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Answering Jonathan Alterís Challenge ("why Barack Obama has been such a bad president?")
Commentary ^ | 08.26.2011 | Peter Wehner

Posted on 08/26/2011 6:35:31 PM PDT by neverdem

“Tell me again why Barack Obama has been such a bad president?” Jonathan Alter writes in his column.

Alter tells us he’s not talking here about Obama as a tactician and communicator, and he’s not interested in hearing ad hominem attacks or about people’s generalized “disappointment.” (Neither am I.) He wants to know on a substantive basis why Obama should be judged to have failed so far.

In Alter’s words, “Your mission, Jim [or anyone else for that matter], should you decide to accept it, is to be specific and rational, not vague and visceral.”

Consider the mission accepted.

In one sense, the answer to the Alter challenge is obvious: Obama has failed by his own standards. It’s the Obama administration, not the RNC, that said if his stimulus package was passed unemployment would not exceed 8 percent. It’s Obama who joked there weren’t as many “shovel-ready” jobs as he thought.

It’s Obama who promised to cut the deficit in half. It’s Obama who said if we passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the health care cost curve would go down rather than up. It’s Obama who promised us recovery and prosperity, hope and change. What we’ve gotten instead is the opposite.

What makes Alter’s challenge particularly delicious is during the Bush years he spoke out about the importance of a “reality-based” presidency (as opposed to a “faith-based” one). “They [Republicans] could end up winning in November by distorting the argument,” Alter said in 2006. “But on credibility and the facts, they’ve lost.”

With Alter’s devotion to credibility and facts in mind, let’s take an empirical, reality-based look at economic life in America during the Age of Obama:

* Under Obama’s stewardship, we have lost 2.2 million jobs (and 900,000 full-time jobs in the last four months alone). He is now on track to have the worst jobs record of any president in the modern era.

* The unemployment rate stands at 9.1 percent v. 7.8 percent the month Obama took office.

* July marked the 30th consecutive month in which the unemployment rate was above the 8 percent level, the highest since the Great Depression.

* Since May 2009 — roughly 14 weeks into the Obama administration — the unemployment rate has been above 10 percent during three months, above 9 percent during 22 months, and above 8 percent during two months.

* Chronic unemployment is worse than during the Great Depression.

* The youth employment rate is at the lowest level since records were first kept in 1948.

* The share of the eligible population holding a job has declined to the lowest level since the early 1980s.

* The housing crisis is worse than in the Great Depression. (Home values are worth roughly one-third less than they were five years ago.)

* The rate of economic growth under Obama has been only slightly higher than the 1930s, the decade of the Great Depression. From the first quarter of 2010 through the first quarter of 2011, we experienced five consecutive quarters of slowing growth. America’s GDP for the second quarter of this year was a sickly 1.0 percent; in the first quarter, it was 0.4 percent.

* Fiscal year 2011 will mark the third straight year with deficits in excess of $1 trillion. Prior to the Obama presidency, we had never experienced a deficit in excess of $1 trillion.

* During the Obama presidency, America has increased its debt by $4 trillion.

That is to say, Obama has achieved in two-and-a-half years what it took George W. Bush two full terms in office to achieve — and Obama, when he was running for president, slammed Bush’s record as being “unpatriotic.”

* America saw its credit rating downgraded for the first time in history under the Obama presidency.

* Consumer confidence has plunged to the lowest level since the Carter presidency.

*  The number of people in the U.S. who are in poverty is on track for a record increase on President Obama’s watch, with the ranks of working-age poor approaching 1960s levels that led to the national war on poverty.

* A record number of Americans now rely on the federal government’s food stamps program. More than 44.5 million Americans received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, a 12 percent increase from one year ago.

There is more that can be said, but you get the point.

What makes this record doubly horrifying is rapid growth is the norm after particularly deep recessions — but under Obama, our recovery has been historically weak. President Obama (and Alter) can blame his predecessor, the Tea Party, the Arab Spring, the Japanese tsunami, events in Europe, ATM machines and even athlete’s foot for his predicament. It doesn’t really matter, as even Obama conceded during the early months of his presidency, when he declared, “One nice thing about the situation I find myself in is that I will be held accountable.”

Indeed. Obama “owns” the economy, as both his senior aide David Plouffe and the chair of the DNC, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, have said.

“If you lose a common ground of facts on which to move forward as a society, nobody can agree on anything, and you can’t pull together to solve problems,” Alter told Keith Olbermann during the Bush administration.

