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Bloggingheads
06-02-2008, 09:18 AM
Afterthought
We apologize for the abrupt ending to this diavlog. We felt that the graphic content of the final portion of the video would be disturbing to some viewers, so we felt compelled to cut it out. (Just kidding. The final portion was lost to a mundane technical glitch.) --BhTV

bjkeefe
06-02-2008, 11:20 AM
Interesting diavlog. Pity it got truncated.

Based on what was available, I have to say that as much as I share Cass's concerns about online defamation of others, I don't think there are any prescriptions available to address these problems where the cure wouldn't be worse than the disease. It seems to me that if you hold hosting providers responsible for content put up by their customers, or blog owners responsible for comments posted by visitors, you'll cripple the free exchange of ideas. You'll cause prices to be raised (to pay for content monitors) and you'll cause commenting to be disabled on everything from the lowliest personal blog to the interactive sections of major news media sites.

Besides, who is to say what is defamatory? At the extremes, it's easy enough to agree, but I wager that a large chunk of anything that appears on any partisan political blog or any pop culture blog could be called defamatory by some. For example, should someone get in trouble for saying that Barack Obama is a stealth member of the Weather Underground or Hamas, or that John McCain has suffered irreparable brain damage from his time as a POW? What about for saying that Tom Cruise is insane or that Paris Hilton is trash? Or that Michael Crichton or Michael Moore are propagandists whose work is filled with lies?

If public figures are removed from consideration, as it sounded like Cass was mostly conceding, and we're only to worry about the defamation of private citizens, the first thing to ask is, how much of a problem is this, really? Citing a few anecdotes about college students doesn't convince me that it's worth imposing some kind of sweeping "solution." Since the dawn of society, it has always been possible to find individual cases of lives harmed by malicious gossip, or indeed, even inaccurate reports in major news organs. Sure, it's unfortunate for those few, but we've never figured out a way to stop it. We have ways to address most of the problems, and they work, most of the time.

It seems to me that most people already understand how little credibility should be assigned to some random smear posted online by some anonymous person. It's worth spending time and money to teach and remind people of this, but that's about the only prescription I could accept.

Finally, I'll note that the amount of excessively slanted material to which people are exposed by the blogosphere pales in comparison to the same problems associated with talk radio and MSM consolidation.

=================

As to Cass's concerns about echo chambers, well, yeah. There are some people who only visit sites that reinforce their views. But, as Eugene noted, this has been a problem since before the Web existed. It's fundamental to human nature. It is true that the low barriers to entry make it easy for like-minded people to drive each other to ever more extreme positions, as a visit to, say, No Quarter, the HuffPo, or LGF will demonstrate, but it's also true that there are other people whose views are broadened by the ready availablity of competing views.

I also think there are a number of people who grow tired of sites that agree too much with their own views. I myself spend almost no time on, say, Daily Kos. Ditto sites that, say, promote atheism or bash Microsoft or discuss how wonderful chocolate tastes. It's hard to measure, of course, but I'd be willing to bet that for all the echo-chamber seekers out there, there are large numbers of people who actively seek out new ideas.

Abu Noor Al-Irlandee
06-02-2008, 11:58 AM
Important point Brendan. I have to say that Mr. Volokh has the stronger points here which are that sure people can only read viewpoints that they already agree with on the internet but that's only if that's what they are interested in reading. For those people with the intellectual curiousity to actually be interested in a variety of viewpoints the internet makes it much, much easier to seek out such viewpoints.

Many popular outlets and even individual bloggers will at least occasionally put forth surprising views and I think people are interested in this. Of course, some outlets have taken this desire out to its extreme conclusion, and are well known to fetishize counterintuitive opinion. Some bloggers (including one near and dear to the hearts of all bhtv land) even call themselves liberals or democrats, and yet spout almost nothing but conservative opinions and criticism of democrats.

Interesting diavlog. Pity it got truncated.

