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View Poll Results: How would you compare today's political dialogue in the US with what it was pre-1990?
Nothing's changed, it's always been combative. 10 21.74%
The dialogue is more combative and less civil now. 35 76.09%
The dialogue is more civil now. 1 2.17%
Voters: 46. You may not vote on this poll

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political dialogue in USA
Old 06-12-2006, 09:41 PM   #1
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political dialogue in USA

I happened to catch Larry King tonight on the tube and he and his guests were discussing a new controversial book that had some criticisms directed toward a group of 9/11 widows... pretty white hot topic there I would say.*

Part of their discussion made me think about the nature of our political discourse, how, if it all, it has changed, how it serves us, etc.* And that led to this poll because I'm curious to find out how this group feels about our political dialogue in the US in 2006.*

I used "pre-1990" as a somewhat arbitrary baseline because I wanted to avoid purely partisan comparisons (eg* when Clinton was in the White House blah blah or when Bush took office blah blah).* I figure we've had 8 yrs of GOP and 8 yrs of Demo in the Oval Office since 1990.

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Re: political dialogue in USA
Old 06-12-2006, 09:49 PM   #2
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Re: political dialogue in USA

Its far worse now. Our leaders choose to divide the country, light a few choice market segments on fire with a handful of hot button issues, and leverage the resulting marketing program to election/re-election. Meanwhile, the media is more interested in sensationalizing what some actress or rich ho is doing than in delivering a truthful and informational message to the public.

Real leaders unite. Real newspeople keep everyone honest.
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Re: political dialogue in USA
Old 06-12-2006, 10:16 PM   #3
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Re: political dialogue in USA

Definitely worse. Less talk about ideas and their merits, more villificaton of people today, I think.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
Meanwhile, the media is more interested in sensationalizing what some actress or rich ho is doing than in delivering a truthful and informational message to the public.
The "news" is just terrible. Very little real discussion important issues. On television/radio, I think PBS does the best job by far (though I am far away from them politically, at least the coverage is deep well thought out).

But, I think the media is just giving the public what it wants.

One other reason for the rancor in political discussion: lots of "boutique" sources of info have filled the vacuum since mainstream radio/TV media have abandoned impartial hard news. Cognitive dissonance theory predicts folks will seek news/info that conforms with their views, which is what gets pumped out on the right and the left. Listen to enough one-sided coverage and soon it's hard to understand how the other "side" could be so stupid. Not a good basis for enlightened debate.
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Re: political dialogue in USA
Old 06-12-2006, 11:48 PM   #4
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Re: political dialogue in USA

Does anyone think it seems worse now because we're living it? I remember as a kid the news was about assasinations, riots, Vietnam, protest, the Chicago Seven, etc. and later Watergate, Iranian hostages, gas lines, intraparty squabbles (Ford vs Reagan, Carter vs T Kennedy). There were a lot of strong feelings in those days. Just seeing if there are other opinions out there....
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Re: political dialogue in USA
Old 06-13-2006, 04:00 AM   #5
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Re: political dialogue in USA

califdreamer, I remember those days as a teenager. Yes, there was war, corruption, squabbles and political unrest. But then we had Uncle Walter. Now we have Ann Coulter (the 9/11 widow-basher) and Larry King and Katie Couric and Geraldo joining the party; they are just not in the same league. Now we're prohibited from seeing the wounded soldiers and the caskets of the fallen. Showing up in an anti-Bush T-shirt at a public function can get you 'detained.'*

We are only 'free' to watch the 'infotainment' which increasingly consists of below-the-belt attacks (I recently came across some of the media's comments on Gore in 2000 - he'd been denounced nation-wide because of his earth-tone suits that were un-American!). It's become a battle of style and appearances over substance. Worse, it then becomes a meta-argument, where they argue about arguing!!*

This is a funny instance from FOX:
Quote:
Summary: On Fox News' Your World, host Neil Cavuto complained that "the media is all over" the alleged Haditha killings but that there has been "virtually no coverage of the daily savage attacks by insurgents on Iraqi civilians and our troops." Onscreen text during the segment read: "Blatant Bias?"

But Cavuto has previously alleged that "all you see in the media out of Iraq are the insurgent activity, our soldiers getting killed or hurt." In fact, he recently asked if "beheadings and roadside bombs, suicide attacks" in Iraq are "being blown out of proportion by the media." Onscreen text during this segment read: "Media Bias?"
http://mediamatters.org/items/200606050001

Nowadays, it's "all about" the pundits and "newscasters" who are increasingly the stars of the show; the "facts" are just used as ammo/raw material in their "act". (I've read that someone who knows Coulter, for instance, claims that she doesn't necessarily believe all the stuff she spews, she just does it for 'effect'-to be as outrageous as possible).

