Tag Archives: Beck

Is this who we are?

Once again, I seem to have taken an unplanned break from the blog. Downtime will, I expect, become a recurring feature here. This time I think the reason is because of what happened on Saturday. It left me speechless.

The killings in Tuscon describe, on too many levels, the story of the tragedy that is us. America has produced too many assassins; some succeed, some fail, but still they discharge their weapons. Just in my own lifetime: Kennedy, King, Kennedy, Ford, Reagan, a few other Congress critters (and I am sorry I don’t remember the names) and now Rep. Gifford. The wife of an astronaut. And those are just the political ones.

Public figures of all kinds – journalists, entertainers, doctors, nurses, municipal officials – it is a list too far. Agencies of the government, the buildings that house them, the innocents who showed up for their jobs that day.

We fiercely defend our guns – even the weapons of war – in the hands of those who mean us ill.

We allow – some embrace – the language of incitement, the mindset that sees government as the enemy off all that is good. A mindset that has taken hold and is endlessly reinforced. We now think it’s okay to yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre.

We reward liars and fools – Limbaugh, Murdoch, Beck, Savage. Those who become obscenely wealthy toying with this nation and undermining  our national stability.

Rush Limbaugh changed the face of radio and invented today’s shabby genre of talk radio. He’s been on the air for 20 awful years, on thousands of stations around the country (even the military carries him on its stations). How big an impact has this one man had with his endless stream of nonsense-made-real?

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WaPo: Editors? Bah humbug.

Here’s a perfect example of the casual use of equivalency in today’s media. Chris Cilizza, a columnist at the Washington Post and a regular on MSNBC, writes about Saturday’s Beckapalooza. He says no one really knows how many attended, saying:

You do know it's all about me, don't you?

“Estimates on the size of the rally have varied widely. According to one commissioned by CBS News, 87,000 people attended the event. Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (R), who also spoke at the event, told a reporter afterward that she thought more than 100,000 people had attended.  Beck said that the crowd was between 300,000 and 650,000, and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), speaking at her own event after the rally, said that no fewer than 1 million people had been in attendance’

From CBS in their own report: “The company AirPhotosLive.com based the attendance on aerial pictures it took over the rally, which stretched from in front of the Lincoln Memorial along the Reflecting Pool to the Washington Monument. . . .  AirPhotosLive.com gave its estimate a margin of error of 9,000, meaning between 78,000 and 96,000 people attended the rally. The photos used to make the estimate were taken at noon Saturday, which is when the company estimated was the rally’s high point.

So what we learned from Chris Cilizza this morning (and passed as perfectly good reporting by the Post’s ‘editors’) is this: crowd size guesses pulled from the a**es of the sponsors carry the same weight as  those arrived at by outside professionals hired by a news organization. Okay.

So, let’s just review. Estimates by Beck et al, as seen by Cilizza, worthy of reporting (at least they weren’t colluding – obviously), were:

Palin – 100,000

Beck – 300,000 – 650,000 (lottsa wiggle room in this one – either one thing or double that one thing. Somewhere in there.)

Bachman –  1 million by jeebus