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Saturday, September 23, 2006

Vox Blogoli Part I: Thomas Edsall Sits Down With Hugh

It is that time again where the "Caesar" of the blogosphere has issued a challenge. Hugh is looking for opinions regarding the upcoming midterms. Namely, the important races for this coming elections. We will address that issue before the weekend is out (and that will be Thomas's job, not mine.) Mine is to touch on the other challenge: reaction to the very candid interview given by Mr. Edsell that Hugh conducted on September 21st. And I will be using excerpts from that interview to emphasize certain points.

First up is this exchange, which Mr. Edsall was happy to oblige Hugh with. It is a rarity to get this sort of honest candor from people within the dinosaur media. Most take offense to being asked questions like this, as Jonathan Chait and Michael Hiltzik have proven in past interviews with Hugh:

HH: Okay. Are you pro-choice?

TE: Yes.

HH: Even as to partial birth abortion, late term abortions?

TE: If the life of the mother is threatened, or if the child is going to be severely disabled, I would give it serious consideration.

HH: Do you own a gun?

TE: No, but I'm not against guns, and...well, in any rate, but you can ask gun questions.

HH: Do you favor same sex marriage?

TE: Not particularly.

HH: Do you think that liberal judges who decree that it's in the Constitution have erred?

TE: Probably.

HH: All right. That's interesting. Now...that makes you a lefty, but not over the edge lefty, right?

Precisely. Mr. Edsall is not ashamed to state what his beliefs are. And while I may disagree with them, this interview shows that he can be amiable, while most on the Left that Hugh interviews are completely over the edge, or worse, completely aloof to the idea of current events, and how things are happening in the world. More importantly in this exchange is his admission that while he does not own a firearm, he is not against people owning them. THIS is s sticking point to the Left, as evidenced by the Brady Center's continuing attempts to legislate what is, literally, unable to be legislated. The Second Amendment is quite clear: "...the right of the people to keep and Bear arms shall not be infringed." (Emphasis mine.)

HH: Okay. Now I want to get to your thesis about Building Red America. You don't much like the Republicans, Thomas Edsall, do you?

TE: I'm not wild about them.

HH: Why not?

TE: I think that...I admire Republicans, their skill and their talents. But I think the contemporary Republican Party, it has done some...I'll throw the positive out first. I think there are a lot of market solutions that the Democratic Party has failed to address, including in education with vouchers and choice. But to the negative, I think the Republican Party capitalized on white opposition to the civil rights movement. I think it sometimes has cynically used social conservatives, who many Republican conservatives refer to as right wing freaks and others, or religious nuts, and I think the party has really been on the side of the very rich.

Now, before readers go off half-cocked about this section, stop and think. Again, Mr. Edsall is being honest about his feelings regarding the Republicans. We usually hear unhinged honesty from the Left about why they dislike the Republicans, and much of it is unfounded innuendo (do not believe me? Go read Daily Kos, and tell me they are not unhinged towards us). I disagree with the religious freaks statement, as I do not believe the so-called "religious Right" runs the party. Yes, sociual conservatives have been used for pushing certain agendas, like John McCain's idiocy regarding torture, and the interference of Congress into the Terry Schiavo controversy a couple of years back. But they do not dominate the party. The party has had a solid view on America--eloquently articulated by Hugh in his fifteen-word platform for the Republicans--and those points have no wavered. The other point to make about this part is that he said he "doesn't care for " us much. He did not say he hated us. He disagrees with some of what we present. That is a turnaround change from the way today's Democrats act and engage the Republicans.

HH: But are there any Republican candidates out there, any Republican office holders, who you believe are actually advocating the rollback of civil rights?

TE: Office holders? No. I'm talking about people. No office holder would do that, because they couldn't win. I think there are office holders who would do it if it was a winning strategy.

HH: Who?

TE: Oh, I don't want to name some of them, but I would say that there are a lot of Republicans whose allegiance to civil rights is totally marginal, and totally operative. Let's put it that way.

