Friday, February 01, 2008

From Tapper to Drudge to Fox News Channel

You've got to hand it to the Republican Noise Machine for doing it once again. They've taken one segment of a comment Bill Clinton (D-USA) made on the campaign trail and totally misrepresented what was said in order to score more digs at him and, by extension, his wife, Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY). Perhaps you've seen some of them talk about it. Ironically, if they had read the entire post by ABC's Jake Tapper, they would have seen the line taken out of context. I'm surprised Tapper didn't read it, even though he allegedly wrote it.

It started with a blog post by Jake Tapper, in which he claims that Bill Clinton said that we need to slow down the economy to fight global warming. (BTW, Tapper added some updates in which he says he changed the title of his blogpost to better reflect what he meant, but I don't think it helped.) From there, internet gossip and self-styled humanoid Matt Drudge put a link to it on his compost heap, I mean blog. Well, that's all Fox News Channel needed, because later that day, E.D. Hill was leading a discussion on whether or not Bill Clinton was right to say that we need to slow down our economy in order to fight global warming. For the sake of fairness, let's quote what Bill Clinton actually said, and you tell me if he's saying that we need to slow down our economy to fight global warming:

CLINTON: And maybe America, and Europe, and Japan, and Canada -- the rich counties [sic] -- would say, "OK, we just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions 'cause we have to save the planet for our grandchildren." We could do that. But if we did that, you know as well as I do, China and India and Indonesia and Vietnam and Mexico and Brazil and the Ukraine, and all the other countries will never agree to stay poor to save the planet for our grandchildren. The only way we can do this is if we get back in the world's fight against global warming and prove it is good economics that we will create more jobs to build a sustainable economy that saves the planet for our children and grandchildren. It is the only way it will work.

And guess what? The only places in the world today in rich countries where you have rising wages and declining inequality are places that have generated more jobs than rich countries because they made a commitment we didn't. They got serious about a clean, efficient, green, independent energy future... If you want that in America, if you want the millions of jobs that will come from it, if you would like to see a new energy trust fund to finance solar energy and wind energy and biomass and responsible bio-fuels and electric hybrid plug-in vehicles that will soon get 100 miles a gallon, if you want every facility in this country to be made maximally energy efficient that will create millions and millions and millions of jobs, vote for her. She'll give it to you. She's got the right energy plan.

For some reason, Jake Tapper completely missed the point that Clinton was making, which was that this approach is unnecessary and might not even work! He was saying the opposite! He was saying that the rich countries that did make a committment to fighting global warming have created jobs and improved their economies overall. Yet, Tapper puts in his headline that Bill Clinton was advocating a position he wasn't, and Matt Drudge (whose reading comprehension skills I seriously question) sticks the out-of-context quote in a link to tapper's blog.

Enter Fox News Channel. Not content to merely continue mischaracterizing what the man they hate most in the world said, Fox Airhead E.D. Hill decides to have a guest on to discuss it. This is where it starts to get really perverted. After showing a clip of Clinton saying just these words "...we just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions 'cause we have to save the planet for our grandchildren..." (she acknowledged only that this was a "small part" of what he said), Hill invited a gentleman, Charles Payne, CEO of Wall Street Strategies, to discuss the "puzzling" statement by Bill Clinton. From the video clip at Media Matters, it appears that Payne took no time to familarize himself with the actual comments that Clinton made. Instead, the two of them ridiculed Clinton for suggesting that we slow down our economy which, once again, is not what Clinton said we should do. But it gets worse.

This dovetails into a discussion between Hill and Payne about how "the free market" will find a solution to this "so-called problem". (Yes, Payne referred to global warming as a "so-called problem".) In fact, Payne even suggested that our grandchildren "will find ways to make money off this". Friends, global climate change is a very real phenomenon, and every reputable scientist who isn't being paid to say otherwise agrees. At present, we are experiencing an overall increase in average temperatures, and one result of this is that the storms we do get tend to be more intense. And human activities are very definitely contributing to this in a very negative way. (Negative in the sense that we aren't making it better, we're making it worse.) Yes, to fight the effects will cost money, and it is entirely possible that the people who work in the industries that contribute to the problem may some day have to find other work. But there will be other work. There will be plenty of work in the alternative fuel industries. The problem is that right now, oil and coal, two of the biggest causes of pollution, are very profitable, and the kind of people who support George W. Bush (Fox News Channel, etc) believe that financial worth is equivalent to social worth. In other words, if it makes money, it must inherently be a good thing.

This is one of many battles that Liberals and the other Forces of Goodness and Light have to face each day. There are people out there who feel that making a profit is not only the most important thing in the world, but that it is a sign that you are doing something good. (This is why the Military Industrial Complex is so beloved by Wall Street, even though they make equipment designed to kill and maim people. They make a profit doing it, so they must be "good".) It makes no difference to these people how many lives are lost or destroyed, how many jobs are eliminated, or how many children go hungry and homeless each day. If someone has found a way to make money off the problem, that person is the one who is "good. It doesn't seem to matter if what they are doing is helping or hurting the problem, as long as they are making a profit. In fact, if someone were to come along and eliminate a problem that was proving highly profitable by someone else, they would probably be attacked for destroying jobs and ruining the economy, even if they saved hundreds of thousands of lives in the process.

We need to get off this inane ideas that "the free market" will provide the solutions to our problems. The Free Market only supports profitable solutions, not ones that might be costly but necessary, or even (dare I say it?) effective. We need to get off the idea that financial success is equal to social worth. There are quite a few very wealthy people who you wouldn't want your kids to learn from or even go near. Money isn't everything, and there comes a point where, quite frankly, you may have more than you'll ever need. Is there any sensible reason in the world why you would want more? Do we have to continue to support a national policy of greed? I'm not saying that Capitalism should be eliminated completely. I'm just saying that it is not the only way to live.

I do think that we can eliminate Fox News Channel with no longterm harmful effects to our society.


Anonymous said...

Tapper didn't read past the first couple sentences -- and he puts it on a blog post. Typical.

I can't wait until my dad something about this to me -- "Your god, Bill Clinton is saying we need to slow down the economy, how about that?" I'll direct him here. Sheesh...


mighty aphrodite said...

Capitalism is NOT the best way of running economies...until you compare it to the legal thievery of socialist systems. I have always felt that those of you who do not feel you're paying your fair share should pull out your check book and start writing. And for God sake, NEVER oppose wasteful government spending, pork barrel spending or earmarks!

On a lighter note, contrary to other conservatives, I don't hate Mr. Bill.....I do despise his naivete in dealing with North Korea and his assistance with their nuclear program. (What did he fall for? Two broken promises and a Big Mac?) But what can you expect from a guy whose mission in life was to make everyone in the room love him - the poor dear.

mighty aphrodite said...

P.S. Wayne, You can pull the plug on Fox News when you yank the chain on NPR and Democracy NOW! In short, liberals think having one conservative debating three liberals is "fair and balanced"......ooops (!) you might be right on THAT point. Here's a tuning tip for you (rather than eliminating "free speech" you don't agree with...) watch it to find out what "the enemy" is up to ....or change the channel. Conservatives are in the habit of doing either/or.
Regards to Jane.

Anonymous said...

Ugh. You need to set off a bug bomb in here, Wayne. Phew!!