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  #41  
Old 04-15-2008, 02:13 PM
binxdoggy binxdoggy is offline
 
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Default Re: John Yoo's Haircut

graz,

i do apologize for the name-calling.
but as noted, i find it extraordinarily frustrating.
if she doesn't want to engage in a serious discussion, why participate in the process?
like her hitler/pearl harbor/9-11 analogy. that is not even a serious point. gg was asking her about something specific and she brings up the fact that americans didn't know who bombed pearl harbor immediately after the attack.
again, it reminds me of a lot of dumb, and some not so dumb - is that better? - discussions/arguments i participated in, watched, in graduate school, where people sat around, in and out of the classroom, trying to impress each other by bringing forth every possible discussion point that might tangentially relate to a particular issue.
as a 22 year old trying to exercise my brain, there was a certain attraction to that sort of process, especially after we'd had a few beers at the bar.
as someone looking in on a supposed dialogue about very serious issues, i find it ridiculous that a supposed professional like MM would fall back on those methods that i recognize now as being extraordinarily trite.
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  #42  
Old 04-15-2008, 02:31 PM
Izakmo Izakmo is offline
 
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Default Glenn's self-professed "bizarre neurological condition."

Don't know if anyone caught Glen eviscerating Ana Marie Cox a couple weeks ago (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/988...9&out=00:31:16), but during that diavlog Glen said it was implausible that McCain made the same Al-Qaeda gaffe four times in one week as a running brainfart, and that to repeatedly misspeak in the same way indicates a "bizarre neurological condition."

In this diavlog Glen confuses John Edwards with John Yoo twice, the second time LESS THAN A MINUTE after being corrected from the first time. Even McCain didn't make the same mistake once he'd been corrected, and he's two hundred years old.

I found this debate entertaining until it became clear that neither participant was going to concede even the most picayune point and the thing was going to last 80 minutes.
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  #43  
Old 04-15-2008, 03:08 PM
popcorn_karate popcorn_karate is offline
 
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Default Re: One More Thing

The problem here is that Megan can not concede that the press has a role in our democracy that is different than other industries, and it has been recognized as such since the founding of our country.

this point is beyond dispute if you do even the most basic research on our founders and the constitution.

Once Megan simply says "i disagree" - and leaves it at that Glen is indeed lost. not because his argument is unsound, but because it is an argument based on logic - and if you remove the basis of the logic - the rest crumbles.

Its like if you were to have an argument about say - the kennedy assasination and who was responsible, and the person you are arguing with says - "i don't think there was an assassination". Um - where do you go from there?

Its tough to argue logically with someone that can not see the actual world. a lot like arguing with someone in the Bush administraztion - "Iraq - hell we won that years ago - don't you remember the banner?"
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  #44  
Old 04-15-2008, 03:13 PM
popcorn_karate popcorn_karate is offline
 
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Default Re: John Yoo's Haircut

I like how she uses the exact same technique as Ana Marie Cox to shut down Glen - "I am vastly superior and more important than you, because you see, I am a REAL journalist and you are just a piddly blogger and so you could never really understand"

disgusting.
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  #45  
Old 04-15-2008, 03:38 PM
harkin harkin is offline
 
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Default Re: Glenn's self-professed "bizarre neurological condition."

Great job, Megan.

Anyone who wants a good idea on the quality of GG's opinions should read his back and forth with Daniel Drezner.

This is a person who considers anyone who disagrees with his flawed thinking as suffering from "toxic afflictions -- a drooling, self-loving American exceptionalism along with a self-interested refusal to acknowledge that there is anything truly wrong with our political and media establishment because they both support and are part of that establishment".

Drezner easily shreds these rantings by doing something GG is rather weak at, providing backup and remembering what it is he's talking about.

Every time I see GG refuse to concede a clearly-expressed truth, it reminds me of the guys I debated in college who substituted feelings for facts. It's never easy because they shell-game the topic to death.

Look out Ezra, you have a challenger for greatest sufferer of what Sir Walter Scott called (paraphrasing) "clouds of passion which obfuscate the intellect".
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  #46  
Old 04-15-2008, 04:12 PM
graz graz is offline
 
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Default Re: John Yoo's Haircut

