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JohnWxy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 02:18 PM
Original message
Are the Democrats Hopeless and Hapless OR is it a lack of reporting
Edited on Sun Jan-22-06 02:21 PM by JohnWxy

BY THE CORPORATE MEDIA ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY'S USE OF TECHNIQUES OF TOTALITARIANISM ?

The Misery of Being a House Democrat. This is an article by Michael Crowley
Post date: 06.12.03 on the New Republic on Line.

THE LACK OF REPORTING ON THIS CRAP BY CORPORATE MEDIA IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. IF THE PUBLIC WAS MORE INFORMED ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY'S FRIGHTENING FACILITY FOR THE TECHNIQUES OF TOTALITARIANISM MAYBE SOME OF THESE ELECTIONS WOULD REFLECT MORE SENSIBLE RESULTS. THIS HELPS ENORMOUSLY IN FEEDING THE NOTION THAT SOME HAVE THAT THE DEMOCRATS ARE HAPLESS NIT-WITS WITH NO IDEAS. THE MEDIA IS COMPLICIT IN THIS DISINFORMATION AND SHOULD BE CALLED OUT ON IT. PLEASE READ THE ARTICLE AND THEN GO TO Congress.org and email all media and call them to account for not reporting an extremely important political development which started with Tom Delay's reign of terror in the HOuse. There is more to politics than just the damn elections!

PLEASE EMAIL ALL MEDIA OUTLETS ON THIS. Use parts of this article as ammunition.


Nothing agonizes House Democrats more than the perception that they don't even put up a fight. And, for this, they have a culprit almost as loathsome as Tom DeLay: the media. This dilemma was never more clear than on May 14, when a group of more than a dozen House Democrats, led by Bernie Sanders of Vermont (an independent in name but a loyal Democrat in practice), organized a press conference on a subject of urgent concern to them: an upcoming Federal Communications Commission ruling on media consolidation. The Democrats assembled and waited for the reporters. And waited. None showed up. None, that is, until a scribe from Roll Call hurried over to cover the humiliating spectacle of a press conference with no press.
...
....

"The press has been disgracefully acquiescent," says Frank. "Democrats these days are told by other Democrats, who are not full-time in politics, `Well, we're disappointed. We don't hear much from you.'" One reason for this, Democrats say, is that the press doesn't write about the procedural tactics the GOP employs to quash opposition. The public often assumes Democrats rolled over in cases when they were, in fact, steamrolled. "The press won't cover Rules or Rules Committee votes," says Sirota. "It's process--but it's tantamount to substance."

]Shrewdly, Republicans make process stories especially unappealing to reporters. The Rules Committee, for instance, often considers controversial bills late at night, long after the evening news and even newspaper deadlines. "They intentionally do things late at night so they can sneak things through," says Frost, who has dubbed this the "Vampire Congress." Another aide offers a blunter assessment, one borne of obvious bitterness: "The press is pretty goddamn lazy. In order to write about the Rules Committee would mean that you actually have to learn something about rules and procedures. And the press just doesn't do that."

What truly drives Democrats berserk, however, are media reports declaring that "the Congress" has passed a bill, without any mention of even the most furious Democratic opposition. "We're out there organizing press conferences, fighting them on the floor, debating them nonstop," says a leadership aide, "and what you read in the press is, `The Congress passed this,' `The Congress passed that,' and you don't even hear about the opposition." Last month's tax-cut bill offered a case study in the way Democratic resistance often amounts to so much Kabuki theater. With the House GOP pushing a $550 billion tax cut, House Democrats fought the legislation intensely and demanded that a vote be allowed on their own $150 billion plan. On the day of the vote, Charles Rangel, the perpetually hoarse senior Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, led the fight. "What we are trying to do is have an alternative!" hollered Rangel. "That's not the Republican way, that's not the Democratic way, that's the American way! ... We're not asking to win, we're merely asking to be heard." But Republicans only allowed an absurd one hour of debate, and, in the end, Democrats didn't get a vote on their alternative bill. Nor did many Americans hear about their fight. With the House preparing to vote, a glum Democratic leadership aide lingered in a lobby off the House floor. "It's been a depressing day," she confessed. "I'm just out here to badger any reporters into including a paragraph--a paragraph--on our alternative. But I don't see anyone." The next day, The New York Times did include such a paragraph (after 14 others on the Republican plan), but The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and two of the three major network news shows made little or no mention of the Democrats' protests.


