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    Olbermann Watch, "persecuting" Keith since 2004

    January 7, 2005
    Countdown - Friday Jan 7, 2005 (8:00-9:00 P.M. ET)

    Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Jan 7

    Host: Keith Olbermann

    Scheduled Topics/Guests:

    THE LATEST FROM SOUTH ASIA: Charles Sabine, NBC News correspondent



    THE MEDIA ETHICS BEHIND A REPORTER TAKING BRIBES FROM GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS: Deborah Potter, former network correspondent and president of NewsLab, a media watchdog organization

    Read the transcript to the 8 p.m. ET show
    Guest: PENDING

    OLBYWATCH GUIDE: Gee? Does is sound like Keith has an open mind on the Armstrong Williams story?

    Posted by Robert Cox | Permalink | Comments (33) | | View blog reactions


    no. Its the same old, same old with him, sarcasm and ridicule for anything Bush or Republican, all the while saying he is non partisan.

    I got my wife to watch him for the first time last night, and she doesn't read the news ever, and never heard of him. The only thing she knew about him was that he won some best looking news guy thing (ok, well I had to get her to watch him somehow), and that I had written something about him on the internet.

    By the end of the second mini segment (not the numbering countdown thing) she said "he's a liberal", sort of surprised. I had to laugh but she didn't even know what I was laughing about. I am guessing that my wife was suprised by him being liberal because she knows I am conservative and figured if I was writing about someone they would be conservative.

    KO: the reason I am breaking the Ohio vote fraud story is because I am non partisan. Right.

    It is so dishonest that it undermines his credibility in general.

    Well, good lord, how open a mind one should have about the Armstrong Williams matter? You don't want your brains to fall out, etc...etc..

    The guy was a paid flak pretending to be an independent pundit. That's more egregious than the Krugman/Enron thing of years ago. And at least the Clinton "paid prevaricators" that Linda Tripp spoke about were openly so.

    You go, girl! You took (some of) the words right out of my mouth! You're so cute when you're riled. ;}

    Let's hope this is an isolated incident. We've got a lot to focus on and this type of thing can draw attention from the big issues. As depicable as this is, I hope it can be resolved quickly so we can focus on more pressing matters. I say this not to minimize its import, especially if it's just the tip of a "media payola" does raise other questions re what constitutes reporting v. commentary in today's MSM. I think we can expect a flurry of (Freedom of Information Act) FOA disclosure requests. Let's hope that if found valid, those culpable get punished for this. The irony here is that a $240,000 bribe could have actually been used for No Child Left Behind (NCLB), which is underfunded to the tune of $29 billion.

    This raises another issue to me that may be pertinent to this sight, which of course, rests on the alleged liberal bias of KO. Is it appropriate for him, partisan or not, to opine openly or subliminally on the relative bias of another member of the media? If you buy claims of KO's bias, this makes him at least, a hypocrite. At most, does it constitute a conflict of interest? In any case, how should KO, bum that you say he is, report such a story? Do others who claim to be "legitimate, objective" reporters get more leeway by virtue of their dogmatic "putity"?

    In any case, an interesting development. Our tax dollars at work.


    That would be "purity"...sorry.

    Although I agree about Williams, I don't think it was despicable. Or that he was prevaricating like the Clintonoids. He would have said this anyway, what would have been dispicable would have been for him to present the opposite of what he believes for money to an audience that would have been thrown by that. But, it was wrong and he got to take his lumps and lost his job.

    Paul, in reference to your question, all that KO needs to do in my view is to be honest. Don't be telling interviewers that you are non partisan when you are so obviously partisan. Or, make an effort to present the other side once in a while, which he never does. I guess the best example to compare him to is Jay Leno, who openly tells people he is a type liberal when asked, but he also gives a fair shake to conservatives who come on his show like Newt Gingrich or whomever. So much so that conservatives used to think he was conservative. That is someone who makes an honest effort to be non partisan.

    KO's problem, and it is interesting that I would think first of a comedian to compare him to, is that he is trying to do a comedy schtick on serious news and it isn't working. It could work, but for one thing he would have to crack on both sides but he never does, all the funny stuff to him seems to only be against conservatives and Bush.

