It’s Not Just Beck That Is Losing The Cable Ratings War

BusinessInsider.com:

 

Fox News has the top 12 most-watched shows so far this year.

Which is perhaps not totally surprising since this marks the network’s ninth straight year as the number one channel in cable.

That is not to say it’s all rainbows and unicorns. (Or cupcakes and caliphates.) All of Fox’s top shows posted double digit losses year over year.

Glenn Beck suffered the biggest drop, losing 30% of his audience compared to the first quarter last year. But he wasn’t alone. Top ranking O’Reilly lost 14% of his audience, Sean Hannity, up a spot from 2010, lost 19%, and Bret Baier, who pushed Beck out of the top three, lost 13%.

Greta Van Susteren, who has been bleeding viewers to Anderson Cooper this month, is down 22.86%.

All in all Fox News actually lost 21% of its primetime audience during the quarter.

Compare this to CNN which is up 28% in primetime and MSNBC which is up 9% (Rachel Maddow increased by 16.65% and Anderson Cooper by 18%) and then take into consideration all the breaking news there’s been since Christmas, and one might begin to draw the conclusion that people are beginning to turn elsewhere for news news coverage.

Another explanation, of course, is that this time period last year was dominated by the health care debate and for much of that period Fox operated as an extension of the opposition. Now that the nation’s focus is international it’s harder to figure out an angle where Obama is bad and … nuclear meltdowns and Qadaffi are good.

*All numbers from Neilsen.

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Beating The Dead Horse Of Right-Wing Racism

I’m sure by this point that most people who are political types have already formed an opinion of the matter of tea party racism and to the larger issue: if the Republican political strategy includes pandering to racist Americans.

I repeat again and again, too little avail, that not all tea party members are de facto racists.

I found it very unfortunate that so many on progressive side of politics were so quick to call Rand Paul a “racist” for expressing a standard libertarian point of view in regards to the Civil Rights Bill and the ADA. (Private enterprise craps rainbows is the short version of this pure libertarianism ideology.) Those perspectives are not racism, though they do tend to excite the racists out there. This alone, it is vital to point out, is not enough to place a person on the wrong side of the core issue of racial sensitivity or a lack thereof.

It is very easy to throw out a label, like “socialist” or “commie pinko,” but it’s harder to back it up. That was frustrating to see the left-wing doing the same unintelligent labeling based on ignorance that the right-wing has honed to a daily art.

I hear the sentiment more and more that people want to do away with labeling, but I only want to do away with all the negative labeling. I don’t see how we can escape the principal of using labels on groups of people as we so often do in politics. Something must have a name to become a movement, without a name to describe whatever ideological bent we are talking about it would be impossible to even discern accurately between them all.

The labels we choose to recognize ourselves by, and attribute to ourselves, are obviously the labels by which we wish to use and have function for us. I feel that we ever get beyond labels it will because all people stopped using them, and not before.

Then we come to issue of the dreaded label: racist. I’ve never been one to take away any fine glory from calling another person racist, but I also cannot simply remain silent as I witness specific cases over and over again.

There are many fine conservatives and even honest tea party-types out there, but they are the most hushed and pushed into the corner minority of the right-wing I’ve ever seen. Wherever these people be, I hear very little from them or of them.

***

My first experiences with the tea party were seeing a small protest with one sign reading:

It‘s the White House, not the Black House

No n-words, no overt racist slurs, no neo-Nazi symbols … just this kind of rhetoric. I found it to be racist in nature, in my personal opinion at the time.

Now Janeane Garofalo was downright mean on Keith Olbermann’s show, but I won’t link that video or repeat any of that here. But did she speak intelligently about the tea party with Rosie O’Donnell so I find it likely she was playing to the YouTube crowd with that one.

My complaints are more to the inclusion of fringe groups known for racism like the John Birch Society in CPAC as to the conservative side and the acceptance of “Birthers” (for lack of a better term) into the tea party side. These actions, and the glorifying of characters like Beck and Limbaugh who incite racial hatred for profit, amount to a very “toxic stew” to borrow a bit of their language.

I never said everyone right-wing was a racist, what a wild claim that would be! I’ve said people who did specific things, like write a sign about the “Black House” or suddenly find a love for the term “commie-socialist” (which makes zero sense by the way), are looking like they are motivated by white racism.

