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BILL MOYERS: I’m Bill Moyers.

So timely and engaging are the conversations I have about American politics and media with Kathleen Hall Jamieson that we’re continuing this week’s right here on the web.

Kathleen is an accomplished author, analyst, and director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania .

Among Annenberg’s projects are two websites I consult every day -- Factcheck.org and Flackcheck.org -- both of which have the admirable if nearly impossible goal of keeping politicians on the straight and narrow, or at least factually accurate.

Kathleen, welcome.

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: Thank you.

BILL MOYERS: You and I have watched a lot of debates over the years. What do you think is different about these from all those we've watched?

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: The debates this year have a downside that I find very worrisome. The upside is they've done a very good job sequentially vetting alternative Republican candidates. But by permitting audiences to cheer and jeer and boo they have created a context in which the viewer at home is not watching the candidate and responding to the candidate, but is instead responding to the interaction between that candidate and an audience.

It pushes us as viewers back into a spectatorship position as opposed to an engaged viewer position. And I'm concerned that when you hear cheers and boos you are being cued to response to the question and the answer in a way that doesn't let you, yourself, reflect on the meaning of that answer. And simultaneously you're minimizing the likelihood you're going to actually remember the answer.

If you go to flackcheck.org we've done a series of pieces to show that. And we've basically said, "Let's listen to the piece in which you've got the cheering and booing. Now let's listen to it without. In which one do you hear the answer more clearly? Which one are you more likely to remember?"

And there's one more thing that would worry me if I were one of those Republican candidates and if I were for example somebody for the Republican National Committee or somebody who wanted ultimately a Republican to be elected. I wonder about the moderates who are sitting in their living rooms watching. What do they think when they hear an audience boo a member of the military who says, "I'm gay"?

What do they think when they hear an audience ostensibly a Republican audience at a Republican debate booing Juan Williams when he asked the question about President Obama and the food stamps in relationship to a position that Speaker Gingrich had taken. What do you they think when they hear someone who doesn't have insurance and as a result might die and you hear somebody cheering and saying, "Yes, they ought to die." Now, those weren't the candidates. Those were the audience.

BILL MOYERS: So what did you think when Newt Gingrich announced after he was told that the audience would not be allowed to applaud, to be cheerleaders, he said, "Okay, then I'll not participate. I'll not participate." I'm summarizing what he said. "I won't participate unless there can be an audience there." What did you think about that?

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: I think that the advantage that Newt Gingrich has had in debates is an ability to play very effectively to the partisans in the audience. I think he is not understanding how some of those exchanges can come off to independents and moderates whom he would ultimately need were he the nominee and wanted to win the general election.

We know that moderates, particularly moderate women, do not like rudeness or incivility in politics. And when audiences engage in it and when candidates play to elicit it I think they may be drawing they may be inviting inferences that are inappropriate about Republicans and Republican audiences.

BILL MOYERS: Have you seen a race that changed leads so often?

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: No.

BILL MOYERS: I haven't either.

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: But I think it's been healthy that the leads have changed. Because ordinarily we lock down to two candidates very quickly and everyone else is marginalized. And as a result they get fewer questions in debates. Their questions tend to be about the frontrunners as opposed to about themselves. And so the whole journalistic context begins to shift.

And in an environment which there has been an alternative to Mitt Romney featured at different points throughout the process, at least you've had the chance to look carefully at what those person's positions on the issues were.

With the exception of Ron Paul all of the other major contenders for President have had their moment in the media spotlight. And the media in general have done a good job exploring their plans and the implications of their plans. And the debates have featured their strengths and their weaknesses.

The debates actually made the candidacy of Newt Gingrich and helped the candidacy of Rick Santorum. A lot of debates, but the debates mattered. Secondly, this has been a year in which journalism can be proud of the quality of the interviews that have been done of candidates. And the liberals or progressives who don't watch Fox have missed something important.

BILL MOYERS: What?