=================


I also think there are a number of people who grow tired of sites that agree too much with their own views. I myself spend almost no time on, say, Daily Kos. Ditto sites that, say, promote atheism or bash Microsoft or discuss how wonderful chocolate tastes. It's hard to measure, of course, but I'd be willing to bet that for all the echo-chamber seekers out there, there are large numbers of people who actively seek out new ideas.

http://abunooralirlandee.wordpress.com

Abu Noor Al-Irlandee
06-02-2008, 12:06 PM
I have read some of Mr. Sunstein's work and heard him speak a couple of times in person. He is quite brilliant and I even walked away from the first time I heard him in person thinking "That's why I went to law school. That's real intellectual firepower." Yet, the more I listen to him, I've become less and less impressed. I think the main reason for this is that I've heard him speak so much recently about this kinda vague anti-internet concerns about which I think his views are just not very impressive. On a related note, he has kind of a consistent bland mainstream establishment middle of the road, look at both sides theme that it is not the most appealing to me personally.

It was too bad that this diavlog got truncated because the discussion at the end was a good one and I would've liked to continue to hear Mr. Sunstein develop his argument.

Finally, I must note that I couldn't help but wonder if Mr. Sunstein's views on the "defamation" discussion are not colored by his personal experience as a "celebrity" in the legal world whose personal life has been a topic of internet discussion.

Personally I'm kinda stuck between agreeing completely as a matter of personal morality that any discussion of people's private lives (even if true) is something no one should engage in and any chilling effect on such discussion is no loss at all to society and the realization that, as Mr. Volokh notes, there is much disagreement in society about what is truly private and/or defamatory and I'm radical enough to be very distrustful of setting the government up as referee in such disputes.

http://abunooralirlandee.wordpress.com

bjkeefe
06-02-2008, 01:07 PM
Abu Noor:

Yet, the more I listen to him, I've become less and less impressed. I think the main reason for this is that I've heard him speak so much recently about this kinda vague anti-internet concerns about which I think his views are just not very impressive. On a related note, he has kind of a consistent bland mainstream establishment middle of the road, look at both sides theme that it is not the most appealing to me personally.

Well said. I haven't read that much by Cass, although I always hear him name-checked as a respected intellect. But he hasn't struck me as very insightful here on BH.tv. Particularly when he gets going on matters related to the Web, I cannot help but hear an underlying message of: "You kids get the hell of my lawn. And what's with the baggy pants and tattoos and eyebrow piercings? You're ruining society!"

Finally, I must note that I couldn't help but wonder if Mr. Sunstein's views on the "defamation" discussion are not colored by his personal experience as a "celebrity" in the legal world whose personal life has been a topic of internet discussion.

This adds to my belief expressed in my previous comment that the "problem" Cass complains about is exaggerated. I have never heard anything about his personal life, so really, how much has his reputation suffered?

Personally I'm kinda stuck between agreeing completely as a matter of personal morality that any discussion of people's private lives (even if true) is something no one should engage in ...

I almost completely agree. I guess I think, though, that aspects of someone's private life start becoming fair game when that person takes a public stance on some issue, because it speaks to the credibility of the viewpoint. For example, Bill Bennett preaching about morality while indulging an obsession with gambling or John Denver preaching about environmentalism while having a 4000-gallon fuel tank buried in his backyard.

... I'm radical enough to be very distrustful of setting the government up as referee in such disputes.

Funny that you should call this "radical." It strikes me as a claim that mainstream conservatives and mainstream liberals would both like to claim as key to their philosophies.

piscivorous
06-02-2008, 02:09 PM
Let us put the cocoon theory to test. In Commentary there is an article by Jennifer Rubin Less in Sorrow Than In Anger (http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/rubin/9051) quotes a passage from Stanley Kurtz in a NRO article No Liberation (http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NDkyZTNiZDdkMTNiNzViZTYxNDU0MTY4MzMzMzNmZDU=&w=MA==) about Senator Obama's early days in Chicago politics. Some of the commentators here probably will not go read these simply because of the underling sources; Commentary Magazine and National Review on line.

