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TygrBright

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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 17,049

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Dear Terrified White Dudes: Your Strategy Needs an Update

I know it's hard to climb out of that barge on the ol' Egyptian river, but seriously, denial ain't gonna help. Start with this: The demographic Point of No Return was passed many, many years ago.

No matter how hard you try to keep any NEW brown people from entering the country, at some point within the next couple of generations, there will be more brown people than white people here.

One more important thing to note: Trying to hang onto all the power, all the wealth, and all the control when you're a diminishing minority in the greater population hasn't worked out awfully well over the last few centuries. Starting with France in the 18th Century, and most recently in South Africa, one way or another the majority will tip the balance back, and you'll have to cope.

If you're lucky, the model will be much more like South Africa and much less like 18th-Century France.

So here's a suggestion for a new strategy:

When you're about to become a minority, maybe... just maybe... ensuring that the rights of minorities are vigorously protected in law and economic practice would be a hella smart strategy!

Think about it, white dudes.

Instead of trying to deny minorities the right to vote, you might want to ensure strong protections for everyone's access to the ballot, because one day, it might be YOUR neighborhoods that get left off the "where we put polling places" map.

Instead of trying to restrict access to the best educational opportunities, you might want to guarantee that the admissions process can't be gamed by privilege.

Instead of making it easy for economic predators to practice usury, extortion, and confiscation in minority communities, you might want to codify economic justice for all, now while you still can.

Instead of allowing industrial polluters a free pass to make places where minorities live as toxic and unlivable as possible, you might want to give the notion of environmental justice a little support.

You want to ensure a better future for your children and grandchildren when they are a minority in America? Then make America a place where minorities have the fullest possible equity.

I can think of no better, more effective, more powerful strategy to secure the existence of white people and a future for white children, than by securing the existence of ALL minorities and the future of ALL children.

Just sayin'...

futilely,
Bright

Determined Not To Decide Yet Because of YOU!

Dear Fellow-DUers-

Yes, I'm still undecided. I'm planning on staying that way for a long time. You know why?

Because a good many of my fellow DUers are NOT undecided. And y'all are in here in this forum telling me and everyone on a daily basis why your candidate has your commitment, and what doubts you have about other candidates, and who else you like and might support if your first choice doesn't go all the way.

AND THIS MATTERS TO ME.

Enormously.

I know what I think, and what I feel. I know what appeals to me. I look at each candidate in turn and think, "I really like this/that/the other about this candidate. Not so keen on this other thing about this candidate. Keep watching."

And I know this: I am totally NOT a bellwether or an indicator or a Key Demographic-type voter. What I like, and what I think early on during an election cycle is almost NEVER what actually happens. I'm rarely, if ever, correct about what other Democrats are going to respond to in large numbers. I have the opposite of Prognosticatorial Accuracy.

So it's you that I watch.

I know why I like Kamala Harris. There's some overlap with what others like about her, but not exactly a complete correspondence. And the things I dislike about her rarely resonate with large numbers of other people who do like her.

I know why I like Bernie Sanders. There's some overlap with what others like about him, but not exactly a complete correspondence. And the things I dislike about him rarely resonate with large numbers of other people who do like him.

I know why I like Amy Klobuchar. There's some overlap with what others like about her, but not exactly a complete correspondence. And the things I dislike about her rarely resonate with large numbers of other people who do like her.

I know why I like Pete Buttigieg. There's some overlap with what others like about him, but not exactly a complete correspondence. And the things I dislike about him rarely resonate with large numbers of other people who do like him.

And so on, and so on for pretty much all the candidates.

But I DON'T always know why other people like/dislike the candidates. And the more I learn about that, the better a sense it gives me of where my own blind spots are, how my own biases affect my feelings about who "should" be the candidate, and why I should be flexible, stay interested, and keep learning.

