Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fair & Balanced

Because it's necessary to remain open to criticism, posts like this are quite helpful:
Follies and lies of the MCM (mainstream conservative media)

About ten days ago I saw an episode of Sean Hannity's television program that was entirely devoted to Hannity's and his guests' responses to the speech President Obama had delivered to the UN General Assembly earlier that day. Unfortunately, one could not call it a discussion. It was a nonstop, high-intensity attack on Obama for his supposed put-downs of America, culminating in Hannity's long colloquy with Michelle Malkin in which the two of them, with an effortlessness obviously borne of long practice, skillfully fed off each other's animus against the president, each statement topping the last. I was struck by the way these conservative stars had become like the liberal media they despise--experts at generating endless amounts of furious moral indignation against the object of their dislike. The show was also frustrating, because, notwithstanding Hannity's and Malkin's roundhouse condemnations of Obama for his anti-Americanism, they provided almost no quotations from his speech to back up the charge. The exchange consisted almost entirely of overheated adjectives, not facts. The fact that Obama, like all leftist Democrats, believes that America has too much power relative to other countries does not automatically mean that every time he opens his mouth he is tearing down America. It is necessary to show that he is tearing down America.

There was however one passage from the speech that Hannity did quote, consisting of Obama's remark that "on certain critical issues, America has acted unilaterally, without regard for the interests of others." Hannity, backed by Malkin, must have repeated this line three or four times. And I had to agree with them, that was certainly an egregious thing for the president of the U.S. to have said.

Except, as I found our later that evening when I looked up the speech on the Web, Obama hadn't said it.

Here is the entire passage:

I took office at a time when many around the world had come to view America with skepticism and distrust. Part of this was due to misperceptions and misinformation about my country. Part of this was due to opposition to specific policies, and a belief that on certain critical issues, America has acted unilaterally, without regard for the interests of others. This has fed an almost reflexive anti-Americanism, which too often has served as an excuse for our collective inaction.

So, when Obama stated that "America has acted unilaterally, without regard for the interests of others," he was pointedly not expressing his own view, but describing the view of other people, a view that he associated with "an almost reflexive anti-Americanism" which he said has damaged international cooperation.

Either Hannity (with Malkin's energetic assistance) told a scurrilous lie about Obama, or he is so stupid that he can't tell the difference between Obama stating his own views and Obama discussing (and criticizing) other people's views.

While this episode of Hannity's program was especially bad, it was not unique. To a disturbing degree the mainstream conservative media have become a mirror image of the liberal media, a generator of vitriol without facts.

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