Tag Archives: Obama

The main stream media is out of touch

I find the US mainstream media particularly boring and uninformative these days. It has become embedded in a partisan political campaign and seems to go into a frenzy over every bit of “evidence” or fake news it can garner, invent, or exaggerate in an apparent attempt to reverse the results of last year’s presidential elections.

I think many people must be heartily sick of this campaign. I would not be surprised if this is encouraging many to turn to alternative news sources and I suspect this media obsession is encouraging an increasing mistrust of the mainstream media.

But it is not just a matter of all the fake news and media lies. This political campaign is diverting media attention away from the things that really concern people. After all, they had their election last year and sensible presidential challenges should be off the burner until 2000. Meanwhile, there are all sorts of problems the ordinary person expects their government, and the media, to come to grips with.

So I am not surprised to see recent polling identifying a huge mismatch between the concerns of the media and the concerns of the public. Jon Gabriel’s Ricochet article What Americans Care About vs. What the Media Cares About illustrates this in the following graphic.

Constraining the President

Frankly, I think this US political hysteria is being produced by an alliance of the media, elements of the intelligence community and the “establishment” in general. For one reason or another, they just can not accept the result of the 2016 election and would like to see that result reversed. At the very least, they are using this artificial campaign to constrain the president in areas like foreign policy where they have big differences.

Perhaps pressure from the neocons and deep state to constrain and control a new president is not new. Certainly, we saw this with President Obama. But the campaigners have resorted to a more public and hysterical pressure in President Trump’s case because he is basically a political outsider. He came out of “left field,” was not part of the “acceptable” political establishment and is a maverick. His personality makes him difficult to control in the normal, behind the scenes, way.

Media does itself no favours

There are a number of objective factors creating turmoil for the mainstream media these days. transfer of advertising to social media, changes in technology and the loss of skilled reporters. But the old, established media is not doing itself any favours by diverting into a blatantly partisan political campaign and resorting to such bias in its reporting. And it harms society by encouraging the growth of neo-McCarthyism and supporting those who are working to reduce international cooperation and the relaxation of tension. That is dangerous for the American people – and in fact for the whole world.

But I guess the upside is that this self-exposure of bias is an education to the public. They may now search for alternatives – and that is a good thing. They will also be a lot more critical of what is delivered to them by the news media – and that is also a good thing.

The reader does need to beware – and to question more.

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The necessity of science

obama-cartoonYou have got to love this guy – or at least his speech-writers.

US President Obama spoke recently to the Annual Meeting of the US National Academy of Sciences. He announced a number of new measures aimed at restoring US science to its proper position. They were enthusiastically received by the audience. (See  Remarks by the President at the National Academy of Sciences Annual Meeting.)

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Denial not acceptable

not like this guyConcern is building about the future of climate change policies in New Zealand. This is because of the confidence and supply agreement between the National Party and the small extremist Act Party which provides for a select committee to consider these policies.

A fresh consideration of political policies may well be required. But from a scientific viewpoint there is a danger of this being used by the climate change denial industry to launch a new propaganda offensive (see the current NZ Listener editorial Nothing to Hide). A clause in the National-Act agreement provides that the select committee hear “competing views on the scientific aspects of climate change from internationally respected sources.” Rodney Hide will obviously attempt to use this clause to sneak in “internationally respected” climate change deniers – to place non-scientific beliefs on the same level as evidence based science.

yes like this guyFortunately the National-led government is not completely dependent on the Act Party – which after all received just over 3% of the votes in November’s election. There may be divisions within the National Party that Hide can exploit. But there is a clear mandate for the government to stand firm – and the science is not on Hide’s side.

A new blog – Don’t be a Rodney, John Key – calls on Prime Minister Key to stand up to Hide and follow the lead of US president Elect Barack Obama. His recent statement is very relevant to New Zealand (see President-elect Obama promises “new chapter” on climate change):

“Now is the time to confront this challenge once and for all. Delay is no longer an option. Denial is no longer an acceptable response. The stakes are too high. The consequences, too serious.”

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A tale of two elections

Well, that’s one election down. I found Wednesday exciting and emotional. We have known all year that history could be made in the US with the possibility of either a woman or Afro-American president being elected. Here in New Zealand everyone seemed to be hoping for an Obama victory and were openly delighted with the result.

Now we can shift attention to our own election – which occurs in Saturday!

There are big differences between these two elections – quite apart from their historic and international significance.  One feature I see as an advantage is the MMP system – the mixed member proportional representation we have in our Parliament. This means that we can elect a more representative parliament than under the old first past the post system where we sometimes found a party could be elected with less votes than the defeated party.

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Obama on religion

The US election is not the first issue on New Zealand’s TV News programmes but many of us have been concerned at the role that right-wing Christian fundamentalists have played with the current and previous administrations. We hope that this group will have less influence in the upcoming election. For this reason I was interested in the article (Barack Obama’s speech on religion in America) on US Democratic Presidential Nominee Barack Obama by Ron Brown over at The Frame Problem.

Considering the promising run that Obama is having in the primaries Ron’s description of Obama as “a Champion for a secular America” gives us some hope:

Obama is a true champion for church-state separation. He put it most beautifully when he said that while a person can subscribe to a belief and personal code of conduct on religious grounds, but for that belief to be institutionalized the person must be able to defend it based on secular principles that are accessible to people of all faiths and to nonreligious people. It was such an elegant synthesis of everything that secularism stands for, and everything that America was rooted in. In an effort to encourage a greater respect for secularism among evangelicals, Obama reminded us that the institution of American secularism was pushed for most adamently not by nonbelievers and civil liberties activists, but by the early forebears of modern evangelical Christianity who were the minority at the time and did not want to have the dominant congregations interfering with their abilities to engage their faith as they saw fit. He also spoke of the plurality of Biblical interpretation. He asks what parts of the Bible we look to when considering particular moral issues. Do we look at the more punitive sections of the Old Testament (e.g., Leviticus and Deuteronomy), or to the more forgiving, loving, and less judgmental passages of the New Testament. Discussion on this topic linked to his synopsis of an event in which his Republican adversary for Illinois Senate asserted that Jesus would not vote for Barack Obama. The reason being primarily that Obama is pro-choice and favours gay rights. Obama took exception to his adversary’s claim to know the will of Christ.

See Also:
Why I Am Supporting Barack Obama for President from a Christian supporter of Obama.