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Juan Williams is an Islamophobe, Darrell Issa is a RINO, and Other Absurdities: The Bipartisan Assault on Sanity

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What a week.

With this fall’s midterm elections just around the corner and the Republican Party primed to make astounding gains in them, an October Surprise of sorts popping up in some hotly contested races across the fruited plains was fully expected by both the most seasoned of politicos and the public at large. Needless to say, none were let down when a series of events took place over a span of twenty-four hours, beginning on early Wednesday morning when the top brass at National Public Radio   decided to part ways with Juan Williams, one of its most popular and respected analysts. What did he do to deserve such treatment? Well, it appears that his having the sheer audacity to voice an opinion recently on FOX News’ The O’Reilly Factor regarding how he would feel if seated next to a religiously fervent Muslim on an airplane during this day and age touched a nerve with someone very important and that was that.

Who could this person possibly be?

None other than billionaire and infamous financier of far left causes George Soros, of course. He donated roughly 1.8 million dollars to the borderline insolvent radio network just before the Williams controversy erupted, with many speculating the intention of building a media presence sympathetic to his personal views. The fear of losing this last minute lifeline could have been what inspired NPR President and Chief Executive Officer Vivian Schiller to openly state that if Williams had a problem with his long and distinguished career being flushed down the tubes over something so relatively mundane, then he should see a “psychiatrist or his publicist”. Naturally, this almost instantly caused a huge backlash amongst a good portion of NPR’s listeners and donors, many of which vowed never to donate to the network again.

On the polar opposite of the political spectrum, the King of One Track Minds — yes, that is right, El Rushbo himself — was not far behind in generating controversy, albeit of an entirely different sort. Of all people, he chose to grill judicial ultraconservative — being one is a good thing in my book, by the way — Darrell Issa, a U.S. Representative from suburban San Diego, for standing with House Minority (Soon to be Majority, thankfully) Leader John Boehner in promoting civil debate and bipartisan solutions with the Democratic caucus during the next Congress. I could hardly listen to the whole thing, but after Issa repeatedly tries to explain why the GOP needs to go along to get along, Limbaugh starts to spout off rubbish about Obama being imprisoned, Boehner ruling without compromise, and the American public loving every second of it. Immediately after Rush’s tirade, Issa desperately tries to bring something resembling reason into the conversation, which has devolved into a one-way shouting match at this point, but is promptly cut off by the self-proclaimed “Doctor of Democracy”. Hearing this made me wonder just why so many people swoon over Limbaugh, but then again, they are most likely the same folks who believe that Sarah Palin is America’s Last Hope. It pains me that there are such loons within the ranks of my party.

Despite both Williams’ termination and Limbaugh’s alternate reality being almost equally infuriating to me in their own ways, they both provide a powerful lesson for mainstream America: the radicals will destroy the political process. On the Left, they will attempt to silence all opinions other than their own by way of intimidation, and on the Right, they will pursue a narrow ideological agenda without any semblance of tact or decency. All things considered — any frequent NPR listener will get the joke — the far left and far right share much more in common than the center-left and center-right do. That is why partisan politics must return to the manner in which it was conducted during the Eisenhower and Rockefeller eras, times when good ideas were brought to the table and worked upon to create a positive solution. Should the center in both major political parties regain control of Washington — and the lunatics like Pelosi and DeMint be relegated to obscure subcommittee posts — then, and only then, will the change which the vast majority of Americans desire come to fruition.

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About Joseph F. Cotto

  • Baronius

    Joseph, how can you denounce extremism while passing along an unsupported allegation that George Soros secretly controls NPR?

    Yes, Soros funds leftward groups, and yes, NPR is a leftward group that Soros funds. But the idea that he’s targeting enemies within NPR is right out of Glenn Beck World.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    NPR is “leftward” only when viewed from a vantage point far rightward of Attila the Hun.

    Their POV is roughly similar to the BBC, CNN and the New York Times — that is, high-quality professional journalism that aims for objectivity but is accused of bias by biased people. [The Times’s editorial page is certainly liberal, although it regularly gives op-ed space to other viewpoints. The news pages are different.]