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: Because the Fox interviews of the candidates have been strong and substantive. And importantly the candidates have been held accountable for their advertising and for their more extreme statements. And so if you watched Fox you heard Bill O'Reilly for example challenge candidates who called Barack Obama a socialist, Bill O'Reilly defining socialist and asking how it is that they can apply that label to President Obama.

You also heard Fox commentators and anchors holding candidates accountable for misleading advertising. In one segment Rick Perry was asked how he could possibly say that the president had said that Americans are lazy. Wasn't the referred in that statement actually investors rather than Americans in that APEC statement by President Obama?

That point made in a Fox interview. If the partisan media or the partisan-leaning media will hold the candidates on their side of the aisle accountable as well as some on Fox had this year, then there's a real upside to the rise of that form of media.

BILL MOYERS: The knock on the left is that Fox News is an arm of the Republican party. What accounts for a different approach to Republican candidates this year?

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: One of the things that one has to be careful about is saying that everything in one media environment is exactly the same. So there's a great difference across the programming on MSNBC, there's a great deal of different in the programming across Fox. There are places in both of those networks in which you have strong traditional journalism.

But the point this year that I think is worth making is that the Fox debates have been strong and have held candidates accountable and the Fox interviews have, as well. We haven't had a chance to see something comparable on the Democratic side because of course we have an incumbent Democrat.

BILL MOYERS: Here's something else.

Let me play an ad that got a lot of attention still troubles me all these months later. This is an ad run by Karl Rove's super PAC against Elizabeth Warren who is a candidate for the Senate from Massachusetts running against Scott Brown. And we'll come back to them in just a moment, but the Karl Rove super PAC ran a couple of ads that turned out to be truly distorted and misrepresentative and even fraudulent.

ELIZABETH WARREN IN POLITICAL AD: This thing I’m going to promise is that I’m going to be a voice in the room on behalf of middle class families.

NARRATOR IN POLITICAL AD: Really? Congress had Warren oversee how your tax dollars were spent. Bailing out the same banks that helped cause the financial meltdown. Bailouts that help to pay big bonuses to bank executives, while middle class Americans lost out. Later, Warren on a charm offensive with some of the same banks that got bailed out. Tell Professor Warren, we need jobs, not more bailouts and bigger government.

BILL MOYERS: Those ads have been widely deconstructed and shown to be wrong or deceptive or outright untruthful. Elizabeth Warren didn't create TARP for example, the Republicans under Bush did. She didn't bail out the banks, Bush and Obama did. She didn't side with the big banks. She wanted to hold them accountable. Yet these people can lie about a candidate, they can lie about Scott Brown and get away with it.

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: In Massachusetts you also had attack ads by third party groups against Scott Brown, one calling him Bobble-head Brown that made many of the same sorts of inappropriate inferences. And as a result Warren and Brown have reached a pact that is another solution to the problem.

They have asked that third party groups simply stay out of their race and they've created a penalty structure. So if a third party group comes in on behalf of one side that side will pay half of the amount that the super PAC or the third party group has paid for an ad into the charity of choice of the other candidate.

Now, the third party groups could still come in, but that kind of a pact increases the normative pressure on the groups to stay out. This was going to be a race in Massachusetts in which we were going to have third party war on each side. There was going to unprecedented amounts of money on each side against each of those candidates 'cause it's such an important symbolic seat.

That pact is a model for candidates in other states. And some candidates are exploring it in other states.

If this pact works it could become another kind of solution to a problem out there of third party air pollution.

BILL MOYERS: My friend, Normal Lear, awoke in a dream earlier this week and he wrote a piece that he's he said to a lot of us saying he wishes Obama would have a second thought, be born again on this and go to the public and say, "You know, I've changed my mind. We're going to fight this campaign on your donations, on your contributions, no big money, no super PACs." Norman says it could it could radically alter the environment in our country now if Obama changed his mind and said, "Let's do it the right way."

