I have a few items for your Late Nite discussion pleasure this evening:
The site for the film An Inconvenient Truth is excellent; I highly recommend you spend some time there. The film has been criticized for being a little thin on solutions, and though I have not seen it (I pledged to do so, and you can too), I don’t necessarily blame them. Our country has been turning its back on science, much to our economic and social harm, so if the film is long on making the scientific case in a compelling way, that makes sense for me. Meanwhile, here’s the web site’s page for taking action. As I said, the whole site is worth getting lost in for a while. On a related note, Arianna, reporting from Cannes, has caught some serious Big Al Fever.
There may be awesome potential to build movement around the issue of global climate change. I floated some thoughts about this to Roots Project membership this week and received a huge positive response. Personally, I’d like to see a resolution introduced in both sides of Congress stating "Global climate change is a man made emergency requiring immediate national action and international cooperation." That would make wingnut heads explode all over, but it would also place them in the unenviable position of trying to refute the unanimous science backing up the statement. Can you say, "wedge issue?"
Taking on climate change is perfect for progressives, in my opinion, because:
- It really is a global crisis.
- It plays to progressive strength in avoiding the tragedy of the commons in pursuit of the common good.
- It has energy and economic implications, so if we can get the country moving in this direction, other parts of the progressive agenda become more possible.
- It has foreign policy and security implications, since our current policy is to use force to seize oil, fomenting global instability and a race to mass destruction.
- There has not been a national debate about this the way there has been about, say, choice, which also enjoys broad support.
- Gore’s movie makes it timely.
What are your thoughts?
Another inconvenient truth is how the establishment media and the right wing are united against Gore and this film. Digby, as usual, has the goods, as does Tristero. Media Matters shows how persistently the media biases its coverage against Democrats, including Gore. We still get commenters who don’t understand why going after the establishment media is critically important. If this indictment does not persuade them, what will? I’m long past ignoring the people who refuse to get it. Christy linked to this article earlier, but I’d like to quote from it a bit for those who may have missed it:
The dominant political force of our time is the media.
Time after time, the news media have covered progressives and conservatives in wildly different ways — and, time after time, they do so to the benefit of conservatives.
Consider the last two presidents. Bill Clinton faced near-constant media obsession with his "scandals," while George W. Bush has gotten off comparatively easy.
And that’s pretty much how things have been for the past five years: Clear, conclusive evidence exists that Bush and his administration have committed countless transgressions far more serious than whatever it is reporters thought Bill Clinton might have done. And it has received far less coverage than Clinton’s non-scandals.
Why do we insist on revisiting ancient history? Because the same garbage keeps happening over and over again. Because too many people — journalists, activists, progressive leaders — downplay the media’s failings. Sure, they went overboard with Clinton, they say, but sex sells. But it wasn’t just sex, and it wasn’t just Clinton. Sure, they were a bit unfair to Al Gore, someone might concede, but he had it coming — he was stiff and insincere. But it isn’t just Al Gore. Sure, too many reporters may have been complicit in the so-called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth’s smears of John Kerry, but he invited it by speaking openly and honestly about his service. Sure, Howard Dean’s "scream" was overplayed, but he had it coming — it was crazy! Sure, media elites fawn all over Bush, but he’s just so likable! And John McCain, too. And Rudy Giuliani. They’re all just so real and authentic.
At this point, you’d have to be blind to miss the pattern. Every prominent progressive leader who comes along is openly derided in the media as fake, dishonest, conniving, out-of-the-mainstream, and weak. We simply can’t continue to chalk this up to shortcomings on the part of Democratic candidates or their staff and consultants. It’s all too clear that this will happen regardless of who the candidate or leader is; regardless of who works for him or her. The smearing of Jack Murtha should prove that to anyone who still doubts it.
Meanwhile, any conservative who comes along is going to be praised for being strong and authentic and likable. Ask yourself: What prominent Republican is routinely portrayed in the media as a phony the way Al Gore and Hillary Rodham Clinton are?
There just isn’t an answer [Hillary Clinton] could have given that wouldn’t have resulted in ridicule. Just as the media portray everything as good news for Republicans (just this week, Time’s Mike Allen announced that the conviction of "friends of the president" is going to be "very helpful" to Bush), they portray everything as an example of progressives’ flaws.
Evidence, facts, logic, and reason simply don’t matter when it comes to media coverage of politicians. Journalists have decided: George Bush is authentic and honest, no matter how many lies he tells. Hillary Clinton is dishonest and calculating, no matter how obviously honest her answers are. And everything is evidence of these two premises.
Again: Nobody should make the mistake of thinking this foolishness only applies to the Clintons and to Bush. By spectacular coincidence, Al Gore is also dishonest, according to journalists — and everything is evidence of that premise, too. Even if it means making up quotes he never said, journalists will find a way to demonstrate his dishonesty.
We expect that some of our readers are angry that we’re raising these matters. Good. You should be angry that anybody would raise John McCain’s wife’s addiction to painkillers, or a supermarket tabloid report about George and Laura Bush’s marriage. It is, as David Broder once wrote, no way to pick a president.
But if you’re angry about this, you should be far more angry that for years, the media has employed a double-standard in covering progressives and conservatives. You constantly hear about the Clintons’ personal lives on television; you read about it in the newspaper. John McCain doesn’t get the same treatment; nor does George Bush or Rudy Giuliani. Intrusive, irrelevant tabloid-style coverage of candidates is wrong. Intrusive, irrelevant tabloid-style coverage of some candidates, while others are afforded an appropriate zone of privacy is even worse. And it can’t go on.
I hope you’ll forgive the extended quote, but the length of the piece might be a detriment to some people to read it, and that’s a damn shame, because the issues are too critical for every reader of this site to be ignored. Please bookmark the link and read the whole thing when you have time.
Yesterday I talked about why Ned Lamont deserves the full support of GLBT voters, holding the Human Slights Campaign up for serious accountability. Seems some other people are unhappy with the HRC’s endorsement choices, and it’s costing the HRC $1,000,000.
Californians take note: Ranking House Intelligence Committee Member and administration lapdog Jane Harman has a super progressive challenger in Marcy Winograd who, locals tell me, can win. Marcy could use some financial support and volunteers. This is the House version of the Lieberman versus Lamont race. How cool would it be to smack the DC establishment from either coast. . . one bracing shot each for Schumer and Emanuel?
Finally, it always makes sense to revisit Lincoln at Gettysburg during Memorial Day weekend. It’s an inconvenient truth that Lincoln was a progressive in his day. These are progressive sentiments in bold below, characterizing the sanctity of the common man’s toil and sacrifice as the foundations for legitimate government. Lincoln’s entire political philosophy was rooted in Jefferson’s expansive vision expressed in the opening to the Declaration of Independence:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.