillary at this early point in the campaign:

In Clinton's case, as TIME pollster Mark Schulman points out, "with Hillary the Democratic front-runner, most voters have made up their minds about her, both pro and con. She may have limited upward potential against Republicans. ..."

Links to the articles:

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1604469,00.html?cnn=yes

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,262398,00.html


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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

DNC Labels Republican candidates

It appears that the DNC is providing labels for the Republican candidates on their web site and using these over and over again. Here they are:
Rudy is "the Rudy 'You Don't Yet Know' Giuliani"
Mitt is "'smooth talking' Mitt Romney"
John's name now frequently associated with "John McCain's 'do-anything-to-win campaign'"

Reminds me of a kid who keeps calling you names over and over again. The GOP has their issues too. For example, they are painting a picture of Barack Obama as a "rookie" who has no substance. The GOP however has not yet pinned specific labels consistently over time.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Can a candidate do some straight-talking?

Here's part of the problem in politics today. Candidates have to be so careful about what they say that they say nothing or only safe things or whatever their handlers tell them to say. CNN has an AP article on John McCain entitled “Straight talk makes McCain's staff 'insane'.” Here is a quote from the article:

Online video sites and blogs have made this cycle's campaign gaffes instantly available. Every error and every stutter that changes a meaning is now magnified -- and preserved as fodder for rivals during the 10 months before the first primaries and 20 months to the general election.

Here's another quote:

It's [McCain's campaign] a sharp contrast to other campaigns, which manage the candidates' public appearances and limit their exposure.

Candidates should be able to speak their mind and we all should give them a pass on honest slips of the tongue.

Link to the article:

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/03/26/talking.mccain.ap/index.html


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Saturday, March 24, 2007

DNC vs. RNC: Negativity

I compared recent press releases from the two major parties to see to what degree they attack the other party as compared to talking about their own party and plans. By the way, the DNC puts out far more press releases than the RNC. Here is what I found:


Democratic National Committee

In checking the page with their latest press releases, 8 out of 10 were targeted mainly at the opposition as follows:

anti-McCain (2)

anti-Republican (3)

anti-Romney (2)

anti-Bush


Republican National Committee

Checking the Republican press releases for March, 3 out of 8 were attacking the other

anti-Obama

anti-Edwards

anti-Democrat



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Amen to Gov. Schwarzenegger

Governor Schwarzenegger made some great comments directed at candidates coming to campaign in California.

"It's very important that the candidates let us know how they feel about the very important issues," Schwarzenegger said. "I want to know how they would go about, when they go back to Washington, to bring Democrats and Republicans together." ...


"We don't want to hear the regular rhetoric, 'We should be firm but compassionate.' What does that really mean?" he said to laughter from the crowd. "Let's go into specifics, let's find out what they're talking about."

Here's a link to CNN's article:
http://www.cnn.com/POLITICS/blogs/politicalticker/

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Both the Republican and Democratic parties love to point out anything that looks like flip-flopping, inconsistent messages, double-speak, or potential hypocrisy in their opponents. I think they make much to do about nothing many times by trying to overemphasize inconsistencies to distract from talking about the issues. This tactic often takes snippets of someone's comments out of context and comparing them side by side. I would agree that sometimes there are valid points to be made. But, it seems that some just want to paint the candidate a certain way. Here are some examples and you can decide for yourself:

From the Democratic National Committee:

“Just the Truth? Why the Republicans Have Changed Their Tune”

http://www.democrats.org/a/2007/03/republicans_sou.php


Flip-Flopping, Hair Muss Romney's Campaign”

http://www.democrats.org/a/2007/03/globe_flip-flop.php


“Trying to have it both ways” [John McCain]

http://www.democrats.org/a/2007/03/trying_to_have.php


“Oh really?” [Newt Gingrich]

http://www.democrats.org/a/2007/02/oh_really_1.php


From the Republican National Committee:

“Does Obama actually believe his own rhetoric on withdrawal from Iraq?”