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: You can understand from the Obama campaign's perspective why they would not want to enter a playing field in which they are carrying a substantial disadvantage. And as a result I can understand the decision that was just made.

There is a very high risk in the strategy that you just articulated that one would not be able to raise comparable amounts of money. One of the news networks calculated what it would be the equivalent of someone who's middle class giving the amount of money that Sheldon Adelson had given to Gingrich and said essentially it's pocket change for him.

BILL MOYERS: Yeah.

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: If you have the capacity to raise very, very, very large amounts of money that are simple pocket change to the people who are giving it and the alternative is you have to raise hundreds of thousands of contributions individually, the effort the campaign would have to make in order to get to that donor base and get that raise would be such that it would probably be extraordinarily difficult to execute the rest of what a campaign needs to do to win.

So I'm sympathetic to the idea that they're going to engage in playing on the playing field that they're being handed. I'm disappointed that it is the playing field that they're being handed. Because I'm afraid that one of the lessons from the Obama victory is that money when there's a differential matters. It shifts the voting perceptions in who you're likely to vote for. And it does it very clearly.

What does it mean in the general election? Net advantage: Whichever candidate can raise more money. Net advantage to the person with more billionaires in pocket unless one can mobilize an awful lot of small donors.

BILL MOYERS: You and I talked during the campaign about Obama's speeches, his campaigns. We never asked the question, "What happens if the economy comes apart, collapses? What-- what makes us think this young man can respond to what he's not even campaigning on?" Then of course in the fall of 2008 the economy, the financial system comes crashing down, something that hadn't been discussed and something he with his inexperience had to deal and hasn't (many of us think), done very well at it. How do we judge a presidential candidate on his or her capacity to deal with a catastrophe that hasn't even been thought of during the campaign?

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: Well, first, we got to watch in real time in 2008 as the two candidates responded to the crisis. And if you looked at what Senator McCain did and what Senator Obama did I think it's reasonable to say that Senator Obama engaged in a kind of calm, deliberative, systematic set of moves that suggested a kind of leadership capacity that may not have been suggested by the activities that McCain engaged in.

But I think there's a larger question. We make the assumption that candidates have a high level of control over the economy. We make the assumption that when the economy is getting better they deserve credit, when the economy is not doing better they deserve blame. The president of the United States exercises relatively little control over the economy. This is a big, complex world and you've talked about it in your earlier programs.

There are many factors largely beyond the control of the president of the United States that presidents just simply have to confront. I mean, at the moment you've got a European crisis that the United States doesn't have a whole lot of ability to act within that is going to have a great deal of affect on whether this recovery continues to claw its way forward or not.

And so we campaign in the unrealistic expectation that presidents can do more than they can actually do. They abet that illusion and then when they don't we say, "Oh, you've failed us, you've failed us." And a candidate who campaigned on the fierce urgency of now and on change, imply quick change by his, by virtue of his leadership played out an illusion that you knew was going to be dashed by his presidency however successful. Because presidents have to govern among other things with the Congress in a context in which there are real constraints on what we've got available for revenue.

BILL MOYERS: I was just about to say to you that we're also this year electing an entire House of Representatives, every member's up for election or every seat is to be filled and a third of the Senate. Who's paying attention to the congressional races out there into which the super PACs are pouring huge sums of money that nobody's talking about?

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: The tragedy of the demise of good local journalism is that we do not have an intelligent focus at the local level on congressional races. There isn't a good way at the national level until a theme across all of the races begins to emerge for national media to do this job.

And as a result occasionally a congressional race will be featured nationally, but it's not going to be terribly helpful on the ground for individuals who are trying to make a congressional decision. When we don't have good local newspapers covering their community and covering the mayor and the governor and the members of Congress, we lose a lot in our capacity to elect effectively.

BILL MOYERS: Given what you say, what we both know, democracy at that level is in serious trouble because citizens can't know who's funding the campaigns, who's spending the advertising or how to hold 'em accountable?

