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In order to keep up with the nature of free, spirited debate, I wanted to place the chat feature at the top of the homepage. This ensures people can come here and share their views on anything they wish and not have it be related to any specific discussion. Here, people can share ideas, links, and views "unmoderated" and an their own pace. To me, this makes The Elephant in the Room blog truly a place for debate.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January 16, 2013 - Morning Headlines

- President Obama and Vice President Biden will be announcing a package of gun control proposals today. They will be backdropped by children that wrote letters to the President after the Sandy Hook school shooting (CNN):

- Adding to the quickly expanding list of growing pains, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner took another hit as an emergency landing because of battery issues brought down a 787 in Japan yesterday (ABC News):

- Two people are dead and 9 others are injured after a helicopter flew into a construction crane and crashed to the ground in central London earlier today. No connection to terrorism is suspected (USA Today):

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  1. In four years, 'President' Obama has NEVER given a speech, FORCING THROUGH one of his pinheaded, commie ideas - WITHOUT a bunch of his Gimmie-dat, low information minions surrounding him to nod and slobber in awe at his great wisdom and benevolence.

    That he's chosen to exploit children for this gun grab nonsense, is despicable - but NOT surprising.

    Okay... isn't the Dream Liner the aircraft Boeing was building back east (Georgia?) in a Right-to-Work state plant - that the unions were flipping out about?

    And didn't the NLRB force Boeing to give the unions a partial appeasement to have SOME but not TOTAL union presence in that plant?

    If that's true, I'm suspicious of all the trouble the Dream Liner's been having...

    I've SEEN union members (THUGS) deliberately mess up their work, to make the point - when the (now) inevitable equipment failure happens.

    'SEE - this would NEVER have happened if we'd only had TOTAL union membership.'

    1. Dara

      The 787 is produced in heavily blue states. Big Union-friendly states. It is assembled in Washington. Not much mentioned about SC, though there is a little:

    2. Either way, MN, the point is still true :)

  2. Let's take a look at CNN right now to see how moderate, non-bias they are with their reporting on guns rights and gun control. is the set, and I'll score each headline -10 to +10 as to where it falls with respect to gun control. -10 is full pro gun rights, no gun control, 10 is full gun control, no gun rights.

    There are 8 headlines:

    "NRA: President Obama is an 'elitist hypocrite'": -1 - The displaying of an NRA opinion on the front page is pro gun right, but using name or slur against Obama in the headline is meant to make the NRA look childish, hence the score of -1.

    "Opinion: Real hypocrites are at NRA": +9 - Opinion pieces are where CNN's true colors come out. Heavily weighted, these headlines are unavoidable.

    "White House: NRA ad is 'repugnant'": +7 - Though not an outwardly gun control article, this "make the White House (Obama) look good with a STRONG rebuttal of the NRA" is clearly on the side of gun control. Notice the difference in the way CNN handles this and the NRA headline.

    "Poll: Most want stricter gun laws": +6 - Duh. Poll: MOST. Steering headline? If you read the article, it's a Time Magazine poll (laughable), but CNN reports it never the less. Good headline, CNN. You're helping me out here.

    1. "Piers Morgan: What's he saying now ": +8 - New CNN gun control champion is, of course, going to get CNN front page. Notice there is no counter to this. There is nothing from any gun rights person.

      "Sheriff: Defy 'unconstitutional' laws": -3 - This one highlights a gun rights sheriff, but from the headline, a reader wouldn't know it. If you read the headline, the use of "defy", as with the intentional use of a slur in the NRA headline, makes a gun rights person look bad. That's what draws this closer to 0 rather than having it as a -7 or more. It's the obvious vagueness of the headline in the face of so many other gun control headlines that makes this stand out. CNN had a chance to balance this; it did not.

      "Opinion: Ann Coulter is wrong on guns": - +9 - Written by pseudo-republican David Frum, I'd be willing to bet that CNN just drooled to get this on its front page. Do you see any counter to this? No, I didn't either. Not surprised.

      "Vegas club caters to gun fantasies": 0 - Hmmm. Pro-gun? Maybe? Cater implies "helping." As with the sheriff article, CNN had the chance here. It dropped the ball again. "Fantasies" is intentional too. Many on the left claim gun rights advocates live in a fantasy world. This is noted.

      So let's tally up the score:

      Total Score: +35
      Average Score: 4.375

      I'd love to see a rebuttal to this. You can disagree with my actual scores, but the method is sound. Regardless, in total and in average, CNN, while claiming to be "down the middle" and without bias, is CLEARLY promoting one side of the gun control issue. It's not even close. It should be ashamed of itself. To take a side and not report news is reprehensible. What ever the views are, CNN should not be promoting one over the other. This is, however, the MO of the liberal media: Push one side more heavily than others and watch as people's minds begin to sway. Hope is lost as this continues.