I agree. And it is on the common ground of facts that we can declare–in a calm, specific, reasonable, rational and empirical manner–Obama to be an utter failure.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: jonathanalter; newsweak; obama; partisanmediashill; thepromise

1 posted on 08/26/2011 6:35:35 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

Could be the cocaine.


2 posted on 08/26/2011 6:45:44 PM PDT by Brilliant
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To: neverdem

And...Obama just plain sucks as President. One term..he is gone.


3 posted on 08/26/2011 6:46:19 PM PDT by Shaka
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To: neverdem
("why Barack Obama has been such a bad president?")

That's easy.

He hates freedom, he hates Western Civilization, he hates America.

Next question?

4 posted on 08/26/2011 6:50:54 PM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: neverdem

haven’t even started on what a mess our foreign policy is


5 posted on 08/26/2011 6:51:15 PM PDT by paul51 (11 September 2001 - Never forget)
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To: neverdem

Alter’s exposure far exceeds his actual talent.


6 posted on 08/26/2011 6:52:13 PM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: Shaka

Even Jimmy Carter can now wear a T-shirt with his picture and the words “miss me yet?”. ;-)


7 posted on 08/26/2011 6:52:30 PM PDT by doc1019 (You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.)
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To: neverdem

WHY??? Simple. HE IS AN IDIOT!!! Where is the proof he was born an American? Why the cover up in Hawaii with his birth certificate? Where is his college records? Why did not one at law school even remember him? Where is his writings from law school? How did he come to the USA on a STUDENT VISA, depart months later on all paid flights around the world? Who paid for that? Where is ANYTHING that says the guy even exists on paper? Nothing. No records. No photos in college year books. College has refused to release anything about him. Nothing.


8 posted on 08/26/2011 6:59:10 PM PDT by RetiredArmy (EVERY knee shall bow and EVERY mouth shall say: Jesus Christ IS LORD!!!!)
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To: doc1019
Even Jimmy Carter can now wear a T-shirt with his picture and the words “miss me yet?”. ;-)

Hmmmm, I'm sure my local patriot T-shirt printing would love this one. Nice!

9 posted on 08/26/2011 7:00:35 PM PDT by Traveler59 ( Truth is a journey, not a destination.)
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To: neverdem

Obama’s Record Of Success

1. Showed once and for all that Keynesianism is a load of crap.
2. Proved community organizers really have no business in the White House.
3. Proved the Middle East really could get much worse.
4. Proved a weaker dollar does not produce jobs.
5. Proved Gold really will go to $2000 like Peter Schiff said
6. Proved Green Jobs are a sinkhole
7. Proved he really did mean to bankrupt the coal industry
8. Proved Obamacare would bankrupt the system (give it time, I’m just a little early on that one)

Nothing speaks power like success. I could go on and on, but dinner awaits.


10 posted on 08/26/2011 7:03:40 PM PDT by DaxtonBrown (HARRY: Money Mob & Influence (See my Expose on Reid on amazon.com written by me!))
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To: neverdem

He never actually intended to be a good President. He wanted to party and chill.

But he and his handlers did run a good con.


11 posted on 08/26/2011 7:06:12 PM PDT by combat_boots (The Lion of Judah cometh. Hallelujah. Gloria Patri, Filio et Spiritui Sancto.)
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To: RetiredArmy

A true Manchurian Candidate. Mr. No One.


12 posted on 08/26/2011 7:06:50 PM PDT by pankot
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To: neverdem
Why Barack Obama has been such a bad president...

Because he was never a good anything before. When you pick a person with no measurable skills, who can only read a speech but can't follow through with or create plans; who has no documentable record of outstanding achievements...you have a person suitable for a training position, not a leadership position. And being our President is not a place for on-the-job training.

You do not take a two year hospital intern, no matter how well he might be able to smooze the patients, nurses, and other doctors, and make him the hospital administrator and expect the hospital to run smoothly and make a profit.

It never made any sense for this country to trust an untested, idealistic, inexperienced, community organizer to sit in the Oval Office and make decisions for the common good of the entire population of this complex, diverse country. The results of that faulty line of thinking are now seen.

13 posted on 08/26/2011 7:07:15 PM PDT by CitizenM (Obama's legacy will be to be remembered as The architect of American Decline)
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To: neverdem

Marxism updated, called something else to (easily) fool the public.