Then they have the gall to talk about "the media" as though they are somehow not part of it!! It's surreal!

I agree with samclem that it's in large part the major networks who have failed to hold the fort on "straight" news. But the roots of the problem have been there since the ascendance of TV as a medium: Nixon's sweat, Jimmy Carter's cardigan...

--
Here in Italy the news has always been more politicized. With three "public" stations, the TV news spectrum gets roughly carved up according to party. TG1 is historically the outlet of the center, TG2 the province of the left, and TG3 the province of the (ex?)communists. Then there are a couple of private channels that are Berlusconi-owned (right wing for Italy) and a few other private channels that are indeterminate. On satellite there is only SKY which is FOX/Murdoch.

Every newspaper has a "party" association and a large number of dailies are sold nation-wide. To get a clear picture of what's going on, you'd have to buy two or three. The stories never even pretend to follow the "who, what, when, where, why?" journalism model that I learned in school; the most average basic news story here is written like an editorial.

At first this disoriented me, almost to the point of outrage and indignation. But sometimes I wonder if in some ways there isn't a more adult jaded sort of acceptance that there always will be more than one side to a story.? Maybe that is the road the US is headed on.. the road to 'decadence'?* * Some Italians I've spoken to who have experience in both countries actually claim to prefer their style of news to US-style news, because they already know the biases of the writers/compilers and can judge accordingly; in the US, they were unsure whether they could take the facts as written for granted without knowing 'where they were coming from'.

One thing that I love about Italian TV is that late every night there is a "raccolta stampa" where someone reads the top stories of the (next) day as presented by ten or fifteen different papers! It's like a mini-course in comparative journalism. You can compare and contrast the way the headlines are written and what pullquotes they choose.. They used to do this with printed sheets / faxes and highlighting markers; now they call up PDFs on a computer screen.
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Re: political dialogue in USA
Old 06-13-2006, 06:21 AM   #6
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Re: political dialogue in USA

I could never watch FOX news (my blood would boil after 1 minute).* MSNBC seemed similar to FOX, just toned down a little.* Recently CNN has started being similar too, so I have given up watching them.* I no longer watch any local news.* Amazingly, I never seem to be out of the loop on any important events.* I do have CNBC on in the background quite a bit during market hours, and if something has a financial impact, (and what doesn't), it gets reported there before all the rest of the news shows anyway.* I guess I miss some "important" news stories like the 911 widow basher.* *
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Re: political dialogue in USA
Old 06-13-2006, 11:26 AM   #7
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Re: political dialogue in USA

Boy ladefina, if I had written that I would get another P.M Red Letter Nastygram.

I have surmised at this board, only U.S Citizens can criticise the U.S.
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Re: political dialogue in USA
Old 06-13-2006, 11:38 AM   #8
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Re: political dialogue in USA

Oh Howard, you know thats not true. Criticism of all sorts is freely accepted (or challenged) by people who post primarily about actual retirement investing, lifestyle and other related issues.

People whose primary effort is to use anti US rhetoric in an effort to troll the boards users are not at all welcome.

As far as I can recall, all we've gotten out of you are pointless offtopic stories, occasional comments about investments you made a long time ago that worked out well for you, why the US sucks, why Canada is better, and your efforts to get people to buy stock in your former company without your disclosure that you used to work there and probably still own considerable shares.

In case the difference isnt sinking in, Ladelfina actually writes interesting, on topic posts about issues relevant to the board, and is fair and reasonable in her observations. Which only occasionally are based on politics.

Oh yeah, and she's not a dickhead like you are.
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Re: political dialogue in USA
Old 06-13-2006, 11:46 AM   #9
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Re: political dialogue in USA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maximillion
Boy ladefina, if I had written that I would get another P.M* Red Letter Nastygram.

I have surmised at this board, only U.S Citizens can criticise the U.S.
Go away. You are not wanted here.
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Re: political dialogue in USA
Old 06-13-2006, 11:47 AM   #10
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Re: political dialogue in USA

Well, so much for my attempt to be nice
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Re: political dialogue in USA
Old 06-13-2006, 11:49 AM   #11
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Re: political dialogue in USA