    2. Why not do the same for :P

    3. Fox isn't known to be "down the center."

      I love how when calling out the one-sided nature of the media, lefties go "what about Fox."

      MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, Washington Post, New York Times, Boston Globe, and onward, and you guys are worried about us having one? Fox News Fox News Fox News repeated screamed by the left. Where is your "tolerance." Tolerance is not, "we get all and you get none."

      But bottom line: I take it you agree with my assessment? :-)

    4. 'I love how anyone that produces a counter-point to a righty is immediately branded a lefty.'

      Goes both ways. :P

      To my memory I have never so much as uttered a word implying that CNN is 'center', but at the same time I don't necessarily support or believe in the hype surrounding these designations. There is no absolute, fixed, definable center. It's relative, always changing/evolving, much more complicated than I believe most people simplify it to be, and frankly mathematically unquantifiable (which is the biggest downside for me). I'm very much a math and numbers guy, so most of the stuff revolving around hugely subjective conclusions isn't my favorite topic.

      That said, do I believe that CNN publishes more articles that would appease those on the left than the right? Sure, yes, I’d give you that.

      But, at the same time, I also believe that society in general is embracing more of the liberal issues than the conservative ones right now. If the recent elections (President, House, Senate), ballot initiative vote outcomes (marijuana, gay marriage), and registration figures (D vs R) didn’t demonstrate that enough, I don’t know what else to say. Regardless of that, this is certainly solidified as a potential future trend due to the fact that the younger generations are much more liberal; where as the older generations are much more conservative.

      That being the case though, that’s a major part of the subjectivity here. If the above is truly the situation, would the center not be defined as representing slightly more liberal views than conservative? As opposed to an equal amount of both?

      Say that 50 years from now, liberal support fell into oblivion, with less than 5% of the population identifying as liberal/leaning liberal and 90% identifying as conservative/leaning conservative. Would the center not change? Would you still believe that the political center of that society is “50% liberal and 50% conservative”? I wouldn’t. The center would shift dramatically in that case.

      So sure, I think that they’re typically publishing more liberal peaces, but is it proportional to the amount of extra support the liberals have over conservatives at this time (thereby, keeping them ‘around’ the theoretical center)? Who knows, it’s impossible to tell. But if I had to say, I wouldn’t think it was incredibly far. Perhaps still too liberal, at worst, but still rather close (certainly closer compared to many other places).

      This probably all sounds incredibly convoluted/beat-around the bush, but that’s not what I’m trying to do. This is quite literally how I think about these things; I tend to be way over analytical. And I just think that defining a center is far too subjective to our own confirmation bias.

    5. About 200 words of pure crap. Blah blah blah. Dude made it as "numbers" as possible. Even if you were right that CNN wasn't center, this guy showed it wasn't even close. Keep denying the media isn't bias. Keep it going. Just fall away into another dream world.

    6. That's a great way to respond and not refute a single point I made.

      So you believe that the center is quantifiable, absolute, and static? And never changes? No matter how much the political parties/society in general may change?

    7. Although, I guess it would be hard to refute my points when you didn't even read the response. Either that, or you didn't understand it.

      There still wasn't even a single point in my reply where I said that CNN is at the center, nor did I even mention anything about media bias. In fact, I even admitted that I saw more liberal articles than conservative; my focus was on how there are different definitions of what is the center. Read it a little more slowly next time.

    8. You don't even warrant a response. But I'll try to put it on your level.

      Anon claimed CNN is center. He/she never said you did, No one did. The industry, however, is organized in the way I described. CNN has tried to say it has no bias, but as shown here, it is. It always has been.

      "That said, do I believe that CNN publishes more articles that would appease those on the left than the right?" You're okay with this? Is it because it fits YOUR leanings? If there was only one side, only conservative or only liberal, would that be healthy for the country? Absolutely not.

      "But, at the same time, I also believe that society in general is embracing more of the liberal issues than the conservative ones right now" LOLOLOL Riiiiiigggghhhhttttt. Perhaps this is a product of what anon and me are talking about. If the media is reporting more heavily on one side than it is the other, isn't it entirely logical to think the country would vote this way? When CNN touts out 4 gun control advocates for every one gun rights person, for example, isn't it apparent they're being slanted. Enough with the "well, we're becoming more liberal." That's absolute bullshit, and you're a sucker for believing it. You're just a sucker for what the media is telling you. From Nora to Mika to Sharpton to O'Donnell to Maddow. These morons have way more airtime than their conservative counterparts and if you fell what they're telling you is accurate, then you are just playing into their game.