How ever thanks to the embed link in Mr. Kurtz's article you would then miss the link to the article that underpins Mr. Kurtz's argument What Makes Obama Run? (http://www.chicagoreader.com/features/stories/archive/barackobama/) a 1995 article in the Chicago Reader (http://www.chicagoreader.com/obama/).

Abu Noor Al-Irlandee
06-02-2008, 02:11 PM
Good points all, Brendan...With regard to this one,

Abu Noor:


Funny that you should call this "radical." It strikes me as a claim that mainstream conservatives and mainstream liberals would both like to claim as key to their philosophies.

I would just say that it is not too difficult to find contradictions to this (e.g. mainstream conservatives are quick to want to outlaw flag burning, etc. while mainstream liberals are often in favor of pc codes and hate speech laws).

Part of the point I was trying to get at, a little sloppily, was not so much that it is "radical" to be opposed to government restrictions on speech but that people whose views are "mainstream" whether liberal or conservative, can often find it harder to identify with people whose speech would be stifled by the government since their mainstream views are less likely to be stifled, while people who have "radical" out of the mainstream views at least on some issues may find it easier to identify with such concerns and thus their respect for free speech can be even more visceral. Of course Americans of all political stripes have a certain reverence for the first amendment and an expansive understanding of that amendment which makes it easier here than almost any other place to gather support for the ability to express views even amongst people who do not agree with such views at all.

And of course history shows no shortage of people with radical views (views which were almost always suppressed by ruling authorities), who once they got in power, had seemingly no qualms whatsoever about quashing other views they disagreed with and seemed to have no ability whatsoever to identify with radical views that were not their own particular radical views.

http://abunooralirlandee.wordpress.com

jh in sd
06-02-2008, 02:38 PM
Thank to Cass and Eugene for this excellent discussion.

I do agree with Brendan's points here.

Eugene's point on the anonymous nature of the blogosphere is well taken. I can't imagine that most of the insulting rhetoric seen in blogs would take place if people were engaged in a face-to-face conversation.

For the type of serendipitious discovery Cass is promoting to occur, one needs the nature of the explorer. When bloggers aproach the venue with blinders on, it will not take place.

What a great discussion!

jjwfromme
06-02-2008, 03:36 PM
A couple of things: I respect Cass Sunstein's work, and believe that theoretically, what he's saying is sound. But I never get many concrete details showing that he actually knows what's happening. Where are all the errors being committed by the left blogosphere, as he seems to imply? Is he implying that Josh Marshall should have his George Polk Award revoked? Of course you can find errors deep in the bowels of the Daily Kos. But how about all the errors committed by the New York Times or the Washington Post, that millions of people read? Or Cable News? Those were some pretty consequential errors...

Also, did Sunstein absorb Henry Farell's critique from his last Bloggingheads appearance?

http://crookedtimber.org/2008/03/03/deliberation-vs-participation-in-blogs/

From listening to this dialog, Sunstein didn't seem to have brought much of that on board.

Also, Sunstein in Infotopia gives some poor examples of polarization. For instance, with left of center people deliberating about climate change: of course they would come to a conclusion more in favor of climate change, because that's where the overwhelming evidence points.

Now I've seen examples of what Sunstein is talking about in many corners (including on the left). But it's disappointing to hear lazy conventional wisdom about "the Daily Kos" passed off as analysis. I expect that (unfortunately) from journalist chat shows, but I would hope for better from Cass Sunstein.

bjkeefe
06-02-2008, 04:02 PM
Abu Noor:

I would just say that it is not too difficult to find contradictions to this (e.g. mainstream conservatives are quick to want to outlaw flag burning, etc. while mainstream liberals are often in favor of pc codes and hate speech laws).

Good counterexamples.

As to the rest of your comments, I take your point regarding that sense of "radical."

bjkeefe
06-02-2008, 04:07 PM
Let us put the cocoon theory to test.

Is it cocooning if I look at the articles and am able to see within five seconds that it's the same old attack Obama crap, and therefore refuse to waste the time to read them closely?

