Friday, June 17, 2005

Hyman the Bully

On many levels, Sinclair Broadcasting operates under an ethos of bullying. Intimidation and threatening those with less power is a hallmark of the Sinclair style when it comes to dealing with everyone from those who criticize the company to its own employees.

Mark Hyman is no exception. A significant number of his commentaries are aimed at individuals or groups that have limited abilities to fight back.

Hyman the Bully

The latest victims of Hyman’s bullying are the students, faculty, and staff of the Bronx Community College. Yep, that’s right: two minutes of your local news (broadcast over the airwaves that you, the public taxpayer own) were devoted to Hyman attacking a small two-year-college that’s not even remotely close to where you live and which serves a community that’s well outside any Sinclair television market.

What crime has this educational institution committed to inspire Hyman to denigrate it and suggest it’s nowhere reasonable parents would let their child to go to school? The crime of allowing its students to express their political views.

Committing yet another elementary error in logic wide enough to drive a truck through, Hyman falsely equates the views of a single student group on campus with the college itself. Hyman rattles off a number of beliefs he attributes to a group called the “Revolutionary Reconstruction Club,” then implies that these beliefs are somehow representative of the college as a whole.

It’s unclear exactly what Hyman would have the college do. Should the administration crack down and ban student groups with political beliefs that are out of step with the majority of the campus community? If so, what of conservative student groups on campuses? If members of the Young Republican Club of Acme State University are voicing opinions with which most of their fellow students disagree and that most faculty and administrators find troublesome, should they be disbanded? Hyman, who often invokes ideals of intellectual freedom at universities when claiming conservatives are discriminated against, is awfully quick to condemn an entire institution for tolerating the existence of a political group with which he disagrees.

Hyman's Motivation

How Hyman can justify condemnation of intellectual freedom on campus in one commentary while championing it in another is not a terribly interesting question. Any viewer of “The Point” knows Hyman simply doesn’t concern himself with intellectual or ethical consistency. Principles are merely tools with which to construct ad hoc arguments. The more interesting question is why Hyman goes after this particular college.

After all, college students being . . . well . . . college students, there are certainly any number of self-styled Marxist, anarchist, or socialist student groups across America’s campuses. Why single out the Bronx Community College?

Might it have something to do with the fact that the college is in New York City, one of America’s most cosmopolitan and progressive metropolises (which, of course, makes it a den of iniquity in Hyman’s universe)? Whether it’s the New York Times or simply “elitest, out-of-touch liberals,” Hyman loves to use New York as a metonym for the perceived evils of liberalism generally.

More troubling is the possibility that Hyman singles out this college because of who goes there. The Bronx Community College’s student body is
almost entirely made up of minority students (approximately half African American and half Hispanic). Whites make up less than five percent of the student population. Hyman, who has denigrated civil rights leaders and groups in the past, and who infamously equated undocumented immigrants with al-Qaeda terrorists, is not above being a “race hustler” (a phrase Hyman used to describe Jesse Jackson earlier this week, but which is far more applicable to Hyman himself).

Like most bullies, Hyman relies on his targets not fighting back. It would be wonderful to see the Bronx Community College sue Hyman and Sinclair for defamation, given that Hyman’s commentary uses flawed and distorted reasoning in an attempt to convince his audience not to patronize the school. (Remember that Sinclair Broadcasting
threatened to sue groups who participated in what it called “trade defamation” in the wake of the “Stolen Honor” fiasco on the basis that such groups were interfering with Sinclair’s ability to do business. What’s good for the goose, etc. etc. etc.).

Turning Hyman on His Head

But for now, let’s throw in our two cents and turn Hyman on his head with another edition of “The Bizarro Point” in which we, by only changing a few of Hyman’s own words, go through the looking glass to a world where “The Point” actually makes sense:

Do you have a child who watches television? Do they intend on watching television in the near future?

Do you believe that honoring soldiers killed in Iraq is a “political act” that should be censored? Do you believe that anyone who doesn’t support the Bush administration’s foreign policy “hates America”? Do you think that, despite official military records and eyewitness testimony that confirm John Kerry served valiantly in Vietnam, that he actually murdered a wounded, unarmed kid running away from a battle? Do you think that the undocumented immigrant who does menial labor in your community is the moral equivalent of an al-Qaeda terrorist? Do you believe that tax cuts that shift the tax burden to the middle class and give away huge payoffs to the rich are a good idea? Do you think that the current American economy is “on fire”? Do you agree that the invasion of Iraq was a wonderful idea and that things are going swimmingly there?

If so, then the perfect television channel for your child just might be your local Sinclair Broadcasting affiliate. The Baltimore-based conglomerate owns more than 60 television stations across the country, including several duopolies, and its executives donate tens of thousands of dollars to Republican causes. Its offerings include “The Point” with Mark Hyman, whose commentaries favor the issues I mentioned a few moments ago. And Hyman is quite active. He is proud of the fact that he distorted and smeared John Kerry’s war record and ignored George W. Bush’s disgraceful lack of service. He personally fired Sinclair’s lead political reporter, Jon Lieberman, when Lieberman dared suggest that running propaganda two weeks before an election was not good journalism.

But if these actions don’t coincide with your beliefs and values, then I suggest your Sinclair affiliate is not proper viewing for your child.

And that’s The Counterpoint.


At 12:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Ted, I always enjoy your trips through the looking glass. One thing you might want to make note of for furture posts, is the fact that Hyman's two minute regurgitations of GOP talking points and propaganda actually use at least six minutes, or about one tenth of an hour every day, as 'The Point(less)' is aired on my station with the noon, evening and late news every day. It is probably on the morning news as well, but I'm not sure about that. If you add that up, it comes to at least thirty-six hours a year of 'Point(ed)' brainwashing for the sheeple just from Hyman, not counting Sinclair's right-wing programming!
Thanks Ted, and keep bustin' Hyman!
Mike B. in SC


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