The Pathological State of America’s Broadcast Journalism: Some Striking Passages from Greenwald

The following are passages from Glenn Greenwald’s blog –www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/ –in the past week. His main theme has been the abysmal level to which American journalism –at least some components of it– have sunk in our times.

As you’ll see, the writings are not all by him. And in addition, I provide some commentary on it all. So, below, are some remarks from Greenwald, some quotations that Greenwald provides, and some comments from me.

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First is a quotation from “David Halberstam from back in November, 1999 — even before the media’s full-on collapse under the Bush presidency”:

I thought that with the end of the century approaching, it might be a good time to take stock of where this profession is. Obviously, it should be a brilliant moment in American journalism, a time of a genuine flowering of a journalistic culture . . .

But the reverse is true. . . . What I think is happening is something extremely serious, nothing less than a change in the value system in a very important part of the news business.

At the core of the old value system was a belief on the part of the men and women who worked in journalism that this was an uncommonly privileged life, that we did not do this for the money — almost all of us could have made a great deal more money in some other field, but we were uncommonly privileged, free men and free women working for a free press in a free society, beneficiaries of exalted constitutional freedoms, willing, if need be on occasion, to report to the nation things which it did not necessarily want to hear.

We have morphed in the larger culture from a somewhat Calvinist society to an entertainment society, and that is reflected in the new norms of television journalism — where the greatest sin is not to be wrong but to be boring. Because boring means low ratings. And so altogether too many people at the top in the television newsrooms have accepted the new, frillier dictates of the men and women above them in the corporations. . . .

Magazines which were essentially tabloid were inexpensive to produce, more so than sitcoms, seemed to have acceptable ratings, and so they proliferated under the guise of being news. And a great many of our colleagues went along with it — for immense salaries and a great deal of air time, of course. . . .

Somewhere in there, gradually, but systematically, there has been an abdication of responsibility within the profession, most particularly in the networks.

Television’s gatekeepers, at a time when a fragmenting audience threatens the singular profits of the past, stopped being gatekeepers and began to look the other way on moral and ethical and journalistic issues. Less and less did they accept the old-fashioned charge for what they owed the country.

The viewpoint seemed to be — from their testing and polling — that the American people did not want to know what was going on, so why bother them with unwanted facts too soon? So, if we look at the media today, we ought to be aware not just of what we are getting, but what we are not getting; the difference between what is authentic and what is inauthentic in contemporary American life and in the world, with a warning that in this celebrity culture, the forces of the inauthentic are becoming more powerful all the time.

And that’s to say nothing of the fact that our new objective, widely celebrated news organization is owned and operated by hard-core right-wing ideologues. But it’s all related — modern “journalists,” as Halberstam says, take dictates from those for whom they work and “go along with it — for immense salaries and a great deal of air time”…

My thoughts:

Halberstam says, “We have morphed in the larger culture from a somewhat Calvinist society to an entertainment society, and that is reflected in the new norms of television journalism — where the greatest sin is not to be wrong but to be boring. Because boring means low ratings.”

This seems to dovetail with my analysis of the problematic trends in the culture, which I also say helped create the environment in which dark forces could rise to power. In particular, I think Halberstam’s remarks can be integrated into the ideas I develop in “The Challenge of Affluence: A Root of Our Moral Crisis.” (at www.nonesoblind.org/blog/?p=449.

We seem in general to have lost hold of the moral discipline of seeing a higher good to be served other than the satisfaction of one’s own desires, with a diminished sense of there being an important distinction to be made between right desire and wrong desire, i.e. those desires whose satisfaction move one’s soul and the world in a positive direction and those that lead them downward.

*************************

Here’s another quotation, bracketed by Greenwald’s words, this time using Chris Matthews as an example of what’s wrong with our broadcast media.