Is it cocooning if you look at these articles and eagerly lap them up, even though you've been pushing this same line of attack since March?

piscivorous
06-02-2008, 04:47 PM
So an article that goes back to 1995 is "the same old attack Obama crap" epically when it comes via the Chicago Reader. A notorious right wing rag that primarily focuses on the arts, current culture trends and night life of the Chicago area. In fact the Chicago Reader describes itself Chicago's alternative newspaper, THE source for info on music, movies, restaurants, apartment rental, and more. Right!

I guess thats one vote for cocoon.

jh in sd
06-02-2008, 05:19 PM
bj, Yes and yes. It is human nature that our most deeply held beliefs (usually political or religious in nature) are the most resistant to challenge, probably because we rely so heavily on them to define ourselves. People are predisposed to choose candidates based on ideology. Our challenge, then, is to make sure our decisions are compatible with our ideology. Sometimes, Brendan, I get the sense that your enthusiasm for Sen. Obama is based on an idealization of him. I offer this as an observation, not as a criticism. Personally, since none of the candidates still in the running would have been my choice, I have been challenged to a more in-depth analysis of my own political ideology than I would have entered into if any of the candidates were more to my liking.

An interesting book on this topic is-A Conflict of Vision: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles by Thomas Sowell. But would you dismiss this book out of hand because Sowell's own political ideology is incompatible with yours?

Abu Noor Al-Irlandee
06-02-2008, 05:41 PM
You guys aren't being serious. Everyone on these boards knows that Brendan reads stuff by people he doesn't agree with ideologically...so what do you think you're accomplishing by arguing that he doesn't? Seriously I want to understand the mindset of someone who makes these kind of claims.

http://abunooralirlandee.wordpress.com

piscivorous
06-02-2008, 05:54 PM
... to waste the time to read them closely? ...
It seems strange to me that a 1995 article can be classified as the "same old attack Obama crap." The last link I provided is to a page that has links to other articles on Senator Obama mostly for 2004, nor are the all unfavorable to Senator Obama, but since they are all prior to Senator Obama's presidential run I though that they might be of interest as a look at how he was seen at an earlier point in time. But then I'm totally locked into the cocoon I guess!

jh in sd
06-02-2008, 05:56 PM
I once suggested that bj read Charles Colson's book Born Again. He flatly refused, having concluded that Colson's involvement in Watergate made him unredeemable. I only asked the question about Sowell's book to see if it would be within the realm of consideration for him, not to imply that he is generally close-minded. I think we are all specifically closed-minded at times. I guess I should have worded the questions more carefully. Your guys and your Irish tempers (just kidding!)

Abu Noor Al-Irlandee
06-02-2008, 06:27 PM
Thanks for the background and clarification :) Generally, Brendan is pretty open but he does occasionally make absolutist condemnations like the one you mentioned. But he gave the reason, it's not because he's in a cocoon. I think I have a pretty similar take, I will read things by people with different ideologies or worldviews all the time, but there's still some people who I find either so predictable or so odious or just not worthwhile reading. It's possible I miss out on some beneficial things because of that, but there's so much material out there, we all have to prioritize what we want to spend our time on. For example, the title of Sowell's book sounds interesting, but I admit based on his name and reputation I'd be reluctant to read something by him.

I once suggested that bj read Charles Colson's book Born Again. He flatly refused, having concluded that Colson's involvement in Watergate made him unredeemable. I only asked the question about Sowell's book to see if it would be within the realm of consideration for him, not to imply that he is generally close-minded. I think we are all specifically closed-minded at times. I guess I should have worded the questions more carefully. Your guys and your Irish tempers (just kidding!)

http://abunooralirlandee.wordpress.com

bjkeefe
06-02-2008, 06:33 PM
jh:

Sometimes, Brendan, I get the sense that your enthusiasm for Sen. Obama is based on an idealization of him. I offer this as an observation, not as a criticism.