AND ON REPUBLICAN TOTALITARIAN TACTICS ALMOST TOTALLY UNREPORTED BY THE CORPORATE MEDIA (including PBS):

To an outsider, the haplessness of the House Democrats might seem curious. Proportionally speaking, after all, the House is split about as evenly as the Senate. (The GOP holds a 229-206 House majority--which works out to about the same 52-48 ratio as the Republican-controlled Senate.) But, while Senate Democrats wield real influence, there's often little evidence that House Democrats even exist. That's largely because the Senate is designed to allow individual senators vast power to block nominations and delay floor proceedings. The House, by contrast, offers its leaders enormous power and its rank-and-file members almost none. And, in part because their narrow majority allows so little room for error, Republicans have done a masterful job of exploiting undemocratic mechanisms, such as the Rules Committee, and enforcing a militant party discipline that renders the Democrats irrelevant. "They essentially rig the game," says David Sirota, Democratic spokesman for the House Appropriations Committee. The result is a House that routinely rubber-stamps the White House's agenda and puts immense pressure on the Senate to do the same.


House Republicans exercise their absolute power in ways ranging from the grand to the trivial. Most significant is their stranglehold on the legislative process. In committees, Democratic amendments are unwelcome, even those from senior Democrats brimming with expertise. (When the House passed an energy bill earlier this year, John Dingell, a 47-year House veteran who once chaired the Energy and Commerce Committee, was allowed almost no role in shaping the bill.) When a bill is ready to come to the House floor, Rules often decrees that Democrats can't offer a substitute bill of their own. When the House voted last year on a prescription-drug benefit, for instance, the Democratic plan never got a vote, leaving the party legislatively mute on one of its top issues. As for amendments, Rules routinely snuffs out Democratic offerings that have any hope of passing or that might make GOP moderates squirm. During debate on last year's defense appropriations bill, Rules sanctioned just two of 40 proposed Democratic amendments. When House Republicans passed a worker-training bill this spring, they dropped language preventing discrimination on the basis of religious belief. That language was critically important to liberals, but Democrats weren't allowed to force a vote on that central issue; anyone who wanted to protest had to cast a Scroogish vote against the overall bill.

Legislative control can take subtler forms, too. Some Democrats suspect that, in recent years, GOP leaders have intentionally delayed work on annual spending bills. The idea, they say, is to force a last-minute flurry of budgeting that allows Democrats little chance to fight for their priorities. "Last year, they jammed it all into one omnibus bill at the last minute so we didn't have a chance to vote on a lot of individual programs," says Texas Democrat Martin Frost, who notes that budget work is again behind schedule this year. This budget strategy has also helped enable Republicans to kill off the pet budget projects of politically vulnerable Democrats. "They've started to get partisan about those things the last couple of years," says a former top House Democratic policy aide. "They yanked out projects"--such as legitimate infrastructure spending--"that you would never have had a problem with" in the past.

Republicans also put Democrats at a disadvantage by hoarding legislative information. Democrats often don't even see the text of major bills until a few hours before they're expected to vote on them. (Neither do many Republicans--but they, naturally, find far less in such bills to complain about.) The final text of the 3,000-page omnibus budget bill that so galled Frost, for instance, emerged just hours before the House passed it. Meanwhile, Dingell complains that Republicans announce committee hearings on short notice, making it harder for Democrats to call friendly witnesses to testify. "From their perspective, they don't need to tell us anything. We're fundamentally not part of the process," says a Democratic leadership aide.

To the most hard-line Republicans, giving Democrats any legislative role is utterly taboo. Just days after September 11, 2001, for instance, House Speaker Dennis Hastert agreed to work with House and Senate Democrats on an economic recovery package. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay protested the bipartisan work, but Hastert, in a rare assertion of his authority over the rabid Texan, overruled him. In a Capitol building conference room a few days later, staffers for Dick Gephardt, then House minority leader, and Tom Daschle, his Senate counterpart, were working late into the night with Republican aides on the details of an airline bailout. Sometime around 3:30 a.m., DeLay stormed into the room in a rage--"absolutely red-faced, screaming and yelling," according to a Democratic aide who was present. "Who elected you to Congress?" DeLay yelled at Democratic staffers. To the Republicans he shouted, "We're getting out of here," before marching out with the obedient aides in tow. The next day, DeLay introduced a bill stripped of most of the Democratic provisions.