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: When you have debates as citizens pay attention to debates they can learn through debates.

BILL MOYERS: At the local level?

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: At the local level debates are still the most likely way the easiest way for people to gain information about candidates' differences and similarities. When candidates at the congressional level are campaigning on a national platform it becomes very easy. What's an important question this year for a member of Congress? Did you support the Ryan plan for Medicare? Do you favor a voucher-ized alternative to Medicare as we know it?

Another question for congressional candidates: Do you favor the Republican national position that many of the social programs should be devolved to the states in the form of block grants? If you can get the national position of a party clarified and the members of Congress start to run on that position or alternatively the other side attacks on that position, then you're knowledge of level about Congress is increased. Because essentially electing members of Congress and electing a president are electing someone with the same philosophy.

BILL MOYERS: Kathleen Hall Jamieson, thank you. I'll be seeing you at this table often in the coming months.

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: You're welcome.

Kathleen Jamieson on Enemies and Saviors of Political Truth

February 17, 2012

In this web-exclusive conversation with Bill Moyers, communications expert Kathleen Hall Jamieson shares more eye-opening political analysis, including positive outcomes of both the Republican debates and some Fox News coverage, how audience participation at a debate distorts its purpose, super PAC attack ads that demonstrate misinformation at its worst, and what local citizens can do to fight back against deceptive campaign advertising. Jamieson runs the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, including the sites FactCheck.org and FlackCheck.org.

(Read the Norman Lear article, “I Too Had a Dream,” to which Bill refers)

Some notable quotes from Jamieson:

“The point this year that I think is worth making is that the Fox debates have been strong and have held candidates accountable, and the Fox interviews have, as well.  We haven’t had a chance to see something comparable on the Democratic side because of course we have an incumbent Democrat.”

————

“By permitting audiences to cheer and jeer and boo, [the debates] have created a context in which the viewer at home is not watching the candidate and responding to the candidate, but is instead responding to the interaction between that candidate and an audience… You are being cued to respond to the question and the answer in a way that doesn’t let you, yourself, reflect on the meaning of that answer.”

————

“The advantage that Newt Gingrich has had in debates is an ability to play very effectively to the partisans in the audience. I think he is not understanding how some of those exchanges can come off to independents and moderates whom he would ultimately need were he the nominee and wanted to win the general election.”

————

“If this pact [between Massachusetts Senate candidates Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren] works, it could become another kind of solution to a problem out there of third party air pollution.”

————

“At the local level, debates are still… the easiest way for people to gain information about candidates’ differences and similarities… If you can get the national position of a party clarified and the members of Congress start to run on that position or alternatively the other side attacks on that position, then your knowledge level about Congress is increased.”

 

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  • Anonymous

    “FactCheck”.org is an affiliate of the Annenberg, Chicago Annenberg Challenge… Ayers and Obama were on their board.  They are bias in their selection of which “facts” to check.  This is similar to what the mainstream media does all the time.  Someone once said “the news is whatever I say it is”.

  • Imlmurry

    Perhaps, but this woman and Bill  have been taking campaign rhetoric for years before Obama got into politics.

  • Anonymous

    “Ayers and Obama were on their board.”  That’s pretty funny.  FactCheck.org was established many years ago at the University of Pennsylvania by the ultra-rich Republican Annenberg family, who were close friends of President Ronald Reagan. 

    Ayers and Obama were on the staff of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, an educational reform organization supported by a Republican governor and including on its board a former Nixon official who contributed to McCain’s campaign.   The Annenberg Challenge has nothing to with FactCheck, except that they both receive some funding from the Annenberg Foundation.

    Obama was eight years old when Ayers was building bombs.   

  • Byard Pidgeon

    Don’t try to confuse jscottu by using reality.

  • Shumphreys

    A week ago
    Mr. Moyers interviewed Jonathan Haidt about morals, ethics and values.  This week the talk with Ms. Jamieson about
    the current political climate reinforces that talk and gave me more food for
    thought.

