Friday, February 19, 2010

Conservative Media: A Critique from a Conservative Whom They Drive Nuts

For the sake of keeping this article short and simple, I will divide those I mention into two camps, conservative and liberal. Many who I place in the conservative camp, probably belong in no camp. Perhaps they belong in a camp of their own, where they can collect their own wood and make a fire to shed light on their pages of opinions poking at both camps while they stand firm as an army of one. However, since they think they are conservatives and speak for everyday Americans, I have to put them in a camp. They may be armies of one, but they still like D.C. cocktail parties.

The first conservative writer of note, who decided to discount the value of Sarah Palin, was Washington Post Columnist, Kathleen Parker. Ms. Parker had seen Sarah Palin’s T.V. interviews with Charles Gibson on ABC, and Katie Couric on CBS, and that was enough for Ms. Parker to sadly throw in the towel and lament that 4 decades of a women’s liberation movement, resulting in the drop of the U.S. birth rate, could only give Republicans a female Vice-Presidential Candidate who was from Alaska, had 5 kids, and gave imperfect T.V. interviews. A shame no doubt. The Democrats had already had Geraldine Ferraro take the national stage 2 decades earlier, and now the Republican’s big chance, only produced a moose hunting airhead expressing the values of freedom better than anyone, including a former Vietnam POW, but one easily stumped by questions from liberal journalists, who were able to convince so many that we had a folly on our hands, by simply displaying a displeased frown and a look above the eyeglasses.

After Ms. Parker’s article was published not only by her employer, The Washington Post, but also dutifully by the soft conservative National Review Online, I was driving in my car on a nice Saturday morning in September, when the top of the hour news came on, and touted that even conservative columnists, like Kathleen Parker, are beginning to have their doubts. Peggy Noonan and Mike Murphy, two more conservative school marms, were caught unaware that the microphone was still on as they went on to explain to one another what a joke Palin was. The media barrage from both camps commenced for the following months and Palin’s reputation as a woman with at least the knowledge of a 12th grader was badly tarnished. Such an unnecessary and unfounded notion, yet the false reality was created for millions of American Idol voters to mutter how stupid and how frequently pregnant that lady who tried to be Vice-President is. Nice job Ms. Parker, I’m sure Mrs. Palin thanks you for being honest and for not holding back even for a week or so, to see if the newly selected candidate could get her footing. I thank you too, Ms. Parker, because you helped to rescue the U.S. from having an imperfect woman be a heartbeat away from the Presidency, and you went on to support our current president, Barack Obama, and he won. Now he leads us, and how we have witnessed his noble and humble leadership.

Let me now move on to another conservative media man who I think might wear a nose plug during his nightly radio show; a show chocked with a who’s who list of conservative interviewees who make it possible for Hugh Hewitt to have a show containing more than the 15 minutes worth of things he would be able to talk about on his own, therefore allowing him to fill a three hour show. Hugh should definitely be giving 80% of his earnings to his guests, because without them, he wouldn’t have a show. I mean, this guy even has to book the left wing writers of the Washington Post to fill time.

At one time, I was a fan of the Hugh Hewitt Show. He talked a pretty big game, and he laid out some good goals for our elected officials to follow; goals which he later stopped mentioning after the Republicans drafted a nominee for President who wouldn’t come close to following them. In January of 2008, I was listening to Hugh’s show, when he said that the in the week to follow, the people of Florida and Michigan were going to vote Romney and end this charade of the McCain campaign. I sure hoped Hugh was right, and I loved his tough talk. Only, McCain won Florida and the Republican nomination. Now, it was early February, 2008, and Hillary Clinton and President Obama had months to go before one would finally be given the rights to take up the Democrat mantle. Their was no rush to become an overnight John McCain cheerleader, but Hugh became one instantly, and urged us all to do the same. If we didn’t, we would only be cutting off our nose to spite our face. Suddenly, we were expected to be happy that John McCain, complete with his bi-partisan deals with Democrats, which resulted in giving away the store, incoherent explanations about amnesty for illegal immigrants, and hell bent effort toward protecting terrorists, was now the Republican standard bearer. I spent the next few months hoping for a reason that McCain would become unable to run, but alas, I had to wait until November 3, 2008, to be relieved of the McCain candidacy.

