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This will be my last  OT posting for a good long while...I'm off to do research at the Beinecke for a spell.


1) Extrapolating can be a valid measure, if combined with other methods;  in this case, the merest check of web links lik eArbitron ratings, and  demographic surveys in media outlets like Talker's Magazine,  information provided for advertisers  backs up my somewhat ad hoc  calculations.  Of course, one can err-- I did-- closer inspection yields the fact that none of the top 50 self- describe as liberal or left.  To belabor a point, extrapolation from lists, censuses,  and samples is exactly the sort of work some historians do to quantify their work.



>thank you for naming your sources. may i please point out that extrapolating percentage points from name lists is not the most kosher of practices? as for drudge's reporting... i dont even have to complete that sentence.


 The Washington Post isn't Drudge, because he links to their website doesn't imply that he was the author.  What it does imply is that  Drudge thinks this information is important or interesting to his conservative audience.


2) Disclosing party-sponsored doesn't mean "biased"--  Zogby is still scientific and of course, politicians live and die by accurate polling.

>key term being party-sponsored.
>
>>My source for the 50% was a party-sponsored Zogby poll that was
>>circulated among Democrats-- I believe it was also posted on ABC
>>news, but I'm afraid that I lack the cite.
>
>
>>To clarify my position: I never reductively stated conservative or (
>>for that matter liberal) views are in themselves "offensive."
>>However, I do think that reductive, racist comments like Ms. Troy's
>>are quite likely to be found on talk radio shows, which have a strong reputation for being tendentious. (the term" feminazi" comes to >mind.)  I can't imagine NPR on the left, or George
>>Will on the right >saying anything so jejeune, so sophomoric, so reductive.
>
>somebody has to scoop up the manure after the academic high horse has run on through. look: everybody's clear on what most of the media--be it print, radio or television--amounts to.

This statement is in itself reductionist - reductio ad absurdam--this implies that everyone views media the same way, and that The National Enquirer is in the same league in terms of content as Time that Time is the same as The New York Times and that The New York Times is the same as a the Nation or another in-depth source.  I don't think everybody believes this; if  this were true, what purpose would news have? Entertainment only?  Then why vote?




>it's reductionist by its very nature, and you get as much unadulterated bogus on crossfire as you get during one of oreilly's faux irish-temper rants or savage's infurating 'the wasps will rise' monologues. people's opinions, whether on the left or the right, are never as simplistic as commentators of any ilk make them out to be. equating conservative or liberal contentions to the demagoguery of a few "journalists," whether they're in it for payola or have actual axes to grind, is, as you pointed out, simplistic--and so is believing the "offensive views" you've issue with are anything else but mildly entertaining to their target audiences.
 

To restate my point: I never said that all or even most "opinion" was "offensive" I was replying specifically to a point made that it is better to ignore comments like "most people I know, in fact all people I know, hate and distrust Arabs. "  My point was that statements like this are all-too-commonplace, to the point of being mainstream ( hence the talk radio  discursus) and to leave them un-answered is to approve them.  As the slogan goes "Silence = Death." I don't think in today's world it's "mildly entertaining"to countenance such speech, and I strongly believe leaving such ideas unanswered is immoral.



>
>>As far as my classroom free speech query goes-- after you have
>>finished retching-- perhaps you could advise me how you would deal in a classroom  (my classes often include Arabs and other Muslims...) if a student made the above-cited statement?  It would test my abilities to allow open discourse-- fortunately, although I've had >lots of arguments in my classes I've never had to deal with something >like that.
>
>i'm not an accredited professor, nor do i stake any claims at instructional excellence, but my humble suggestion to any and all those trying to set up in-class debates would be to point students to http://www.politicalcompass.org/, make public disclosure of the score a condition of participating, and let sparks fly. my own experience has been that students themselves best regulate the range of opinions expressed by way of general assent/dissent--that is to say, if somebody makes a grossly offensive statement, they are usually reprimanded/disagreed with by subsequent speakers.
>
>3 hurrays for peer pressure!


To reference Kate Troy's last message; how would it be if I allowed "peer pressure" to silence some students? What if students were so intimidated by the "vibe' they hid in the bathroom? How do I balance the right to free speech with the right to be allowed to learn and discuss issues in a hate-free environment?  Usually, I will come down on the side of free speech-- but as the moderator of the class I have a responsibility to all my students-- and if a student's speech is intimidating -- how should one handle it?  Peer pressure doesn't work-- if I allowed that to be the only beacon, I wouldn't be teaching, I'd be hanging out--- and  the class would resemble _The Lord of the Flies_ rather than the _Symposium_.