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On discourse


 

Bit late to this, but here is Andrew Steele considering the state of modern political discourse.

The left and right appear not just deadlocked intellectually but actively ignorant of what motivates their opponents. In a world where the Internet, talk radio and micromarketing allow us to restrict our exposure to those with whom we share opinions, it is increasingly incumbent upon us to seek out other points of view and challenge our own assumptions.

Or, we can just resort to calling our political competitors crazy.


 

On discourse

  1. But so much of what the right wants is totally irrational. It’s like negotiating with children. If they were like Frum, maybe we could get somewhere.

    • So much of what the left wants is totally irrational as well.

      This is the point, the major streams of discourse are children negotiating with children and like children, no one can see the other side.

      • I can see the other side. I just happen disagree with it, I think it's wrong, both wrong in theory and wrong in practice.

      • I can see the other side. I just happen disagree with it, I think it's wrong, both wrong in theory and wrong in practice.

        As an example, we actually have a number of people in Canada complaining about a monument to the millions of victims of Communism.

    • Not that you're into calling your opponents crazy or anything. Not at all.

    • Not that you're into calling your opponents crazy or anything. Not at all. You so totally get what motivates us nutbars on the Right – childish irrationality.

    • Not that you're into calling your opponents crazy or anything. Not at all. You so totally get what motivates us childish nutbars on the Right.

    • Stop confiscating my money for your nutbar leftist big-government programs and maybe we'd get somewhere.

    • If they were like Frum, maybe we could get somewhere.

      You're right, if only everyone would just agree with you things would be much easier.

      Or, you could be the one to change your views, and agree with us, instead. I mean, it's all the same, so long as there's consensus, right?

    • If they were like Frum, maybe we could get somewhere.

      You're right, if only everyone would just have the same ideological views as you, things would be much easier.

      Or, you could be the one to change your views, and agree with us, instead. I mean, it's all the same, so long as there's consensus, right?

  2. I raised this point with a number of conservative bloggers several years ago. I said Canadian political bloggers should be talking to each other instead of past each other. Not surprisingly I was told to eff off.

  3. Ironically – if not tragically – the communications revolution was supposed to bring us together, to facilitate the dissemination of different ideas and shine a light in dark corners. Instead we have a world that seems to be becoming increasingly fundamentalist. And it's not just the loonies like Alqaeda. It appears to be increasingly taking a hold of our politcs, religious lives and most worrying of all to me our secular state. Yes, even those who used to cheerfully distain, mock or merely tolerate the beliefs of others now do so with a grim devotion that frankly scares the crap out of me. When and how did we all become so sure that our view, and only our view of the world is valid.

  4. Read other points of view? You must be crazy for even suggesting such a thing!

  5. Read other points of view? You must be crazy for even suggesting such a thing!

    Anyway, in all seriousness it's pretty hard for those of us on the Right (i.e. the non-"Progressives") to to be ignorant of the positions/motivations of those on the Left – we get them drummed into us every day on the CBC, every Hollywood movie, and every arts course in high school and university.

    The fact is that the internet has provided the first glimpse for many people of the other side of the story, and they're not used to seeing their comfortable worldview challenged.

  6. Read other points of view? You must be crazy for even suggesting such a thing! :-)

    Anyway, in all seriousness it's pretty hard for those of us on the Right (i.e. the non-"Progressives") to to be ignorant of the positions/motivations of those on the Left – we get them drummed into us every day on the CBC, every Hollywood movie, and every arts course in high school and university.

    The fact is that the internet has provided the first glimpse for many people of the other side of the story, and they're not used to seeing their comfortable worldview challenged.

  7. Read other points of view? You must be crazy for even suggesting such a thing! :-)

    Anyway, in all seriousness it's pretty hard for those of us on the Right (i.e. the non-"Progressives") to to be ignorant of the positions/motivations of those on the Left – we get them drummed into us every day on the CBC, every Hollywood movie, and every arts course in high school and university.

    The fact is that the internet has provided the first glimpse for many people of the other side of the story and they're not used to seeing their comfortable worldview challenged.

  8. "The left and right appear not just deadlocked intellectually but actively ignorant of what motivates their opponents."

    It isn't possible for someone on the right, who follows the news, to not be aware of what the left is thinking. We are saturated with liberal news perspective. There is no avoiding it.

  9. Read other points of view? You must be crazy for even suggesting such a thing! :-)

    Anyway, in all seriousness it's pretty hard for those of us on the Right (i.e. the non-"Progressives") to to be ignorant of the positions/motivations of those on the Left – we get them drummed into us every day on the CBC, every Hollywood movie, and every arts course in high school and university.

    The fact is that the internet has provided the first glimpse for many people of the other side of the story and they're not used to seeing their comfortable worldview challenged. It's both entertaining and satisfying to see the consequences of this technological opinion/idea free-for-all unfold.

    • ?? Other than PBS, I've yet to see anything significantly "left". Most media and news that I happen to see is very much supportive of the corporate regime.

      • I find two things interesting:
        1. the term "corporate regime" and
        2. You would characterize those that support the existence of corporations as being on the right. I hate to say it, but what you consider "right" probably comprises 90% of the population in Canada, and 98% in the US.

        So, by your definition of "right", I'd agree the media leans right. But most people consider "right" and "left" to each comprise 50% of the population.

        Which is why I think people continue to argue that the media tilts right. It's because everyone considers himself center, and then judges whether the media tilts right or left of himself. This is not the same as whether the media tilts right or left.

      • I find two things interesting:
        1. the term "corporate regime" and
        2. You would characterize those that support the existence of corporations as being on the right. I hate to say it, but what you consider "right" probably comprises 90% of the population in Canada, and 98% in the US.

        So, by your definition of "right", I'd agree the media leans right. But most people consider "right" and "left" to each comprise 50% of the population, more or less.

        Which is why I think people continue to argue that the media does not tilt left, despite all the evidence that indicates it does. It's because everyone considers himself center, and then judges whether the media tilts right or left of himself. This is not the same as whether the media tilts right or left.

