Saturday, October 25, 2014

The facts are in. Viewers of Fox News are the most misinformed of any other viewer of cable news. And it turns out they like it that way.

Author Chris Mooney has written a book entitled "The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Don't Believe in Science."

In it the author explains the findings of seven different studies and what they tell us about how viewers of Fox News think or, more often than not, choose not to think.

Here Alternet offers a description of the book's findings:

In June of 2011, Jon Stewart went on air with Fox News’ Chris Wallace and started a major media controversy over the channel’s misinforming of its viewers. “Who are the most consistently misinformed media viewers?” Stewart asked Wallace. “The most consistently misinformed? Fox, Fox viewers, consistently, every poll.” 

Stewart’s statement was factually accurate, as we’ll see. The next day, however, the fact-checking site PolitiFact weighed in and rated it “false.”In claiming to check Stewart’s “facts,” PolitiFact ironically committed a serious error—and later, doubly ironically, failed to correct it. How’s that for the power of fact checking? 

There probably is a small group of media consumers out there somewhere in the world who are more misinformed, overall, than Fox News viewers. But if you only consider mainstream U.S. television news outlets with major audiences (e.g., numbering in the millions), it really is true that Fox viewers are the most misled based on all the available evidence—especially in areas of political controversy. This will come as little surprise to liberals, perhaps, but the evidence for it—evidence in Stewart’s favor—is pretty overwhelming.

the article then goes on to itemize and evaluate the studies that Mooney used in his book.

I will spare you all of that, though if you are interested I invite you to click the Alternet link or purchase the book, and will instead offer you the article's summation: 

In summary, then, the “science” of Fox News clearly shows that its viewers are more misinformed than the viewers of other stations, and are indeed this way for ideological reasons. But these are not necessarily the reasons that liberals may assume. Instead, the Fox “effect” probably occurs both because the station churns out falsehoods that conservatives readily accept—falsehoods that may even seem convincing to some liberals on occasion—but also because conservatives are overwhelmingly inclined to choose to watch Fox to begin with. 

At the same time, it’s important to note that they’re also disinclined to watch anything else. Fox keeps constantly in their minds the idea that the rest of the media are “biased” against them, and conservatives duly respond by saying other media aren’t worth watching—it’s just a pack of lies. According to Public Policy Polling’s annual TV News Trust Poll (the 2011 run), 72 percent of conservatives say they trust Fox News, but they also say they strongly distrust NBC, ABC, CBS and CNN. Liberals and moderates, in contrast, trust all of these outlets more than they distrust them (though they distrust Fox). This, too, suggests conservative selective exposure. 

And there is an even more telling study of “Fox-only” behavior among conservatives, from Stanford’s Shanto Iyengar and Kyu Hahn of Yonsei University, in Seoul, South Korea. They conducted a classic left-right selective exposure study, giving members of different ideological groups the chance to choose stories from a news stream that provided them with a headline and a news source logo—Fox, CNN, NPR, and the BBC—but nothing else. The experiment was manipulated so that the same headline and story was randomly attributed to different news sources. The result was that Democrats and liberals were definitely less inclined to choose Fox than other sources, but spread their interest across the other outlets when it came to news. But Republicans and conservatives overwhelmingly chose Fox for hard news and even for soft news, and ignored other sources. “The probability that a Republican would select a CNN or NPR report was around 10%,” wrote the authors. 

In other words Fox News is both deceiver and enabler simultaneously. First, its existence creates the opportunity for conservatives to exercise their biases, by selecting into the Fox information stream, and also by imbibing Fox-style arguments and claims that can then fuel biased reasoning about politics, science, and whatever else comes up. 

But at the same time, it’s also likely that conservatives, tending to be more closed-minded and more authoritarian, have a stronger emotional need for an outlet like Fox, where they can find affirmation and escape from the belief challenges constantly presented by the “liberal media.” Their psychological need for something affirmative is probably stronger than what’s encountered on the opposite side of the aisle—as is their revulsion towards allegedly liberal (but really centrist) media outlets. 

And thus we find, at the root of our political dysfunction, a classic nurture-nature m√©lange. The penchant for selective exposure is rooted in our psychology and our brains. Closed-mindedness and authoritarianism—running stronger in some of us than in others—likely are as well. 

But nevertheless, it took the emergence of a station like Fox News before these tendencies could be fully activated—polarizing America not only over politics, but over reality itself.

I think understanding what is laid out in this article, and book, is vitally important as we move forward in this country.

Simply put Fox News has been incredibly, and possibly irrevocably, damaging to our politics, our ability to seek compromise, and the future of this nation.

If ever there were a clearer case of blatant treason I have certainly never seen it.

It is damaging the psyche of our citizens in ways that may have long term, and potentially devastating, effects on generations to come.

