What’s in the Word Miracle?

16 10 2010

As the Chilean mine rescue unfolded in real time, coverage in every language suggested we were witnessing a miracle.

So what’s in that word, miracle? Not intelligence and good will. Not good journalism either, not even good theology. So says a man often called a miracle himself:

Roman Catholic theology from the days of Aquinas has tried admirably to build on logical reasoning. . .Such theology is a help is clarifying what we’re really talking about. . .

That is why precision in language is useful. Einstein observed, “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with the important matters.”

Good slogan for a real news organization or top-flight journalism college, if there remain any of either.

Immediately post-Watergate when I was an honors journalism undergrad and newspaper intern, the least consequential “fact error” led to the student’s sudden death: an automatic, unappealable zero on the assignment, no matter how well-executed otherwise. Einstein’s trust-the-truth principle was the reason hammered home to us.

(Is unappealable a real word? Hope you get my true meaning from it.)

Real news journalism for that brief and shining moment — a few decades at most? — meant lively, liberally educated minds pursuing and expressing truths with precise yet poetic language meant to convey knowledge in both small and important matters. . .you know, more what America’s Founding Fathers really said and did and meant, less what their words have decayed into.

How much better to describe the rescue as the result of the fortitude of the miners and the skill of the good-willed people on the surface who reached them in what was, after all, a very short time. How much better to say the outcome in Chile was the result of intelligence and good will.

But there seems to be a narrative in these matters that requires the citing of divinity. Newscasters, victims and their families alike praise the powers above. This reassures us — of what?

That everybody knows the script.

That’s below the radar of wrong-doing even. It seems just lazy, intellectually and morally, to settle for safe, well-worn ruts of yesterday’s meaning that can’t go where tomorrow’s thinking needs to be, today.

(What’s the commercial shipping slogan, when it absolutely, positively has to get there overnight? Better not just bank on a miracle!)

We can do better.

NPR is no miracle yet in my view it defines intelligent narrative, good will and trustworthy use of language. Today I saw a good f’rinstance: seeking new words to make room for naturally growing thought, instead of allowing the old tightly bound narratives to deform new understanding as Chinese foot-binding once deformed naturally growing girls. So let’s sing its praises! 😉

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet. My question is, does it work the other way around? Does a fuzzy name make fish smell less fishy?

. . .. . .What Would You Call Attack-Ad Funders? . . .we put the question to you. What should we call these groups?

As you’ll appreciate if you’ve been snooking here awhile, answers always interest me of course. But the question! — ah, the interesting question is sheer poetry.

Today throughout the world, poetry often incorporates poetic form and diction from other cultures and from the past, further confounding attempts at definition and classification that were once sensible within a tradition such as the Western canon.

OTOH let’s be precise and acknowledge it would be a miracle indeed, if any human organization or institution were perfect, including NPR. Sigh. When it came time to update our understanding of self-governing “sanity” and to put modern meaning where their public lip service was, NPR wrongly failed to ask the most important questions right along with the rest of the news media and fell back on simplistic old pre-scripted cultural pasttimes we inherited but long ago outgrew, like ring around the rosey.

Which I’m sad to say, smells a bit fishy.

Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.

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50 responses

16 10 2010
wellwateredgarden

So, the amazing rescue of those Chilean miners was not a miracle … I agree. But, what then, is a miracle?

16 10 2010
JJ

Favorite Daughter is the religion scholar, not me, but as I understand it from the article linked, a miracle is something “inexplicable by natural or scientific laws” AND done not to help any human — in answer to prayer, for example — but only to “demonstrate the glory of God” like purposeful aggrandizement of the divine, a wake-up call and object lesson if you will, to doubters?

16 10 2010
JJ

So a miracle is like God Theatre.

16 10 2010
wellwateredgarden

Miracle … God Theatre. I like that.

Yet, what would be the purpose of God to “demonstrate the glory of God,” if not for human benefit? Who (what?) else consciously brings him glory?

16 10 2010
JJ

The idea seems to be that benefit to any particular human (living hundreds of years or throwing aside crutches or regaining sight or whatever) is just collateral to the larger point, which I agree is to astound and impress the larger human “audience.” Not that I see how it does that. It’s more like professional propaganda and like Groucho Marx, I don’t think too much of a deity that would want me as a subject if I fell for that.

