New on NewsReal – Media Matters Incites a Word War with Fox News Over Term "Public Option"

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

Language is a powerful tool. Those who define what words mean (or are at least believed to mean) can drastically influence our government and culture. According to the Left’s lexicon, killing is “choice,” racial discrimination is “affirmative action,” thought control is “sensitivity training,” and property confiscation is “economic justice.” But does the Right play similar propaganda games?

At the Daily Beast, Howard Kurtz seems to think so. Today he reports on a “new” Media Matters attack on Fox News.

As the health-care debate was heating up in the summer of 2009, Republican pollster Frank Luntz offered Sean Hannity some advice. 

Luntz, who counseled the GOP on how to sell the 1994 Contract With America, told the Fox News host to stop using President Obama’s preferred term for a key provision.

“If you call it a public option, the American people are split,” he explained. “If you call it the government option, the public is overwhelmingly against it.”

“A great point,” Hannity declared. “And from now on, I’m going to call it the government option, because that’s what it is.”  

On Oct. 27, the day after Senate Democrats introduced a bill with a public insurance option from which states could opt out, Bill Sammon, a Fox News vice president and Washington managing editor, sent the staff a memo. Sammon is a former Washington Times reporter. 

“Please use the term ‘government-run health insurance,’ or, when brevity is a concern, ‘government option,’ whenever possible,” the memo said.





The possibility that Sammon’s motives were partisan and that he was trying to influence Fox’s viewers against ObamaCare can’t be completely dismissed—“government option” polls the way Republicans want it to, and as Kurtz points out, Sammon is a right-leaning commentator who wrote several conservative books. Accordingly, I have scant patience for Sammon objecting, “Have I said things where I take a conservative view? Give me specifics.”

That said, there’s an obvious flip side that Kurtz and Media Matters ignore.

Read the rest at NewsRealBlog.

These Dogs Don’t Hunt

This week I found myself in the middle of a fight between conservative media blog Johnny Dollar’s Place and liberal smear blog NewsHounds, with NewsHound Priscilla falsely claiming that a Johnny Dollar contributor plagiarized something I wrote for NewsReal back in May. Predictably, the smear turned out to be bogus – you can see my rundown on NRB here, to which Johnny kindly links here.

It seems Priscilla has gone into damage control mode:

[W]hile “Blackflon” did explain the origin of the quote on his original comment with Mr. Freiburger’s quote, that doesn’t excuse him from not using quotes in subsequent comments. 

So now the charge is reduced from plagiarism to merely being too lax in listing one’s sources. I guess this is the closest Priscilla will come to admitting that Blackfon wasn’t deliberately passing off my work as his own. And I’m sure our Arbiter of Blogosphere Commenting Etiquette holds her own commenters to such rigorous standards…right?

Surely, if Mr. Freiburger writes a term paper on – say – Shakespeare and, after using a quote from one of the plays, does not use quotation marks in subsequent use of the quote, his professor might not be pleased. 

Uhh…it’s not an academic paper. It’s a BLOG COMMENT SECTION. Where people go for informal, impromptu discussion of political issues. I knew she was petty, but this…wow.

And if Mr. Freiburger thinks that I’m going to waste my time responding to his original charges, he’s “barking up the wrong tree.” All I will say is that I stand by my original contention that Sean Hannity is a racist and that Mr. Freiburger’s defense of said racism suggests that he too might harbor the same sentiments. 

In other words, she doesn’t care that she writes demonstrable, vicious lies about people, and if I notice, that probably makes me a racist too. I think this says all we need to know about NewsHounds’ credibility. Thanks, Priscilla!

Mr. Feiburger, a student at Hillsdale College, needs to realize that he’s just a right wing blogger – in the same sense that I’m, as he calls me, a lefty blogger. He really is overinflated with his sense of self-importance.

If criticizing someone for defaming people is a sign of “self-importance,” then how self-important must the original act of defamation be? And wait! Now it’s “just” the blogosphere? I thought that a minute ago, even individual blog comments had to be held to the rigor of college term papers…

Ah, leftist demagogues…the gifts that keep on giving.