And as long as we're talking about ... anything ... let's talk about the election because you're not totally sick of it yet.

How the world would vote on the US president if the whole world could vote on the US president.

It is a small sample, sure, it’s only of people with internet access who went to this site, and the Obama fans are probably sending this to their friends a lot more than the McCain fans, but it’s super overwhelming. It’s 86/13 Obama. Counter the sample effect and maybe it’s 70/30 Obama. (or maybe it’s 60/40, or maybe it’s 90/10, who knows! It’s probably not in McCain’s favor though.) At any rate, voting for someone that the whole world likes sounds like a good idea. Making international friends is good, especially as we (maybe) go from being the world powerhouse to being only one of the world powerhouses.

Also, Fox News doctors photos. THIS IS NOT OKAY THIS IS SO NOT OKAY THIS IS TERRIFYING! I don’t know, maybe this is a common practice among news studios. If it is, point me to some other examples. But the fact that Fox News, with all its claims to be a reputable news source, and in fact one of the leading US news sources, would stoop to such a dirty trick to subconsciously demonize some people who wrote bad things about them… this is evil propaganda shit. This is evil evil evil. Oh my god this is so evil and not okay Fox News should be taken off the air immediately.


Anonymous -

That’s a fun link, but it is readily apparent how poor the sampling is by simply comparing the United States results to opinion polling in the US. The website currently has nearly 80% of Americans supporting Obama. Contrast this with the RCP polling average, which has Obama at roughly 53.4% among voters who are decided (i.e. I re-did the percentage to eliminate the voters who aren’t voting Obama or McCain, as the website doesn’t allow for those options):

The site may be treated as something for fun, but there’s no statistical validity to it.

Also, the chain of logic (that the world likes Obama; thus, we should vote for him) is very tenuous and disputable.

As I said, fun link. And who cares about Fox News? It’s going to be a long fight if you want to take them off the air. Also, we should work to remove other media that manipulates the news, for example the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, CBS, MSNBC, etc. Point is, we have freedom of speech, press, and more in this country. Don’t censor, just educate.

Dan -

True. It’s not particularly statistically accurate. But still, I’m going to offer an unsubstantiated claim, based on “I feel like I’ve heard things to this effect somewhere”: most non-Americans would rather see Obama in the white house.

Is the “world likes him -> we should vote for him” logic so bad? Sure, if he were a crummy candidate, we shouldn’t vote for him JUST because people like him. But I’d like to repair USA’s image abroad a bit, and as Obama and McCain are both reasonable candidates, I’d rather see the one who’s less likely to make foreigners think we’re all George Bush Texans.

Re: Fox News. We have freedom of the press, but as you said, all these major news corporations manipulate the news. I don’t think Fox News is going anywhere soon, and I wasn’t honestly calling for that. Although, if they’ll do stuff like this, that would be nice. Point out something equally egregious in another news source, I’d hate on them too. I just saw this link somewhere and got freaked out, because (sorry to Godwin this conversation) that’s what Nazis, Stalins, Minitrues do.

I’m still curious as to who you are! Do I know you?

Anonymous -

Look, the world may like Obama more, but there are some recent reports that he is not well-received in all quarters:

Obviously that’s only one country and it’s not Sarkozy’s public opinion. I also think that being in the office of President will tend to pull either candidate toward our current stances.

As far as other media outlets go, the New York Times ran a story earlier this year insinuating that John McCain had an affair with a lobbyist, entirely without corroborating evidence. And before the 2004 election, CBS tried to hurt Bush’s chances at reelection by showing “fake but accurate” documents proving malfeasance by Bush while in the Texas Air National Guard.

I’m not sure this is a problem that needs solving. Newspaper readership is already falling. People can tell when the media isn’t fully honest, if they try funny business too often. They may fix themselves up; they may not. There’s another blog with an interesting perspective:

I enjoy finding blogs on the internet, with a variety of opinions (don’t want to get stuck in a conservative echo chamber!). Your blog is appealing because of the mix of technology, personal, and political topics, as well as the writing style. The blog linked above very strongly presents the libertarian viewpoint. Obviously I agree with some blogs more than others, but I at least need to see the other viewpoint.

But I also can’t resist adding a (hopefully) moderating perspective. It’s your home, though; let me know if you want me out.