And honestly, think as I might, I also don’t see how that brings glory to the star of the show, any more than me showing off for the children I produced brings me glory.

And then that’s not the only part of the theology story that’s, shall we say, difficult! 😉

16 10 2010
JJ

From a rabbi blogging at HuffPo re the Chilean mine rescue comes what I take as a humanist manifesto, “God or no God”:

We — consumers, viewers, readers, users, curators, producers, editors, journalists — all share responsibility for creating what becomes the news that shapes our public culture, our emotional landscape, our water cooler conversations. . . .

A billion people in a networked world had a shared experience of life, as it should be. God or no God, there must surely be some sort of obligation that comes with having been gifted to witness this “miracle” in our day.

17 10 2010
wellwateredgarden

And what ‘obligation’ would that be? How would that take form beyond the mere talking about it?

And, oh, ‘showing off before the kids you produced’ does bring valid glory to you, if only in their eyes, the very reason you would be showing off in the first place.

Incidentally, 21 miners just died in China where a total of 2600 died last year as result of mining accidents. Where’s the ‘obligation’ in that?

17 10 2010
JJ

Are you asking me what the rabbi meant? Or is that a rhetorical question, and if so, to what point? I don’t get who you are or what you’re saying except the increasingly sharp edge coming through.

About the very reason for showing off for my children? — I wouldn’t. Not for that reason or any other.

17 10 2010
wellwateredgarden

Did you notice several of the rescued miners, the first thing they did after reaching safe ground was stop to pray?

Of course you show off to your kids. Every parent portrays themselves better than they actually are. There is nothing new under the sun, evolved home schooler.

17 10 2010
Lynn

JJ: ” I don’t get who you are…”

Well, if I were to take a stab at it, I’d guess that wellwateredgarden is a Christan male, advanced in age, with a desire, through (his) writings, to see all men and women exercise faith in God and His promises, and to encourage everyone, young and old, to come to a believing realization that Jesus Christ lived and died two thousand years ago, and is alive today, so that we might by faith, and in the power of the spirit of God, be freed from our separation from Him, and as result live victorious lives in this world and the next. To God only be all glory! And someone who doesn’t think to highly of “evolved home schoolers.” 😦

17 10 2010
Lynn

Damn, “to” is “too.”

17 10 2010
JJ

LOL Lynn, I just came from Favorite Daughter’s final performance of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” where one contestant gets out on a three-letter word. 😉

I’m gonna guess you’re right and build on that supposition, say it is specifically Red Hat Rob from Tennessee who chased all the evolved homeschoolers off Kay Brooks’ secular legislative discussion list years ago, and just got all huffy with me on Scott Somerville’s FaceBook page the other day when I told him I had no interest in discussing anything with him. It’s no fun getting me to answer a question or two for you despite that, Rob, if I don’t know it’s you —

17 10 2010
JJ

” . . .the unlikeliest of heroes: a quirky yet charming cast of outsiders for whom a spelling bee is the one place where they can stand out and fit in at the same time.”

Spelling Bee is an exceedingly anti-authoritarian story btw, a cautionary tale about competing rather than cooperating and caring for one another, one of the best things about it. Rob would hate it. (Jesus has a cameo on roller skates, after one parochial school student prays him up.)

Btw Lynn, Rob directs some kind of shrine to promulgating the Word of Francis Schaeffer (the father, not the son who finally saw some light) — surprised then, that he and I wouldn’t be able to use words in common meaning? 😉

17 10 2010
wellwateredgarden

Got you going, huh? Ain’t life beautiful? Don’t take yourself so serious.
Oh, by the way, while I think of it. “Evolved” from what to what?

PS – I think home scholing nowadays is the only way to go.

17 10 2010
JJ

Goodbye, then. (Humming good-bye song from Spelling Bee.)

Apparently you failed to read our comment policy in the right-hand ear box: “We do not suffer trolls, fools, and spam gladly. You are always responsible for your own comments but we don’t promise to publish anything and everything that comes in. . .”

17 10 2010
Nance Confer

So, Lynn, it’s gaydar if you can spot a gay person. What super sense do you have that you can spot these bloviators for Christ so easily?

So have the lawsuits started yet? Or are the Chilean miners supposed to be so happy to be out, and to have been treated decently in the process, that they are supposed to forget whatever cost-cutting and corporate greed caused the cave in in the first place?