I think it's more accurate to say that I idealize, and have enthusiasm for, the potential that he has awakened in so many people, particularly those who were previously apathetic about government or about working together. I also idealize the notion of him as someone from the next generation, who has not part of the ruling class for the past several decades. I see him, in these senses, as a symbol, as a figure around whom we can rally, and as an inspirational voice that can boost a nation's spirits, which I consider the most important factor in getting a country back on track.

Since you ask: There are certainly things about Obama that do not thrill me. For example, I am somewhat worried about his lack of experience (although the lengthy campaign has assuaged this somewhat). I wish he was a better debater and was more able to speak crisply on occasion. I think some parts of his plans for health care reform could use some work. I am uncomfortable with his religiosity. I'd like to hear more of a commitment to science and investments in R&D. I'd like to hear clearer pledges about rolling back the moves that Bush & Co. made towards the imperial presidency and the police state. I can write off most of the latter items as realistic and skillful politicking, so yes, in that sense, I suppose I do idealize him a bit.

In the end, I have decided that, even with these flaws, even though he's not my ideal candidate, he's the best choice. Generally speaking, he's close to where I am on most of the major issues, and he strikes me as being a more decent and thoughtful person than his opponents. But in the context of a forum like this, and in the current political climate overall, where there are any number of voices so stridently opposed to him that to me they sound like lunatics, I am usually inclined to be just as uncompromising in response.

An interesting book on this topic is-A Conflict of Vision: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles by Thomas Sowell. But would you dismiss this book out of hand because Sowell's own political ideology is incompatible with yours?

Certainly not. I am always on the lookout for different voices, particularly conservatives who have something to say besides the usual talking points. On the other hand, I've read some of Sowell's columns on Townhall.com, and based on those, I have to say that I am unlikely to pay money to read him. But if I saw this book while at the library, I'd be happy to check it out and, uh, check it out. Ditto, if someone handed me a copy and urged me to read it.

bjkeefe
06-02-2008, 06:49 PM
It seems strange to me that a 1995 article can be classified as the "same old attack Obama crap." The last link I provided is to a page that has links to other articles on Senator Obama mostly for 2004, nor are the all unfavorable to Senator Obama, but since they are all prior to Senator Obama's presidential run I though that they might be of interest as a look at how he was seen at an earlier point in time. But then I'm totally locked into the cocoon I guess!

You're right that I shouldn't have lumped the Chicago Reader in with NRO and Commentary. For what it's worth, I did take a look at it when I first read your post, but it bored me. A thirteen-year-old profile? Yawn. What can I tell you? I'm just not that obsessed with the details of who Obama might have been in contact with back then, or whatever point it was that you were trying to make.

I also have to say that your recommendations in this area have lost a lot of credibility. You have spent months searching for, and offering up, ammunition to be used against Obama, all while trying to affect an air of "just passing along some information." Pardon me for failing to treat every last link you offer concerning Obama with full respect and attention, but you've made it clear where you're coming from on this.

If you really wanted to make the Chicago Reader link stand out, maybe you should not have added it in with the other two. Instead, you asked me to wade through two other articles first that truly were the same old crap.

Finally, I'll note that you did not deign to answer my second question: How much of a cocoon are you in for continuing to read anti-Obama screeds? I mean, it's not like you have anything left to decide about who you're voting for, right? So what's your motivation for continuing to read articles that disparage him?

bjkeefe
06-02-2008, 06:54 PM
jh:

I once suggested that bj read Charles Colson's book Born Again. He flatly refused, having concluded that Colson's involvement in Watergate made him unredeemable.

I'm not sure that's exactly how I put it. I did say, and do believe, that Colson is a crook and a creep who deserves no more chances from me. However, the reason that I won't read his book has less to do with that than it does that I feel fairly certain about where he'd be coming from in the book, from having read about his program and his born-again philosophy. There are just way too many other books out there to read.

bjkeefe
06-02-2008, 07:10 PM
jh:

Eugene's point on the anonymous nature of the blogosphere is well taken. I can't imagine that most of the insulting rhetoric seen in blogs would take place if people were engaged in a face-to-face conversation.