Am I supposed to say “in my opinion” like every other sentence or something?

We just has this opinion about comparing Obama to Hitler passed around and discussed like it was rational by Sara Palin and other far right extremists. Helen Thomas expressed an opinion in a manner I found distasteful and crass, but everyone seemed to forget she is was an opinion journalist.

Though how we state our opinions is important, I realize this well.

So I avoid the term ’teabaggers’ as much as possible (recently) and make a strong effort to declare what I present in the manner of an opinion be understood as an opinion.

But without getting too twisted into a pretzel here:

We all have to remember that you don’t get to control what other person’s opinion of your opinion is.

I personally believe the problems here are tied exactly to that, like the days of Bush Derangement Syndrome. Making statements in a vacuum, from any side of politics, is just getting really annoying.

I’ll back it up, we can have a Constitution quote-off over SB1070 or a Wiki-battle over Southern Strategy Republican racism. I do it all the time, it’s not a new thing it just happens in lightning speed transactions these days instead of “let me go home and grab a few books and we’ll pick this up later.”

I find myself desiring an Edward R. Murrow like figure to appear in our times … we desperately lack that kind of brutal and much needed honesty today. Perhaps more than ever.

***

And here is a chart for all those tea party deficit hawks:
(No horses were harmed in the course of this posting.)

Obstructionist Republican Agenda

New RNC Chair, Michael Steele, claims to stand against obstructionists in his first speech then condones the stagnation of the Obama Stimulus bill in the House by Republicans shortly thereafter. I am sorry but that is shameless hypocrisy that reminds me of the previous tactics of Republicans that have done nothing but twist politics into a double-pretzel.

When interviewed about abortion and gay marriage, he explained that certain issues comprised his core beliefs and could not be compromised. In an earlier comment he expressed that he sought to avoid those who simply talked a lot and wanted no resolutions done.

Steele fails to understand that the Democratic Party is easily equal to the Republican Party in terms of members who do not back down on core ideals and core beliefs.

One such core belief is that legislation should pass without a partisan standard of approval in both the House and Senate.

It is obvious that it is nothing more than a partisan agenda of Congressional Republicans to keep the Stimulus package under a Democratic President from passage due to the fact that the last Stimulus and the equally large Bailout under Republican President Bush received quick and dual-party support, without any major concessions from the Democratic Party included therein.

The fact that not even one Republican voted for this bill, even after the requested tax cuts and concessions were included, proves beyond all anecdotal commentary on the exact specifics of the package that the opposition is simply against all policy with no need for explanation or discussion.

These actions prove that the current agenda within the RNC is simply to reject all policy proposed or supported by President Obama in a dangerous game of raw politics.

It is the responsibility of Michael Steele to encourage the Congress to come to a constructive level of progress in this time of great economic instability.

I do not, thus far, share in any level of elation that some have expressed within the Democratic Party with this new chairmanship of the RNC. There is no more time for these word games and the extremely familiar partisan stalemating in America today.

The game-clock has run out and there is nothing but lasting damage done by such an obvious favoritism for Republican sponsored bills and this obstructionist reaction to a Democratic sponsored bill.

To be fair, no Chair can be expected to be able to effect a great many votes in the Congress just after receiving the such a position.

I am simply stating that if the situation reversed, I would chastise the DNC Chair for taking such a narrow view of policy. Steele was in a unique position to help put an end to Republican obstructionism in modern-American government.

Instead he chose instead to be vague in his declaration against such a serious matter.

I would have hoped that the broad declarations against Americans and the vague comments eluding to items of a serious nature that often amount to slander would come to a close within the RNC and its members with the losses of 2008, but it appears that the tactics of distraction are not dying out as hoped.

Another unsettling element is that he speaks as if the Republican Party is not in great need of reconnecting its core foundations with its message and representatives after such a serious national defeat.

It is unfortunate that the need for keeping up appearances is keeping what I tend to believe to a genuine and honest man in his convictions from telling the simple truth that he has a lot work ahead of him if he wants to keep conservatism within the American dialect of politics in years to come.

I would like to attempt to dispel this term ’common sense’ from politics that Steele is so found of.

Basic knowledge about civics gives a person both personal political perspective and helps with a debate on policy. Common sense is to not running with scissors and taking good care of your health or things like not swearing in a church and being polite to others.

