The Fox News mentality

Found this little tidbit via Tim Noah (he’s doing a nice job, but damn do I miss Chait) about Fox News president, Roger Ailes:

Meanwhile, Ailes’ latest criticism of the lamestream media is that (am I reading this correctly?) it’s biased against suicide bombers:

The talk turns to terrorism. Ailes is angry about an Associated Press report that 29 worshipers were killed by a suicide bomber in Baghdad’s largest Sunni mosque during prayers. ‘How do we know they were worshiping?’ he demands. ‘I think the AP is so far over the hill, they’ve become left wing, antiwar. Gotta watch their copy.’

How do we know they were worshiping? What the hell does Ailes think Sunni Muslims do when they go to the mosque? Brush their teeth? And the phrase “during prayers” doesn’t leave much room for ambiguity.

Wow.  Just breathtaking.  If this is Ailes’ idea of liberal media bias, Fox news is crazier than I thought.  Remember, Ailes is the driving force behind Fox and this is the way the guy thinks.

Christianity and PID

So, I’ve been grading one of my more favorite assignments to grade the past few days– a Party Identification autobiography and genogram.  Students trace the partisanship patterns of as many of their relatives as they can find (and display it family tree style) and discuss the factors that have led to their own party identification.  This is somewhat similar to an ideological autobiography assignment I always use for my Intro course.  The papers are invariably interesting and fun to read and I really enjoy the self-reflection they seem to stimulate.  I seem to have noticed a bit of a trend with this years crop.  There’s a number of students who grew up in very conservative and devoutly Christian (and thus Republican) homes.  When they decided that they really weren’t so much of a Christian themselves, they also decided they weren’t very much of a Republican.   This is just a few papers of a small and non-random sample, but I do think it speaks to the power of social identifications in thinking about partisanship.  For many, the identification of a Christian is intimately entwined with the identity as a Republican.  Once that first identity unravels, at least in some cases, it would seem to lead to an unraveling of the latter identity as well.   Of course it would be hard to get any good data on this as we’re talking about A) adolescents (who are not surveyed) and young adults; and B) we’d need longitudinal data, which is much more expensive, and hence rarer.  Nonetheless, thought it was something worth thinking about just how widespread this may be.

More third party nonsense

Matt Miller hits the Op-Ed pages today to complain that neither party can get anything done and its time for a third party than can “combine the best of liberal and conservative ideas.”

Here’s the gist:

So here’s where we are. Our president calls himself “a warrior for the middle class” because he’s campaigning for a plan that might add 2 million new jobs next year at a time when 25 million Americans who want full-time work can’t find it.

If that’s war, what would surrender look like?

Meanwhile, Republican zealots apparently feel that if they can’t cut 0.04 percent of the budget in the next few days they’d rathershut down the government. The party’s presidential candidates boast that a 10-to-1 ratio of spending cuts to tax increases isn’t good enough on a long-term debt deal — even though we’re about to double the number of seniors on Social Security and Medicare.

Why should we have to choose between timid half-measures and anti-tax fanaticism? Why doesn’t the president propose measures equal to the scale of our challenges? Why can’t Republicans acknowledge demography or math?

Seriously?!  Just maybe, maybe, the fact that Democrats offer “timid half measures” is because they are sharing the powers of government that wants to shut down government over 0.04% of the budget and rejects even a 10-1 ratio of spending cuts to tax increases? The pox on both their houses is especially absurd given what Miller himself lays out.  Basically, he admits that Congressional Republicans are radical nuts and that Obama has some generally good ideas but isn’t taking them far enough.  Maybe instead of a third party what we need is a sane Republican party.   Miller links to a long column of his where he lays out his “radical centrist” vision.  First item on the agenda: cut taxes now, thereby running up deficits, to get the economy growing again.  After that, we can worry about longer-term deficits.  Hmmmmm.  If only one of our current major parties were offering something like this.  Does Miller even read the newspaper?!  Another item: do more to reign in Medicare costs.  Hmmm.  If only one party had passed legislation– over vicious opposition to “Medicare cuts”– that actually does this.

Sure, there’s a few things on Miller’s full list that liberals might mildly object to (or that just don’t make nearly as much sense as Miller thinks, i.e., raising the Medicare eligibility age)– as opposed to the virulent objections from conservatives over the call for raising taxes.   In the end, though, it mostly strikes me that what Miller wants is not so much a new third party, but a Republican party which is actually reasonable enough to reach common-sense compromises with Democrats.  Sadly, such a party does not exist.

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