My beliefs on issues cross the spectrum from fairly conservative to very progressive. And it's hard for me to see past what I "know" is "correct" or necessary or best for the Party or best for the country to what other Democrats equally passionately but differently believe.

This forum, and the vigorous discussion and advocacy for our candidates, including doubts freely expressed and hopes fiercely championed, is an important resource to me. I want to thank ALL of you who participate here regularly.

So far I think we're doing a pretty good job of keeping the discussion in this forum informative, lively, and constructive. As the primaries continue and the field expands and, eventually, contracts, it's going to be a challenge to keep it that way. Feelings run high. Disappointment and frustration can turn negative. I really hope we can transcend the impulse to let a powerfully desired end justify negative methods of advancing that end- at the expense of other candidates or other DUers.

I make a choice of who I like best every day. The thing is, it's different almost every day. And that's going to continue for a long time, partly because of how much I learn here about your favorite candidate, about your worries about other candidates, about what you think makes someone a good or bad choice.

I like it that way.

I'm not in a hurry.

A little over a year from now, I'll know a lot more. And I'll be able to make a better choice.

But even if my favorite doesn't become the nominee, I'll be delighted to vote for whoever IS the nominee, because I'll know how many of my fellow DUers trust that candidate and why they've been supporting her/him all along.

Thanks, y'all.

gratefully,
Bright

The Leaders I'm Trusting for the Future: Women of Color

Standard disclaimer about this being my opinion which no one else is required to agree with, share, etc. Things I assert as facts, unless linked to references, are the facts as I experience them, so please save your reams of factual refutal, but you're welcome to express your differences in the same terms.

The longer I live, combined with the more attention I pay to what's going on in the world, the more I'm convinced that the root of most of humanity's collective problems is our stubborn reliance on hierarchies of privilege*. This is partly because of the festering anger and resentment they breed: In the excluded and oppressed, while the hierarchies hold unquestioned sway, and in those who benefit from privilege when the hierarchy is challenged and/or change is demanded.

But the other damage done by the hierarchies of privilege is one of lost resources and foregone benefits: How many creative thinkers, geniuses, dedicated public servants, brilliant ideas, innovations, and solved problems have we missed because of those excluded from full participation in our culture and our economy?

The hierarchies of privilege that affect Americans most ubiquitously and most powerfully are racism and misogyny. Based on physiological differences that are generally obvious, they're hard to escape. They've been around virtually forever- certainly since before the founding of the Republic. They shape and pervade all of our economic and social systems.

You can diagram the experience of these two hierarchies pretty simply in four squares: On one axis is gender: Cis male, and everyone else. On the other axis is skin color: White, and everyone else.

The square that includes white males is the square of exclusive privilege. (This is not to say that white males experience no oppression: they certainly do-- homophobia, class discrimination, religious bigotry -among many forms of exclusion- can all apply to white males. But with rare exceptions, they have no experience of living without the assumptions and privileges their gender and skin color bestows.)

Two squares, men of color and white women, live the experience of privilege AND the experience of oppression. We have a broader experience than white men, and a wide variety of options in how we will respond to our own privilege and our own oppression, and how we will use them in connection with others different than ourselves.

Then there is the fourth square, devoid of any privilege at all: Women of color. Their experience and understanding is entirely based in being excluded, being "other", being "not default" or, more simply, struggling against oppression. And that experience is uniquely valuable in a culture that must dismantle two powerful hierarchies of privilege if we are to survive.

I'm not idealizing all women of color as Perfect Warriors in the fight against privilege. The wide variance in life experience, ability, character, exposure to influences, that is a human norm applies to women of color also.

But women of color did not get us into this mess, and their stake in perpetuating it is as minimal as it gets. Their stake in change is greater, accounting for individual variance. And we have finally pried loose enough structural cracks in the system for women of color to wedge their own experience into.

All other variables being equal: Four people born into middle class families in a mid-size American city, bright and motivated enough to acquire good educations, avoid major pitfalls, with similar resume's and holding generally similar ideological preferences, and oriented toward leadership. One from each square.