    Also, he just basicially lacks the background and gravitas to be a news anchor. It really shows, these are serious issues and he constantly comes across as making light of tragedies and horrors. He also lacks a basic understanding of politics, a lack of depth that you don't see in other comedy type news people like Rush Limbaugh. He is such a light weight that he doesn't realize he comes across as a tin foil hat type.

    He ought to watch how a serious liberal commentator like Peter Beinert or Juan Williams handle opposing views, in a way that at least a conservative can respect even if they don't agree.

    Actually, Napa, I think getting paid for hyping a program you believe in is just marginally less egregious than jumping on board because of the payola. Either way it appears that your first allegiance is to your pocketbook. We may tolerate that in genuine sales-people (and they generally mask the strictly mercenary aspects of their job too) but for pundits who supposedly operate with an honest interest and concern for ideas, it's an utter loss of credibility.

    About our nemesis, Olbermann: Since he's so interested in election reform, I wonder if he'll take up the problem in Washington State? There's all sorts of allegations. He was quick to air the opinion of some on the left who felt that there should have been a state-wide revote in Ohio, maybe he could start opining on that notion for Washington.

    Afterall the state is now ground-zero for election controversy, "citizen journalists" are blogging the hell out of it-- all the elements of the last controversy... so you'd think, the only guy who had the balls to cover "election irregularities"... the one who made it HIS issue... would be turning his focus there and start having segments based on what's blogged on Little Green Footballs and INDC that day...

    I'd suggest that no one hold their breath.


    So your exception with KO rests on his lack of honesty and full disclosure...Olbermann's failure to admit his alleged liberal leanings is the reason you indict him, correct?

    You suggest that Limbaugh and others, as current event "entertainers," are more credible, since they make no bones about their partisan agendas, and that since Armstrong Williams claims to believe in NCLB, that it was A-OK for him to take $240k to talk it up among his listeners. Using this "barometer," how do you feel about Sinclair Broadcasting and their officer/commentator, Mark Hyman? Are they/is he justified/credible? Since they're on public airwaves v. cable, what standard of fairness do you apply to them?

    In light of your expressed high regard for honesty and full disclosure, I find your acceptance of the Bush administration's PR practices particularly curious, given the apparent bribery of Armstrong Williams, which constitutes, in my opinion, a far deeper breach of your professed standard than you're willing to accept in KO's case. Are you inclined to selectively enforce your judgement in all things political, or is it reserved only to honesty? This type of cognitive dissonance is what I and many of my liberal compadres find so unnerving.

    Paul - I guess you're so unnerved that it affected your reading skills. Napa did not accept Williams' behavior; he condemned it while challenging the notion that Williams' opinion was altered by the payments. (Look up "bribe" - it means to give value to another to induce the person to act dishonestly or to persuade or influence that person.) You asked what KO had to do to avoid Napa's criticism - Napa replied that KO should stop making false claims that he is nonpartisan. He did not equate the two, or argue that KO's conduct is worse than Williams'. If KO is guilty of falsely claiming to be nonpartisan, he is guilty, and this is not changed or excused by Williams' conduct.

    BTW - Look up "bribe"

    Paul - I guess you're so unnerved that it affected your reading skills. Napa did not accept Williams' behavior; he condemned it while challenging the notion that Williams' opinion was altered by the payments. (Look up "bribe" - it means to give value to another to induce the person to act dishonestly [taking the payment without disclosing it does not by itself constitute taking a bribe] or to persuade or influence that person.) You asked what KO had to do to avoid Napa's criticism - Napa replied that KO should stop making false claims that he is nonpartisan. He did not equate the two, or argue that KO's conduct is worse than Williams'. If KO is guilty of falsely claiming to be nonpartisan, he is guilty, and this is not changed or excused by Williams' conduct.


    I don't have any knowledge of your liberal compadres, but I am acquainted with the fact that the state of being unnerved seems to come as naturally to you as the art of eating donuts to police officers. But if you look around conservative sites and google for quotes from well-known conservatives, you'll find almost zero support for Armstrong William in this matter and you'll find general calls for a full investigation of the Dept of Education's contract with Williams and any WH knowledge of it.