    The ultra
    Conservatives of the Republican party, the folks that proclaim themselves to be
    the guardians and upholders of “American values, morals and ethics”, the folks
    that want the Ten Commandments displayed in public places as reminders to all
    of those “American values, morals and ethics”, the folks that want public
    prayers offered in schools, and public meetings as a show of those “American
    values, morals and ethics”, the folks that believe that The Bible should be the
    standard we base those “American values, morals and ethics” on seem to have
    developed an un-Biblical  “no holds barred” ethical and moral position when it comes to
    winning “wars” whether political, religious or otherwise.

    Liberals,
    both those few who still consider themselves members of the Republican party
    and the vast majority of those who call themselves Democrats, religious and
    non-religious folks, believe strongly that there are “some holds that should be
    barred” from polite society, from internet interactions, from civil and public discourse, from personal and
    governmental actions.

    For example:
    Liberals believe that “thou shalt not bear false witness”. Which I must remind
    folks is one of those Ten Commandments the Conservatives claim they value,
    guard and uphold so dearly. “Bearing false witness” by the way, means that you
    won’t create or spread misleading information or outright lies about your
    opponent. Exodus 20:16

    Liberals
    believe that prayers should be offered in the privacy of one’s home or church
    NOT as public displays of piety. Matthew 6:5-6

    Liberals
    believe that folks should be held accountable for their actions but NOT when
    doing so causes further harm, insult or injury to the person, or especially to
    an innocent third party or to society as a whole. AND that such
    accountability/punishment should NEVER be done for purposes of revenge, out of
    vindictiveness or spite. Matthew 5: 38-48 and 6:7-15

    Liberals
    believe that folks should NOT hold double standards, one they apply to
    themselves or members of their in group and a separate set of standards they
    apply to all others, the members of the out group, those that don’t hold their
    “American, values, morals and ethics”. “Let he who has not sinned cast the
    first stone”, John 8:7, “Judge not that ye be not judged”, Matthew 7:1-5, “Do
    unto others as you would have them do unto you”, Matthew 7:12

    The “American
    values, morals, and ethics” that the ultra-Conservative practice and embody are
    NOT the same “American values, morals, and ethics” that I treasure.

  • Michael Pettengill

    So Bill, having studied theology and explored the matter of faith extensively throughout your public life, can you explain why religious liberty is something that is allowed only for matters of sexual nature as defined by Catholic doctrine, but not on matters of social justice and war and peace no matter the religion?

    Where is the religious liberty for the religious war resisters who seek to not pay for mass murder of innocent men, women, and children?

    Where is the religious liberty for Warren Jeffs who has tried to do what Mitt Romney’s great grandfather did as a Mormon religious duty?

    “religious liberty” is a “dog whistle” which gives those opposed to Obama a quick shorthand for the conservative elite social agenda to be imposed on everyone else, but not themselves.  Prohibition was to further “religious liberty” by freeing people from the tyranny of demon rum, but the elites never stopped drinking, especially in all the legislatures where pols voted for it.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Michael Pettengill: My formula for expressing conscience, religious or otherwise, on national issues is to allow the taxpayer to designate the specific uses of his/her tax levy. This year I would give all my federal income tax payment to food assistance and home heating assistance, allowing all those who live in make believe fear to fund foreign wars and the national security state. As digitized as information has become this would not be an overly expensive undertaking. It would increase citizen attention and participation as it provided another means of direct voting (on policy). What do you think? Isn’t this long overdue? And those who do not pay taxes would not get a choice. Those who pay more taxes would fund what they prefer and the multitude of wage earners could follow their conscience. Corporate taxes would go to the general fund because they are not people/voters.

    I think the suppression of social conscience on religious issues must be partially blamed on compliant church organizations. Sometimes they short God by rewarding Caesar. Peace is a good example.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    The Earth is in the same solar system as Pluto, which recently has been revealed as a non-planet! Maybe now plutocracy can end, if we’d only check them fax.