  10. It isn't possible for someone on the left, who follows the news, to not be aware of what the right is thinking. We are saturated with conservative news perspective. There is no avoiding it.

  11. What country are you referring to? Because it certainly isn't Canada or the US for that matter.

    I understand, and agree, with your complaints about dippers not getting enough media time but to pretend that media is conservative in perspective is fairly naive/ignorant/dumb.

  12. Isn't it time to retire this silly canard. There are just as many rightwing positions/motivations in those venues and the idea that the other side of the story is only available now is highly preposterous.

  13. Pretty rich coming from Wherry.

  14. Wow, you're not even trying to see the other side, are you?

    You can't just assume you know what the other perspective is… this whole notion of a "liberal media" is rediculous to many of us on the left who consistently see a conservative bias in major media institutions. How can you say you're getting the liberal perspective, when your source is only labelled liberal by you?! Geez, most major newspapers supported Harper in the last two elections, how freaking liberal can they be?

    This is beyond frustrating. Here we have an article, trying to encourage a little empathy between people of differing viewpoints so we can have honest, reasoned discussions, and, 10 comments in, we've already got people on both sides utterly dismissing each other with patronizing comments and insults!

  15. Macleans has at least 3 people that tilt right; Steyn, Coyne and Potter. It only has one that tilts left; Wherry. The National Post has nobody on the left. The Sun newspapers are overwhelmingly rightwing. CTV leans right. CanWest/Global is more rightwing than leftwing. There are rightwing columnists in the Star and at the CBC. Talk radio is mostly rightwing. Shall I go on.

  16. The CBC and the star are completely and totally left-wing (except for Don Cherry). CTV does not lean right, it is center. The Globe is mostly left. Talk radio is mostly left.

    • The CBC and the star are completely and totally left-wing…

      Yeah. The CBC has been featuring segments in which Canadian soldiers talk about their experiences in Afghanistan. Those Stalinist, freedom-hating CBC commissars must be stopped, immediately.

      And I challenge you to give me the name of a single major leftist talk-radio personality.

      • CBC radio. Any and all personalities on it.

      • I spent a couple of weeks listening to CBC radio in the evenings in my car, because they had some interesting discussion topics and some interesting discussions. I had to stop when I could no longer stomach the intermittent left-wing propaganda.

  17. Any and all empirical studies have shown the media and the education system to be populated with lefties. Even a lot of liberals admit this.

      • Since we've been over this before, I've previously provided a list of citations, only to have people ignore them anyway. Once I give them to you, you're not gonna change your mind, are you? Let's get real.

        I'm not in the mood, this is not an academic journal and I don't need to list the same citations repeatedly to make it easier for lazy people. They're easy to find, there's not been many such studies, both the ones that have been done are rather conclusive.

        • I dunno… when I look, I find ones that end up listing things like The Drudge Report as left-leaning media. The methodologies typically stink other than the ones that do pure headcount based on what people's stated preference is, and that tells you absolutely nothing about what gets broadcast.

          And even then, you're still left with the question, are the people who spend their time looking most closely at politics and events, do they wind up with a leftward bias because that's how they are, or because that's how reality is? After all, do a survey of weathermen and you'll find a disproportionate number are more likely to carry umbrellas. Bias toward umbrellas, or simply more aware of reality?

          • see my comment above

    • As Stephen Colbert says, "Facts have a well-known liberal bias."

    • Any and all empirical studies…

      …meaning, "the guys I hang out with at the squash court…"

      • Let's summarize what scf has had to say here:

        "Any and all empirical studies have shown…"

        When asked how something so subjective could be reliably quantified: "there are ways. Scientists are smart (some of them)." (Presumably he means the "scientists" who deny global warming)

        When asked for a citation: "…you're not gonna change your mind, are you? Let's get real. I'm not in the mood, this is not an academic journal and I don't need to list the same citations repeatedly to make it easier for lazy people."

        I think this is a pretty tidy example of right-wing discourse. It's sufficient to believe something, and anybody who disagrees and asks for evidence is called lazy and closed-minded and not worth the time. Let's call this the Jonah Goldberg School of Argument.

        On Discourse, indeed. Here's a case study: http://simplyleftbehind.blogspot.com/2006/07/how-

      • Let's summarize what scf has had to say here:

        "Any and all empirical studies have shown…"

        When asked how something so subjective could be reliably quantified: "there are ways. Scientists are smart (some of them)." (Presumably he means the "scientists" who deny global warming)

        When asked for a citation: "…you're not gonna change your mind, are you? Let's get real. I'm not in the mood, this is not an academic journal and I don't need to list the same citations repeatedly to make it easier for lazy people."

        I think this is a pretty tidy example of right-wing discourse. It's sufficient to believe something, and anybody who disagrees and asks for evidence is called lazy and closed-minded and not worth the time. Let's call this the Jonah Goldberg School of Argument.

        On Discourse, indeed. Here's a case study: http://simplyleftbehind.blogspot.com/2006/07/how-

  18. That being said, one of the reasons I like Maclean's is that it has some right-leaning writers and reporters, to go along with their left-leaning ones.

    • Agreed. I also like their laissez-faire attitude toward points of view in the comments regardless of political leaning. It's refreshing.

      • Yes, they let it all go, which is nice. However, occasionally righties like Dakota and the infamous Kody are harassed by the bloggers, and I'm not sure why, because to me they don't stand out in comparison to the Harper-haters.

        • I can't remember specifics, but I've seen Macleans bloggers harass Harper-haters too. It's sort of equal-opportunity harassment…which, granted, is not as good as Macleans bloggers staying out of the harassment business altogether but it's still worlds better than any other news site's comment stream that I've ever seen.

          By and large you can say what you think here, without worrying about censorship as long as it's not blatantly slanderous/obscene, and maintain anonymity to protect yourself from repercussions in the real world. It's pretty awesome.

        • I can't remember specifics, but I've seen Macleans bloggers harass Harper-haters too. It's sort of equal-opportunity harassment…which, granted, is not as good as Macleans bloggers staying out of the harassment business altogether but it's still worlds better than any other news site's comment stream that I've ever seen.