14 posted on 08/26/2011 7:07:34 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: neverdem

In Obama’s mind..he’s right on profile, maybe just a little tardy in turning the USA into a third world hell-hole.


15 posted on 08/26/2011 7:15:43 PM PDT by Don Corleone ("Oil the gun..eat the cannoli. Take it to the Mattress.")
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To: neverdem

Sadly, Alter will simply claim that nobody is willing to take up his challenge. This excellent article is headed straight for the memory hole.


16 posted on 08/26/2011 7:22:36 PM PDT by mrreaganaut (Coolidge for President!)
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To: neverdem

It’s not Obama’s fault!

How can anybody expect that, between his partying and vacations and his permanent state of campaigning, and his pretending that he’s the king of the world, that he would find time to get anything important done? Signing documents and bills is something that doesn’t take him away from his other “presidential” duties, so he won’t mind signing bills once in a while, like Obamacare.

What good is being the president if he can’t enjoy it? And he needs to keep campaigning in order to insure 4 more years of great “presidenting” for the American people. His “job” isn’t finished if we’re still around.


17 posted on 08/26/2011 7:37:52 PM PDT by adorno
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To: neverdem
And it is on the common ground of facts that we can declare–in a calm, specific, reasonable, rational and empirical manner–Obama to be an utter failure.

Well said by the author. To his list I would add:

Our foreign policy is chaotic, aimless, feckless, and weak under the Obama administration. He's insulted our friends and strengthened our enemies. First he was going to close Gitmo, then he wasn't. He was going to get us out of Iraq, then he wasn't. He was going to fight in Libya, then he wasn't, and left it up to NATO. He was going to fight in Afghanistan, now he's drawing down troops. He lucked into finding bin Laden thanks to nine years work by the CIA, but didn't have the stones to prove we really got OBL. So we just have to take Obama's word. He's canceled numerous foreign trips to key allies. In short, we have no foreign policy under this administration.

He's essentially mailing in his presidency, which isn't a surprise considering that's what he did with all his previous jobs. The nation is rudderless and leaderless while we suffer through our second Great Depression. Yes, that's what this is, even if no one wants to use the word "depression." Main difference is that this time there's no dust bowl, and welfare and food stamps have replaced those long lines at 1930's era soup kitchens.

18 posted on 08/26/2011 7:38:22 PM PDT by Wolfstar ("If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his friend." Abraham Lincoln)
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To: neverdem

The press was the glue that held our politics together, by exposing it to the light of day. Their abrogation of this duty has collapsed our system.


19 posted on 08/26/2011 7:41:06 PM PDT by TwoSwords (The Lord is a man of war, Exodus 15:3)
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To: neverdem
Liberals would argue that 0bama inherited bad economy so he cannot be blamed for that. I don't buy this argument. Even if--for the sake of argument only--he inherited the mess, he came to presidency with a promise to fix everything. After all, he was a "We are what we have been waiting for" candidate.

Let's say your car was broken. A mechanic came to you, and saying, "I know what the problem is, and I know how to fix your car! Believe me!" You hired him. After several months, the car was even in a worse condition than when the mechanic started his job. Now, the fact is regardless the pre-existing condition of the car, the mechanic has not done the job he was hired to. Now, he might say, "Oh, it turned out the problem was worse than I thought!" Well, guess what! It seems he actually didn't know what he's talking about. Either he didn't know the severity of the problem was, or he knew but had no idea how to fix it. Either way, he lied. Any reason to keep him on the job, while there's another mechanic with a better record available?

20 posted on 08/26/2011 7:42:24 PM PDT by paudio (The 0bama Downgrade Two (a possible sequel to the current horror movie))
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To: TwoSwords

I agree. The duty of the fourth estate in a democracy is to be a watch dog of government. They have failed miserably. Everything else followed from that failure.....


21 posted on 08/26/2011 7:48:39 PM PDT by Fu-fu2
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To: Wolfstar
The nation is rudderless and leaderless while we suffer through our second Great Depression. Yes, that's what this is, even if no one wants to use the word "depression."

I frequently use it. This Great Recession, rooted in the subprime loan disater of bad debt, is almost a carbon copy of the Great Depression which had bad debt at its root too.

22 posted on 08/26/2011 7:53:55 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: neverdem
same reason that Paris Hilton isn't a good nuclear physicist

same reason that Nancy Pelosi is a commander of an aircraft carrier

same reason the Barney Franks isn't a Navy SEAL..

cause they don't have a clue as to what the job is about and how to even fake it.

