Moral Confusion at ABC

In a related story, he also said,

“Pearl Harbor as a legitimate target? I actually don?t have an opinion on that and it?s important I not have an opinion on that as I sit here in my capacity right now. The way I conceive my job running a news organization, and the way I would like all the journalists at ABC News to perceive it, is there is a big difference between a normative position and a positive position. Our job is to determine what is, not what ought to be and when we get into the job of what ought to be I think we?re not doing a service to the American people. I can say they attacked without warning on a Sunday morning, I can say this is what the Japanese position is, this is what our position is, but for me to take a position this was right or wrong, I mean, that?s perhaps for me in my private life, perhaps it?s for me dealing with my loved ones, perhaps it?s for my minister at church. But as a journalist I feel strongly that?s something that I should not be taking a position on. I?m supposed to figure out what is and what is not, not what ought to be.”

and

“Jews, Catholics, Gypsies, homosexuals as legitimate targets? I actually don?t have an opinion on that and it?s important I not have an opinion on that as I sit here in my capacity right now. The way I conceive my job running a news organization, and the way I would like all the journalists at ABC News to perceive it, is there is a big difference between a normative position and a positive position. Our job is to determine what is, not what ought to be and when we get into the job of what ought to be I think we?re not doing a service to the American people. I can say they were herded into railroad cars, I can say they were gassed, I can say this is what the Nazis’ position is, this is what our position is, but for me to take a position this was right or wrong, I mean, that?s perhaps for me in my private life, perhaps it?s for me dealing with my loved ones, perhaps it?s for my minister at church. But as a journalist I feel strongly that?s something that I should not be taking a position on. I?m supposed to figure out what is and what is not, not what ought to be.”

[End Satire]

Is this really what they teach in J-school these days?

What really frustrates me about this is the conceit and self deception. Journalists seem to value “objectivity” but they are unable or unwilling to recognize that it’s not an achievable goal–they’re human. I much prefer a reporter who is honest about his biases and preferences, to one who pretends to be “objective” but is in actuality blind to his own bias. The former makes it much easier to appropriately filter the output.

American Media Finally Notice Iran

Brit Hume must have read Michael Ledeen’s piece in today’s Wall Street Journal, because he just had him on for an interview about the civil unrest in Iran. Ledeen said nothing new that he didn’t say in his article, but hopefully by saying it on Special Report, more Americans will become aware that the Iranian people are, for the most part, our friends, probably more so than any other regime in the area right now other than Israelis. The mullahs are clearly very worried, they know that people aren’t buying the “soccer riot” story any more, and they’re starting to confiscate satellite dishes. The story that, for some reason, the American press continues to ignore, is that Iran may be on the verge of another revolution, this time pro-western, because they’ve had more than their fill of living under a Taliban-like regime. If this can happen successfully and quickly, it will be the best news yet in terms of starting to establish reasonable regimes in that part of the world.

“Furriners” and CNN

What is the deal with these people? Do they really believe that most Americans get their news exclusively from CNN, or that they get any of their news from that source? Even in the last few weeks, which has been a period of the highest ratings the channel has had since the Gulf War, fewer than two million people were watching it during prime time–it momentarily pulled them back ahead of Fox, the new kid on the block. I would venture to say that CNN still falls far behind ABCCBSNBC as the main source for Americans’ news. (My primary source is actually periodicals on the net–the only dead-tree news source that I read regularly is the Economist.)

I don’t have the data handy, but I’d be willing to bet that many more people overseas get their news from CNN than Americans, both in absolute terms, and on a percentage basis. I suspect that what’s happening here is projection–since they get a lot of their news from CNN, and it’s the only American news outlet that they regularly see, they assume that Americans do as well, and that our opinions are formed by the contents of that source. What I find amusing about this, and the only reason that I’m ranting about it, is that this implies that they are apparently as pig-ignorant about Americans as they claim that we are about them and events overseas in general.

“Furriners” and CNN

What is the deal with these people? Do they really believe that most Americans get their news exclusively from CNN, or that they get any of their news from that source? Even in the last few weeks, which has been a period of the highest ratings the channel has had since the Gulf War, fewer than two million people were watching it during prime time–it momentarily pulled them back ahead of Fox, the new kid on the block. I would venture to say that CNN still falls far behind ABCCBSNBC as the main source for Americans’ news. (My primary source is actually periodicals on the net–the only dead-tree news source that I read regularly is the Economist.)

I don’t have the data handy, but I’d be willing to bet that many more people overseas get their news from CNN than Americans, both in absolute terms, and on a percentage basis. I suspect that what’s happening here is projection–since they get a lot of their news from CNN, and it’s the only American news outlet that they regularly see, they assume that Americans do as well, and that our opinions are formed by the contents of that source. What I find amusing about this, and the only reason that I’m ranting about it, is that this implies that they are apparently as pig-ignorant about Americans as they claim that we are about them and events overseas in general.

“Furriners” and CNN

What is the deal with these people? Do they really believe that most Americans get their news exclusively from CNN, or that they get any of their news from that source? Even in the last few weeks, which has been a period of the highest ratings the channel has had since the Gulf War, fewer than two million people were watching it during prime time–it momentarily pulled them back ahead of Fox, the new kid on the block. I would venture to say that CNN still falls far behind ABCCBSNBC as the main source for Americans’ news. (My primary source is actually periodicals on the net–the only dead-tree news source that I read regularly is the Economist.)

I don’t have the data handy, but I’d be willing to bet that many more people overseas get their news from CNN than Americans, both in absolute terms, and on a percentage basis. I suspect that what’s happening here is projection–since they get a lot of their news from CNN, and it’s the only American news outlet that they regularly see, they assume that Americans do as well, and that our opinions are formed by the contents of that source. What I find amusing about this, and the only reason that I’m ranting about it, is that this implies that they are apparently as pig-ignorant about Americans as they claim that we are about them and events overseas in general.

Proportionality

Even if you use the Taliban’s inflated numbers and the Taliban sticks around until next spring, we’ll still have plenty left on the balance sheet for when we move beyond Afghanistan.

I would go beyond that. There should be some discount factor to account for deliberate murder of civilians vs accidental casualties in waging legitimate war. Such a factor would also account for the unknowable numbers of future civilians saved by rooting out the infection as soon as possible. I’m not sure what the discount rate should be, but even if tens of thousands of civilians die collaterally (though I think that unlikely and unnecessary, unless it’s because the scum choose to hide behind the skirts of their women and children, as Saddam did), it might be acceptable to prevent the deaths of hundreds of thousands, both in the West and in the Mideast, in the absence of such necessary action.

Anyway, as Professor Reynolds noted yesterday, Mary Robinson’s definition of proportionality (no civilian casualties) truly is a prescription for no war at all, which is tantamount to utter defeat for civilization.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!

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