Then there are the petty slights. If Democrats want to plot strategy, for instance, they can't even count on guaranteed meeting space. This year, GOP leaders kicked them out of a spacious Cannon Office Building room where Democrats had held their weekly caucus meeting for the past several years. Now they convene in a dank basement room in the Capitol Building--except, that is, on days when Republicans announce they'll be using the room themselves. Earlier this year, Democratic leaders sent a letter to Hastert pleading for a designated, permanently reserved meeting room. They never heard back. "That's a very Gingrich type of move," says the leadership aide. "You take the attitude that this is a fight to the death, and you don't give them any breaks. If they can't meet, they can't plan. Why would we help them plan to try to beat us?" When House Democrats held an economic forum earlier this year to spotlight their agenda, the only adequate space they could find was in a Senate office building. "We had one hundred House members taking the subway to the Senate to attend a House function," groans another staffer.

No opportunity is spared to shut out the minority. At the Ways and Means Committee, chaired by the intensely acerbic Bill Thomas, Democrats have been barred from using the committee's hearing room for private meetings. Meanwhile, "the Republicans have rallies in it," notes a Democratic aide. Even the committee's traditional bipartisan holiday party is a thing of the past: Last December, committee Republicans decided to keep the good cheer to themselves; Democrats were not invited.






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Dr Fate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 02:22 PM
Response to Original message
1. No one sees ya fighting?Cry me a river. Filibuster & prove them all wrong.
And go on TV and call 'em "a buncha lying bastards."

And next time they demand we apologize, say:

"YOU need to apologize for destroying this country. I dont apologize for telling the truth."

No one will say you are not fighting if ya do it on TV where everyone can see it!
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OldLeftieLawyer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 02:25 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Yes........
But what we get, instead, is Harry Reid standing there, in front of all the cameras, apologizing for some report no one even read.

:::: sigh :::::
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Dr Fate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 02:30 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. He should have said- "let the media read the Report aloud..."
"...I'll take my chances as to whether the voters will demand an apology from me for pointing out corruption in the senate."
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jonnyblitz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 02:31 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. exactly. nt
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JohnWxy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 03:14 PM
Response to Reply #2
19. Most Democrats aren't prepared for a knife fight.
That's why they're at such a disadvantage against the Neo-cons. Of course the Neo-Cons don't care if it all devolves into a brawl and nothing constructive gets done. That's FINE with them. The Democrats are at a disadvantage because at the end of the day, they still would like to see something get accomplished! That makes them willing to compromise with the opposition who looks across the aisle with alook that says: "So what if it all goes down the tubes. We don't give a fuck! What do yo think about that??"

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OldLeftieLawyer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 03:53 PM
Response to Reply #19
23. Right now,
I see them as gutless. Sorry, but that's my take.

I think you're giving the Democrats in Congress far too much credit. If they REALLY wanted to get something done, would they have Harry "Please Don't Be Mad At Me" Reid as their leader?

Kristofferson wrote that "freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose," and until the Democrats are willing to go at those bastards, until they're willing to fight and fight and fight and NEVER relent, NEVER give up, NEVER stop throwing punches until the earth all around them is scorched, we're just plain fucked.

The Democrats haven't yet figured out that they're in no position to compromise, since they've got nothing.

I wish they were all Italian-Americans, that's what I wish. We'd show those fucks what a fight really is.
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bread_and_roses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 06:20 PM
Response to Reply #23
27. Right on! And this Irish will stand with you, Lefty (n/t)
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JohnWxy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-24-06 04:01 PM
Response to Reply #23
29. I agree with you regarding Reid -
I keep wondering how did this guy get to be leader of the Senate Dems. Maybe it's seniority or something? I shake my head whenever I see Reid try to speak in an interview. It seeems to be a struggle for him to just be articulate. God! they can do better than that.

But if you are right,(or if you are not right) I think emails to the Dems telling them we expect them to put up a fight, might have an affect. They need to hear from the voters to know we care at least enough to email.

Think about it and then I hope you will email.
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ClassWarrior Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 02:37 PM
Response to Reply #1
6. Agreed. We need to keep pushing them. My problem is...
...when DUers, Dems, and Progressives engage in petty name-calling and ridicule, and thus advance the false Radical RW narrative about our values being weak and wimpy.

Like most worthwhile things in life, it's not easy to do. But our survival depends on it.

NGU.