The USDA plans to bring indoor plumbing to Alaska villages. Yeah, kind of a big deal.

Alaska honey bucket. No, there is nothing sweet about this.
Courtesy of ABC News:

A remote Alaska Native village where only half the homes have indoor plumbing is among rural communities nationwide that will receive upgrades to rural water and wastewater systems with $352 million in grants and loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is scheduled to announce the funding Thursday at a convention of Alaska Natives in Anchorage. 

In a telephone interview Tuesday, Vilsack told The Associated Press that ultimately, the future goal is to bring the entire nation into the modern world. 

"It's really designed to make sure people live in communities and in areas that provide the basic protections and the guarantee of basic protections that we all, as Americans, ought to have," he said. "It's an adequate supply of quality water. It's the ability to treat sewage properly so that it doesn't to harm or damage to the environment."

This may seem almost impossible to believe for those living in the lower 48, and actually those of us in Alaska cities often forget about ti as well, but there are thousands of residents who have to carry their own waste to a dump site for disposal, rather than simply pulling a lever like most people in the modern world.

Not too long ago I worked with a client from a very small village in Western Alaska who had never been out of his community before.

He was taken from his village after an incident and transported to a mental health facility in Anchorage. It was the first time he had flown on a plane, or ridden in a car, but those two things did not freak him out as much as indoor plumbing did.

After check in one of the doctors noticed that he was hopping around and realized that boy, who did not yet speak hardly any English, had to use the facilities.

He was taken into a room, which completely confused him as his family went out of doors to relieve themselves, and was encourage by male staff to pee into the toilet bowl.

Finally unable to hold it, he did just that. However when the toilet was flushed he became terrified and ran out of the room and almost out the front door of the building in terror.

So yes, this would be an incredibly huge deal for rural Alaskans.

Oh and by the way. These are the kinds of things that happen under Democratic administrations. And the kinds of things facilitated by Democratic Senators.

“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.

You would think that after being on the wrong side of history in the case slavery, women's right to vote, rock and roll, and Obamacare that conservatives would begin to tire of being run over by the wheels of progress.

But you know what they say, if conservatives paid attention to facts, they would be liberals.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Unbelievably Sarah Palin simply cannot resist once again using her daughter Bristol to play the victim card.

So Palin already came riding in on her white moose to come to her poor, sad, pathetic daughter's aid once.

But clearly that is not enough. So she fired up the old ghostwriter again and had another Facebook post uploaded on her behalf: 

I thought I'd seen it all, but this one leaves me with that punch-in-the-gut, flabbergasted shock that I can't shake anymore while witnessing the media's free fall into that damaging darkness covering America. The media is at fault for so many aspects of the division and hopelessness running rampant in our society. It's not the people – it's the media perpetuating a sense of injustice and despair, resulting in apathy or desperation in homes and communities all across our country. The degradation falls on your shoulders, media principals. Though many have tried to give CNN the benefit of the doubt with their overall news coverage (in fact I've even been happy to publicly point out issues CNN has fairly covered), shame on us if we continue to support their unprofessional, hypocritical, and unethical news coverage. It's truly sickening, yet strangely laughable, their underestimation of the wisdom of their audience. Compare these two videos Bristol highlighted in her latest blog post.

This example makes me physically sick because they spit in the face of every American who has fought for freedom and sacrificed to protect everyone's First Amendment rights. It's not because this issue involves my daughter; it's because Carol Costella, her ilk, and her boss are disgustingly dismissive and disrespectful of the sacrifices made that allow them a platform from which to broadcast their hate and stupidity. CNN is lucky to have their few outstanding employees that shine through the darkness that is CNN. I admire the good ones, and hope they land at more deserving companies when CNN goes under. Zucker, not for my sake, but for the sake of a cornerstone of our democracy—the press—get ahold of your underlings. They make you look really, really bad, and they are ruining America.

 - Sarah Palin

And yes she also links to another ghostwritten post on Bristol's blog. (Do you think it is possible that both ghostwriters are the same person? Cause I kind of do.)

In Brancy's post two videos of Carol Costello covering two entirely different topics are compared.

One is concerning ESPN's Steven A. Smith suggesting that women sometimes invite abuse in reference to the Ray Rice incident.

And of course the other one is Costello's response to the Bristol Palin audio.

You can see that here:

At this point it is pretty obvious that the Palins are pushing for Costello to be fired, just like MSNBC did with Martin Bashir.

Costello already apologized, which was a mistake because Sarah Palin is drawn to that kind of weakness like a shark to blood.

Simply put she wants her pound of flesh and she is now trying to cut the weakest from the media herd, where she will then take their life. Or at the very least take their livelihood.

The other day when Palin remarked that " CNN contacts us directly on a regular basis with inquiries and requests for comment." That was on purpose, and it was meant to suggest to the CNN powers that be that if they play ball with Palin she just might, just might, throw them a bone of two.

