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Palin on National Security

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Charlie Gibson had the opportunity of being the first journalist to interview Sarah Palin, after several days of being prepped by McCain aides. The New York Times wrote that choosing Mr. Gibson allowed the campaign to go with “a journalist known for having a mild manner but the gravitas to be taken seriously.” However, Gibson ranged from being somewhat stern to exasperated throughout the course of the interview, which focused on national security issues.

The most interesting moment, which was covered only by the Huffington Post, was in minute 7:52, when Palin is visibly confused about how to respond to Gibson’s question “Do you agree with the Bush Doctrine?” She does not seem to know what the doctrine is, and tries to circumvent the question twice, before Gibson actually explains to her what the doctrine is all about. There are other tense moments throughout the interview, but this one was the most telling. It is interesting that a Republican governor who is the Vice Presidential Nominee doesn’t know about the Bush Doctrine, which is a set of foreign policy positions that has changed the course of this nation for decades to come, as it has led us into two wars (Iraq and Afghanistan). 

In general, Palin does not have a strong command of the issues, often regurgitating small catch phrases. However, she fails to make a case for why she is strong on national security, even though at the beginning of the interview, she confidently explained that she was ready to be VP. Even on energy security, which both McCain and Palin have said was her area of expertise, she failed to persuade viewers that she understood the complexity of national energy security policy. 

However, what is more interesting is the coverage that followed. I did a comparison of the headlines from a series of online news sources, including some of the major networks. Here are the ways each of them represented what was a fairly lackluster performance, for the heavily touted VP: 

New York Times: In First Big Interview, Palin Says ‘I’m Ready’ for the Job

LA Times: Palin says she’s prepared to be president

Washington Post: Palin Links 9/11 Attacks to Iraq

CNN: Palin takes tough stance on Russia

Fox News had NO article! They provided the transcript, which I had to search for myself. Here you go: RAW DATA: PALIN’S INTERVIEW WITH ABC NEWS

Well, I’ve been reading the comment boards, and there are still people who are writing things like ‘Oh she nailed it!’ I suspect many did not listen to her evade questions and repeat simple catch phrases over and over. I don’t doubt that Sarah Palin is a smart woman, but thats not really what the national debate is about. Its about whether, she is ready to lead the country, on any issue. Judging by just the Gibson interview, regardless of his demeanor toward her, I would say she’s not. Why? Well, if she’s angling for the number 2 spot in the country, and in many ways the world, she ought to not falter on a gimme question like the Bush Doctrine, especially when the McCain campaign has set the bar so high with regards to experience.

Written by Veena

September 12, 2008 at 4:30 am

Out of Focus

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Enough is enough. Barack said it best today, as he discussed the time and energy wasted by the McCain campaign in the last few days obsessing over whether he called Palin a pig with lipstick. He likened this intrigue to catnip that the media eagerly slurped up. In the world of  24/7 news, each media company is eagerly out to make a buck, especially in this high stakes Presidential Election. However, the lack of journalistic integrity on major all-news networks like CNN, FOX News and MSNBC to obsess over the minutia of the campaign detracts from more serious issues. 

You can turn on any of the aforementioned news networks at anytime during the day and find that they are interviewing experts on each small story that comes across their desk. The format of having multiple advisers all over the country weigh in on something as simple and inane as Obama’s lipstick comment, results in a ripple effect, with every TV station down to the local and international outlets covering this garbage in the nightly news. In the meantime, Americans are bombarded with the same 8 images or news clips both online and on television, which helps to drive negative attention toward whichever candidate has made the latest offense. This formula results in a group of uninformed voters who are voting based on media frenzy and hype versus an understanding of issues. 

The only way for this to stop is if one of these networks takes a stand. We also need more publicly funded broadcasts that don’t have other agendas and don’t need to worry about whether their ratings are going up, so they can focus on reporting news instead of selling it.

If there ever was a time to take some action it is now. If you are reading this post and any of the sentiments above resonate with how you see the world, then write to your local news paper, write a blog post. Do something, because it matters.

Written by Veena

September 10, 2008 at 7:43 pm

Out of Hand

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Take a look at this: 

Latest News
These are the “headline” news titles on a major news network website. Which one? CNN. The original title of “Will Biden/Palin Debate Get Nasty?” morphed within the last hour, when it began as something like “What will Biden/Palin Debate Be Like?” CNN is one of the biggest offenders in the political news business. In a 24/7 market, where they have allocated so much money and personnel to covering the news during the day, they completely destroy the purpose of news reporting. Their job should be to inform the public, not sway them. From the headlines to the way most of their regular news stories are presented via online or on live television, exemplify what is utterly wrong with the news media. 
Someone said it before, but we seriously need to consider how our news is delivered, who owns these news sources, and how we can remove the political biases that make their way into our living rooms and onto our laptops on a daily basis. 
This is not the best political news team on television, its competing with Fox for ratings and has thus morphed into one of the most sensational. I can never watch any coverage on their network, because most of it is talking over the speeches that people are actually tuning into see or blowing a simple story out of proportion. 

