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Feb 19, 2010

So, if you run a plane into a building because nobody likes paying taxes, obviously, that's a sign of the frustration that gets Republicans elected to office.

But of course, if you run a plane into a building because you are a jihadist, well, time to strip *every* citizen of basic constitutional rights, and time to strip every non-citizen of basic human rights guaranteed by treaty and common decency.


Ben Goren said...

Nice analogy and spot on.

Tommy said...

I think you, in particular, are being unfair this time. Scott Brown said that he did not know if the plane crash was related to the rage in question and he hoped it was not.

The site you link to also leaves open the possibility that Brown was not implying what you say he "obviously" was.

One could say that such an issue should not be discussed in the interview at all if Scott Brown does not think it is associated, but this is a fresh, sensationalistic event. In the 24-hour world of news, where ratings count, I am not at all surprised that such a question would be asked of a newly elected Senator, especially in the politically charged environment of 2010. And, naturally, the Senator would try to push himself/herself in the interview.

The implication of the question is a bit odd, but I don't think Brown or the interviewer cross any lines. I also am sure you could find plenty of questionable implications made by politicians on the other side of the aisle too.

I question more why the site you linked to chose to flag this particular issue when there must be other much more potentially irritating issues in the country to talk about than the possible implications of Brown's rather dull response.

阿牛 said...

I liked to the Scott Brown video in part just to have a link on the issue. Honestly, I was paying more attention to Cavuto's wording, where he gives Scott Brown an immediate out about how we should *not* associate this guy with say, the Tea Party movement FOX has been promoting.

I've seen all kinds of what we will call *reasonable* analysis about the guy in Austin. He might have been otherwise crazy. Or even if he wasn't, that doesn't mean we have to associate him with people who might hold the same *policy* views on some issues.

What bothers me is how this sort of reasonable analysis is allowed on FOX only for an old white guy. If we're talking about a Muslim terrorist, well that's different. Then we better start profiling the darkies immediately at the airports, not try people at all or, if we must, at least not in the United States before an actual jury and court, etc.

The double standard of the "news" agency on this insane.

Tommy said...

"The double standard of the "news" agency on this insane."

First of all, plane crashes into government buildings dont happen everyday, making the news itself fair game.

Second, regarding the existence of a double standard, this particular crash is almost certainly not an attack on the US in the same way as a terrorist attack would be. It seems as though this as just another example of someone "going postal" rather than premeditating a murder of innocents months in advance just to make a political statement through terror. So personally, I DON'T hold this to the same standard terrorism conducted by Muslims, or any other group. And I think many Americans would agree with me. The motivation is not the same, and the ways to try to prevent such crimes (such as better, more sympathetic communication with taxpayers) would not be the same.

So I think that the burden is on you to show just how this is a double standard. If tomorrow a Muslim man gets annoyed with the electric company for shutting off his power, and he rams his truck, Terminator style, through the window of the power company, killing several employees (ie, he goes postal), and then Fox goes haywire over the need to deport Muslims, then you might have a case for a double standard.

Likewise, if a group of white IRA terrorists decide to blow up the Golden Gate Bridge, and they get a really thoughtful and sympathetic analysis from Fox, you will then have a case for a double standard.

The two crimes you are comparing have different motives and different generational processes, and so would be seen by most people I know as different by nature.

So I say again, if you want to criticise Fox or Brown for potentially being tasteless or slightly off in their analysis, go ahead, although I think you would be picking a rather common (dull) example of American media tastelessness (such as Biden claiming that Iraq would be one of Obama's biggest accomplishments (eye roll)).

But if you want to prove that there is a double standard, you will have to find similar cases with conclusions that are different enough to support this reading.

Note that I am not saying that Fox never employs double standards. I am just questioning the validity of your argument in this case.

阿牛 said...

I read the guy's manifesto online. This act was designed to "wake up" the "zombie" Americans, as he calls them, and get them to fight in the same way for their freedom. Likewise, he wanted to put some fear into those IRS people.

It was, as the Department of Defense says when defining terrorism, "calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological."

It was terrorism.

But perhaps this shows how stupidly useless the phrase "terrorism" is, since we only use it to define what a very narrow set of people do, even when the crimes and motives are of the same sort, instead of using the phrase to define the acts themselves.

Tommy said...

I agree that the word "terrorism" has a flexible meaning.

But, back to the subject of this post, I am still a bit confused as to what your message is.

You said, "What bothers me is how this sort of reasonable analysis is allowed on FOX only for an old white guy. If we're talking about a Muslim terrorist, well that's different."

If this is really what bothers you, then I think your post should include several examples of what you see as double-standard reporting by Fox on the terrorism issue as a whole. In other words, the post should be focused on Fox' reporting as a whole and not on this particular exchange between one interviewer and one interviewee. The approach you chose appears to assign a greater share of wrongdoing to one or the other as individuals. The interviewee downplayed any association between populism and his election, and the interviewer's terms are not particularly inflammatory and can be seen as addressing a question that Fox' audience may be posing. You need to show evidence of a media push by Fox outside of this one example. It probably exists. But it should be the subject of your post.

On the other hand, if you are upset that some white American terrorist (I did not know about his manifesto, as I am not really following the issue closely) got an in-depth analysis, you have to address the fact that there are not many white American terrorists out there, at least not ones that are reported on by the media. You should also demonstrate that other news orgs are not just as interested in the motivations and political implications of the actions of the aviator in question.

I used the IRA in my previous example because the Irish are not Americans. They therefore offer a better parallel to the Muslim terrorists because they are foreign.

Yet this terrorist was American. In light of the fact that the cases of American "terrorists" are far rarer, many Americans would wonder what could possibly be motivating the individual, resulting in a bigger story for news orgs. You have to admit that this guy may be getting more throughtful treatment because of the perceived rarity of the example.

So, in short, I am not saying there is nothing true in what you say. I am just saying that the message is not quite right. You sound like you are just making a crack at Fox or Republicans. To make your criticism stick, you need to frame your argument better.

Anonymous said...

spot on analysis 阿牛

Carlos said...

Yeah, totally agree. And it's not just with this issue, either.

The national debt used to be no big deal - in fact, only "loons" and "self-loathing Americans" complained about spending a couple trillion in Iraq while cutting taxes. Now, all of sudden, it's Fox News' #1 issue!

(Personally I think it's always been a big deal, so it's their hypocrisy I'm complaining about, not their current position.)