Wednesday, February 07, 2007
More White House idiocy
There is more need than ever for reporting that presents the news fairly, not through an ideological prism. One of the most distressing features of public life recently has been the demise of shared facts. Warring partisans -- many of whom take their news from sources that cater to and amplify their existing opinions -- live in separate zones of reality. In such a climate, every news story is viewed as either weapon or shield in a nonstop ideological war. Our answer to this will be journalism that insists on the primacy of facts over ideology. Our belief in this is one reason The Politico will not have a traditional editorial page. Only rarely will we write as "We."I'm afraid if The Politico really intends to follow this policy, there will be no helping them being perceived as inherently biased to the liberal point of view. Observing the recent feature in public life of the demise of shared facts is one thing. There is overwhelming evidence that this is due to the express intent of the leadership of the Republican party to remake reality as they see fit. This is apparent in attacks on science, boneheaded determination to stay the course in the face of self evident disaster while proclaiming the success of the mission, and various other manifestations of Republicans in la la land. I just posted yesterday about a Republican who is so out of touch that she actually said that creating the world that the Iraqi insurgents and terrorists breed and operate in was a good thing, and followed that up with a call to support the troops. There is no other way to describe that than la la land.
The need for a source like the Politico is because of the effect of Fox news, and conservative railing at fact based news sources. There is a reason that majorities of Fox viewers remained convinced through out the 2004 election that Saddam Hussein was affiliated with Al Qaeda. In fact one prominent rightwing koolaid drinker rejoiced at the fact that Fox viewers were so misinformed, proclaiming it was despite the public school system and the liberal talking points etc etc... Somehow she forgot to mention it was also in spite of the truth! Yet another example of a conservative attacking the facts as liberally biased.
There is a reason the vast majority of Republican Congress critters surveyed doubt the scientific validity of human driven global warming. And there is a reason that the dead ender masses of conservative sheople defiantly support these willfully ignorant politicians despite the mounds of evidence (again, those pesky facts!) that debunk their views. In fact there is a reason that the Bush administration has spent years hushing up the scientists at NASA and everywhere else they could reach. This is a direct attack by this administration upon scientific fact, and could not be a clearer example of the alternate reality they have attempted to create by attacking and ignoring the truth.
There is a reason some koolaid drinking Republican house member from Tennessee actually believes that creating a cess pool of insurgency and terrorism to put more troops into was the right thing to do. How is it exactly that Vice President Cheney can be widely ridiculed for the lunacy he spouted about Iraq in his interview with Wolfe Blitzer, but he still enjoys strong support by the base, hardline, whacko right wing of the Republican party? It is because they can not be driven to see basic truth.
We can only hope that the Politico continues to faithfully execute the mission to bring us only fact based news. To this point I have found them a good source for the news they cover. I'm certain they will face a storm of criticism from the right because of their fact based nature, and hopefully the Politico won't fold to the pressure and become another tool of the right wing echo chamber.
Somehow I've managed to start a post intended to cover an article at The Politico into a rant at Fox news. What a way for this massively popular and rapidly growing blog ##big snark## to welcome The Politico!
Anyway, today The Politico has an article titled: "Bush Wants Funding Jump for Anti-Drug Ads Rated as Useless". Now I'm certain Rightwing freaks will hit the roof at the headline alone because of a perceived bias. But actually, there is no bias... that headline is entirely accurate in every word and meaning. If anything the headline actually downplays the harmful effects the ad campaign may be having.
Now let me point out before we get into the meat of the article that the reporter who wrote it once worked for the Marijuana Policy Project. The Politico makes no attempt to hide that fact. They put it in bold letters on the side margin of the article. The Marijuana Policy Project lobbies to legalize marijuana. The White House in fact has threatened to go to The Washington Post and tell columnists Howard Kurtz of this conflict of interest... I think it speaks well for The Politico that they ran the story rather than allow themselves to be buffaloed by administration blustering. Because what this boils down to in the end is that the article is entirely accurate.
Here is the meat of the story. President Bush's budget calls for an increase in spending for advertising anti drug ads, which the government has determined through a scientific study (oooh there's that dirty science word again) may actually increase the likelihood that kids use drugs.
If anything an advocate for legalizing marijuana would be perceived by the righties as wanting to encourage marijuana use. (That would actually be wrong, but I won't get into that right now, unless pushed to go there in comments) The article points out that it is administrations blundering that is contributing to increased pot usage, not legalization efforts (which are not even mentioned). If there is a bias here it is to report an activity that should be stopped in an effort to slow down marijuana usage, and it appears that the White House are the ones advocating the pro pot side here.
In a prime example of what I described earlier (facts not driving policy or the thought process of right wingers) the administrations reaction to the study was to shelve it for over a year.
The bad study results weren't news to the White House, which sat on the research for a year and a half while continuing to fund the ad campaign on the basis that the study was still ongoing, Slate magazine reported in September. In October, National Journal reported that John Carnevale, former director of budget and planning for the drug czar's office, admitted that the office "did not like the report's conclusions and chose to sit on it."This really is a prime example of cutting off ones nose to spite ones face, and then paying for a bigger knife to further mangle oneself. The administration funds a program to decrease drug use, which a scientific study shows has the opposite effect, but since the administration does not like the study they do not release it, and continue the harmful program. Despite the evidence they persist in harmful practices and increase the budget to do so. Sound familiar at all?
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