Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Not Having Cable Saves Me from This

Glenn Beck. Who is this dude?

Apparently, he is important enough to have radio show, a CNN Headline News show, and to comment on ABC News.

Past contributions to the Hurricane Katrina discussion:
But the second thought I had when I saw these people and they had to shut down the Astrodome and lock it down, I thought: I didn't think I could hate victims faster than the 9-11 victims. These guys -- you know it's really sad. We're not hearing anything about Mississippi. We're not hearing anything about Alabama. We're hearing about the victims in New Orleans. This is a 90,000-square-mile disaster site, New Orleans is 181 square miles. A hundred and -- 0.2 percent of the disaster area is New Orleans! And that's all we're hearing about, are the people in New Orleans. Those are the only ones we're seeing on television are the scumbags -- and again, it's not all the people in New Orleans. Most of the people in New Orleans got out! It's just a small percentage of those who were left in New Orleans, or who decided to stay in New Orleans, and they're getting all the attention. It's exactly like the 9-11 victims' families. There's about 10 of them that are spoiling it for everybody.
Scumbags? Anyway…

So, Scout Prime at First Draft posts a clip of an “interview” Glenn Beck did with Chris Cooper of Rising Tide Conference fame. I can not believe that this passes for journalism.

Beck starts of with a video clip from his radio show to introduce the topic:

BECK: I don`t want to kick a city when it`s down, but I just -- I mean, we`re not even rebuilding it properly.

I find it very difficult in some ways to feel bad for New Orleans, because you`ve voted your government in. It`s a bad government. You didn`t know that after Katrina, as you were sitting there and the buses were underwater, but the city of New Orleans would like to let you know that crime usually decreases during Mardi Gras.

The problems caused by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans are great in both magnitude and complexity. “We`re not even rebuilding it properly” means nothing until “properly” is defined, which Beck does not do. Instead, he attacks the city government, pulling out “the buses were underwater” again.

Yes, they were. Eighty percent of the city was underwater. That would fall under the “great in magnitude” category.

Beck then delves into the “great in complexity” category:
Just a few blocks from the parties in the French Quarter, entire neighborhoods are still lying in ruin. Nearly 50 percent of New Orleans` population hasn`t come home.

On this day to eat, drink and be merry, you`ve got to face some sobering realities. Before Katrina there were more than 2,000 doctors serving in the city. Today, 500. Before Katrina, 128 public schools in operation. Today, 56. Four thousand businesses have closed, 100,000 jobs disappeared, 62,000 families still living in temporary trailers.

The murder rate is soaring. It has increased 90 percent in the past six months alone.
Rather than recognize that these are the obstacles we face as we rebuild, Beck cites these as evidence that we are not rebuilding “properly.”

We can infer from his radio-clip introduction that Beck wants to talk about how bad the city government is. While an inept city government doesn’t help, Hurricane Katrina presented us with problems, as I said before, that are great in both magnitude and complexity. Government on the city level, and even the state level, can not solve those problems alone.

Chris Cooper gets it:
CHRISTOPHER COOPER, "WALL STREET JOURNAL": Hey there, Glenn. The biggest problem is, frankly, the federal government. They`ve...

BECK: Really? How is that possible?

COOPER: I know. That comes as a big shock to you.

BECK: You would think that it would be, I don`t know, the local government that is completely corrupt.

COOPER: They`re partially to blame.
Not only does he get it, but he gets it with supporting evidence:
Congress appropriated the money. It`s not the $110 billion that you always hear about. It`s about $26 billion or so for Louisiana. But they only appropriated the money under the color of what`s called the Stafford Act, which requires every local government to come up with a matching amount of money before any of the federal money can be used.

Well, these local governments are broke as a choke. They can`t come up with the dough.
An incredulous Beck doesn’t agree:
BECK: OK. See, I think the problem in New Orleans is -- is about corruption first over the federal government.

I mean, don`t get me wrong. CSX, the railroad, has already rebuilt the bridges coming into New Orleans. Private industry got it done, because they had to. They`re still pricing out and taking bids, you know, for the freeway system in New Orleans.

You`re exactly right. The government is out of control.
Ok. See, WTF is Beck talking about? CSX? Railroads? And, I didn’t even know that “the freeway system in New Orleans” was one of our big problems. That must be a conservative talking point that I missed.

And what does “You`re exactly right. The government is out of control” mean? Cooper just refuted Beck’s claim that the city government is the number one problem. Beck stood by his claim making it even clearer that he thinks the city government is the problem “first over the federal government.” Yet, he then says to Cooper “You`re exactly right.”