          By and large you can say what you think here, without worrying about censorship as long as it's not blatantly slanderous/obscene, and maintain anonymity to protect yourself from career/personal safety retribution in the real world. It's pretty awesome.

          • Also, has anyone else noticed that IntenseDebate actually seems to be handling this monster-thread perfectly so far? Who are these people and what have they done with our favorite thread-eating software?

          • Yes, it seems to be fixed since it was going haywire a few days ago.

          • That's funny, someone rated me thumbs down on my comment that the software is working better.

          • The ratings generally make no sense. I just ignore them.

          • Yes, I agree. I think it helps that they do have bloggers/writers from all sides, which prevents the type of gang-up mob behaviour that happens on sites that tilt to one side or another. And I agree that you can say what you want, it will not be deleted or censored.

          • Tell me honestly: is there anybody besides the hard-right Dakotas and Kodys who complain ceaselessly about the Macleans bloggers themselves?

            It's like a reflex – everything Wherry posts gets a content-free, snarky cheap shot about their "liberal bias". The Macleans bloggers all seem to be working in good faith and none with a serious ax to grind.

            I try to ignore those guys these days (wasting my time with scf here notwithstanding) but I can't stand the brainless attacks on the bloggers.

          • Below, in this very same thread, you called Steyn crazy. Pot calling the kettle black.

          • Below, in this very same thread, you called Steyn crazy (like a reflex). Pot calling the kettle black.

  19. How on earth can you have empirical studies on what is an entirely subjective assessment of the media? The only way to do that is to have an unbiased observer, and they don't exist.

    But it's all beside the point. How can someone claim to understand the other side when their view of what constitutes the other side is at odds with what that other side considers itself to be?

    • In response to your first question: there are ways. Scientists are smart (some of them).

      As to your second question, I don't think it's impossible for people who disagree to come to an understanding. But it's also unlikely. That's what democracy is for – we vote to settle the issue, and then the losers complain until the next election.

      • Ways? What ways? Please don't make broad assertions without some sort of justification.

        Yes, scientists are smart, but they can only work in the constructs of their own cognition and this is the whole point – everyone's perception of the world is slightly different. Left and right are loosely defined social constructs – at best, social scientists could derive an average opinion, but it's all still just an opinion and not based on empirical data.

        Coming to an understanding isn't the same as understanding one another. One is compromise, the other is empathy. The article is talking about the latter. Maybe I'm wrong here, it's not that people aren't trying to understand each other… based on your comments, I'm starting to believe they don't even know what understanding another person means.

        • Geez, you guys are lazy.

          God knows all the lefties here are gonna claim this study was funded by Haliburton or the authors are cousins of Bush (because they always do). Sisyphus will give us a link to the Democrat Media Matters web site as her rebuttal.

          Then there will be those commenters who don't actually read the study methodology, then give me a reason why it is flawed that clearly shows they did not read the methodology.

          This is the most comprehensive and fair, and yes it is really easy to find if you bothered to try.

          Then there will be those who claim it's useless until I dig up an equivalent Canadian study. Then they will claim the Canadian study is useless until I dig up an equivalent Saskatchewan study. Then they will claim that it's useless until I dig up an equivalent Moose Jaw study.

          Then there will be those lazy ones here who will complain I found them only one study, and ask for more, as if I am their personal librarian. When I dig up 10 more, then they will claim that 10 more is not enough. Because that is what has happened before.

          Then there will be those who spend all their time rebutting all the studies like this one, without noticing there has never been a study that concluded the media tilts right.

          http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/Media-Bias-I
          http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/polisci/faculty/grosec

          • Well done – you've provided a citation to back up your assertions.

            The next step is to assess your own citation critically to make sure it's credible. Let me help you with that:

            – Its (absurd) methodology puts the ACLU on the "conservative" spectrum, near the NRA (which is reported as just barely conservative).
            – That same methodology classified the RAND Corp and Council on Foreign Relations as "liberal"
            – It ranks the Wall St Journal as America's most liberal media outlet

            You took a first step toward rational discourse today scf, well done (that almost cancels out calling me an "idiot" today elsewhere). But you're going to have to find better material than this if you're going to convince anybody.

          • No, the next step is for you to contribute something meaningful.

            I mean, you say you disagree, you provide no evidence, and then you hurl an insult, while contributing to nothing, as usual.

          • Yes, it's true, people who think the deciduous trees in Washington are green in January are idiots.

          • Yes, you did claim the tea party photo was a photo of the obama inauguration.

          • Yes, you did claim the tea party photo was a fake and in fact was a photo of the obama inauguration. The tea party photo had leafy green trees.

            And for some who whines about name-calling, you are rather easy with the names, like bullsh*t and 12 year old. Go baack to your cave.

          • Yes, you did claim the tea party photo was a fake and in fact was a photo of the obama inauguration. The tea party photo had leafy green trues.

            And for some who whines about name-calling, you are rather easy with the names, like bullsh*t and 12 year old. Go baack to your cave.

          • Yes, you did claim the tea party photo was a fake and in fact was a photo of the obama inauguration. The tea party photo had leafy green trees.

            And for some who whines about name-calling, you are rather easy with the names, like bullsh*t and 12 year old. Go back to your cave.

          • No, the next step is for you to contribute something meaningful.

            I mean, you say you disagree, you provide no evidence, and then you contribute nothing, as usual.

            I provide the citation and you shoot it down with no evidence. If you really want to be useful, show me your citation. Oh, what's that? There is no study nor evidence to back up your statements? Thought so.

          • Dude, the material you cited didn't pass the sniff test.

            Well done for finally stooping to present *something* to back up your wild-assed assertions. Now present something believable.

            Here's a detailed takedown of the flawed study you posted: http://mediamatters.org/research/200512220003 . You're not going to convince anybody with such poor reference material.

          • Why does everyone post the same garbage? John already posted that rebuttal. Do you realize Media Matters is a Democrat-funded web site? Fair.org, media matters, moveon – they're all propaganda and filled with partisan garbage. Just link to the Democrat web site instead.