Dan -

I think in the long term, it might work itself out; in the short term, it’s not so good. Right now, you have to be a bit of a hobbyist to get accurate news. Like you said, reading blogs is fun, but then you have to find some blogs, and take their biases into account. Like that link says, blogs are (almost) all editorials. Grains of salt all over the place. Eventually you might get to the bottom of an issue, but it takes you a long time, and I’m not always (or even often) willing to spend that time. That’s what professional news sources should be doing- getting to the bottom of the issue, delivering as little spin as possible, and noting whatever spin they have.

And I’m glad you’re enjoying my blog! Sorry to be nosy… I just don’t get a lot of visitors besides my friends and family. (Perhaps the lack of comments has made this clear.) But please do stick around and offer moderating views, when you want. (don’t want to get caught in a liberal echo chamber either… going to college and living in Seattle might do that) And the rest of the time, feel free to laugh at silly bits of my life that I throw on the internet. Ultimately, that’s why I started this thing in the first place. (politics came later, for better or worse…)

Gerrit -

The suggestion that there is comparable misleading activity on the left is unsupportable.

The CBS report to which the anonymous poster refers is the document purporting to prove that Bush skipped his flight duty.

Later, a blog, LittleGreenFootballs, figured out that it was a hoax letter because of the way the superscript on the date at the top right had been formatted - no typewriter used by the military in the 70’s would have done that, but the margins and all settings were conspicuously identical to MS Office 2003 Word defaults.

For this mistake, Dan Rather resigned, even though he didn’t make or find the letter, nor was it his job to do a background check on it.

The important detail is, that was a mistake, probably negligence by someone who was supposed to fact check. But not an intentional, malicious act, and not by Dan Rather.

Secondly, the NYTimes article:

That is the one in question, I believe. You’ll note that it is part of a larger article on McCain’s problems with Ethics during the Keating Scandal.

Also, unlike Fox News, the NYtimes only published this article once. How many times do you think Fox covered fake things like Ayers?

In contrast, the New York Times covered the Obama-Wright controversy over and over again. (google “ obama wright”)

More importantly, you mention that we shouldn’t censor, but educate. One of my friends says something simliar - “People know fox news is biased.”

Well, Fox News doesn’t know its biased, and it constantly tries to tell you that it isn’t!

“Fair and balanced.”
“We report: You Decide”

Hannity and Colmes - supposed to be a face off between the two sides, but Colmes describes himself as a “moderate.”

Balanced? You decide!

On the other hand, the NYTimes and Washington Post employ really, really conservative op-ed writers! The most conservative ones, in fact! You actually cannot find more powerfully conservative writers than William Kristol, (the now very ill) Robert Novak, George Will, Charles Krauthammer, etc.

If you’d like to see some really well-documented evidence of lies from the right, read Blinded by the Right by David Brock, a former writer for the conservative media, and Al Franken’s Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right (amply researched and addressing only the most egregious – and funny – examples).

Note that you can’t find these egregious things from the left because they don’t exist – at least not from real organizations that say “we are real news.” Liberal blogs, Code Pink and labor unions don’t count.

Oh, and one more thing - how many liberal talk radio shows are there in America? And in how many cities is Rush Limbaugh syndicated? And in how many of those cities is there a local Rush Limbaugh anyway?

I don’t have numbers in front of me and I have other things to do, but I can tell you with confidence that the Conservative:Liberal talk radio ratio is bad. Worse than 5:1 bad.

For more information on that, read anything by Dr. Robert McChesney of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champagne. His specialty is media ownership, consolidation, and as he calls it, “media democracy.”

Finally, the lie about the balance is perpetuated by people’s friendly nature, which says, “The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. Let’s be moderate.”

The trouble is that Fox is on the right, and the rest of the news media is legitimately in the middle. So the well-meaning people breaking up the fight are really handing the victory to the Right, at the expense of real journalism.

Whenever anyone calls them out on making baseless claims, they cry wolf: “the liberals are trying to deny our free speech because they don’t like what we have to say!” Well, that, and you’re lying/exaggerating/being irresponsible reporters.

Lastly, Fox is borrowing on years of journalistic good will and cashing it out to the common ruin. People believe what newspapers say because they go through a rigorous fact-checking process, and they’re usually right!

So, all Rupert Murdoch had to do was establish some things that look like newspapers, do some easy reporting, and then publish whatever he wants, one story a day, and nobody will be able to find the shit in the haystack.

In the process, he makes all newspapers look suspect - how do we know the Times is telling the truth? Well, we know that because they still follow principles of journalistic integrity, but the Washington Times and the New York Post do not. It’s not about my politics or their politics.

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