Or don’t we think that’s a pretty damned safe assumption?

17 10 2010
Lynn

Nance: “So, Lynn, it’s gaydar if you can spot a gay person. What super sense do you have that you can spot these bloviators for Christ so easily?”

Hi Nance. You must be referring to my “fundar” (fundamentalism radar). Not only does it come in handy when blogging; fundar is also helpful when reading books (Could My Fundar Be Malfunctioning?) and watching movies (A Boatload of Nonsense). In this particular case, however, I just googled “wellwateredgarden” and found his gravatar. LOL

17 10 2010
JJ

Nance, I figured it out by accident. She used grava-dar. 😉

(click on his comment avatar and the paragraph Lynn quoted comes up as his Gravatar profile.)

17 10 2010
JJ

. . . forget whatever cost-cutting and corporate greed caused the cave in, in the first place?

I caught part of a Tom Jones tribute this afternoon — What’s Up Pussycat? — as he told how lucky (or was it a MIRACLE??) he’d been to have a two-year fight with tuberculosis as a child in Wales.

Without that impairing his lungs, he would have gone to work in the coal mines like his father and been poor his whole life. Poverty trapped below the earth or TB. It’s a miracle!

17 10 2010
JJ

Just remembered this discussion: No perfect protection for our kids but better thinking would help

I think homeschool families have particular reason to pay attention here, because “home education” as a regulated minority suffers one way or another from our all culture’s confusions and conceits, controls and misguided compassions. . . . I’ve got a lot more thinking to do, especially about the church, school and family stories we tell each other and ourselves.

Principled Discovery is hosting comments about a tornado killing a homeschooled boy scout in a shelter when the stone fireplace fell on him. Parents so far have reacted to this tragedy by :
a) running through a checklist of what could have been done differently,
b) empathizing with the family’s loss, and
c) murmuring it was God’s will that things happen just as they do.

A little girl was killed by lightning in a state park here in north Florida Sunday . . . while the rest of her family stood helpless.

18 10 2010
Lynn

You’ve reminded me of this cartoon about the miners.

18 10 2010
JJ

Exactly. And notice despite the publishing blog’s name, it isn’t an “atheist” cartoon, is it? — all four men are looking to “god” rather than man and just like trapped miners, if you live in that all-consuming darkness long enough, it blinds you in full sunlight to the doings of humankind in the real world. If you can’t see what’s going on, of course your power of story will be screwed up. (See Sarah Palin — her Alaska is not reality but reality show and her America seems literally a Cargo Cult.)

Mine collapse disasters are caused by man making mines in the first place, not by spontaneous natural disaster like the Haitian earthquake.

Btw, Chile had a deadly disaster of an earthquake this year too, five hundred times as strong as Haiti’s, so powerful it shifted cities on the earth’s axis and altered TIME! But has anyone called that God Theatre, a glory-seeking deity showing off to stun mortals to their knees with literal “shock” and awe? (Or was that Chile’s divine punishment, with the mine collapse a loving father’s remediating lesson and olive branch of redemption? See also Climate Contrarian: Abandon Hope?)

Nance offers true atheist thought, that the mining disaster is all about what humans did wrong and right, tracking the rabbi’s point about our ethical “obligation” to do better. All cargo cult assertions about mysterious blessings OR curses falling inexplicably from the sky are theist, and going along with them when we know better and can DO better to educate and enlighten, is or ought to be be a damning offense in any ethical system:

They’re certainly naïve and based on a fallacious confusion of correlation and causation, but to give their believers some credit, they’re doing their best to make sense of what they’ve been given. . . . Rather than smiling at their funny little religion, or trying to replace it with another, we should instead give them the tools they need to create their own wealth of cargo.

About not being blinded by the darkness of deity, this was a good discussion and directly relevant. Just substitute teen mothers for trapped miners:

The only reason I’d care to figure out more about why anyone would put ideology over scientific evidence when it causes more people to suffer and die and the planet to sicken, is so we can figure out how to stop it.

About giving tools to Haiti and whether god or the devil is in those details, see Who Cares About Haiti?

