Diary

Two Quick Things: CNN and Why Does the Arena Allow Trolls?

1. My response to the Susan Roesgen thing to CNN:

Dear CNN,

I recently was shown the Susan Roesgen clip. I want to know if it is the position of the Network that the tea party protests were anti-government and anti-CNN.

Also, I would like to know whether or not Roesgen is going to be reprimanded or fired given her clear violation of journalistic ethics.

You’re probably getting a lot of these, probably a lot more than you get viewers, so I’ll keep it short.

~ MJS

2. Another diary mentioned how do you argue with liberals. Let me give you some classic examples of how you don’t. Go here and read yesterday’s “polarizing” question. It may be that the moderator didn’t allow enough direct responses, but read the sort of stuff that got thrown up without defense:

“Everyone knows who has a made career out of polarizing the electorate around wedge issues such as abortion, gay marriage, school prayer, all the while turning a blind eye as their Wall Street friends robbed the country blind.” — No mention of left-wing activist groups who also polarize the electorate.

Also: “It is interesting that a Republican can say Obama is not keeping his promise to be bipartisan after what Bush did to the concept of “compassionate conservatism” shortly after he took office in 2001.” — It’s like all the compromises of the Bush era are forgotten. We have a few people who mention them, but lies like this get stated outright and are not even questioned. The Moderator has shown, on Politico, he is not willing to actually attack outright aggressiveness from either side or lies. It is the job of other posters to fight those. Take, for example, Roth:

For the party of Rush Limbaugh to accuse Obama of being polarizing is really cute

The “data” behind the charge of polarization isn’t very compelling. The reasoning seems to be that if Obama had much lower overall approval ratings he would be less polarizing? Does that really make sense?

The polarization of the tea-baggers is less a reaction to specific policies of President Obama than it is a symptom of the intellectual vacuum currently afflicting much of the right wing in America. The right wing of the party of “no” sees polarization because many of their moderates have joined with the Democrats. Their reaction to losing the middle groun

This is flagrant strawmanning and lying. And you know who responds to it? Not anyone calling him to the floor for his lies and misstatements — but yes-man Kos poster Dworkin. In his attempt to say “it wasn’t Republicans”, he stumbles around and says that Tea Parties were third-party voters who voted for Ron Paul. Cause, you see, Ron Paul is not a Republican. I can’t tell if he just wasn’t sure whether his talking points were meant to undermine the tea parties still, or if he was supposed to be attacking Republicans (since, apparently, Perry’s not a -R any more either).

There’s two ways to deal with this. But first, go ahead and read the whole thing. It’s filled with this junk.

First, we can respond.

Second, if we’re not given a chance to respond (either because there’s a limited amount of review, like with Politico’s Arena, or because protestors throw chairs through windows like at Universities), we need to create venues where responsible debate can happen. I used to think Politico’s Arena met that purpose. Reading through the last couple of days (starting with the question about “drivel”), it has become clear that Barbash doesn’t have the where-with-all or permission to actually restrict the debate to useful comments. In all the discussions, folks on both sides had useful things to say (Dworkin’s stats, while often skewed and not representative, are useful to see and investigate), but the place is supposed to be civil.

And it’s not.

Skocpol asked about “Why are the media, with POLITICO very much in the vanguard, continuing to privilege this drivel?” Barbash claimed to have heard quite a lot of complaining about the foreign trip question. Barbash’s response? In part:

“We are among the few places where people who disagree politically actually communicate with each other and with a broad audience, as opposed to communicating only with those already on their side.”

I, for one, after reading yesterday’s segment don’t see why anyone on the right would feel welcome there. I’m done reading the Arena. If Barbash won’t moderate out the extremely vocal Arena trolls (because that’s what folks like Stewart and Roth are — and don’t think that there aren’t a few on the right who aren’t the same, Craig Shirley and Grover Norquist go over board too. Which is a shame, because at least, unlike Roth, they sometimes have interesting things to say woven between their rhetoric.

I know it may not be my place, but I’m curious what everyone else thinks about Arena and its process. Was yesterday really as different as I’m perceiving it compared to the rest (I’ve been following it since day 1 or so)? Or has the quality been steadily declining and yesterday was just the breaking point for me?

So, serious question to Fred Barbash. Why does the Arena allow posts that are no better than internet troll postings?

~ MJS