            I link to a university study, and you link to the Democratic Party propaganda web site? This is ridiculous. I mean, come on, is that the best you can do? Where is your citation – to the study that shows the media is conservative?

          • Why does everyone post the same garbage? John already posted that rebuttal. Do you realize Media Matters is a Democrat-funded web site? Fair.org, media matters, moveon – they're all propaganda and filled with partisan garbage. Just link to the Democrat Party web site instead, at least it's honest.

            I link to a university study, and you link to the Democratic Party propaganda web site? This is ridiculous. I mean, come on, is that the best you can do? Where is your citation – to the study that shows the media is conservative?

          • "Why does everyone post the same garbage?"

            Because it took 3 seconds to find a detailed takedown of your citation. If it's propaganda, take it apart. Refute it. Otherwise, try again. If my source is such propaganda, it shouldn't take you long.

            I don't need to post a citation because I'M NOT THE ONE MAKING THE CLAIM! Do you understand that? You made a claim, I called bullsh*t and challenged you to convince me otherwise.

            You've failed so far. Find something convincing that demonstrates YOUR claim of liberal media bias and isn't filled with glaring methodological errors.

            My god, are you twelve years old? Do you not understand the nature of a debate?

          • Where is you citation? Come on, let's go. Where is it?

            Jolyon and I have posted evidence, and you've got nothing but rebuttals from Democrats. Where's your evidence?

          • Where is you citation? Come on, let's go. Where is it?

            Jolyon and I have posted evidence, and you've got nothing but rebuttals from Democrats. Where's your evidence?

            This happens every time with this discussion. We post all the evidence in the world, you post nothing of any use, and on it goes.

          • Where is you citation? Come on, let's go. Where is it?

            Jolyon and I have posted evidence, and you've got nothing but rebuttals from Democrats. Where's your evidence?

            This happens every time with this discussion. We post all the evidence in the world, you post nothing of any use, and on it goes.

            Even your favourite Liberal paper (NYT) admits the media is liberal (see Jolyon below). Give it up.

          • My favourite is when they ask you how you know something.

            You are not allowed to have an opinion on how liberal msm is unless you have commissioned a three year study with double blind methodology and paid for it with funds from Sierra Club.

            But there is one exception, though. Fox News is 'obviously' right wing and no studies are needed. I love to ask left leaning people if Fox News is clearly right wing, and no other station is remotely like it, why are they surprised people think other msm is tilted centre-left.

          • s_c_f My favourite is when they ask how you know something.

            You are not allowed to have an opinion on how liberal msm is unless you have personally commissioned a three year study using double blind methodology and paid for it with funds from Sierra Club.

            But there is one exception, of course. Fox News is 'obviously' right wing and no studies are needed. I ask left leaning people if Fox News is clearly right wing, and no other station is remotely like it, why are they surprised people think other msm is tilted centre-left.

          • My favourite is when they ask you how you know something.

            I know, they ask me for citations when I post a rebuttal to their statement. I provide one and they provide nothing but rebuttals. The hypocrasy is stultifying.


            You are not allowed to have an opinion on how liberal msm is unless you have personally commissioned a three year study with double blind methodology and paid for it with funds from Sierra Club.

            Even then, they'd ignore it, just like they ignored all the controls put in place by the UCLA study to remain as objective as possible.

            Fox News is 'obviously' right wing and no studies are needed.

            The other interesting fact is that Fox ratings for news and political shows are far superior to the others (it's not even close, Fox ratings are quadruple).

            So, in their fuzzy math, the right-wing station gets half the viewers, the central stations get the other half. Seems to me that's a distortion of the meaning of "center".

            I suppose they will then argue that the ratings are wrong.

          • My favourite is when they ask you how you know something.

            I know, they ask me for citations when I post a rebuttal to their statement. I provide one and they provide nothing but rebuttals. The hypocrasy is stultifying. I feel overwhelmed by the citations that they have been posting themselves. It's a flood.


            You are not allowed to have an opinion on how liberal msm is unless you have personally commissioned a three year study with double blind methodology and paid for it with funds from Sierra Club.

            Even then, they'd ignore it, just like they ignored all the controls put in place by the UCLA study to remain as objective as possible.

            Fox News is 'obviously' right wing and no studies are needed.

            The other interesting fact is that Fox ratings for news and political shows are far superior to the others (it's not even close, Fox ratings are quadruple).

            So, in their fuzzy math, the right-wing station gets half the viewers, the central stations get the other half. Seems to me that's a distortion of the meaning of "center".

            I suppose they will then argue that the ratings are wrong. That's what they do when polls give them the wrong answer.

          • If you are being taken into the weeds with demands for citations or whatnot, try this argument:

            "MSNBC.com identified 143 journalists who made political contributions from 2004 through the start of the 2008 campaign, according to the public records of the Federal Election Commission. Most of the newsroom checkbooks leaned to the left: 125 journalists gave to Democrats and liberal causes. Only 16 gave to Republicans. Two gave to both parties." MSNBC.com June 25 '07

            There is story after story about how overwhelmingly American journos give to Dems. Facts speak for themselves.

          • If you are being taken into the weeds with demands for citations or whatnot, try this fact:

            "MSNBC.com identified 143 journalists who made political contributions from 2004 through the start of the 2008 campaign, according to the public records of the Federal Election Commission. Most of the newsroom checkbooks leaned to the left: 125 journalists gave to Democrats and liberal causes. Only 16 gave to Republicans. Two gave to both parties." MSNBC.com June 25 '07

            There is story after story about how overwhelmingly American journos give to Dems. Facts speak for themselves.

          • If you are being taken into the weeds with demands for citations or whatnot, use this fact:

            "MSNBC.com identified 143 journalists who made political contributions from 2004 through the start of the 2008 campaign, according to the public records of the Federal Election Commission. Most of the newsroom checkbooks leaned to the left: 125 journalists gave to Democrats and liberal causes. Only 16 gave to Republicans. Two gave to both parties." MSNBC.com June 25 '07

            There is story after story about how overwhelmingly American journos give to Dems. Facts speak for themselves.

          • Right on.