  • Denys Picard

    I could not but feel uncomfortable listening to Mrs. Jamieson interview so bias it was against Republicans. She is communication expert, yet fails to properly identify the name of the technique by Mr. Romney when repeating the word Conservative. It is not called telegraphing, it is called redundancy. The communication technique, while spontaneous, was refined and exploited by the Frankfurt School of sociology, after observing its powerful effects in music against an audience. In music for example, rap has made abundant use of this. In word communication, the followers of the Frankfurt School have used it and imposed it to all aspects of our lives, politics, advertising, education, propaganda, etc…Nowadays, if you are in public life, any communication consultant, or expert like Mrs. Jamieson, will tell you that it is a tool you cannot afford not to use. The democrats use it all the time to sell their message, on the economy for example, they have been saying for 3 years that things are doing well when they are not, when misinterpreting statistics or only using headline numbers. And naturally George Bush’s campaign used it profusely. So Mrs. Jamieson, it is quite deceptive that she points to it as some kind of Republican only tool. And you know Bill, I am surprised for this call in civility in language. Why? Because language may become so deceptive that it may become simply a question of style. If you believe that President Obama always tells the truth because he is polite, I guess a misjudged your intelligence and perspicacity.
    Denys Picard

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Didn’t you see their crystal ball, cut into the middle of the table? They used their psychic Bilderburg powers to levitate Obama from boyhood in Hawaii and send him to Harvard for programming. Right now they are shaping the future. Heather McGhee is another of their automatons (last week’s show) manufactured to inject insidious intellectualism into public discourse, thereby polluting dog eat dog politics with the foreign notions of reasoning and humane outcomes. They are possessed by an evil spirit (civic concern) that gives them these magic powers. We gotta stop ‘em!
    Bubble-bubble! Toil and trouble! Burnham Wood has descended on Washington!

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Why not share this text from your church pulpit?

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Why does Moyers&Company have to have a new commentary page for every little video? It confuses me, and it probably confuses many others. The old show had one, possibly two new pages each week, and that was challenging enough for casual viewers. I can’t help but think complexity intimidates many potential commentators. I think the more comments and the more commentators the better. Simpler is more hospitable. It’s bad enough you lure people to Facebook.

  • Smw

    I wonder why the voting system has not kept pace with technology?  Why can’t we all vote electronically 24 hours a day seven days a week?   Maybe the decentralization of control would be a problem for greed mongers!

  • Johnson Smith

    Mr. Pettingill:
     Mitt Romney’s great grandfather and grand father did was to go to Mexico and establish a camp for Mormons engaged in polygamy.  If you want to call it religious duty, so be it!

  • Anonymous

     That’s a thoughtful post.  I hadn’t noticed that she criticized only the Republicans for being redundant.  Maybe it’s because the Republicans are in fact more redundant than the Democrats.  The redundancy is reflected not simply in their arguments.  It’s been boiled down to particular words and phrase — “libtards,” “socialists,” “jammed down our throats,” “redistribution of wealth,” “job creators,” “the nanny state,” “cradle to grave,” “tree huggers,” “union thugs.”  The Democratic lexicon is not nearly so extensive.  In the end, the Frankfort school notwithstanding, it becomes not much more than repetitive name calling.  You can find excellent examples in any third-grade playground.

  • Shumphreys

    I am not a Christian, nor a Theist, Diest, Pantheist, Polytheist or Panentheist. My church is the woods around my home. Maybe others will feel inclined to pass it on to their pastors! Thanks for the gracious suggestion.

  • George Derwood

    Newt Gingrich/Jon Huntsman Lincoln-Douglas Style Debate – December 12 2011 showed what the (at that time rivals) were capable of.  Compare that with the staged “debates”.