Quote:
Originally Posted by binxdoggy View Post
graz,

i do apologize for the name-calling.
but as noted, i find it extraordinarily frustrating.
if she doesn't want to engage in a serious discussion, why participate in the process?
like her hitler/pearl harbor/9-11 analogy. that is not even a serious point. gg was asking her about something specific and she brings up the fact that americans didn't know who bombed pearl harbor immediately after the attack.
again, it reminds me of a lot of dumb, and some not so dumb - is that better? - discussions/arguments i participated in, watched, in graduate school, where people sat around, in and out of the classroom, trying to impress each other by bringing forth every possible discussion point that might tangentially relate to a particular issue.
as a 22 year old trying to exercise my brain, there was a certain attraction to that sort of process, especially after we'd had a few beers at the bar.
as someone looking in on a supposed dialogue about very serious issues, i find it ridiculous that a supposed professional like MM would fall back on those methods that i recognize now as being extraordinarily trite.
So to keep beating the dead horse:
I am not able to argue against your basic points - because I am in agreement with them. I would offer that if you simply recognized that as "dumb" or not as she is, her falling back on those frustrating and trite tactics should be expected. This is basically what she knows, learned and employs. And this speaks to GG's original complaint about the media. Just as his suggestions about complicity, as highlighted by Harkin in his exchange with Drezner overstate the case. MM's and Drezner's reflexive defense and rationale for the failing of the "media" avoids answering the claim of irresponsibility. There are some bright spots in her past efforts and I would concede that she has attempted to take command of facts by research and reading. But the next step of critical thinking isn't applied. Not because she is unintelligent or her conclusions run counter to my assumptions - but because her methods are shoddy.
This meshes nicely with Science Saturday's DV between Zimmer and Marcus. Gary's thesis accounts for Megan's failure to apply the most challenging methods of logic and reason which would call her assumptions into question. And the fact is that she and her defenders will likely go to sleep believing that they made their case. Case closed?

Last edited by graz; 04-15-2008 at 04:31 PM..
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  #47  
Old 04-15-2008, 04:34 PM
Discovery Institute Discovery Institute is offline
 
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Default Re: John Yoo's Haircut

What McCardle is successful in doing is making it seem as if Greenwald is the one making absolutist arguments, and not her. She appears to believe that this is the case, and Greenwald does play into it with his hyperbolic style of writing.

But Greenwald is assigning some blame to some journalists, while McCardle is insisting that all journalists be shielded from all blame. All blame rests with consumers, and there is absolutely, 100%, no way of getting them to pay attention to important things, so journalists are absolved if they don't try, or don't try hard. And even though the media as a business is, by her definition, mostly a machine for disseminating trivia, those who enter into the business are still entitled to the reputation of civic-minded intellectuals who certainly WOULD be doing hard reporting on all this stuff, if only the public would change. (Though the public is unchangable, 100%, forever, so suggesting that anyone try to change their tastes is like asking them to starve to death.)

Greenwald's conception of the media doesn't rule out the existence of people like this, and he links on his blog to examples of what he considers "good" journalism. He simply says that they aren't the norm. McCardle says that they are, and insists that we believe her, even if there's no evidence to back her up, because the lack of good journalism, no matter how dire it gets, will always be the fault of consumers.

Greenwald might idealize the public somewhat, but really, he just seems to be holding out some hope that they'd be improved if exposed to more good journalism. McCardle, meanwhile, insists that more good journalism would just be pearls before swine. But her argument is still the more idealistic one, she just reserves her naivete for the people who share her job.
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  #48  
Old 04-15-2008, 04:35 PM
binxdoggy binxdoggy is offline
 
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Default Re: John Yoo's Haircut

graz,

you are absolutely right.
i'm just being lazy in a sense, because it is so much easier to just dismiss her as dumb, though i don't believe that entirely.
or at all, really.
she just reminds me of so many well-educated people i've known and associated with who end up being incapable of using their knowledge and intelligence in what i consider to be a constructive way.
instead, they get involved in silly semantic games over trivial matters that prevent a real discussion of or engagement with important issues.
and, as happened here, after a lot of energy and time wasted, one is no further along the path of enlightenment than one was when one started the process.
so yes, you are right and i also agree with everything you've said.
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  #49  
Old 04-15-2008, 04:49 PM
harkin harkin is offline
 
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Default Re: Glenn's self-professed "bizarre neurological condition."

This conversation illustrates something I read awhile back about the reason people give for pursuing a career in journalism.

Years ago, the main reason given was something along the lines of 'wanting to inform the public'; now the main reason is 'wanting to change the world'.

You can clearly see which of these two classifications MM and GG each fall under.

Megan clearly grasps what freedom of the press is all about. Glenn's narrow view that it is bestowed on an elite class of educated public defenders to save us from a corrupt government ignores the fact that freedom of press is just a supplement that allows amplification of one's views. He completely misses the fact that the press is (as Megan states) not a 'special class' but an extention of the individual. Freedom to bear arms also is a protection from corrupt government, but it's an offshoot of the more general principal of being able to protect one's self, one's family and one's property.
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  #50  
Old 04-15-2008, 04:50 PM
graz graz is offline
 
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Default Re: John Yoo's Haircut

binxdoggy:

I reiterate, check out the diavlog between Zimmer and Marcus. And then you might be less likely to agree with me as absolutely. It is unlikely that our take on this is MM thing is wrong... but it is possible.
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  #51  
Old 04-15-2008, 05:00 PM
graz graz is offline
 
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Default Re: Glenn's self-professed "bizarre neurological condition."

