Thursday, February 16, 2006

More Proof Fox News is Biased

Still have doubts about the objectivity of Fox News? Consider this:

Dick Cheney, well known to be a media hater and arch-conservative, decides he needs to give and interview about his hunting accident. Naturally, he and his staff chose Fox News, because they know that Fox will make him look good. They were right--Cheney admitted he had been drinking earlier in the day of the accident, and Fox conveniently cut that out of the broadcast.

Even more disturbing, perhaps, is yet more evidence that Cheney doesn't know history: He actually claims that a shooting involving the VP is a unique historical situation. Apparently he doesn't know that then Vice-President Aaron Burr shot and killed Alexander Hamilton. History schmistory...

Sunday, February 12, 2006

They Still Don't Get It

Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice continues to demonstrate that she, and by extension the President, still doesn't understand the hearts and minds of Muslims, and this misunderstanding continues to make matters worse for America and the world.

When the Palestinians elected Hamas to a plurality in their parliamentary elections, the U.S. response (at least publicly) was this: From Bush we heard a vague insinuation that the election result came about because of corruption and ineffectiveness on the part of the formerly ruling party (Arafat's Palestinian Authority). The people have spoken, he said, by throwing the bums out, which is fine, as long as the new government changes one of the planks of its platform (the one that calls for the destruction of Israel).

This point of view ignores a couple of important points. After a period in which the Palestinian Authority engaged (off and on) in peace negotiations, the Palestinian people elect a party that takes a harder line towards Israel. Anyone but Bush would at least consider that perhaps the real, democratically expressed and heartfelt belief of the Palestinians is that Israel should be destroyed, or at least that there should be no peace. If this is so, then saying to Hamas that they should change their platform to one more tolerant of Israel just proves to the Muslim world that we will deal with them only on our terms, and only if they agree with our worldview from the outset. If you were them, wouldn't you tell us to fuck off? I certainly would.

This isn't the only way the Bush Administration is making this mistake. Secretary of State Rice was questioned on two different Sunday Morning shows about the riots in the Muslim world over the Danish political cartoons. Both times she started with, "we know some people are mad, but..." Then she went on to claim that certain Muslim governments are causing the demonstrations, and that violent demonstration is wrong and should stop.

Again, there seems to be no understanding here. First, it never seems to occur to Rice that Muslims on the street are actually angry, and that's it's not just their evil governments telling them how to feel (like the evil Hamas telling the people they must support the destruction of Israel). Second, telling these people, who are angry, that it's inappropriate to express that anger in their own way in their own countries is really just the evil U.S. Government telling them how they should act and feel, isn't it? The simple fact is that non-violent demonstrations would not be getting the attention that the violent ones are, and the message is being sent all the more strongly. Bush and Rice just don't get it--they want Muslims to demonstrate in a way that's easy to ignore (because after all, it's just the evil governments stirring up trouble anyway, right?)

Let's put ourselves in their shoes for a second. Say the government of Iran declares they're not going to deal with the United States while Republicans are in power, because Republicans favor discrimination against Muslims inside the United States (just for the sake of argument.) How would we react? Would we hang our heads, and say, "yeah, the Iranians are right, we should be ashamed, we only liked Republicans for their tax policy, etc." I don't think so. But that's exactly the reaction that Bush and Rice seem to expect from the Muslim world.

I hope in the 2006 elections we will finally elect some people who see the world as it really is, rather than those who are too stupid to understand anything but their own self-deluded point of view.