    Paul, reread my post. I said what Williams did was wrong and that he got what he deserved, fired from his job. I agree with Cecilia that it is one step removed, or marginally less egregious as she put it, from jumping on purely for money. I can see how in Williams mind, however, needing to make money that he figured hey, I was going to do all this anyway so why not get paid? He got caught in his own greed which everyone does at some point. I am not ready to crucify the guy, that's all. He admitted he made a mistake cleaner and more responsibly than any political type I have almost ever heard, and that makes a difference to me too. KO tried to make it seem like he was giving different stories and that was not true, I watched Williams on both the shows KO referred to and he appeared genuinely contrite, no bs.

    Sinclair has been very unfairly maligned, I feel. Everyone knows their point of view, and anyway what they were going to do is what the MSM has been doing day in day out for thirty years, only from the opposite viewpoint. See: CBS, NBC and ABC News, NY Times, Washington Post, LA Times, etc, etc.

    Cecilia, agree with you about Williams.

    I thought about the Washington situation but was afraid to bring it up for appearing hypocritical myself, but it does appear there is one bit of evidence that seems credible to me, which is the fact that SO MANY votes more than people registered in King County showed up. If there had been a few hundred, ok but 8000+?

    I think it is too early to demand a revote. They need to figure out where those extra votes came from, and then need to take all the evidence to a judge and let them decide. I sat through an election fraud trial here in Napa, it was a Supervisor's race that was challenged after being decided by about 50 votes, and when you go through the evidence a pattern becomes very clear. The Judge was great and he was very left wing, Marin County guy. So right now I still trust the Judiciary unless they get one of the Clinton shills or liberal activists like the Florida Supreme Court.

    And yes, KO not covering this is screaming partisanship. I think an objective reading of this situation shows far more to be concerned about in Washington than there was in Ohio.

    One more thing: all the counties where minorities were supposedly disenfranchised are run by DEMOCRATS! Why are we not invesigating them for racism in voting?? if the problems are real, that is.

    eddiehaskel, thanks for your comments, you understood my post better than I did. :)


    My point is to the double standard as set up by Napa's position, (i.e.: honesty=important for KO, etc. v. not so much for the Bush admin). This isn't the first time W's crew has conducted questionable (or illegal) PR activities...

    ...and it'll be interesting to see what they do as they push Social Security reform (in which PR will be prominent and crucial).

    That Williams appears to have little support is a good thing, however, I'm willing to take a wait and see attitude on the level to which knowledge of this incident ascends. A gratuity involves a PAYER and a PAYEE. (If a tree falls in the forest and there's no one there to hear it...) If the administration was unwilling to practice voodoo PR, we wouldn't be having this discussion. Repubs seem content to weigh in favor of such behavior from their corner but adjust the scales when it comes from the left.

    C'mon, guys. You've accused me of not comparing "apples to apples" re Washington State v. Ohio elections and I must suggest you do the same, however, to the extent that this is Olbywatch, I agree that KO should cover any pertinent news related to the WA State gubernatorial race. I don't think your commenting on WA is necessarily hypocritical, Napa. A fair vote is a fair vote. But comparing anything but the need for fairness; the numbers, gravity, etc., of these two outcomes is altogether unfair.

    Re Sinclair, "they were going to do is what the MSM has been doing day in day out for thirty years, only from the opposite viewpoint."

    Napa, sorry, but prior to 1984, the FCC enforced the Fairness Doctrine. Any station or broadcast group that aired anything as blatantly partisan as "Stolen Honor...," would have had to give the opposition candidate equal time. The right's claim about the leftist media machine was a carefully crafted strategy that has worked exceptionally well to its advantage. If there was a left-wing media bias, it vanished early last decade. These days, corporate media is King, pundits rule, "infotainment" prevails and "Fair and Balanced" is no more than a tag line.

    Gotta run...later.


    Sorry I missed your post...Look up "payola"--the scandal in the late 50s that revolved around the legality of payments made to radio personalities who hyped recordings they were paid to push. The practice was determined illegal. It constutites a bribe and is exactly what Mr. Williams did, except that instead of a rock and roll song, he hyped a government program.

