but i don’t wanna be a pirate!

Either one of these guys could run the Pirates.

I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, and aside from the fact that I still have family there the one tie I keep with my hometown is through its sports teams. I spend money that I probably shouldn’t be spending to order the NHL Center Ice package so I can watch every Penguins game, and I do the best I can to catch as much of the Steelers as possible (Sunday Ticket is outrageously expensive, and I’m essentially repulsed by the idea of finding a Steelers bar nearby and shoehorning myself in to it to maybe watch the game or maybe get stuck staring at the back of somebody’s head the entire time). I’m enough of an irrational fan to be able to acknowledge that Ben Roethlisberger should probably be in prison, yet still root for the Steelers.

But before I was ever a Steelers fan or a Penguins fan, I loved two sports teams above all else: the Pittsburgh Spirit, our indoor soccer team that was out of business by 1986, and the Pittsburgh Pirates, our MLB franchise that probably should have gone out of business in 1993.

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my need is such i pretend too much

Oh yes I’m the great pretender, adrift in a world of my own

From Media Matters, we get the story, and I hope you’re sitting down for this, that “Fox & Friends” made a teeny, um, “error” this morning that just coincidentally happened to help push Fox’s agenda. See, the Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates six measures of unemployment, with the U3 measure, which counts active job seekers who are completely out of work, being most often cited. The sixth measure, U6, often gets mentioned as a more accurate reflection of the job market than U3, because U6 includes those who have stopped looking for work as well as those who are underemployed (i.e., part time workers who would like full time employment). Regardless of your own particular feelings about the merits of the various unemployment measures out there, U6 is undeniably a broader measure than U3, and will always be the higher of the two figures since everyone who gets counted under the U3 measure also gets counted under U6, and U6 then also counts categories of folks who don’t get counted under U3.

Well, the crack team at “Fox & Friends” realized that they had an expose on their hands, because by looking at something they’re calling the “real unemployment rate,” unemployment under the Obama Administration has actually gone through the roof, from a relatively small 7.8% when he took office to a whopping 14.7% today! This is the “real” unemployment measure, mind you, which you’ll only find on Fox News and not in any of the lamestream media who are all communist collaborators with the traitor Kenyan Marxist yadda yadda yadda. Well, of course, Fox’s “real unemployment rate” looks at the U3 number from the beginning of Pres. Obama’s term and compares it with the necessarily much higher U6 rate of today. In related news, if you compare Nolan Ryan’s 100 MPH fastball with the ~67,000 MPH speed of the Earth moving around the sun, it’s amazing he struck out so many batters with that pitiful slowball. If you compared just U3 to U3, unemployment has risen from 7.8% to 8.1%, and U6 to U6 gives you an increase from 14.2% to 14.7%.

View it here.

(Removed video because it’s no longer on YouTube and WordPress doesn’t seem to like embedding Media Matters’ video format)

I think my favorite part is where Laura Ingraham says, “Other than Fox News, where are you really seeing those statistics?” Where indeed? Or maybe it’s the part where she keenly picks apart actual statistics showing that growth of the federal government has decreased since President Obama took office with the unassailable logical argument that “it doesn’t feel that way.” Seems like an airtight case to me.

Although the bit where Gretchen Carlson says very seriously that the Labor Department should not be politicized like this, what with all the finagling of the numbers that in fact Fox & Friends had just finagled, that’s pretty awesome too.

But I can’t stop there, because although “ha ha, ‘Fox & Friends’ did some dumb thing, let’s point and laugh” blogging is richly rewarding in its own way, reading the description of this episode in the Leading Newspaper in Our Nation’s Capital is an exercise in how the media can’t stop couching its work in tame, non-threatening gibberish even on something as ridiculous as this, even on their blog platforms, and even when the writer agrees with the criticism. Erik Wemple does “a reported opinion blog on news media” on the Post‘s website, and in tackling this particular story he goes with the title “‘Fox & Friends’ botches unemployment comparison,” which seems straightforward enough. But then you read the piece, and you get writing like this:

Media Matters makes the case “Fox & Friends” comparison of “real”* unemployment rates — shorthand for a more comprehensive measurement than the traditionally cited official unemployment rate—is off the mark.

and this:

The rap against “Fox & Friends” here is that it used a smaller rate for the 2009 figure — that is, the official unemployment rate — and compared it against the 2012 “real” unemployment rate

Well, sorry, but no. Media Matters isn’t “mak[ing] the case” that “Fox & Friends” lied, or screwed up, or whatever you want to call it. “Fox & Friends” lied (screwed up, whatever), full stop. This is not “the rap against ‘Fox & Friends,'” is it instead what “Fox & Friends” did. There’s no “he said, she said,” here; Fox objectively got this wrong (whether they did so intentionally or mistakenly is unknowable and not really relevant to this particular point), but here’s the Post‘s media blogger, who is either consciously or unconsciously afraid to just say that Fox was wrong, and opts for the “some say” construction that Media Matters “makes the case” that Fox was wrong. Was Fox actually wrong? Well, Mr. Wemple’s post title says yes, but his writing says “some people say they were wrong, but who really knows? I’ll report the controversy, you decide for yourself!”