My first inclination (hey, it's human nature) is to support and trust the one "most like me". The one who shares my experiences. My natural bias is toward believing that she would be the one most likely to 'understand' my needs and define 'what's best for America' in the terms most similar to how I instinctively think of it.

I'm not automatically going with my first inclination anymore. Because it's shaped not only by my lifelong experience of misogyny, but by my lifelong experience of white privilege. That gives me a helluva blind spot. I do my best to stay aware of that privilege, to counter it wherever possible, but I can't turn it off. It defines everything about me as surely as my experience of misogyny.

The disunity and policy chaos of America's current 'culture wars' is toxic enough to make me fear for my grandson's survival. If we can't re-prioritize and innovate radical new social and economic structures for a nation rapidly approaching 400 million very diverse people, everyone's grandchildren are at risk.

We got here because of the blind spots inherent in three squares on that four-square diagram. So, given relative similarities in other variables, I'm inclined to look for leaders who don't have the blind spots of a life of either type of privilege- gender or skin color. I'm inclined to trust their experience in the ways it differs from mine, as well as the ways it is similar to mine.

And therein lies a tremendous opportunity: Women of color share some type of experience with everyone who isn't a white male. Not all, but some. So I'm re-working my screens and re-weighting my filters. I'm looking at women of color who are applying for jobs, opening businesses, reporting the news, creating media, running for office, and above all, sharing their experience of life in America with attention.

I don't want to make demands or load expectations on women of color-- I expect they've had a bellyful of that shit. The expectations are on ME.

This is going in my Journal, because sometimes I think more clearly when I write things out. That's what this is. Me clarifying my own thinking. If you're moved to respond, I'm grateful for the opportunity to "think further on" in the process. But even if no one responds at all, I'm holding myself accountable for not stopping here.

contemplatively,
Bright

*Hierarchies of privilege (my definition) are those created based on characteristics over which humans have little or no control, such as skin color, gender, place of birth and its attendant language or culture, socioeconomic class, sexual orientation, etc. Religion is still included as many religions are associated with ethnic and cultural identity that transcends doctrine or practice. There are other hierarchies- I think of them as "Hierarchies of merit" that are established based on performance and cultural values for specific talents and achievements. They have their own functional value and inherent problems but they're not what I'm talking about here.

When Sex Isn't Sex

It's a good thing our species is programmed to enjoy sex. However you want to describe it, the physiological mechanism of more than one human sharing stimulation that results in orgasmic release is one of the things that keeps our species going.

And not just in terms of reproduction. If you look at our closest relatives, the bonobos, you can see how sexual enjoyment serves a social species by weaving a bonding fabric holding groups together and allowing the formation of complex linkages. Much more functional than the strictly hierarchical dominance mechanisms of other species, mutual sharing of pleasure and the resulting interpersonal and social bonds both enables and requires the development of versatile tools for communication and interaction.

Also, of course, it's fun.

Or at least, it should be.

Sadly, we seem to have made a right hash of things when it comes to sex.

Patriarchal culture and the religious constructs developed to enable and perpetuate its economic and social structures have freighted sex with so much baggage it's hard to tell whether we're even enjoying ourselves, much of the time.

Most sex seems less about having fun with someone else we'd like to form a social or personal bond with, and more about the gratification inherent in either affirming culture-bestowed status and/or privilege or transgressing cultural norms and expectations.

Which is just an overly-sociological way of saying that we have sex to prove how successful we are, or we have sex to prove we can succeed in spite of rules we don't agree with. The physiological pleasure is a nice adjunct, but there's so much more to it than that.

A potpourri of concepts to illustrate this:

The "pickup artist" is an extreme example of the whole "you can tell what an important powerful person I am by the number of people I have sex with. And by their perceived status."