“As Dover Bitch noted, this exchange occurred yestetrday when Matthews interviewed Guiliani campaign manager Mike DuHaime:

MATTHEWS: Who would win a street fight? Rudy Guiliani… Just think of a street fight, now, up in Queens somewhere. It’s a dark night. It’s about two in the morning. Two guys are out behind the building, right? On a vacant lot. Rudy Guiliani or President Ahmadinejad? Who would win that fight?

DUHAIME: I’m putting my money on Rudy on that one. I think Rudy will take that fight.

MATTHEWS: If he wins that notion, he’s the next president. That’s one to look for. Who’s tougher than Ahmedinejad? Because he’s our biggest worry right now.

As D.B. adds: “That’s how DB is going to vote. Can Candidate X beat up a five-foot, two-inch, 51-year-old in a dark alley? Good thing we didn’t have a wheelchair-bound leader when we had to liberate Europe while fighting a separate war in the Pacific.” ”

My comments:

This is not just about Chris Matthews, of course. What seems salient to me here are two things.

First is the utter primitivity of the perspective that Chris Matthews brings to the issue of leadership. This is not a problem of a journalist being a corporate boot-licker, it seems to me, but of a sensibility that is stuck at the level of a six-year-old boy: leadership is here reduced to physical prowess; Chris Matthews seems to be hankering after the alpha male that wins King of the Mountain.

The line Greenwald quotes from “D.B.” –“Good thing we didn’t have a wheelchair-bound leader when we had to liberate Europe while fighting a separate war in the Pacific”– wonderfully captures the absurdity of Matthews’ understanding.

With such primitive sensibilities prominent among those whose job is to help guide the understanding of the American people, it becomes less surprising that George W. Bush’s rigidity, his stubbornness, his lack of curiosity, his incapability of recognizing his errors, might succeed politically by being mis-interpreted as a kind of strength.

The second salient point here is that our corporate media reward people like Chris Matthews with so prominent a place. It has been widely noted that many people in the media whose record of being downright wrong in various fundamental judgments (e.g. William Kristol, but there are many others of a similar ilk) do not lose stature in the media because of their very publicly demonstrated failures of understanding. On the contrary, they continue to move up the ladder to ever greater megaphones with which to address the American public.

Truth hardly matters. Aside from whatever vested interest there may be in the corporate media in obscuring the truth, there is also the lack of a moral culture –as described in the Halberstam quote– in which the higher value of truth can trump the lower value of sheer entertainment.

Why NOT, the ratings-driven media seem to think, put forward a primitive like Chris Matthews who will appeal to the same primitive aspects of the audience’s consciousness as those movies that have the highest take at the box office?

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Finally, there’s this from Greenwald earlier in the week, illustrating this indifference to the truth:

Mainstream journalists pompously spout claims that are factually, objectively, demonstrably false — and then, in their pomposity, refuse to acknowledge or correct their error.

Time’s Managing Editor, Richard Stengel, tells viewers that Americans do not want Karl Rove questioned under oath even though all relevant polling data shows the exact opposite. Andrea Mitchell tells her viewers that Americans want Lewis Libby pardoned and that Nancy Pelosi now is just as unpopular as Denny Hastert was before the November elections even though those statements are the opposite of reality. None of that gets corrected, because it’s spouted lazily or without the slightest concern for whether it’s true.

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26 Responses to “The Pathological State of America’s Broadcast Journalism: Some Striking Passages from Greenwald”

  1. Andrew Bard Schmookler Says:

    Please note that this comment is from David Loye, whose comments unaccountably come through under my name.

    Dear Andy: This is one I too deeply feel as an ex-journalist who learned the trade back in the Ed Murrow days. At least we have Bill Moyers coming back again to television journalism. And the precious few you bring to the rest of us who’ve given up on the news. Thanks again for focusing on the vital factor of the moral sense!

    David Loye

    P.S. Bankrolling Evolution: Money, Politics, and Science now up globally for online booksellers: U.S., Europe and Asia!

  2. Cliff W Says:

    This is terribly depressing because it is so true!

    Do any of us have any idea how – short of Zues hurling a few lightning bolts – this situation can be turned around? What remedies are available?