            There are lots of other pieces of evidence too, if one cares to look. Instead we have our lefties here clamoring for evidence that is easy to find, while providing no evidence of their own.

            That statistic you quote is almost completely indisputable, coming from the FEC. It's also mind-boggling how much the tilt is leftward. Here we have 89% of journalists supporting Democrats, when election after election has shown that 50% of the population votes Democratic.

          • "The mainstream press is liberal. Once, before 1965, reporters were a mix of the working stiffs leavened by ne'er-do-well college grads unfit for corporate headquarters or divinity school. Since the civil rights and women's movements, the culture wars and Watergate, the press corps at such institutions as The Washington Post, ABC-NBC-CBS News, the NYT, The Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, etc. is composed in large part of “new” or “creative” class members of the liberal elite—well-educated men and women who tend to favor abortion rights, women's rights, civil rights, and gay rights. In the main, they find such figures as Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Pat Robertson, or Jerry Falwell beneath contempt.

            In a UCLA study of media bias, reporters were found to be substantially more liberal and more Democratic than the public at large. Hoyt, in a column last year, acknowledged this finding: “Being human, journalists do have personal biases, and a long line of studies has shown that they tend to be more socially and politically liberal than the population at large. There is no reason to believe Times journalists are any different.

            If reporters were the only ones allowed to vote, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, Al Gore, and John Kerry would have won the White House by landslide margins. More specifically, reporters and editors tend to be social liberals, not economic liberals. Their view of unions and the labor movement is wary and suspicious. They are far more interested in stories about hate crimes than in stories about the distribution of income.” Columbia Journalism Review, Oct 8 '09

            <a href="http://www.cjr.org/campaign_desk/journalism_shoul…” target=”_blank”>http://www.cjr.org/campaign_desk/journalism_shoul

          • "More specifically, reporters and editors tend to be social liberals, not economic liberals. Their view of unions and the labor movement is wary and suspicious. They are far more interested in stories about hate crimes than in stories about the distribution of income."

            That is excellent point. I think it explains why some left leaning people complain about right wing press.

          • I hate to step in between you and scf congratulating each other, but you skipped this paragraph from your own citation:

            "But, and this is a mega-but, even though the mainstream media are by this measure liberal, ending the discussion at this point would be a major disservice to both the press and the public. While the personnel tend to share an ideological worldview, most have a personal and professional commitment to the objective presentation of information, a commitment that is not shared by the conservative media. FOX News, The Weekly Standard, National Review, The Washington Times, Drudge, The Washington Examiner, The American Spectator, CNS News, Town Hall, WorldNetDaily, Insight Magazine are all explicitly ideological"

          • I didn't skip anything, we are talking about mainstream media. Some of those conservative orgs are not news gathering operations, they are opinion. No one denies there is conservative media but I would like to know which of those con sources would you call mainstream?

            Take a moment and look at list of lib/con media, do you think they equally influence the national conversation.

          • I didn't skip anything, we are talking about mainstream media. Some of those conservative orgs are not news gathering operations, they are opinion. No one denies there is conservative media but I would like to know which of those con sources would you call mainstream?

            You are arguing that FOX News, Washington Times, Washington Examiner, CNS News have about the same amount of influence on national debate as The Washington Post, ABC-NBC-CBS News, the NYT, The Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe and I am skeptical, to say the least.

        • @s_c_f

          Here is a different opinio0n of the study you cite:

          Summary: News outlets including CNN cited a study of several major media outlets by a UCLA political scientist and a University of Missouri-Columbia economist purporting to "show a strong liberal bias." But the study employed a measure of "bias" so problematic that its findings are next to useless, and the authors — both former fellows at conservative think tanks cited in the study to illustrate liberal bias — seem unaware of the substantial scholarly work that exists on the topic.

          Read the entire critique here:

          [ http://www.spinwatch.org/-news-by-category-mainme… ]

          Your confirmation bias is firmly entrenched, it appears.

          • Exactly. The lefty Media Matters does a hatchet job. Wow, what a surprise. Did you read my comments? Did you not notice I already know about Media Matters, the Democratic Party web site?

            I really don't care what your rebuttal says, it's crap. I provide the citation and all shoot it down. I provide a meaningful study and you respond not with a study nor a paper nor anything intelligent, you respond with a CNN hatchet job. If you really want to be useful, show me your citation.

  20. Plus, let's be honest, Steyn teeters on crazy half the time.

    Look at the NYT: the most reliable lefty on their editorials page is a Nobel prize-winning economist who was right about the Bush tax cuts, right about the war in Iraq, right in predicting the subprime meltdown and is rightly critical of Obama's wavering on the public option in the healthcare debate.

    On the right, the NYT offers the fatuous David Brooks, the jaw-droppingly lightweight Ross Douthat and (until recently) Always Wrong Bill Kristol. For all the right-wing moaning about Affirmative Action in the US, the NYT Editorial page is pretty clearly running a similar program for rightwing writers… none of these people should have a regular column on such a prominent paper. Not because they're right-wing but because the quality of their work is just so reliably poor.

    • One thing is for sure, a Nobel means nothing these days.

      And secondly, you are actually trotting out one of the most leftist papers out there to make a point about the quality of writing from the right? Hilarious.

      • Read it again. Slowly. I'll wait.

        My point was that the leftiest of papers makes room for rightwing writers on its op ed page. Then, in a second point, pointed out the shoddy quality of their work – these people would not be writing for the NYT if they represented a centre or left point of view, just based on their inability to construct an argument.

        Maybe you could point out the space reserved for centre or left opinions in the Wall St Journal or Washington Times? Maybe the National Post?

        Who said anything about the Nobel?

        • "these people would not be writing for the NYT if they represented a centre or left point of view,"

          Have you ever heard of Dowd or Herbert?

          And you are wrong about David Brooks. Plenty of newspapers would love to have him on staff.

        • "these people would not be writing for the NYT if they represented a centre or left point of view,"

          Have you ever heard of Dowd or Herbert?

          And you are wrong about David Brooks. Plenty of newspapers would love to have him on staff.