If CNN gives in and allows this to happen they are simply empowering a bully to continue destroying anybody who dares to stand up to her and call her out on her lies, manipulations, and shortcomings.

Once again for the record. The story that Bristol lays out is NOT supported by any of the other witnesses. Simply put, it is a lie!

Everybody has the right to mock a drunk woman, who attempted to assault a man for no reason, attempting to convince the police that SHE is the victim. 

According to Pat Robertson we all have the power to raise the dead, but we're simply not using it. Wait, what?

"Well he gave his disciples authority to heal the sick, to raise the dead. I mean that was part of our power. You see ladies and gentlemen God is almighty, he is A-L-MIGHTY, and he gives us that power and Jesus said 'you say to the mountain. you speak to the dead person.' He called on Lazarus. he said 'Lazarus come forth' and the dead man came up out of the ground. We have the same power. he's given it to us, it's in the holy spirit. But we need to be in touch with him. We need to behold him. We need to be submitted to him. That power's there we're just not using it."

Well this changes my afternoon plans completely.

Here I was planning to go to the movies with my daughter, but screw that!

There is a dead dog in the woods just off the road and by God I am going to go on over there and raise that puppy from the dead.  And then I am going to start my new life as a faith healer and zombie maker.

I can hardly wait!

Boy I wonder if I could raise Sarah Palin's career from the dead?

Nah, that is too miraculous even for God.

So why is Joni Ernst gathering information about recount procedures a week and a half before the election?

Courtesy of TPM:  

Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst (R) this week requested materials on recount procedures, signaling that she might be gearing up for a recount request in the Iowa Senate race against Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA). 

Ernst filed open records requests in multiple counties for training materials, satellite voting locations, names of ballot counters, recount procedures and any thing also sent to Braley, The Gazette reported. 

Such a large record request so close to an election is unusual for candidates, multiple Iowa auditors told The Gazette. 

"I think they’re gearing up for a recount," Johnson County Auditor Travis Weipert said.

Okay well there are two ways to take this.

One is that the Ernst campaign is thinking proactively with an abundance of caution.

Or that they expect to lose and like many recent GOP candidates will simply refuse to accept defeat until they have exhausted all possible challenges?

Yeah I am going to go with the latter.

Well there is mooseshit to shovel concerning the Palin drunken brawl, so it's time to call out the main Mat-Su manure spreader herself Sarah Palin.

So yesterday Palin fired up her Facebook ghostwriter and had them pound out this stinking bucket of sewage in defense of her daughter: 

I understand that the CNN host who laughed at my daughter describing her assault has issued an apology to Politico. (Why Politico needs an apology is anyone’s guess. No one at CNN contacted my family regarding an apology, in case you were wondering. CNN contacts us directly on a regular basis with inquiries and requests for comment, so it’s not for lack of contact information that they didn't reach out. But perhaps Carol Costello should phone Martin Bashir. He knows how to reach us.) 

What happened on the night in question wasn’t funny. It was humiliating and frightening. The broken ribs, black eyes, and messed up elbows and knees suffered by people in our party that night were no laughing matter. Neither were Bristol’s bruises on her arms and leg from being dragged by a man. My kids aren’t proud of what happened, nor are they seeking sympathy by playing the victim card – that’s why they haven’t commented on this for all these weeks. Instead, they had to have faith that the truth would come out, despite those who did the cold-cocking actually using social media to brag, “’bout to get famous!” Screen shots of tweets captured their bold intentions, and they’ve certainly enjoyed the publicity. 

Looking at the reports, it strikes me as bitterly ironic that the same people who tell us there is a “war on women” have no problem laughing at the recording of my daughter crying as she tells police about being assaulted by a man. I’d like to say shame on the media and those on the left laughing at her or at any young woman in a similar situation, but I no longer think they have any shame. 

Now Todd and I are headed to an exciting middle school girl’s basketball game along with dozens of other families proud to cheer on their daughters. 

- Sarah Palin

Did she really dredge up poor Martin Bashir who lost his job at MSNBC for daring to speak the truth?

And this part. "My kids aren’t proud of what happened, nor are they seeking sympathy by playing the victim card" is laugh out loud funny.

As for those bruises, broken ribs, and "messed up knees and elbows" those are the result of their mouths writing checks that their bodies could not cash. In other words don't pick a fight you can't win and then blame the victor for your injuries. That is most certainly NOT the Alaskan way.

It is clear to me that the reason the Palins stayed quiet about this thing is because they were too busy praying it would all go away. Nut now that it hasn't. and we have damning audio which absolutely proves who the villains were here, they are working overtime to spin the reality into Palin approved fantasy.

And that is simple bullshit.