  3. Thyagarajan Says:

    Corporate media may perhaps be renamed “alternative reality” media…

  4. James Says:

    They appeal to us as human beings: Human Beings respond to stimuli. Bush is a six foot lug with broad shoulders with a penchant for exercise; this is what Matthews admires. Rove triggers the stimuli and embleshises
    the Hollywood appeal of the Lug; Americans suck it up. Remember, newspapers are fish wrap the day after publication. If you want to influence Americans, stimulate them daily.

  5. James Says:

    Here is one on “The Perpendicular Pronoun Disease. It seems to be true, so don`t cry!

    http://counterpunch.org/velvel05052007.html

  6. R Stein Says:

    Andy is still working on the cncept of Good vs Evil

    One thing that is not ‘CONCEPT is the Actual Evil all around us as a rising tide.

    I will offer one more time a view of Truth vs The Lie

    The Spirit (God) who created all and inhabits all intends to be known by His Created Ones.

    He is known in reverence, righteousness, truth and mercy.

    He has also created the Evil (it did not just appear on its own)

    When He is recognized and honored His Presence is among us giving Meaning to telling the truth and doing the right thing.

    When He is not recognized and honored He withdraws his presence of righteousness and truth and allows the Evil (that He has created for his purposes) to advance as the tide of the sea might come in beyond its bounds until the once higher ground is submerged.

    Men have the choice to make . . the Truth vs The Lie.

    The Tide is Obviously rising.

    r d

  7. boohall Says:

    Change the chanel when these reporters appear on your screen. Matthews is dead to me and all those than go on his show are marked by the association with him. Dan Rather knows better but even he crawls in to make an appearance.
    When Rupert M. takes over all the media it will be too late for any corrections other than a revolution.

  8. Jim Z Says:

    I had a conversation over the weekend with a gentleman, an admitted and swaggeringly loud “conservative,” who boasted of his 2004 bumper sticker: “Flush the Johns,” which of course many of us saw at that time when Kerry and Edwards were running.

    He said to me, “The Democrats had this incompetent idiot George Bush to run against, and they were stupid or incompetent enough to put up two ultra-liberals? They could have won if they had just run some moderates.”

    A number of thoughts came to me:

    1. Wonder if he was only retroactively bashing Bush because Bush’s polls are so low now – a bandwagon effect, or did he think that Bush was “an idiot” in 2004 and 2000 but voted for him anyway?

    2. He, from the right wing and a supporter of Bush (twice), is now blaming the Democrats for Bush’s election and no doubt dismal failure as a president? Does he conveniently shed any responsibility for the guy for whom he voted?

    3. Why, in general, are Democrats and liberals, blamed for the sins of their opponents?

    Yes, Andy, I’ve read your relevent pieces on how the Left bear a part of the responsibility for the neocon’s ascent to power, but for reasons that I can’t seem to articulate, it does not ring true as I compare that logic with what I see in the world.

    I don’t remember supporting or accepting moral shallowness, poor educational standards, mind-numbing consumer or political marketing campaigns, the consolidation of the newsmedia, the takeover of health care by Wall Street, our military conquests most of which covert, the purchasing of Congress, law changes that have paved the way for corporations’ constitutional rights to far exceed those of citizens, etc. No one of my acquaintance participates in debauchery nor allows their children to be exposed to it without questioning it, etc. Maybe I don’t hang out with the right Liberals?

    My conversation with the gentleman felt as if it was yet another example of “heads I win, tails, you lose.” Haven’t stopped beating my wife because I never did it in the first place. This, it seems, is where our system has placed those who wish to dig our country out of the morass. Let’s first lay our country’s current state at the feet of Democrats, and only when they fix themselves, will we turn our attention to those who have held power and see if there’s any indignation left for them.

  9. R Stein Says:

    Jim Z

    I think I am still reading this site because of

    !. Andy’s persevering sticking to reason under all contradiction
    and his aspiration for spiritual understnding even though I pesonally think his basic assumptions mistaken.