Then there's the "I'm so hot, no one can resist me" person whose self-worth is deeply tied into their perceived sexual attractiveness.

And the people who have internalized various religiously-promoted models of sex in the context of socially and theologically sanctioned relationships, and whose sense of fulfillment is tied into how effectively they are actualizing their chosen model.

Those models are the source of a whole array of transgressive models of sexual pleasure: The thrill of "kinky" sex. The drive to get affirmation of potency or attractiveness long gone from a marriage. The power of pornography to take sexual imagination beyond a mundane here and now.

Very little of that is about "Hey, wanna have fun together? We can rub our bits against each other!"

Sex in our culture is all too rarely about mutual enjoyment and/or forming personal bonds.

It's about self-worth and ego gratification. It's about power. It's about competition. It's about fitting in. It's about social hierarchy. And most of all, it's about selling a product, whether that product is soap or stories or actual bodies.

We have commodified sex for the benefit of a patriarchal culture. If it's even a desirable goal to un-commodify sex, it's not a very realistic possibility within the lifetime of those born after 2010, at any rate. So we may want to re-examine whether it's possible to commodify sex in a way that ensures equity in spite of historic inequity. If so, what would that look like?

What forms of social and economic regulation would it require? How could we prevent those who wish to perpetuate inequitable norms and gratify their own culturally-shaped desires from exploiting such a system?

That's a huge discussion. We can't expect it to go smoothly.

But as with every other conversation about redressing historical oppression and inequity, to be effective it requires awareness of privilege, awareness of the complexities of vulnerability, awareness of history, respect for individual agency, and willingness to examine change.

thoughtfully,
Bright





What "Saving Unborn Babies" While Protecting Women's Rights Over Their Bodies Looks Like

So you want to save unborn babies from being aborted. It's a moral bedrock for you, a do-or-die issue that you'll go to the most extreme barrier imaginable (or unimaginable) to accomplish.

It's about the UNBORN BABIES, not about controlling women, not about trying to restrict their rights, nothing to do with limiting their choices over their lives and their bodies. But when it comes to a choice between those rights, and saving the life of an unborn baby, something MUST give way, and to you, that's the already-born woman's autonomy and control over her body and her choices.

Let's start with a basic stipulation:

Even the most complete legal restrictions on abortion possible or imaginable- even dumping the whole Constitution in the shitter and going full-on "Handmaid's Tale" controls, COMBINED WITH unimaginably sophisticated medical technology, will not accomplish the goal of allowing every conceptus to be carried to term.

You can't even ensure that the majority will be carried to term. Somewhere around sixty percent of natural conceptions fail for one reason or another: They don't implant, they fail to develop, they spontaneously miscarry even before the mother has missed a period, etc.

And some unborn babies have such profound damage that even if they get past the implantation and begin to develop, they will spontaneously abort, sometimes in the process killing the mother.

And some mothers have various conditions in which the effects of the pregnancy may kill them before the unborn baby is even viable enough to incubate.

And some mothers will find ways to kill themselves and their unborn baby if forced to carry the pregnancy, no matter what you do. (There is virtually NO way to prevent someone who is determined to do so, from killing themselves.)

And some mothers will find ways to abort their unborn baby even if it means jail or their own execution for the crime.

But those last four contingencies, you'll say, are RARE.

(There is actually room for dispute about the "rarity" in that last case- women who will find ways to abort, no matter what, based on data accumulated during prior periods of history. But for now, we'll stipulate that women can be sufficiently coerced to make such attempts rare.)

We are also stipulating that you don't really want that level of totalitarian, draconian control. You just want women to make the "morally right" choice to carry every pregnancy to term, and want the law to provide some disincentives to keep women from making a "morally wrong" choice to end their pregnancy.

But disincentives are rarely as powerful as incentives. We're looking to assure maximum possible rights for women, minimum possible "murders of unborn babies".

Is it even possible?

Well, actually, it may be.

What would that look like?

