Saturday, 23 January 2010

THE MASSACHUSETTS ELECTION RATINGS (IN CASE YOU HAD ANY DOUBT)

Ken Berwitz

Here are the ratings for each cable news show during the Massachusetts election count:

CABLE NEWS RACE
TUES. JAN. 19, 2010
ELECTION NIGHT

FOXNEWS HANNITY             6,809,000
FOXNEWS GRETA                6,399,000
FOXNEWS OREILLY             5,228,000
FOXNEWS BECK                  3,446,000
FOXNEWS BAIER                 3,338,000
FOXNEWS SHEP                  3,241,000
CNN KING                          1,681,000
CNN COOPER                      1,508,000
CNN BROWN                       1,308,000
MSNBC OLBERMANN             1,274,000
MSNBC MADDOW                1,236,000
CNN BLITZER                     1,135,000
CNNHN BEHAR                       845,000
MSNBC HARDBALL                  798,000

Did Fox dominate?  That's like asking if Michael Jackson danced.

But the most interesting number to me is Chris Matthews'.  Has there ever been a poilitical commentator with a bigger mouth who is watched by fewer people?  Not that Olbermann and Maddow did well either, but their numbers were spectacular compared to Matthews'.  What exactly does NBC think they have with this guy? 

It makes you think that Jeff Zucker (NBC/Universal President) lives in a bubble.  A thick, impenetrable bubble.

 


THE WAR AGAINST BOYS

Ken Berwitz

Maggie Gallagher has a disturbing article in today's New York Post, about the education gap that has grown between girls and boys.  First, I would like to show it to you.  Then I will explain the title of this blog:

The nation's schools are failing boys

 

By MAGGIE GALLAGHER

Last Updated: 4:13 AM, January 23, 2010

Posted: 12:25 AM, January 23, 2010


The headline from The Washington Post cele brates yet another milestone: "University of Virginia picks its first female president." Meantime, the data continues to mount that our educational system is massively failing one gender: boys.

 

In a new book, "Why Boys Fail," Richard Whitmire points to a study that tracked every graduate of the Boston public schools in 2007. For every 167 women in a four-year college, there were only 100 men. Gender even beat race as a predictor of college attendance: Black women were 5 percentage points more likely than white men to be in college.

 

And it's not just Boston: Nearly 60 percent of all bachelor's degrees in the country go to women.

Do we care about our boys?

 

The Economist recently put Rosie the Riveter on its cover to celebrate a major milestone: Women are now the majority of the US workforce. Why? Massively greater numbers of men than women are losing their jobs in this recession. Is this really good news?

 

Yet every sign that boys or men are hurting gets turned around into a "happy news" story of female success.

 

The disconnect between the happy headlines and the reality underneath will only be solved by women. The irony of men is that they cannot defend themselves or organize around their own systemic, gendered problems. Putting their own gender in the position of "the weaker sex" unmans them -- and also makes them deeply unattractive to women. It's not going to happen.

 

So the only way we are going to identify the new problem and do something about it, is if women with power make it a cause of our own.

 

We have sons as well as daughters, nephews as well as nieces. We want husbands and fathers for ourselves or for our children who are confident, successful males and good family men willing and able to work hard to support those families.

 

The problem is not that women are doing well, it's that boys are doing badly. The two genders cannot be pitted against one another without all of us losing.

 

A new report by the Pew Research Center finds that more younger women are marrying down: 28 percent of wives aged 30- to 44-years-old have more education than their husbands, compared to 19 percent of husbands who are better-educated than their wives.

 

One in four wives now substantially outearns her husband.

 

It turns out women are not necessarily happy about male failure. Betsy Stevenson and Justin Wolfers' 2007 study, "The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness," notes that "By many objective measures the lives of women in the United States have improved over the past 35 years, yet we show that measures of subjective well-being indicate that women's happiness has declined both absolutely and relative to men."

 

When men fail, fewer women get married. Since 1970, the proportion of 30- to 44-year-olds who are married dropped from 84 percent to 60 percent.

