New media

Who in the media have ‘perspective’?

Among the remarks by spokesmen for the Obama administration in its war against Fox News was David Axelrod's observation that Fox was not a news organization because it had a "perspective" on the news.T hat deserves analysis on more than one level. First, there is the political angle. Obviously, Obama’s quarrel with Fox has everything to do with its "perspective." Unlike CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC and NPR, Fox is not in the tank for the current occupant of the White House. Nothing like Chris Matthew’s "tingling sensation" up his leg excites Fox journalists.

Second, there is a distinction to be made, of sorts, between straight news people and commentators at Fox, as White House press secretary Robert Gibbs acknowledged, when he subsequently singled out a couple of Fox time slots for the latter. Fox, like other media, distinguishes news from opinion.

Third, Fox’s slogans are not just marketing ploys. Compared to other media, Fox is "fair and balanced," as there are more presentations of opposing viewpoints there than in the "mainstream media." The other networks give little time to the conservative point of view.

At least one intrepid journalist at a Gibbs press conference did question the wisdom of the President singling out one television network for criticism. One is reminded of the famous quotation from Martin Niemoller, a victim of Nazi oppression, about how "they came for the Jews, but I wasn’t a Jew, so I didn’t speak up." One hopes that lesson has been learned.

So, although it is thuggish from my "perspective" for a President to condemn one news organization and practically demand that others not follow its example of exposing, for example, ACORN’s corruption or the extremist views of a number of Obama’s "Czars," it looks like he made other journalists uncomfortable.

Although presidents have frequently been critical of media coverage for both good reasons and bad, nothing compares to the current situation so much as Vice President Spiro Agnew’s criticism of the major media in 1969. But then the obvious difference is that Agnew took on the entire New York-Washington media axis, rather than picking on only one network..

Yet there is a great similarity between the media’s hostility to the Nixon Administration 40 years ago and their opposition to George W. Bush up until less than a year ago, and that was both administrations’ prosecution of a war that most leading journalists were opposed to.

All this is interesting stuff, but let’s get back to "perspective." What’s wrong with it? More to the point, how does any journalistic organization succeed without it? Determining what is news is not merely record keeping. Each day someone must decide that some event or development is news, mindful of the fact that if it is determined to be news, it will be on the public agenda.

Years ago U.S. News did a lengthy piece on the New York Times. In their daily conferences, it was pointed out, Times editors, conscious that it was the nation’s leading newspaper which influences the television networks in their own selection of news, were very careful about what they printed, especially on the front page. They understood that more people read the front page more than the editorial page, and they were reluctant to give more publicity to an issue or cause than it deserved.

As shocking as this may sound, this is what all news organizations do, although the smaller the staff the less likely that long deliberations precede their news decisions. If politics, war, commerce, law and entertainment loom large in our media, it is not because of arbitrary editors but because these things matter to most people in a democratic republic.

No less shocking perhaps to many may be the fact that, because journalists are American citizens with opinions, some things are more important to them than others. Without that "perspective," there is no reason for anyone to be in journalism; it is part of politics even if journalists do not hold public office.

Thus, Fox was singled out not because it had a "perspective," but because its "perspective" differs from Obama’s and his friends’ in other media. We need a free media to enable us to know what our leaders are doing and to discuss the wisdom of their policies. Lacking such "perspective," self government is impossible.

No ruler of a free people should condemn any media because they have a "perspective." That is but the prelude to a controlled media and despotic government

Edgar Obama & Charlie McRitter

It's amusing to be a Republican spectator at the feverish Democratic huddle that is Bill Ritter's email list. Day after day, some revved-up copywriter churns out breathless warnings about the sinister threat posed by my side to their side, the dynamic duo of our Governor and our President. Obama hero-worship may be waning in other quarters, but the Ritter campaign still seems to view it as their lifeline for 2010. Reading these bulletins is almost like (and here I date myself) the old ventriloquism act where Edgar "Barack" Bergen threw his voice into the cherubic cheeks of Charlie "Loyal Bill" McCarthy.

My purpose here isn't to debate the merits of what the Ritter campaign is asserting, but merely to marvel with admiration at the strident sycophancy they manage to sustain. Three recent examples...

