Sunday, August 07, 2005

The *Less* you know: great political commentary

John Stewart this week took on several current issues in US politics: (video here)

New photographs of Abu Ghraib abuse - ACLU wants the other photos made public. The US government doesn't think the public really needs to see them.

Bill O'Reilly, (alternate site / another) the Fox News spinster who seems to know little about everything and much about nothing, makes the case quite clear: a knowing US public, compliance with the Geneva Conventions, and civilian lawyers all "help the terrorists." Hence anybody who wants
  1. transparency in government,
  2. the rule of international law, or
  3. the upholding of the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution
are "terror allies."

John Stewart jokes that this is a direct quote from Bill's new book "The O'Reilly Factor for Kids: with no more than a passing acquaintance with logic" book (yes, Bill really does have a new book out for kids).

John goes on to note that the Whitehouse is battling a bill by John McCain which seeks to prevent the US military from hiding prisoners from the Red Cross (a violation in international law). Mr. McCain (who spent 5 years as a POW himself) went on O'Reilly's show where he was promptly instructed by O'Reilly that his understanding of torture (er... 'coerced interrogation') was incorrect.

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Ah... sigh... As they said on Crooks and Liars: "Why-oh-why must a fake news program do the real reporting?"

There is always work to be done - getting people to look at the issues themselves rather than relying on the likes of Bill O'Reilly. It's nice that we can laugh at his absurdity now, but we have to weep a bit when we think of all the people who swallow his 'analysis' without any thought of their own. Sigh again... 'Baby steps', I think, 'baby steps'. That's how we can make real change in the world - keeping aware of every opportunity: to tell a friend, to learn for ourselves, to intelligently discuss an issue, to donate a few dollars to a good cause. Baby steps...

2 comments:

scruffysmileyface said...

Getting people to think for themselves rather than listen to Bill O'Reilly would be just as hard as getting people to think for themselves instead of listening to John Stewart.
I've seen just as many instances of Stewart twisting issues as O'Reilly, but you're writing as if Stewart were the be-all and end-all of responsible journalism.
I agree with your point, but holding John Stewart up as an example is pretty silly.

Buddhist_philosopher said...

The difference as I've seen it is that Stewart is telling people, "you do have to think for yourself, you do deserve to see the information, you do have to develop a familiarity with logic." To be honest I don't watch TV much, so I can't judge Stewart. I've been directed to enough clips and segments and writings of O'Reilly though to be thoroughly worried for the future of his viewers and readers.