Saturday, November 5, 2011

Yes, they do think you're that dumb...

From Patricia Kilday-Hart's Chron.com column on corporal punishment:
A clarification: My Wednesday column claimed that 68,000 Harris County voter registration applications were "rejected" in 2008. According to the county attorney's office, during 2007 and 2008 the voter registrar's office rejected 3,518 persons who applied for voter registration cards. During the same period, the tax office also sent 64,036 notices to voters who had submitted incomplete applications; of those, 29,386 ultimately registered, according to county records.

That's not a "clarification", that's a "correction".

That Kilday-Hart and the editors of the Chron believe you and I don't know the difference says a lot about how they view their viewers. To be fair, it's not limited to the Chron (or their Texas Hearst brethren), other media outlets go out of their way to blunt criticism by attacking the critics through grammatical silliness or false appeals to partisanship.

For example. One time, several years back, I was attempting to debate a point of something with Kyrie O'Connor, now (unbelievably) the interim editor of the San Antonio Express-News. Once it became apparent she couldn't refute my argument on "facts", she chose to take advantage of my inability to edit chron.comments and my one mis-use of "its" vs "it's". Did I make a typo? Yes, undoubtedly. Did that make my entire argument invalid? Only in the minds of the press. It doesn't stop there, instead of answering legitimate questions about The Texas Tribune's story on the Texas Windstorm Association, Trib Editor Evan Smith accused me of "grousing".

Unfortunately for Mr. Smith, the readers saw it as more than that:
Erin Anderson
So, to recap: $327 Million taxpayer dollars for 1,000 (temporary) jobs (when the "stimulus" money is gone, so are the jobs), 8,600 homes "weatherized" (with half of homes inspected found "deficient"), agencies unprepared to administer the program, shoddy record-keeping, and outright fraud. Yet the conclusion is that this program is successful and thriving??

Recipients of free money are always happy with the results. But the other 24 million Texans who did not get free weatherization or a government-subsidized job do not believe this was a "successful" use of our tax dollars. Throwing around "free" money (aka "stimulus") is an inefficient way to allocate resources that always results in high levels of waste & fraud.

And since the U.S. is almost $15 TRILLION in debt and borrows $0.43 of every dollar it spends, that's about $140 Million that will have to be repaid with interest by taxpayers. But most importantly, that's $327 Million that now cannot be spent on any other higher-priority uses, such as hiring more teachers & firemen like the President is always talking about (for example, 6,500 teachers at $50,000 each). Not the definition of success.
Is that "grousing"? Or is it a serious question regarding the completeness and context of the article?

This isn't the first petty argument I've received from Smith, who seems to spend more time editing my blog (for free, I thank him for that) than he does his own publication. Typically he gets me for misspelling his cub-reporters names. Obviously, I want to give them the correct credit, so I fix these errors whenever I can.

All that being said there's a big difference in the funding (and supposedly, the mission) of Chron.com and the Tribune, if not between the attitudes and political leanings of their reporters. The Chronicle is corporate owned, and presents itself as a non-biased media source. The Tribune is non-profit, and plays lip service to not being partisan but is lacking a single Republican on its board of directors. Its main funding comes from Democratic sources. It was very much founded as a Colorado Model organization (Also known as: News-ish) and has followed their business plan to a T.

Which leads us back to Kilday-Hart's "clarification". When Kilday-Hart wrote the original column it was forwarding an idea (that Kilday-Hart and Democrats both share) that Republicans are evil anti-Democracy warriors seeking to deny the right to vote to those who won't vote for them. The data point that she "clarified" seemingly lent credence to that argument. Except that it didn't, and the truth of it severely damaged Kilday-Hart's original argument. By "clarifying" it, instead of "correcting" it as should have been done, Kilday-Hart is implying that her original argument is still valid. That you, the paying (or non-paying) customer are too dense to figure all of this out. It's a very negative view of the general populace, one again (conveniently) shared by Kilday-Hart and the Democratic Party.

The larger, overriding, problem is that a majority of Texas lock-step political media would rather wash their eyes out with bleach rather than spend time conversing and sharing with the work-a-day Texas citizen. You can tell by the tone that they view most of them as rubes and hacks again, a view conveniently shared by them and the Democratic Party.

Does this mean that the media has a "Democratic bias"? No, that argument is sad an only made by people too dense to understand the difference between partisan and ideological. But they are, for the most part, much to the left of Texas' mainstream political population, just as I feel the Tea Party is right of the same. This wouldn't be a problem if they would admit their progressive leanings. Let us know the truth and go from there.

But they don't. Therein lies the rub.

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