One from 9/10 entitled "Failing Us All" said in part:

America's broken health care system is failing us all. As President Obama noted last night, 14,000 Americans lose their coverage every day. It could happen to anyone....Thousands of activists have already emailed their Members of Congress, urging them to rally behind President Obama. But with all the misinformation circulating out there, we must do more to confront the cynics and make our voices heard throughout Colorado.

Earlier this week, the 9/8 dispatch called "A Pep Talk for Colorado's Kids" lamented:

Unfortunately some cynics have decided to use this totally apolitical pep talk to students as an opportunity to gin up fear and anger against the President. With impressively straight faces, extremists like Glenn Beck alleged that the President is trying to "indoctrinate" American children with his political ideology. It's the same folks manufacturing the so-called "birther" controversy, the "death panel" controversy, and every outrageous claim in between. They are dedicated to undermining the President -- no matter what. So I was troubled that some schools here in Colorado gave in to the calls of a very radical fringe by deciding not to allow their students an opportunity to watch the President's important speech in class this morning.

Yup, I was troubled too, Governor. It's gotten even worse than you warned us it would two weeks ago, in an 8/27 message headlined "Trashing Colorado's Progress:"

Our political opponents are courting a radical fringe here in Colorado. One of Governor Ritter's challengers has fully embraced rabidly anti-government "tea parties" and suggested Colorado should reject federal recovery funding -- funding that has already created or saved thousands of jobs in Colorado. Meanwhile another challenger recently dismissed the significance of transitioning to a New Energy Economy in an interview with the Colorado Statesman. He even added that if elected he would throw Governor Ritter's ban on expanding the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site "in the trash," a fringe position which puts him at odds with many in his own party. All this begs the question: what other key accomplishments would our political opponents throw "in the trash" if elected?... One year ago Governor Ritter stood before tens of thousands of Coloradans at the Democratic National Convention... Shortly thereafter Barack Obama took the stage to accept our party's presidential nomination...

"Radical fringe," oooohhh. Doesn't it give you the shivers? But all this does raise (not "beg," thank you) the question: With Obama's poll numbers so low, why does Ritter cling doggedly to his dwindling coattails? Maybe because Ritter's own numbers are low as well. Misery loves company, and besides, what other hero-figure is there for a Democrat in trouble these days? Little Charlie McCarthy had to stay perched on Edgar Bergen's knee and keep mouthing whatever his big pal put forth. It was that or fold up in the vaudeville trunk and go silent altogether.

Grand Jct. reacts to Obama - 2

Editor: More first-person color from a participant in Saturday's presidential visit to Grand Junction. The author is Kathleen Baker of Denver. Hat tipto cyber-activists Ron Michel and Fred Holden for passing it along. ==========================

Many of you asked for details of yesterday's protest in Grand Junction, so here is my personal account.

For those of you that don't know Grand Junction, it is the largest town in western Colorado with a population of 48,000. It sits about halfway between Denver and Salt Lake City, both of which are about a four-hour drive. Between Grand Junction and SLC, there is basically nothing. Between Denver and GJ, there are small mountain and resort communities about every twenty to thirty minutes.In other words, there is not a huge population base from which to draw protestors.

From 10 am to 11:30 yesterday, the Grand Junction citizens held a well organized rally at a park a couple miles from the high school where the townhall was held.They asked everyone to sign a registration card so they could have an accurate count of attendance. There were more than 4,000. (That's huge for a town with 48,000 residents.) This is hearsay, but I later heard that out of those 4,000, only three "won" tickets to the townhall.

I spent the majority of my time manning a petition table for a man I met there. The petitions were for amendments to be on the Colorado ballot to limit taxation. Local leaders, I would recommend helping to get signatures:,,

I did not see any reporters from the national or Denver news organizations. There appeared to be a reporter from the GJ station. There were also newspaper reporters, one of which I know was from SLC. However, the big players did not appear to be there.

After the rally, there was a break until 3:00. I went to lunch with several representatives of 912 groups from the Front Range area. Then a member of the local group that sponsored the protest invited us to her home until the protest began. On the way to the protest, we saw Air Force One land. It was a strange feeling to see this American icon while detesting the occupant inside.

