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'Niceguy' Eddie

Political Talk Show Host and Internet Radio Personality. My show, In My Humble Opinion, aired on RainbowRadio from 2015-2017.

Feel free to contact me at niceguy9418@usa.com. You can also friend me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and Tumblr, and support my Patreon. Also, if you don't mind the stench, you can find my unofficial "fan club" over HERE. ;)


Friday, March 25, 2011

Another Brilliant Piece from Cracked....

It suffers rather a bit from the "false balance" problem... I don't care what they say, you simply cannot compare Keith Olbermann and Glenn Beck objectively and conclude that both are "full of shit," implying an equality there.  That's just nonsense.  One makes a well-reasoned argument, based on evidence and principles, while the other just MAKES SHIT UP.  Beck's problem is not that he's Conservative, but rather that he's a PARANOID PSYCHOTIC.  Being CONSERVATIVE is the LEAST of his mental illnesses!

All the same, I think this article does a pretty darned good job at showing WHY WE SUCK SO BAD AT DEMOCRACY.


  1. It's amazing how stupid smart people are when they're working from the wrong fundamentals. Observe:

    "We tune in for 'Us vs. Them,' so that's what they give us": No they don't, because "Us" is nowhere near "Them" or "bland centrism". That's so obvious that only a moron -- or a smart person working from terrible fundamentals -- can miss it.

    "Without drama, we get bored. We don't want the news to just give us information -- we want a story, and every story needs a villain": we have a friggin' villain, and the media refuses to give it to us. Only a moron -- or a smart person working from terrible fundamentals -- can decide that the destruction of the American middle class is too boring to make the news. And the drama-obsessed media just wasn't in the mood to destroy the presidency of George W Bush.

    This is the signal that a person's core beliefs are screwed up -- when their deepest thinking leads them into a cul-de-sac that a fifth grader could lead them out of.

  2. You bring up some very good point. "Brilliant" may have been a bit of an exageration on my part - sorry about that. I guess that in this day and age where we live in a country full of zombies that are so hypnotized by the MSM (and the more RW the media, the better, right?) I find ANY criticism of the media and the punditry to be extremely refreshing. Chalk it up to the "soft biggotry of lowered expectations," I guess! ;)

    I did leave a comment there (on Cracked.com) about how comaprig Olberman to Beck is bullshit, though. I couldn't let that pass.

    Also - In all fairness, George W. Bush isn't the ONLY villain here. I mean... let's not forget that most of the problems we're dealing with NOW (Libya, Bin Laden, Deficits, Iraq) can be traced back to the feel-good but ultimately failed policies of one Ronald W. Reagan!

    (And BTW... I really think we shoud start CALLING him "Ronald W. Reagan." Firstly - becuase his middle name IS "Wilson" and second, because most of the reasons we hate G. W. Bush, as I noted, can be traced back to the failure of R. W. Reagan. Just sayin'.)

    And thanks for you're comment. I'm glad to see people are still stopping by.

  3. I liked the premise of the article, and it does identify some very bad habits people have and handles some important topics (the last one--we hate one another for imaginary differences--in particular), but I had a lot of problems with it, as well.

    The false equivalency thing, to name but one, doesn't start and end with the Beck/Olbermann thing. It permeates the entire article. It cites, for example, that University of Maryland survey that identified a slew of false "factoids" and showed they were, nevertheless, widely believed to be true. This was done to show that consuming media actually "makes us stupider," but if you look at the misinformation the survey documented, nearly every example originated in the right-wing press, and huge majorities of self-identified "Republican voters" and Fox News viewers were incredibly misinformed about everything. A lot of the general public was misinformed about these things, as well. This doesn't suggest the press, as a whole, "makes us stupider"; it means we have sewage, from an identifiable source, being regularly pumped into the stream or our political discourse. The larger press may be actively aiding it in getting traction or passively doing so by failing to challenge it, but that larger press isn't the one pumping it out.

    The most prominent identified example of misinformation from a different source wasn't necessarily misinformation at all. A majority of MSNBC viewers said it had been proven that foreign sources were funding the U.S. Chamber of Commerce attack ads against Democrats. That isn't, strictly speaking, true, but it is true that foreign sources give huge amounts of money to the Chamber's general fund, and the Chamber was drawing from the same fund to finance their campaign. It was never shown that those foreign dollars were the exact ones being used in the campaign, but an argument could be made that this is hair-splitting.

    I don't want to overstate this, because it's a fact that people of all political stripes are often woefully misinformed about current events, but that survey didn't really support the conclusion it was used to make.

    Another gripe I had was in the way the article handled polling. The author seems to have gone into it with no understanding of what polling is, or what it actually measures. The things he breathlessly reports as some sort of fundamental failing of the public, based on what it tells pollsters, are premised in this misunderstanding. This is a more complicated matter than I could do justice here, though.