First, contraception would be safe, would not interfere with sexual enjoyment, would be no-cost and easily accessible, and would be available equally to men and women. That is, it would almost always be a positive choice, requiring positive action and consent on behalf of both parties, for a conception to even be possible.

While such contraceptive options aren't quite available yet, they are easily within reach of existing medical technology and could almost certainly be brought into reality with a comparatively modest investment.

At that point, almost every intentional conception would be wanted, and the number of abortions would plummet.

There would still be some "terrible regret" pregnancies, perhaps forcibly initiated in criminal circumstances (that would be "RAPE" ), perhaps entered into willingly and then with a change of relationship or financial circumstances, appearing to be unfeasible for various reasons.

If we focused social resources on raising our boys and young men not to be rapists, that would reduce rape-related pregnancies to very near zero.

And by offering complete and unbiased mental health services, ongoing expert counseling, financial and social support, reliable judicial redress, top-quality health care, and generous adoption programs to the few remaining rape victims, it would be easier for the ones who share the socially-demonstrated value for unborn life to act on that value. They would have confidence in the availability of lifelong generous support for their recovery from the trauma of both the rape and the pregnancy.

It won't keep every single rape victim from exercising the option to abort, but it may substantially make a dent in the number who make that choice, and since we've already reduced rape to a rare occurrence, that would make such choices more than rare.

What about those other "regrets"?

Most of those are rooted in a woman's contemplation of the responsibilities of raising a child with the grotesquely inadequate social and financial support available to single mothers in our society. We could tackle that by making high-quality pregnancy and infant parenting support readily accessible at no cost, making quality child care services universally available and accessible, improving the public education system, subsidizing other costs of raising children for women without financial resources, making health care universal, making college tuition free or low-cost, and ensuring the availability of safe, attractive, affordable housing.

Do all that, and you'll get the "regrets" factor down to almost nothing, as well. Add in generous support for adoption options, reduce it further.

So if you're looking for a world where unborn babies are MOST likely to make it out of the womb and the rights of women to autonomy over their bodies are fully respected, try those three things:

1. Universal, safe, free contraception for both genders.

2. Eliminate the patriarchal fostering of rape culture and enabling of rape as a crime.

3. Provide generous and universally-available support for parenting and raising children.

Done.

Yes, there will still be some "RARE" issues to address. But once we've saved so many unborn babies, and rejoiced in their lives, we can probably find common ground and positive ways to address those as well, don't you think?

Or is it really just about controlling women's choices and keeping them from having full autonomy and rights over their bodies?

Be honest, now.

encouragingly,
Bright



I have never listened to a woman's narration of sexual harassment/assault without...

... according her the respect of believing she is narrating the truth of her experience.

On the other hand, I have never been the responsible party conducting a formal investigation of a sexual harassment complaint, without examining every possible circumstance and every possible item of evidence. And doing so from a point of view that assumes no factual conclusion until after the complete collection and review of evidence is accomplished.

There is a real difference between saying "I believe her" or "I believe him" and saying "My belief about the truth of this matter is founded on the examination of a complete array of evidence."

What the impulse to say "I believe her/him" says about your own experience, your biases, and your assumptions will differ greatly from person to person.

Making an assumption about the source of someone else's impulse to say what they say about belief also reveals something about your own experience, biases, etc.

At some point, the signal-to-noise ratio becomes so disproportionate that the only ones who benefit are those who are deliberately attempting to advance a specific agenda.

At that point, justice gets crowdsourced, which serves no one well.

sadly,
Bright

Can anyone tell me why...

The entire Executive Branch of Virginia state government is five-alarm Major Scandal territory and eating news cycle after news cycle because:

The Governor's racist behavior from medical school was highlighted and he responded in an embarrassingly inept way; and

The Lite Goob has been accused of sexual something-or-other by someone and is bitterly denying it and calling for a full investigation to clear himself of the charges and has referred to his accuser in private with opprobrious and arguably sexist epithets; and

The Attorney General called a meeting and released a statement admitting to racist behavior in his past, too.