18 10 2010
JJ

From The Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth by Mike Schwager:

I believe we’re in an age where a view of humanity as dark and “herd-like” should not govern . . . I believe we must take the high road by simply telling people the truth about the products, services and issues we represent. That presupposes that we can in good conscience represent nondeceptive, truthful clients. . .

My own view is that manipulating the darker forces of human nature is inappropriate. . . . Here are my Ten Commandments . . .

1. All human beings are intelligent. . .
2. Tell the truth. . .
3. Appeal to people’s better instincts . . .
4. Understand that we are one human family on this planet . . .
5. Talk to people as you would want to be talked to yourself. . .
6. Represent companies, organizations, associations, governments, authors and celebrities who operate legitimately, in the best interests of the public interest.
7. Every human is entitled to basic human rights – the right to live without intolerance, persecution or control; the right to a decent living income; the right to be treated with respect; and the right to fulfill their dreams.
8. Encourage your clients to support in spirit and actuality, causes that uplift humanity. . .
9. Represent life-affirming companies that make good and healthy products, that provide services in the public interest, that are ethical and honest.
10. Life is precious. We live in one world, together. Respect yourself, your neighbors and all other humans. And respect other life forms on this planet.

. . . Let’s not let the human heart, or the human right for the whole truth, run behind. Is journalism performing its highest calling when it does not probe more deeply for the truth behind events? And what good is public relations if it promotes inauthenticity in a world that doesn’t work?

23 10 2010
Mrs. C

I know I am late in the game but thought I’d add…

I’m a Bible-believing Christian and the extreme overuse of the word “miracle” bothers me as well. Another one that’s annoying? “Tragedy.” It was a “tragedy” that this child was left alone in a hot car and died. Well, no, it wasn’t. It was a stupid-*ss mistake on the dad’s part (forgive my cussin’). “Tragedy” is a classical form of theatre (usu. with more than one god lol) in which hubris leads to an unalterable end that was forordained (eg. Oedipus Rex, Macbeth, etc). It isn’t exemplified by a mad gunman on the loose, a bad driver, or a sense of coulda-shoulda when something bad happens.

23 10 2010
JJ

Hi Mrs. C, glad to see you again and agreeing with me, too! 😉

And I agree with you about tragedy, although I suppose I think of tragedy not specifically as hubris but a bit broader, as whatever your strength is also turning out to be your weakness, even your downfall . . .

24 10 2010
JJ

Noting for the record that I wrote the original post and my comments about NPR both pro and con, literally hours before the whole Juan Williams controversy broke wide open.

Prescience!

I was just rereading the Ten Commandments a couple of comments upthread, noticing that Juan WIlliams broke several while we could say NPR struggles mightily to honor them.

27 10 2010
Mrs. C

Not having seen the whole program, I’m not sure how to feel about it. If it’s a show where people are to discuss the issues of the day as they see ’em, it’s perfectly reasonable to come out and say that one FEELS frightened of (insert ethnic/religious group here) so long as it doesn’t deteriorate into an ethnic bashing session. After all, it’s how we respond to those feelings that are so important, really, and I’d hate to see everyone just become closet racists because getting our dragons out of the cave and fighting ’em is so stinkin’ hard.

27 10 2010
Lynn
27 10 2010
JJ

“If it’s a show where people are to discuss the issues of the day as they see ‘em” . . .

@ Mrs. C — we can stipulate that FOX commentary on this and all FOX programming pleases FOX and is carefully designed to be delivered by the people FOX chooses to create higher profits, for being blonde or bigoted or just not very effective if they are being used as token liberals a la Alan Colmes. So no need to watch that whole program to learn more.

But that’s in violation of Juan Williams’ straight news role and ethics at NPR, which never employed Williams as a commentator and doesn’t make decisions based on ginning up listener “motivation” for higher profits. Ironically he was hired on the strength of his civil rights work. NPR is public education like well, public education! — in other words, not corporate cutthroat for-profit charters or vocational schools ripping off the public and then using all those millions and billions lobbying and campaigning. (See Chronicle of Higher Education’s “The Making of Corporate U”)

Williams did fit right in on that FOX program, I agree, and that was the whole issue, because that made him unfit for his role at NPR. And now he gets to play for the big bucks too and say whatever he wants, including immediately and publicly trashing NPR (which imo makes it pretty clear he didn’t belong there, but right on FOX!)

