Apply truth liberally. Rinse and repeat.

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Thomas Veil, Nov 17, 2004.

  1. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

    Feb 14, 2004
    OBJECTIVE reality
    Okay, I've got a thought on where George Soros needs to spend his money.

    (Yeah, yeah, I know it's presumptuous to tell anybody where to spend their money, but just listen...)

    We've been talking about Framing The Debate, right? The Republicans got where they are because they're very good at it, and one reason they won the last election was because somebody said early on: "We'd better define John Kerry before he defines himself." They did, and they won.

    Okay, if we're serious about not sitting still and taking it anymore, we've got to fight fire with fire. We've got to counter the conservative media, including Sinclair, Salem and Fox.

    A liberal TV network.

    (Stop snickering over there, Mr. Limbaugh. They are not all liberal.)

    The more I think about this idea, the more I like it. An alternative to Fox. A 24-hour amalgam of straight-up news, talk shows and historical programming.

    News: By which I mean real news. Not that stuff they have on CNN. No "bottom of the hour" stories about buying patio furniture or Jessica Simpson's latest marriage. Hard news, done straight like ABC's...but with an extra edge, asking the hard questions, delivering the tough analyses that the corporate-owned networks aren't comfortable doing.

    Talk: Sure, you can do news 24/7, but you also might get more viewers by airing talk shows...and you've got a handful of them ready-made for you. CNBC (or somebody) already does Imus in the morning. Why not put a camera in Al Franken's booth and simulcast him?

    Historical programs: Shows that demonstrate the accomplishments of liberalism: the New Deal; labor, environmental and workplace safety laws; Social Security; the space program; civil rights; the internet; public education; rural electrification; the FDIC; the Family and Medical Leave Act; the Americans with Disabilities Act; and more. Why not a half-hour program showing how these things came to be, and how conservatives fought them?

    This is not to say that such a network should whitewash the times when liberalism hasn't served us so well, such as LBJ's acceleration of the Vietnam War. To say that everything liberal is good, and everything conservative is bad, would be unbelievable to a large segment of viewers. And with good reason.

    By showing even the warts on occasion, I think you'd build up a level of credibility that Fox doesn't have.

    And one final ingredient:

    A fact minute: A series of one-minute PSAs throughout the day that serve to dismantle the blatant untruths generated by Rush, Hannity and that whole gang. Believe me, there are tons of truths out there that much of the public still doesn't know. How many people do you think really know, for example, that Richard Clarke wrote a comprehensive anti-terrorism plan at the end of the Clinton administration, presented it to his new boss (Bush)...and was ignored? How many people know that the plan Bush is using now (and taking credit for) is essentially the same one Clarke wrote in the last months of the Clinton administration? All people tend to hear from Rush is that Clinton "did nothing" about terrorism.

    Anyway, I don't think such a network should be blatantly partisan; part of the "genius" of Fox is that to so many people they look centrist, even if they're not. But I think a cable channel with a subtle yet liberal spin would not only inform the country, but by being to the left of the rest of the media, it would help the country realize that most of the media is really very centrist.

    The fact is, if liberals are going to Reframe The Debate, they've gotta start doing it now...not two or three years from now as a run-up to the next election. Start giving people some cogent thoughts and hard truths to think about now. Instead of just guessing or going by polls, let us see what the American voters actually respond to, and what they don't.

    I wonder if Soros and some of his wealthy liberal buddies could pull off something like this. The synergy with Air America would help both, and they really wouldn't have to start a new cable network, they could simply buy out one of the existing ones.

    Hey, maybe they could turn G4 TV into something good!
  2. skunk macrumors G4


    Jun 29, 2002
    Republic of Ukistan
    The last thing you want is another biased network. You need a thoughtful, non-partisan and healthily skeptical network - maybe a little like the Beeb...

    All bias is crap. We need careful, objective analysis to avoid repeating past mistakes which our leaders have been - or are - too arrogant, misguided, proud, embarrassed or foolish to admit. Turn off the spin.
  3. Xtremehkr macrumors 68000


    Jul 4, 2004
    Actually, that is exactly what is needed right now. It is hard to explain to someone in England how saturated the media is with right wing propaganda right now.
  4. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    You've omitted one important factor in your recommendations: A compelling reason why anyone would watch or listen to these programs. You can't change the terms of a debate simply by throwing a lot of facts at them. It'd be nice if you could, but you can't. If being right on the issues were enough, the Republicans would not be running the country now.