BUT

The entire Executive Branch of the United States government is a reeking sewer of uncountable, well-evidenced and egregious incidents past AND present, demonstrating rampant and unashamed racism, misogyny, corruption, personal greed, contempt for the truth and criminal negligence, and it's, like, ho-hum, so what?

Can anyone tell me that?

'Cause I seriously want to know.

disgustedly,
Bright

Oh, Those Wacky Schoolboys...

They boof, whatever that is.

They like beer.

They pal around in racist regalia.

But hey, it's all in good fun, right?

They're just schoolboys. Schoolboys do stupid things.

Should doing stupid things when you're a schoolboy come like a bat out of left field and whack you upside the head decades later to totally fuck up your whole life?

I mean, is that fair?

Um.... let's talk.

First, the "we all do stupid shit when we're young and stupid" thing.

A. No, honestly, some of us manage to avoid that level of stupid even when we're young. More on that later.

B. A lot of us manage to confine our youthful impetuosity and poor decision making skills to relatively benign situations.

C. Some of us do pretty stupid things, even criminal things (have a toke, pal!) but the nature of those stupid, even criminal things is NOT related to being encouraged to believe you're somehow better than people with dark skin, or a different religion, or a vagina, and are thus entitled to mock, exploit, or bully those people.

Yeah, well, maybe that's so... but yanno, if we rule out everyone who was once an entitled little prick and maybe even grew up and saw the light and was sorry about it and tried to do better from running for office, we'd disqualify an awful lot of otherwise electable Democrats, right?

Ummm, no.

No, we wouldn't. If by "electable" you mean, "candidates with 1) a melanin deficiency, 2) a penis, and 3) plenty of powerful establishment connections because of their educational and professional networks."

Because, see, those things might spell "electable" to other people who share one or more of those factors, but- and pay close attention, here: That's the exact problem with our system that we are trying to overcome, not perpetuate.

There are lots and lots of potential candidates with high melanin levels, with a vagina, who went to the kind of schools where they aren't "networked" into powerful connections, who have excellent qualifications to serve the public in elected office.

And here's the kicker (told you I'd get back to this) almost all of them knew damn' well they COULDN'T AFFORD to make stupid mistakes they could blame on youthful impetuosity and poor judgment, because they were already struggling against odds to achieve educational and personal goals like escaping poverty, helping their families, and getting the next level of education and/or a good job.

Now, I hear you saying, "so does this disqualify all white males with private school or Ivy League educations from running as Democrats"?

Hardly. There are plenty of good ones who never let their status as entitled schoolboys lure them into the kind of racist, misogynist, idiotic mistakes that tend to smack you upside the head decades later.

And for those who DID make those kinds of mistakes, and who HAVE seen the error of their ways and truly want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem, there are other options: Like making hard choices to sacrifice power and achievement to demonstrate that their change of heart is real and lasting.

Like owning up to a past of stupid mistakes BEFORE running for office, and making that part of their "why"- "I did this, and now I want to change things so other youngsters don't get that boys-will-be-boys enabling."

Like picking a form of public service that doesn't require being a candidate for election themselves: Helping others get elected, becoming an expert on something useful, getting appointed to serve in appointed positions, starting a business or nonprofit dedicated to serving the public good.

So yes, I've had enough of those wacky schoolboys.

I'm done with them.

I'm over them.

And I'm hoping other Democrats are, too.

wearily,
Bright

The [Redacted]-Era Overcorrection

The evolving coverage of a confrontation on the National Mall offers a case study in how media outlets zigzag wildly in their efforts to please their readers.

Adam Serwer, The Atlantic

As the Covington students ascend to right-wing martyrdom, some perspective is in order. The disproportionate reaction to their behavior does not, as some conservative commentators have suggested, represent a new kind of oppression comparable to that experienced by historically disfavored groups. While all children deserve forgiveness and understanding, in America, children who are not white are often simply not seen as children at all.