@ Lynn — thanks, I read that in the Miami Herald today and posted to our parent-directed education list, did I miss adding it here too? Glad you did. Pitts is actually a commentator and is meant to say whatever he wants, like Maureen Dowd and UNlike Williams at NPR. I wrote on our email list that Pitts’ was indeed an interesting view I could largely agree with, with one important exception:
“I do quarrel with the idea than Juan Williams’ outside-news-straying on FOX was reacted to with a ‘hair trigger’ unless we believe hair-trigger firing takes ten years!”

I also think anyone (certainly not Pitts) who took O’Keefe’s and Breitbart’s side against actual journalism, needs to shut the hell up about NPR unless they don’t mind removing all doubt of their corruption.

28 10 2010
JJ

Lynn, I’m not sure how I could have done this except I was reading a few places at the same time, but I mistook your link for this Leonard Pitts column. Yours is a terrible piece of actual news!

28 10 2010
JJ

Yet another negative impact of Sarah Palin on America — she’s got me way overusing the word actual. 😉

28 10 2010
Lynn

If the bomb threat was related to Williams’ firing, does the incident make a stronger (and ironic) case for holding commentators responsible for the incendiary language used which, too often, incites others to violence? I do understand and agree with Mrs. C’s good points; it’s just that the Glenn Beck “Tides Foundation” shooter is still fresh in my mind. Along with Rachel Maddow’s recent special on Bill O’Reilly’s “Tiller, the Baby Killer.” 😦 There is no doubt in my mind that FOX is deliberately fanning the flames of resentment, only to step back and disavow the inevitable consequences of that rhetoric.

[Zzzzz]. All of a sudden, I’m sssso sleepy. I hope that made sense. Deepest apologies, if it didn’t. 😉

28 10 2010
JJ

I see that too, and FOX cashes in on it in both directions!

28 10 2010
JJ

The petite lady protester pinned and head-stomped by five Rand Paul self-appointed security vigilantes was given a concussion because they were, I hear, specifically whipped up by Glenn Beck to such violence. He was warning his listeners about “liberals” out to be violent at rallies and other free-speech zones. He said in effect, be ready to be violent first — that’s the Bush Doctrine, right? Preemptive violence in the name of peace.

(I’m pretty sure it was NOT the Christian Doctrine but otoh, none of what I thought I knew seems to apply in America anymore.)

28 10 2010
JJ

Here’s a current round-up of the violent rhetoric and actions:
From Rand Paul Stomper To Allen West’s Bikers: Rise In Far-Right Violence During 2010 Elections:

Tim Profitt — the stomper — has enraged many people even further by showing no remorse for giving the young woman a concussion, saying that she should actually apologize to him. MoveOn has launched a “You Can’t Stomp On Us!” page, asking people to submit photos holding signs with the phrase.

“In 2010, in American women deserve better than to be assaulted and then blamed for it,” the site states. “In 2010, in America, engaging in political protest is not an invite for a beating.”

28 10 2010
Lynn

re: vigilantes were whipped up by Glenn Beck, warning his listeners about “liberals” out to be violent at rallies and other free-speech zones

Wow. You can’t make this stuff up, can you?

28 10 2010
JJ

Instead of looking at political violence as left v right, how does it look as (declared) believers versus not? I’m thinking the stompers and shooters and screamers and handcuffers and of course the warriors, tend toward the believing side. And since the believing side tends toward the right and the right tends toward authoritarianism, it comes full circle to become force, the kind where might makes right against other humans to make them do what you want them to, the way you want them to, never mind what they want or their “rights” or even what you ordinarily believe IS right.

28 10 2010
JJ

For example (Lynn, you may have to cover your eyes!)

Beck warns that “in the end, in revolutions, real dangerous killers show up when things start to fall apart.” Discussing how the government is “growing out of control,” Beck attacked former White House green jobs adviser Van Jones and “the government” for using “fear tactics.” Beck told listeners that he “told you this would happen” and added that “I told you just last week that I believe these are the most dangerous two years of our republic. Because in the end, in revolutions, the real dangerous killers show up when things start to fall apart. When the nudge moves to shove, and the shove doesn’t work, the killers show up. It happens every time. That’s why we must be united for peace, we must be united with love, we must be united with God.” [The Glenn Beck Program, 9/27/10]

