Monday, December 26, 2005

Oh, You Think You're Bad, Huh? You're A Fucking Choir Boy Compared To Me! A CHOIR BOY!

This is about one of those little things that catches the eye and the mind.

See, to this day, the Right Wing refers to the corporate-owned media as "the liberal media". They created the term, so that they could simultaneously use and discredit the media whenever necessary. They can bludgeon people with a message reported as news, and do it so loudly and frequently that inconvenient facts to the contrary get lost or unreported; they can deride those inconvenient facts to the contrary as things made up by the liberal media to attack Good And Noble Men Just Trying To Do What's Right For America.

And they can slip an idea into the public arena until it hardens like concrete.

Modern reporting has very much become a he-said-she-said situation, all in the name of an elusive, and really illusive, goal called "balance". The idea is very simple: There are two sides to every situation, and each should be given equal weight to come to a fair conclusion.

This second part is, of course, bullshit.

There are infinite examples of one side being categorically right and the other being completely wrong. If someone tells you that all zebras are stripped green and silver, she's either lying or a real partisan for House Slytherin. If a geometry teacher tells you pi is three, he's unqualified for his job. If someone breaks into your house and steals your stereo, their love of music, or even their desire to sell the stereo for food money, doesn't enter into it.

So, what are we to make of this interesting AP phrasing:
Officials in Arnold Schwarzenegger's hometown quietly removed his name from a soccer stadium overnight, complying with the California governor's demand in a bitter dispute over his death penalty stance.

By early Monday, the large metal letters spelling out the action star-turned-politician's name were gone from the 15,300-seat stadium in the southern city of Graz.

Schwarzenegger had written to the mayor of Graz a week ago asking that his name be removed after local activists called for the stadium to be renamed because of Schwarzenegger's refusal to block the Dec. 13 execution of Stanley Tookie Williams.

Capital punishment is illegal in Schwarzenegger's native Austria, where many people consider it barbaric. Opposition had run especially high in Graz, whose official slogan is "City of Human Rights."

The governor, turning the tables on his critics [my emphasis], ordered his name removed and returned a ring of honor that Graz officials gave him in 1999.


Last week, Graz Mayor Siegfried Nagl wrote to Schwarzenegger urging him to reconsider his decision to cut ties to the city and to keep the ring. Nagl said he reassured Schwarzenegger that he remains admired by most local residents.

Nagl said he was worried that severing ties to Schwarzenegger, one of Austria's most famous sons, potentially could cost the city millions in tourist revenue.

But a movement to scrap Schwarzenegger's name from the stadium had gained momentum in recent weeks, and a majority of the city council in Graz was said to support the idea — even before Schwarzenegger's demand.

The ring arrived at Graz's city hall late last week, and officials were considering displaying it at a local museum, Nagl told the weekly newspaper Die Woche.

Many Europeans have scorned the United States' use of capital punishment in general, and Schwarzenegger's refusal to grant clemency in particular. They are now waiting to see how Schwarzenegger deals with the scheduled Jan. 17 execution of a 75-year-old inmate.
See, it doesn't appear to me that Ahnult has turned the tables on his critics.

On the mayor of Graz, yes. The mayor wants that all-important tourism aspect. But Arnie's critics, the local activists, wanted him to do exactly what he's done: sever ties, and good riddance.

The local officials want Schwarzennegger's association because it brings them money. The people don't want it because it brings them shame. The Associated Press, and possibly Arnold, may indeed believe that Arnold has "turned the tables on their critics" when, in fact, he has been publicly embarassed.

The problem is, that's not the way the story is being told or sold. It's made out to be a he-said-she-said. Or a you-can't-fire-me-I-quit. And it's really not.

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