The other night, I was listening to Hugh’s show again, and he was on the road, probably promoting a book about Mitt Romney. A caller from Arizona was up, and began saying how he supported J.D. Hayworth over McCain in the Arizona Primary. Hugh wouldn’t even let the caller say McCain’s name, because Hugh didn’t have his “dump button” with him in case the caller said an unkind word about McCain. I didn’t understand this one bit. I can only assume that callers that night were allowed to raise points of argument against Barack Obama throughout the night, unless Hugh had every minute booked up with guests that night, allowing the show to go on. However, Hugh did allow himself to point out that J.D. Hayworth was one of those “Birthers”, implying that it would be better to go the McCain route once again, than be tagged as supporting a “Birther”. Hugh needs to keep his moderate interviewees happy; after all; his show depends on it. That, and it gave Hugh the chance to use his favorite word and describe yet another person as a, “nutter”. Hugh’s new adaptation of forced civility apparently doesn’t apply to himself.

I was momentarily away from that evening’s Hugh Hewitt show, but when I tuned back in, he was just finishing up yet another interview with a politician, who said something like, “we need to put the brakes on Obama’s agenda”, and Hugh cut him off saying that he refuses to allow analogies on his show. O.K., Mark Steyn had better get off the guest list then. No wonder I never hear Dennis Miller on the Hewitt show.

So there you have it. This is a sample of our conservative media. Of course, not all conservative media personalities live in a bubble insulated with their own demands of perfection from conservative politicians and conservative Americans. If you look closely, you’ll also find that conservative media members will choose an issue for which to offer a defense for a liberal politician. Usually, they pick something that they don’t know enough about to discover that what they picked is indefensible. Some will even pick Bill Clinton’s lying under oath as the issue they decide is, “no big deal” and “overblown” (See David Frum). Erick Erickson has decided that in regards to Barack Obama he will pick the issue (birth certificate) that the President spent millions on to keep from seeing the light of day. Erickson will even ban anyone who goes on his site and brings the matter to attention. It seems as if that which is indeed indefensible has an expiration date. Usually, the ramifications of misdeeds might only expire after apologies are given, but some conservatives no longer require such a thing, while they mock the apologies of fellow conservatives. And when it comes to their own apologies or issued corrections forget about it. Many in the conservative media aren’t talented enough to admit their weaknesses and mistakes.

Ban of the "Birthers" and Redefining Reality

On February 12, 2010, Erick Erickson of declared that “Birfers and Truthers” would be banned from, I can only assume, posting comments on the site. O.K. fine, go ahead and ban people, whatever floats your boat. The problem that I have is that Mr. Erickson equates those who know that Barack Obama has not provided a long form birth certificate, with those who believe the U.S. Government plotted 9/11. He is equating those displaying an unpleasant fact, with those rendering a more deeply unpleasant opinion. For me, it is difficult to swallow and carry on quietly while the self-professed conservatives aim to define the boundaries for which freedom loving Americans express their opinions and form arguments. They therefore limit argument in a similar way that those on the left do, and many times, without knowing it, ally themselves with the opinions of the American left wing.

The comments board at now features the unbridled ridicule, once reserved for Code Pink types and cheerleaders of socialism, directed at anyone who questions the opinions of Erick Erickson, or entertains the possibility that a man who spent multiple years as a child in another nation (Barack Obama) might have been born in another nation and doesn’t meet the requirements of the constitution to serve as president. I don’t believe that it has been proved otherwise. Many of the commenters fear that the presence of “birfers” will cause the site to be, “taken off message”, as if that blog is actually going to lead the conservative movement with its anonymous bloggers and poor user interface. I personally don’t put a lot of effort into studying the matter of Obama’s citizenship or talking about it, but I don’t get the least bit upset if someone else does. The 9/11 conspiracy does upset me, but I’m willing to put up with hearing about it, as long as someone offers a little detail with elements of sanity and absent the appearance of an axe to grind. From what I’ve learned about the Kennedy assassination, I’m more inclined to believe Oswald had accomplices, but I’m not going to spend any extra time investigating it. If someone wants to, good. All three of these national questions, may be better unsolved, at least for now.

