In Re Barr and the Bee

With regards the fact that Samantha Bee still has a job on television while Roseanne Barr does not, I see four possibilities.

1. Some unknown authority has issued a secret decree to the effect that an offensive sexist slur is less egregious than an offensive racist slur.

2. The leadership at TBS lack the courage and conviction of the leadership at ABC.

3. An educated progressive immigrant can get away with things that an native-born high-school dropout cannot.

4. Some combination of the above.

I am no fan of Barr or her politics, and I find Bee’s show rather more entertaining than Roseanne’s ever was, even though Samantha and I roost on distant squares of the political plane.

That said, I find both sets of comments equally loathsome, and if one of these two comedians deserves to be collecting unemployment for her  remarks, both do.

The polls are not helping

2016 Election 2016 Presidential Polls

Source: RealClearPolitics – 2016 Election 2016 Presidential Polls


If this election is proving anything – to me, at least – it is proving that polls are al over the place, and therefore both singly and collectively unhelpful in judging the zeitgeist.

If I were a pollster when this was all over, I’d be taking a long, hard look at my craft and wonering whether this might not be a good time to throw away the book on public opinion research and start all over again.

Just my stressed-out $0.02.

Hope you’re having a great day.

Living in the Middle

I don’t know what pisses me off more these days: watching Squawk Box demonstrate the hubris of the right, or reading the editorial page of The Guardian and imbibing the smug self-satisfaction of the left. Neither ethos seems to offer much promise.

Michael Moore, Polemics and the Documentary

I spare not the rod in these pages for America’s love of interventionism or for our poorly-run Department of Defense. That said, I have little time for Michael Moore’s most recent cinematic screed. He and I come from different political biases, but I recognize that Moore started out making worthwhile documentaries.

Sadly, he has now gone from clever gadfly to raging elephant polemicist becoming for documentary filmmaking what The Daily Worker is to journalism. With the possible exceptions of Roger and Me and Bowling for Columbine, there is nothing in his films that is not better and more intelligently expressed in Mother Jones or Harper’s. You may think differently, but Moore has produced little if anything of value in at least a decade.

Far more troubling, we are losing – or have lost – the ability to distinguish between expository filmmaking and advocacy disguised as long-form journalism. There is nothing wrong with film as advocacy, but to classify a political polemic in the same category as educational fare or direct reportage is to whitewash the former.

This is not a left vs. right issue. The right benefits as much from this obfuscation as the left, with films like Sick and Sicker, Fire from the Heartland, Free to Choose, and Waiting for Superman. Advocacy films need to come with a warning label, lest we allow the entire genre to go the way of balanced journalism in America.

The Role of the Media


It is not the media’s job to decide what the American people can and cannot hear. That is dishonesty, that is lying. It is the media’s job to keep the American people informed. That’s what it’s there for, and doing anything else is simply abusing the trust millions and millions of Americans have for the current news media system.

via Dear America: Please Get Your Head Out of Your Ass About Bernie Sanders — Medium.

Exactly why the mainstream media – from Fox News to MSNBC, from The Wall Street Journal to The New York Times – are becoming impediments to a healthy American system rather than its guardians.

When is the Internet like Any Other Media?

“Public outcry forces FEC Democrats to junk bid to regulate Internet, Drudge”
Paul Bedard
Washington Examiner
May 21, 2015 

Let’s set aside for a moment the possibility that Democratic appointees on the Federal Elections Commission may in fact have the knives out for conservative bloggers and internet sites. I think that is a real possibility, but there is a larger issue at stake.

Is there a legal case to be made that at some point websites that are focused on influencing the political process should be made to disclose their funding? If there is, where is that line drawn? If there is not, then why must other media disclose?

The problem, really, is not about FEC Dems vs. FEC Republicans. It is about establishing the principle on which we demand transparency from anyone who engages in political speech. That principle must be applied fairly, consistently, and in keeping with both Federal election statutes and the constitution.

Anything else is so much partisan nonsense.