    You're right, I should have acknowledged that Napa admitted he felt Mr. Williams was wrong. His qualification that William's behavior was mitigated because of his support of NCLB must have diverted my attention. As you and C have mentioned, I should read things more carefully.

    The point should be that regardless of what he believed, Mr. Williams abused his position. Again, I was taking issue with the way Napa and other conservatives who seem eager to harshly judge KO, appear far more forgiving to those who politically agree with them.

    The other issue is with who paid Williams. We now must see how far up the chain of command consent went. As I said, this isn't an isolated case of careless (illegal) PR by this administration.

    Y'all frequently mention that Keith keeps telling us he's non-partisan. Now, I don't watch every night (that's why you're here, right?)--but I have watched frequently since this site appeared--and I've not seen him talk about this. Can you tell me when he last said he was non-partisan? Was it on his show, or in an interview somewhere? Or is it an unspoken conveyance, transmitted by his story choice, placement and attempt to inject humor/sarcasm? If you're right about his politics, would his apologizing for claiming to be non-partisan vindicate him in your minds? If he opened each show with "Good evening, this is Keith Olbermann, with news from the left side of the planet," would this make him as credible as say, Scarborough or Rush?

    Thanks for your opinions, Eddie


    I couldn't care less about what happens in Washington State. Those people can figure it out themselves, in my book. And the only reason I brought the subject up at all is in order to ask the obvious question: Why isn't Keith, who is supposedly interested in election irregularities, interested in this?

    The comparision I made between Washington State and the presidential election involves the factors that Keith nightly talked about as being important:

    Lots of accusations of fraud

    Public mistrust

    Many conspiracy stories on the internet.

    Again, based on his own criteria you'd think Countdown would now focus on WS as groundzero for those who want to bring election reformation into national prominence


    I didn't conducting "possible illegal" PR activities prior to the Williams case but I do know that the prior administration had a incidence of it too:

    (Seems the definition of payola was a topic here too.)

    And again, when you make the blanket statement that "Repubs seem content to weigh in favor of such behavior from their corner but adjust the scales when it comes from the left.", I don't know who you mean. Some freeper? I don't know of any prominent Republican who is weighing in favor of Williams or the PR contract.

    As for Napa's point about Olbermann and his bias, Keith has stated in at least two interviews that he is "not political". One interview was referenced on this site so I don't know where you've been. On both occasions the statement was made in the context of his not having a horse in this race (my phrase) as far as political matters go.

    Your comparing Olbermann, who calls himself a journalist, to Limbaugh and Scarborough, who are pundits, it pretty lame. I think a more accurate comparision of Keith Olbermann (this is not a comparision of personal style or intellect) would be to Bill O'Reilly. It's interesting that both men describe themselves as being unbiased.

    I have to agree that it would enhance his credibility, especially if other news oultets are breaking WA stories he's chosen to ignore. If KO's claiming to be non-partisan, I think viewers have every right to expect his reporting to reflect that.

    That said, I would expect the standards you apply to measure his relative objectivity to be consistent across the board.

    I have to agree that it would enhance his credibility, especially if other news oultets are breaking WA stories he's chosen to ignore. If KO's claiming to be non-partisan, I think viewers have every right to expect his reporting to reflect that.

    That said, I would expect the standards you apply to measure his relative objectivity to be consistent across the board.

    Sweet Holy Moses! The only pertinent things I could find in the lengthy transcript you provided were the words "payola" and "anti-drug". Where did it say that the Clinton administration had broken the law? The conversation re payola was conjecture--academic...certainly not proven as far as I could government oversight agency had deemed those PSAs illegal. They were merely questioning the practice of paying the TV stations to allow the administration script reviews. I admit that I'd question paying someone for granting them this priveledge, because producers typically provide this free of charge--after all, in this case the government's the client...As a TV producer, I'll tell you that's a sweet deal, and atypical indeed (but apparently not illegal). Please tell me if I missed something, which is entirely possible, because it was hard to maintain focus after my eyes glazed over.