I don’t think and can’t imagine that Mr. Wemple intended to convey this message in his piece, which is why it strikes me as an excellent example of the deep-rooted establishment media aversion to reporting objective fact for fear of alienating audience or potential sources, of being “truth vigilantes.” If the Post‘s media blogger can’t step out from behind the cover of “some say” even on something as minor as this, something on which Fox was so objectively wrong that they’re actually going to issue a correction about it tomorrow, what chance is there that their real reporters will take the risk of reporting objective fact on matters of real substance?

and of course henry the horse dances the waltz

ABOVE: Next Sunday on Meet the Press!

David Gregory’s Weekly Clown Circus and Wacky Fun Time Hour this week featured the kind of fair and balanced panel that one can usually expect in the 21st century right wing apologia that is the Sunday morning talk show. From the right, we had Carly Fiorina and Newt Gingrich, from the back of a cab in New Delhi was The Mustache of Understanding, from David Broder’s musty crypt came Tom Brokaw, and from the pages of the latest middling pop history of presidents past came Doris Kearns Goodwin. On the left, we had Go Fuck Yourself. Or, as Driftglass puts it:

But since, as usual, no Liberal was invited to the party, no one was there to stand up for the Truth: no one there to try to shame David Gregory into doing his damn job, to ask Tom Brokaw why Paul Ryan’s lies ruffle his petticoats but Gingrich’s do not, or to just stuff Fiorian’s lies and Gingrich’s lies back down their throats.

Amazingly, Andrew Kirell at Mediaite looks at this panel and instead of wondering, say, where the fuck the liberals are, wonders “Do Journalists Now Represent The Left On Meet The Press Panel?” I can’t tell you how much I wish I was joking.

The roundtable discussion was not only interesting for its subject matter, but because it begs the question: was the show effectively putting up two journalists (Friedman and Brokaw) as representatives of the left?

I mean, seriously, right? Can you believe that the morons who book MTP thought that a panel that ran the gauntlet all the way from bugfuck crazy right winger to Centrist Cult “journalist” could accurately capture the range of public opinion? No, wait, that wasn’t what you meant?

Conservatives have long accused Brokaw and (to a lesser degree) Friedman of being liberals, but is this panel placement a tacit confession that these journalists represent the left? Neither of them would agree that they represent the liberal viewpoint, but if you take seriously the notion that the show always tries to represent both sides, then this does look curious.

You have got to be kidding me. What’s another possible conclusion that one could draw from the makeup of this panel, one that had lots of supporting evidence in the form of previous MTP panels, MTP’s guest booking tendencies, and the state of Sunday morning talk shows overall? One that didn’t require assuming that two people who are obviously not liberals were on the show as liberals? Oh, right, it’s that there’s no reason whatsoever to “take seriously the notion that the show always tries to represent both sides”!

The tacit confession MTP was making was that Brokaw, Kearns Goodwin, and Friedman were as far left as they were comfortable going this Sunday, thank you very much, and you viewers don’t need to hear from anybody with an actual liberal viewpoint. This says nothing about those three guests and their political leanings, and says a lot about what a freak-show joke MTP is.

the republican parable of the talents

(Matthew 25:14-30 for the heathens)

14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.

15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.

16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.

17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.

18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.

19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.

20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.

21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.

23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:

25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.

26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:

27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.

28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.

29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.

30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The clever reader will notice that this is the KJV translation of the parable, verbatim. That’s because the Parable of the Talents, being the only New Testament passage that Republicans cite with any frequency (Jesus just wasn’t enough of a homophobe or misogynist for his most ardent followers), is a perfect Republican morality tale all on its own, provided you have no ability to understand metaphor. The good servants get some money and go make more money. Then they give the money they make to the rich absentee dude, just like good little servants should. The moral? Buy some good servants who will take your money and make more of it. That’s it. Simple interpretations for the simple-minded. I wish I was joking.