Tag Archives: cnn

Seriously impressed with CNN

CNN has been firing on all cylinders recently. While MSNBC openly joins the Commitee to Re-Elect the President 2012 and FoxNews descends into incoherence, the Cable News Network has been acting with remarkably responsibility.

Just today, CNN aired a version of IOUSA, with commentary. IOUSA is a scare-the-hell-out-of-America documentary about long-term debts and obligations. It’s something that one might have heard coming out of the Republican Party circa 1994. Brilliant, and I especially liked how the commentary implied that programs like mandatory savings programs and and cutting future social security payments are the logical complemen to the Obama stimulus package.

Further, I saw that CNN will be airing Fareed Zakaria GPS twice on Sundays, over the noon-hour (as it has been doing) and again in the early evening. Fareed is the smartest person on CNN, and on Sunday talk generally, and his show typically is half-an-hour of divergent (but not left-right) perspectives, followed by a half-hour interview.

I am seriously impressed with CNN.

The CNN Compassion Forum

The background for tonight’s “Compassion Forum” (consecutive question-and-answer sessions with the Democratic candidates) was Obama’s shockingly ignorant remarks in San Francisco the other day. Not this:

“You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them,” Obama said. “And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

which is no more notable than a white candidate, say, explaining the charismatic nature of many black churches as a result of the high unemployment rate. No, Obama’s troublesome and strange remarks were given later, as he tried to dig his way out of his slip:

People don’t vote on economic issues because they don’t expect anybody is going to help them,” Obama told a crowd at a Terre Haute, Ind., high school Friday evening. “So people end up voting on issues like guns and are they going to have the right to bear arms. They vote on issues like gay marriage. They take refuge in their faith and their community, and their family, and the things they can count on. But they don’t believe they can count on Washington.”

Obama increasingly strikes me as an institutional economic determinist as it comes to American policy, which is a dogmatic approach that attempts to explain all political behavior in terms of economic grievances and the institutions that mediate them. Doubtless Obama can explain a lot of what happens through that lens, but religion is not merely an consequence of institutions and markets, but also of culture, environment, and genetics. Obama’s hip marxism sounds smart, but it is as scientific as psychoanalysis.

So the Compassion Forum was an opportunity for Obama to try to dig out of his hole, or Clinton to push him further down. As it happened, both candidates played defense. Clinton’s session was very emotive, in which she dwelt on the emotional impact and meaningfulness of religion on a personal level. At one point she drew tears in many eyes, including my own. (Whether or not Hillary is a snake in the grass is besides the point: the story was moving and deep.) Obama’s time, however, was reflective, continuing his quiet theme of viewing religion as a legitimate form of political organization. His performance was generally good, though his last few minutes contained a few missteps.

Through their words, Clinton and Obama both attempted to strengthen their support among their bases (Hillary’s uneducated white and latinos, Obama’s educated whites and blacks). Both doubtless succeeded.

A humorous side-note: At one point, I said out-loud: “Hillary is doing good work.”

“No,” sister-of-tdaxp interjected, “Hillary’s doing God’s work!”

So will CNN host a debate of Republican activists asking Democratic candidates questions

Anderson Cooper admits one questioner works for Clinton. While others merely publicly endorsed Democratic candidates. No wonder the debate was so fun to watch: it was a set-up.

I wonder when CNN hosts it’s next debate, with a Giuliani employee asking Clinton questions, while Huckabee, Thompson, Romney, and McCain supporters speak their minds.

(Of course the above sentence is rhetoric. CNN is a left-of-center political outlet, and has been for decades. Further, it would be very risky for Democratic candidates to walk into that sort of situation, which is why the Republican candidates only did so out of ignorance.)

One Man’s Descent Into Madness

Jonah Goldberg links to a New Yorker profile of Lou Dobbs.

An excerpt:

Dobbs’s rabidness provokes his critics. Not long ago, the Times columnist Thomas Friedman told a law-school audience, “And then you have a blithering idiot like Lou Dobbs, in my view, who’s using the platform of CNN in a news frame. . . . This is not news. And so we have a political class not making sense of the world for people and that’s why the public . . . is so agitated.” The Economist said that one might expect “CNN’s flagship business-news programme . . . to strive for economic literacy,” but, instead, Dobbs greets “every announcement of lost jobs as akin to a terrorist assault”; The Nation accused him of “hysteria and jingoism”; the Southern Poverty Law Center said that Dobbs “failed to present mounting and persistent evidence of anti-Hispanic racism” in his reports on anti-immigration groups like the Minutemen; one Hispanic group urged Time Warner to take Dobbs off the air.

In his new book, Dobbs says of Friedman, “His name calling would bother me more if he were anything more than a tool of international corporatism and a card-carrying member of his own Flat Earth Society.

Read the whole thing.