Incompetence and resume fraud also come to mind. If TOFUS was in the private sector, he'd have been to human resources to collect his stuff and escorted off the property. He's going to be a national laughing stock and his freak fest supporters should just be ignored as the clown posse they are.

23 posted on 08/26/2011 7:58:24 PM PDT by Dick Vomer (democrats are like flies, whatever they don't eat, they sh#t on.)
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To: Fu-fu2

The lawyers finally figured out that the press, at high levels, could be bought. It irritates me to no end when I hear people, even on this site, state we elected our politicians and it’s our fault. The media decides, for the most part, who is electable and who isn’t. The Tea Party is our last, best hope. Hang the lawyers and the msm, as far as I’m concerned. Bill Shakespeare only got it half right, it would seem.


24 posted on 08/26/2011 8:01:17 PM PDT by TwoSwords (The Lord is a man of war, Exodus 15:3)
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To: DuncanWaring; All

BINGO !!!

He truly believes America is “the Great Satan” .. that’s what his father taught him.


25 posted on 08/26/2011 8:14:55 PM PDT by CyberAnt ("America is the greatest nation on the face of the earth".)
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To: Brilliant
0bambi played so much golf he thinks pivot is divot...

...hence the divot on jobs...

26 posted on 08/26/2011 8:22:01 PM PDT by spokeshave (Obamas approval ratings are so low, Kenyans are accusing him of being born in the USA.)
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To: wardaddy; Joe Brower; Cannoneer No. 4; Criminal Number 18F; Dan from Michigan; Eaker; Jeff Head; ...
Victor Davis Hanson: California's Water Wars - Environmentalist efforts to save the delta smelt threaten to create a new dust bowl.

The Old ‘Not Enough’ Excuse (True believers in government spending can never be proved wrong) Victor Davis Hanson

London vs. Olympic Shooting - The city’s mayor decides that children shouldn’t watch the sport.

Perry and Global Warming - Do warmists questioning Gov.Perry really believe in science and math? MUST READ

Some noteworthy articles about politics, foreign or military affairs, IMHO, FReepmail me if you want on or off my list.

27 posted on 08/26/2011 8:30:28 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: neverdem

R E S P E C T!

Obongo Bozo has no respect for America, American culture, American traditions or the American people!

He has disrespected everything American since long before he began his run for the Presidency.

He is unfit to be a garbage collector, much less President!

Is it 2012 yet?


28 posted on 08/26/2011 8:30:52 PM PDT by Taxman (So that the beautiful pressure does not diminish!)
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To: neverdem

““They [Republicans] could end up winning in November by distorting the argument,” Alter said in 2006. “But on credibility and the facts, they’ve lost.”

He knows Bamer is going to get creamed. After the landslide tossing this dweeb out this will be the spin.


29 posted on 08/26/2011 8:44:29 PM PDT by garjog
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To: neverdem

Thanks for the ping!


30 posted on 08/26/2011 8:47:22 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: neverdem

31 posted on 08/26/2011 8:58:05 PM PDT by garjog
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; ...

Thanks neverdem.


32 posted on 08/27/2011 3:59:20 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (It's never a bad time to FReep this link -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: martin_fierro
Alter’s exposure far exceeds his actual talent.

His actual talent is as a dissembler, a circulator of roorbacks formulated by others, and as a dispenser of desinformatsiya.

He's a model Democratic journalist, in other words.

33 posted on 08/27/2011 4:24:32 AM PDT by lentulusgracchus (Concealed carry is a pro-life position.)
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To: Fu-fu2
The duty of the fourth estate in a democracy is to be a watch dog of government. They have failed miserably.

Your statement is weak, in that you appear to believe that their intention was one thing, but their result another. Instead, they may have actually succeeded admirably -- if you can get your mind around that.

34 posted on 08/27/2011 4:32:09 AM PDT by lentulusgracchus (Concealed carry is a pro-life position.)
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To: neverdem

It’s George Bush’s fault.

/s/


35 posted on 08/27/2011 5:01:48 AM PDT by ripley
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thanks neverdem, additional:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2769258/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2769306/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2769570/posts


36 posted on 08/27/2011 5:31:55 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (It's never a bad time to FReep this link -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: neverdem

The way to defeat liberals is to NEVER ACCEPT THEIR PREMISE. Once you start arguing on their terms, you’ve lost.