Quote:
Originally Posted by harkin View Post
This conversation illustrates something I read awhile back about the reason people give for pursuing a career in journalism.

Years ago, the main reason given was something along the lines of 'wanting to inform the public'; now the main reason is 'wanting to change the world'.

You can clearly see which of these two classifications MM and GG each fall under.

Megan clearly grasps what freedom of the press is all about. Glenn's narrow view that it is bestowed on an elite class of educated public defenders to save us from a corrupt government ignores the fact that freedom of press is just a supplement that allows amplification of one's views. He completely misses the fact that the press is (as Megan states) not a 'special class' but an extention of the individual. Freedom to bear arms also is a protection from corrupt government, but it's an offshoot of the more general principal of being able to protect one's self, one's family and one's property.
Harkin:

That was an interesting point in the Diavlog. I take Megan's general point about the press as an extension of the individual as true. But that doesn't discredit the "specialness" of the role of the journalist as implied by the powers granted to that class.

Your point highlights the fact that they might as well have conceded that they were not fluent in each others language.

Last edited by graz; 04-15-2008 at 05:24 PM..
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  #52  
Old 04-15-2008, 05:25 PM
booker t booker t is offline
 
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Default Re: John Yoo's Haircut

The principle that Greenwald is trying to defend here, that the most important function of a free press in a democracy is to perform a watchdog function over government distortion, deceit, and malfeasance, is undeniable to anyone who studies the consequences for societies where the press begins to protect and to speak for government.

To some extent this is our current situation. When Dick Cheney wants to propagandize against the dangers of Iran and speak unchallenged and irrespective of the facts he has an all too willing sycophant in Sean Hannity, and on and on.

Anyone who wants to learn about the history of American media should read the work of Robert W. McChesney. The evolution of American journalism gets very poor treatment in this dialogue. To understand the essential importance of a watchdog function of a free press (whether you care to classify it as an obligation or not) read C. Edwin Baker. Our current national problems are not independent of the trend towards corporate conglomeration of all of the forms of media. Start by reading Communication Revolution by McChesney if you really care about these issues.

I let my Atlantic subscription run out a few summers ago. I feel reassured of that decision.

Last edited by booker t; 04-15-2008 at 05:46 PM..
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  #53  
Old 04-15-2008, 05:27 PM
Glaurunge Glaurunge is offline
 
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Default McArdle Goodwins the Diavlog

I think we know who lost her argument. How did the conversation get from the News Media's role in society to the Nuremberg trials? Granted, McArdle didn't mention Hitler by name although she came close enough.
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  #54  
Old 04-15-2008, 06:52 PM
Alworth Alworth is offline
 
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Default Re: John Yoo's Haircut

I continued listening, and the pain continued. When they got into that bit over whether Glenn had worked in journalism, it was so painful I had to stop again.

The truth is, since he has set himself up as the MSM critic, Megan's right to question his authority. I have worked tangentially as a reporter a number of years ago (my beat was the Portland beer scene), and it was eye-opening. Later, I did a little business reporting, and have covered politics freelance. Actually reporting does awaken one's awareness to a number of issues that aren't apparent from the outside.

I still think Glenn's overall point is well-made, but man, I have rarely seen someone so clearly wipe the floor on a diavlog (Frum springs to mind, though).
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  #55  
Old 04-15-2008, 07:17 PM
Alworth Alworth is offline
 
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Default Re: One More Thing

Well, they didn't really get into it directly, but Glenn's formulation of what exactly is guaranteed in the First Amendment wasn't clear to me. All the Constitution says is that the government cannot abridge the press's speech--it doesn't give it special status, as Glenn seemed to be arguing. They went down that rabbit hole, where Megan tried to compare it to the protected right to practice religion, and then the whole discussion frayed. I saw nothing that supported Glenn's view there, though.
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  #56  
Old 04-15-2008, 07:26 PM
hans gruber hans gruber is offline
 
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Default Re: John Yoo's Haircut

A previous commenter quoted GG:

"The Constitution doesn't allow the gov't to break into your house and break down your door or to listen to your phone conversation without a warrant, and yet the Bush administration in secret concluded that doesn't apply to them; that they're free to violate that whenever they want inside the United States."

Well, then I guess GG, on a subject he considers himself an expert, doesn't even understand the basics. No warrant is required. The standard is REASONABLENESS which usually requires a warrant, but not always.

