Fox News Channel controversies

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Responding to my “death of accountability” post, Shoq says I don’t lay enough blame on the conservative establishment of think tanks and media operations, which exploit traditional media customs of fairness and “objectivity” to advance ideological and/or Republican Party agendas:

I have been railing about the collapse of accountability for years. This article sniffs around the edges of the problem, and makes some important points, but it completely misses the role that right wing think tanks like Heritage, Media Research Center, and of course, Fox News and the broader corporate media have played in the deliberate deconstruction of accountability and social responsibility.

When the public is convinced that there are no empirical facts, and that one version of events is as valid as any other, they become desensitized to the reality of most crimes and their consequences, and are far more compliant and forgiving of those accused of abusing a trust, principle, law, company, office, nation, and population. (more…)

Barge in backyard, Lower Ninth Ward

An all-star lineup of GOP pols has gathered in New Orleans for the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. But do they have any idea where they are?

Here’s what J.C. Watts told the conference-goers:

“Some might think that George W. Bush had his shortcomings,” said Watts, “but let me tell you something — history’s going to be kind to George W. Bush.”

Just up the street from the GOP’s venue at the Hilton Riverside is the New Orleans Convention Center, where tens of thousands of people gathered in the days after Hurricane Katrina and waited in stifling heat without food or water for rescuers who didn’t know they were there. Even though they were on TV.

That was probably the low point in a catastrophic breakdown of government capacities at all levels – local, state, and federal. (more…)

"Republican Party Elephant" logo

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Over the past couple of months I’ve had a series of email exchanges over health care reform with a friend with a libertarian orientation. He is not a tea partier by any means. But he doesn’t trust the government to do anything right. This point of view certainly has some validity – the federal government screws a lot up. But it makes having a discussion hard. Argue that government actually can do something and you’ll face incredulity and contempt. End of discussion.

On the right there are Tea Partiers who think Stalinism and/or National Socialism are imminent. And there are conservatives with a firmer grounding in reality who think Barack Obama’s policies will lead us all to fiscal ruination – or simply that fiscal ruination is inevitable no matter who is running things.

This is cynicism. And maybe this is an obvious point. But cynicism is an essential and perhaps under-appreciated element in why so many who consider themselves conservative openly profess contempt or hatred for the government, and in the Republican Party’s disengagement from policy and governing.

You know the backstory here. (more…)

So the American Enterprise Institute has parted ways with David Frum, one of a vanishingly small number of prominent conservatives willing to openly criticize the conservative movement. A few days back he stated the obvious: the Republican obstructionist strategy on health care reform was a disaster on both substance and on the politics. Today, he’s out at AEI, a key locus of movement conservatism.

This is a short-sighted move. George W. Bush left the conservative movement and Republican Party in an awful mess. The main things that have altered their fortunes of late have been the terrible economic conditions and the historic political cycle, both of which point to significant GOP gains in the 2010 elections.

But those things have masked and even exacerbated the ongoing intellectual disarray on the Right. Frum is one of the few conservatives who sees rather clearly that the Right’s current agenda is outmoded and self-destructive, and he wasn’t shy about saying so. (I should say, the Right’s domestic economic agenda. Frum remains an unreconstructed neoconservative on foreign affairs, which I don’t think is a good approach to domestic politics or an effective geopolitical strategy.)

I’d call your attention not just to the fact of his departure, but the way it was handled and explained. (more…)

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