HH: I mean, when you say that, immediately, I know my listeners will say ask him about Robert Byrd. You know, he was, actually, a Ku Klux Klan member. He's changed. Do you have anyone who has a shadier past on civil rights than Robert Byrd spring to mind, Mr. Edsall?

TE: No, no. Well, Trent Lott's early past was not...

HH: He was never a KKK'er.

TE: No, I'm not saying he was. But he was very active with the Council of Conservative Citizens, which is the organization that was created out of the white citizen's council.

HH: But of course, the Civil Rights Act was actually filibustered because of southern Democrats. That's why there was the...

TE: No question. I'm not arguing that. But those southern Democrats are today's Republicans.

HH: Again, I would look for any Republican in office calling for the rollback of civil rights. You can't find one.

TE: There would not be one. They would get their a$$ kicked.


More unexpected truth from a man on the Left. He openly acknowledges that no Republican he knows of advocates the rollback of civil rights for minorities. That is a stretch for many to admit that because it goes against their talking points. In 2000, there were attack ads against then Governor Bush revolving around the dragging death of James Byrd. It was a slam against the soon-to-be president over his opposition to hate crimes legislation (which is one of the dumbest ideas the Left has come up with in years), and directly stated that when he refused to sign it, it was like Byrd was dragged to his death all over again. The narrator of that ad was his own daughter. It is the Democrats who utilize the race card, and up until 2000, they used it effectively. Its use in a campaign forced Republicans to backpedal and deny rather than confronting their opposition with their own records regarding race relations. And, as Hugh pointed, it was the Democrats who filibustered the Civil Rights Amendment, not the GOP. They led the charge, not our side.

HH: A proposition. The reason talk radio exploded, followed by Fox News, followed by the center-right blogosphere, is that because folks like you have been the dominant voice in American media for a long time, and you’re a pretty thoroughgoing, Democratic favoring, agenda journalist for the left, and you’ve been the senior political reporter of the Washington Post for a very long time. And people didn’t trust your news product…not you, personally, but the accumulation of you, throughout the L.A. Times, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and they got sick and tired of being spoon fed liberal dross, and they went to the radio when an alternative product came along.

TE: To a certain degree, I agree with that.


HH: And so, why do you think it’s wrong, somehow, for people to want to hear news that they don’t consider as biased? I mean, that’s what it is. It’s just unbiased news is what people wanted. That’s why conservatives like me got platforms, and our blogs get read, and our columns get absorbed.

TE: One, I don’t think it’s unbiased.

HH: It’s transparent at least. Everyone has bias. I agree with that. Everyone’s got bias.

TE: It’s transparent. Okay, that I would agree. And I agree that whatever you want to call it, mainstream media, presents itself as unbiased, when in fact, there are built into it, many biases, and they are overwhelmingly to the left.

HH: Well, that’s very candid.

Indeed. Rarely is such honesty available through someone on the Left, let alone someone who used to work for a major news outlet like the WaPo. Note that Mr. Edsall has admitted that not only is there a bias within the dinosaur media, but that it is inherently built into the medium. These people have a distinct worldview, and those biases are more evident than ever. From Dan Rather peddling phony memos to Reuters" Fauxto-gate," the media has a duty to perform, and it is anything but a service to the nation. They have an agenda to push, and Mr. Edsall has basically admitted such. This is one of the reasons why this interview was a bombshell; someone on the other side was admitting things that the Left would prefer stayed quiet. The Left despises it when one of their own jumps off the reservation (Joe Lieberman, anyone?) and decides to think for themselves. This is one of the reasons why Christopher Hitchens is assailed by the Left. He saw what happened on 9/11, and realized that the doddering Democrats did not do their jobs protecting the nation. Their idea of protection was sort of like their ideas regarding condoms; it will do the job now, and we will work on more permanent applications later.