http://www.gop.com/News/Read.aspx?ID=6848


“Calendar chaos” [a video of clips of Nancy Pelosi]

http://www.gop.com/MultiMedia/MediaPlayer.aspx?ID=1147&TypeID=2


A Calculating, Divisive, Lifelong Liberal With Political Baggage” [Hillary Clinton]

http://www.gop.com/News/Read.aspx?ID=6799


A Hypocritical, Inexperienced Liberal With A New Negative Attitude” [John Edwards]

http://www.gop.com/News/Read.aspx?ID=6798

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Coverage of Michael Moore's credibility

Two self-described “left-wingers" from Canada, Debbie Melnyk and Rick Caine, did a documentary of Michael Moore entitled “Manufacturing Dissent.” Although still fans of Moore to some extent, the two are disillusioned with Michael Moore's methods and the film is apparently not very complimentary of the Fahrenheit 9/11 director and attacks his credibility. In doing a search on CNN's web site I found one AP article on March 13th. Fox gave it more notice with the same AP story on March 11th, a London Times article on March 5th, and mention in three other articles, plus a video clip. Here are the articles:


CNN:

1. Filmmakers question Michael Moore's tactics (03.13.2007)
As documentary filmmakers, Debbie Melnyk and Rick Caine looked up to Michael Moore.


FOX:

Film Questions Michael Moore's Tactics - Celebrity ... Film Questions Michael Moore's Tactics, Documentary 'Manufacturing Dissent' turns cameras on Michael Moore and questions his tactics. FOXNews.com. ...

www.foxnews.com/wires/2007Mar11/0,4... - 8k - 2007-03-11

Festival Features Doc on Michael Moore - Celebrity ...

... The cameras get turned on Michael Moore for a change at the South by Southwest film festival, where the documentary "Manufacturing Dissent" will have its world ...

www.foxnews.com/wires/2007Mar08/0,4... - 10k - 2007-03-08

Documentary Film Takes on Michael Moore's ...

... In "Manufacturing Dissent," a documentary to be shown for the first time at a Texas film festival on Saturday, a pair of left-wing Canadian film-makers take ...

www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,256679... - 8k - 2007-03-05

An 'Inconvenient' Rebuttal to Al Gore's Global ...

... them. Their film is called "Manufacturing Dissent" — and it is set to premiere at the Texas Film Festival Saturday. Felony Threat. ...

www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,256798... - 9k - 2007-03-05


Look for `The Lookout' to Open SXSW

... Among the other films scheduled to play at South by Southwest, which runs through March 17, are the documentaries "Manufacturing Dissent," which follows ...

www.foxnews.com/wires/2007Jan08/0,4... - 6k - 2007-01-08



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Different perspectives on polls of Iraq

Both CNN.con and FoxNews.com ran stories on polls concerning the Iraq War. CNN reports on their own poll. Fox reports on a poll reported by the London Times. CNN highlights negative views of the Iraq situation while Fox's story has some positive aspects. Look at their respective headlines and opening sentences:


CNN:

Poll: Confidence in Iraq war down sharply

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Americans are starkly less confident and proud of their country's involvement in Iraq, according to poll results released Sunday.

However, the poll -- results of which were released on the eve of the Iraq war's 4-year anniversary -- also indicated that Americans are no more worried about the conflict than they were when it began in March 2003.


Fox:

Poll: Only 27 Percent of Iraqis Say Country Is in Civil War

Despite sectarian slaughter, ethnic cleansing and homicide bombs, an opinion poll conducted on the eve of the fourth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq has found a striking resilience and optimism among the inhabitants.

The poll, the biggest since coalition troops entered Iraq on March 20, 2003, shows that by a majority of two to one, Iraqis prefer the current leadership to Saddam Hussein 's regime, regardless of the security crisis and a lack of public services.