    The article I provided cites multiple cases in which the GAO found fault with the Bush administration's HHS Dept. for producing illegal ads: (i.e. The GAO in May concluded that the Department of Health and Human Services violated two federal laws with similar fake news reports touting the administration's new Medicare drug benefit. When that opinion was released, officials at the drug-control office decided to stop the practice, spokesman Thomas Riley said.)

    HHS admitted the error and said they'd never do it again. Then, after making that statement, they DID IT AGAIN with the anti-drug ad that ran during the Super Bowl.

    Now, that's half an hour of my life I'll never get back!

    And remember, C...I was comparing an apologetic, openly liberal Olby with Scarborough and Rush (not the "non-partisan journalist" Olby!) It was a hypothetical.


    I didn't mean to suggest that the information in that news conference referred to illegal matters. The article explicitly refers to the law allowing that sort of nonsense. I am able to read if I read wear my glasses and sound each word out...

    I meant to convey that this slippery slope wasn't plotted out under the Bush administration. The bluring of the lines has been going on for a long while as anyone who has opposed the idiotic "war on drugs" can tell you.

    This particular incident has made news because it involves a fairly well-known tv and radio pundit and chiefly because it's a sweetheart deal that is particularly corrupting to the public.

    What you don't hear much about is the stuff that has gone on for several decades like the grants and such awarded by agencies like the EPA and dear of DOE to non-profit think tanks and groups that have soft-spots for a particular administration policy.

    Well, the media has been shilling for all the Democrats so much they don't have to pay them---they do it free of charge! Evan Thomas ( head of newsweek) said early in the Presidential campaign that the main stream media were going to come out strong for Kerry and Edwards and it would be worth 15 points for them. A week later both Newsweek and Time had Kerry and Edwards in very flattering pictures on their covers, with the caption "Sunshine Boys".

    I'm still waiting for "Sunshine Boys" for Bush and Cheney--it is almost humourous to think of that it is so unlikely.

    I am the one who linked to an interview conducted by a journalist who covers bloggers whom Keith point blank told that he was non partisan, by way of explaining why he was the first to cover the Ohio fraud story.

    Keith is the only non partisan journalist in the US left, apparently, at least according to him and his Mom, although I will need confirmation from the Mom, in writing, before I say for sure.

    I may not read as quickly or as well as you, C, but I do try to avoid sending you on a wild goose chase...nor will I resort to insulting you. I suggest merely that you take the advice you offer me and read the stuff I post as thoroughly as you expect me to read yours. Having done so would have illustrated to you that your minor history lesson was only mildly related to my argument.

    Left wing, schmeft wing...I submit that while you have had a point once with this argument, it's greatly diminished if not altogether absent. There are liberal news sources, there are conservative news sources. Your obsession with and harangues against the alleged left-wing media bias are tired and hackneyed. Your claims simply have no affect today because of the way news is produced and consumed. It's produced with an intended target audience and has been, now, for years. Today's news is branded--people seek out their preferred news product. It seems that to insist today that all journalists subscribe to the same standard may be, to borrow from your Mr. Gonzales, "quaint"--simply no longer viable in our consumer-driven, infotainment hungry marketplace. It's not like conservatives aren't represented. Perhaps we should insist that all media types sign a political disclosure statement to ensure they're on the up and up. How `bout a loyalty oath--the repubs already have a boiler plate for those!

    You won't be happy until there's no dissenting voices. Liberal media, blah blah, blah. We're one small step from tabloids and you're still whining. What say you give it a rest and let's all go look for Big Foot.


    Re-read your earlier post and don't think you were insulting me after all. You're right about conveying nuance here. Sorry.

    Well, Paul, honey, I'm glad you've worked everything out but I'm concerned because I don't have a clue as to what you're talking about.

    Afterall, I'd hate to have missed an opportunity to insult you.

    Paul, I disagree with you but I am not sure how much value there is in discussing it. First, I am talking about the mainstream media (not all media) being way tilted to the liberal, which is still where most people by far get their news.

    I see examples on a daily basis, proof abounds everywhere. What is happening is that liberals like yourself realized that this criticism by conservatives is working, so they have started a defense called "no its not, you are too" which I recall from elementary school. Just denying the facts is not a defense, but it is hard to argue with total denial.

