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View Full Version : Bloggingheads: Unfair and Unbalanced?


johnmarzan
01-09-2008, 11:18 PM
I think the debate is skewed towards the democrats if you have to leftys as bloggingheads participants talking about the republicans issues.

rosa brooks and heather hurlburt?
joshua cohen and glenn loury?
matt yglesias and chait?

or are these debates between moderate leftys and hardcore liberals?

bjkeefe
01-09-2008, 11:49 PM
I think the debate is skewed towards the democrats if you have to leftys as bloggingheads participants talking about the republicans issues.

Unlike, say, Fox News and AM radio, where you have a spectrum ranging from wingnuts to neocons commenting on the Democrats?

Besides, it's not like there isn't a call for more conservatives to appear on BH.tv, John, even from people as in love with the terrorists as I am. The onus is on them to show up, and on you to make some specific recommendations.

johnmarzan
01-10-2008, 12:11 AM
Unlike, say, Fox News and AM radio, where you have a spectrum ranging from wingnuts to neocons commenting on the Democrats?

or MSNBC and the rest of the MSM where you listen leftys and moonbats debate?

Besides, it's not like there isn't a call for more conservatives to appear on BH.tv, John, even from people as in love with the terrorists as I am. The onus is on them to show up, and on you to make some specific recommendations.

a much better way is for them to self-identify themselves as liberals or conservatives at the start like hurlbert/brooks. at least we know where they are coming from.

johnmarzan
01-10-2008, 12:17 AM
i don't mind a Left-Left debate if the participants disagree on the chosen topics. let's say a liberal like Hitchens who support the Iraq war, vs. your regular Lefty intellectual who's against it.

bjkeefe
01-10-2008, 12:24 AM
johnmarzan:

a much better way is for them to self-identify themselves as liberals or conservatives at the start like hurlbert/brooks. at least we know where they are coming from.

Leaving aside that you ducked my challenge by responding with the above, I disagree. Why should people pigeonhole themselves for your sake? Why not just listen to what they have to say?

Besides, if you can't figure out the leanings from listening, you're probably not going to get much out of the conversation in any case. If you need to be told labels to start, you'll likely just be listening for sound bites to cheer or disparage. There's a whole world of shoutfests out there on cable TV if that's what appeals to you. BH.tv, at its best, is a little more nuanced than left versus right.

bjkeefe
01-10-2008, 12:30 AM
johnmarzan:

i don't mind a Left-Left debate if the participants disagree on the chosen topics.

For some discussion on this, set your forum view to "threaded" and follow the discussion starting with Incompetence Dodger's comment, subject line "Re:Hillary and Obama," in the thread for "Political Insights of the Wonk-Wonk Sisterhood."

johnmarzan
01-10-2008, 01:07 AM
Why should people pigeonhole themselves for your sake? Why not just listen to what they have to say?

Besides, if you can't figure out the leanings from listening, you're probably not going to get much out of the conversation in any case. If you need to be told labels to start, you'll likely just be listening for sound bites to cheer or disparage. There's a whole world of shoutfests out there on cable TV if that's what appeals to you. BH.tv, at its best, is a little more nuanced than left versus right.

i don't mind a left-left debate if they're talking re issues within the Left or Democrats. Example: why hillary is better than barack or vice versa. Or participants differ on how to solve poverty.

but if same participants both agree that the republicans "are bad" or show bias against them, or both agree that "the surge" in iraq is not working, then we have a little problem here.

johnmarzan
01-10-2008, 01:11 AM
i guess it's okay to have a left-left or right-right debate, as long as the topics are chosen carefully.

if dailykos and firedoglake are chosen to discuss re iraq or bush, i don't think that's ideal.

but if bloggingheads can't get any conservative to participate, then it's useful indentify kos and fdl's leanings.

bjkeefe
01-10-2008, 01:30 AM
i don't mind a left-left debate if they're talking re issues within the Left or Democrats. Example: why hillary is better than barack or vice versa. Or participants differ on how to solve poverty.

but if same participants both agree that the republicans "are bad" or show bias against them, or both agree that "the surge" in iraq is not working, then we have a little problem here.

Sorry, John. I just don't agree. Where is it written that two people who nominally agree can't have a discussion about the other side, or analyze the options as they see what the other side has wrought?

I'll grant that if one person is doing nothing but saying, "X is bad, and here's why," [unintentional pun] and the other is doing nothing but responding, "Yeah, what you said!", that gets a little boring. However, this isn't Air America Radio -- generally, a pair of left-leaning diavloggers on BH.tv has a lot more to offer than that.

Maybe you haven't watched enough, or maybe you're so far to the right that you can't see any difference in the positions expressed by two people who aren't diametrically opposed.

If the former, I'd say hang in there -- there's sure to be some vigorous (left/right) debate to come, and also, you might pick up on some subtle differences as you get to know the regulars a bit better.

If the latter, I don't know what to tell you, except to suggest that you pick your viewing choices more carefully. Take advantage of the RSS feed and Google to screen the offerings here before you invest the time to watch something not to your taste, maybe. And I'll repeat what I said earlier: how about making some specific suggestions for people you'd like to see?