The survey, published today, also reveals that contrary to the views of many western analysts, most Iraqis do not believe they are embroiled in a civil war


Links:

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/03/18/poll.wars/index.html

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,259405,00.html



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Friday, March 16, 2007

DNC picking on Mitt Romney

The Democratic National Committee is using name-calling tactics by trying to pin a label on Republican candidate Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney is referred to as “smooth talking Mitt Romney” in DNC press releases and posts on 3/15/2007, 3/9/2007, 3/7/2007, 3/3/2007, 2/28/2007, 2/26/2007, 2/22/2007, 2/21/2007, 2/13/2007, 2/8/2007, 2/5/2007, 1/31/2007, 1/26/2007, 1/24/2007, 1/22/2007 – you get the idea. This is reminiscent of the previous Republican tactic of calling John Kerry a flip-flopper. Say it enough times and hope it sticks. I detest this type of tactic and consider it a distraction from true dialog.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Iraq Withdrawal Vote

Both CNN and Fox ran AP articles about the Senate not passing a troop withdrawal proposal. Fox's headline is more anti-Dem than CNN and CNN's headline has some positive mixed in. I've shown the opening statements for both and you can see that Fox's emphasizes Reid's defeat.



Fox:

Harry Reid's Plan to Withdraw U.S. Troops From Iraq by March 2008 Fails in Senate

Thursday, March 15, 2007

WASHINGTON — Republicans handed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a defeat on the Iraq issue Thursday, voting down a proposal that would withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by March 31, 2008.

Democrats aggressively challenged President Bush's Iraq policy at both ends of the Capitol building, gaining House committee approval for a troop withdrawal deadline of Sept. 1, 2008, but suffering defeat in the Senate.

CNN:

Iraq pullout deadline advances in House, fails in Senate

POSTED: 6:33 p.m. EDT, March 15, 2007

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Democrats aggressively challenged President Bush's Iraq policy at both ends of the Capitol on Thursday, gaining House committee approval for a troop withdrawal deadline of September 1, 2008, but suffering defeat in the Senate on a less sweeping plan to end U.S. participation in the war.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

CNN poll on Iraq confusing

Unless I am missing something, CNN.com's reporting of their poll does not seem correct. Here is the headline and opening of the article:

Poll: Less than half of Americans think U.S. can win in Iraq

POSTED: 8:19 p.m. EDT, March 13, 2007

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Less than half of Americans think the United States can win the war in Iraq, according to a CNN poll released Tuesday. The results mark the first time since the war began four years ago that a majority did not say the United States can win. Forty-six percent of Americans polled say the United States cannot win, compared with the 37 percent that think the U.S. can win. An all-time low of 29 percent say things are going well in Iraq. (Interactive: Poll results)

When you click on “poll results” you see this



So, the article says 46% think the U.S. can win and 37% say it cannot win. However, the poll results graphic shows that it is 46% -- 46%. Something is not right. Also, while the headline says that less than half of Americans think the war in Iraq can be won, it is also true that less than half think the war cannot be won.

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Fox: Al Gore needs to cool it

FoxNews.com ran a story entitled, “Scientists: Gore Goes Too Far in 'An Inconvenient Truth'.” It concerns a report that was in the New York Times and opens with this statement:


Several experts on climate change, including both proponents and skeptics of the man-made global warming theory, question former Vice President Al Gore's assertions in his Academy Award-winning documentary film "An Inconvenient Truth."


Fox has had this on the home page all day. I have not seen it yet on CNN.com.


Link to the article:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,258462,00.html

Monday, March 12, 2007

CNN: Pics of Rudy and John

Could CNN have picked two worse pictures of JohnMcCain and Rudy Giuliani? The article is about a poll of leading GOP candidates.




CNN's article:

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/03/12/giuliani.race/index.html

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Global Warming coverage

CNN.com and FoxNews.com both ran identical AP stories on a recent global warming report. I have shown in past posts how CNN tends to promote the global warming problem more that Fox. In this case, CNN adds four pictures which adds more emphasis to its article than Fox’s picture-less article. Here is one of CNN’s pictures with the caption: “Smoke billows from chimneys at a power plant in Chifeng, Mongolia. Scientists say they are 90 percent certain global warming is caused by humans.”


Other pictures were of traffic in LA, Alaskan beach erosion, and little snow in Switzerland.