  • Shumphreys

    Also Mr. Howard:

    If you are
    now wondering why a non-Christian would cite Biblical passages to support her
    premise I am just pointing out to some folks that they might want to be a bit
    more careful about what they ask for.
    IF some think that the Ten Commandments
    should form the basis for our laws and moral/civil codes I remind them that their
    actions are in violation of one of those commandments they claim they hold so
    dear.
    IF some think that the Bible should be used to form the basis for our
    laws and moral/civil codes again I point out that many passages can be cited to
    support positions they disapprove of, caring for the poor and the weak, the
    homeless and sick, salvation comes from “good works”– your day to day actions
    towards those in need and those who are different from you not from what you
    claim to believe.
    I respect the Bible, it is full of great wisdom for those
    that will read it thoughtfully and critically. It isn’t any holier or less holy,
    more sacred or less sacred than the texts from other world religions or writings
    of some of our great thinkers and philosophers. It is an important book to read
    for all people if they want to understand our world and help find ways to get
    us out of the mess we are currently in BUT it isn’t the ONLY book that is
    important to read. I don’t see any reason why I a non-believer can’t use it to
    support my beliefs and arguments.

  • Paging Dr. Funkenstein

    The segment was about the Republican primary race, not about Republicans vs. Democrats. I think you are just as biased as anyone else, because  I sure have not heard Democrats saying the economy is going well.  It seems people who are biased toward the Republican party are quick to criticize any segment that does not scrutinize Democrats equally with Republicans.

  • PKSpraw

    Being a Democrat and a liberal one at that, the slate of Republican candidates firghtened me; but I could not put my finger on just why their rhetoric did so. Kathleen Hall Jamison answered many of my questions about it for me. Kudos! It was a great show.

  • Tatateeta

    Yeah. I think it was Bush, or maybe Rove.

  • Pasolaja

    Great stuff Bill! Love K.H.J., always enjoy her perspectives. I’d like to hear some discussion on the other side of this issue. The fact that people are willing to accept this rhetoric that ” has all the refrain of a hallucination”. What does this say to the mental state of our population? Is critical thinking a lost art??

  • Anonymous

    Drear Dr.,

    When Bill said: what is he (he being Mitt Romney) doing there and jamieson answered what she did; it was a general comment that pointed to a technique of communication. In that sense, in the context of a political campaign and of media itself, you must respect the scope of your comment. By opening this subject, they were obliged to, is they wanted to demonstrate intellectual integrity, explain the communication concept more thouroughly. Especially mrs Jamieson being presented as the communication expert of the Bill Moyers team. Remember that they did a montage of a 90 minute speech, which they condensed in a few seconds where they extracted all the times Romney used the word Conservative. With this kind of manipulation, if you pretend not to be bias and you ask a general scope question, than you must explain the origin of the communication concept, that are effectively meant to ddestroy independance of thinking, destroy thought process and create an imprint. But the thing is that all our leadership uses these destructive techniques.

  • Anonymous

    Good observation, redundancy finds its root in the learning process, in imitation. So effectively, you find in kindergarten, in school, it is spontaneous as a tool in communication. The Frank”furters” turned it into a sophisticated tool, scientifically elaborated for maximum effect, in the context of a cultural war they started 70 years ago. Republicans are noticebly good at it. If Democrats use it less, it is because they are manipulated by other tools of the Critical theory marxist social culture which have greater effect on them.

  • Susan S

    I shared my story, I got dubbed queen bee of Corupption by paul Krugman NY times. What he did not understand was I lost everything I had worked for my whole life everything.
    No more computer access at my fingertips. I guess he really did not care just wanted a good story. We3ll it gets better and i am not a quitter and i have a huge case and I am right. so shame on NY times they have deleted every article that was wriiten about me.???? Why nothing changed for the better in fact it got worse. What is wrong with this I trusted them shame on me

  • Guest

    Those don’t seem to be the values of the liberals I see…bearing false witness??  That’s a human weakness and a trait of those on both left and right. Accountablility, double standards…are you seriously saying that is only seen on the Republican/ conservative side of things???  Sir, I believe you live in a bubble.