          • Dowd is a gossip columnist and doesn't represent any coherent point of view. She's despised on the left even if she does occasionally take the piss out of someone on the right. Honestly, I have no idea why she would have column inches at the NYT either.

            I don't read Herbert regularly – but from what I've seen, he writes reasonable enough stuff – relevant and supported by actual research.

            I don't doubt that plenty of papers would love to have Brooks on staff. I didn't call him unpopular, I called him fatuous.

        • Who said anything about the Nobel?

          You cannot be serious. You! In the comments I replied to! Do you have multiple personality disorder?

          • Ah, regarding Krugman, I see where I referenced Nobel.

            You know, your name-calling here is really irritating. Please stop, I don't call you names.

          • What I find irritating is people who don't even bother to remember or (re-read if they cannot remember) what they previously said. If you are gonna claim my comment about "Nobel" was spurilous, then you should at least try to be accurate.

          • What I find irritating is people who don't even bother to remember (or re-read if they cannot remember) what they previously said. If you are gonna claim my comment about "Nobel" was spurilous, then you should at least try to be accurate.

          • What I find irritating is people who don't even bother to remember (or re-read if they cannot remember) what they previously said. If you are gonna claim my comment about "Nobel" was spurious, then you should at least try to be accurate.

            My name calling here is a fancy way of saying "how is it possible that you are denying what you just said?" Shades of Ignatieff.

            And another thing, if you are gonna say "Plus, let's be honest, Steyn teeters on crazy", then don't go whining like a baby about name-calling.

            Or are you saying it's ok to call someone names if he is not around? Maybe you're saying calling the Maclean's writers names is OK, but TJ Cook is off limits? Or is that the righties can be insulted, the lefties are off-limits? Perhaps you are saying the word "crazy" is OK, but the words "multiple personality disorder" are not? Maybe you are saying it's ok to call someone's photo an intentionally dishonest fake, but then I cannot call someone an idiot for missing the obvious signs that the previous accusation of fakery is a lie?

            I'm sorry, you've lost me.

  21. Look everybody – Wherry posted something! Time for Dakota to spring in with a reflexive, empty shot.

    No need to think at all.

    • Let me know if you've ever said anything intelligent.

      • Once again, scf demonstrates the level of discourse we've all come to expect from the rightwing True Believers.

  22. Wow, thanks for the completely unsupported set of assertions.

    I'd ask you to back up what you said, but who would I be kidding? Can't argue with truthiness.

    • So why are you asking me to back up my statement and not butt-face? Yeah, I know, you're a blind partisan.

    • I mean, seriously, you haven't done something this silly since you claimed the trees in Washington have no leaves in the summertime.

    • I mean, seriously, you haven't done something this silly since you claimed the deciduous trees in Washington have leaves in the winter.

      One guy says something with no supporting statements, then I disagree, and you ask for me to back it up? Please.

    • I mean, seriously, you haven't done something this silly since you claimed the deciduous trees in Washington have green leaves in the winter.

      One guy says something with no supporting statements, then I disagree, and you ask for me to back it up? Please.

      • Well for one thing, McClelland used words like "tilts", "mostly" and "more x than y". Pretty reasonable stuff and doesn't preclude discussion or debate.

        You made a bunch of black-and-white declarations. That calls for some support, since they seem unreasonable, and they preclude discourse.

        But beyond that, see my comments above – you and the rest of the True Believers like to make sweeping, arrogant declarations based on… well, who knows, since you consider us unworthy of explanation. You lack credibility, scf, and unsupported extreme positions don't earn you any.

        Also: deciduous trees in Washington? You have me confused with someone else. Unless you can demonstrate otherwise, of course.

        • Firstly, your first three paragraphs in that comment are senseless.

          Especially the first, you've gone beyond debate into the realm of nonsense – you think that claims of 100% require proof but claims of 75% or 50% do not? Are you kidding me? This is such a stupid thing to say. By your reasoning, if I claim 50% of women have testes, you think this requires no supporting evidence.

          OK, I will rephrase my statement – the Toronto Star is mostly crazy and tilts psychotic. It is more insane than sensible. There ya go! Happy now?

          Secondly, you are the one who claimed pictures of the tea part protest in washington were in fact pictures of obama's inauguration. And you pinpointed a specific picture as a potential fake, a picture with green leafy trees everywhere. Congrats, you are an idiot.

        • Firstly, your first three paragraphs in that comment are senseless.

          Especially the first, you've gone beyond debate into the realm of nonsense – you think that claims of 100% require proof but claims of 75% or 50% do not? Are you kidding me? This is such a stupid thing to say. By your reasoning, if I claim 50% of women have testes, you think this requires no supporting evidence.

          OK, I will rephrase my statement – the Toronto Star is mostly crazy and tilts psychotic. It is more insane than sensible. There ya go! Happy now?

          Secondly, you are the one who claimed pictures of the tea part protest in washington were in fact pictures of obama's inauguration. And you pinpointed a specific picture as an example of such a picture, a picture with green leafy trees everywhere. Congrats, you are an idiot.

        • Another thing: "preclude discourse"? Is that supposed to be poetry? "unreasonable"? You need to move beyond the subjective into the objective when you debate.

        • Firstly, your first three paragraphs in that comment are senseless.

          Especially the first, you've gone beyond debate into the realm of nonsense – you think that claims of 100% require proof but claims of 75% or 50% do not? Are you kidding me? This is such a stupid thing to say. By your reasoning, if I claim 50% of women have testes, you think this requires no supporting evidence.

          OK, I will rephrase my statement – the Toronto Star is "mostly" crazy and "tilts" psychotic. It is "more" insane "than" sensible. There ya go! Happy now?

          Secondly, you are the one who claimed pictures of the tea party protest in washington in the summer were in fact pictures of obama's inauguration. And you pinpointed a specific picture as an example of such a picture, a picture with green leafy trees everywhere. Congrats, you are an idiot.

  23. "Shall I go on."

    Please do. I would love to hear more about how right wing TorStar is.

