May 23, 2008

Appeasement Please

I want to take a few minutes to do some appeasing.

You see, political posts on this blog have had the historical tendency to devolve into arguments between myself and my brother, Diggs. While we these arguments are plenty fun for the two of us, they are probably boring or irritating to the rest of you. So, to help the peace process move forward, I'm offering up this ideological concession:

The mainstream media is not awful. In fact, it can be quite good.

Even though I've been know to rail against the mainstream media, I still respect it enough to turn to it for news. Further, I am willing to admit that their are plenty of instances in which they bring new information to light or call into question the false claims of various propaganda machines. Take Chris Matthews for example. He is someone whom I normally would not show much respect towards and yet I'd like to give in some props for this:

My enjoyment of this clip is not merely because a right wing radio host is being put in his place (that's an added bonus) but also because Matthew's is strongly asserting his role as an objective mediator. Granted, Matthew's did sort of ambush Kevin James but it was a trap that James walked boldly into and then proceeded to make much worse by boldly digging in his heels*. A journalist can hardly be blamed for demanding some facts to back up the assertion that Obama's policy toward Iran can be compared to Chamberlain's policy toward Germany. I heartily endorse Matthew's "Why are you yelling?" comment.

The clip doesn't include a comment by Mark Green which presages the embarrassment of James. He says, "I wish that the Republicans would argue on the merits and not engage in McCarthyite guilt by analogy." Turns out, it's hard to make an argument on merits when you don't know what you're talking about.

Green also drops a gem that I wish more people from all ends of the political spectrum would take seriously. He says "Anybody who the Bush people don't like is Hitler. Ho Chi Min was Hitler, Ahmadinajad is Hitler, Osama Bin Ladin is Hitler, and now Hussien was Hitler. Look, Hitler was Hitler." This kind of ridiculous Hitlerization of the opposition is an all too common political ploy.

On the word appeasement itself, I would just like to add that the word has developed an unnecessarily negative connotation. While these days the term is used to describe pointlessly giving a gift to an evil enemy, the old meaning of the word appeasement is: to make an offering in order to end conflict. I hope this post can be seen in the light of the original meaning.

The next post in my appeasement series will be entitled, "Why I prefer Obama over Clinton."

The Times has a short article about appeasement that mirrors a lot of what I've said here.

I just realized that the Hardball clip that I've praised in this post is actually one member of the media (TV host) bashing another (radio host). I think the main point, that I am saying something positive about the media, still holds though.

*Yes, Virginia, that is an Iraq metaphor.


Diggs said...

After Israel announced its diplomatic talks with Syria one week after Bush's speech I wanted to post, but didn't have the time. Thanks for picking up the ball. There is another NY times article about the Bush administrations inconsistency with respect to their definition of appeasement. Will post it when I locate it, its a few days old. Nice post.

Diggs said...

Here is a follow-up interview with Chris Mathews on the Countdown.

I don't have the time to comment on this article in the NY Times regarding the incredible hypocricy of the Bush administration regarding "talking" (which apparently now is appeasement) an "enemy" state.