Written by Veena

September 10, 2008 at 2:13 pm

Posted in media, News, real news

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SPIN!

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Update 9/3: Looks like the McCain campaign thought they were being treated unfairly because Campbell Brown, asked them a question. As a result, Larry King Live will no longer get the McCain/ Palin interview. More on this story here: http://www.broadcastingcable.com/CA6592163.html

 

Original Post:

The McCain campaign’s spokesman, Tucker Bounds, was surprisingly grilled on CNN by Campbell Brown. Definitely watch the entire thing because she tries to hold his feet to the fire, because he actually failed to answer a single question that she asked with a direct response. Instead, his response throughout the 7 minute interview was to deflect her questions and respond in the negative about the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama. 

However, throughout the whole interview, Tucker Bounds is unable to articulate clearly whether Sarah Palin meets the McCain campaign’s high standard for foreign policy experience, which they have so aggressively applied to Barack Obama in the summer months of the campaign. 

This is a departure from the traditional interviews that CNN anchors usually conduct with political strategists and campaign representatives. Moreover, it does continue to highlight how ill-eqiupped the McCain campaign is to respond to specific questions about their VP candidate. It will be interesting to see how the campaign represents Palin to the general public during the Republican National Convention this week.

Written by Veena

September 2, 2008 at 2:16 pm

Patriots

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Last night, those of us who watched the Democratic National Convention had the opportunity to witness many of our senior statesman (and women) speak. I think that one speech that deserves special attention is John Kerry’s speech. First, this was perhaps one of the most powerful speeches of the night, and it is unfortunate that major cable networks did not cover the entire thing because every American should have heard his words. He made it clear to anyone who has tried to use the libelous argument that Barack and Michelle Obama are somehow less patriotic is completely unfair and inaccurate.He reminded us of the way in which the 2004 campaign was swallowed by mistruths and underhanded techniques that undermine the integrity of both the election and Americans in general. 

In addition, he also showed how “Candidate” McCain is not in step with Senator McCain. The policy proposals and even legislation that Senator McCain supported in terms of alternative energy strategies and immigration are things that he no longer supports. Interesting, “flip flops” that have been overlooked.

If you are interested, this is a great speech to watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dO2PAm4iCtE

Unfortunately, major news networks like CNN only aired part of Kerry’s speech and provided political commentary over some very important remarks. Perhaps, if they are going to be the “Best Political Team on Television” (Wolf Blitzer’s words, not mine), then they should actually pay attention to ALL of the speakers?

Written by Veena

August 28, 2008 at 7:36 pm

Whose not TOUGH ENOUGH?

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Rudy Giuliani was quoted yesterday as saying that the Democrats less prepared to deal with terrorism and the Iraq War. Thats rather suspect, since its a Republican administration who has had 7 years, since September 11th, 2001 to go after the actual criminals, failed. Instead, they (the Bush administration) falsified evidence by lying about weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and then went to war in a country that had absolutely nothing to do with the terrorist attacks that befell New York, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon. 

The Bush administration, using nearly no intelligence and having no knowledge of the tensions amongst Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds, invaded Iraq, deposed Sadam Hussein and installed an interim government that made room for a destructive civil war. At the same time, they continued to underfund the war in Afghanistan and FAILED to capture Osama Bin Laden, who was responsible for the attacks. Not only that, the Republican administration who sent our troops to war, didn’t even provide them with the proper armor. More than 4000 Americans have died in the Iraq War alone, and somehow President Bush and Senator McCain attempt to pacify the angry masses, instead of admitting that they FAILED our troops. As Ted Kennedy said the other night, “young Americans in uniform must never be committed to a mistake, but always for a mission worthy of their bravery.”

Another talking point for the Republican party has been the surge. The surge was successful, but what most Americans don’t know, is that in order for the surge to work, the American forces had to pit Sunnis and Shiites against one another, and bring the Sunnis to the American side. While this might have posed a military solution in the short-term, even General Patreaus had said that the surge had put into place, a precarious peace, that could be toppled at any time. 

None of these statements are inaccurate, and yet the Republican party is somehow disillusioned to think that they are better equipped to go to war. 

Rudy Giuliani and many others obsess over how experienced John McCain is. Well if he’s so experienced, how come he doesn’t even know where Iraq is on a map? Why does he continue to confuse Sunnis and Shiites? Is this the COMMANDER in CHIEF that we want? Someone who could be in serious negotiations, and make a huge political gaffe, that affects millions of lives? If Giuliani thinks thats strength on terror, then I fear for the future of this country. That type of incompetence, regardless of your military background is not acceptable.