Beck: “Violence will come. And violence will come from the left. Violence is part of the plan.” Beck warned listeners that “if you don’t think violence is coming, I’m going to share some audio of Frances Fox Piven that will boggle your mind.” Beck said that “they don’t mind violence. Violence will come. And violence will come from the left. Violence is part of the plan. Not mine, not yours.” [The Glenn Beck Program, 9/13/10]

Beck on progressives: When the “soft revolution” fails, they “just start shooting people.” Beck claimed that progressives are engaging in a “soft revolution” designed to silence voices like his. He added: “If somebody starts to turn on them, or they can’t get everyone to silence, that’s when the arrests come, or that’s when they start a hard revolution. That’s when they start just shooting people. I hope we don’t get to that point. I pray that we don’t get to that point, but I never thought this country would get to the point where we are today.” [The Glenn Beck Program, 5/27/10]

Beck warns of violence: “Trouble” by the “most violent” progressives “is coming.” Beck suggested that Obama would respond to potential GOP victories in November elections by “going right directly” to the “most progressive, most violent, the worst of the worst on the left and stir ’em up. ‘Get out into the streets. Cause trouble.’ It’s what’s coming. It’s what’s coming.” [The Glenn Beck Program, 9/24/10]

Beck: “Violence is coming” and “the left will blame me.” Beck said that people need to “wake up” and see “what is coming,” which Beck described as “violence.” He added that “the left will blame me.” [The Glenn Beck Program, 8/2/10]

28 10 2010
JJ

All that reminds me of this very EXCELLENT discussion in which some of your fine folks participated:

Another unfortunate public school (major university) with a football coach just oozing conservative Christianity. . .and the univ. president is one of his former players and fellow Baptist church members. What are you gonna do, right? This is the SOUTH. . . .
Which all ties to federal secular politics; is it why the NFL is what it is politically, or is that more Corporate Elite than Christian Elite? Can anybody even tell the difference any more?

It’s violent. All about enforcing and attacking and beating (concussing or killing if need be) and then thanking God for the triumph. That much is increasingly clear.

30 10 2010
JJ

Consider Juan Williams compared to Andrew Breitbart:

ABC Taps Andrew Breitbart For Election Night Analysis
**UPDATE 10/30/10*** Greg Sargent reports that ABC’s newsroom us upset over the network’s decision to tap Andrew Breitbart [the conservative blogger whose out-of-context video footage of Shirley Sherrod got the Agriculture Department official fired] for election-night analysis:

It looks like lefty bloggers aren’t the only ones irked by ABC News’s decision . . .People in ABC’s newsroom were also caught completely off guard by the news, a newsroom source tells me. . .

Andrew Morse, executive producer of ABC News digital, released a statement defending the move:

“Since conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart announced on his website that he was going to be a participant in ABC’s Town Hall meeting at Arizona State University, there has been considerable consternation and misinformation regarding my decision to ask him to participate in an election night Town Hall event on ABC News Digital. I want to explain what Mr. Breitbart’s role has always been — as one of our guests at our digital town hall event:

Mr. Breitbart is not an ABC News analyst.
He is not an ABC News consultant.
He is not, in any way, affiliated with ABC News.
He is not being paid by ABC News.
He has not been asked to analyze the results of the election for ABC News.

Mr. Breitbart will not be a part of the ABC News broadcast coverage, anchored by Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos. For the broadcast coverage, David Muir and Facebook’s Randi Zuckerberg will contribute reaction and response gathered from the students and faculty of Arizona State University at an ABC News/Facebook town hall.

He has been invited as one of several guests, from a variety of different political persuasions, to engage with a live, studio audience that will be closely following the election results and participating in an online-only discussion and debate. . . We will have other guests, as well as a live studio audience and a large audience on ABCNews.com and Facebook, who can question the guests’ and the audience’s opinions.”

. . . Breitbart will not have license to lie during the broadcast. “He will be one of many voices on our air, including Bill Adair of Politifact,” Ford said. “If Andrew Breitbart says something that is incorrect, we have other voices to call him on it.”

For his part, Breitbart seems to be enjoying the backlash that has quickly followed the news; writing on Twitter, he’s taking on all comers. A typical Tweet: “You mean Left going to boycott ABC because I’m on election night panel? Proving my main point: Leftists are PC totalitarians. #juanwilliams”
. . . ‘I will publicly debate these cowards on each & every one,” Breitbart wrote. “Anytime, anywhere.”