I'm mostly with you here. I also believe a lot of the coarseness of online discourse comes from the luxury of people being able to hide their identities. I used to be even more of an absolutist (http://bjkeefe.com/runts/anonymous-posting-considered-lame.html) about this, but we had a good debate about this issue a while back on this forum. As a result, I now can accept the worth that can come from people being able to speak more freely, even if that comes with associated drawbacks.

For the type of serendipitious discovery Cass is promoting to occur, one needs the nature of the explorer. When bloggers aproach the venue with blinders on, it will not take place.

There is a particular type of serendipity that only a print newspaper provides, it is true. On the other hand, Web surfing offers its own opportunities. A well laid out newspaper's web site offers me the chance to look at something I might not have had any idea I'd be interested in. So do blogs -- when I feel stuck in a reading rut, I'll follow links from interesting commenters or explore the blogroll of someone whom I like. It's usually the case that two or three hops in this fashion take me very far away from the mindset of the originating site. And there are also sites that offer aggregation, like Ycombinator (http://news.ycombinator.com/) and BoomPaste (http://www.boompaste.com/home.php), as well as blogs that do nothing but survey other blogs, all of which I check regularly.

You're right that it takes a bit of an explorer instinct to do this, but it really doesn't strike me as that high a barrier, given how easy it is to click a link.

piscivorous
06-02-2008, 07:11 PM
If you really wanted to make the Chicago Reader link stand out, maybe you should not have added it in with the other two. Instead, you asked me to wade through two other articles first that truly were the same old crap.

Finally, I'll note that you did not deign to answer my second question: How much of a cocoon are you in for continuing to read anti-Obama screeds? I mean, it's not like you have anything left to decide about who you're voting for, right? So what's your motivation for continuing to read articles that disparage him?Actually I didn't. I specifically mentioned that some would not be able to stomach the prior two links and gave a direct link to the article Kurtz base his article on. ... Some of the commentators here probably will not go read these simply because of the underling sources; Commentary Magazine and National Review on line.

How ever thanks to the embed link in Mr. Kurtz's article you would then miss the link to the article that underpins Mr. Kurtz's argument What Makes Obama Run? (http://www.chicagoreader.com/features/stories/archive/barackobama/) a 1995 article in the Chicago Reader (http://www.chicagoreader.com/obama/). Seems to me you could have gone directly to the Chicago Readr story so as to avoid your having to inculcate your comment with the rather familiar but tried and true "...therefore refuse to waste the time to read them..." Or what is it about the phrase "...link to the article that underpins Mr. Kurtz's argument..." needs further illumination.

As far as my being in a cocoon you have answered that question yourself. "...You have spent months searching for, and offering up, ..." As the owner of my keyboard it is my decision as to what information I choose to link to here, but does not imply in any way shape or form that I am lost in a cocoon of the like minded.

arg11
06-02-2008, 07:11 PM
Actually, yes, bloggers do link to people whose arguments directly contradict theirs. Here's how it works: I read article x, which states y. I disagree with y and tell you why on my blog, providing a link to y so that you can see for yourself. Perhaps you subsequently disagree with my refutation of y, and find y to be more convincing. Newspapers do not provide this ability. If a newspaper columnist makes a claim about someone else's claim, we have to take it for granted that they are giving an accurate description of the other person's claim. Not so with blogs.

Also, you claim that a newspaper presents things that you might not have thought to take interest in before. So do blogs. There are, in fact, many blogs that function like newspapers, giving summaries of various issues from various sources.

arg11
06-02-2008, 07:18 PM
I think Volokh and Sunstein read different blogs.

bjkeefe
06-02-2008, 07:24 PM
... I'll mention that web-pages are much easier to scrub when we want to create a custom reality ...

Indeed, this can be a problem (http://thinkprogress.org/2008/05/27/mccain-bush-website/).