Hoofin
01-10-2008, 10:19 AM
I would rather just listen to what people have to say.

Invite whoever you think is good, and if they say "yes", let them on.

garbagecowboy
01-10-2008, 02:17 PM
I commend BH.tv on the ideological diversity they have had in the past. It is probably hard, given Bob's social milieu, to get that many serious movement conservatives on. The conservatives tend to skew drastically towards the libertarian end of the spectrum, with a few notable exceptions (Douthat, Pinkerton, Frum).

With that said, the left-left diavlogs are of uneven quality, and sometimes degenerate into cheerleading and sniping at the other side, with a kind of smug self-certainty that is pretty lame. It is not, I think, what the bh.tv brand is supposed to be about. For instance, the most recent Cohen/Loury diavlog, I thought that Loury's talk about how clearly wrong America's politics have been since 1980 was presumptuous, smug, and if he were talking to a libertarian or right-wing interloper, would have been demolished on the spot. It seemed to take as a truism that the growth of the Federal Government is a blessing unto mankind... maybe he didn't notice the huge entitlement expansion under Bush?

At any rate that is just one example... oftentimes when both diavloggers are on the "same team" one will let the other get away with a piece of partisan tripe that somebody from the other team would demolish.

This is not a phenomenon exclusive to liberals, I remember some humdingers from that Libertarian on Libertarian dvlog with Brink Lindsay and Dan Drezner from a while back. However, bh.tv is set up such that the number of conservative/conservative dvlogs can be counted on one hand, whereas two liberals conversing happens multiple times per week.

TwinSwords
01-10-2008, 03:37 PM
Exactly! Well said, Hoofin. And I agree with every point made by Brendan in this thread. Personally, I enjoy diavlogs with people who agree with one another -- possibly more than the ones where they disagree. For example, my least favorite Rosa Brooks episode ever was the one with Charlotte Hayes (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/7533). By far, this was the least informative and edifying of the Brooks appearances.

I enjoy listening to two smart liberals explore ideas in depth, at length, without having to respond to mindless and foolish right-wing talking points. I can understand how that would be unappealing to Republicans, and that they would have little incentive to tune in.

As for the number of conservatives who have appeared on the site, there really are a lot of them. I haven't counted, but I think it's probably close to half. Sometimes I think the Republicans feel underrepresented simply because BHTV doesn't do screaming, it doesn't do invective, it doesn't do character assassination, and it doesn't do impugning of people's patriotism or intelligence or suitability as a human being. So if you're looking for Bill O'Reilly to scream at someone and degrade them like a small child, or Sean Hannity to question their loyalty to America, this isn't the right place.

On BHTV, Republicans have to act act like adults, and instead of merely attacking with their claws and teeth, approach (for once) the debate with ideas, logic, and reason. I recognize that this often puts them at a disadvantage, and leaves them feeling out of their milieu.

Repulbicans have dominated debate and the exchange of ideas in this country for so long, they feel cheated when they can't press their knee against your wind pipe.

TwinSwords
01-10-2008, 03:39 PM
Unfair and Unbalanced

Your citation of the Fox News moniker in your thread title is telling. I believe it shows what you consider the baseline.

TwinSwords
01-10-2008, 03:49 PM
With that said, the left-left diavlogs are of uneven quality, and sometimes degenerate into cheerleading and sniping at the other side, with a kind of smug self-certainty that is pretty lame.
Well of course you think it's lame. You're a conservative. I find it equally annoying watching two conservatives. I'm not sure how "self-certainty" is lame, however. Do you only like liberals when they are full of self-doubt and uncertainty? Kind of a strange standard. I know the Fox News liberals all have fear in their eyes as they brace for the next wave of insults, but this isn't Fox News.



It is not, I think, what the bh.tv brand is supposed to be about. For instance, the most recent Cohen/Loury diavlog, I thought that Loury's talk about how clearly wrong America's politics have been since 1980 was presumptuous, smug, and if he were talking to a libertarian or right-wing interloper, would have been demolished on the spot.
Well, that's exactly why I like BHTV. I don't like it when every other sentence is punctuated by inane right-wing talking points. There is plenty of that on TV. One of the great services of BHTV is it provides in-depth examination of ideas without the atmosphere of combat. If you want political discourse rendered as demolition derby, you can get it from Hannity.



It seemed to take as a truism that the growth of the Federal Government is a blessing unto mankind...
Now that Will Wilkinson has launched his weekly libertarian show, I think you're going to get a steady diet of right-right diavlogs with people who hate government.

johnmarzan
01-10-2008, 09:24 PM
Your citation of the Fox News moniker in your thread title is telling. I believe it shows what you consider the baseline.

don't read too much into it. i thought of using it only because i recently heard the Ron Paulistas complaining on jay leno's program about not being included in the last FOXNEWS debate in NH. they said fox was unfair and unbalanced.

johnmarzan
01-10-2008, 09:31 PM
This is not a phenomenon exclusive to liberals, I remember some humdingers from that Libertarian on Libertarian dvlog with Brink Lindsay and Dan Drezner from a while back. However, bh.tv is set up such that the number of conservative/conservative dvlogs can be counted on one hand, whereas two liberals conversing happens multiple times per week.

