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Report from PJM Event at National Press Club

Howdy from our nation’s capital!  I couldn’t live blog last night, so I figured I’d put this report up for Wednesday morning.

Unfortunately, my travel from Charlotte started out poorly as the first flight was cancelled and the next one arrived too late for me to fully enjoy the Pajamas Media reception. 

As I came into the room at the National Press Club, the first person I saw (and met) was none other than Jeff Gannon.  I also spotted our favorite Conservative Blogger Diva – the lovely and vixen-ish Pamela from Atlas Shrugs!  I sat right behind her but never got a chance to say hi.  Sorry Pamela!

Other than the panelists, Jeff and Pamela were the only bloggers I recognized (and I was checking name tags the whole time).  Moral of this part of the story:  I need to read more of the blogs affiliated with Pajamas Media!

I did get there in time to grab a seat for the panel discussion:  “How Partisan is Too Partisan?”  Moderated by Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds, the panel featured Michael Barone (one of my Americn political history heros), long time journalist Clifford May, Jane Hall from FOX News, Mark Blumenthal – aka The Mystery Pollster, Tom Bevan of RealClearPolitics.com, and Paul Mirengoff from Powerline.

The panel discussion was very good focusing on the pros and cons of a highly partisan atmosphere in America.  I tend to agree with Michael Barone (who as always cited voter turnout statistics like some people who know baseball stats) who pointed out that turnout in the 1996 Clinton re-election was its lowest in a generation.  But the 2004 highly partisan election resulted in a 16% increase in votes for Kerry versus Gore 2000, and a 23% increase in votes for Bush 2004 versus Bush 2000 (now that is a stat I’d never heard before!)

The panel debated partisanship and bias within the blogging community and also the mainstream media outlets.  Jane Hall was pretty defensive of the MSM while Cliff May and Paul Mirengoff trashed the traditional media.

Pajamas Media also has a survey going on their site to “name” those of us that have “blended” political views.  As Glenn Reynolds said last night — “You can’t label me when I yearn for a world of legally married gay couples with assault weapons in their closets.”

Which makes me wonder — what do you all think?  How partisan is too partisan?  And do you think media outlets that have a obvious bias (*cough* New York Times *cough*) should fully disclose their political leanings?

What say y’all?

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

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23 Comments

  1. Bruce, while you ask about partisanship within the MSM and blogosphere, I think media outlets take their cues from the “guys on the Floor or out on the campaign trail”. What is written about or commented upon stems from what happens –most of the time—from the “guys on the Floor” actually doing the political extreme.

    I don’t know what TPM colloquium uncovered as a truth regarding partisanship, the intensity of partisanship today or the primacy of partisanship over ideology as a mechanism for animating activism –catch that, partisanship OVER ideology to motivate political players.

    But from my read of history –of 18thC American and 17thC British up to modern times- partisanship has always been an intense, harsh, brutal activity not for the weak of heart.

    When did the predecessors of today’s modern Democratic Party first call the elected opposing Party’s president “King _____”? It was with #1: George Washington. They’re still doing it today to Geo Bush 43. They did it here in Michigan with the highly successful former Gov John Engler –the architect of modern welfare reform. It was King John instead of King George.

    I think the notion that the intensity of today’s political environment is “too partisan” is simply an uninformed notion. It’s always been partisan and each party and player within the parties fights for supremacy and dominance. It’s always been harsh, rumble-tumble.

    Sure, there are those rosy-dew eyed moments of great partisan monsters bending a humble knee in a moment of “friendship” or humility –like Tip O Neill being the 1st Democrat into RR’s hospital bed to pray for the President’s sure recovery from the assassin’s bullet. But on the whole, these guys were partisan, unrepentant, and –most importantly—unapologetic for the excess.

    Should we expect the media to be any different? Is there some Holy Code of Partisan Indifference that ethical journalists (an oxymoron) subscribe to? No. The truth is that from our country’s founding, the media has been used –willing and otherwise—by political actors to ensure supremacy and dominance. It hasn’t changed in 300 years… it won’t in 300 years. So what is it? Nostalgia and yearning for better, gentler more civil times?