However, Erickson acts as if his own personal credibility depends on who views his site and posts comments. The move he has made with this ban is a purge to hide the rubbage, while the new and more elite viewers browse his postings. Another way to increase credibility might be ban those bloggers of who post full articles using aliases such as Haystack. Come out secret identity bloggers, and let us know who you are. Some, such as Allahpundit on have so many frequent postings throughout the day, I don’t see how they could actually have a real job to jeopardize.

Update: Red State continues digging the hole they are stuck in.

Erick Erickson assures readers in his latest post, that this is his last word on the Birfer and Truther issue. To argue in defense of Obama’s official Erickson Seal of Natural Born Citizenship, Erick tries to impress us with his knowledge of 14th Century British law defining natural born citizenship as having been born anywhere in the world by two parents who are citizens of Britain. So, Erickson refers to foreign law to make his case. I hope Erick doesn’t later bemoan Justice Breyer’s support of using foreign law in U.S. Supreme Court cases, when the issue again presents itself. Also, it seems that Erickson personally re-writes the U.S. definition of natural born citizen to read, “anyone born anywhere, who has parents who are U.S. Citizens”. By Erickson’s definition, one could conceivably be born in Iran by a U.S. businessman and his wife, attend Iranian schools and spend years of his life in Iran, only to later move to the U.S. in his 30s, begin a political career and become an Iranian sympathizing President of the United States. That is O.K. by Erickson’s standards because his parents were U.S. Citizens after all.

The question that is not asked by Erickson or his enlightened readers, is “Why does the Constitution require that the President be a Natural Born U.S. Citizen?” Is there a reason for this provision? Also, we simply need to know the definition of “Natural Born Citizen” as defined by the U.S. Constitution and/or Supreme Court Case. That is all.

Erickson instead focuses on his ridiculous assumption that those questioning Obama’s citizenship, believe that there was a cover up from the highest places of government since the day of his birth. I challenge him to find someone who believes that. Instead, the question should be asked, “how would Obama’s U.S. Citizenship benefit him and/or his parents at the time of his birth?”, and the other germane question is, “how many years of Obama’s childhood were spent in Indonesia?”

With the world becoming smaller and smaller, this is an issue that is likely to come to life in the future. It raises a question of sovereignty when the qualifications for a U.S. President become so skewed and more and more people like Erickson re-write history and make false claims regarding the meaning of imperative laws.

Erickson seems to be trying to play up his fame, and wants to be seen as a "reasonable conservative" by the likes of the conservative elite. Those who comment on his site even want him to bullet proof from the liberal likes of Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann. Erickson falsely believes that he will be judged according to the small number of birthers or truthers who comment on his site. This is weakness grounded in the “perception is reality” fallacy. Reality is reality, perception is temporary and the longer a perception lasts the more harmful it can become. This is a recurrent problem of the conservative media. They give up and give in.

They bought into the perception that the Bush administration’s Hurricane Katrina response was akin to immoral. This was a perception created by the liberal media, and it lasted long enough that most conservatives eventually decided to confirm the perception and adopt it as reality, even without newly born facts to persuade them that the Katrina response was indeed botched and careless. The reality of the Katrina response is something different than the perception that the liberal media transmitted, and conservative media should be chastised by their audience for lazily accepting, simply because of the passing of time, the liberal media’s invented reality. Erickson is doing the same thing here with the birthers. The birther’s questions have not been answered, but time has passed, and the perception created by the liberal media has eaten into Erickson and now he is crying uncle. Not only that, but he is now inventing facts himself to defend his actions. Good bye Where will you be in 5 years?