Monday, May 28, 2007

Dr. Cline replies to my previous entry

Because this is an important issue to me and I want to be fully understood in the position that I am taking regarding the Springfield News-Leader, I have decided to post Dr. Andrew Cline's comment to my previous entry: On Dr. Andrew Cline's "What a Quote Means," here as a primary entry rather than in the comment section, along with my response to him. Cline wrote:

re: "criticized" all journalists as having an agenda

Yes, but not in the way usually meant by those stuck on simplistic ideas of political bias in the news media. The truth is more complex and far more interesting. And, in a very important way, it is far more harmful to journalism's purpose than the occasional instances of political bias (that break both ways). I left that last line--the one you quote--hanging there for a reason, which I hope will become clear as I continue discussing quotes.

Well, Dr. Cline, I don't know what your definition of "simplistic ideas of political bias" means (yet). I don't know that people are as "simplistic" in their opinions or their determinations about media bias as you may think they are. It has been my experience that oftentimes people have a better understanding of what is going on in our culture than they are given credit. At least I am hopeful that this is the case. I like to think, rather than being "simplistic," that not all people are able to accurately articulate their thoughts and are caught in traps set up by their political opposition because they are unable to state those thoughts well. When they inarticulately reply they are then set out for display by their opponents and are misrepresented by their later sensationalized words.

I have been watching the immigration debate for some time. There is no debate. What there is is an effort by those who are sympathetic to the cause of illegal aliens to paint anyone less sympathetic than they as a bigot, as a racist, as a xenophobe. There is an effort to shut debate down, not listen to debate, not consider the views of the other side.

The Springfield News-Leader has been using this tactic for some time. They threw chum into the water over the weekend and then this morning in their most recent Our Voice column they stated:

"It allows us (Missourians, but they have already identified Republicans as the ones who support this bill) to say that we're so afraid of immigrants of a different color, and we're so ignorant of existing state law and how the state conducts its business, that we'll make an unnecessary change to our constitution because it makes us feel better."

By summing up Republicans or those who support an English language law in such a way (as IGNORANT XENOPHOBES), by polarizing people in such a fashion they do not seek debate, they do not seek to truly represent the two sides of the ILLEGAL immigration argument, they do not seek balance or diversity of thought, what they seek are vitriolic and angry responses which they can then use against those who supported the English language laws and would like to see our borders enforced against illegal aliens.

The ILLEGAL immigration debate has nothing to do with race but no matter how many times those who disagree with the News-Leader repeat that it will never make a difference because the News-Leader's ears are closed. They are COMMITTED to continuing the erroneous charge that anyone who is concerned about our borders is a racist, bigoted xenophobe.

When the News-Leader becomes a sensational rag with no respect for its readers who have a differing viewpoint, when the News-Leader's "subtlety" is as subtle as a rhetorical nuclear bomb, one has to wonder if they are in the news biz to educate the public or to propagandize it.

Just look over the flavor of the online edition of the News-Leader over the last weeks. It CANNOT be missed. Unless you happen to be one of those people requiring a brick to the head.

I thank you for your reply. It isn't my intention to drag you into this discussion about the News-Leader but since I have been very disgusted over the last weeks with the News-Leader's coverage I naturally, couldn't help but consider your words from that viewpoint.


acline said...

re: "simplistic"

If you haven't done so yet, please read my essay on media/political bias at By "simplistic" I mean the use of charges of bias (on the right and left) merely to score political points and without regard to what it is journalism actually tires to accomplish or actually does accomplish. You'll also note in that essay my true regard for the American citizen's ability to discern when charges of bias are pure wind.

Sometimes there is political bias (left, right, and other things too). And it should be pointed out and fought vigorously. But one should not suppose that it is all of a kind.

Jacke M. said...

I will certainly read your essay.

Thank you.

Jacke M. said...

I guess according to Dr. Cline I'm an elitist if I question bias in the media. ;)

I don't know if media bias would actually be the correct term for what I am questioning, though.

I do believe that most readers can discern what is being said in the News-Leader, as I wrote before they are as subtle as a rhetorical nuclear bomb.

The real point here is that I resent, on behalf of the people who have legitimate arguments against illegal alien amnesty and for English as an official language, being identified as rascists, bigots and xenophobes at every turn.

There is seldom any attention given to any of the legitimate arguments made by these people, (including myself on occasion) rather there is a very obvious tendency to immediately shut off debate and discussion by pulling "the race card."

That's unfair...but life's just not fair, no matter how much the wannabe socialists try to convince us that it can be. ;)