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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

By Brad Friedman on 7/29/2004 11:33am PT  

At a time when our country is at war in Iraq, and theoretically in the middle of a "War on Terror", shouldn't the positions of the only two parties we essentially get to choose from be fullied aired on the American airwaves so that the populace can make the most informed decision possible?

Surely the conventions now are produced and scripted to appeal to mostly one segment of the voting populace (the middle), but still it seems to me that the more Americans get to see of both major political parties --- even if they are striving to show only their best/most palatable face for four days --- the better the chances are that the people might have a better understanding of the real issues at stake at a crucial moment in our nation's history.

To that end, though the "breaking news" and "Fox News Alerts" may be at a minimum at the modern day Political Convention, it seems to me that the gathering itself, and the ideas presented throughout, ought to be "newsworthy" enough for the Networks to set aside 3 hours a night for 4 days every 4 four measly years even if it means a few dollars lost for their Corporate Parents and Shareholders.

News and Public Affairs has always been a loss-leader for the networks, but it was once the jewel in the crown for the nets, adding a certain prestige to these corporations who are, after all, making money by using our public airwaves.

In service to their country, and to their public, the networks ought to be airing these conventions whether they are, arguably enough, "infomercials" for the party interests or not.

Anything that can be done to aid the voting public in increasing their knowledge about what's going on --- ironically enough at a time when they are being fed more dis-information than ever before via the highly charged partisan media --- would be a service to our country. Even if it means a few dollars lost for the Corporations and their Share Holders.

The biggest "news" at these conventions has become how the "news" business is failing our nation in the name of corporate greed disguised as "news" judgement --- or in reality at this point, a lack thereof.

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 7/28/2004 11:59am PT  

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By Brad Friedman on 7/27/2004 11:34pm PT  

Yeah...it could happen.

In another stem-winder (yes, I like that word and one really only gets to use it properly every four years) tonight at the convention, a star was born: Barack Obama, running for the U.S. Senate, so far unopposed, from Illinois.

Here's just some of his mustard:

Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes.

Well, I say to them tonight, there's not a liberal America and a conservative America --- there is the United States of America.

There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America --- there is the United States of America.

The pundits, the pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue states; red states for Republicans, blue states for Democrats. But I've got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states.

We coach Little League in the blue states and have gay friends in the red states.

There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and patriots who supported it.

We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.

Expect much in the future from the man who will be our only African-American U.S. Senator in the next congress --- and only the fourth in the 225+ year history of this country!

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More important than at least 900 other Americans
By Brad Friedman on 7/27/2004 11:15pm PT  

In an earlier item here, after reading just the transcript, I gave the advantage to Michael Moore in the big Moore/O'Reilly dustup in Boston.

After seeing the actual broadcast, I'll stand by my original assessment. But I will add that Moore could have better made his case about Bush lying before the war had he remembered to mention Bush's false promise to use the military only as "a last option".

The fact is Bush promised time and again to do so. And in the process of that chest-thumping lie, found enough gullible (or cowardly) Senators --- including John Kerry --- to believe him at the time. They believed him enough that they were willing to vote for a foolish (and cowardly) resolution giving Bush a blank check to screw us over for decades and in the bargain send thousands to their deaths for, shall we charitably call them, dubious reasons.

That little historical fact --- the UN Inspectors who were on the ground, had complete run of the country, and had requested just another 30 or 60 days to complete their work --- is frequently overlooked by both the Anti-Warriors and the Bush Apologists. The latter by convenience, no doubt. And the former have so many Adminstration lies and deceptions to keep track of, it no doubt gets to difficult to remember them in the heat of being bloviated at. Especially on air. Especially by O'Reilly.

Moore was, however, smartly able to get the concession from O'Reilly that this war based on a mistake.

But to the larger point was this key exchange...One that is really at the crux of the entire anti-war argument of folks like myself. And one that I would ask any reader to consider well for themselves:

MOORE: So you would sacrifice your child to secure Fallujah? I want to hear you say that.

O'REILLY: I would sacrifice myself—

MOORE: Your child—Its Bush sending the children there.

O'REILLY: I would sacrifice myself.

MOORE: You and I don't go to war, because we're too old—

O'REILLY: Because if we back down, there will be more deaths and you know it.