      It's not about being 50% one or the other. It's about showing NO BIAS. What part of this do you not understand? Can't a news agency just report a story without the opinions, strong words, and skewed frequencies that show it truly is bias? I'm appalled that you support this mind warping of the American people at the hand of the media. You seem smart. Why are you okay with it being this way?

    9. A whole bunch of still ignoring my argument, along with pointless insults and assumptions.

      I made it pretty simple:
      "So you believe that the center is quantifiable, absolute, and static? And never changes? No matter how much the political parties/society in general may change?"

      So, you're arguing the center doesn't change, and that it hasn't moved at all in either direction recently?

      The burden of proof is on you to show that the center has not shifted. I, once again, can reference a decent subset of actual data and results that help support my conclusion (recent elections and ballot initiatives, etc), where as you have provided nothing other than "LOL". Compelling argument. There’s a reason that the GOP has already changed some of their strategy from the previous year and has called for re-examining their platform, because the political atmosphere and issues of importance shift. It happens all the time. It happened in 2001 when Democrats had the wake-up call that there isn’t enough support to push the environmentalism issues as far as Al Gore did (which is part of why the issue was largely absent from the primaries in 2004). And in 2010 in the House, when Democrats focused more on healthcare reform than the economy/jobs.

      And whether or not that shift of the center is a result of media bias, is completely irrelevant. The point is that the center moves, and has moved. What caused that move isn’t what I was discussing, at any point here.

      As far as bias goes, I’m not even discussing that either (for the second time). My issue, again, is in how to define the center.

      Separate from my main point above, so not to confuse you or what I’m trying to say here.

      Yes, I do believe it’s acceptable for media to shift along with the political atmosphere. Whether it causes the shift or is simply shifting with it, is a different discussion.

      But this is, after all, part of how most of them strive to make money (news has long since been more about entertainment and viewership numbers, than actual news). If you don’t want a for-profit media, then that is a separate issue all-together.

      I don’t disagree with your point that this creates an issue for those that look to news for a factual and balanced amount of information from all sides, but the fact of the matter is that it has never been or will be that way. Most people seem to accept that as well.

      I would also like to provide this:

      CNN is in fact one of the networks closest to the center, according to the viewership they attract. If we’re going to put any number, measure, or attempt to quantify this discussion through any method I definitely believe this is one of the better ways to go about it. I’m open to hearing what studies you may want to reference, apart from the incredibly subjective ‘scoring’ above.

      But yes, CNN is closer to the median range in attracting people based on age, sex, education, and income than any other news site in this study. For political views, they’re also very close to the center, though not the closest. But I would say that a 32-30-30 of Conservative/Moderate/Liberal viewership is pretty damn close in itself, nonetheless.

    10. I'll play the part of anonymous here since he seemed to have left the building. He said near the end, "I'd love to see a rebuttal to this."

      You didn't. It's funny how you accuse me of ignoring your argument but you ignored his. If this was a dissertation for a Ph.D, he would have received one. You can claim subjectivity in the "scoring" all you want, but you are still ignoring and not providing a rebut to it. Let's review:

      Thesis: CNN is NOT unbiased, and promotes a highly-slanted liberal viewpoint.
      Backup information: A scoring system of the top 8 headlines displayed on
      Corresponding analysis: He showed the reasons for each scoring assignment.
      Conclusion: Uses simple math to ratify his original thesis.

      Now, you can kick and scream all you want. He laid out the thesis, gave the backing for his views, conducted corresponding, back-up reasons and analysis, and arrived at a conclusion. THIS is how it is done. If you don't agree, rebut it. You did not. He attempted to provide a scoring system to show that a bias exists. A method or system can be set up to test the veracity of any position. He uses numerical analysis.

      So where is your rebuttal to this? You know, PH.Ds are awarded to people who don't ratify their thesis. The analysis, connection, provisions set forth, and all that within the supporting data that coincides with the thesis is what does. Many people actually prove the opposite of their thesis and still receive a Ph.d. So, please step up to the big boy world, step aside from the attacks of not being able to read, and address what he said. I did, and I agreed with him. Since you don't, show how he is wrong. I think this is a wonderful quantitative analysis that puts a value on something difficult to quantify. And if you try to disprove the actual scoring system, on the surface basis, even a simple binary test of reasonable people can yield a result that shows either a liberal or conservative view. It seems your only objection is to either piss and whine, or claim that the scoring system is "subject" (which is funny because it relies on objective figures), while providing no alternative to disprove his theory. Good luck.

