The Alabama Moderate

Painting the Red State Purple.

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An End To "Judicial Activism"

Posted by ALmod on August 7, 2006

Question: How can you tell if a politician is lying?
Answer: His lips are moving.

It’s an old joke, but it does ring somewhat true. Of course, there are times when politicians seem to give us a small taste of the truth, but how can you be sure? Luckily, they’ve made it easy for us. If it’s been repeated at least five times by at least three people, it’s probably a lie. The truth is often simple and believable enough to stick the first time.

This is actually an old advertising trick: If you say something loudly enough and repeat it enough times, people will believe it. It works, too. Ever heard of “talking points”? The Democrats are sneakier about it because they at least change up the wording every now and again. But the Republicans, they’re easier to poke fun of, since they practically read their talking points from their Mehlman memo during interviews. What’s more, the Republicans seem to hold to yet another advertising mantra: Give it a catchy phrase so that people won’t forget it, even if they want to.

That’s why I’m picking on Republicans today. They’ve developed the political slogan equivalent to the Goldberg and Associates commercial. (For those of you not from the Birmingham area, I’m referring to a lawfirm advertisement with an annoying jingle to rival kids chanting “I want my Maypo!” that is likely to outlast the Energizer bunny. And yet, even though I hate it, I know their phone number by heart.) The annoying political catch phrase that won’t go away is (drumroll please) “liberal media”.

The thought is so ridiculous it hurts to laugh at it. The truth is that politicians lie, cheat, and will do anything that they can get away with. The Republican response is to tell you that the person responsible for telling you this is the one who is not to be trusted. “Don’t listen to the tattletale because he doesn’t like me.”

The catch phrase stuck. People remember it, and there is a whole army of Republican supporters who can’t seem to quit using it. Perhaps there are some papers or some reporters or some articles that show a slight liberal bias. Bias happens, but it usually doesn’t make the facts reported less true. Failure to properly check your facts does, and my real concern with the media is that reporters, liberal or conservative, seem to be neutered beyond asking any real questions during press conferences or doing any real amount of investigative reporting.

I’ve had it with the Birmingham News and its couldn’t-be-more-red-state readers. First, let me state that the News is one paper where I seen something that should have read, “The president responded to…” and instead read, “The president boldly confronted…” (That liberal rag!) Still, I get to read each week from those writing letters about how the News is a part of that evil “liberal media”, mostly because they had the nerve to report on something that might make the president look slightly less than messianic or the war in Iraq as less than a picnic. Cartoonist Scott Stantis is a favorite target as well. He is, after all, not allowed to show any opinion in a political cartoon.

Showing the humor of the situation, a friend of mine who is a columnist has received letters accusing him of liberal bias. Why is that funny? My friend is a columnist for the Outdoor Sports section.

I believe it is time that the Republicans retire the phrase “liberal media”. It’s overused and underappreciated. Perhaps it is simply in its “last throes”. Don’t be afraid to “cut and run” instead of “staying the course” with this phrase. It’s okay to be a “deserter”. Just think of it as showing respect for “the culture of life” by improving our quality of life. This is, after all, a “post 9/11 world”. I hope you’ll be “compassionate conservatives” and spare me any more of these. Don’t make me compare you to Hitler.

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One Response to “An End To "Judicial Activism"”

  1. Don said

    Jen, it’s good to see you becoming more active at blogging recently.

    I have problems with most Alabama print media that I read, mostly for their political content. Where are the good investigative reporters these days? There are too few, I think. Also, it’s becoming more difficult to distinguish between news articles and opinion pieces, because too often, as I believe you mentioned, opinions are inserted into what is supposed to be just the facts, all the facts, and nothing but the facts. A third problem concerns letters to editors as related to editorial or opinion pieces. Every paper I know of rightfully requires writers of LTE,s to identify themselves, but the only in-state major city paper I’m aware of that requires the editorialists to sign their work is The Huntsville Times, and it just started that practice within the last year, I think. I’ll wrap my rant up by saying that while writers of LTEs can cover some issues with brevity, at times it takes more words to make an issue understandable than the length limitations papers place on letters.

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