The Covington students are not likely to have their summary executions by police officers justified; they will not be separated from their parents for the crime of seeking asylum; they are not disproportionately more likely to be charged as adults for crimes they committed as children; they are not likely to be stalked in the night and murdered by grown men who become folk heroes for acting out the violent, racist fantasies of others. The presidentís campaign merchandise remains a favorite of white-supremacist groups, and his name remains a racist taunt for those seeking to antagonize people of color of any age. None of this has changed, and the disgraceful overreaction of some liberals does not change it. If the right extended the sympathy the Covington students are now receiving to children who donít remind them of their own, this would be a more just society.

... (discussion of Buzzfeed/Mueller story)

Over the weekend, the presidentís personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, allowed that Trump might have told Cohen to lie to Congress or tacitly approved of his intention to do so. Giuliani said that Trump was negotiating a real-estate project in Moscow right up until the moment ballots were being cast in the 2016 election, even as he deflected responsibility from Russia for the very hacking and disinformation campaign that Mueller is investigating. He said that Cohen and Trump might have discussed Cohenís testimony, but insisted that there was no proof the president told him to lieóa suggestion that the president may have committed an impeachable offense but that there may not be as much proof as BuzzFeed News had reported there was. The story may turn out to be incorrect, but the special counselís statement doesnít, on its own, prove it was, and there is not yet enough public evidence to adjudicate its claims.

In both instances, the initial reaction would have benefited from additional context. But once that context was revealed, much of the media overcorrected by assuming the exact opposite of the original story was true, when that overcorrection was just as mistaken. The overcorrections are a symptom of the mainstream mediaís ongoing preoccupation with winning the affection of the presidentís most enthusiastic supportersóan impossible task, because those supporters believe what the president wants them to believe. If you write something they donít like, youíre fake news. If you correct something you got wrong, youíre also fake news. The only way not to be fake news is to say what they want you to say, the way they want you to say it. News outlets should neither ignore legitimate criticism based on the source nor go out of their way to assuage critics in the hopes of improving their brand.


The way Serwer has identified the specific media problem (lurching from one inflammatory POV in covering a story to the opposite, equally or even more inflammatory POV, as the narrative unfolds over time) is shrewd and apposite.

It's a good analysis, and here on a well-moderated (by comparison!) discussion website that focuses on political issues which are often divisive by their very nature, we see it a lot. That's okay for us here, because we are a discussion site and changing viewpoints, emerging narratives, accumulating facts, and disputed analyses are the metaphorical bricks and mortar of DU.

But while DU posts, links to, discusses, analyses and argues about news, we are not a news site or a news source, and it's not our responsibility to regard the basic principles of journalism in doing what we do. Instead, our rules focus on maintaining the commons and preventing damage to the community and what we focus on. As it should be.

I actually have a great deal of respect for almost ALL of the "mainstream" legitimate news outlets in the era of [Redacted], the editors, reporters, etc. doing the actual work of journalism are swimming against riptides of public fury from all points on the ideological compass. They're trying to encompass the outflow of a veritable firehose, with a woefully inadequate set of tools and for an audience that's often more interested in seeing who and what are blown away by the high-pressure news stream, than wanting to understand any component(s) thereof.

The "overcorrection" response to rapidly-emerging narratives and accumulating facts shines a glaring light on several problems with our "fifth estate":

One is the inadequate resources most news organizations have to actually process news according to appropriate journalistic principles: not enough editors, not enough fact-checkers, not enough bureau chiefs in enough locations, not enough experienced reporters on specific beats, not enough tools to collaborate or combine reportage with other organizations.