    2. And because many who post their comments are really thinking including yourself.

    Probably there are many decent people who will never, never vote Republican for one reason or another. I happen to know some. A real good family man and a Deacoin in his church a grandfather

    discussed briefly wih me when George Bush ran in 2000 and I was voting for Bush . . in hope , I say briefly because he simply said regardless he would NEVER vote Republican. There are many people who remember what they do to the country when they have the power and born in 1922 he better than I remembers what it was like before F D R took the Presidency as a Democrat.

    The Southern Democrats were, in my view, the really balancing block in the nation’s political make-up. When forced integration of the races took place those voters left the Democrat Party and tha Party then reached out for support to all the moral fringe elements in the Nation for support and voters. You have other elements . . the pseudo educated who are too
    erudite for Patriotism and plenty who want NO maoral standard for the Nation.

    In the Conservative Mind it is all mixed together as Modern Liberal Democrats

    which we cannot respect

    so you find a put-down no matter what . .

    but it is not of individuals but of the messy mix they identify with.

    I know others who are completely dismayed with what has become of the Republican Party and feel the next Presidential Campaign offers not that much even if Thompson does also run.

    I agree with Morley in that there is no hope in The Parties. It Is now up to the American people.

    That’s what stirred me with Andy’s initial post The Prophetic Moral Voice

    r d

  10. R Stein Says:

    Never imagined being on a high horse but really brought down by the political state of my Nation and the consternation expeienced by the unqualified support for Bush & Co and have obviously declared it to the point of about losing good relations with some family and associates.
    (However, I feel sure time will take care of that but it is a grief)

    So no high horse.

    But I do see a difference Andy, in that I do not identify with nor accept the wickedness on ‘my side’ of the ‘Political Divide’ if that is what it is
    and say so and do support their opponents whoever they may be until hopefully they will be put down..

  11. Andrew Bard Schmookler Says:

    Of course, Richard, there’s a messy mix on both sides of the divide. There just aren’t enough good people to go around.

    If there are a few on our side of the divide who want to avoid all moral structure, they’re no worse, are they, than those on your side of the divide who have built up these forces of fascism, or who have lent their support to those forces without seeing how evil they are.

    I would not think that conservatives in America today could see themselves as high enough, by that standard of guilt by association, to be in a position to put down the other side.

  12. Andrew Bard Schmookler Says:

    Sorry for a bit of confusion above. I’d posted a comment in which I referred to Richard’s being on a high horse, but upon re-reading Richard’s comments I thought my own to be inappropriate and so I changed it.

    Can it really be said that there are more among liberals who “accept the wickedness” of the wicked on their side of the fence than there are conservatives who accept the wickedness of the fascists? Is it not the case that in both cases, the basically decent people on each side are largely blind to the moral defects of some of the people in the messy mix?

    And are we not more jeopardized by far by the blindness of the right to the wickedness than that of the left? And is it not the case that the left do not actually support and applaud the wickedness of others so much as they allow and believe in the RIGHTS of people do make their choices without being judged? BUt on the right, there have been millions of people who have applauded the wickedness, and helped to maintain it.

    You don’t see lots of liberals saying that abortion is a good thing, that should be fostered in the world. But over the past six years, we have seen plenty of conservatives ==in the millions== who have looked upon the Bushites and said, “Thank God we have George W. Bush as president in this moment in our history.”

    So again, what entitles a conservative these days to look at the liberal fringe elements, and the liberal willingness to make common cause with them, and feel in any way superior?

  13. R Stein Says:

    I guess there is a difference though it is pitiful to be in a situation to even discuss such a state of affairs.

    For criminal acts the guilty can finally be tried and punished the dead mourned and buried and life goes on.

    But for a Nation to embrace moral corruption and sanction it by law
    invites the judgment of God (Or the Universe, if you must) and is sensed as embrcinbg a permanent state of decline.

    That is a huge difference.