Mr. Edsall is being clear here in what he is stating. He knows the bias exists, and he is not afraid to admit it. But if we engage the Left (whcih Thomas and I do daily in forums like chatrooms) you could NEVER get those moonbats to admit that A) The alternative media, while it may have its own biases, is transparent when it reports news, and B) That the dinosaur outlets do have a bias they deny exists. With such intellectual dishonesty as that, how can anyone take the MSM seriously?

HH: I know, but national politics. Local politics is different. I think it’s in the selection of stories, stories not pursued. I mean, right now, the canard is oh, I covered the impeachment of Bill Clinton, liberal Democrats who are newsroom types tell me. I say, well, you have to. That’s a story you can’t…it’s like not seeing the iceberg, and taking the Titanic down. But in the agenda setting stuff…let me approach it this way. Is there any big name political reporter, and you know them all, Thomas Edsall. That’s why your book, Building Red America, is getting read left and right. Are there any of them who are conservative?
TE: Big name political reporter?


HH: Right.

TE: Jim Vandehei of the Washington Post.

HH: Think he’s voted for Republicans for president?

TE: Yes, I think he has. I don’t know, because he’s never told me. But I would think he has.

HH: And so, of those sorts…and he’s a very fine reporter.

TE: He is.

HH: He probably is a Republican. But given that number of reporters out there, is it ten to one Democrat to Republican? Twenty to one Democrat to Republican?

TE: It’s probably in the range of 15-25:1 Democrat.

Another daming admission. Most reporters that we have heard interviews with (and this goes back to people like Hitlzik and Chait) refuse to acknowledge the political affiliations in the newsrooms. It is important to note this, as Bernie Goldberg did in his two bestselling books, that their affiliations--their mindset--colors how they present the news. If this is the approximate ration sitting in America's newsrooms of Democrats to Republicans, then there is no wonder why mainstream media coverage has gone down the johnny-flusher. A prime example of how their views color their news is Steve Forbes's run fro president in 2000 when the dinosaur media practically crucified him for his flat-tax idea without even looking at what he presented. They ran with DNC talking points, and the words of elected Democrats without detailing where his problems were with the idea. Not only did they set out to kill the message, but the messenger, as well, and it stemmed from the bias that they were wholly opposed to the idea.

HH: Yeah, but is it right to, for example, hate Bush? Is that anger in your view?

TE: That is anger. The anger at Bush by left wing types is off the charts.


HH: Well, Jonathan Chait, your colleague at the New Republic, actually coined the term Bush hatred. He wrote that piece.


TE: No question. I read it.


HH: And so, are the people at the New Republic angry?


TE: He is.


HH: Are others angry?


TE: Yeah, there are some, yes.


HH: And so, I actually think you can’t find a lot of angry conservatives. I mean, we’re determined. We’re principled. But I’m kind of upbeat, as is Rush most of the time. Angry at Hugo Chavez, but I don’t get angry at Charles Rangel. I think that anger thing is…


TE: Oh, I think when Bill Clinton was in office, it was very similar tone and tenor to what you now see on the left wing blogosphere.


HH: I…I mean, there were some obvious crazy stuff, like the Clinton Chronicles. I will agree with you on that. But the viciousness and the prolonged sort of almost Tourette’s Syndrome when it comes to vulgarity and just coarseness on the left side of the…it must shock you as a reporter. Does it?


TE: I find it offensive.


Here endeth the lesson, Kossacks. There are intellectually honest people in your own party that completely dislike this sort of vitriol. And Mr. Edsall wastes no time in stating, for the record, that he is offended at such behavior. He also brings up the moonbats on the Right, and while some may think that we give these people a pass, think again. It is one thing to disagree with the oppositition. It is another thing to "hate" them. Thomas and I sit on the Right. We do not "hate" liberals. We think they are wrong, and we have fun proving that blatant fact on a few issues. But their spite, their unadulterated hatred of the commander-in-chief, is reprehensible. And while we may have disagreed with Bill Clinton, we never showed him an iota of disrespect when he was in the Oval Office. Disagreed with him? Surely; who on the Right did not? But disrespect the man because we disagree? Absolutely not. There are nutjobs on the right (Michael Savage is one of them, as is Ann Coulter) and we condemn them just as quickly and succintly as the moonbats on the Left, like the Kossacks.