    Nostalgia is a powerful tool when used to soften the harsh realities of today… like telling my kids that when I was kid we didn’t have DayPlanners in school loaded with events and playdates and movie release dates and upcoming sports events. It was a simpler, less hurried time. My brother reminded me if things were so less harried back then, why did we each have a car when we were freshmen in high school? We were always gone from home, always doing “stuff” but to keep that car you had to be home for dinner at 6 and in bed by 10 with school homework and chores done –or the car was history.

    Maybe things weren’t so “less harried” back then… I just want to imagine that. Maybe politics 50 years ago weren’t less partisan and the media more discreet –but I doubt it. I just want to imagine that.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — September 27, 2006 @ 8:51 am - September 27, 2006

  2. I think partisanship is more a symptom than the disease. Among the many divides, the most profound political divide is between Americans and globalists, between those who love America and those who do not, between those who think America is unique and special and worth fighting for, and those who think we’re at best no better than any other country and at worst the source of all the world’s evil, and our highest priority ought to be appeasing our foreign critics, especially among the Eurosocialist elites, even as they lead their own countries into decline.

    This dichotomy transcends partisanship. John McCain and Chuck Hegel clearly are as much a part of the latter group as Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Ted Kennedy and Nancy Pelosi.

    Comment by Nobody — September 27, 2006 @ 10:25 am - September 27, 2006

  3. I think the media should simply come out with their political affiliation or leanings and let the marketplace decide who best fits their needs.

    This is the unofficial policy in Europe. Every country has its acknowledged left, center and right-leaning media outlets. It’s about time Americans were given the truth about the Fourth Estate and took it from there. Fortunately, the blogosphere has given us this “political balkanization” so we can receive and consume the news that best fits our needs.

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — September 27, 2006 @ 10:38 am - September 27, 2006

  4. Peter, I agree in part and disagree in part. I agree that the MSM should be more willing to admit they are biased. But on the flip side, I think most people recognize that it’s biased, and more and more we are seeking out media outlets that we think are more in line with our own political leanings.

    And of course the blogosphere is one way of doing that. I remain concerned, however, that the blogosphere has too much of a tendency to boil everything down to a soundbite, much like television. Say what you will about the NYT and the Washington Post et.al. (and I qualify this by saying that I am of the liberal persuasion), those publications are perhaps a better source of in-depth reporting than our television news generally is. The same goes for the reliable conservative WSJ, which I also think is a great paper.

    Just a few random thoughts on it, from the pinko left :-P

    Mike

    Comment by Mike — September 27, 2006 @ 12:06 pm - September 27, 2006

  5. Mike, I appreciate your honesty, candor and above all, your rationality. These are three qualities which, I am sorry to say, are in short supply on your side of the aisle.

    On behalf of us “vast right-wing conspirators,” welcome to the block.

    My only comment is that the NYT used to be the paper of record. But with the likes of Jayson Blair, Howell Raines, Thomas Friedman, Adam Clymer and Pinch Sulzberger echoing through those hallowed hallways, the NYT has now turned into the agit-prop vehicle of the DNC. And sad to say, they embrace this role without regret. Witness the most recent “leaked” security information fiasco.

    I hope they can turn the public’s perception around, but I doubt it.

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — September 27, 2006 @ 1:27 pm - September 27, 2006

  6. I used to talk to Jeff Gannon online back when he was… ahem… selling. I never met him though because I was a teenager at the time and he lived in Delaware. It’s fascinating that he is this successful blogger now and is widely known.

    Comment by Chase — September 27, 2006 @ 2:27 pm - September 27, 2006

  7. Taking a second bite at Bruce’s apple… at work we were talking about partisanship in the press and one of our staff-professors and nacent historian noted that Geo Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton and others were fairly thin skinned about partisan sniping from the press and at least 3 of those 4 used their own press organs to cast question on the motives and intent of their political opponents.

    Maybe the questions of “How partisan is too partisan” or “Is the press biased” should be asked “Is the ideal of a non-partisan press necessary to a functioning democracy”? I simply think most Americans see the press now as very biased and partisan… and we can thank Fox, Rush, Dr Laura and lots of others for unmasking a conventional wisdom.

    The press has always been partisan. Politicians have used it to great advantage. Journalists shouldn’t be viewed as any more or less ethically challenged than a partisan political operative or office holder.