Moreover, aside from this bout in Vietnam, McCain does not seem to be very comfortable with foreign policy matters. As it looks, war is no longer a viable option, both economically and feasibly, as more and more of our troops survive tour after tour and the recruiting levels for all parts of the military have decreased substantially over time. In that case, McCain will need to be a statesman, a diplomat, someone who can negotiate, understand the nuances of issues and be able to work with an array of leaders that might either be our allies or our current adversaries. This doesn’t sound like the politics that McCain is going to practice, not with Karl Rove’s protege by his side. McCain is not ready to be a negotiator, not the commander-in-chief for the next generation of Americans. 

McCain might have been tough enough, when he went to war. But the tough stuff that will make a President in our generation will be a keen intellect and understanding of the issues, a persuasive auditory style, open-mindedness among others. This is much more like the tough stuff that Barack Obama will bring to the Presidency.

Written by Veena

August 27, 2008 at 5:30 pm

Check your facts Mr. Beck

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The other day, CNN’s Glenn Beck wrote an article about poverty entitled “The poverty of Democrats’ ideas for cities” in urban America. Mr. Beck’s argument was that urban areas with high poverty concentrations are in their current state of affairs because the majority of their mayors have been Democrats. He comes to the conclusion that if Republicans were voted into office, poverty would somehow be reduced. Essentially this diatribe against Democratic mayors is misled and poorly argued.

 Mr. Beck fails to recognize the complex nature of poverty in urban America. He fails to include a fair and balanced analysis of other factors that might contribute to poverty in urban cities like lack of access to quality education, healthcare and other resources. Many of these social services are often supported by Democrats, but not by Republicans. Moreover, the lack of human capital (in terms of skilled workers) also deters businesses from investing in urban centers, especially when it comes to manufacturing jobs. Many of these jobs were at the core of city employment, especially the Midwestern cities that Beck touches on. 

I went to school in Pittsburgh, where steel mining was one of the major industries, until business went elsewhere, which severely depressed the area, and some parts of Pittsburgh have never recovered. However, this means that both the public and private organizations in these cities need to work together to foster investment and growth and support education and social services, in order to have enough human capital to balance out the investments. 

Mr. Beck’s argument also fails to analyze factors like;  the number of Republican/Democrat city council members, how tax increases/decreases might have affected the budgets and whether economic downturns or federal and state level policies might have negatively impacted cities. (The Detroit Free Press’ article on urban poverty does a good job of looking at some of the issues and solutions.)

Finally, Mr. Beck continues to wage war against Newark. Perhaps if he paid closer attention, he would see that Cory Booker, who was elected in 2006, has made significant strides in trying to combat poverty, crime and rebuild the education system in Newark. In fact, Cory Booker is being recognized as a pioneer in the fight to rebuild Newark, not as Mr. Beck assumes, another cog in the democratic wheel of poverty.

Moreover, even a city like New York, where Mayor Bloomberg has been touted as being a fairly successful mayor, still has a poverty rate of 21%.   

This is simply another example of a media personality whose lens is so focused on the divisive nature of American politics that he has failed to see the bigger picture. Urban poverty is an extremely complex issue, and yes, a large responsibility does rely on the mayors of the various cities. It is appalling and devastating that so many in the United States are living below the poverty line. However, that is not a call to arms for Republican mayors, it is a call to arms for public officials and each citizen of this country to think about what they can do to improve this situation. It doesn’t have to be in donations, it can be through volunteering or voting. 

Glenn Beck might think that Republicans are better equipped to manage poverty. However, after seeing the way the top Republicans in this country have mismanaged our tax dollars, which could have gone to federal programs like Head Start, squander it in an unjust war, it does not seem likely that anything will change at the local level. Poverty is not a red or blue issue, its an issue that does affect everyone, but Democrats are much better poised to handle this issue because they actually have been fighting for the rights of the people who are so disenfranchised in this country. 

Mr. Beck – do your homework would you? 

 

 

Here are some real facts about poverty in the United States: 

1. According to the 2005 US census bureau statistics, nearly 40 million Americans live below the poverty line. 

2. 24% of American families make less than $30,000 a year. (US census bureau) 

3. According to the Detroit Free Press “Nearly 40 million Americans are officially poor — meaning an annual income of less than $16,000 for a family of three. Eight in 10 of them live in urban areas.”  

 

 

More Resources: 

* http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/tables/08s0672.pdf

* http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080217/OPINION01/802170547

Written by Veena

August 25, 2008 at 5:43 pm