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Monday, September 14, 2009



"just as hysterically"? Um, where does the article you link indicate that Reps. Gephart, Frost, et al. set about organizing a natinowide classroom boycott to protect children from Marxofascist indoctrination at the hands of the scheming President? Your comparison is inaccurate.

Your comparison of Wilson's outburst to the President's statements is also inaccurate. President Obama referred to certain political statements as lies while he had the floor. Same with Rep. Stark. Wilson's breach of decorum lies in the violation of our parliamentary tradition, not in his inaccurate assessment of the veracity of the President's words. Wilson is welcome to point out the falsehood of various Presidential statements and back up his claim in his own floor speeches, on his blog, in press interviews, whatever. But an outburst during a Presidential address to the nation is not the proper format for such accusations.

Of course, Rep. Wilson is flat wrong... but that's another issue:



Whoops -- you were right: there are indeed House rules that prohibit referring to the President as a liar, even in floor speeches. Go figure. I'm still o.k. with calling a lie a lie. But Rep. Wilson's outburst is still a greater breach of decorum than any example you cite. (Plus, Wilson lied.)



And besides: Stark is a Democrat so it's okay. I agree with you that Wilson's outburst was a greater breech of decorum. I simply think that if the Press is going to report on one they might think to mention the other. Moreover rules is rules. If Wilson should be official reprimanded, then so should Stark.

As to the school speech, again it's just worse if its Republicans, no. Congressional Democrats used their investigative powers to try to damage the Administration of Bush 41 over his school speech. How, exactly, is that worse than organizing grassroots boycotts? I think both responses were silly. You seem to think you have to show that it only counts when its the other side.

My point was specifically about decorum in the press, but I suppose it applies to us bloggers as well. If you want to defend decorum you have to defend it honestly. The MSM isn't doing that. You aren't doing it either.

Anthony D. Renli

One portion of the problem is that most of the 24 hour “News” stations (ok – all of them with the exception of C-SPAN and The Weather Channel) at some point decided that they wanted to make massive amounts of money by drumming up viewership as opposed to reporting the news.

This has meant that that people who have no business being taken seriously as legitimate sources of news and information are. They have degenerated into opinion channels that have their primary goal set as make as much noise as possible while appealing to the lowest common denominator. There is no reason that Bill O’Reily, Glen Beck, Keith Oberman, Ed Schultz, or Lou Dobbs should be given a “serious” platform from which to pontificate.

You rail against the Main Stream Media. Glen Beck is (God help us) the Main Stream Media. Much like as of right now John Stewart and Steven Colbert are the Main Stream Media. This is not citizen journalism. This is slickly produced, big budget, that which today passes for “News.” The only difference is Colbert and Stewart admit that they are making jokes and unfairly picking on their victims.

Yes, they sometimes get a real story out before Print Media. In a large number of cases, this is because Print Media spends time confirming with multiple sources and fact checking. Sometimes it is because they drop the ball. Sometimes it is an editorial decision based on available column inches or what the editorial board judges as being actual “News.” To a certain extent, Glen Beck (or Rush Limbaugh, or Ed Schultz, or Keith Oberman) getting all worked up over some topic could make an editor decide that something is newsworthy. On the flip side, so much of what these people spout out is such unmitigated bullcrap, a large number of editors might be somewhat put off by devoting their limited resources to researching it.


Hang on, Ken. I'm not of the impression that the press ignored Stark's remarks. The current coverage seems more a result of the fact that Wilson did it in front of a live national audience of several million people, while Stark's comments happened on the typical daily C-Span coverage. I'm not defending either; I'm just saying I can see why there's more buzz about Wilson when he used the megaphone of live national prime time coverage.

The school speech: I will maintain that the uproar over Obama's speech is more hysterical than the Dems' response to Bush's 1991 speech. Dem leaders argued that President Bush was using DOE funds to make a political ad. Today's socialism criers were arguing that President Obama was trying to indoctrinate the kids into Marxism. Neither argument would make much headway in a Congressional hearing, but the latter is a quantum leap above the former in indefensibility. Telling your kids to stay home and ignore the President does more practical harm to the Republic than a Congressional investigation of the use of federal funds (and did that investigation happen? did it find any there there?).


Anthony: The MSM tried to spike the van Jones story just as they are currently spiking the Acorn story. Were it not for Glen Beck and/or the blogosphere, we never would have heard about either of these. It isn't journalistic care.

I found the AP story on Acorn at the Star Tribune site, but only after I did a search for it. It was buried without a lead anywhere on the website. A story about an organization that received tons of money in Federal Grants and that was, until very recently, involved in the census process, is something of national importance. That in several cases ACORN members gave advice on how to get federal money to open a brothel, there is no way that that's not a front page story. Except when Barack Obama is President and the organization in question is a very partisan backer of Democrats.

Cory: What is the grounds for reprimanding Joe Wilson? I thought it was the fact that calling the President a liar is against the rules. Well, then, why did Stark get away with it? The question is not whether Stark committed as great a breech of decorum, it is that both sides do it and if we care we ought to care in both cases. If you can find an example of any media outlet besides Fox or National Review that mentions Stark's remarks, it will be the first I have seen.

As for the two School speeches, the latter was trigger by some poorly chosen words in a White House guide. Some of the criticism was indeed over the top. But the Democrats attack on Bush 41's speech was also very irresponsible. I just don't see why telling your kids to stay home is worse than using Congressional powers for a manifestly partisan purpose.


school: ...because telling your kids it's o.k. to skip school undermines the educational mission. (Of course, some folks kept their kids home so they could watch the President... now I'm confused! :-) ) Telling kids to ignore the President is inimical to democratic education. On the Congressional side, since when is it manifestly partisan to investigate whether federal funds have been used for partisan activity? If you'd like to have Senator Thune spearhead an investigation of DOE's expenditures on the speech and handouts, knock yourself out, I won't complain (much!). And practically, you haven't shown me that the 1991 Dems went anywhere with that investigation.

staying home to watch Obama: http://www.reporterherald.com/news_story.asp?ID=24787


Cory: I can hardly believe you are denying partisan motive in the 1991 opposition to Bush's school speech. Do you really believe the Democrats would have raised the same objections in the same circumstances if the President had been a Democrat? Are they raising any such objections now? Would Republicans not have raised similar objections then had Michael Dukakis been President? Would they be raising them now against John McCain? I never thought of you as naive, but it seems naive to suppose anything else. But maybe you are right. Maybe it okay if you're a Democrat, but not if you are a Republican.

As to keeping kids home from school for one day because someone objects to a speech, would a vehemently anti-war Democrat have been justified in keeping her child home on a day when Dubya addressed the nation's school children? I might not like her decision, but I wouldn't think it a matter of the basic mission of education. I would think it a matter of parental prerogative.

I think the objections to Obama's speech were mostly silly, and manifestly partisan. If wish, the current reaction is more extreme than that in 1991. But any fair minded evaluation would find the difference to be marginal.

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