    We really ought to be talking about “are federal and state judges too partisan”. There’s the last fallacy awaiting discovery.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — September 27, 2006 @ 2:34 pm - September 27, 2006

  8. Yeah, isn’t America the best, Chase? We should all thank our lucky stars to live in this country!! (serious)

    Comment by anon — September 27, 2006 @ 2:59 pm - September 27, 2006

  9. I wish I’d seen your tag! I was there and would love to have met you.

    Comment by Eric Scheie — September 27, 2006 @ 10:09 pm - September 27, 2006

  10. And, more specifically, to that New York Times cough……….

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — September 28, 2006 @ 12:53 pm - September 28, 2006

  11. NDXXX, wow –what a flat out shocking admission from one of the MSM’s WORST offenders when it comes to curbing ideological bias, Ms Greenhouse. It would only be more surprising if it came from Bill Moyers or Mike Wallace.

    What was surprising to me was that someone at NPR thought Greenhouse’s statement wasn’t just the normal way of doing business at the 4th Estate. NPR is roundly criticized annually for their ideological bias in producing stories, editing stories, choosing guest commentators, stacking their public affairs panels with Left-of-Center aliens wearing tinfoil hats, etc.

    For me the telling line in the piece was

    “NPR said top New York Times editors Bill Keller and Jill Abramson declined to be interviewed.”

    I doubt they think there’s anything wrong with what Ms Greenhouse said… maybe they’d rather have it kept quiet though.

    I still can’t believe a GOP majority in Congress can’t seem to gut appropriations for NPR, PBS, CPB or others. It is a vast cultural wasteland populated with partisan malcontents and false intellectualism.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — September 28, 2006 @ 3:05 pm - September 28, 2006

  12. Bruce,
    What was the reaction of the pajamaites when: “Glenn Reynolds said last night — “You can’t label me when I yearn for a world of legally married gay couples with assault weapons in their closets.”

    Comment by keogh — September 28, 2006 @ 4:49 pm - September 28, 2006

  13. #11: Everytime Congress attempts to even question Public Broadcasting, the press spins it as a Republican attack on Big Bird and Mr. Rogers. Well, Mr. Rogers is dead and Sesame Street doesn’t need PBS as much as PBS needs Sesame Street. That show is a billion-dollar-a-year cash cow (or rather frog) through all the toys, videos, DVDs (including an upcoming one aimed at nostalgic adults who watched it in the Elmo-less “good old days”) they have sold.

    Comment by Attmay — September 28, 2006 @ 6:02 pm - September 28, 2006

  14. keogh (#12) – The entire room reacted with a laugh and applause, thank you very much.

    Comment by GayPatriot — September 29, 2006 @ 9:58 am - September 29, 2006

  15. From the post

    As Glenn Reynolds said last night — “You can’t label me when I yearn for a world of legally married gay couples with assault weapons in their closets.”

    Actually, I might label Reynolds–a libertarian. Unfortunately for libertarians, they have become little more than Republicans who want to smoke pot–marijuana.

    Why do I say that? In 1988, Ron Paul was the Libertarian Party’s candidate for president. I voted for him–it was a protest vote, of course, since I would not vote for either of the major party candidates, Bush I or Dukakis, both of whom I loathed. Fast forward several years. We received a fund-raising letter signed by Paul, then Republican member of the House from Texas, on hehalf of Jesse Helms, homo-bigot extraordinaire.

    The long and the short of it is that libertarians are BS, as is Glenn Reynolds.

    Comment by raj — September 29, 2006 @ 10:28 am - September 29, 2006

  16. And of course, it takes BS to know BS, right Eva Braun?

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — September 29, 2006 @ 10:38 am - September 29, 2006

  17. You’re mixed up there. Jesse Helms was an anti-homo bigot. You, Dee’s older brother, are the homo bigot.

    Comment by Attmay — September 29, 2006 @ 12:52 pm - September 29, 2006

  18. Libertarians come in more than one flavor. There’s isolationists who oppose mucking around overseas in any form and there are those who see international intervention as necessary self-defense. There are pro-life libertarians and pro-choice libertarians. Some libertarians are nearly anarchist while others accept that an extensive government is unavoidable but would like to keep it as small and unobstrusive as possible.

    As far as partisanship goes, my main problem with it is the labeling. Last night a friend (whom I’m now convinced never misses his daily KOS) said he was going to break his rule of never talking politics at karate and asked if I was Republican or Democrat… as though those are the only choices.