Last edited by hans gruber; 04-15-2008 at 07:30 PM..
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  #57  
Old 04-15-2008, 07:26 PM
Alworth Alworth is offline
 
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Default Re: Glenn's self-professed "bizarre neurological condition."

The first amendment creates a special status for the press only so far as it protects it--like speech and religious practice. So Megan's right when she says there's no Constitutionally-sanctioned special status of the press. Glenn imputes a whole bunch of stuff that's extra-constitutional.

But Glenn can legitimately make the point that it has a special role in a democracy. He can even say it was one the founders wanted to protect. But I think he goes astray when he tries to link the function and purpose of the press to the constitution. It's just not there.
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  #58  
Old 04-15-2008, 07:48 PM
hans gruber hans gruber is offline
 
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Default Re: John Yoo's Haircut

Since I picked on GG. Now I'll pick on MM. MM says that the Nuremberg trials were not really trials because there was 0% they would be acquitted. But there were acquittals at the Nuremberg trials! According to wikipedia, there were three. And not every accused war criminal received the death penalty, some were sentenced to life in prison, others to as little as 10-20 years.
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  #59  
Old 04-15-2008, 09:50 PM
dogheaven dogheaven is offline
 
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Default Re: John Yoo's Haircut

This is the first time I have gotten angry during a diavlog. I think Mcardle did best in the last 7 minutes when she was trying to clean up after herself. Explaining that she had no expertise in some areas. And then on to being more open to people who make mistakes as she has.

I appreciate Glenn Greenwald not coming through the screen. I thank him for his participation. Mcardles arguments was a series of splitting hairs based on ineffective listening. Sort of like when you wait to speak as opposed to listening. I need to go find some conditioner now.
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  #60  
Old 04-15-2008, 09:50 PM
piscivorous piscivorous is offline
 
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Default Re: John Yoo's Haircut

Actually the government can search all it wants, warrant be dammed, it boils down to what can the government present in court to use against you. With out a warrant the evidence is inadmissible but the constitution does not necessarily prevent the government from listening; just using the evidence gathered, with out a proper warrant, being used in a court of law against you.
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  #61  
Old 04-15-2008, 10:06 PM
piscivorous piscivorous is offline
 
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Default Re: John Yoo's Haircut

Not to put to fine a point on it but I fine a point on your argument but I find this statement "code of ethics of journalism" to be a nonstarter. There is no code of ethics in journalism, the do not swear to some sort of Hippocratic oath to do no harm, as doctors or Lawyers that swear allegiance to the "Rule of Law" when the get indoctrinated after passing the Bar.
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  #62  
Old 04-15-2008, 10:09 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: John Yoo's Haircut

Quote:
Originally Posted by piscivorous View Post
Actually the government can search all it wants, warrant be dammed, it boils down to what can the government present in court to use against you. With out a warrant the evidence is inadmissible but the constitution does not necessarily prevent the government from listening; just using the evidence gathered, with out a proper warrant, being used in a court of law against you.
A good point, pisc. But there are some limits, aren't there? Say, invasion of privacy or harassment?
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  #63  
Old 04-15-2008, 11:03 PM
eric eric is offline
 
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Default Re: John Yoo's Haircut

I love when journalists complain about the popularity of trivialities like Britney and Obama's bowling score. What do you expect to be most popular, health care plan details? Not everyone is a policy wonk. Pedestrian means popular.

I think Megan's incredibly cute.
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  #64  
Old 04-16-2008, 01:02 AM
~GW~ ~GW~ is offline
 
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Default Re: John Yoo's Haircut

Greenwald makes journalists sound like some sort of Jedi order. A special class of people charged with the protection of the republic, who are totally unaccountable, but have special rights.
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  #65  
Old 04-16-2008, 01:07 AM
Dee Sharp Dee Sharp is offline
 
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Default Re: John Yoo's Haircut

Gee, Glenn sure is a good person. Better yet, he's a political journalist, possibly the most important job there is, and he takes the responsibilities of that job more seriously than just about anyone else. Best of all, he doesn't remain neutral on the important questions of the day. He's pro-good, and anti-bad.

That said, he hasn't noticed that having a virtuous person or group controlling a large endeavor doesn't guarantee optimal management. Megan explained her position well to me, and I found it convincing, but when Glenn clearly didn't understand, she should have shifted to an economic / ecological explanation. ( Foreshadowing of a mixed metaphor.)

Since she didn't, I am obligated to do so. The 1st A doesn't specify that the press shall be Good. It says it shall be free. In a free press, some are most concerned with candidate bowling scores, others with weightier matters. The overall mix becomes an equilibrium between what readers want and what writers want. In the same way, a restaurant in a market economy may offer a dish just because someone wants to cook it, and some will try it out of curiosity, but few will be served if the customers don't like it, so over time the menu reflects both the customers' and the owners' tastes.

