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Pitts: Conservatives don't want to hear the truth

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  • Pitts: Conservatives don't want to hear the truth

    Source: http://www.timesdispatch.com/opinion/their-opinion/columnists-blogs/leonard-pitts/pitts-conservatives-don-t-want-to-hear-the-truth/article_f5b85968-c272-5532-8d97-86a37d8aa24a.html



    By Leonard Pitts Jr.


    You can’t handle the truth.

    There is a temptation to take that line from Jack Nicholson — snarled at Tom Cruise in “A Few Good Men” — as the moral of the story, the lesson to be learned from a new study on trustworthiness and the news media.


    The study, conducted by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, informs us that America’s least-trusted news source is conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, rated unreliable by almost 40 percent of all Americans. The also conservative Fox “News” follows closely at 37 percent. So America’s least-trusted news sources are also its most popular; Limbaugh hosts the No. 1 show on radio, and Fox is the highest-rated cable news outlet.


    It gets better. Pew tells us America’s most-trusted news source is CNN; the network that eschews any ideological identifier is considered reliable by 54 percent of us. Yet for as much as we supposedly trust it, we don’t seem to like it very much. Its ratings — despite a mild resurgence in recent months — are but a fraction of Fox’s, and it is undergoing massive layoffs.


    For what it’s worth, there’s evidence to support America’s perception of who is and is not trustworthy. PunditFact, an offshoot of PolitiFact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking website, has issued a report card on the truthfulness of broadcast pundits by network. It’s an imperfect measure, but the results are still compelling. Over 60 percent of Fox pundit statements rated by PunditFact have been found to be some flavor of false.


    CNN? Just 22 percent.


    If all this sounds like a commercial for the network of holograms and missing plane obsessions, it isn’t. Rather, it’s a lament for the closing of the American mind.


    There is an axiom that he who builds the best mousetrap enjoys the greatest success. But if that’s true, how is it the greatest successes in a business measured by trustworthiness are those entities judged least trustworthy of all? Maybe the answer is that conservative hardliners are more rabid in support of those who validate their views than the rest of us are in pursuit of simple truth.


    In a nation where political discourse is increasingly a facts-optional exercise and reality now comes in shades of red and blue, that’s hardly reassuring.


    Two years ago, at the request of yours truly, the people at Nielsen crunched some numbers. They found that in times of major breaking news — the examples used were the Columbine shooting, the Sept. 11 attacks, the commencement of the Iraq War, the Japanese tsunami and the death of Michael Jackson — ratings for all three cable news outlets tend to rise. But, almost without exception, the most dramatic spikes on a percentage basis are enjoyed by CNN. The week of Sept. 11, its ratings rose by 800 percent. No other network came close.


    In other words, when something big has happened and people need to know what’s going on, they know where to go. They go where they can trust.


    But on a routine day, many Americans, for as much as they will say otherwise, really don’t want to be informed so much as to be confirmed in their political biases, in the partisan version of truth that explains the world to them while making the fewest demands on intellect — and conscience. They need the “death panels” and “anchor” babies, the birther controversies and supposedly rampant voter fraud, the “threats” of Sharia law and Obama-caused Ebola, the whole rickety structure of falsehood and fear upon which conservatism has built its alternate reality. That’s the whole reason Fox exists — and CNN barely does.


    And it’s why Nicholson’s quote, tempting as it is, provides no proper moral for this story.


    It’s not that we can’t handle the truth. It’s that some of us prefer the lie.


    Contact Leonard Pitts at lpitts@miamiherald.com.

    © Copyright Original Source



    That's what
    - She

    Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
    - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

    I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
    Stephen R. Donaldson

  • #2
    What's so funny?
    Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.--Isaiah 1:17

    I don't think that all forms o[f] slavery are inherently immoral.--seer

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by square_peg View Post
      What's so funny?
      The projection, I'd assume.
      "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths." Isaiah 3:12

      There is no such thing as innocence, only degrees of guilt.