MOORE: Say ‘I Bill O'Reilly would sacrifice my child to secure Fallujah'

O'REILLY: I'm not going to say what you say, you're a, that's ridiculous

MOORE: You don't believe that. Why should Bush sacrifice the children of people across America for this?

...

O'REILLY: I'm glad we've had this discussion because it just shows you that I see the world my way, you see the world your way, alright—and the audience is watching us here and they can decide who is right and who is wrong and that's the fair way to do it. Right?

MOORE: Right, I would not sacrifice my child to secure Fallujah and you would?

O'REILLY: I would sacrifice myself.

MOORE: You wouldn't send another child, another parents child to Fallujah, would you? You would sacrifice your life to secure Fallujah?

O'REILLY: I would.

MOORE: Can we sign him up? Can we sign him up right now?

O'REILLY: That's right.

MOORE: Where's the recruiter?

O'REILLY: You'd love to get rid of me.

MOORE: No I don't want—I want you to live. I want you to live.

O'REILLY: I appreciate that. Michael Moore everybody. There he is…

Never mind O'Reilly's false machismo there (I'm sure the U.S. Military could find a place for him if he really meant what he said about sacrificing himself. Apparently, the U.S. Army has just instructed a 67 year-old officer who served for 41 years to report for a physical like 5600 other "retired" non-reservists who have been informed that they may soon be called back to active duty in Iraq!)...But the real question is, would you sacrifice your child to secure Fallujah?

If the answer is yes, I'm sure there's a Recruiting Center nearby. And if the answer is no, but that you'd sacrifice yourself, well, again, I'm sure there's a Recruiting Center nearby and they'd be thrilled to see you!

But if the answer is no on both accounts, and yet you are either in favor of this war, or in favor of Bush this November, then you're either a liar or a hypocrite.

Perhaps if a few more lawmakers asked that question of themselves, or their kids (and that would include those like Bush and Cheney who both opted out of defending their country with their lives when they had the chance, and apparently haven't encouraged their own kids to sign up either!) we'd not be in this fine mess today.

America would be safer for it and a thousand more Americans would be alive to enjoy it.

ReddIt this story!



Gives Larry King a run for his money!
By Brad Friedman on 7/27/2004 5:21pm PT  

So O'Reilly gives us his usual "Talking Points" at the top of the show, defending against unnamed "members of the press" who are critical of him for not allowing the speeches to play, choosing instead, as he says "to analyze" what's going on at the convention instead of just giving the party spin.

The crucial analysis he's offering live from the DNC Convention? A LIVE interview with important policy maker Ben Affleck!

Bad enough? You'd think. But after the interview, before throwing to commercial, O'Reilly says, "When we come back...We'll let you listen to a little bit of Ted Kennedy...if he shows up!"

"If he shows up"?! NOTE TO O'REILLY: Ted Kennedy showed up. He would be that guy down on the stage behind you speaking to the convention that you're not covering. Right now. While you are busy interviewing Affleck. Turn around and look out your window.

Asshole.

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A Thousand Points of Light (for a few days, anyway)
By Brad Friedman on 7/27/2004 4:10pm PT  

Republicans are feeding the homeless! Packing up supplies to send to the poor soldiers in Iraq! Visiting the Bronx!

That's right! From this week (the start of the DNC Convention) up until the RNC Convention (if they get that far), the Republicans are acting out their "Compassion Across America" campaign! (Yes, seriously, not making this up!) And the timing couldn't be more obvious better!

BRAD BLOG reader (and close personal friend) Desi sends in this point of light, from the The New York Times.

So how many folks think that Republicans actually know where Harlem is? Much less that they'll be able to overcome their fear of Not-White People in order to actually travel there. (Expect the "Compassion Across America" campaign to be in effect only during day time hours. If at all.)

ReddIt this story!



'Your Tax Dollars at Work' Edition
By Brad Friedman on 7/27/2004 3:51pm PT  

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By Brad Friedman on 7/27/2004 2:35pm PT  

Drudge leaks the transcript. There are several typos, so it's hard to know how accurate it was. But read up. I'd call it advantage Moore (based on the written, rushed transcript), but then you'd expect that from me. So read it, and you decide. O'Reilly makes quite a few damning admissions. Moore does it again. Should send the Foxies into apoplexy tonight.

