Our own Nicole Bell did her weekly Fools on the Hill segment with Nicole Sandler and this week, I got to listen to them on my satellite radio since Nicole Sandler was filling in for Thom Hartmann who's in the middle of moving his show to their
October 4, 2010


Our own Nicole Bell did her weekly Fools on the Hill segment with Nicole Sandler and this week, I got to listen to them on my satellite radio since Nicole Sandler was filling in for Thom Hartmann who's in the middle of moving his show to their new studio in Washington DC. I hope Nicole Sander gets her own show syndicated back on satellite radio again some time soon.

The portion featuring Nicole is embedded above and you can listen to the entire program here.

Filling in for Thom Hartmann:

Crooks and Liars’ Nicole Belle joined me — a little later than we usually do it on Mondays — for our “Fools on the Hill” segment, deconstructing the Sunday talking head shows. Here are her comments and links to the segments we talked about:

First, we’ll go to Rand Paul and Jack Conway debating on Fox News Sunday. Paul’s campaign people have been very careful to limit his air time after several disastrous appearances that showed just how extreme his views are.

He was fairly careful on the show. He did claim that he supported raising the age of Social Security eligibility if he’s elected.

To be sure, that is one way to address Social Security. Of course, it’s not the smartest way, which is to remove the cap entirely or to prevent Congress from raiding SSI to pay for spending elsewhere, either of which would ensure SSI’s solvency forever. But is anyone surprised by the least effective solution being proposed by a Republican?

Sticking with Fox, we had some lovely pearl clutching by the Fox News Watch Panel (their alleged media watchdog show) over Obama’s interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, in which he labeled Fox “opinion media”, much like the Hearst propaganda of the ‘20s and ‘30s.

The golden age of an objective press was a pretty narrow span of time in our history. Before that, you had folks like Hearst who used their newspapers very intentionally to promote their viewpoints. I think Fox is part of that tradition… it is part of the tradition that has a very clear point of view. It’s a point of view that I disagree with… It’s a point of view that is ultimately destructive for the long-term growth of a country that has a vibrant middle class and is competitive in the world.

Listen how Jim Pinkerton conflates the channel with its viewers and claims that the President said that Fox viewers are destructive to the country. And then because the fallback position is to say, “well, liberals do it too!” he brings up Daniel Schorr, because Schorr wrote a factually accurate report that Goldwater was planning a trip to Germany to see some right wing German fans at a former Hitler retreat.

Rich Lowry boils it down to a ridiculous syllogism of “liberals hate Fox. Obama is a liberal, ergo he hates Fox”. It’s not a propaganda channel, we just have an irrational hatred of it.

And as long as we’re on media navel-gazing, Chris Matthews and his panel looked at the advent of the new media in politics. Not surprisingly, they missed the picture altogether. Matthews traces the rise of the new media with Drudge during the Clinton years. They acknowledge that traditional media knew about the Lewinsky story but held on to it because the story had not been vetted. But once Drudge broke that dam, the traditional media didn’t get taken over by the new media, they abdicated their roles to basically emulate new media. Vetting went out the window to be able to scoop the competition. The directive to be fair was given up for opinion media. In short, the traditional media became bloggers. It’s hard to hear on the audio, but Dan Rather gives a tentative warning about how the new media can also send out lynch mobs to destroy the credibility of reporters or shape the narrative of the story and get away with it, something that Tweety and John Harris of Politico completely don’t pick up on.

And now to someone who actually does get it: Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Bernie told Bob Schieffer that Republicans are more interested in gaining power than helping the country. Now while that rates a big “duh” from us, Bob Schieffer just can’t quite believe that Sanders would be that blunt.

And then finally, we come to This Week. As in past weeks, Christiane Amanpour decided to go against the headline of the week and do a more in-depth look at an issue. Unfortunately, her framing of the issue of choice this week could have been a little more reasonably done. The chyron for the debate was “Should Americans Fear Islam?” Given the amount of violence being done in this country and the irrational outrage by the likes of Pamela Geller for the Park51 Community Center, I’d say that Muslims have a hell of a lot more to fear here than Americans do of Islam in general.

Billy Graham’s son Franklin appears on the panel to be on the “yes, fear the Muslims” side. And the surviving parents of 9/11 victims appeared on both sides of the issue. For a segment titled in such an inflammatory way, it was actually a very good segment and one that everyone should see in its entirety.

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