A state press, or Glenn's preference, a press primarily concerned with being Good, may begin with the best of intentions, but can ossify as times change, be hijacked by a narrow interest, or write material that almost no one reads. The same maladies afflict elements of a free press, but those who are dissatisfied can read something else or start their own paper or what have you. Papers flourish, then flounder, but blogs proliferate- for now. Media splintering and new technology makes the process more efficient, so that Glenn can write long pieces on his view of the Fourth and actually have them read, though only by those that want to.

Glenn never said how his favored press could operate in practice. Whenever Megan mentioned a practical limitation, Glenn talked morality. Like many intractable arguments, there could be no resolution, because they weren't talking about the same thing.
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  #66  
Old 04-16-2008, 01:22 AM
look look is offline
 
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Default Re: Glenn's self-professed "bizarre neurological condition."

Quote:
Originally Posted by harkin View Post
...freedom of press is just a supplement that allows amplification of one's views.
That's kind of like saying water is wet.

Quote:
He completely misses the fact that the press is (as Megan states) not a 'special class' but an extention of the individual.
Like the the right to peaceable assembly, freedom of the press is pointless when carried out on an individual basis. The concern of the Founders wasn't that anyone be able to print anything, but that citizens be kept informed of Government activities.

Quote:
During this period, newspapers were unlicensed, and able freely to publish dissenting views, but were subject to prosecution for libel or even sedition if their opinions threatened the government. The notion of "freedom of the press" that later was enshrined in the United States Constitution is generally traced to the seditious libel prosecution of John Peter Zenger by the colonial governor of New York in 1735. In this instance of jury nullification, Zenger was acquitted after his lawyer, Andrew Hamilton, argued to the jury (contrary to established English law) that there was no libel in publishing the truth. Yet even after this celebrated case, colonial governors and assemblies asserted the power to prosecute and even imprison printers for publishing unapproved views.

During the American Revolution, a free press was identified by Revolutionary leaders as one of the elements of liberty that they sought to preserve. The Virginia Declaration of Rights (1776) proclaimed that "the freedom of the press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty and can never be restrained but by despotic governments." Similarly, the Constitution of Massachusetts (1780) declared, "The liberty of the press is essential to the security of freedom in a state: it ought not, therefore, to be restrained in this commonwealth." Following these examples, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution restricted Congress from abridging the freedom of the press and the closely associated freedom of speech
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_the_press
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  #67  
Old 04-16-2008, 01:50 AM
look look is offline
 
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Default Testify

Quote:
Originally Posted by threep View Post
This is going to fall on deaf ears, but here goes anyway: Megan McArdle is actually very, very sharp. I'm not going to psychoanalyze why she's become such a flashpoint of outright hatred from people who would disagree with her anyway, and I know no one cares but I really don't think it reflects well on you.
Yes, Megan is very sharp, and I like her. I hope your suspicions of why she's not sometimes well-received by some don't include sexism or misogyny, or even ageism, because those are off-base, I do believe. I'd say the main problem is that as bright as she is, she's promoting the faux philosophy of Libertarianism (survival of the foodie), and people just don't buy it. Like Drez and Will, they've found a fun, trendy niche in which to survive, and good for them.

Megan, I've noticed (or projected) that you've been trying hard in some ways to please people here. You don't give many personal anecdotes anymore, and you are generally more prepared with your argument (which is good). I hope from now on you'll say to hell with us and be yourself. You're fine, and people who already like you, like you, and those that don't can just suck it up. The opinions of a bunch of message board grumps is not your problem.
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  #68  
Old 04-16-2008, 02:05 AM
hans gruber hans gruber is offline
 
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Default Re: John Yoo's Haircut

pisc,

The standard is one of "reasonableness" not if a warrant is issued. Now in a lot of cases to be reasonable requires a warrant, but there is not an express requirement for a warrant in either the Constitution nor opinions by the Supreme Court. A so-called specialist in the field, like GG, should be aware of this and not be clumsy in his wording as a commenter cited above.