 

What's next? Ask black women. In 1970, black wives were already more educated than their husbands, and just 62 percent of black people aged 30 to 44 then were married. By 2007, that figure had plunged to 33 percent.

 

Fewer than one out of three black Americans in prime marrying/childbearing years is now married. This is one core reason why out-of-wedlock birthrates are so high.

 

An education system failing a generation of boys is going to produce unprecedented human misery for children, for women and for the men themselves. Are we women enough to do something about it?

Ms. Gallagher's article gives us a lot to think about.  But it is not new territory.

The title of this blog, "The War Against Boys", is also the title of a book by scholar/philosopher/author Christina Hoff Sommers, published in 2001, which provided a frightening analysis of "gender feminism".

In Ms Sommers' 1992 masteripiece, "Who Stole Feminism", she talked about two kinds of feminists:  Equity feminists (who demanded equality for women) and gender feminists (who demanded female superiority).  "The War Against Boys" was a combination sequel and progress report.  Maggie Gallagher's article today shows how well gender feminism is "succeeding".

You do not redress inequality by replacing it with a different inequality.

When do we wake up?


OBAMA'S ROCKY RASMUSSEN REPORT

Ken Berwitz

Here are this week's Presidential approval data from the Rasmussen Report.

Keep in mind that the Massachusetts vote was on Tuesday, and Rasmussen uses a three day rolling average (every day's report reflects the previous three days).

On Wednesday, January 20, therefore, everyone who was interviewed could have known about Scott Brown's win/the inability of President Obama to push Martha Coakley over the finish line.  That day's interviewing would be in the January 21 report and - because it is a three day average, this means one-third of the sample could have known.  On January 22, two-thirds of the sample could have known, and on January 23, (the latest Rasmussen data) the entire sample could have known. 

With that in mind, here are the data.  You decide what they mean.

 

Date

Presidential Approval Index

Strongly Approve

Strongly Disapprove

Total Approve

Total Disapprove

01/23/2010

-19

24%

43%

44%

55%

01/22/2010

-18

25%

43%

45%

54%

01/21/2010

-15

27%

42%

47%

52%

01/20/2010

-12

28%

40%

48%

51%

01/19/2010

-11

28%

39%

48%

51%

01/18/2010

-12

27%

39%

47%

52%

01/17/2010

-12

27%

39%

48%

51%


THE FAIRNESS DOCTRINE THREAT

Ken Berwitz

Remember the "Fairness Doctrine"?  Decades ago, that term meant something reasonable and desirable.  But, today, it is meant to stifle conservative talk radio and cable news (specifically Fox News Channel), by insisting that the other side get an equal hearing (without, of course, demanding that the rest of media, which is vastly libera/left, do any such thing). 

And, not surprisingly, one of its proponents is the hopelessly compromised Dennis Kucinich - as useful an idiot of the left as anyone will ever find.

Read this account by Mark Finkelstein of www.newsbusters.org and see for yourself:

Kucinich's 'Fairness Doctrine' Threat To O'Reilly

By Mark Finkelstein (Bio | Archive)
Sat, 01/23/2010 - 07:01 ET

 

During George W.'s administration, liberals loved to wail over the supposed--but never demonstrated--suppression of free speech.  

But now we have the spectacle of a member of the Dem majority warning a leading representative of Fox News to stop celebrating his network's success--under threat of reinstitution of the so-called "Fairness Doctrine." On last evening's Factor, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, invoking the possibility of the return of the 'Fairness Doctrine,' warned O'Reilly to stop "crowing" about Fox's success.

O'Reilly had been questioning Kucinich about the collapse of the liberal media as reflected in the demise of Air America and Fox's crushing of CNN and MSNBC during this past Tuesday's election night coverage by margins of five and six-to-one.

You can view a good bit of the exchange in the video, but here was the key moment.
 

DENNIS KUCINICH: You know what?  Be careful, Bill, about crowing about your success right now because people are going to start calling for the Fairness Doctrine to come back if they feel their point of view is not being adequately represented. 

