Saturday, February 12, 2005

Bloggers claim another scalp

That's the line on the NYTimes about Eason Jordan's resignation, which seems to be echoed by the WSJ.

I don't think most bloggers are in this for a power trip. If they were, they'd have gone into journalism. The real problem for the "fear and loathing" media crowd is that they've created a target-rich environment. For a person with the obvious bias of Eason Jordan to be given authority over a major source of news is inexcusable, even by the standards of journalistic ethics.

Predictably, the WSJ's editorial is not playing very well in the blogosphere. I believe that CNN has the right to hire Eason Jordan, regardless of his views, but the fact that he says things like this hurts the network with the public, and I think he and they could tell this wasn't going away, no matter how, or maybe because, his friends in the MSM have resisted covering the story. They need to look in the mirror and note how much they are mimicking the behavior of politicians like former Senator Bob Packwood and Bill Clinton. The truth is not that the bloggers "brought down" Eason Jordan, but that the concerted ignoring of the incident by Jordan's peers couldn't save him. This wasn't, as Austin Bay notes, a case of McCarthyism, because the bloggers didn't make this up. They covered it the way the MSM should have.

Tim Blair has the best take this, as well as a masterful fisking of the Times story:
�Rampant, unedited dialogue� [quoting Jeff Jarvis]�again, I refer you to Democratic Underground�has absolutely no effect unless it�s supported by evidence (for example, a faked-up National Guard memo or a bogus quote). How often have posters at DU called for the head of, say, Sean Hannity? Yet their rampant, unedited dialogue has had no impact at all.
All you have to do is read the coverage in the blogosphere to see that Jordan's critics make a good case for yanking him. The Times and WSJ didn't really do that. They gave us the "off-the-record" and "he corrected himself" riff.

As I say, a target rich environment.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Bait and Switch

Media Matters has attacked Brit Hume for citing a statement of FDR that indicates he would support Bush's plan to save Social Security. Here's what FDR said:
In the important field of security for our old people, it seems necessary to adopt three principles: First, non-contributory old-age pensions for those who are now too old to build up their own insurance. It is, of course, clear that for perhaps thirty years to come funds will have to be provided by the States and the Federal Government to meet these pensions. Second, compulsory contributory annuities which in time will establish a self-supporting system for those now young and for future generations. Third, voluntary contributory annuities by which individual initiative can increase the annual amounts received in old age. It is proposed that the Federal Government assume one-half of the cost of the old-age pension plan, which ought ultimately to be supplanted by self-supporting annuity plans. [Italics added]
It seems to me that the question is what he meant by "self-supporting annuity plans." The non-contributory old-age pension system was supposed to be eliminated in 30 years. I suppose that means that the elderly alive in 1935 would receive a pension out of funds raised from the payroll tax and when these people were all gone, the payments to future retirees would come from the "self-supporting plans." But he mentions two such plans, the "compulsory contributory annuities" and the "voluntary contributory annuities." The latter sound to me like Bush's private accounts, which is what Brit Hume stated.

The former is the system we have and it is not guaranteed to be self-supporting, as Roosevelt said it would because (1) the ratio of workers to retirees has increased, (2) longer life expectencies mean that retirees may collect benefits far in excess of what they paid into the system, and (3) there is and will continue to be resistance to raising payroll taxes on workers to meet the increasing needs of the system. By "self-supporting" I mean that the system should never need a bailout to meet its commitments. What Bush is proposing is to try to wean us off depending on the "compulsory contributory annuities" which promise defined benefits which must be paid, no matter how much the payroll tax brings in, and to move to private investment accounts which will be paid out according to the amount of capital gains they have accrued when the owners retire. The latter is a sustainable system, the former isn't.

Nobody can really say what FDR really meant, but it sure sounds like he anticipated private investment accounts to me. Bush is hoping that the greater growth rate of funds invested other than in federal bonds will help meet the shortfall of the system for future generations. I'm not sure it will, but it makes more sense than sitting here like deer in the headlights as the inevitable bears down on us.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Krauthammer on Churchill

Tonight on Brit Hume's show: "This guy is to Academia what Howard Dean is to the Democrat Party."

I'm not a big believer in the idea that noisome opinions have to be supported by the public. Academics are supposed to teach, not indoctrinate students in fringe theories without support by facts. The fact that this guy turns out books like rabbits make bunnies doesn't make him an eminent mind. Both Krauthammer and Mort Kondracke said he should keep his job to demonstrate to parents how far universities have moved from the mainstream, but I suspect that neither one really could justify retaining a professor who has built his career on lies. He's not a Native American and he's no historian. His whole specialty is PC run amuck. Would he be getting any support if he taught biology and his views included creationism? He called the people who died in the WTC, "little Eichmanns." What if he'd called them Jews and Niggers? Would people still support him?

He'll probably show up next as a character in South Park.

The second segment with the pundits was about Eason Jordan. I think that CNN is a dead network walking, as long as it stonewalls questions about this doofus.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Chicken or Egg

Heard more about Ward Churchill today on the Michael Medved show. He had a couple of students from the U of Colorado defending Churchill with the fatuous academic freedom and freedom of speech arguments.

What is there about Academia that seems to attract lefties and radical nuts like Churchill? Or is it the lefties and radical nuts who have degraded Academia? I'm not sure that a college education, at least in the "liberal arts" or "humanities" is worth having anymore, unless you plan to become a clone in the Ethnic Studies department somewhere. Does the MSM's liberal bias have anything to do with it? Idiots like Churchill tend to get attention, and that makes them celebrities with somebody. Just as Watergate made celebrities of Woodward and Bernstein and attracted who knows how many young people to journalism with the hope of someday bringing down a president, maybe there's something about people like Cornell West or Churchill that inspires weak-souled kids to emulate them. It certainly did during the Sixties.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Crossing Jordan

Hugh Hewitt is all over the Eason Jordan story, as are Jim Geraghty, Michelle Malkin. CNN, for its part, has gone into the bunker. Hugh recounted today his experience on Chris Matthews show over the weekend when the host hadn't heard of this story. Of course, he hadn't, because he relies on Old Media. The blogs are at least two weeks ahead of the eyewitness news in discovering important developments. If you don't read at least a few good ones like Instapundit and those linked above, you're a deer in the headlights.

To show you the kind of person Jordan is, check the quotes here.