The absolute best legal case against the Admin's spying is not one based on a Fourth Amendment argument, but instead a plausible STATUTORY violation of FISA, which then is subject to constitutional challenge under Article II, as well as interpreting the finer points of the statute. Of course, the idea that the Constitution prevents military torture In Iraq to secure intelligence is just strange (the 8th Amendment deals with punishment, and its enforcement is limited to US soil). Again, on this question the best arguments rest on statutes and treaties rather than constitutional law. But to scream, BUSH VIOLATED THIS STATUTE FROM 1974 doesn't have the same ring to as BUSH HATES THE CONSTITUTION; thus we get sloppy and just plain stupid arguments from Greenwald and company.
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  #69  
Old 04-16-2008, 02:12 AM
hans gruber hans gruber is offline
 
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Default Re: Testify

I think Megan is sharp. She's clearly intelligent. However, she is often out of her depth. But that's just the nature of blogging, you weigh in on a lot of matters where you are not an expert, and sometimes it isn't pretty. So it is, too, with Bloggingheads. But she's fun and entertaining and she should keep coming back. I don't know why so many here have it in for her. Her arguments are (sometimes) lacking refinement, but she is much the superior to, say, the fuzzy thinking Ezra Klein, a favorite of a lot of the commenters who seem to hate Megan the most.
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  #70  
Old 04-16-2008, 03:31 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: John Yoo's Haircut

Good points, Hans. But in GG's defense, he was trying to illustrate how the gist of an idea could be gotten across in not very many words.

If you ever read his stuff, I think you'll see that he takes pains to be precise when he is not hampered by the 700-word limit that he and MM were discussing.

Also, I am not a lawyer, but it seems to me that the original text:

Quote:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. (source)
makes it not completely incorrect to equate warrantless wiretapping with a violation of the 4th Amendment.
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  #71  
Old 04-16-2008, 04:46 AM
travis68 travis68 is offline
 
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Default Re: John Yoo's Haircut

MM makes the point that it doesn't do any good to print stories that no one reads, and GG counters that yes it does, because people can be put in jail. The press *has* printed stories about Yoo and the torture memos, so by GG's own standard, the press has done its job.

So the question then boils down to whether the press should continue to beat the drum with long stories about a situation when new information doesn't enter into the narrative.

GG's supposed ability to get his 15 word claim about the 4th amendment into a 600 word story is a misdirection, because that sort of claim must be backed up with evidence. You can't do that in a 600 word story.

Frivolous stories can get reported a lot because by their very nature they are short and uncomplicated. Consequently they can easily be printed, repeated and get lots of Nexis hits. Stories about the 4th amendment need factual backing that takes more space. They are difficult to repeat. Consequently they get fewer Nexis hits.
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  #72  
Old 04-16-2008, 11:10 AM
hans gruber hans gruber is offline
 
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Default Re: John Yoo's Haircut

"If you ever read his stuff.."

I find him unreadable. Self-righteous, wordy, hyper-partisan. Makes Andrew Sullivan look like a paragon of dispassionate reason.
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  #73  
Old 04-16-2008, 11:34 AM
Bloggin' Noggin Bloggin' Noggin is offline
 
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Default The Medical Errors Analogy

OK I finally finished watching the diavlog.
Megan mentions a case at the end that neither diavlogger really exploits, but which I think puts everything into perspective -- in a way that cuts against Megan's libertarian fear of obligation and against Glenn's moralism.
Megan mentions people dying in hospitals due to medical mistakes and draws attention to cases where it's simply a human error.

Hospital Errors. Moralism and Obligation
Looking at the problem from the point of view of the individual doctor or nurse, one does have to sympathize: we're only human -- even doctors. But FAR too many people die (and suffer needlessly) due to medical errors in hospitals. Some hospitals are studying what systems can be put into place to reduce medical errors and the spread of infection in hospitals -- e.g., they institute protocols and check lists for the insertion of breathing tubes, they assign someone to count what is put into the body and what is taken out (or they use computers and sensors, and so on. The system is generating unacceptable death and injury rates due to entirely expectable human error; something systematic needs to be done to set new standards for physicians and nurses. Without these systematic protections, doctors and nurses are not terribly blameworthy -- they are human. Those who fight their implementation, even when they see how well they have worked in other hospitals would be blameworthy, but I don't blame them for making a normal number of mistakes in the first place.

Glenn's case regarding journalism should, I think, be seen along the same lines, though he's too moralistic to see it -- and I think Megan is right to resist that hypermoralism. But Glenn does seem to be right that the system is producing unacceptable outcomes as a whole.

Megan's terror of imposing an obligation on anyone on the other hand is a bit silly. Journalism does ALREADY have norms and professional codes of conduct. We're not talking about, for the first time ever, imposing "obligations" on journalists -- we're talking about modifying the institution and the accompanying norms. The fact that we need new norms doesn't mean that we have to retroactively blame everyone who falls short of the new norms -- without the new instititutional structure, the new norms would be unfulfillable or might not even make sense. We just need to draw attention to how much the current institutions fall short of the outcomes we expect and then suggest new norms and institutional structures that could produce a better outcome.