Yo Bill, nice network you got there.  Hate to see nuthin' happen to it.

It must be said that O'Reilly was anything but intimidated, expressing certainty that the 'Fairness Doctrine' isn't returning. But that doesn't make Kucinich's threat any less objectionable. And again, imagine the liberal teeth-gnashing if back during the days of the GOP congressional majority, a Republican congressman had similarly threatened a leading liberal media light.

The fact is, that if a "fairness doctrine" such as what has been floated by Democrats ever were put in place, and evenhandedly instituted for all media, republicans and conservatives would gain a windfall of all windfalls. 

But since the one and only purpose of a "fairness doctrine" today is to attack the successes of rightward thought on radio and in cable news, that is just a fantasy.

Fortunately, the Kucinich's of the world notwithstanding, I don't see how this bogus fraud - this censorship posing as "fairness" - will ever see the light of day.  Not that some Democrats wouldn't love to try it, but because, after Virginia, New Jersey and especially Massachusetts, it would be political suicide to do so now.

free` Instead of liberals looking in to why they fail, they want the government to step in and make it "fair". This is not something new. (01/23/10)

Zeke ... ... In the Pre-Cable days, the FCC dictated to the broadcast stations, because the Feds were 'allocating' a limited Public Resource -- Frequency (Channel) Assignments ... there are only so many channels in the TV spectrum ... ... ... Now, with Cable, Internet, it is not at all clear on what basis the Feds can tell 'em anything. Broadcast is becoming more and more irrelevant. (01/23/10)


HAS ANYONE SEEN THESE TWO TOGETHER?

 
Alan  Grayson and Shrek.  The question has to be asked.
 
 
Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) listens to Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke testify during a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on October 1, 2009 in Washington, DC. The committee is hearing testimony on the Federal Reserves financial regulatory reform proposals. 


OBAMA'S OPTIONS

Ken Berwitz

Every now and again you read a column that is so insightful - not in a clever, abstract way, but in a real down-to-earth way - that you want to read it again just to enjoy how clearly the author understands what he is writing about.

I had that feeling about Michael Gerson's column in today's Washington Post, which goes through the options for President Obama as he careens from the crushing senate lose in Massachusetts -- the third consecutive major-election loss that his personal charisma (such as it is these days) did not help.

Read it and see why.  Please pay special attention to the part I've put in bold print:

Obama's options, in a post-Massachusetts nation

By Michael Gerson

Friday, January 22, 2010

 

If Tuesday had been a national election, Scott Brown's victory merely would have been the high-water mark of a Republican deluge. A five-point win in Massachusetts would have translated into blowout Republican victories throughout the country. Every Democrat with political skills short of Franklin D. Roosevelt's would have suddenly seemed a "weak candidate." President Obama now is left with three options as he stumbles toward the State of the Union: He can try to ignore the anger, embrace the anger or blunt the anger.

 

Ignoring the anger is the advice of the health-reform fundamentalists: With victory only a shady maneuver away, just ram it through. Have the House pass the Senate bill unchanged -- a bill that is, in Majority Leader Steny Hoyer's inspiring rallying cry, "better than nothing." This is politics as psychological delusion -- entirely unmoored from reality. Democratic health reform is unpopular, for goodness' sake, in Massachusetts. Exit polls on Tuesday showed 52 percent opposed to the health bill and 42 percent who cast their vote with the specific intention of killing reform.

 

What serious Democrat would prefer this flawed, compromised, expensive bill to the political future of the party?

Each time the legislation has rolled forward, it has gathered criticism and opposition like dirty slush on a snowball. Who can argue that a final push -- this one smacking of desperate, anti-democratic trickery -- will rescue the situation?

 

After Tuesday night, the most dangerous enemies of the Democratic Party are not Republicans. They are the advocates of the current health-care bill.