Links to articles:

http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/science/03/10/climate.report.ap/index.html

http://www.foxnews.com/wires/2007Mar11/0,4670,ClimateReport,00.html


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Saturday, March 10, 2007

CNN vs. Fox: Nevada Democratic Party backs out of debate

Dems cancel debate on Fox News. CNN reports that it is over a joke about Obama. Fox News runs a story about a story in a Las Vegas paper saying:

[the Las Vegas Revie Journal] blames the "socialist, Web-addicted wing of the Democratic Party" for sabotaging the debate, saying they were "apopleptic" over the thought of having to watch FOX News Channel in order to see their candidates.



Republican counter regarding the Scooter Libby case

I was looking at the Congressional Record for Friday the 9th and saw this statement by Joe Pitts (R-PA). There are obviously issues on both sides of the aisle. I think at least Pitts makes a strong point without using extreme language.

Mr. PITTS. Madam Speaker, no town likes a scandal, real or invented, more than Washington, DC, and the latest news involving Scooter Libby has the Beltway crowd abuzz.

Madam Speaker, if Scooter Libby broke the law, he should be held to account. But with all the attention being paid to this scandal, I can't help but think of the double standard that seems to be at play here. Scooter Libby is being prosecuted for the exact same offense that ensnared former President Bill Clinton, lying under oath, perjury and obstruction of justice. But the same people today who are calling for Libby's head were insisting back then that Bill Clinton's offense was no big deal. And the hypocrisy doesn't end there. Where was the liberal outrage when Sandy Berger was caught destroying classified documents and received a slap on the wrist? What about sweetheart land deals or refrigerated cash? Madam Speaker, the American ideal is equal justice under the law. Let's enforce the law, and let's do so equally, regardless of politics.


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Thursday, March 08, 2007

DNC vs.RNC: Democrats plan for Iraq

The Democrats have a plan for bringing U.S. Troops home that is being proposed in the House. I looked at the national committee web sites for the Democrats and Republicans to see what they had to say. The RNC has a statement from the chairman, Robert “Mike” Duncan and the DNC has a posting by Michal link. I was a little disappointed in the words used by both that are not conducive to a civil debate.


The RNC refers to the proposed legislation as a “slow-bleed plan.” They also use “cut and run,” “deadline for retreat,” and “defeat and retreat.”


The DNC says the legislation will “attack the neglect of returning troops and veterans” (kind of a broad statement that takes advantage of the Walter Reed incident). Rather than a war on terror in Iraq, the DNC statement talks of bringing to an end our “participation in Iraq's civil war.” It also refers to “Bush's failed Iraq policy.”


My point here is not the specific points that each are making because each have some valid things to say. However, I believe they could choose words that are less confrontational that would lead to better dialog. I recognize that there is a lot of anger but we need to control that and debate this as calmly as possible. Both parties want the same thing. Both want peace. Give peace a chance!


Links to the statements:

http://www.democrats.org/a/2007/03/house_democrats.php

http://www.gop.com/News/Read.aspx?ID=6814

Headlines: General Petraeus' comments

CNN is running a Reuters story on recent comments by General Petraeus, chief of U.S. Forces in Iraq. Fox is running an AP story. CNN uses these two quotes early in the article:

"There is no military solution to a problem like that in Iraq, to the insurgency of Iraq," Petraeus said."Military action is necessary to help improve security ... but it is not sufficient."

CNN uses the first statement above for their headline while Fox uses the latter. CNN's headline is more negative concerning our military efforts while Fox's headline implies that the military part is important but that more is needed on the political side:

CNN: No military solution to Iraq - U.S. chief

Fox: Petraeus: Military Force Alone 'Not Sufficient' to End Iraq Violence

Links to the articles:

http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/03/08/iraq.petraeus.reut/index.html

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,257678,00.html


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

CNN: Obama changing his accent?

While FoxNews ran a story on Hillary changing her accent in Selma, CNN today has a video showing not just Hillary but also Barack Obama changing his accent (as well as a few other people including Oprah). It still makes me wonder whether or not Fox has a more anti-Hillary bias than CNN, as I noted a few postings ago. Also, maybe CNN is trying to downplay Hillary's actions by showing many others doing it including Oprah.

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Monday, March 05, 2007

Fox: Hillary changing her accent?