Bobby G
06-02-2008, 08:14 PM
Hi Brendan,

Sowell's books are much better than his columns; though there are occasionally incredibly agitating things about them (lack of charity towards those who disagree with him and oversimplification being what agitates), there is also creative argumentation and familiarity with facts that one isn't likely to encounter elsewhere (this is especially true regarding his writing on affirmative action, which takes into account a lot of international data).

bjkeefe
06-02-2008, 08:26 PM
Bobby G:

I'll bear your recommendation in mind. Thanks to you and jh.

AemJeff
06-02-2008, 09:23 PM
Some of the commentators here probably will not go read these simply because of the underling sources; Commentary Magazine and National Review on line.

Who ever implied that? I, and others, have made a point of the value of NRO as a good place to go and read. I don't recall Commentary ever being mentioned, but I'll certainly endorse it as another fine source. What has come up is Weekly Standard, a publication that seems to set standards (no pun intended) for intellectual dishonesty and pure shilling.

jh in sd
06-02-2008, 09:34 PM
BJ, Thanks for the honest analysis. It gives me a clearer picture of what you see in Obama and has shattered my image of you as merely the drum major at the Obamarama.

Is for Sowell's book, it delineates two categories of social vision: the constrained and the unconstrained, gives some of the philosophical history of these visions, and discusses the ways in which they impact views on power, justice, equality and values within society. I found it to be very interesting.

jh in sd
06-02-2008, 09:40 PM
Abu Noor, I agree that time constraints dictate much of our willingness to read conflicting points of view, but I also think we all have a range from within we will chose. I, for example, would read Hayakawa before I would read Chomsky given my predispositions. I would consider Chomsky on the low end of my range.

jjwfromme
06-02-2008, 11:05 PM
I think Volokh and Sunstein read different blogs.

I bet he doesn't even read Daily Kos. I bet he gets information about it from other sources, which would be ironic given what he's arguing.

"Centrism" can have its own information cocoons, based on the biases of the "centrists."

bjkeefe
06-02-2008, 11:44 PM
jjw:

"Centrism" can have its own information cocoons ...

Nice observation.

jjwfromme
06-03-2008, 12:45 AM
Jay Rosen of Pressthink introduced me to the idea a few months back (http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2007/05/01/when_fairness_r.html):

I always loved it when Victor Navasky, editor, then publisher of The Nation would explain to journalists or J-students that, in his opinion, there was an ideology of the left (journalists nod) an ideology of the right (more nodding) and an ideology of the center. Not so much nodding at that.
“The press is full of ideologues of the center,” he would say, eyes twinkling, ice cubes clinking. “But they all deny it.” And that’s when the fun started.

For while it’s defensible to have a “centrist” ideology and be a reporter or editor, the journalists who would argue most strenuously with Navasky had a different proposition: theirs was an ideology-free zone. They wouldn’t defend their politics; instead they would proclaim their innocence. Instead of thinking about it… ideologues of the center: do I recognize the type?… they just reacted.

Baltimoron
06-03-2008, 03:18 AM
You're right, Piscivorous, those are gems-of selective quoting and scare words.

Compare:

"What we need in America, especially in the African-American community, is a moral agenda that is tied to a concrete agenda for building and rebuilding our communities," he said. "We have moved beyond the clarion call stage that was needed during the civil rights movement. Now, like Nelson Mandela in South Africa, we must move into a building stage. We must invest our energy and resources in a massive rebuilding effort and invent new mechanisms to strengthen and hasten this community-building effort.

"We have no shortage of moral fervor," said Obama. "We have some wonderful preachers in town--preachers who continue to inspire me--preachers who are magnificent at articulating a vision of the world as it should be. In every church on Sunday in the African-American community we have this moral fervor; we have energy to burn.

"But as soon as church lets out, the energy dissipates. We must find ways to channel all this energy into community building. The biggest failure of the civil rights movement was in failing to translate this energy, this moral fervor, into creating lasting institutions and organizational structures."