    However, I am only offering my views. I have decided for myself and in the end it seems that’s what each unavoidably must do.

    It is not much when we have two evils and must say one is the lesser for now.

    But when the choice affects the long term nature of society and Social Order

    the lesser becomes important.

    with respect,

    r d

  14. Andrew Bard Schmookler Says:

    Dear Richard, I believe that this statement represents a basic misunderstanding of the liberal position, and of the fundamental value embedded in liberalism:

    But for a Nation to embrace moral corruption and sanction it by law

    invites the judgment of God (Or the Universe, if you must) and is sensed as embrcinbg a permanent state of decline.

    Two notions should be examined here.

    First, it is not that liberalism embraces “moral corruption,” but rather that it envisions a society in which people have the right to make their own life-choices, even to make their own mistakes. It is an idea, actually, that grew organically out of Protestantism– more specifically out of the idea that each individual makes his/her own relationship with God, not one to be mediated by or enforced by a worldly power of any kind.

    The tradition of LIBERTY that grew out of the Protestant world and out of English political thought maintained, moreover, that each individual is entitled to conduct his/her own life project. And that a higher good is achieved by a society in respecting that right than by enforcing some collective notion of the good life, except where that right tramples on the rights of others.

    That is not the whole of America, of course –there are plenty of laws over the centuries that have tried to protect people from themselves, including Prohibition– but it is an essential part of the American idea, even enshrined in the Constitution and its Bill of Rights.

    The second matter has to do with the idea that a liberal society, by respect individual’s rights of self-determination, “invites the judgment of God.” This is the way of thinking that underlay the notion, advanced after 9/11 by Robertson and Falwell, that that catastrophe was punishment for this society’s allowing homosexuality and abortion and for defenses of civil liberties.

    What kind of God would that be, who punishes people who are not party to these presumed sins themselves, but are part of a society that allows people to live according to their own sense of right and wrong.

    Yes, if you believe that society should compel its members to follow Biblical rules, and if you believe that GOd will punish a society that operates according to a notion of the rights and autonomy of each individual human being, you are definitely NOT liberal.

    But you should at least understand that when liberals say something should be left to individual choice, that doesn’t mean that they think that all those choices are good ones. THere’s been some slippery sliding in that direction in recent decades, but that is not the core liberal American idea. The core idea is that the liberals think people have the right to choose, even to err, rather than to be coerced into anyone else’s image.

  15. Katrin Reichhold Says:

    That is the best description/definition of ‘Liberalism’ I have ever heard, and especially in explanation to one who misunderstands it’s meaning.

    I also never realized the parallels with ‘Protestantism’, and which is very interesting to me personally. I grew up in a country (Germany), where the north was largely ‘protestant’, and the south almost exclusively ‘catholic’. The difference in mentality is striking.

    We, the ‘north’ question everything, and even our beliefs on a daily basis. The ‘south’ believe like ‘little kids’, but they certainly do not behave any better. What they do better than the ‘questioners’ is celebrate the holidays, and party, and have fun.
    (and I am not being sarcastic when I see that as an asset)

  16. Jim Z Says:

    Andy, you have posted some of the best and most accessible descriptions of classic liberalism that I have seen anywhere.

    The emphasis on individual rights, responsibilities and choices wraps around perfectly to the position of Libertarianism (or at least as I understand it). Yet, the latter usually seem to abhor voting for Democrats and Liberals. Curious. My most libertarian friends tend to lean to the right when it comes to the support of actual candidates (never mind that Bush & co. have perpetrated some of the worst withdrawals of U.S. civil liberties in modern times).

    That said, nevertheless Colorado of late seems to have become a showcase for Democrats and Libertarians aligning, at least for now, in turning back the Republican juggernaut that just a few years ago threatened to make us a one-party (R) state. Last time the Dem’s held the governorship plus both houses (as now) was 1962 (when our current Speaker of the House was still 5 years away from being born). Make no mistake – registered Independents outnumber registered Democrats here, perhaps typifying the independent streak in most Western states. This political trend, I think, is good for the cause of Liberalism, because in my opinion the closer one looks at it (esp. in Andy’s terms), the more likely independent-minded, thinking folks will reject what “conservatism” has become, and look to a more enlightened set of human principles. It does mean that Liberals will have earn votes each and every election cycle by showing that they can not only govern well but also be skilled politicians.