Best thing we ever did was chuck the TV when it died and not get another one. *I read the headlines online when I check mail or place trades, peruse the Economist and WSJ at work, and glance at the local newspaper a few times a week. *I DO keep track of hurricanes! *Once I lost interest in politics, I became much easier to be around. *I still vote, but I just don't talk about it. * Hard to find anyone with a sense of humor about politics anymore--it is all life and death for folks these days.
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Re: political dialogue in USA
Old 06-13-2006, 12:13 PM   #12
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Re: political dialogue in USA

ladelfina, really good analysis of the press. i worked newspapers early on and quickly became discouraged as i realized you could say anything you wanted to say, as long as you found someone else to say it. that wasn't what they'd taught me in school where i thought i was learning to be objective, but it sure was the practice.
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Re: political dialogue in USA
Old 06-13-2006, 01:30 PM   #13
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Re: political dialogue in USA

Thanks LGF4NB.. Yeah, if you read closely you'll find a much more frequent use of "it has been said that.." or "some proponents claim.." and similar weasely words that mean "I want to express this opinion, but I want to sound 'objective'."* or worse, "I want to create a two-sided debate where none exists." * It's really a sign of crackerjack journalism these days if they get somebody on record, no matter who.

I often look through the CJR Daily site (Columbia Journalism Review) that is pretty non-partisan and highlights some of the worst offenders: http://www.cjrdaily.org/

I was in no way "criticising the US". I was not even trashing Republicans vs. Democrats! While I think it's funny and in some ways indicative of a person like Reagan or Bush when people pick up on their absurdities and malapropisms, not only is it shooting fish in a barrel, the Democrats do so to some extent to their peril because that, too, distracts from discussing the issues like Iran-Contra or warrentless wiretapping. When style trumps substance, we all lose. Bush, the bumbling idiot, is easier to swallow than Bush, the threat to our democratic liberties.

Things are no worse in Italy, but they are no better; in fact, there was recently a 'comedy' program that (very tamely) skewered some of the media events presented as "news". One uncomfortable moment was when a serious Italian anchorwoman, given the task of interviewing Sharon Stone for the nightly news, asked her "on behalf of the viewers" if she wouldn't mind uncrossing her legs. Stone had been perched on a stool by the producers, and refused. She was entreated a second time, and refused a second time; it just kept getting more and more embarassing.* * *Much as they may have liked to participate, I don't think youd've seen Brinkley, with or without Huntley, in a similar display.

Maybe Max, if he wanted to contribute to the discussion, could talk about Canadian politics and the Canadian press in a meaningful way.

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I think I'll start my own self-promo campaign: "CFB says: 'she's not a dickhead'!"*
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Re: political dialogue in USA
Old 06-13-2006, 02:08 PM   #14
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Re: political dialogue in USA

CFB, Yup, you are right, I still own and am buying Pfizer, but my holdings, although large to most, are small compared to the outstanding shares.
[moderator delete of inflammatory material]

Now back to the subect at hand, and thanks for confirming what was discussed at a Canadian Site.
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Re: political dialogue in USA
Old 06-13-2006, 02:24 PM   #15
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Re: political dialogue in USA

"The dialog is more combative and less civil now."
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Re: political dialogue in USA
Old 06-13-2006, 02:33 PM   #16
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Re: political dialogue in USA

Quote:
Originally Posted by ladelfina
"The dialog is more combative and less civil now."
I removed the most inflamatory material from Brewer's posts and Max's post.* Brewer and Max, behave.
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Re: political dialogue in USA
Old 06-13-2006, 02:34 PM   #17
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Re: political dialogue in USA

Well, when the resident pacifist wants to kick your ass, you've probably become a bit of a problematic a-hole.

ladelfina - you may use the tagline without any infringements or fees. But if you start making any money as a result of the campaign, I want in.

bummer...you edited the post and took out the good stuff before I could see it?
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Re: political dialogue in USA
Old 06-13-2006, 02:37 PM   #18
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Re: political dialogue in USA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
bummer...you edited the post and took out the good stuff before I could see it?
Don't worry, just the same old stuff. Diaper daddy, har har you're a diaper daddy. That doesn't make you an early retiree. :
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Re: political dialogue in USA
Old 06-13-2006, 02:41 PM   #19
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Re: political dialogue in USA

Oh that old tired routine that doesnt even make sense, let alone qualify as an insult. :

Love my son, and love spending all my time with him, which I can do because I'm stinking rich.

Whatta maroon.

I think I'll go change his diaper, even though he doesnt need it.
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Re: political dialogue in USA
Old 06-13-2006, 02:44 PM   #20
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Re: political dialogue in USA

I guess he's going to have to start calling me "diaper daddy" too since I take care of the little one at night, in the morning, and drop off/pick up from daycare. My wife works longer hours than I do and her commute is much longer, so it's "fair". Being a diaper daddy is a dirty job, but somebody has to do it.
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