And it is bullshit by the way that Andrew Sullivan cannot help but smell, even as far away as he is from Alaska.

Here is what he had to say about Bristol's blog post courtesy of The Dish: 

"After a month and a half of hearing rumors about myself and family, I’ve finally decided to comment about the situation. Instead of listening to all the people who weren’t there — people who claim they heard this from their cousin/brother/sister-in-law/step-daughter/long lost little brother – let me tell you what actually happened." 

“People who weren’t there?” “Rumors”? We’re talking about a public police report detailing the views of the people, on both sides, in the middle of the melee. Then Bristol gives an account of the incident in which she simply dismisses the eye-witness accounts of all the non-Palins there that she confronted the owner of the house and repeatedly punched him in the face until he finally stopped her. The incident has now become a very disturbing and unprovoked – “scary and awful” – assault on a vulnerable woman whose only crime was acting in self-defense. Which raises the obvious question: if this is true, why on earth did she not press charges? If it’s that serious, she surely should have. Which is why CNN anchors should not be intimidated by the rightwing noise machine.

Yes there are definitely those on the Right who have apparently been paid to come to the defense of the Palins, but ANYBODY with even an ounce of journalistic integrity can immediately see what the Palins are up to here.

In fact there are those, such as all of you here, who even saw this coming days after the brawl took place.

I think that CNN and other news outlets should refuse to simply reprint the crap posted about this by Bristol and Sarah, and instead offer them the chance, on air, to tell their side of the story and answer a few simple questions.

After all if they have been so wronged by the media, if Bristol was indeed brutalized by a 200 lb man, and if other members of their family were assaulted by numerous party goers, they should welcome the opportunity.

Unless of course they're lying and are afraid of being called out on those lies publicly.

Gawker transcribes some epic Track Palin quotes from the audio of the drunken brawl aftermath.

Gawker took on the herculean task of listening to all of the police audio tape and picking out the bits and pieces that really give you a truly representative look into the psyche of Track Palin.

Seriously these just gems.

First concerning (the guy he thinks is) his dad's birthday:  

"Alright this is my old man," Track tells police. "It's his birthday, okay. So we're at this party in Wasilla. Dude, surprise him with a new truck, new trailer, new wrap on the trailer. Everything was fucking kosher."

And please, who doesn't want a "fucking kosher" truck and trailer. (Honestly I did not even know that trucks came kosher. Possibility helps to explain why Palin always has that garish Star of David around her aging neck.)

On his recently cold cocked friend Steve Lebida: 

"He's like a little pussy you know what I'm saying?" Track told the officer. "Like he's not gonna fight nobody. Most innocent, basically a gay guy, but he's not."

Who knew that Track was so open minded about having a gay but not really gay friend? 

On why he was shirtless: 

"I just bought this brand new shirt, so I took it off. I don't want to rip it," Track tells the officer. "Let's fucking fight. Four guys came on me, I hit one. One picked me up, tackled me, I hit one."

It makes total sense now. If four guys came on you that could get messy.  And possibly leave a stain.

On why he lost even with that warrior body of his:  

"If it was one-on-one, I'd beat the shit out of them," he said. "One-on-one, like I'll beat their ass. I'm not trying to be gay or nothing. But they're four guys, man, like come on. I've done jujitsu my whole life, wrestled forever. Like let's fucking roll."

Yeah if only these guys had come at Track one on one, you know as it was described by some of the party goers who were not members of the drunken Palin clan, then he TOTALLY would have beaten them until they pooped their pants.

Which is unsurprising since this is how Track described his assailant(s): "They're all like little bitches."

Gee no wonder Sarah is so proud of her son.

He is such an inspiration to other layabouts living off their parents and drinking themselves into a comatose state every night.

Republicans promise to bring back the "kind of principled conservative leadership President Bush provided our great nation." Seriously?

Courtesy of Raw Story: 

In a fundraising email sent out Tuesday, RNC chief operating officer Sara Armstrong promised Republicans would bring the leadership qualities of President George W. Bush to the Senate if they prevailed in the upcoming Nov. 4 midterm elections. 

“President George W. Bush once said, ‘I will live and lead by these principles: to advance my convictions with civility, to pursue the public interest with courage, to speak for greater justice and compassion, to call for responsibility and try to live it as well,’” the email starts. 

“That’s what America needs right now: a big dose of leadership. The kind of principled conservative leadership President Bush provided our great nation. And the kind of leadership Republicans will deliver when we win a Senate majority.”

You know I don;t usually like to lend and support to the Republican party, but I have to say that they are really on to something with this. 

I will probably lose my Al Gore liberal decoder ring for this, but I think that if the Republicans keep offering to bring us back to the days of the George W. Bush presidency that they will be virtually unstoppable in this elections cycle.

I mean when you think of taking this country in the right direction who DOESN'T think about "W"?