  17. R Stein Says:

    AS YOU HAVE OBSERVED, ANDY, ELSEWHERE ON OTHER THREADS, ON THE ‘PERSISTENCE OF CULTURE YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT IT IS REAL

    It is the the underlying common thread of agreement on the fundamental rights and wrongs of human social life ‘ ie, family, community and Nation.

    What we are currenetly being confronted with or really what I consider Noise and the exaggerated attention being given to abberation and/or.
    violations of our common culture.

    And it has become almost the center-piece of a major Political Party other than their anti- the current administration.

    The big problem comes NOT when individuals want to live their lives
    contrary to the Common Culture of a society

    BUT when they band together as groups and adopt a Major party (or adopted by it) and

    fly in the face of an ongoing Society protesting that the traditions are wrong,

    the Bible of the religious is wrong and

    everything is wtong IF IT DOESN’T ACCEPT THEM AS APPROVED.

    THIS IS SIMPLY NUTS

    Further as far as discussion I think I am willing to entertain in thought and discussion any and all ideas, anectdotes or evidence that such a course is right or o k or the right of people as Americans somehow because of the Constitution.

    On the other side it is already demonstrated that the ‘other side’ would really not want to hear all that we might bring to the discussion
    ONE EXAMPLE IS THE ENDING OF THE THREAD ON ‘NUANCE’

    The truth, to the conservative mind, is that the current ant-tradition movement-if that’s what it is- is based on nothing sound at all

    JUST A NATURAL CONSEQUENCE OF PEOPLE DEPARTING FROM A BELIEF IN GOD (THE GOD OF THE BIBLE) OR EVEN A CONCEPT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

    AND HAS HAPPENED AS CIVILZATIONS BEFORE OURS

    HAVE PUT GOOD AS BAD

    AND BAD AS GOOD.

    IT IS NOTHING NEW AND THE ‘PRINCIPLE’ RISES NO HIGHER THAN EMOTION.

    What IS RISING is the observable tide of evil.

    THAT . . SHOULD NOT BE SURPRISING.

    r d

  18. Cliff W Says:

    R Stein, I usually like reading what you have to say, and often agree with points you make, but I just have to insert a comment on one thing you said. You mention “the pseudo educated who are too erudite for Patriotism and plenty who want NO maoral standard for the Nation.” Now what’s up with that!!?! ALL the erudite pseudo educated people I know are passionately committed to the highest welfare of America and all the world’s people, and I have NEVER met ONE person who “wants NO moral standard” to be applied in the world, especially amongst liberals! You’ll never come to see Truth if you don’t learn to see reality more clearly than what you did in that comment!

  19. Cliff W Says:

    Richard, Jesus’ teaching to “Love thy neighbor and thine enemy…” and to “forgive a man his sins seven times seventy times” very clearly indicates that Jesus’ fundamental teaching is that of the preeminence of individual freedom as the Guiding Law of human social and spiritual conduct. Christ is the God of Freedom.

    It is the highest duty of each of us to allow each other to make whatever mistakes we may, and forgive every time, whether we like it or not or approve of another’s behavior or not. And since every soul “who lives by the sword will die by the sword” they will eventually learn from their mistakes the hard way, after enough reincarnations (a doctrine that Jesus DID teach!).

    OK, abortion is “murder”, so what? So is imposing the death penalty. The people who choose such a path will repent someday; it’s our duty to forgive, not impose our human will upon another in presumed self-righteousness. It’s the Right who has made an issue out of abortion anyways, and their problem about it has never been about abortion, it’s been about power and controlling others’ use of their free will. Jesus is on the side of free will, no matter what choices are made. God doesn’t inflict punishment and justice upon us, we do it to ourselves; the only way we can grow into a state of pure morals is by free will: otherwise our “morality” is but the “sounding brass” of an empty vessel.