 

Astute Democrats understand this. Rep. Barney Frank immediately ruled out "any effort to pass a health-care bill as if the Massachusetts election had not happened." The hope, says Frank, is that "some Republican senators will be willing to discuss a revised version of health-care reform." And "revised" health reform certainly would be more limited. Frank is not being a gutless Democrat. He is being a loyal Democrat -- defending his party against ideologues who care little for its prospects.

 

Another option for Obama is to try embracing public anger -- continuing to rail against plutocrats who get bailouts and bonuses.

 

But Obama can't change his own history. He generally avoided this kind of populism during the worst days of the economic crisis, for the good reason that the stabilization of financial markets precluded attacks on the financial industry. At this point, Obama's outrage would lack credibility. Why, for more than a year now, has health reform been his consuming priority while financial reform simmered on a back burner?

 

But Obama's main limitation as a class warrior is this: He is the least convincing populist I have ever seen. His manner is cold and cerebral. He loves to analyze and transcend ideological controversies. When he engages a debate on one side, he can be brittle, humorless and nasty. And he has a remarkable tin ear. What could possess a Harvard-trained lawyer to express scorn for Scott Brown's pickup truck? Obama is skilled at intellectual scorn; it is not a populist talent.

 

Finally, Obama could try to blunt public anger by parting ways with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and moving toward the ideological middle. "Whenever you have just the furthest left elements of the . . . party attempting to impose their will on the rest of the country," says Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, "that's not going to work too well." This argument is incomprehensible to many in the media and political class because they already view Obama as a pragmatic centrist. He didn't insist on the public option in the health bill. He didn't bug out of Afghanistan. He didn't release Guantanamo detainees on the streets of Akron.

 

But these are minimal indications of presidential responsibility, not evidence of moderation. Meanwhile, the federal government is on the fiscal path of a banana republic. Health reform promises vast benefits while doing little to reduce costs. Foreign terrorists are informed of their right to remain silent.

 

To some, this may look like the center -- but only because the boundaries of their ideological world run from hard left to center left. To Massachusetts's independents, the Obama agenda looked a lot like liberalism.

 

Is Obama capable of scaling back health reform, taking the deficit seriously and working with Republicans to promote economic growth? We have no idea, because Obama is a stranger to governing. But unless he blunts the anger we saw on Tuesday, he will feel it again.

Regarding the part I put in bold print:  How beautifully Gerson nails the problem!  To many in media, and Democratic political circles, a range of opinion is moderate Democrat to hardline socialist;  everything else is from outer space.

Regarding President Obama:  if a Democratic President cannot help a Democratic statewide office holder (Coakley is the Attorney General) beat a nondescript Republican State Senator in bluest-of-blue Massachusetts, I think it is fair to say that his current charisma level is a tad deficient.  I'd estimate the dropoff at, oh, about 99.7%.

But is Mr. Obama capable of doing anything about it?  Will his monumental ego, his monumental arrogance and a seemingly total inability to accept blame for his mistakes (which our wonderful "neutral" media were happy to skewer Bush for, but equally happy to give Obama a free pass on) allow him to stop, recalibrate and adjust?

Mr. Gerson is obviously skeptical.  So am I.  How about you?

Zeke ... ... ... The public perception is that our institutions -- government, education, news media, unions, have sold us all down the river ... ... Approval Ratings for each are in the sewer. ... ... We don't trust them because they are stealing from us, enriching themselves and lying to us. .... ... The lack of openness in the Health Care 'non-debate' is merely ONE example. ... ... The nation is heading full tilt towards a socialist style bankruptcy .. where the government is paying everyone -- works fine, until they run out of money and credit ... ... ... ... It is the fault of that free-spending socialist idiot in the White House .... and also his successor, Mr. Obama. Neither exercised prudence or restraint, just threw money around, made key decisions without any thought to the future. Come to think of it, his predecessor, Billy J, was cut from the same cloth. .... .... .... Whether meglomania or stubborness it, the results are the same -- the nation squandered its resources and its options on ill-defined goals and incredibly poor strategies .... and got nothing to show for it..... ... ... Now, our economy is tanked, our grandchildren's future is mortgaged, and there is no clear path forward. (01/23/10)


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