31 10 2010
JJ

Back to my criticism in the original post about NPR misunderstanding the Rally to Restore Sanity, at least NPR turns out to have a sense of humor!

NPR was among the news organizations getting an award for fear for applying their rally policies to this rally and asking employees not covering it not to go. But it was presented as a blanket ban on any employee being there, which provided me with the unique opportunity to be at the rally to hear myself made fun of for not being at the rally.

31 10 2010
JJ

Sanity is a terrible thing to waste . . .but we shouldn’t need a miracle to save ours.

31 10 2010
Lynn

ABC executive producer: “Mr. Breitbart is not an ABC News analyst.”

When my husband and I were watching the rally, we heard Jon Stewart say,

…Well, that’s okay—you go and then I’ll go.

And sure, at some point there will be a selfish jerk who zips up the shoulder and cuts in at the last minute, but that individual is rare and he is scorned and not hired as an analyst.

We thought he probably meant to say that the jerk *will* be hired as an analyst… though now I’m wondering if he meant to reference Breitbart… or am I reading too much into it?

31 10 2010
Lynn

Speaking of the rally and Beck-based violence, I also liked:

The press can hold its magnifying up to our problems bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected dangerous flaming ant epidemic.

31 10 2010
Lynn

Oops, just noticed you have a separate post on the rally. :O

31 10 2010
JJ

As you’ve noticed, we’re very fuzzy here with the logic of dividing discussion topics! So it’s all fine right in this thread. For the record, it may spill over into the rally post too. 🙂

31 10 2010
JJ

About Breitbart, I wondered about that when I heard it. I decided Jon was cleverly combining the serendipitous two-fer of Williams and Breitbart both in the news about news as not being news, to make the larger jok-, er, point . . .

2 11 2010
JJ

Thank the FSM for small favors from what’s left of the traditional news networks. Lynn, tell your DH all is not yet lost!

And again as with Williams, the Breitbart outrage happened because the role of news analyst isn’t agreed upon anymore.

On Tuesday, ABC’s executive producer for digital news, Andrew Morse, released a letter he had sent to Breitbart, informing him that he was being dropped from its coverage:

Dear Mr. Breitbart,

We have spent the past several days trying to make clear to you your limited role as a participant in our digital town hall to be streamed on ABCNews.com and Facebook. The post on your blog last Friday created a widespread impression that you would be analyzing the election on ABC News. We made it as clear as possible as quickly as possible that you had been invited along with numerous others to participate in our digital town hall. Instead of clarifying your role, you posted a blog on Sunday evening in which you continued to claim a bigger role in our coverage.

As we are still unable to agree on your role, we feel it best for you not to participate.

Sincerely,
Andrew Morse

. . .David Brock, head of Media Matters — which was the first to report that Breitbart would be ABC’s guest — said that he was “pleased that ABC finally came to its senses and realized that nothing good can come from associating in any way with Andrew Breitbart.” Brock added that he was still confused about why ABC had decided to include Breitbart in its coverage in the first place, labeling him “poison.”

What’s in the word “poison” ? Whatever it is, there’s a lot of it going around . . .

18 11 2010
18 11 2010
JJ

And who was the miracle “for” in her mind? Why, the people of course!

“Senator Lisa Murkowski returned to Alaska Wednesday night and declared her reelection by write-in to be ‘a miracle’ that had come true for the people of her state.”

I don’t think she’s a Palin-tology disciple, literally believing she’s the divine instrument chosen to save us through her personal political victories. But our words are so deeply embedded in our stories and narratives and vice versa, that she winds up being a similar influence without being conscious of it. That’s no miracle nor even a good thing, not for the people of their state or any other. Could even a god choose both of them, exclusively, but lie to them and leave each believing only in her own special godliness and not anyone else’s?

The rivalry between the two women is bitter. Palin defeated Murkowski’s father in a rough gubernatorial primary in 2006. The women have done little to conceal a personal animus, and the Senate contest was an ideal vehicle for their feud . . .

“Lisa, you can sue me if you want (you won’t be the first). But I will not be intimidated from speaking my mind. Your intimidation just empowered us liberty-loving Alaskans,” Palin wrote.

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