For all their “Suck it up, Buttercup!” bluster, conservatives sure are whiny snowflakes…. (More)
“Bullying and vicious personal attacks”
During the dinner, Bee railed against CNN head Jeff Zucker, who last month explained his network operates under “the idea that politics is sport,” a truth Zucker described as “undeniable.”
“It’s certainly undeniable that CNN treats [politics] like sport right down to sending players on the field despite their evident brain damage,” Bee said last weekend, rolling a montage of CNN hosts – including Nell Hughes – making inane arguments. In Hughes’ case, the footage was of her referring to a “Molotov cocktail” as “mazel tov cocktail.”
And that hurt Hughes’ fee-fees:
This past weekend on Not The White House Correspondents’ Dinner, you attacked me, personally – on national TV – not for my political views or my never-wavering support for President Trump. Nope, you attacked my intelligence with a cheap “brain damage” insult which was used to introduce video of my now infamous “mazel tov cocktail” slip-of-the-tongue.
Making fun of a silly verbal stumble on Live TV is fair game. But bullying with hurtful insults about someone’s intelligence is not. Hypocritical bullies like you will march on Washington at the drop of a hat, to allegedly support “women’s rights,” but then attack and demean women who possess differing political views. Shame on you and your team of writers. You owe me a sincere apology.
Either way, Game on Samantha Bee! Anytime you want to square off and talk, face-to-face, about the real issues facing Americans, Live, without your writers propping you up with scripted lines and insults, I’m happy to oblige.
Note that last line – “without your writers propping you up with scripted lines and insults” – implying that Bee doesn’t write her own material and couldn’t make an intelligent comment without someone giving her the words. So personal insults are fine, so long as she’s the one slinging them.
“A chilling precedent against free speech rights”
“It is absolutely shameful to see the media blocking the positive message that President Trump is trying to share with the country,” Michael Glassner, the Trump campaign’s executive director, said in a statement Tuesday. In an email on Friday, the campaign said the blackout is “setting a chilling precedent against free speech rights.”
By “positive message” she means an ad that features images of Andrea Mitchell, Rachel Maddow, Wolf Blitzer, Scott Pelley, and George Stephanopoulos under the all-caps graphic “FAKE NEWS!” Yes, really.
The networks rightly refused to run that:
“CNN requested that the advertiser remove the false graphic that the mainstream media is ‘fake news,’” the cable channel said in a statement Tuesday. “The mainstream media is not fake news, and therefore the ad is false and per policy will be accepted only if that graphic is deleted.”
NBC issued a similar statement on Friday: “Consistent with our policies, we have agreed to accept the ad if the inaccurate graphic – which refers to journalists as ‘fake news’ – is corrected.”
At that link, the Washington Post’s Callum Borchers explains why pretty much everything Glassner said is false:
In this case, the free-speech argument is not a winning one. TV stations – even over-the-air broadcasters, which are subject to tighter regulation by the Federal Communications Commission than their cable counterparts – do not have to allow the president to buy airtime for his ad.
Here is the relevant FCC rule:
No station licensee is required to permit the use of its facilities by any legally qualified candidate for public office, but if any licensee shall permit any such candidate to use its facilities, it shall afford equal opportunities to all other candidates for that office to use such facilities. Such licensee shall have no power of censorship over the material broadcast by any such candidate.
But the networks, which are not licensed by the FCC, do not have to show Trump’s ad, and their affiliates can turn down Trump, so long as they have not said yes to any other 2020 presidential candidate.
Also, by the dictionary definition of “fake,” the networks are correct to say that the ad is “false” or “inaccurate.” With few exceptions (Stephen Glass, Jayson Blair), mainstream news outlets do not fabricate stories. They might display shades of bias or publish errors requiring corrections, but that does not make them fake.
Observe: In its first email to reporters about the ad, his campaign said it is “calling out the mainstream media for peddling fake news and not reporting on the fact that President Trump is making America great again.”
By Trump’s standard, news is fake if it does not promote the subjective view that he is “making America great again.”
But mere laws and facts don’t matter. What matters is the God-King wants to run ads on TV networks, insulting those networks’ news broadcasts, and it’s censorship if they don’t let him lie about them!
“Adolf Hitler was a master of empathy”
Jonah Goldberg has been doing some reading – specifically, Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion, a book by a Yale psychologist named Paul Bloom. Goldberg calls the book “brave and brilliant,” and after reading it, he’s certain that that Jimmy Kimmel monologue about health insurance was bad for America, and that Kimmel’s appeal to the nation was not unlike emotional appeals made by Hitler.
Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up. Goldberg really says that:
Adolf Hitler was a master of empathy – for ethnic Germans in the Sudetenland, Austria, and elsewhere. The cause of nationalist empathy for the German tribe triggered profound moral blindness for the plight, and even the humanity, of Jews, Gypsies, and Slavs.
Which brings me back to Jimmy Kimmel. His story about his son aroused a riot of empathy across the nation. And he used that response to make an argument about health-care policy that was largely devoid of any consideration of the facts, trade-offs, or costs of what is the best way to deal with people, including babies, who have pre-existing medical conditions. He was largely wrong on the facts: Babies with dire medical conditions are covered by their parents’ insurance, and when their parents are uninsured, doctors don’t just let the baby die on the table. That doesn’t mean there aren’t inequities in the system or that the current health-care regime is anywhere close to perfect.
But it is very difficult to have a rational discussion about the trade-offs inherent to any health-care system – including socialized medicine – when all anyone can think about is the ordeal of a newborn baby and his loving parents.
Yes, it’s so much better to hide the real lives of Those People under a cloud of Pure Reason And Deft Sophistry.
For example, hospitals have a legal duty to stabilize patients in life-threatening situations. But they have no legal duty to perform expensive follow-up surgery of the kind Kimmel’s child needed. And they have no legal duty to provide even stabilizing care free-of-charge. So if the family have no health insurance, they face bankruptcy … exactly as Kimmel said.
But Kimmel was telling us to have compassion for people who aren’t like him. He knows that we understand how well off he is. He knows that we realize he has good access to health care. He said that health care for a dying child ought to be accessible (and, by implication, affordable) for people who aren’t TV stars. Presumably, quite a few of these people won’t be white urban coast-dwellers, like Kimmel. This is the exact opposite of empathy for people like us, unless you define “people like us” as “all Americans” or “all American children.” (Aren’t we, as Americans, supposed to do right by our fellow citizens?)
Kimmel wasn’t asking us to save his child. Calling for the prevention of a hundred deaths was precisely what he was doing. Telling us to consider abstract future benefits rather than present-day comforts is also precisely what he was doing – he was saying that millions of people should not be deprived of health insurance they’ll need in the future just so we can now pocket a tax cut.
I don’t dispute Bloom’s research on the limits of empathy. The resident faculty discussed that six years ago, in reviewing J.D. Trout’s The Empathy Gap. But there are also limits to pure rational analysis, most notably that human brains simply don’t function that way. As a cognitive scientist, Bloom is surely aware that humans whose brains can’t link emotions to facts are unable to make moral judgments. Simply, estimates of how many people will lose coverage due to preexisting conditions – faceless, impersonal numbers – mean nothing without an emotional experience of what that means.
Kimmel put the abstract notion of preexisting conditions in a personal, emotional setting, not to solicit help for his own daughter, but to make people recognize that trading away preexisting coverage for a massive tax cut for rich people will have real, painful consequences.
And for that … Goldberg compares him to Hitler?
Like I said, for all their “Suck it up, Buttercup!” bluster, conservatives sure are whiny snowflakes.
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Good day and good nuts