FoxNews.com is running a short article saying that Hillary may be changing her accent as she moves around the country. They offer two video clips for comparison. Of course, the clips do not show the context of the entire speech in either case but her "southern" accent in Selma is very different sounding from her speech in Johnston, Iowa. Here's a link to the article:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,256747,00.html


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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Clinton vs. Obama: CNN and Fox taking sides?

Presidential rivals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama each made appearances in Selma, AL today. FoxNews.com ran an AP story and CNN.com ran their own story. Fox appeared to favor Obama a bit and CNN seemed to favor Clinton when the two articles are compared. Here are a few things I noticed:

1. CNN says "After their speeches, Obama and Clinton greeted each other at a rally re-enacting part of the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge." Fox, however, in the AP story, credits Obama with the initiative with "Obama, who shed his coat and tie for the march, approached Clinton at one point and the two chatted for a few seconds before moving back to opposite sides of the street."

2. CNN credits Clinton with mentioning Obama but later adds "Obama did not mention Sen. Clinton in his remarks at Brown Chapel A.M.E." However Fox notes "Despite the intense rivalry between their campaigns, the two praised each other. " Fox gives quotes from both.

3. CNN and Fox both devote about the same percentage of their articles to what Obama said (about one-third). CNN's article had about 25% of its article about Clinton's comments whereas Fox only had about 18%.

4. This may be subtle but Fox uses Obama's last name in the headline but uses Clinton's first name. CNN uses last names for both. Is Fox distinguishing between Hillary and Bill or are they being disrespectful by being less formal?

RNC and DNC propoganda

The Republican National Committee has chosen an interesting set of pictures of the Democratic presidential hopefuls. Check out this picture from their web site. Notice that not one is smiling and they look kind of mean. Hillary looks like she is whistling.
The Democratic National Committee is showing this graphic with the headline "Wall Street Continues it Downward Slide." They didn't have much to say when things were going well but now want to pin blame on the administration and the GOP as the economy dips.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Candidates:Who is the hippest of them all

I looked at the web sites of the leading contenders in each of the major parties to see who was the hippest in terms of using technology to gather support for their campaigns. In particular, who is reaching out to the younger crowd on their home page. I put them in three categories:

High--very hip
John Edwards (blog; YouTube videos; graphic available for websites; updates for cell phones; presence on MySpace, facebook, flickr and more)

Barack Obama (blog; "network with you friends"; your own profile; presence on YouTube, Flickr, facebook)

Medium--some savvy
John McCain ("McCainSpace", blog)

Hillary Clinton (blog)

Low--clueless
Mitt Romney (sign up for email updates)

Rudy Giuliani (sign up for email updates)


Sunday, February 25, 2007

2008 Campaign: Show Me the Money

This is from a CNN article on Tom Vilsack dropping out of the 2008 Democratic race:

"I was surprised," said Vilsack supporter and Iowa Democratic activist Gordon Fischer. But he said raising money for a national campaign has become "a high-stakes poker game where just to sit at the table you need more than $20-$25 million. ... Iowa is a small rural state and there is a limit to what you can raise."


That prompted me to look at the top three candidates web sites to see how much they emphasize fund-raising. Hillary Clinton clearly takes top honors with a major highlight on fundraising plus three separate "contribute" buttons plus a link for "Hillraisers."

John Edwards has two "contribute" buttons plus a graphic that people can add to their websites to encourage others to donate.

Barack Obama was the most low-key (maybe that is a little refreshing) and only has one "donate" button and one "become a fuindariser" link.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

William Jefferson (D-LA) on Homeland Security Panel?

Okay innocent until proven guilty, but Congressman William Jefferson (D-LA) has some very damaging evidence against him for bribery including $90,000 found in his freezer. I’m sure his narrow re-election was disheartening to Nancy Pelosi who has vowed to have a very ethical Congress. However, FoxNews.com has run two AP stories about Nancy Pelosi’s apparent plans to put William Jefferson on the Homeland Security panel, despite the fact that he is still under federal investigation for bribery. Because of hurricane response, that might make sense. But, should someone who may have been bribed recently be privy to important national security issues? The GOP has responded as noted in one of Fox’s stories. A search of CNN and MSNBC web sites turned up no such stories.