(Drudge is also now running the same picture I ran in the previous item, at the link given above. I took the photo from the photographer's website...but Drudge has it mirrored/reversed for some odd reason. No biggie, but I suppose it's a nice visual metaphor for how Drudge happily reverses whatever he likes to show things as he wishes, as opposed to how they actually are. And the Extremists in the Media and Republican Party just eat it up without question.)

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O'Reilly & Moore cross paths in Boston.
Settle terms for a 10 minute interview on 'The Factor' tonight.
By Brad Friedman on 7/27/2004 1:14pm PT  

Photo by Tom Tomorrow, trailing Moore at the convention.

From his blog item on the meeting:

We head back to the Fleet Center and as we are getting out of the Town Car, Bill O'Reilly is across the street getting out of his limo. "Hey Moore, when ya gonna come on my show?" he shouts. Michael responds, "When you see the rest of my movie." (O'Reilly walked out of the premiere halfway through.) He claims to have gone back and seen the whole thing, but when pressed for specifics, hems and haws. Nonetheless, Michael takes him at his word and they stand there out on the street negotiating the terms of the appearance as various Guardsmen and law enforcement types gawk and snap photos. They finally settle on a format: they will take turns asking each other questions. O'Reilly agrees not to edit the segment, and to explain in the intro that Michael has only been boycotting him because he walked out of the premiere. (It should air tonight. We'll see if he keeps the last part of that promise.)

Should be a good 'Factor' tonight.

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 7/26/2004 10:24pm PT  

I actually didn't plan on watching much of this convention at all! It's the RNC Convention where the fun begins!

But tonight turned out to be a surprise. I was first alerted that Al Gore was being rather funny (claiming he doesn't "lie awake at night counting...and recounting sheep") and pretty sharp ("Wouldn't we be safer with a president who didn't insist on confusing al Qaeda with Iraq?").

So I got sucked in. And as bored as I planned on being, I ended up rather impressed. From Gore to both Clintons (though Hillary was a bit shrill for my taste...if I wanted my ears to bleed I'd listen to Eleanor Clift on the McClaughlin Group each week...oh, wait, I do.)

Anyway, the most endearing --- and ironically, the toughest speaker of the night --- was the 80 year old Jimmy Carter! Who kicked it!

Notable quotes from his speech which is worth the full read! (it's short and sweet):

I served under two presidents, Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower, men who represented different political parties, both of whom had faced their active military responsibilities with honor.

They knew the horrors of war. And later as commanders in chief, they exercised restraint and judgment, and they had a clear sense of mission.

We had a confidence that our leaders, both military and civilian, would not put our soldiers and sailors in harm's way by initiating wars of choice unless America's vital interests were in danger.

We also were sure that these presidents would not mislead us when issues involved our national security.
...
I am confident that next January, [John Kerry] will restore the judgment and maturity to our government that nowadays is sorely lacking.
...
Truth is the foundation of our global leadership, but our credibility has been shattered and we are left increasingly isolated and vulnerable in a hostile world.
...
[I]n just 34 months, we have watched with deep concern as all [the] good will [after 9/11] has been squandered by a virtually unbroken series of mistakes and miscalculations.

Unilateral acts and demands have isolated the United States from the very nations we need to join us in combating terrorism.
...
What a difference these few months of extremism have made.

The United States has alienated its allies, dismayed its friends, and inadvertently gratified its enemies by proclaiming a confused and disturbing strategy of preemptive war.
...
We cannot maintain our historic self-confidence as a people if we generate public panic...we cannot do our duty as citizens and patriots if we pursue an agenda that polarizes and divides our country...we cannot be true to ourselves if we mistreat others.

And finally, in the world at large, we cannot lead if our leaders mislead.

You can't be a war president one day and claim to be a peace president the next, depending on the latest political polls.
...
Ultimately, the basic issue is whether America will provide global leadership that springs from the unity and the integrity of the American people, or whether extremist doctrines, the manipulation of the truth, will define America's role in the world.

At stake is nothing less than our nation's soul.

You go, boy! It was a humdinger! So much for the idea that ex-Presidents are supposed to shut the hell up! Now that's what a great American looks like boys and girls.