HH: And is there also an underlying hostility to faith on the left?

TE: Among a segment of the left, and not insubstantial segment.


HH: And given that, isn’t it rational for people who are pro-military and pro-religious liberty to want to see Democrats defeated, not because they don’t like them or they’re angry at them, but because they recognize them as hostile to themselves? Isn’t it defensive, really?


TE: Well, you use people who are pro-religious liberty pretty loosely there.


HH: Well, I’ve never met a conservative who isn’t pro-religious liberty. Have you?


TE: You know, religious liberty is something that you define. Is it something that should be…people are free outside of the state, and the state should not be involved in any religious activity?


HH: I just think it’s sort of classic American civic approach, which is hey, you want to go to Church? That’s great. You want to go to Synagogue? That’s great. You want a mosque, that’s great. We’ll all just get along here. But in the meantime, don’t tell me my Church can’t expand, don’t tell me I have to take the cross down off the mountain in San Diego, don’t make me not build here, because you want a WalMart or a Costco to come in for tax purposes. And, of course, the snide nature. Your newspaper wrote that Evangelicals were ill-educated, and easily led. Remember that one?


TE: That was one of the dumber things that’s been in the paper.


HH: Yeah, but it was in the paper.


TE: It was.


HH: And it got past editors.

TE: The only reason that the reporter who wrote it didn’t get in bigger trouble is that the editor who let it get by was someone of some prominence.


Let me take these one at a time. First, to religion. It is the Left that has seemed openly hostile towards religion, in general, especially Christianity. Anyone remember Rosie O'Donnell's recent tirade where she compared Christianity to radical Islam? And we cannot forget that it was Jusice Hugo Black's decision to include a metaphor from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptists in Everson v. Board of Education that cited a "wall of separation" between Church and State. This was not a law, nor was it within the framework of the Constitution itself. It was a letter that led to a gross misinterpretation of the Establishment Clause that set the Left on its path to bar religion from any sort of public display. Today, the ACLU launches lawsuit after lawsuit against Christmas displays or pageants. They are the ones attacking the Mt. Soledad Cross in San Diego. And while the Left's attack dog (the ACLU) might get it right 1 out of every hundred cases, it is the other 99 that should have Americans worried.

Second, about the editorial control, this should come as no surprise that certain news outlets will not challenge certain people. We saw it with the Jayson Blair incident at the New York Times, where Pinch Sulzberger eventually relented, and ended up firing Howell Raines despite his carpings to the contrary. We saw it in Rathergate when CBS stood behind Dan Rather, and let him leave "gracefully" instead of firing his lying butt on the spot. Those in positions of power have it only as long as others allow them to have it. The editor that allowed that story to run, without questioning him on his mentality regarding it, is indeed a powerful person. And Mr. Edsall refused to give his name. A professional courtesy, to be sure, and it is not as though this interview has not been damning enough for the establishment of the MSM. But the point is that some are protected, despite their mistakes, which is similarto the way bad teachers are protected by their unions instead of facing the music when they are truly that bad.

HH: You quote an acquaintance of mine, Archbishop Charles Chaput in Denver, Colorado, as saying he told Catholics that a vote for Kerry was a sin. I know for a fact he did not say that. He wrote instead, if you vote this way, are you cooperating in evil, he asked rhetorically. And if you know you are cooperating in evil, should you go to confession? The answer is yes. But the question he was posed was not about John Kerry. It was about a generic class of politicians who really pushed forward on abortion, in which you made the decision to read John Kerry. He didn’t say John Kerry. Was that fair?

TE: It may not be. I, in all honesty, lifted that out of news stories, and if the news stories were inaccurate, then I am inaccurate, and it is unfair.