Now for the protest and all the baloney that goes with this administration. They told everyone the motorcade would be following a certain route. MoveOn or ACORN or whatever group organized the other side reserved the space and set up their protest there. We lined up the other side of the street. (it reminded me of the Revolutionary War where the Patriots and Red Coats faced each other in battle. :-) We way outnumbered them. They were bussed in from Denver. The bus was in plain site, and I passed it while I was driving home. There were also the usual professionally printed signs. It was a typical counter protest of both sides chanting back and forth. The woman on our side with the bullhorn was pretty funny.

It was pretty obvious to me the way it was set up that the motorcade wasn't going to drive down a road lined with counter protestors. The thing that made me angry was they told the Central High School Band they were going to play for it. The kids sat there in the hot sun waiting, and he sneak in another entrance. Those kids were incredibly dejected. It's one thing to sneak past demonstrators but to lie to those kids like that shows what type of character he has.

I don't know how many protestors were there as the rally people split up to different parts of town to protest the motorcade. I do know there were several people there from Denver that missed the earlier rally. There were lots of people filming it, but once again, I didn't see any major players from the media.

So this is where it got funny. Since the ACORN people were bussed in from Denver, they didn't know the high school. Our side had the real protestors who had graduated from there, so they figured out which entrance he used. We all wanted to move to that entrance so when he left, he would see us. However, we didn't want ACORN to follow us. So over a 45-minute period we slowly trickled over there. The front line of our group would keep chanting while the others left. (It was a bit like the Sound of Music.) They had no idea. We were trying to make it look like people were slowly going home. A GJ couple from our side who hadn't been informed of the plan said all of a sudden no one on our side was there. (They were smart and realized we had all moved to another location, so they went looking for us. The ACORNers were too dumb to realize what we had done.)

Anyway, after our little covert operation we had restaged ourselves with only a few socialist demonstrators at the entrance. We were pretty proud of ourselves. :-) This made it perfect for when he came out in his motorcade. We shouted over and over "No you can't!" which turned into the most loud, emotional boo I've ever heard. It was great. It was such a wonderful feeling to be so close to him and to know that he could hear us booing him.

Another thing I wanted to note was a rather strange experience between the police and us. After we had restaged ourselves, the local police guarding the parking lot all of a sudden lined up in a row, riot style (legs spread apart, arms behind the back). It was odd, and the entire angry mob became silent and turned their bodies to look at them. The thing was we intimidated them by our reaction. They all looked at each other and you could see they realized they were us. We were not the enemy. We were their friends and neighbors. Then they quickly retreated and went into a little circle.

Finally, I would like to give some hints to others who may protest BO in the future. They set us up by stating which entrance he was coming in and planting his supporters and the marching band there. They aren't going to drive a presidential motorcade down a street lined with protestors. They are going to bring him in an entrance where the entire block (including sidewalks) is blocked off. Before a protest, have organizers scout the location and see what areas are COMPLETELY blocked off from pedestrians and where there is a substantial higher amount of police. One woman I met when we restaged who had been at the entrance the entire time said they had done that and that's how they figured out which entrance he was using. Be in charge of the situation. We were laughing after restaging because we know (there and across the country) we are always one step ahead of them.

It was a great day, and I met a lot of wonderful people. It made me proud to be an American.

Grand Jct. reacts to Obama - 1

Editor: Colorado bloggers captured insights you didn't see in MSM when the President brought his health care pitch to Grand Junction on Aug. 15. This report by a "Donna" was forwarded by our friend Norm Froman. ================================

Well, I’m sure you have heard the Western Slope is being subjected to a visit from White house royalty. If ever there was a mockery of Tax payers’ money it is this one.

I turned on Fox News around 4:30 to catch some of it. I could only manage to watch one thundering round of standing ovation. Talk about a staged showing.

They are using our largest High School for the so called Town Hall meeting.

As of last night NO ONE was allowed in the Bookcliff mountain range. That is the mountain range that borders our Airport. As of a certain time they will totally closing down the business loop of I-70 and it will remain closed until they have him out of here. State Police are everywhere.

The Conservative Alliance held a huge rally in one of our parks this morning at 10 a.m. We went to it.

Pictures of the rally are shown on the GJ Sentinel site. I am guessing there was close to 3-4 thousand there. They had many speakers. One was Josh Penry, who will be running for Colorado Governor in 2010.

One speaker asked for a show of hands of those that requested a pass to get into the high school for the town hall meeting. I would say that about half of all present had requested a pass. A total of 4 out of all that raised their hands received a pass.

