Thursday, January 21, 2010


If you're one of the now almost 70% of Americans that do not support Obama's health care bill, you've got to be happy about Scott Brown's victory. I have to admit, I've been giddy over it. Even many Democrats in office have admitted relief that they will no longer be forced into supporting a horrible health care bill that just about no one thinks is a good idea.

It was pretty interesting switching back between Fox News and CNN during Brown's acceptance speech. The reporters on Fox News had big smiles as they announced the news. Click over to CNN, and they mournfully recounted the dreadful events as if they bore burden of tragedy. Pretty entertaining stuff.

I've been watching both sides a lot. Yeah, yeah, I'm kind of a news junky. But if you are into that kind of thing, this is great. From Rush Limbaugh to The Huffington Post, the opinions are fast and furious. Each with arm loads of spin, you'd never know they were talking about the same thing.

On the one hand, you have Democrats saying the upset was due to their base of voters unhappy because they're not doing enough. That was Howard Dean's ridiculous assessment. Massachusetts had record breaking voter turn outs for their special election, and according to Dean, Democrats, who out number Republicans 3 to 1 overwhelmingly voted against their own Democrat candidate to protest the Democrats not being Liberal enough.

Other Democrats are saying that the voters are just stupid. This was Obama's message, though he hid it well. He basically said that the Democrats haven't done a good enough job articulating and detailing their vision well enough--aka, the American people are stupid and can't think for themselves, and our ideas are vastly superior, thus, if anyone disagrees with us, it's because they're ignorant.

Republicans, obviously feel differently. Many are quick to say, "See? The voters are rejecting politics as usual and seeing us Republicans as the underdogs and the everyday man's party."

The truth, as it usually does, probably lies somewhere in the middle. I doubt people have "come back" to Republicans. I think people are just mad. They don't feel like their elected officials are working for change that will help them. The Democrats have controlled Congress for over 3 years now. Is that long enough to fix a recession that started with them taking office in 2006 and only exploded under their leadership? Have the Republicans proven they would have done any better? These are complicated issues. No one really knows how to fix it, and if they do, they're not the ones in charge. Voters are mad at everyone in office. That's the real truth. Obama was counting on the voters thinking he was different. He was wrong.

But the news coverage got me thinking about the pure stupidity of Obama making the claim that Fox is not a real news station and the many idiots that agree with him. People that genuinely believe this fail at one of the most basic and fundamental tests of intelligence--non egocentric thinking.

If you're not really a news fan or you also fall into this trap, let me first explain to you what a news media source is. It is NOT the job of a news organization to inform you. News sources are not interested in keeping people informed. That's not their job. That's not their responsibility. That's not their function in life. Their job is to get viewers. Their job is to locate and target their market of customers and give those costumers what it is they want to buy. CNN, Fox News, etc, are businesses.

People don't want a dry list of facts. People want to hear what other commentators think... commentators that spend all day gathering information and now have an argument about it and want to make their case for their point. That is what news is. All news is opinion. All news.

Here's the Egocentrism part. If you're watching news and "agree" with what they're saying, then it's because they're stating an opinion or catering to an agenda that you also ascribe to. You are part of their target audience and the very sort of customer their are selling their air time for. If you are incapable of discerning this between opinions you agree with and dry boring facts that don't amount to anything without an argument to unite them, then you fail at this most basic tests of intelligence.

I, do not. I'm perfectly capable of watching Fox News, being highly entertained by their news pieces and realizing I'm not getting objective truth. You will never get objective truth from one new source because no one really wants objective truth. I do, but I'm a weirdo. For me, it means I have to watch several different news sources, and even then realize I may still only have a fraction of the information to know what the real story is. I have opinions, but mine tend to be fluid and adaptable to new and changing information. I have caveats. I believe that a war against _____ is just on the condition that my information about ____ is accurate. I rarely think in absolutes.

Why Fox News is a shock to the system for many people is because there's always been a conservative market out there for a television news station, but for a long time, there's never been anything to fill its needs. Now, if you've grown up watching only mainstream news that caters to the left, and thought this was norm / fair / objective, then Fox News is a rather rude surprise.

In either case, as happy as I am that Democrats will no longer be able to put me in jail just because I don't have health care insurance--which I don't, and do not want--the cold hard reality is that after the joy of this event wains, Republicans will remember that voters are unhappy with both parties.

I was thinking about this the other day. I know George Bush was pretty unpopular and many think he was stupid. He actually wasn't stupid. In fact, I'd say no President in modern history was stupid. But as much as I am a Republican and believe in the basic principles of the GOP--free market solutions and small government, I think it's actually bad if too many Republicans are in control of the government at once. I think that was more of the problem with Bush's administration than anything else.

I'll explain it this way. You know the saying two heads are better than one? This isn't always true. It's not true when both heads think the same way. Then two heads ARE just as good as one and only as good as one. The Republican party doesn't have as much diversity as the Democrat party, and what little variety it does have, gets filtered out even more on the way to higher office. Many Republicans are pro choice like me, supporters of gay rights like me, but are not the kind of Republicans that make it to higher office. No one has good ideas all the time. That's why you want people that think completely differently from you around to challenge you and see things you never would have thought of. This is what the Republican party misses out on. I think we need a little chaos to shake things up a bit.

The Dems... they need a lot less chaos. They're actually a couple different parties all sharing one name. They're not organized at all. If someone tells me they're a Democrat, it means nothing. Are they pro choice? a segregationist? fiscally conservative? against war? for civil rights? literally have no idea where they stand on anything. From Blue Dog Democrats to Howard Dean, the word "Democrat" doesn't mean anything. All it means is you get too many of them together, and you're going to see a lot of infighting and bickering.

Bush, perhaps, also failed the Ego Centric test. If you feel that your way is "the best" way to such an extreme that you need not listen to people that think otherwise, then you are doomed to surround yourself with heads just like your own. You no longer have advisers but more and more mirrors to regurgitate your own thoughts back at you.

The United States is one of the most ethnically and ideologically diverse countries in the world. This is a strength and a valuable resource. Perhaps our best.

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