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Dr Fate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 02:47 PM
Response to Reply #6
12. I've mostly gotten it out of my system.
It's 2006- pretty much time to wrap up all our differences and get to boosting our candidates while working on party unity-which is one thing we seemed to get moslty RIGHT in '04. Mostly.

I'll be working on this- you keep me honest & I'll do the same for you.

Doc
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ClassWarrior Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 02:55 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. Deal.
:toast:

Peace.

NGU.


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JohnWxy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 03:04 PM
Response to Reply #6
18. I agree name calling is out, but ...
That article, among others, gives you some good ammunition..so your email is substantive and does not stoop to name calling ( we don't want to sound like Neo-Con character assassins).

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rwenos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 02:35 PM
Response to Original message
5. What's Lacking is Trust in the People
Bill Clinton was extraordinarily effective when he used to say "I trust the American People to see what's really happening here" -- and then say what's really happening.

We need a spokesperson to stand up and say this. Over and over.

Harry Reid is a great senator, but he's not that spokesperson. Neither is Nancy Pelosi, who'll be great as a Majority Whip but isn't Speaker material.

That spokespereson will nationalize the Congressional elections in November. Without that spokesperson, stating that message, we fail. And the forces of darkness are emboldened.

If the Pubs keep the Congress: "Something evil this way comes."
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AX10 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 02:39 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Speaker John Murtha?
Why not? We need a speaker who is critical of Bush on the national scale.
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rwenos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 02:41 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. Speaker Murtha
Absolutely. Good thought. The first principle of leadership is to get people listening. Jack Murtha has a bully pulpit. He needs to be on the Front Bench.

Damn fine idea. I'm fond of Dem's with good military records, and I think America is too.
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cornermouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 02:39 PM
Response to Original message
8. So get up and walk out.
ALL of the democrats. Choose the right moment and just get up and walk out.
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ClassWarrior Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 02:42 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. Funny you should use that phrase...
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cornermouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 02:50 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. Well, not really.
Edited on Sun Jan-22-06 03:47 PM by cornermouse
I read Pitt's earlier post and I agree 100%. They need to stage something that the media can't resist and can't ignore.
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JohnWxy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 02:56 PM
Response to Reply #13
16. I agree, something the media can't ignore.
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vi5 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 02:41 PM
Response to Original message
9. I think it's a combination of circumstances.....
..one of which is too many fractionalized, focused issue voters on the dem side. The republicans have 3 groups: The religious right, The Corporatists, and the Hawks. They have some overlap but the bottom line is that it's basically just 3 groups that you have to keep happy and each of those 3 groups agrees to help out the others. This creates for much more organized and lock step voting.

The Dems have so many fractionalized sub groups and issues which is great and makes us a big tent. But it affects votes and voter turnouts I think. For instance, union members who like a populist democratic party may or may not support gay rights or may or may not support pro-choice. And pro-choicers may or may not care if someone is pro-union as much as they would if he or she was pro-life. And the anti-war folks may not care about all of the other issues if you've got a pro-war dem.

I'm not saying that each of these people or groups aren't loyal to the democratic party, but the democratic party has a hard time putting this all under one big slogan or message. It's party their fault and their disorganization but I also think that it is, to be fair an uphill battle a lot of the time.
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mazzarro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 02:50 PM
Response to Original message
14. And It Has Taken This Long To Realize The Press Is One Sided?
When are the dems going to urge big monied liberals/progressives to organize their own media establishments? The grand mistake of the dems during the Clinton administration in accepting total media deregulation started by 'reagun' has come to hunt us BIG time. Our answer should be to own a good portion of the media - NOW and not wait on the media to do us favors. In fact there should have been truly progressive owned MSM establishments since 2002 when it became obvious that we were not getting any fair coverage in the media.
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JohnWxy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 02:59 PM
Response to Reply #14
17. This is a laudable and very ambitious idea...
But don't you think giving the present media feed-back to let them now we are listening and care - that they do their job - is still worth doing?
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mazzarro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 03:17 PM
Response to Reply #17
21. By All Account - Robust Feedback Is Very Much Needed Now!
That is the available option we have now in addition to AAR. We must use both to the fullest potential. However if we aim to influence the wider population and thus gain more political ground in the long term, then we 9true progressives/liberals) must own a good chunk of the MSM.
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NoFederales Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 03:16 PM
Response to Original message
20. Only one thing makes my blood boil hotter than to hear Anyone say there is
no Opposition Voice, no plan, no alternative offerings than to have a Politician behind a microphone and fucking blink through the lies like a deer in the headlights for some goddamned RW shill of an interviewer who steers and manipulates the talking points of the * administration. Reid did it most recently, but there are others; Obama did it this morning for Russert--just let the lead-up lies to the question occur without pause.