      Comment


      • #4
        "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by square_peg View Post
          What's so funny?
          Maybe he's laughing because, deep down, he knows that conservatives are just dishonest idiots who only ever want their political biases confirmed and liberals are righteous warriors on a Holy Quest for Truth, and he doesn't know how else to respond.
          I DENOUNCE DONALD J. TRUMP AND ALL HIS IMMORAL ACTS.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by The OP
            It’s not that we can’t handle the truth. It’s that some of us prefer the lie.
            Perhaps THAT'S why Obama was elected twice with over 50% of the vote!
            "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Zymologist View Post
              Maybe he's laughing because, deep down, he knows that conservatives are just dishonest idiots who only ever want their political biases confirmed and liberals are righteous warriors on a Holy Quest for Truth, and he doesn't know how else to respond.
              I didn't get that impression from the op-ed. He specified "conservative hardliners," which I took to mean the specific type of conservative who thinks every network that isn't Fox News is a godless mainstream liberal spin machine, and still clings to the hope that our president isn't really from America or is secretly a Muslim. Regarding that specific type of person, I'd say the article is spot-on accurate.
              Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.--Isaiah 1:17

              I don't think that all forms o[f] slavery are inherently immoral.--seer

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by square_peg View Post
                I didn't get that impression from the op-ed. He specified "conservative hardliners," which I took to mean the specific type of conservative who thinks every network that isn't Fox News is a godless mainstream liberal spin machine, and still clings to the hope that our president isn't really from America or is secretly a Muslim. Regarding that specific type of person, I'd say the article is spot-on accurate.
                Eh, politics suck. Can I just be a hermit?
                I DENOUNCE DONALD J. TRUMP AND ALL HIS IMMORAL ACTS.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by square_peg View Post
                  What's so funny?
                  Pitts is an idiot.
                  That's what
                  - She

                  Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
                  - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

                  I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
                  Stephen R. Donaldson

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Bill the Cat View Post
                    Pitts is an idiot.
                    I assume your objection is to that last paragraph. Fox News is an objectively terrible new source, so even if he's wrong about why people watch it, the people who watch it are still foolish for getting their information from career loudmouths and shills. But then when the question is asked "why do people watch it then", his argument, though without evidence, is not unreasonable. The idea that some people like propaganda isn't far fetched.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Psychic Missile View Post
                      I assume your objection is to that last paragraph.
                      My objection is that he actually talked up PolitiFact and acted like it is, in any sense of the word, reliable.

                      My favorite was when their falsehood of the year wasn't actually false.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Meta Knight View Post
                        My objection is that he actually talked up PolitiFact and acted like it is, in any sense of the word, reliable.

                        My favorite was when their falsehood of the year wasn't actually false.
                        Now we're starting to approach actual discussion and debate. Not much, but significantly more substantial than a mere animated graphic or merely calling the author an idiot.
                        Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.--Isaiah 1:17

                        I don't think that all forms o[f] slavery are inherently immoral.--seer

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Meta Knight View Post
                          My objection is that he actually talked up PolitiFact and acted like it is, in any sense of the word, reliable.

                          My favorite was when their falsehood of the year wasn't actually false.
                          That seems like a fair assessment. Which falsehood of the year wasn't actually false?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Read any of the politically flavored forums on the net, and you quickly notice that everyone on both sides of the aisle places far more emphasis on the source than on the content. Liberals see posted material from Drudge or Breitbart or Fox or the WND or CBN and automatically discount it, usually 100%. Conservatives regard sources like CNN, the major networks, the Daily Kos, and the Huffington post the same way. These people ALL see the source and see no reason to read any further, because their foregone conclusions are sure to be either ratified or lied about without the need to look at the content.

                            So I would say that Pitts is essentially right - there is Red news and Blue news. I'm not sure he's doing much more than ironically making his own point when he regards Blue news as reliable and Red news as unreliable, according to a Blue fact-finding source. I seriously doubt that Pitts and Cal Thomas could physically see the same event even if they were both there in person.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Meta Knight View Post
                              My objection is that he actually talked up PolitiFact and acted like it is, in any sense of the word, reliable.

                              My favorite was when their falsehood of the year wasn't actually false.
                              That.
                              That's what
                              - She

                              Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
                              - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

                              I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
                              Stephen R. Donaldson

                              Comment

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