    11. Hi RKen... you described The Overton Window - to a tee!

      "Joseph Overton observed that in a given public policy area, such as education, only a relatively narrow range of potential policies will be considered politically acceptable. This "window" of politically acceptable options is primarily defined not by what politicians prefer, but rather by what they believe they can support and still win re-election. In general, then, the window shifts to include different policy options not when ideas change among politicians, but when ideas change in the society that elects them."

      It's like that little rectangular doohickey on the doctor's scale...the peg is on your 'actual' weight - the higher and lower numbers - are still within the window, but out of balance.

      The skinnier or fatter you get, the farther the thing moves to either the left - or right - and the CENTER ALSO moves.

      IMO these 'new' democrats, with Obama and his Shadow Party backers have pulled the nation w-a-ay over to the 'skinny' end (left) of that scale which has ALSO moved the CENTER.

      THIS is why those of us who reside in the range of the 'old' center are deemed by these 'new' democrats - as 'far right-wing nut jobs.'

      WE haven't changed - ya'll have MOVED THE DOOHICKEY.

    12. XXX: Again, completely ignored everything I said and the data I referenced while citing absolutely no actual data of your own. Sorry, but someone saying “I score this a 5 on the bias scale based purely on X headline” isn’t data or analysis. I’m flabbergasted you would even compare this to PhD level research.

      So do you not have any?

      And what is the point in providing a rebuttal to 100% subjective arguments? It’s 100% based on opinion; no data or facts. I could score those any way I want, and apart from saying “because I said so”, that’s all there is to it. The ironic thing here is that I actually read all of those articles, and his assumptions on which are biased purely from the headlines are not 100% correct. But again, I don’t really care to get into the major subjectivity involved in all of that.

      And I wasn’t ignoring Anon’s point, I said multiple times now that I would rather take a more quantitative/analytical point of view in referencing actual data, studies, trends, and attempting to define where the actual center would be.

      I’ve now provided both evidence as to why I believe the political atmosphere has shifted (to your none), an answer to why I feel the media follows this atmosphere (you ignored), as well a very comprehensive study with very interesting and relevant data points to this discussion (to your none).

      And all you did in your last response is provide a metaphor. Sure, that’s compelling. To boot, the metaphor fails, as a there is absolutely no sources/evidence in Anon’s ‘thesis’ here. It is 100% opinionated. There are no data, studies, or hard facts that he attempts to reference in his points, scores, or system. He would fail in defending it. There is no such thing as a thesis that does not references any sources. I’m the only one that has referenced any data/sources/studies here so far, even if few.

      So, are you actually going to address my points/data in one of these replies, and provide something of your own (as I requested of you three times now), or continue to ignore it?

    13. Dara: I appreciate the link; I wasn’t familiar with that definition of the concept.

      But yes, that does essentially sound similar to the point I was making.

      However, of course we disagree on whether or not one party is ‘pulling’ the window or not. :) I simply think that society is changing on many of the key issues that the GOP has not completely budged on yet. Gay marriage, abortion, drug regulation, conservative foreign policy, and acknowledging climate change are some of the big ones that, as more people accept them as OK (which whether we like it or not, all of the data trends show that more people are accepting it lately), that scale will continue to move to the ‘skinny’ side so long as the GOP continually opposes them as a major part of their platform.

    14. @RKen: 'that scale will continue to move to the ‘skinny’ side so long as the GOP continually opposes them as a major part of their platform.'

      Gotta disagree, as there's also a pendulum theory out there, which I happen to agree with.

      And if we should lurch much farther to the left - we WILL be U.S.S.Amerika - is that *really* what you people want???? Might want to be careful what you wish for... 'useful idiots' and all that...

      Global warming has been debunked, the only thing keeping the farce alive, are the hardcore wanna-be's and they're quickly losing their clout (

      Abortion is losing support (mainly due to the left's support of atrocities like partial birth abortion.)

      Marriage of any flavor - belongs at the state level, as does pot (which remains in jeopardy, because the Feds can't seem to keep their grubby mitts off of it.)

      I have hope that America will come to her senses... I'm even optimistic enough to believe there's bright hope for Conservatives (NOT necessarily the R's)

      That the great thing about that Overton Window... it moves BOTH ways : )

    15. Fair enough, I definitely appreciate bringing light to that concept though. Been looking into it further the last few days! (Overton window) Very interesting.