    There are things about having two major parties that contribute to national stability but the two parties and the assumptions they operate under are very similar, they need to be because they have to compete for the same majority. That’s okay. Maybe it’s even a good thing. But it hardly represents the depth or breadth of political thought.

    For me, Glenn Reynolds isn’t hard to label as a pro-active defense libertarian of the non-anarchic pro-choice variety. But that isn’t anywhere on the bi-polar political graph and it’s a fact.

    Yet, if you think about Instapundit’s popularity it’s likely an indication that the pro-active defense libertarian non-anarchic pro-choice “legally married gay couples with assault rifles in their closets” is a stronger political segment than it might seem at first glance. Not that his readers all agree, but that his readers don’t find any of those things off-putting enough *not* to read him.

    Yet he’s labeled “right-wing” right next to all the other “right-wing” bloggers.

    Missing the fact that there is a great deal of political diversity to choose from out there is a sad thing. “Are you Republican or Democrat” lets us off the hook for thinking about government at all.

    Comment by Synova — September 29, 2006 @ 1:18 pm - September 29, 2006

  19. Synova, at least your karate peer gave you a choice. Here, in the People’s Republic of Ann Arbor, when I listen to someone spout off the DailyKos line and I offer “Well, maybe that isn’t exactly the whole truth” (here in A2, conservatives have learned that if you do want to discuss something with the moonbat brigade you need to slowly warm them up to the notion that there are valid alternative ideas to the DemocratDailyShowSpeak)… I usually get asked “Wait, you aren’t a Republican, are you?” or worse “You aren’t defending them are you”?

    And at gay parties, the viciousness of the sneer in those questions is directly related to the lateness of the evening.

    At least in your orbit, they ask. Right, they’re wrong to think there are only 2 legit parties… but at least they ask. Here, if you don’t carry the water for the Left, the DNC or the GayLeftBorg… you run smack dab into intolerance and bigotry… and I think, ignorance on a palatial scale.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — September 29, 2006 @ 3:05 pm - September 29, 2006

  20. True.

    It actually may have been better had I said Republican rather than Libertarian because I really wonder how he’d have responded to that. I *almost* said pro-war libertarian, but as much as I enjoy discussing politics I had no desire whatsoever to get into an argument in a place that shouldn’t have to be political.

    What did he think he was going to say if I answered Republican? “Oh, nevermind?”

    Is it just me, or are Democrats more prone to assuming that the people around them will agree with their politics? Is it the same dynamic that guarentees that if the vehicle in front of you has more than two bumper stickers that they’re going to be lefty bumper stickers? (When there’s only two they might be NRA and pro-life.)

    Comment by Synova — September 29, 2006 @ 4:03 pm - September 29, 2006

  21. Synova, I’ve always said that the greater number of bumper-snickers on a car (especially those shrill lefty ones), the lower the IQ of the driver. And more often than not, they all look as if they hate their life.

    My favorite one is “I’m too smart to vote Republican.”

    I guess you must be that stupid to vote demoncRAT.

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — September 29, 2006 @ 4:34 pm - September 29, 2006

  22. Partisanship is fun and stimulating. I, for one, enjoy hearing from people with opposing points of view. And I like to hear why they think they way they do. I do not believe that the problem has anything to do with the points of view themselves, however closely held they might be. For me, the problem has become the level of discourse. We have witnessed the rise of the Ann Coulter/Al Franken “school” of political discourse. One one hand Coulter’s book “How to talk to a Liberal if you must” (Oh, please Ann, forgive them for breathing) and Franken’s “Rush Limbaugh is a big fat idiot” (what university did he get that phrase from) now seem to be mimicked more than I like. How about Hannity and Colmes (a windbag and a wimp). And I agree and disagree with things said by all of the above. But put them all (or even part) on the same show and they are all so full of themselves that they cannot bear to allow anyone else the privilege of completing one single sentence without being interrupted.

    Comment by Jim G — September 29, 2006 @ 11:32 pm - September 29, 2006

  23. I didn’t meet you either! You and NZ Bear. I think I met everyone else.

    Comment by Yehudit — September 30, 2006 @ 8:29 pm - September 30, 2006

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