Postcards from the Bleeding Edge
Monday, October 29, 2007

  Discourse danged by deficits

The American Thinker had published a few articles that intrigued me, such as a piece on depressogenic media, but I kind of blew my cool at this piece. Rick Moran selectively reprinting just his hate mail bothered me, and further claiming that that represented all the email he got, really bothered me. Maybe it's true. I don't know. He was certainly inflammatory enough with his opening sentences to trigger visceral responses. But: my impression (and I am going to go and be scientific about this later today) is that most reasoned articles about Ron Paul with public commentary on them contain a high percentage of civil, well thought out, reasoned, individual statements.

Not a lot of “spam” to be seen there, either. Most pieces seem to be written on the spot, by earnest individuals that care deeply about these issues. I will back this up with data shortly.

American Thinker doesn't take web comments, only emails. It would have been nice to evaluate Moran's negative responses for myself. Well, not nice. Unpleasant. But statistical accuracy would be nice.

I emailed Rick Moran about this, and he suggested I write a letter to the editor of The American Thinker. Any one way flow of correspondence like this frustrates me enormously, but I wrote that letter anyway.

I kept my email neutral, merely suggesting that their publication would be far more credible to me if they had an open comment system and trackbacks. I'll go a little further in my blog, however.

Self selective amplification annoys me. It's rude to the reader and rude to the independent thinker. I immediately discount the credibility, greatly, of any article that doesn't permit open commentary on it. More people should.

It's not just the broadcast media that's rude, though. Comments made by all sides in any issue can be intolerant, misleading, wrong, biased, violent, and/or just plain wacko.

Hillary Clinton just staged a “spontaneous” bus stop. Now THAT really gets under my skin. How is that preferable to open discourse? But I digress.

I vastly prefer open, civil discussion and a mutual search for truth, and rarely get it.

Back in the 80s it always astonished me how many USENET netizens would write wonderful articles on the various newsgroups on the various issues of the day, yet never bother to print one out and send it to an editor of a major newpaper. Maybe many did. Few were published.

To me, open, even uncivil, discourse is preferable to letting the columnist or corporation control both sides of the conversation.

Still, I'd read a couple comments on another news source friday that really turned my stomach.

I was so upset that I had to take a couple days off from writing. To ease my agony I emailed the rabbi that runs The Wall. He suggested I absorb some mesilat yesharim and he told me that one way to cope with the often dirty thing called politics is to break down the word into its constituent parts:

Poli = Many
Tics = Bloodsuckers

I got a good belly laugh, hung up my keyboard, and went surfing.

[my company helped setup the webcam on the Wailing wall – 11 years and 25 million hits ago - sometimes I look at it for hours while I try to decide what to do, or what to think]

So, as of Friday I had been working for a while on two pieces, one on science and politics, the other on deficit spending and the economy. Neither was jelling. I looked up from my keyboard this morning to find that a random web commenter had made most of the points about the economy I was trying to make. Joy!

He commented (and DO click on this link, please, some good stuff here, and ask yourself, which wwas better, the article or the commentary): Just to amplify that last point a little – without China and Mexico's computer manufacturing, the information economy would stop dead – and America would have few choices for chips to power all our military innovations. I've long thought that Americans usually – unconsciously – voted for a representative government – one split between Democrats and Republicans – as a way to impose checks and balances no longer managed by the constitution. A one party state – of either Republicans, or Democrats – is minority rule. Broadcast media is also - too often – minority rule. It bugs me.

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Comments:
The subject of most of this post left the teeny tiny part of my soul that is still a journalist totally itchy. I need to go home and take a shower.

Surfing is more fun.

BTW, I am trying very hard to resist subscribing to www.teachittome.com. I don't have TIME to study the torah!

*hugs and smooches*
 
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David Täht writes about politics, space, copyright, the internet, audio software, operating systems and surfing.


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