    Why do “Christians” spend all their time reading the fire-and-brimstone Old Testament and ignoring the part they don’t like (the New Testament)? Is it because the New Testament lifestyle is TOO HARD to live by!?!

  20. James Says:

    Life is easy if one lives by natural law. In the natural world nothing is good or evil. It simply is. the potential for good or evil in a drop of water, is enormous. the oxygen in the drop, multiplyed; can save a life; multiply the drop into a flood and it can destroy life. In all of it`s manifestations, water is neither good or evil, it simply is. Mankind is mostly composed of water, we simply are.

  21. R Stein Says:

    Cliff.

    I have long wanted an opportunity or opening to present some of the Positive Benefits of believing I have learned, experienced and observed in the Christian Faith. ie, believing that Jesus of Nazareth the son of Mary WAS INDEED THE SON OF GOD . . THE ETERNAL SPIRIT INHABITING THE UNIVERSE.

    i THOUGHT BROTHER ED’S COMMENT ON THE WINNERS AND
    LOSERS THREAD

    Might Be a Good Opening BUT THAT PASSED

    Now your comments seem to invite a little more ‘clarification’ (as I have seen and experienced it)

    If anyone wants to hear more as I see it, and Andy permits, I will here.

    r d

  22. Andrew Bard Schmookler Says:

    My sense, Richard, is that this would take us off track. The subject of our discussions here is a big one, and it is one that connects with many other enduring issues. And often your perspective from your Christian faith is relevant to those matters. But what you propose here seems to be further afield than I would be glad for us to go.

    If you think that is a misjudgment on my part, you are welcome to respond to what I’ve just said.

  23. R Stein Says:

    Andy,

    I have no thought of evangelizing on your Liberal site. I have said already that I ‘owe’ the Liberals who could SEE or I would have been almost alone in my early apprension of the Bush Lying Program.

    I was not unaware that part of the liberal anti-Bush fever was pre-election
    and was the concern that he would represent the Religious Conservatives.
    I always knew that BUT they also were also aware of the monstrous lying that ws deceiving much of the Nation.

    So !

    It is not my intention to thank you by attempting conversion of your disciples.

    There is just such an expressed mis-understanding of The Faith and Beliefs

    thet since I am hearing it

    I feel prompted to make it clearer if I can.

    Especially since that seems to be as much of the divide as are a couple of

    liberal ‘beliefs’.

    FOR EXAMPLE In the case of Brother Ed’s response on Winners and Losers
    re

    The Enormous Stress .many People Feel Having To Make a Living In The ‘Modern’ Business Atmosphere Of Competition and Bottom Line

    Having been self employed most of my life I feel for those people who feel they are locked in to the SYSTEM.

    Those who are willing to be led by The Shepherd of The Sheep
    have this promise:

    Take no though for your life what ye shall eat nor what ye shall drink nor yet for your body what ye shall put on

    But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness and All these Things Shall be Added To you.

    Any of those poor souls trapped in that economic rat race can be led out into productive gainful employment free of that sense of striving. It is going on all the time here and there.

    There are numerous other ‘principles’ at work in the believer’s life which are real blessings

    which is maybe one reasons they are oblivious to the larger scene;

    they are at the moment content with the blessings they have discovered

    and leave the idealogical battle of Good and Evil to the Theologians though they instinctively have an aversion to evil close to their own lives.

    Hopefully that is a ‘harmless’comment.