btw, i don't mind liberal-liberal talk if they include people like mickey kaus, ann althouse, roger l simon (lib or neocon?) and christopher hitchens. david brooks and bill kristol would be great too (they're not leftys, of course) maybe even dennis miller.

johnmarzan
01-10-2008, 09:35 PM
With that said, the left-left diavlogs are of uneven quality, and sometimes degenerate into cheerleading and sniping at the other side, with a kind of smug self-certainty that is pretty lame. It is not, I think, what the bh.tv brand is supposed to be about. For instance, the most recent Cohen/Loury diavlog, I thought that Loury's talk about how clearly wrong America's politics have been since 1980 was presumptuous, smug, and if he were talking to a libertarian or right-wing interloper, would have been demolished on the spot.

haha... very true.

bjkeefe
01-10-2008, 11:45 PM
... i recently heard the Ron Paulistas complaining on jay leno's program about not being included in the last FOXNEWS debate in NH.

That was pretty amazing on Fox's part, even given that what we know about Fox News.

johnmarzan
01-11-2008, 01:06 AM
another left of center guy i want to see is michael totten.

johnmarzan
01-11-2008, 01:44 AM
i'm okay with a left-left debate as long as the other participant doesn't suffer from BDS or a knee-jerk hatred for Republicans.

garbagecowboy
01-11-2008, 12:12 PM
Well of course you think it's lame. You're a conservative. I find it equally annoying watching two conservatives. I'm not sure how "self-certainty" is lame, however. Do you only like liberals when they are full of self-doubt and uncertainty? Kind of a strange standard. I know the Fox News liberals all have fear in their eyes as they brace for the next wave of insults, but this isn't Fox News.

It's not the self-certainty in and of itself that's lame, it's the smugness of the self-certainty. Loury's statements were not part of a long discourse that had a bunch of arguments supporting his position, it was basically "since Reagan got elected the conservatives have taken control of American politics and have ruined America with their horrible ideas." I guess he forgot that the Congress was controlled by Democrats until 1994 and since 2006 (so less than half of the roughly quarter century he is referring to, and that for 8 years during that period we had a Democrat as President. Furthermore, it ignored the quite obvious point that the Republican party's domestic policies have changed utterly from Reagan in the last decade. To consider the Republicans the party of small government is absurd. But Cohen not only let this intellectually lazy and highly questionable assertion go, he nodded in assent. If he had been talking to, say, Dan Drezner, this statement could have been dissected and Loury could have justified his position more thoroughly and provided some evidence for his position.

Well, that's exactly why I like BHTV. I don't like it when every other sentence is punctuated by inane right-wing talking points. There is plenty of that on TV. One of the great services of BHTV is it provides in-depth examination of ideas without the atmosphere of combat. If you want political discourse rendered as demolition derby, you can get it from Hannity.


My point was not that I want liberal ideas to be interrupted by right wing talking points, or that I do not want to hear liberals intelligently and carefully lay out their arguments. It is not the left-wing nature of the diavlogs that I find "lame." It is that getting basically the liberal equivalent of Fox News in the form of two liberals with one saying partisan "truisms" and having the other pat the other on the back for it is lame. Notice I said that this phenomenon is not limited to liberals, just that it happens more often with liberals on bloggingheads.tv because the number of liberal/liberal diavlogs is much greater than the number of libertarian/libertarian diavlogs or paleocon/paleocon or neocon/necon diavlogs. Furthermore, I'm not saying this is the case in all liberal/liberal pairings. Many of them are quite good. I agree that what is good about bh.tv is that it "provides in-depth examination of ideas without the atmosphere of combat." I am just noting my opinion that the liberal/liberal diavlogs are of uneven quality, and that some of them degenerate into two liberals not examining their positions in a thoughtful manner, but rather into partisan cheerleading. Most are quite good; some are not. If you think this makes me want bh.tv to be an internet version of Fox News then you are quite mistaken. I find a lot of the liberal/liberal diavlogs, where ideas are examined in depth and the discourse is intelligent to be very informative and enjoyable.

Now that Will Wilkinson has launched his weekly libertarian show, I think you're going to get a steady diet of right-right diavlogs with people who hate government.

Awesome.

I'm sorry if I ruffled your feathers by suggesting that sometimes the liberals on bloggingheads.tv do not do great diavlogs. I think you misunderstood the main point of my constructive criticism, however, which was that bloggingheaders of any stripe would do well to live up to the ideal you eloquently outlined (particularly the "in-depth examination of issues" bit), and that I think that sometimes diavloggers have failed to live up to it.

garbagecowboy
01-11-2008, 12:42 PM
Repulbicans have dominated debate and the exchange of ideas in this country for so long, they feel cheated when they can't press their knee against your wind pipe.

Good point. Very thoughtful analysis.

Hoofin
01-12-2008, 10:55 AM
I like the part about the windpipe.

Especially, that it evokes a kind of waterboarding, or thumbscrews and rack approach to dialogue.

I hope Bill O'Reilly wouldn't consider me low class.