Is this what the "good Party member" is supposed to feel good about supporting? We gotta all get behind our Dem leaders and offer 100% compliance? I believe this is a goddamned Republican game to which Dems have become addicted.

Why would/should I support a Politician who won't call a lie, a LIE?

Why would/should I support a Politician who won't call a liar, a LIAR?

Why would/should I support a Politician who won't call the press out for the RW shills they are?

There are too goddamn many examples for the preceding questions not to have them bear witness and be hammered loudly at every opportunity. The Pols who do this will have my loyalty and support. Why can't the Democrats be an Opposition Party?

The Corporate Media is a PROBLEM so attack them relentlessly and make the Opposition message known. Never be nice to the media again. Just what in hell will be any different otherwise, or is it just too damn cute to keep practicing the same old behaviors and expecting different results?

NoFederales
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radio4progressives Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 04:12 PM
Response to Reply #20
25. Self Deleted (due to posting in the wrong place marker in the thread)
Edited on Sun Jan-22-06 04:14 PM by radio4progressives
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JohnWxy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-24-06 04:25 PM
Response to Reply #20
31. I completely agree about the media conducting interviews as if
Dems are not to be trusted (the Neo-con party line). And I think they should be called on this. But not only by the politicians but by the people too. I have started emailing newspeople to criticize their biased way of setting up questions and their attitudes and insinuations (put out there to provide some cover from the withering fire of the Neo-(Nazi)-Cons). They also persist in NOT covering ISSUES and just report on the arguments without even going into the CONTENT of the argument! This is not reporting. It's o better thn being Gerry Springer - "Let's see you and him fight, HUH?"

I really think we need to get more involved criticising the contemptible antics of the media as they try to please the Neo-cons.

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jaysunb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 03:21 PM
Response to Original message
22. Sounds like a " Plantation" to me....
Edited on Sun Jan-22-06 03:21 PM by jaysunb
I'm no fan of Hillary Clinton ( presidential aspirations, that is )but she basically nailed this one.
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Armstead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 04:03 PM
Response to Original message
24. A bit of both
The media are a primary culprit at either ignoring or trivializing or outright mischaracterizing what Democrats/liberals/progressives say and do and believe.

But we also share some of the blame, whether due to laziness, timidity or wromgheaded "strategies."

We're all to blame in our own ways. In terms of leadership, Dennis Kucinich, John Conyers, Barbara Boxer, etc. should be as ubiquitous on the talking head shows as people like Cong. David Dier, Pence and the other Repuglicans.

The Democrats should be represented equally by the progressive elements of the party, and not only the Bidens, etc.

The progressive movement also needs to get better at putting some of our better spokespeople out there as talking heads. We need the liberal and progressive equivalents of all those think tank guys.

And when we do get the mike, we have to stop agreeing with the repuglicans before disagreeing. How many precious seconds are usually wasted by repeating that "yes we too are against terrorism and agree with the president that we neeed t fight it....etc" before getting to the meat of the matter.

We also have to start throwing back the stupid questions based on GOP spin that tghe media whores couch as questions. Howard Dean is gret at that. he should give lessons on how not to suffer fools gladly from the media.
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radio4progressives Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 04:13 PM
Response to Original message
26. K&R & BK'd Thanks for all your great work on this post!
:hi: :applause:
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JohnWxy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-24-06 04:27 PM
Response to Reply #26
32. Sorry but I am not that web-language literate. What does K&R & BK'd mean?
...anybody?
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bread_and_roses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 06:30 PM
Response to Original message
28. More good reasons to walk out of the SOTU
The Democrats have been shut out of the process, marginalized, dismissed, rendered negligible.
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Doctor_J Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-24-06 04:09 PM
Response to Original message
30. NOt reporting?
They're PART OF THE PROBLEM. It's not neglect on their part - we might be able to battle through that. It's that they report what Rove tells them to, whether it's true or not.
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JohnWxy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-24-06 04:34 PM
Response to Reply #30
33. I don't disagree. Now just email the programs when that's done and tell
them they should do their job instead of being a cheering section. Congress.org has it set up and makes it easy to email media outlets. Put you anger to work. media guide
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