I see plenty of basic and advanced knowledge in the RNC but very little common sense. This has not changed in any fashion, in my view.

Lastly, the former-Congressman David Duke expressed that he saw Steele’s election as a dark day in Republican history. I think that is simply absurd and that Duke is a racist.

It is simply more of the same from the past eight, in what I see so far. I find it difficult to find excitement and relief at this time.

Eric Lightborn
February 3rd 2009

The Greatest Failing of the Liberal Movement

“Why would a liberal blogger ever talk about this? Has he lost his mind?”

Upon review of my postings, I have been exceedingly focused on the conservative movements and often harsh. I take nothing back.

It is past time I took a moment to address the very real short-comings within the popularity and success of many liberal movements. I’ll refrain myself to speaking generally.

The case of the ‘liberal snob’ or the ‘egghead liberal’ is the center of the problem. I cannot speak for others but I cannot address real issues without getting verbose and sometimes over-technical.

‘Joe Biden long-windedness’ is modern term getting thrown around for those like myself in their political discourse.

Or rather I can remove myself from the endless sentiment, but I must be allowed to let raw passion and at times foul language into the dialect of political discussion.

Far too many popular liberals in both press and in office maintain what some people see as a ‘know-it-all’ attitude that I am guilty of myself and attempt to train myself out of the habit in both my writing and personal conduct.

Book-smarts is great, as is higher education, but only a certain number of people eat the material up like I do. And I test far worse than I comprehend in most subjects.

So I am far from an academic at this time, and qualify as a hobbyist at best.

People should have every chance to look over the same press releases a little longer or to think on the perspective they hold as much as they wish. A person who says they are not too sure about something in politics, is really thinking about politics.

Which is nothing but good, no matter where in the aisle you find yourself.

This is tied into our fundamental Right to Vote. We require a full compliment of modern perspective in our political media and a high-credibility, non-partisan, factual press corp.

Only the so-called ‘fringe’ liberal groups support extreme journalistic integrity reform and numerous conservative groups have labeled themselves as ‘media integrity-advocates’ when in fact the majority of them support fact suppression and disinformation.

Not to mention the fact that the Fairness Doctrine has entered the political discourse of Democrats and I personally view it as macaroni-legislation in which we adopt failed policies of the past and switch the pieces around hoping for some wild new picture. The Fairness Doctrine has not caught any major steam, however, perhaps due to the paranoia of many conservative hosts on radio broadcasting mediums.

The greatest failing of the liberal movement is simply that all liberals, myself included, want everyone to pick up various materials and sources then ration through all the reports looking for the facts. A person asking this is any form is often perceived as snubbing their nose at light readers.

This is not just unappealing and offensive to many, it is a downright ridiculous proposition.

Both liberals and conservatives along with the ‘third’ parties all have a great many members who find it a laughable concept to start watching or listening to the alternative perspective in their daily media consumption.

The conservative agenda seeks to pin this blame on the idea of Politically Correct Language (PC) but I think the source of blame is a three-letter acronym: FCC.

PC attitudes are another topic, but it safe to say I am not a strong advocate for them in all situations. I do want to state that I see cultural sensitivity and political correctness as two separate issues and the common-conservative argument against PC culture also includes a negative view of cultural sensitivity and religious sensitivity that I do not share.

The Federal Communications Committee is the true beating heart of the matter, and remains a taboo topic even in this age of worldwide-electronic communications.

Just as the ‘scream heard around the world’ by Howard Dean was received as if he was mentality unstable or the nature of how the New Year‘s Eve comments of Kathy Griffin were handled, the constant vanilla-nature of all our major communications has given the lasting impression to many that if you express anything but highbrow editorials you will be shamed in public if not removed immediately.

As I see it, the yolk of the FCC bending to the will of a highly sensitive primarily religious minority has squelched the liberal movement more than any other when speaking of American politics and media over the past twenty to thirty years.

The damage is universal, not isolated. The smaller political movements and even the under-funded branches of the conservative movement have suffered under this scenario.

There is a need for laws and rules, of course. But we need not rampantly censor all dialogue and squelch the very intention of Freedom of Speech in the process.