An Interpretation of Glenn's specific Complaint about MSM
Here's an interesting case in point. Megan points out that Glenn's summary of Bush's 4th Amendment roll-back would "never get past an editor." Now obviously, this is invoking current institutions and current norms -- and the question is really "what should those institutions and norms be like, given that they aren't working so well?"
Now Megan might dispute that they aren't working. But I think the above example reveals a kind of double standard within journalism. For some reason it's OK to sensationalize Edwards's haircut and a whole lot of trivial "scandals", but "journalistic standards" suddenly step in when we get to anything important. They keep the journalist from giving the kind of clear-cut exposition that citizens could understand (and possibly get angry about and change).
Why do "journalistic standards" restrain journalists from clear-cut and pointed expressions of the facts when it comes to the actual running of the government (on the grounds that this would be hyping or over-interpreting the facts), when EVERY journalist on a Sunday talk show is an instant Tele-psychoanalyst diagnosing signs of "elitism" or whatever in presidential candidates? Why is debate about such frivolous and deeply unknowable psychological stuff OK, when debates about the constitution are not?

Megan might say that both are OK, but the audience isn't interested in the Constitution, while they are interested in Edwards's hair. I doubt that's the reason exactly. It's rather that when we talk about the Constitution we suddenly have to get all News-Hour-ish and boring, but for some reason, it's OK to be more sensational (and more interesting) when it comes to Edwards's hair (and what his hair means about his character). Too often newspaper stories tell you a lot of facts which are meaningless by themselves, without the context of what values are at issue. The paper wants to report just the facts (except when they are shamelessly sensationalizing and factlessly psychoanalyzing to sell papers), so they leave out this essential context, and of course, the readers are (a) confused and befuddled and (b) bored.

Surely there is a way for journalists to give the evaluative context of the argument without stepping in and asserting certain values. In their sensationalized, psychologizing coverage of the candidates they certainly don't mind implying (usually insincerely) a good many values (the values they believe their "little-people" viewers hold about "elitism" etc.). A more direct discussion of the values involved (freedom from government tyranny vs. safety from terrorism, for instance -- or even the importance of a good haircut to a candidate's viability vs. the expectations of small contributors to Edwards) would be both more enlightening and more interesting.

If people still pay attention only to haircuts and Britney after journalists (are allowed to) try for more relevance and clarity, then we can go ahead and blame the American people, as Megan wants. Until then, I don't think we really know.

Last edited by Bloggin' Noggin; 04-16-2008 at 01:32 PM..
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  #74  
Old 04-16-2008, 12:14 PM
Seth Hurwitz Seth Hurwitz is offline
 
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Default Re: John Yoo's Haircut

How can MM be so cute and yet so wrong? Aren't TV networks allowed spectrum to serve the public good? Maybe Megan counts Dancing With The Stars as serving the public interest but without investigation and analysis (for which journalists get special access and protections, although she apparently disagrees with this notion), all we're left with is propaganda and immunity challenges. Is that really what she's arguing for here?
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  #75  
Old 04-16-2008, 12:50 PM
hans gruber hans gruber is offline
 
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Default Re: John Yoo's Haircut

I've now watched the blog in its entirety. What a waste of time. 50-some minutes talking about what? I don't know. GG thinks the media has some sort of reponsibility to be more like him, but what exactly needs to be done to ensure they are more like him, I don't know and neither does he.

His comparisons are just dumb. Journalists covering Obama's bowling score are the same as physician's who promote unncessary surgeries? Um, no. That's an offense one can lose their license for, be sued, and possibly criminally prosecuted. Does GG think journalists should be a self-regulated cartel like lawyers or doctors? Does he think a journalist reporting on Clarence Thomas' hair should be disciplined in the same way the doctor who performs an unnecessary surgery?

Does he think journalists and their so-called "special status" should be able to kick out members not in good standing, thereby revoking their special privileges? Ultimately, I think GG's ideas only lead to potential remedies which are are antithetical to what to what the First Amendment is about. And if GG's point is just that we should think the media should be more like GG, does he really need to argue about it for 50 minutes? Everybody thinks other people should be more like them. But only GG can turn that into a 50 minute argument believing he's standing for some grand principle.
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  #76  
Old 04-16-2008, 01:07 PM
harkin harkin is offline
 
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Default Re: Glenn's self-professed "bizarre neurological condition."

Quote:
Originally Posted by graz View Post
Harkin:

That was an interesting point in the Diavlog. I take Megan's general point about the press as an extension of the individual as true. But that doesn't discredit the "specialness" of the role of the journalist as implied by the powers granted to that class.
Implication is in the eyes of the beholder. And on that note, I guess Megan would say "where is this specialness articulated"?