37 posted on 08/27/2011 5:38:10 AM PDT by Republic of Texas (Socialism Always Fails)
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To: Republic of Texas

That needs to be repeated and learned over and over.


38 posted on 08/27/2011 5:43:46 AM PDT by carmody
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To: DuncanWaring

“Next question?”
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

The next question and the one I would like to ask of Alter is how could he and so many others be so insulated from reality and so WILLFULLY IGNORANT, just plain stupid, idiotic or whatever you want to call it as to think that such a creature as Barrack Hussein Obama would be anything other than a total disaster. These same pathetically deluded types seem to think they can watch MSNBC, a propaganda outlet so absurd as to make Al Sharpton a regular and get the truth whereas Fox News dispenses one hundred percent lies.


39 posted on 08/27/2011 6:48:50 AM PDT by RipSawyer (Trying to reason with a liberal is like teaching algebra to a tomcat.)
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To: RipSawyer

They either think “He’s Black, he’s a Democrat, what more do we need to know?”, or they agree with him that this country must be “fundamentally transformed” (destroyed).


40 posted on 08/27/2011 7:20:03 AM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: neverdem

I could give you several trillion reasons, but you would never understand, Jonathan.


41 posted on 08/27/2011 8:03:33 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (Somewhere in Kenya a village is missing its idiot)
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To: lentulusgracchus

No, I believe the intention and result were planned. Most of them come out of liberal schools of journalism. They are true believers, masquerading as neutral observers.


42 posted on 08/27/2011 10:02:41 AM PDT by Fu-fu2
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To: Fu-fu2; TwoSwords
The press was the glue that held our politics together, by exposing it to the light of day. Their abrogation of this duty has collapsed our system.
I agree. The duty of the fourth estate in a democracy is to be a watch dog of government. They have failed miserably. Everything else followed from that failure.....
No, the problem is that
The wisest and most cautious of us all frequently gives credit to stories which he himself is afterwards both ashamed and astonished that he could possibly think of believing . . .

It is acquired wisdom and experience only that teach incredulity,
and they very seldom teach it enough.
  - Adam Smith

The idea that "The press was the glue that held our politics together, by exposing it to the light of day" is one of Smith's "stories" which "The wisest and most cautious of us all . . . is afterwards both ashamed and astonished that he could possibly think of believing." It is a fable. First of all, it assumes that "the press" consists of competitive investigators who independently ferret out truth. It does not, and for a century and a half has not, been so constituted.   Our problem is that we have a free but not an independent press. Wire services with names like The Associated Press, and United Press International, should make that excruciatingly obvious, and yet I overlooked it for an entire generation after I had realized that journalism wasn't objective and began looking for the reasons. We have an associated press, with the results which Adam Smith could easily have predicted:
"People of the same trade seldom meet together even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public or some contrivance to raise prices." - Adam Smith
Wire services unite journalism, and the result is that journalism is free to pursue its interest even when that conflicts with the public interest. And, considering that bad news (for the public) is good for journalism, the overlap between the public interest and the interest of journalism is shockingly slight. Many things - destructive fires, criminal activity, war . . . (the list is endless) interest the public (thereby serving the interests of journalism) but are inimical to the public interest. As I type, a tropical storm is moving up the East Coast - and journalism is working overtime. Is their interest being accurate about the prospective consequences of the storm, or is their interest in projecting the worst case scenario, thereby gripping the attention of the public?

The public interest lies in realistic information, whether that means there is a problem or not. The interest of the journalist is in crying "Wolf" - and then changing the subject when their worst case scenario fails to eventuate, and it generally does. That is child's play when you have the real "bully pulpit" of journalism unified behind you.

The Reliable Unreliability of Journalism


43 posted on 08/27/2011 2:07:14 PM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (DRAFT PALIN)
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To: neverdem

From the article: “ATM machines”

I consider anyone who uses that phrase not worth listening to; just like “PIN number”. I don’t care how good this guy’s point is (and it *is* good) he comes across as illiterate.

Clear ether,
P.


44 posted on 08/27/2011 2:12:16 PM PDT by Peet (Cogito ergo dubito.)
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To: neverdem
Obama deliberately shoved a thumb in the eye of patriotic Americans when he posted a crudely forged birth “document” and claimed that it was the real thing.
45 posted on 08/27/2011 2:41:50 PM PDT by wintertime (I am a Constitutional Restorationist!!! Yes!)
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