To put it another way:

The young liberals of America are more than ready to verbally tear Rush Limbaugh’s head off, and start making a paycheck off that, except most of us have a “HBO Rated” and “TV/Radio Rated” manner of conducting ourselves. We don’t need Obama to pay any attention to the windbag if he would relax the arcane FCC regulations on the independent minds of America.

Eric Lightborn
https://ericlightborn.wordpress.com
February 3rd 2009

American Partisanship? Guilty On All Counts

Everyone has a little partisanship in them. Or at least if they have any political convictions they do. The true difference between a hard-line partisan and a person who uses passion and exaggeration in arguments is extremely simple: A blinded partisan will always work to squelch the ideas that are contrary to their own.

A close examination of modern media shows that partisanship is within all formats and all sources in different fashions and forms. The strongest vein of partisanship is without a doubt found within the conservative and pro-Republican news talk radio programs. Using dismissive attitudes and literally speaking over the words of others is not just commonplace but the entirety of certain shows.

My ire is raised the most when a person guilty of partisanship disguises themselves as one who is not. A host that asks their audience to suspend the fact that they make their living on the success or failure of the media is fit to inform and critique the media, is both absurd and insulting. A host that labels their shows and commentary as non-biased and pure policy when in fact the agenda is exclusively conservative is harmful to political understanding and hopeful future compromises.

Each group must come to fully understand one another before there can be resolution within the truth that each faction is invested in the same goal but wishes to employ very different strategies in government. The nature of all partisanship truly comes from keeping this message out of the major media sources and the popular formats.

I have no way to prove my sincerity but I have no desire to stomp out the conservative viewpoint or keep the majority of Americans from hearing opinions that are completely different from my own. I can only say that I am against the Fairness Doctrine or any legislation that works to alter the Fair and Equal Rule.

The issue should be laid at the feet of the networks, who could easily solicit a wider range of opinion.

Eric Lightborn
January 31st 2009

President Obama vs. Rush Limbaugh

Limbaugh

Our newly elected President Barack Obama made a request to the American public to stray away from the partisanship of Limbaugh and similar hosts.

The media storm resulting from this around Limbaugh and the nature of an American President addressing an issue as minor as a radio program are valid reasons to consider that it may not be advised for a head of state to engage the likes of Limbaugh at their level.

But I think the criticism from the left for Obama for doing this is the fundamental nature of how conservatives successfully spread their ideals and win elections that ultimately degrade the state of the union.

By constantly refusing to engage with the partisans and the tawdry, the wildly untrue statements they make become elevated and reinforced to the point of being deemed ’common sense’ by millions of Americans.

The silent treatment does not work against the right wing. End of story.

There is infinite patience and infinite banter to deploy while only a select few liberals will stand against the falsehoods and most them are under-represented in the major media formats.

In the same moment the likes of Ann Coulter publishes books and makes numerous TV and radio appearances while the real Social Science evidence presented in non-biased material is left unsold in bookstores.

Having a President who recognizes that these individuals who attack the very nature of political freedom and the heart of American democracy are a genuine threat to continued freedom of choice in our representatives is a great benefit to the nation.

The Democratic Party and the liberal movement must come to terms with the fact that they are fighting a propaganda machine of massive resources and multitudes of sworn members and that taking no action or light actions in the face of constant public defamation and misinformation is not only unacceptable but tragic.

Eric Lightborn
http://americapress.wordpress.com
January 31st 2009

Enhanced Freedom from Obama

PhotobucketThe CIA “enhanced interrogation” program being dismantled is a great weight and a seriously dangerous chapter of American History coming to a close, as does the proposed closure of Guantanamo Bay within one year’s time. President Barack Obama deserves commendation for these actions. He is showing a dedication to returning America to a nation more deserving of the title of “world super-power.”

Not only has the recent executive decisions under George W. Bush put our country in very real jeopardy in terms of possible blow-back from Guantanamo & Abu Ghraib but the fever of the nation to blame more than just nineteen hijackers for the tragedy of September 11th 2001 has lead to the jailing and detaining of individuals who would not be suffering such injustices under a more ethical and sane national government.

Jose Padilla received a travesty of American Justice in which the entire jury came into the courtroom wearing red, white and blue clothing among all twelve of the jury members. Even under request of the judge to be fair in their view of the evidence the jury remained favoring all prosecution arguments. I contend that the Bush Administration contributed to an environment to did not allow for Jose Padilla to receive a fair trial, and did so knowingly.