  24. I believe what we have here is a failure to perceive objectively.
    I think it's a little like when you think you know what your voice sounds like untill you hear a recording of yourself.
    How to get an objective, disinterested rating of where a media outlet or individual reporter/commentator sits on the political spectrum?? Hmmm. I'm stumped.

    • It's been done, jus do a little research and you'll see how.

  25. What we have here, and seemingly in much of the discourse in Canada, is not just an inability to understand the other side, which would just be a natural product of human cognition, but an unwillingness to even try. We're not even trying to understand where others are coming from. We just assume we know and criticize our perception of our opponents, never stopping to ask whether that perception is accurate or even in the ballpark.

  26. I never said the Star was rightwing. Only that it had rightwing columnists.

    • To the right of Stalin, maybe.

      Maybe.

      • On Discourse: a right-wing commentor compares the staff of a Toronto newspaper to Stalin.

        On Discourse indeed.

        • Stalin is the one that started lefties claiming everything is 'right wing' if they do not agree with it. And the tradition lives on which is why lefties bring up TorStar as an example of Canada's right wing media.

          • Stalin was also a mass murder.

            It used to be good manners not to make such extreme and hateful references in a debate. Is it too much to ask here?

      • Maybe to the right of Pol Pot also. Some of the time.

  27. It's not really all that complicated – the more someone yells, insults, threatens, or responds to questions about their position with sarcasm or irrelevance, the more they know that their position is indefensible.

    • Yes, because responding to flat-earthers with derision means I have a lack of evidence that the earth is round.

      Please. Sometimes things deserve to be mocked because they're just so flaming stupid.

      • If you think that responding to flat-earthers with derision will prove your position, then good luck with that. Sometimes it is gratifying to vent at something that seems flamingly stupid, but it doesn't change anyone's mind.

        • Hint: They're flat-earthers.. there isn't anything I can say that will change their minds. Similarly for many of the right-wing posters, and some of the left-wing. (Not all, however, on either side, I've seen some of each eventually be willing to turn around and grudgingly agree the other person's view may be the more correct)

  28. An honest question: Has amiable disagreement ever been the norm?

    If someone wants to bemoan the state of public discourse that's fine, there's a lot to bemoan, but I'm not sure whether or not to buy the "things were better before this newfangled Internet/cable news/talk radio"

    Plus, I take issue with the claim that the internet makes it easier to only take in news from perspectives we agree with. Newspapers and magazines have had ideological bents for years, and for a long time were explicitly partisan. The idea that news organizations should feign objectivity is a relatively new one.

    Basically, my point is: Socialists have always been assholes.

  29. You were both talking about a study which identified the *personal* politics of 143 journalists, as though that translated to media bias in their work.

    I think it's significant, like your citation said, that this does not in any way constitute bias in their professional work. Neither of you was addressing that.

  30. If I made that claim, prove it.

    The threads are all here at Macleans, show me.

    • Once again, you are denying what you previously said.

      This is the last thing I am saying to you today, and I am only saying it because you are trying to weasel out of a statement you made, calling people liars while making a completely idiotic statement.

      <a href="http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/09/17/jimmy-carter-i…” target=”_blank”>http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/09/17/jimmy-carter-i

      I said:


      This pic shows 2 things:
      1- there were more people than at the inauguration
      2- to think that this is just 70 000, you'd have to be an idiot
      <a href="http://iowntheworld.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/capitol-view-lo-res.jpg” target=”_blank”><a href="http://iowntheworld.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2…” target=”_blank”>http://iowntheworld.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2

      Here are your idiotic words:

      Why should we believe that's a photo of the 9-12 event? Lots of shameless liars are flogging photos of Obama's inauguration as photos of Teabagging Expo '09.

      You followed it up with:

      Who could be so stupid or mendacious as to misrepresent a photo of Obama's inauguration as a Teabaggers' event

    • Once again, you are denying what you previously said.

      This is the last thing I am saying to you today, and I am only saying it because you are trying to weasel out of a statement you made, calling people liars while making a completely idiotic statement.

      <a href="http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/09/17/jimmy-carter-i…” target=”_blank”><a href="http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/09/17/jimmy-carter-i…” target=”_blank”>http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/09/17/jimmy-carter-i

      I said:


      This pic shows 2 things:
      1- there were more people than at the inauguration
      2- to think that this is just 70 000, you'd have to be an idiot
      http://iowntheworld.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2

      Here are your idiotic words:

      Why should we believe that's a photo of the 9-12 event? Lots of shameless liars are flogging photos of Obama's inauguration as photos of Teabagging Expo '09.

      You followed it up with:

      Who could be so stupid or mendacious as to misrepresent a photo of Obama's inauguration as a Teabaggers' event

    • Once again, you are denying what you previously said.

      This is the last thing I am saying to you today, and I am only saying it because you are trying to weasel out of a statement you made, calling people liars while making a completely idiotic statement.

      http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/09/17/jimmy-carter-i

      I said:


      This pic shows 2 things:
      1- there were more people than at the inauguration
      2- to think that this is just 70 000, you'd have to be an idiot
      http://iowntheworld.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2

      Here are your idiotic words:

      Why should we believe that's a photo of the 9-12 event? Lots of shameless liars are flogging photos of Obama's inauguration as photos of Teabagging Expo '09.

      You followed it up with:

      Who could be so stupid or mendacious as to misrepresent a photo of Obama's inauguration as a Teabaggers' event

      • You're wasting your time on this guy dude. Trust me, I've gone through the whole 9 yards with him too. It's like he has no memory of prior statements, and he combines rudeness with a thin skin. Real piece of work.

        • Yes, I been through the 9 yards once or twice as well. But you're right, it really is a waste of time. You'd think he'd give up, rather than embarassing himself even more – he's an interesting study of blind partisanship, a person who goes beyond logic and instead represents conflict, arrogance and belligerence. No matter what you say, no matter how much evidence you present, he will find a way to oppose it, it's not about truth at all.

          I suppose it is an interesting case study. He's obviously not interested in the truth, blindly and wildly coming up with another false accusation about that photo. It tells you something about politics and human nature.

          Anyway, I am moving on :-), as I said in my last comment.