To:

Obama upbraids the politics of black power for lacking a practical strategy. Instead of diffusing black rage by diverting it to the traditional American path of assimilation and middle-class achievement, Obama wants to capture the intensity of black anger and use it to power an effective political organization. Obama says, “he’s tired of seeing the moral fervor of black folks whipped up — at the speaker’s rostrum and from the pulpit — and then allowed to dissipate because there’s no agenda, no concrete program for change.” The problem is not fiery rhetoric from the pulpit, but merely the wasted anger it so usefully stirs.

And:

It seems clear that Obama very much wanted to be associated with these people precisely because his “long-held and decidedly audacious hope has been to spread Wright’s radical spirit by linking it to a viable, left-leaning political program, with Obama himself at the center.”

(...)

So if some were disturbed by the implication that Obama had “played” the black churches and put up a front to gain political acceptance and support for his blossoming career, it may come as a bigger shock to learn that his embrace of the radicals and their extreme rhetoric and agenda was sincere. His current post-racial, moderate sounding themes may be a front.


Malcolm X: "Usually when people are sad, they don't do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change."

I get it, you're conservative. You don't have to hide under the covers, or fear the bogeyman!

bjkeefe
06-03-2008, 04:21 AM
kidneystones:

You are spending entirely too much time at NoQuarter.

bjkeefe
06-03-2008, 05:07 AM
slitherwink, one of the architect of hope's most devoted acolytes, put the Booman story on the rec list at MyDD yesterday. See if you can find it now!

Down the Obama memory hole!

You mean this one (http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2008/6/1/235757/2325)?

bjkeefe
06-03-2008, 06:16 AM
Good work! Got your talking points yet?

Yeah, just one:

o Show me the video. Then I'll believe it.

piscivorous
06-03-2008, 07:33 AM
I guess you didn't find it all that boring. I only provided the links no analysis of their content. Sometimes it pays to read.


That's on vote for not cocoon.

harkin
06-03-2008, 08:08 AM
God bless him, a member of the US university system decrying 'echo chambers' and promoting 'respectful engagement'.

Direct the study inward and the truth will set you free.

harkin
06-03-2008, 10:03 AM
Bob,

Please bring these two together again ASAP. This discussion was interesting throughout and was getting better as it went. The abrubt end was very disappointing.

Keep injecting common sense, consistancy and practicality into theoretical discussions Eugene, one of the things that disappointed me most about the university experience was the almost complete lack of consideration for these aspects in political discussions.

Note to Cass - The UCLS Faculty Blog may be one of the 'least-read' blogs but I'm reading it today. Interesting H2.0 discusion.

bjkeefe
06-03-2008, 03:09 PM
I expect we'll see something quite similar to the un-sanitized version. Why else would Booman try to get out in front of the story?

I don't know who Booman is. I came across his post while reading one of the many blogs that have been laughing at Larry Johnson's plummeting credibility.

To me, the Booman post read like a good guess at one possible scenario to explain a rumor that is so far unfounded. If you're reading more into it than that ... well, you've already shown a serious tendency lately to reach for conspiracy theories to explain everything, so I probably shouldn't be surprised.

Bobby G
06-03-2008, 04:33 PM
BJ,

I should say that I'm a lot more conservative than you, so I think some of his conclusions are right. However, one thing to watch out for: some of his conclusions, and some of the argumentation for them, are (I think you will find) ridiculous. You might be temperamentally such that you find it difficult to take seriously someone who, not as uncommonly as I would like, makes some howlers. But there's gold in the dross, too.

bjkeefe
06-03-2008, 04:55 PM
BJ,

I should say that I'm a lot more conservative than you, so I think some of his conclusions are right. However, one thing to watch out for: some of his conclusions, and some of the argumentation for them, are (I think you will find) ridiculous. You might be temperamentally such that you find it difficult to take seriously someone who, not as uncommonly as I would like, makes some howlers. But there's gold in the dross, too.

Thanks for the caveats. I hope to be able to read it sometime, so that we can discuss it at length.