Monday, January 02, 2006

Short Take Catch-Up

Sorry for the unannounced hiatus--I had planned on posting a note before leaving on holiday touring, but time ran short and it got lost in the shuffle.

At any rate, we're back for a quick catchup before leaving for a few days. We'll be back for good this weekend, as will the blog.

For now, let's take a brief look at the week that was in Hyman-land.

First, on Christmas, Hyman officially joined in with the silly "war on Christmas" rhetoric, making the absurd claim that "somehow a notion has developed that recognizing, let alone celebrating, Christmas - the only federal holiday in December - is wrong."

Of course, this is absolute nonsense. No one has said celebrating Christmas is wrong; what some have noted is that given the diverse beliefs held by Americans (and the fact that many of these belief systems celebrate a variety of holidays at this time of year), it might be more polite, when addressing those whose religious beliefs (or lack thereof) aren't known, to simply say "Happy Holidays" -- a greeting that acknowledges the season without assuming anything about those to whom you're speaking.

This has provided the radical right with an excuse to drag out the tired war on Christmas rhetoric. This is nothing new. As I noted in a comment following up to an earlier post, conservatives have been crying wolf about a war on Christmas for the better part of a century. In his rabidly anti-Semitic work, The International Jew, Henry Ford was making exactly the same claims in 1921 that O'Reilly and Co. are these days (e.g., that one can hardly find a greeting card for the season that mentions the birth of Christ, that public displays of overtly Christian religious displays on public grounds are objected to, etc.).

Then, forty years later, the John Birch Society dragged out the very same claims, this time laying the blame on the "Reds." Today, rather than Jews or communists, the scapegoats are "secular humanists" and "the politically correct crowd" (both code for anyone left of center).

All this reminds me of a line from the sermon the pastor delivered at the Christmas Eve service I attended this year. He prayed that we be saved from a host of evils, including "those who would seek to manipulate the Christ child for their own purposes." Amen to that.

Later on in the week, Hyman (not exactly filled with the Christmas spirit) kicked dirt on the grave of Jack Anderson, whom he said had embellished stories with manufactured details. His source? Howard Kurtz, who worked under Anderson. Hyman then goes on to accuse Kurtz of the same thing, saying that Kurtz had personally told him that he hadn't seen "Stolen Honor" even though the Washington Post/CNN correspondent had reported on the propaganda piece. Hyman then lists several other correspondents whom he accuses of similar journalistic malfeasance.

Of course, Armstrong Williams doesn't appear on this list, despite the fact that the disgraced columnist admitted to receiving pay from the Bush administration to write columns touting its programs. Maybe that has something to do with Armstrong's cozy relationship with Sinclair.

And needless to say, Hyman doesn't admit to his colossal lapse of journalistic ethics by running large chunks of "Stolen Honor," a film that is not only overtly politically biased but documented to be untruthful, as "news" in the days just before the 2004 election. Apparently for Hyman, Anderson's creative description of a politician's "ruddy complexion" is a greater affront to journalistic ethics than his own company's attempt to influence the outcome of an election by airing propaganda labeled as news.

As if we didn't already have evidence aplenty of Hyman's fast and loose relationship with both journalistic ethics and the truth, Hyman gives us yet more examples in his attack on the Boston Globe. Citing an editorial that called for current Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney to step down now if he doesn't plan on running for reelection, Hyman says the Globe is "unprincipled" because it didn't call on either Michael Dukakis or John Kerry to step down when they ran for president (it's speculated that Romney isn't running again because he wants to take a shot at the GOP nomination).

But if you try to follow Hyman's tortured logic, it leads nowhere. The Globe didn't take a similar position on Dukakis and Kerry because their situations were utterly different from Romney's. Most obviously, Dukakis and Kerry continued to serve out their terms despite running for the presidency. They didn't bail on commitments made to the people of Massachusetts to do so. Moreover, both Dukakis and Kerry had spent years and years serving in public office.

In contrast, Romney hasn't even finished out his first term as governor. And, despite making iron-clad promises that he'd be running for reelection, he has suddenly done an about face and said that he won't run again, making him a lame duck governor.

So Hyman's attack on the Globe's lack of consistency is absurd on its face. Hyman implies that the Globe is applying different standards to the same situation, but in fact the situations involved are nothing like each other. Neither Kerry or Dukakis made themselves de facto lame ducks, and neither reneged on a promise to voters. Add the fact that Romney seems to be using the position he was given by Massachusetts voters as a mere means to an end, and it's understandable that The Globe and its readers would be a bit miffed at Mitt.

But as always, this critique assumes that logical consistency is a goal of Hyman's; perhaps it's unfair to attack him for not accomplishing basic intellectual coherence when it's something he clearly has no interest in.

And those are the Counterpoint short takes.


At 10:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


This Christmas, I made my usual "candy cane cookies" that my mother used to make. The recipe came from a little seasonal cookbook by Betty Crocker, published in 1959. It's interesting to use this little "time capsule" as a foil to Bill O'Reilly and Hyman's WagTheDog War On Christmas (TM).

This cookbook has a little calendar with such suggestions as "Save old Christmas cards for orphanages and church groups" and other such nostalgic ideas (i.e., notions with less overheated commercialism/consumerism that is the real staple of Christmas in American in the 21st century).

But the cookbook also prominently says, and I warn you... "Happy Holidays". Heaven forfend!

What Would Hyman Do?

At 2:12 AM, Anonymous hyman's turtle said...

he'd say you hate our troops.

hyman's turtle

At 11:38 PM, Anonymous Sickofspin said...

Ted wrote: "Most obviously, Dukakis and Kerry continued to serve out their terms despite running for the presidency. They didn't bail on commitments made to the people of Massachusetts to do so."

'Most obviously' Ted? Sure Ted, they continued to 'serve'....Let's take a look at how Kerry 'served' shall we? Senate Intelligence Committee: Official records show Kerry not present for at least 76% of public hearings held during his eight years on the panel. Eight years, not just the presidential campaign time frame.

Regarding Senate votes, Mr. Kerry was absent 60 percent of the time during his run for the White House, totaling 246 votes. In contrast, Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich who fruitlessly campaigned until the end, missed just 7 percent of the votes, totaling 38.

And that's the Ted Remington exposure.

At 11:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Sick Smear-o-Meter: FIFTEEN!!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This is now at least the FIFTEENTH time Sick of Spin has refused to provide any evidence for his smear against Ted Remington (Sick claimed the Ted abused his academic position by politicizing his work.)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Like Hyman, Sick continues with his shovel, but refuses to act with basic responsibly.

If he were my kid, he'd at least be given a 1 hour "time out".

Sick, where's your decency?

Huh? Huh? HUH? Hello McSick?
Hello in there!!!


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