If Cooper is right, then Beck is wrong. My head hurts.

Beck changes the subject:
But when you`ve got crime and murder rate going through the roof, a 90 percent increase in the murder rate in the last six months, and people are walking from it. Everybody knows there`s a 60-day rule going around now. People know. I can kill somebody and serve 60 days and be done.
Once again, this simple statement completely ignores the magnitude and complexity of our problems. Cooper does a good job of trying to add some intelligence to the discussion by pointing out the lack of a crime lab. But, in this format, neither can really address the problems in the New Orleans criminal justice system. It’s too complex for a two-minute discussion.

I promise Beck one thing, though. If he kills someone in New Orleans, he will not serve 60 days and get out. I will make sure of that.

Beck then asks for help:
BECK: You see, I mean here -- Chris, I mean, just help me understand this because I -- I just fail to understand it. I read a story out of New Orleans today about a 17-year-old boy who came home, had been beaten up, and his mom says, "What happened to you?"

And he says, "I was beaten up by so and so."

She hands him a gun and says, "Go get revenge." He goes. He kills the other kid. The police grab him, take him home. Mom is there. On the mantle of the house is a picture of the kid with a gun in one hand, a fist full of cash in the other. This -- this family has glorified violence.

What does the police chief say? His response was, "We`ve got to fix the educational system here." What?

COOPER: I mean, clearly that`s a troubled mom. I don`t think that`s a...

BECK: No, that`s a -- that is a troubled police chief that says, "We have to fix the educational system." We`ve got problems with families here.
If Beck is ignorant of the need for better social conditions, like a better educational system, to attack violent crime at the root, then he needs more help than even a well-informed Chris Cooper can give him.

Cooper yet again responds with an intelligent answer, but Beck – no doubt running out of time – abruptly ends the interview.

Is that what passes for a news show interview nowadays? I miss Ted Koppel and Nightline.


Rob said...

Thankfully, those of us with cable are free to ignore the existence of the channel Beck appears on by merely flipping past it, or in my case, setting my cable box to ignore it entirely and remove it from my menus.

Maitri said...

GB = Goddamned Baboon

The guy is an idiot and gets ratings only from the people who watch him, namely people who get mad with him and those who are mad at him.

Like rob said, I'm glad his program is emblazoned with his initials - so I can move past it ASAFP.

Anonymous said...

From the mouths of fools... some of that garbled interpretation sounds like it's coming from recent articles in the WSJ or here:

Don't gloss over that CSX thing; it sounds like he's talking about ongoing bidding on the light rail connecting NOLA to BR and beyond. CSX doesn't do freeway systems, so I don't think he's confusing street infrastructure contracts here. Unless he's stuck on Mississippi; but he's complaining about New Orleans.

Sophmom said...

Divert and attack is a time-honored verbal abuse tactic frequently employed by republican politicians and conservative pundits. Bush calls it "stay on the offense." When you don't have an informed retort in a discussion, divert and attack. Change the subject. GB is an ass. CC is the man.

Great post.

HammHawk said...

Thanks for an excellent post & summary.
FWIW, this is the same idiot who told Keith Ellison that he wanted him to prove he wasn't "working with the enemy" because he's Muslim.
And he's criticizing us?

Leigh C. said...

Thanks! You've fully justified our long time decision not to get cable or satellite TV.

Screaming meemie ignorance should just NOT be part of a TV package.

mominem said...

It's hard to know where to start.

Mississippi has 18,000 homeowners looking for help, Louisiana has 110,000. New Orleans may be only a small percentage of the area but most of the affected people live here.

As far as I know the "freeways" in New Orleans are all open. Some repairs are temporary, while a new higher and more secure bridge is built. I think may be is referring to the Highway 90 bay bridge, in Mississippi.

Mr. Clio said...

Fantastic post. I accidentally stumble onto Beck on occasion, and I can't even start to think or talk about him because I'm afraid I'll implode right on the spot. I have to remain silent. "Disgusting" is too kind a word.

I simply don't have the patience to do what you've done here. Thank you.

Howie Luvzus said...

Sorry. I couldn't read your entire post...I got too mad. Unfortunately, too many are spewing this crap (my dad included).

That's why it's so important to get the word out and to support real journalists when we can find them.

Thanks for a very informative post.

varg said...

all those sunsabitches do that for ratings and publicity (Limbaugh has gone on record admitting this)they know they are socially irresponsible but they have to make money somehow...this particular one was a bigger druggie than your average decatur street gutter punk ...look it up yall...