Quote:
Originally Posted by graz View Post
Your point highlights the fact that they might as well have conceded that they were not fluent in each others language.
I certainly agree with this. The way GG phrases it, freedom of the press was simply acute foresight for the future 'Bush administration', a term he utters as if he were Katrina Van der whatever getting her talking points across on This Week.

Quote:
Originally Posted by look
That's kind of like saying water is wet.
Your entire post is a 'water is wet' moment. You missed my entire point, which was about the 'special class' of journalists and not the substance of what they might be writing about. And saying that freedom of peaceable assembly is pointless 'when carried out on an individual basis' is certainly the best laugh I've had in awhile, thank you for that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hans gruber
GG thinks the media has some sort of reponsibility to be more like him, but what exactly needs to be done to ensure they are more like him, I don't know and neither does he.

His comparisons are just dumb. Journalists covering Obama's bowling score are the same as physician's who promote unncessary surgeries? Um, no. That's an offense one can lose their license for, be sued, and possibly criminally prosecuted. Does GG think journalists should be a self-regulated cartel like lawyers or doctors? Does he think a journalist reporting on Clarence Thomas' hair should be disciplined in the same way the doctor who performs an unnecessary surgery?

Does he think journalists and their so-called "special status" should be able to kick out members not in good standing, thereby revoking their special privileges? Ultimately, I think GG's ideas only lead to potential remedies which are are antithetical to what to what the First Amendment is about. And if GG's point is just that we should think the media should be more like GG, does he really need to argue about it for 50 minutes? Everybody thinks other people should be more like them. But only GG can turn that into a 50 minute argument believing he's standing for some grand principle.
Nail head, meet hammer.
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  #77  
Old 04-16-2008, 01:18 PM
-asx- -asx- is offline
 
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Default Re: John Yoo's Haircut

Quote:
Originally Posted by ~GW~ View Post
Greenwald makes journalists sound like some sort of Jedi order. A special class of people charged with the protection of the republic, who are totally unaccountable, but have special rights.
I missed the part where he said journalists are totally unaccountable.

That's funny, too, since he spends the entire diavlog holding them to account. It's Megan who says journalists are totally unaccountable, right?

I have never heard anyone spit on the First Amendment by calling it "special rights," either. (I assume the term "special rights" is intended pejoratively, since it is the same dismissive term conservatives have coined to discredit anti-discrimination law.)

Heck, even the Jedi weren't unaccountable.
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  #78  
Old 04-16-2008, 01:19 PM
Bloggin' Noggin Bloggin' Noggin is offline
 
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Default Re: Glenn's self-professed "bizarre neurological condition."

Quote:
I certainly agree with this. The way GG phrases it, freedom of the press was simply acute foresight for the future 'Bush administration', a term he utters as if he were Katrina Van der whatever getting her talking points across on This Week.
Can I suggest that you amend that to "Katrina vanden Whoever" ?
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  #79  
Old 04-16-2008, 01:38 PM
-asx- -asx- is offline
 
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Default Re: John Yoo's Haircut

Quote:
Originally Posted by hans gruber View Post
Does he think journalists and their so-called "special status" should be able to kick out members not in good standing, thereby revoking their special privileges? Ultimately, I think GG's ideas only lead to potential remedies which are are antithetical to what to what the First Amendment is about.
It seems a few people are responding to Glenn's criticism of the press by granting him -- as you do above -- draconian and authoritarian positions that he explicitly rejects. His argument would be much easier to reject if he were asking for legal regulation of some kind. But he's not.

He simply wants them to do their jobs better. To cover the stuff that matters. I don't think he expects a world without trivia or fluff. I'm sure he's aware there will always been at least a 100:1 ratio of National Enquirer to New York Times subscribers.

This diavlog was useful for one reason, if no others:

Never in my life have I seen so many conservatives defending the media. You'd never know, listening to these respondents, that conservatives are supposed to hate the media. Glenn found a way to do something no one else has: get conservatives to tell us the media is just fine the way it is. Perhaps if Glenn and others continue to press the point and force conservatives to defend the media we can finally get beyond the long discredited (but still widely believed) concept of a "liberal" media. After their nth argument defending the media, conservatives may realize that the media as it exists today works for them more than it works for Democrats, the public interest, or the American people.

Last edited by -asx-; 04-16-2008 at 01:46 PM..
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  #80  
Old 04-16-2008, 01:52 PM
-asx- -asx- is offline
 
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Default Re: One More Thing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alworth View Post
To commenters on the thread I'd say: just because you agree with Greenwald in the main doesn't mean you have to agree this was a good outing.
To me it's not about Glenn or Megan's performance in debate, but the merits of the ideas themselves. But since you raised it, I think Glenn's performance was excellent.
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