      • S_c_f, you're wasting your time on this guy dude. Trust me, I've gone through the whole 9 yards with him too. It's like he has no memory of prior statements, and he combines rudeness with a thin skin. Real piece of work.

  31. "In a UCLA study of media bias, reporters were found to be substantially more liberal and more Democratic than the public at large. Hoyt, in a column last year, acknowledged this finding: “Being human, journalists do have personal biases, and a long line of studies has shown that they tend to be more socially and politically liberal than the population at large. There is no reason to believe Times journalists are any different."

    Even Clark Hoyt, the Public Editor at New York Times, acknowledges reporters tend to be socially liberal but you know better, I am sure.

  32. "In a UCLA study of media bias, reporters were found to be substantially more liberal and more Democratic than the public at large. Hoyt, in a column last year, acknowledged this finding: “Being human, journalists do have personal biases, and a long line of studies has shown that they tend to be more socially and politically liberal than the population at large. There is no reason to believe Times journalists are any different."

    Even Clark Hoyt, the Public Editor at New York Times, acknowledges that reporters tend to be socially liberal but you know better, I am sure.

  33. "In a UCLA study of media bias, reporters were found to be substantially more liberal and more Democratic than the public at large. Hoyt, in a column last year, acknowledged this finding: “Being human, journalists do have personal biases, and a long line of studies has shown that they tend to be more socially and politically liberal than the population at large. There is no reason to believe Times journalists are any different."

    Even Clark Hoyt, the Public Editor at New York Times, acknowledges that reporters tend to be socially liberal but you know better, I am sure.

  34. "In a UCLA study of media bias, reporters were found to be substantially more liberal and more Democratic than the public at large. Hoyt, in a column last year, acknowledged this finding: “Being human, journalists do have personal biases, and a long line of studies has shown that they tend to be more socially and politically liberal than the population at large. There is no reason to believe Times journalists are any different."

    Even Clark Hoyt, the Public Editor at New York Times, acknowledges that reporters tend to be socially liberal and it influences their work but you know better, I am sure.

  35. Once again, you are denying what you previously said.

    This is the last thing I am saying to you today, and I am only saying it because you are trying to weasel out of a statement you made, calling people liars while making a completely idiotic statement.

    http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/09/17/jimmy-carter-i

    Here are your idiotic words:

    Why should we believe that's a photo of the 9-12 event? Lots of shameless liars are flogging photos of Obama's inauguration as photos of Teabagging Expo '09.

  36. Once again, you are denying what you previously said.

    This is the last thing I am saying to you today, and I am only saying it because you are trying to weasel out of a statement you made, calling people liars while making a completely idiotic statement.

    <a href="http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/09/17/jimmy-carter-i…” target=”_blank”>http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/09/17/jimmy-carter-i

    I said:


    This pic shows 2 things:
    1- there were more people than at the inauguration
    2- to think that this is just 70 000, you'd have to be an idiot
    http://iowntheworld.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2

    Here are your idiotic words:

    Why should we believe that's a photo of the 9-12 event? Lots of shameless liars are flogging photos of Obama's inauguration as photos of Teabagging Expo '09.

    You followed it up with
    Who could be so stupid or mendacious as to misrepresent a photo of Obama's inauguration as a Teabaggers' event

  37. Once again, you are denying what you previously said.

    This is the last thing I am saying to you today, and I am only saying it because you are trying to weasel out of a statement you made, calling people liars while making a completely idiotic statement.

    <a href="http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/09/17/jimmy-carter-i…” target=”_blank”>http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/09/17/jimmy-carter-i

    I said:


    This pic shows 2 things:
    1- there were more people than at the inauguration
    2- to think that this is just 70 000, you'd have to be an idiot
    <a href="http://iowntheworld.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2…” target=”_blank”>http://iowntheworld.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2

    Here are your idiotic words:

    Why should we believe that's a photo of the 9-12 event? Lots of shameless liars are flogging photos of Obama's inauguration as photos of Teabagging Expo '09.

    You followed it up with:

    Who could be so stupid or mendacious as to misrepresent a photo of Obama's inauguration as a Teabaggers' event

  38. Pardon me. I should have said "who could be so stupid or mendacious as to misrepresent a photo of *Promise Keepers* as a Teabaggers' event".

    None of which makes it ok for you to call me an idiot. On Discourse indeed.

  39. No, Hoyt knows better: "most have a personal and professional commitment to the objective presentation of information."

    And again, none of this is proof of bias in what the media actually produces.

  40. Speaking of being late to the game, it is really very humourous that Wherry would would acknowledge the importance of a balanced, respectful approach.

  41. Of people on the political right, a large proportion of them were on the political left when they were young.

    So they know where the lefties are coming from.

    And yes, our journalists are left-wing. Less than 15% of them vote for the conservative parties.

    Doesn't mean they're bad, or that they're necessarily biased (though many are), but that's just where we are.

    ***

    I don't know that it's so terrible that there's a lot of rudeness and crassness in political arguments. That's kind of the nature of the beast — it's civil war by other means. And when we have strong disagreements, that's because the issues are important.

    I've always sought out other opinions — I did it when I was on the left, and it moved me to the right. I still read articles and blog posts by left-wingers now, because it's useful to know what other people are thinking.

    If people want to, they will — and it can help make their arguments more persuasive. If they won't, they won't, and there's little point in scolding them for it.

    • I'd say a good portion of our better journalists don't actively support any party. Any moderately intelligent individual who has to deal with the day to day absurdity and frankly mediocre level of politics as currently practised in this country, could hardly be any other way.
      As to biased left wing journalists – i'll start taking that canard seriously once i start reading seriously unbiased reporting from the right [ with a few notable exceptions the NP is seriouly right leaning ]. Anyhow i seriously doubt that most of the voices clamouring for an end to left wing bias in the media, give one fig about media balance – they'd merely like to see the shoe on the other foot. For the results of that just cast your eyes south. The private media [ particularly radio] airways are a seething mass of every imaginable frustrated fringe loony in creation – God forbid that should happen here. Much of the liberal MSM may be mushy and intellectually dishonest, but at least they're not insane.

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