Arbitrary power is like most other things which are very hard, very liable to be broken

Public’s Grasp of Current Issues Unchanged Despite Internet, Cable TV

WASHINGTON, Apr 16 (IPS) – Despite the emergence of 24-hour cable television news and fast-growing use of internet news sources, the U.S. public’s knowledge of national and international personalities and issues is little changed from nearly 20 years ago, according to a new survey released by the Pew Research Centre for the People and the Press.

Indeed, the survey, which was conducted in early February, found that in some areas public knowledge may actually have declined somewhat.

[ ]…Those respondents with the least correct answers, on the other hand, were more likely to watch the right-wing Fox News cable channel, local television news, or the major television network morning news programmes.

The survey, which posed 23 core questions to measure knowledge of current events, found that correct answers correlated most strongly with education, income levels, voter registration, and gender. There was virtually no difference, on the other hand, between respondents who identified themselves as Republican, Democrats, or independents.

This doesn’t surprise , but it is still disappointing. One of the things that liberals who make comments on any kind of community forum might keep in mind that many of the right-wing participants who have a High School education and tend to watch Fox for their news are sometimes genuinely shocked that Ronald Reagan was probably America’s most corrupt and least honest president until Dubya came along. Sure some Republicans embrace the falsehoods and distortions and would rather crawl over broken glass and hot coals then admit that they are not just wrong on the particulars, but their political ideology is many things, but patriotic it is not. On the other hand according to this poll it isn’t all that difficult to live in a bubble. For many working class O’Reilly watches/Limbaugh listeners they would never consider for a moment that they were being fed a load of garbage

In case you’ve never heard of them Media Research Center to bills itself as media watchdogs constantly exposing the liberal bias of the media which no one there ever seems to be able to find. NBC, sited in this story is part of the media, aren’t they? The 2,369th CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996, 6:55am EST, Tuesday March 6, 2007 (Vol. Twelve; No. 41), 1. NBC: Iraqis Want U.S. to Stay, Anti-War Effort Helping Insurgents

Visiting Iraq, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams learned from Army officers that Iraqis want U.S. forces to remain in their country, from NBC News Baghdad reporter Richard Engel that Al-Sadr’s insurgents have stepped down and are counting on pressure from anti-war opponents to provide them with victory, and from retired General and NBC News military analyst Wayne Downey that U.S. troops are proud of their mission.

I don’t see the liberal bias in this report. On the contrary it seems lacking in balance. Majority of Iraqi lawmakers call for timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops, lawmaker says

BAGHDAD – Radical Shiite politicians pressed Thursday for legislation demanding a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S.-led troops and a freeze on the number of foreign forces already in the country – even as the U.S. Congress debates the fate of the troubled mission.

The proposed Iraqi legislation, drafted by the parliamentary bloc loyal to anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, was signed by 144 members of the 275-member house, according to parliamentary officials.

The Sadrist bloc, which holds 30 parliamentary seats and sees the U.S.-led forces as an occupying army, has pushed similar bills before, but this would be the first time it persuaded a majority of lawmakers to sign on.

The measure has not yet been introduced in parliament and was unlikely to be passed in its present form. But the signatures reflected growing disenchantment among the lawmakers over U.S. involvement in Iraq and the government’s failure to curb the violence in the country.

The NBC report that most of the troops take pride in their mission is suspect, but it is beside the point now and always has been. When the U.S. decides to invade a country we don’t go to military installations across the nation and get a show of hands of who wants to go to war and who doesn’t. The contrary should be true, that when the most audacious distortions have been made and the mission never did and never will serve the best security interests of the United States then we should no longer maintain that mission. Still if we’re going to site military support it behooves us to not rely on a few anecdotal snippets from Brian William’s report, Military Times Poll finds high morale, but less support for Bush, war effort

Approval of the president’s Iraq policy fell 9 percentage points from 2004; a bare majority, 54 percent, now say they view his performance on Iraq as favorable. Support for his overall performance fell 11 points, to 60 percent, among active-duty readers
of the Military Times newspapers. Though support both for President Bush and for the war in Iraq remains significantly higher than in the public as a whole, the drop is likely to add further fuel to the heated debate over Iraq policy.

Contrary to that quint old adage about soldiers hating war, most military personnel tend to rank war high on the options list for dealing with international problems. They are in the war business. They’re not war mongers as much as people that tend to regard combat highly as an option. So for many career military and especially the officer corps to have such a deem view of Bush and the Republican agenda in Iraq would tend to give credence to the opinion that NBC, at least in Media Research Center’s example has leaned Right in their reportage. Still a quick read of the right-wing blogs today will likely bring the inevitable almost copy and paste condemnation of the media for not reporting how great things are going in Iraq. Furthermore it is the media that is losing the war by exaggerating public discontent, which in turn makes the Iraqis who don’t want us in their country “saving” them encouraged to commit more violence. A rather nice circle of interdependent self serving logic where the Right will as usual never have to be held accountable for anything.

If I was to hunt for a recent example of the Beltway mentality in reporting, not just punditry I couldn’t have found a better example then this story from WaPo Bush’s Relations With Capitol Hill Chilly

The trouble for the White House is that increasingly, the mistrust may not be not limited to Democrats. As evidenced by a contentious Bush meeting last week with House moderates complaining about Iraq policy, Republican lawmakers are increasingly leery of a president whose war policies many believe are leading the party to ruin in the 2008 elections. The result is that the president finds himself in an uphill struggle not only to win a few domestic victories on his way out of the Oval Office but also to maintain necessary GOP support for continuing the war in Iraq.

Michael Abramowitz wrote the story. With all respect to Mike he is wrong in his general take on the current environment in Washington. Bush’s relations with Republicans are just fine. It doesn’t matter what Republicans say in these little meetings or in public statements afterwards, it is their votes that tell the story. With their votes Republicans support Bush 110% period. When the criticisms words turn into votes then Bush will have problems. The cynical side of it is that as of now and the foreseeable future because Republicans are all hot air and no action many of them can look forward to their retirement in 2008.

“Arbitrary power is like most other things which are very hard, very liable to be broken.” – Abigail Adams