Links to the articles:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,252461,00.html

http://www.foxnews.com/wires/2007Feb16/0,4670,CongressJefferson,00.html


Monday, February 19, 2007

Ten Requirements to be a Radio Political Talk Show Host

Here are ten requirements for being a successful political talk show host on radio:

1. You must have a big ego.
2. You must write a book and market it shamelessly on your show (remember that, first and foremost, this is a business).
3. You must have some catch phrase that callers use when they call in (e.g., ditto, you're a sick twisted freak, you're a great American, etc.)
4. You must have a web site for which listeners have to pay to be an "insider" (remember that, first and foremost, this is a business).
5. You must gain fans by uniting against a common enemy (no one wants to listen to a calm civil debate; build fan loyalty by ranting against the opposition).
6. You must sell subscriptions to a newsletter and/or offer merchandise for sale through your web site (remember that, first and foremost, this is a business).
7. Friday has to have some special name (e.g., closed line Friday, open line Friday, etc.)
8. You must perfect the art of teasing so that you can keep people listening as long as possible (remember that, first and foremost, this is a business).
9. You must be skilled in debate in case someone from an opposing view calls; in other words know how to interrupt callers, keep them off guard, and twist arguments your way and know how to hang up on them if they get too persistent; after all, this is your show not theirs.
10. Never forget #1 (and the fact that this is a business).

Anti-Speak: Iraq (D-MA) vs. (R-GA)

Periodically, I will look at statements by politicians and others and look for examples of anti-speak. By this term I mean antagonistic speech, or words that are used in anger or meanness that get in the way a true dialog on the issues (e.g., name-calling, overly harsh words, generalizations of the opposition, over-simplified sound bites, etc.). There is a line between making a strong passionate point and being in a state of antagonism. For more information on what constitutes "anti-speak" see my post at:

http://cnnvsfox.blogspot.com/2007/02/anti-speak-dnc-vs-rnc.html


Today I decided to look through a little bit of the Congressional record. I found an interesting interchange on Iraq from last Friday's House debate between Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) and Barney Frank (D-MA). Both make good points but do they have to cross the line and say inflammatory things? Here are a few excerpts (pp. H1797-98):

Mr. WESTMORELAND (R-GA): Mr. Speaker, if this undemocratic, smoke-and-mirrors Congress [a term Westmorelend uses three times.] had been in power throughout our Nation’s history, I am not sure we would have much to celebrate this weekend when we commemorate Presidents Day. ...


I wonder what the forebears of today’s Democratic Party would think of their policy of retreat and defeat? What would they think of the timidity in the face of great danger? ...


Given how Democratic leaders have battled to one-up each other and have allowed their rhetoric to spiral, how can this non-binding resolution be anything but a first step?


Mr. FRANK (D-MA): Mr. Speaker, we have just heard a great example of an important form of political debate. The Republicans specialize in this. It is kind of political necrophilia. There is this love of dead Democrats ...


I had thought that Bush and Cheney thought that everything we did was non-binding ...


If ever any group of people forfeited their right to be listened to, it is the collection of people who have shown an aggressive incompetence with regard to Iraq. Can anyone think of a single decision from the

invasion forward that has been correct, that has been borne out by events? ...


But the causes of the disaster, in addition to the rampant incompetence of this administration at virtually all levels ...



Sunday, February 18, 2007

Appearance of Presidential Candidates

I looked at the web sites of the three leading, declared candidates from the Democratic and the Republican parties and looked at how their campaign web sites portray them as of today. Below are the main images of the candidates that you see when you go to their sites. Some observations:

1. The Republicans all have ties and appear more formal than the Democrats.
2. The most candid shot is Barack Obama's.
3. Weakest smiles go to Hillary Clinton and John McCain.

Dems:


GOP:

Here are the web sites (Note: Two are listed for John Edwards, the link ending in "splash" is where my browser took me when I first tried to go to johnedwards.com.)


http://www.hillaryclinton.com/

http://johnedwards.com/splash/

http://johnedwards.com/

http://www.barackobama.com/

http://www.joinrudy2008.com/

http://www.mittromney.com/

http://www.johnmccain.com/