    Reframing the debate requires changing the terms, the language, of the debate -- and this does not necessarily entail spending millions on bringing more facts to the American people. What it requires is Democrats all speaking the same words, the same, carefully selected words, whenever hot-button issues are raised -- words that connect viscerally with the voters. It might take some research to find these words, and undoubtedly more discipline than the Democratic Party has demonstrated to keep the voice coordinated -- but it doesn't take the creation of TV networks. Those things can come later, when the voters have found a reason to pay attention. It didn't all start with Fox, you know.
  5. Xtremehkr macrumors 68000


    Jul 4, 2004
    If it meant what Liberalism has traditionally meant, which would have to be explained first, it would become self evident.

    Especially if the history of things like the New Deal were accurately presented, not derided outright with no thought given to how we arrived at the New Deal.

    If it met the definition, it would counter the spin basically. Liberalism has a very positive defintion in all but the minds of those who listen to the GOP, or who are running the GOP.
  6. zimv20 macrumors 601


    Jul 18, 2002
    'cuz the ones they're hearing now aren't sticking. i heard on NPR today that 50% of bush supporters believe bush supports the kyoto treaty.
  7. Thomas Veil thread starter macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

    Feb 14, 2004
    OBJECTIVE reality
    You "sell" such a product the way you sell any other product: by filling a need.

    You would obviously get a pretty good number of liberal viewers. And frankly, I'm not concerned about bringing in hard-core conservatives. They're not about to watch a liberal network any more than I'm going to spend a lot of time watching Fox. The ones you'd really have to "sell" to are moderates. And you do that by presenting news, talk and entertainment they can't get anywhere else.

    The networks are frankly afraid to touch subjects like abortion. Can you imagine the controversy surrounding an hour-long CBS Reports-style documentary about how abortion rights were won, and how they are threatened? The show wouldn't have to be entirely liberal-minded -- it could give time to opposing arguments as well. But just doing any prime time show in which the pro-choice side was given a chance to present its side would probably be derided on the air by Rush, Sean Hannity and the rest -- thereby giving it free publicity.

    We can always use more investigative journalism, exposing government fraud...and there's never been as much fraud as in this government. Hey, Bob Woodward looks pretty comfortable doing TV (hint hint)....

    Or how about seeing if Michael Moore would do another program like TV Nation or The Awful Truth? Those were two highly entertaining shows that would appeal to moderates as well as liberals.

    What about a new political satire show? Or how about something similar to Bill Maher's Politically Incorrect? Heck, those are just ideas I came up with off the top of my head, and there are people cleverer than I am that could come up with even better ones.

    I don't doubt, IJ, that we need to reframe the debate and start talking about ourselves in better, more convincing terms. But I think we also need a 24/7 information source to counter all of their 24/7 disinformation sources that are continually pulling people away from us. A TV network is probably one of the most efficient ways of doing that in a nation that watches hours of TV every evening.
  8. pseudobrit macrumors 68040


    Jul 23, 2002
    Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
  9. Thomas Veil thread starter macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

    Feb 14, 2004
    OBJECTIVE reality
    Addendum: after thinking about IJ's comments, I don't think we're really that far apart from each other.

    IJ's talking about shaping the content of our message. I'm talking about a way to deliver it. So actually, they're two complementary ideas. IJ's absolutely right too; but my point is, after you shape the message, what do you do with it? What's your conduit to the people, and how do you present your message as vigorously (if not more so) than the right-wing media?

    Also, a further thought about investigative news: right now there are a few stories floating around about scandals involving Halliburton, but I don't really see anyone pursuing them much, certainly not in the manner the Washington Post dug around in the earliest days of Watergate. Months ago there was a story about $18 billion that was appropriated for Iraq reconstruction that cannot be accounted for. Except for a few brief references here or there, that story never surfaced again. Isn't anybody interested in pursuing that?

    Oh yeah, there's stories you could do that the mainstream media isn't doing.

    Oh, and I didn't mean to imply earlier that only government fraud should be investigated. There's plenty of corporate fraud going on to keep anybody busy.

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