WOW! Can anyone remember when someon in the media has ever admitted to a mistake, and acknowledged that if their reporting was wrong, then so were they? I cannot recall such an incident. During the Rathergate scandal, Dan Rather did not offer up an apology for his biased lies, but rather he spun it. The report was "fake, but accurate" (and ironically those will likely be the words on his media tombstone), and he refused to back down from it. Many others in the media have done the same. The Newsweek Koran flushing story had spin on it, and so did the recent Reuters screw-up. But there is hardly ever an admission and apology. And while Mr. Edsall did not "apologize," per se, he admitted that if the report was wrong, then so was he. Again, we go back to one word to describe this interview:

Candor.

That is what we noticed about the entirety of this interview. He was forthcoming, seemingly honest, and quite open about his opinions regarding the dinosaur media. This sort of honesty is sadly lacking the media, and they would be remiss in ignoring this interview. They are being told, by one of their own, that they have made mistakes, and are continuing to do so.

Instead these ostriches are going to continue working with their heads in the sand. Like I said in the beginning, I may disagree with his political beliefs, to a point, I cannot argue with his forthrightness and his logic on this subject. I applaud Hugh for his ability as an interviewer to gain these insights. I also am most happy that he can get the occasional guest, like Mr. Edsall, who is not afraid to speak his mind honestly. Maybe if there were a few more people like Thomas Edsall in the media, it would not be in the sad state of disrepair it is in today.

Marcie

2 Comments:

Blogger aus blog said...

Something for the pro-choicer to concider...........................Over 3,500 terminations per day, 1.3 MILLION per year in the United States alone.
50 or 60 MILLION per year World Wide.

I am a pro-lifer who has no religious convictions at all . I didn't need the fear of god or anything else to come to my decision, just a good sence of what is right and wrong.
You see we were all once a fetus. Is it beyond the realm of possibilities that when your mother first learned she was carrying you, she may have considered her options? What if she had decided to terminate? Would that have been OK?
You would not exist, if you have children they would not exist, and your (husband or wife) would be married to someone else. You would have been deprived of all your experiences and memories. In this day and age with terminations being so readily available and so many being carried out, if you make it to full term
you can consider yourself lucky. Lucky you had a mother that made the choice of life for you. Don't you think they all deserve the same basic human right, LIFE?
I'm all for contraception, prevention is certainly better than termination.
Did you know you can get an implant that is safe, 99.9% effective, and lasts for three years? Just think girls not even a show for three years, wouldn't that be great? I think too many people rely too heavily on the last option (abortion), I think if abortions weren't so readily available people would manage their reproductive system far better resulting in a fraction of the number of unwanted pregnancies.
World wide there are over 50 MILLION aborted pregnancies each year. In America 3,500 terminations carried out every day, that's over 1.3 million every year, 50% of all cases claimed that birth control had been used, 48% admitted they took no precaution, and 2% had a medical reason. That's a stagering 98% that may have been prevented had an effective birth control been used. Don't get me wrong, I suspect the percentages in Australia would be much the same.
Just a lot of unnessessary killing.
I am convinced that in the not too distant future, people will look back at many of the practices of today with disbelief and horror.

At the point of conception is when life began for you. This was the start of your existance. Your own personal big bang. Three weeks after conception heart started to beat. First brain waves recorded at six weeks after conception. Seen sucking thumb at seven weeks after conception.


ausblog

6:37 PM  
Blogger Syd And Vaughn said...

Aus Blog:

I fail to note where your problem is. As Marcie pointed out, she disagrees with his ideas regarding abortion. But it doesn't take away from her argument about Thomas Edsall.

That argument, simply put, is that he was open and honest during the interview. Only once did he fall back to the typical MSM refusal to answer a question. She was praising his "candor," as she put it, and I concur.

your political statement, while nice and impassioned, isn't needed we are on the same side. We have simply removed the emotion from the debate, and focused on the meat of the issue; that being whether or not abortion is truly "Constitutional." In our honest assessment, it isn't. And that is where we stand.

Publius II

7:56 PM  

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