Last year when Michael Jackson died, average people all over the world knew it within minutes, thanks in part to advances in social media technology such as Facebook and Twitter that make information sharing instantaneous. But maybe these new media have a role in getting out actually important, yet under-reported stories. That may be the case with the horror of violent forced abortions in China.
The enforcement of China’s infamous one-child policy has led family planning authorities to fine women with an illegal second pregnancy for as little as $1 for the poorest citizens, up to $40,000. But in some cases, government actions are far more extreme. Thanks to an Al Jazeera video posted on China’s version of Twitter, the truth of a gruesome, late-term abortion forced upon a mother in the modern city of Xiamen is now receiving more mainstream attention than it might have in a pre-Twitter era.
In early September, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) was raked over the coals by her Democratic opponent Terry Goddard and by the mainstream media for a statement she had made about decapitated bodies found in the Arizona desert due to illegal immigration.
"It's a good bill. We cannot afford all this illegal immigration and everything that comes with it, and the kidnappings and the extortion and the beheadings," Brewer said in a debate. "Which beheadings in Arizona were you referring to?" a reporter asked. "Oh, our law enforcement agencies have found bodies in the desert, either buried or just lying out there that have been beheaded," Brewer replied.
While there had been numerous gruesome discoveries of decapitated bodies in Mexico related to Mexican drug trade, at that point there had been evidence of such gang-related beheadings on Arizonan soil. The media made it up to be a mini-scandal at the time.
Fast forward a littler over a month to October 10, and the discovery of the decapitated body of one Martin Alejandro Cota-Monroy in his suburban Phoenix apartment.
Although the Rally to Restore Sanity definitely had a decidedly liberal tinge to it, Comedy Central's Jon Stewart did his level best to ensure his official message was that of "a pox on both your houses" to raised voices on the Right and Left in cable news media.
Of course the thin-skinned host of MSNBC's "Countdown" won't have any of it, leaving liberal fans of both Stewart and Olbermann torn between the two.
Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert may be tapping into the politics of fear, but in a hypothetical 2012 presidential matchup, "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart outpaces his protégé Colbert by a wide margin among registered voters, 42 percent to 22 percent, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
As even the editors of the liberal Washington Post admitted today, the Maryland state constitution is a lengthy, arcane monstrosity ripe for replacement.
But today the paper urged its well-educated subscriber base in the Old Line State to reject a ballot question that, if approved, would authorize a state constitutional convention, delegates to which would be elected by the people of the state.
The chief reason: constitution writing apparently is too delicate a task to leave to ignorant laymen.
Over at The Corner, National Review's Jay Nordlinger offered "Belated Fulminations" about the ongoing mess in public broadcasting. Conservatives don't believe in it? Naturally, that's one reason it's liberal: principled conservatives aren't exactly rushing in their resumes. On to Jay:
1) I have long said, Why should a liberal republic such as ours have government radio or government television? Really.
2) I very much favor Radio Martí, VOA, RFE, that thing we have in Iran — American broadcasts to people who otherwise would have nothing but lying state media.
3) In previous periods, when conservatives tried to do something about NPR and PBS, the other side trotted out Big Bird. They literally trotted him out: had some guy in a Big Bird costume, saying, “The Republicans are trying to kill me,” or something. And the point was: We didn’t give a rip about Sesame Street. That show was popular enough to survive on CBS or some other commercial network. We cared about Frontline, NOVA (it was all caps, right?) — things like that. Shows that consistently took a Sandinista point of view.
One prominent liberal supporter/exploiter of the Comedy Central “sanity” rally is Media Matters for America, which will glom onto the march in its effort to kill Fox News Channel. As MMFA's Karl Frisch explained on the liberal Stephanie Miller show on Wednesday:
FRISCH: For going on a couple of weeks now we’ve heard them talk about the Rally to Restore Sanity and the March to Keep Fear Alive. I just couldn’t help but thinking that it reminded me of a certain cable news network, the keep-fear-alive thing. Fox News. They keep fear alive every single day. So, Media Matters has put advertisements on all the Metro [subway] stations that people will be using to get to the rally this Saturday in Washington. We’ve also got dozens of volunteers and street canvassers that will be carrying our petition calling on advertisers to drop Fox News. To the masses that assemble we’ll be handing out T-shirts and rally signs and lapel stickers as well and right now we’re finalizing plans to have a presence at the L.A. rally as well.