    I do think

    if it is going to be such a thing of contention

    it ought to be better understood in principle

    even if not embraced.

    r d

  24. Linda Jean Edwards Says:

    R Stein:
    You have stated: There is just such an expressed mis-understanding of The Faith and Beliefs…”
    I do not think anyone on NSB has misconstrued your beliefs in any way. I think you have been heard loud and clear.
    Cliff W,
    Abortion is not “murder.” That is a religious based viewpoint, as well as whether or not a woman may or may not find it necessary to “repent” for choosing to end a pregnancy. I also think you’re absolutely correct when you say: “it’s our duty to forgive, not impose our human will upon another in presumed self-righteousness.” Words to live by, whether one is religious or not.

    Any American who cares about democracy as well as the reasons this country came into being, needs to take a good hard look at what the Christian right is attempting to do to the US government. As author Chris Hedges has written on several occasions, it is an immediate crisis for America which must be addressed.

    From “The Rise of Christian Fascism and It’s Threat to American Democracy” by Chris Hedges, Feb. 2007
    http://www.alternet.org/story/47679/

    “We now live in a nation where the top 1 percent control more wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined, where we have legalized torture and can lock up citizens without trial. Arthur Schlesinger, in “The Cycles of American History,” wrote that “the great religious ages were notable for their indifference to human rights in the contemporary sense — not only for their acquiescence in poverty, inequality and oppression, but for their enthusiastic justification of slavery, persecution, torture and genocide.

    And yet the powerbrokers in the Christian right have moved from the fringes of society to the floor of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Forty-five senators and 186 members of the House before the last elections earned approval ratings of 80 to100 percent from the three most influential Christian right advocacy groups — the Christian Coalition, Eagle Forum, and Family Resource Council. President Bush has handed hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid to these groups and dismantled federal programs in science, reproductive rights and AIDS research to pay homage to the pseudo-science and quackery of the Christian right.

    Bush will, I suspect, turn out to be no more than a weak transition figure, our version of Otto von Bismarck — who also used “values” to energize his base at the end of the 19th century and launched “Kulturkampf,” the word from which we get culture wars, against Catholics and Jews. Bismarck’s attacks, which split Germany and made the discrediting of whole segments of the society an acceptable part of the civil discourse, paved the way for the Nazis’ more virulent racism and repression.

    The radical Christian right, calling for a “Christian state” — where whole segments of American society, from gays and lesbians to liberals to immigrants to artists to intellectuals, will have no legitimacy and be reduced, at best, to second-class citizens — awaits a crisis, an economic meltdown, another catastrophic terrorist strike or a series of environmental disasters. A period of instability will permit them to push through their radical agenda, one that will be sold to a frightened American public as a return to security and law and order, as well as moral purity and prosperity. This movement — the most dangerous mass movement in American history — will not be blunted until the growing social and economic inequities that blight this nation are addressed, until tens of millions of Americans, now locked in hermetic systems of indoctrination through Christian television and radio, as well as Christian schools, are reincorporated into American society and given a future, one with hope, adequate wages, job security and generous federal and state assistance.

    The unchecked rape of America, which continues with the blessing of both political parties, heralds not only the empowerment of this American oligarchy but the eventual death of the democratic state and birth of American fascism.”

  25. R Stein Says:

    Hedges seems a little mixed up, but anyway I didn’t see, myself, any suggestion of what we do about all ‘these inequities’ we have to equalize(?) in order to Blunt this ‘christian juggernaut’

    What in the world is this horror that he says he sees ?

    There sure is a lot of mixed up thinking in America these days, religious and otherwise; but I guess that is to be expected.

  26. Linda Jean Edwards Says:

    R Stein,
    Chris Hedges mixed up?? Have you read the entire piece? (see the link, above for the complete article.)

    Hedges has written other non-fiction books which are all excellent:

    “Losing Moses on the Freeway: The Ten Commandments in America” and “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.”

    Also, “What Every Person Should Know About War.”

    A little background:
    Chris Hedges is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School and was a foreign correspondent for nearly twenty years. He was the bureau chief in the Middle East and the Balkans, and worked in other foreign posts for the New York Times from 1990-2005. He has also taught at Columbia University, New York Univ. and Princeton. Hedges was a member of the New York Times team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for the paper’s coverage of global terrorism.

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