The Conservative Alliance requested many passes and they were only granted a total of 4. Joel and several of his friends requested pass and they have yet to hear anything back.

Then we were informed that if we wanted to stand outside the High school with our signs we would have to park in the neighborhoods on the outskirts of the school because the DNC had rented all available parking space near the school. Chartered bus loads are coming from Denver. So how is this representative of the Western Slope . . . who did not vote for Obama?

It doesn’t take an Einstein to see how this deck is stacked.

Back in the Fall when Obama came here to campaign he was outdoors at a local orchard. They said there were 3 thousand that turned out.

We later learned they bused in bus loads of Democrats from Denver and Salt Lake City to the tune of 2000. So that leaves about 1000 locals from the Valley.

Sarah Palin had an estimated 28,000 turn out to hear her in the largest outdoor arena that Grand Junction has. . . tells you how the Western Slope leans . . . but what the world will see at this carefully orchestrated town hall meeting is something quite different than the truth. It has Obama’s name written all over it.

Is there no end to the Chicago thuggery?!

-- Donna

Tech outreach wooed youth to BHO

What's the campaign doing to attract young voters, I asked a McCain official last month. The look on her face was all I needed to know, but her response made it worse. "The campaign has pretty much given up on reaching out young voters," she said. "They have all pretty much bought in to Obama’s message.” Imagine my shock when I heard this. By that logic, I was voting for Obama. Truly shocking! She went on to lament that young people really believed in the Democrat’s positions on global warming, health care, the war in Iraq, and even the economy. This devout McCain supporter was being very honest and sincere with what she said and what seemed to be the common wisdom within the McCain camp.

It took me a few days to really digest what exactly those sentiments meant and what implications they might have on American politics. If we are to believe that young voters have already “bought in” to the positions of the Democratic Party, the GOP is in much deeper trouble than ever imagined. If the Republicans can't win over the youth on at least one of the most important issues of our time, the future of the party is bleak—better yet—non existent. And the Conservative Movement would be done for too.

Fortunately, I don’t buy it and neither should you. Here is why.

What President-elect Obama’s campaign did (brilliantly, I might add) is talk to young voters in their language: technology. He bridged the digital divide with a vivid and robust campaign largely waged on the internet. He had advertisements on various websites, search engine ad words, blogs, facebook groups, and much more. His online campaign was so well organized that he even sent an email out to thank all of his supporters while he was on his way to make his acceptance speech.

Why does any of this matter? First off, if you are asking that question, you are part of the problem. But it matters because technology is a low cost way to get a targeted message out to a lot of people. His ability to do this not only allowed him to capture a lot of votes and volunteers for walking precincts and such, but it also allowed him to build an unparalleled donor base—made up mostly of small donors. Each one of his email messages went out asking for $5 or $10, an amount even a college student is willing to shell out if she believes in the cause.

Obama’s campaign online, made it very difficult for McCain to make up the difference on the ground because the internet support translated into real world volunteers and real money.

But we can’t blame John McCain or the RNC, there is no way they could have seen this coming. Ha! Howard Dean laid the framework for this type of campaign warfare in 2004 when he was running for President. His fortitude in online fundraising and campaigning is largely the reason he is the Chairman of the DNC. This was a well thought out, well implemented campaign strategy that paid dividends. And it will continue to pay dividends for some time.

For the GOP, the time is now to design, refine and implement. I would say it is catch up time, but catching up is no longer good enough—the party will need to find a way to get ahead of the curve. It is not too hard to do, so online marketing, video content, targeted messaging, and some interesting original content and they are off to a start.

More importantly though, don’t write off the youth. There was one Republican during the primary--dull, uncharismatic, and little quirky—that was able to make inroads with youth voters in droves: Ron Paul. At one point during the campaign season Ron Paul achieved the record for online fundraising (which I believe was later shattered by Barack Obama). Much of Ron Paul’s groundswell of support is easily attributed to a strong internet based campaign that was largely targeted towards youth voters.

And while Ron Paul is not by any stretch of the imagination “in line” with the orthodoxy of the Republican Party, many of his limited government, free market ideas resonated with young voters -- which should at least give a little hope into the willingness of my generation to listen to good arguments.