Another is the market reality that dictates inadequate revenues and the constant triangulation and pressure to build viability, clicks, eyes-on, etc. Eliding time and effort, applying inflammatory framing, too much emphasis on "breaking!" and first past the post becomes all too attractive for news organizations fighting to survive in a fast-changing environment.

And a third is the shattering of shared social assumptions about the very nature and function of news. This is the 'untrained audience' phenomenon, the reality that all too many consumers of information cannot distinguish the difference between news and opinion, analysis and entertainment, and have pitifully inadequate tools for screening out the signals from the noise.

I don't have answers. But this article provides some useful questions for both news providers and news consumers.

interestedly,
Bright

I do not want to hear one shutdown complaint from any Grover Norquist cultist.

Y'all are the ones who were so damn' sure we could shrink government to drown it in a bathtub and rely on the magic of an invisible hand to take up the slack and ensure a livable community.

Now you're getting a taste of what that might be like. Do you see any private sector entrepreneurs stepping up to ensure the safety of our food supply?

How about all those v-cappers who rushed in to clean up the messes on federal land? Oh, wait, I hear y'all muttering something about how there shouldn't BE any "federal land" because it should all be in the hands of the Noble Titans of Industry and Agriculture, creating jobs for all.

Okay, in that case, let's go ahead and devise a fair and equitable way to recompense every citizen for the loss of their share of those commons, and an orderly process to implement that and enable those same Titans to compete on a level playing field to do the best job with those resources. Except that the federal courts are about to shut down, damn.

I'm sure everyone trusts some private-sector substitute for them to carry out the process, though, right? The magic unseen digits would hold them accountable, natch.

What, your flight may be delayed or canceled because of unsafe conditions? After you had to wait for HOURS to get through security?

Quitcher whining. Pony up another grand for your economy ticket from Omaha to Miami and those sterling capitalist warriors will spring into action to provide nationwide security, safe airspace, and seamless interaction with those services worldwide.

You've got a great idea to start a little capitalist enterprise of your own to step into the breach? Sounds wonderful! Take it to the SBA for... oh, wait. Ne'mind. I'm sure you can get EXCELLENT terms from your local bank. Or one of those generous, patient, collaborative v-cap types, right?

Your daughter got laid off from her barista job and now she can't afford her rent and has to come back and live with you while she looks for another job? NO!! So sorry, but while that federal building is mostly empty, not too many people are nipping next door for a caramel macchiato. But those parasite federal workers never contributed anything to the "real" economy anyway.

Your brother's check for the compensatory farm subsidy to make up for the unsold soybeans didn't come through? So what? He's a farmer, he can grow more stuff, right? Oh, he needed that money to pay for seed and fertilizer for a spring crop? Dayum. But hey, he sounds like a taker anyway. Without all that expensive stupid government support for agriculture we can all start paying the real prices for food, now. You're gonna love that.

By the way, what IS that nasty stuff in the creek behind your house? Smells awful! But I'm sure it's safe. It better be, because the EPA's got no one available to come and check. But hey, the fittest will survive.

Oh, and what are you going to do about that near-disaster when the generator you fired up during the winter storm power outage caught fire? If it was me, I'd file a complaint about product safety with the Consumer Complaint Center. If it was open, of course.

Well, at least we can get on with kicking out all those undocumented immigrants, right? Leaving more great, wonderful, highly-paid jobs for real Americans? Ummmm.... no, not while 42,000 immigration court hearings have been postponed because there aren't any of those useless grifter federal employees to undertake them.

So, you're finally getting a taste of what you've said you really wanted, all along.

Hey, just wait 'til the CDC has to shut down emergency responses for the massive epidemics of food-borne illness that are on the way!

Won't that be fun? But at least government will be smaller, yanno?

So will the population.

And there'll be tons of work for gravediggers, crematorium operators, etc. You might want to invest in the manufacture and distribution of body bags.

Someone should be making a few bucks off this "smaller government" your God Emperor of Weeniness is "helping" us pilot.

ironically,
Bright
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