  4. Brack! Wrote a reply, but it looks as if I've been sent to the spam filter again. Maybe this machine knows something I don't!

  5. With my almighty power, I have resurrected your comment. And I'm not sure why Blogger seems to hate you so much. LOL. OTOH, "Left Hook," BTW, wasn't blocked by my company's web-filter until earlier this year. From 2008-2010 it apparently couldn't figure out that your Blog was, in fact, a BLOG. LOL. ;) (IMHO, OTOH, yeah, blocked from day one.)

    The funny thing is that, on the whole, I find Cracked to lean slightly (if not strongly) liberal. It's generally pro-science, anti-religion (or at least anti-religious harm being done to people), they accept AGW, they preach tolerate for LBGT / Race / Religiouis minorites, etc..., they hate Bill O'Rielly, and generally trash the RW punditry far more than the Left. (Olbermann's token measure here not withstanding.)

    But it seems that often when it comes to strait-up partisan / PARTY politics, they do a lot of bet-hedging. So they fall into the "both sides do it" trap a lot, neglecting to mention that one side dabbles in it while the other invented it, patented it and has moved it from an artform to a science anbd fund it with billions of dollars. I noticed a lot of the points you bring up (though I'll have to go back and see how he's handling the polling data. I DIDN'T get a bogus vibe off of thoase parts that I remember, at least not more than I do from polling data IN GENERAL.

    In hindsight, almost regret highlighting this article actually. I still think it makes some really good points, that are worth thinking about. (lamenting over?) But you and Steeve are definitely right about it's flaws. And its more flawed than many of their other pieces.

    Thanks for your comment. The spam-filter said it was "Yummy." ;)

  6. Don't regret highlighting it. It just has a lot of problems.

    I thought the authors' #1 point, that we have each other for imaginary reasons, was particularly important (and true). If I'd written it, I would have highlighted this even more strongly. In a sense, I have highlighted it, in the things I've written about the strong liberal bent of the public, even those who label (and, more to the point, mislabel) themselves as "conservative."

    I've believed, for years, that, because it's the only way conservatism can be triumphant, what passes for U.S. political discourse has been intentionally reduced to the level of a pro wrestling match. People simply don't agree, in any real numbers, with conservative policies, but if the process can be made a wrestling match, with citizens reduced to rowdy fans rooting for their favorite personality, rather than acting as responsible citizens making important decisions, those policies can win, because the personalities that enact them can become elected. Some of the things highlighted by the article help to show why this can happen.

    So it ain't all bad.

  7. Left Hook isn't a blog; it's a way of life.

    Meanwhile, check this out:

  8. I agree that #1 is a major problem. I've been dealing with it for the past few weeks since the video game Dragon Age II was released. The game is an action/RPG that doesn't have a major villain in the game, instead it has 2 people (who have to side with one and in the end you kill both of them) that represent 2 different POVs and the game doesn't say that one is 100% evil and the other is 100% good. The game shows that both sides their good and bad people in their ranks.

    This is has pissed off several gamers because the company that made it, Bioware, has had a record of making great games with great complex villains this time however we get 2 different POVs and you must choose which is the lesser of the two evils.

    Frankly I loved that Bioware made a video game about conflicting ideologies instead of giving gamers some villain or monster that must be destroyed in order to save the world (which is fun but after a while it does get old).

    It should also be pointed out that Dragon Age II head writer has taken heat for making all the love interests in the game bisexual (except for one) which allows gay and lesbian gamers to have enjoy a same-sex relationship. This has also caused a gay group to demand that Gaider be fired because they didn't like how he (and his team) depicted the "gay" characters.

    It should also be noted with the exception of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic all Bioware games have had a bisexual characters in them, (and even SW: KotOR had a closeted lesbian Jedi Knight character in it).

    My point is that we humans like a conflict that about us vs.them or good vs. evil. But people are 100% good and their not 100% evil. That is something most people tend to forget. Myself included.

  9. Interesting point. I totally get you (the overall point, I'm not really familiar withteh games) but HERE's what I DON'T get:

    The best stories (games, movies, comic books, etc...) have always had complex "heroes" and "villians" in them. Yes, I'll give you Sauron, in LotR, but really, when you think about it? That's like the laziest attempt at creating a villain EVER.

    COMPLEX charecters - both heroes and villains - make for a far more complelling and interesting story. And that's really what the media is doing - creating a narrative. Unfortunately the media would either prefert to assume we all have the mentality of 5th graders watching Dragonball Z, or they themselves all basically are. (Or they're just Conservatively biased, which pretty much amounts to both of those things at the same time.)

    BTW? For those who are old enough to remember the "Batman Animated Series" from the mid-1990's? (Extremely popular in teh COLLEGE DORM where I leved. LOL) TELL ME the original Mister Freeze episode wasn't one of the BEST attempts at creating a complex villain EVER! That should have won an Emmy. Am I right?