Al Hunt ended Friday's weekly Political Capital show on Bloomberg TV by asking his usual pundits, Time magazine veteran Margaret Carlson, now a Bloomberg.com columnist, and Kate O'Beirne, President of the National Review Institute, for their election predictions:
These Republicans mean business. Their boots are all shined and ready. But they've got one huge problem:
The majority of Americans don't agree with them.
How will leftists claim the majority disagrees with the Republicans if they make dramatic gains on Tuesday? Michael Moore will have to try and find a new theme then. But this piece was titled "A Boot to the Head" in honor of MoveOn.org activist Lauren Valle, who was brutalized after shoving a poster in Rand Paul's face in Kentucky. Unsurprisingly, Moore transfers that violence into a meta-narrative of conservatives stomping on the heads of everyone they fear or hate:
Publicly, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her aides are refusing to discuss the topic of Democrats losing control of the House but behind the scenes, there is discussion that she may resign not just her leadership position but also her San Francisco-area seat after having served in the very powerful position of speaker.
Democratic strategist Robert Zimmerman defended View host Joy Behar on Thursday's Anderson Cooper 360: "I'm standing with Joy Behar because she nailed it when she went after Sharron Angle for the xenophobia, for the racist type of campaign she has run, and for, in fact, exploiting prejudice and bigotry" [audio available here].
Zimmerman, a one-time political analyst for CNN and a member of the Democratic National Committee since 2000, appeared on a panel with Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway, Huffington Post founding editor Roy Sekoff, and author Michael Maslansky. Midway through the segment, co-host Eliot Spitzer played a radio ad from Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition which included the statement, "It's us versus them- big government versus a big belief in faith and freedom- Sharron Angle versus Harry Reid."
Sleazy gossip site Gawker got the traffic it wanted by publishing a tale from an anonymous man who detailed an alleged one-night encounter with Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell but it’s come in for a lot of criticism as a result.
Is The Washington Post a Democratic rag? The Post's political blog "44" (named for Barack Obama, the 44th president) has a "Currently Reading" block of links -- which clearly suggest the Post's reading habits (or promoting habits) have a liberal and Democratic tilt on Friday morning. That list starts with the hard-left magazine Mother Jones pressing full steam ahead on "The Ken Buck rape case," which is about the Democrats plucking out a rape case Buck declined to prosecute in Colorado, in case link-clickers might think it's about a rape the Republican candidate committed:
For a man who thinks Social Security is the most important social safety net we have in America, Barack Obama appears to know very little about its history.
Consider that on Wednesday, the President actually told the "Daily Show's" Jon Stewart that Social Security benefits originally only applied to widows and orphans (video available here, transcript and commentary follow):
One wonders how Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center managed to get a hold of a private letter sent to President Obama by Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe advising him against nominating Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, but be that as it may, its contents are quite interesting and show just how nakedly political Tribe’s view of a justice really is and also how little he thinks of Sotomayor.
In the May 2009 letter (PDF link here), Tribe advises Obama to refrain from choosing Sotomayor because “she’s not nearly as smart as she seems to think she is” and also that she is a “bully” who would would be unable to try to persuade frequent SCOTUS swing vote Anthony Kennedy to a “pragmatically progressive direction,” something that Tribe believes former justice David Souter had managed to do on occasion.
Actor and former Obama White House staffer Kal Penn joined Alyssa Milano and a handful of other actors in a short video urging "Funny or Die" website visitors to take time to vote next Tuesday, comparing the time it would take to do so with "much worse ways to spend 10 minutes," like "talk[ing] to your parents about the first time they had sex." [h/t blogger Robert Stacy McCain]
"That is a long ten minutes," Eric McCormack deadpanned in response.
But far from being a simple "do your civic duty and vote" PSA, the video skews leftward, taking thinly-veiled swipes at social conservatives and Tea Party voters.
It takes about ten minuts to "listen to your stupid uncle talk about the dangers of gay marriage," actor Eriq LaSalle noted.