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Covering the Convention Coverage
By Brad Friedman on 7/26/2004 9:40pm PT  

Since the big boy bloggers all got invitations to the Convention (yeah, yeah, I might have as well, had I gotten them a copy of my passport in time, but never mind that!) I guess it's left to duffers like me to cover the coverage that they're missing since they're all in the hall itself, and don't get to watch it on TV!

Switching back and forth between Fox and CNN during Clinton's speech was telling for a start.

Fox was continuously breaking away from their shot of Clinton as he was speaking, to folks in the audience with funny hats, dark skin or, in at least one case, a guy who was either reading his program or falling asleep. (It seems unlikely he was falling asleep, but I have no doubt that's why Fox chose to go to that shot). CNN, for the most part, stayed on Clinton while he was speaking, breaking away only during applause breaks.

Anyway, it was after Clinton's speech that "Fair & Balanced" really came into play for Fox as they analyzed it up in the booth.

The panel...
On the Right: Brit Hume, Bill Krystol, Mort Kondracke and Fred Barnes
On the Left (sorta): Maura Liason

We report, you decide.

ReddIt this story!



DNC Convention Day 1
By Brad Friedman on 7/26/2004 9:19pm PT  

I've never been a fan and never much enjoyed listening to him speak, but tonight --- looking leaner and sounding sharper than I've ever seen him --- Bill Clinton's speech at the DNC Convention was nothing less than extraordinary. Had he been that sharp when he was running for President, he might have tricked me into voting for him!

Granted, I only caught the last 20 minutes or so (hope to catch more later on the repeats, along with Gore, Carter, etc.), but the most quotable phrase from his stem-winder tonight:

"They tell you to be afraid of Kerry and Edwards because they won't stand up for terror. But don't you believe them, strength and wisdom are not opposing values."

There was more notable, but I'll have to get back to you with some of the quotes.

By the way, since so few of the networks and cable "news" channels are covering the convention itself (versus the convention going on down in the hall while Bill O'Reilly talks about Lacy Peterson up in the Fox Booth at the convention), you can check C-Span.org anytime video of the full uncut speeches. If you can stand it.

C-Span itself should be noted for actually just playing the convention without all the bullshit. And for those of us on the West Coast, the nightly repeats are much appreciated!

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By Brad Friedman on 7/25/2004 1:17pm PT  

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Anatomy of the Rightwing Echo Chamber
By Brad Friedman on 7/24/2004 11:39pm PT  

"Media Matters for America" (who were are now linking to in our sidebar here) has been doing a terrific job of meticulously documenting the lies, innuendo, and out and out partisan bullshit echoed in near lock-step by the supposedly "Liberal" (CNN, MSNBC, NY Times, WaPo, etc.) and Extremist Conservative (Fox, Rush, Sean, Savage, Coulter, etc.) Media.

Take for example the Sandy Berger folderol in which a nine-month old investigation was leaked by Ashcroft's Justice Department just two days before the 9-11 Commission was to release it's report.

Rush told his listeners about it. He told them that this was "far worse" than Abu Ghraib. Even Chris Matthews invoked Watergate during a discussion on the topic.

On CNN, Tucker Carlson told America that "Berger stripped the files of every single copy of a single memo which detailed the Clinton administration's response to the Y2K terror threat." (Never mind that the documents alleged to be missing were copies of the originals.)

But then comes the pants and stock stuffing....

It's too late tonight, and I couldn't approach the superb job that Media Matters does in covering how this smear was perpetrated in the once great 4th Estate. So, if you are interested in how the "Liberal"/Rightwing Media plies it's dirty trade, or if you believe they do no such thing, take a look at this fascinating point-by-point timeline/dissection of how it all works.

Then ask yourself why you're not doing more to put an end to it.

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 7/24/2004 10:03pm PT  

Caught by Josh Marshall:

From ABCNews ...

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader's quixotic presidential campaign says it submitted about 5,400 signatures to get on the Michigan ballot, far short of the required number of 30,000. Luckily for him, approximately 43,000 signatures were filed by Michigan Republicans on his behalf, more than meeting the requirement.

Speaks for itself.

Idiots ...

I was thinking "cowardly un-American desperate pathetic wussies" ... but "idiots" works as well.

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