    NPR is also by no means “borderline insolvent.” And it is extremely popular — over 20 million listeners a week.

  • Clavos

    Their POV is roughly similar to the BBC, CNN and the New York Times

    …All of which are considered “leftward” by us right wing loonies…

  • Baronius

    Clavos – I may just be in a “mood”, but I haven’t bothered to reply to any of these comments that NPR is objective. Usually I would. But I figure that someone who listens to NPR and doesn’t notice its bias (a) can’t discern bias, and (b) is getting fed news from NPR. What can I do to help someone whose lack of perspective is that strong and constantly being reinforced?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    The same argument can be raised with respect to any audience, even the audience catered to by FOX news. So what’s your point?

  • Arch ConscienceStain

    @5 Exactly. NPR is in no way as left-leaning as Fox “news” is right-leaning. Not even close. When NPR gets around to making things up, hacking interviews, etc. on a regular basis, then we can talk.

    The fact that Williams would work for Fox says much more about him than his supposed political leanings.

  • Baronius

    You should check out the 2004 study out of UCLA, A Measure of Media Bias. It’s led to a lot of debate, but it’s a good starting point for analysis of media bias.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Bias is of course in the eye of the beholder.

    But throwing it around as a charge aimed at entire news organizations, populated by very good, professional reporters, is reckless.

    Are you actually claiming that the BBC, NPR and the NY Times regularly run false stories? That all/most of their highly respected teams of journalists are guilty of deliberate distortion?

    Or is it just that they don’t exhibit obvious right-wing tendencies, and therefore you assume they must be left-wing propagandists? They don’t ‘feel like’ one of you, so they must be one of ‘them.’

    As for Fox, their highest-profile shows aren’t news at all, but opinion showcases for celebrities who are often also talk-radio personalities. Fox’s actual news shows are less obviously slanted, except for Megyn Kelly, that ridiculous, snide blonde who’s on in the afternoons. But even their news has a tacky, tabloid feel to it that doesn’t seem very professional.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Baronius #4: hilarious.

    What can I do to help someone whose lack of perspective is that strong and constantly being reinforced?

    Can you not perceive yourself at all in this description? And just where do you get your news anyway?

  • Baronius

    I’m aware of things that slant rightward and leftward, Handy, so that gives me some confidence in my judgement. When I hear Cotto or you relay some “fact” that Media Matters or Glenn Beck passed along, and it sounds fishy, and it turns out to be false, it ensures me that my instruments are calibrated correctly.

    As for where I get news, to be honest, sometimes I forget to. Between the radio and the net, I usually catch the main stories, and if a topic interests me I’ll research it, but I don’t have a primary source of daily news. I may miss the occasional volcano. I keep up with politics, international events, Justin Bieber, and economic news (just kidding about economic news).

    As for “the eye of the beholder”, I think that study makes a good effort at quantifying things, and the results don’t surprise me. The study also notes other surveys which show the predominance of liberalism among journalists. And on an anecdotal level, an old journalist friend of mine surprised me recently with stories that mirror these studies.

    Lastly, I’ll always remember visiting Washington DC years ago, when Congress passed some major telecom legislation. There were three newspapers on display on a streetcorner, the Washington Times, the Washington Post, and USA Today. USA Today read (all headlines approximate) “Congress Passes Major Communications Bill”. The Times said “Telecom Bill to Expand Market”. The Post said “Congress Votes to Strengthen Communications Giants”. I’ll never forget seeing three different perspectives spelled out in black and white.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Rejecting whole boatloads of good, even great journalism because you are suspicious of bias is unfortunate. The more you read, the better your radar will become. I don’t claim that any source is free of distortion, just that high-quality reporting is invaluable, and we can never have too much of it.

  • http://tmackorg.com/ Tommy Mack

    NPR has worked diligently to offload its left of center ways in favor of neutrality, from a political point of view. It is certainly better run, organizationally, because it is publicly financed. Air America croaked at the beginning of the year due to bad management.

    But, the Juan Williams story is one of management bad form both in method and result. It is another “tooth paste out of the tube” event that undermines a carefully crafted reputation.