    The ombudsman from the NYTimes openly said it was a liberal paper. Most of the rest of the news gets its lead from them, on a daily basis. Small time newspapers run articles from AP which takes its lead from the Times. The Times is going to fall if it keeps being so biased because it is running false information all the time. The whole social security thing is a good example of that, soc sec is not in trouble they say--uh, except it is 4 trillion dollars in debt.

    You know what, I could go on and on but if you don't want to believe it you can find other examples to counter it, but I think when you look at journalism schools and what they teach students and the political leanings of those who work in the business you can see where they are coming from. I recently read an on line article from an intern at CBS news who was afraid to tell anyone she was going to vote for Bush because everyone there was so pro active for Kerry that she knew she would lose her job.

    Liberals don't realize how tyrannical they are about having to win and having to be right all the time. They are outraged they are losing and use ridicule and hostility to shut others up who don't agree with them.

    Let me say this, Rush Limbaugh wouldn't exist if conservatives had an outlet, the conservative blogosphere wouldn't be here either, if conservatives had more of a voice in mainstream news.

    I do agree it is changing, because conservatives are creating their own channels, radio, Fox, and the blogosphere. The MSM remains stubbornly the same, because conservatives are just wrong and evil and not allowed in newsrooms.


    Allow me to echo your sentiments. I disagree with you but I'm convinced there's no value in discussing it.

    After all, I'm in denial and tyrannically must win and be right all the time. When you factor in my outrage about losing and the way I resort to ridicule and hostility to shut others up who don't agree with me, one can easily see the fruitlessness of debate.

    Even if one were to invest the time to back up their vague, sweeping generalizations and unsubstantiated claims, I'm apt to counter with "no its not, you are too".

    Simply amazing, really. Thanks again, at least, for the civility if not the reason of your response.

    Well, I don't know if you guys will be able to hear each other or not but what concerns me is that so many in the media, including CBS, don't want to discuss bias. They want to do what Keith did and the president of CBS News did and pull a sentence out of the Rathergate report that basically says that the investigators aren't going to attempt to read people's minds on whether they are politically biased and use that as an excuse to dust off their hands and say 'well that's that with the bias question'.

    Imagine being involved in any enterprise where your MO was to immediately rule-out a perception that at least half your consumers held. It's a testimony to what has been, until recently, the uniformity of the fifth estate, because if the rest of us did that we'd be unemployed in a couple of years.

    I have said this before, but I will never understand the willingness of media folks to cast aspersions on their own character and the profession in general by immediately characterizing themselves as being the puppets of their corporate bosses as a foil to guestions of personal political bias. Nightline can do Townhall meetings galore about how there aren't enough people of color or enough gays in the media but if anyone mentions that their might be eastern elite groupthink then that person is an obvious 'dittohead'. And they don't even consider why their compunction to dismiss a dittohead is indicative itself.

    I am gratified by people like Chris Matthews, an upfront old-style Democrat, who doesn't hesitate to say the media is liberal, and for Don Hewitt, late of 60 Minutes, who made the statement that no way could the same scenario have gone down if Kerry were the subject. And far from criticising the changes in the media, I thank God for the new media-- cable news, talk radio, the internet...the broadening of the voices out there... and mostly for the bloggers who held the old media's feet to the fire.

    The pajama game rocks!

    Paul, the reason I said that there may be no value in discussing it is that it is an unprovable position. I agree with Cecilia's analysis, it is a good one, but bias is subjective and I can't get inside Dan Rather's head, only point to outward acts that taken altogether point that way to me.

    You already said you think there is no liberal bias in the media, so that is how you look at it.

    The rest is what I see in general, not particularly about you, I don't know you well enough to know. We have to make generalizations in order to have a discussion. I usually try to buttress those with some specific example to demonstrate my point, like the vote fraud accusations in Florida and Ohio. I have yet to meet a Democrat or liberal who didn't think there was something to them, and that is pure bias, sore loserdom, and I think it is going to hurt them more and more.

    I am sure that out there somewhere there is a Democrat or liberal that thinks Katherine Harris is a saint, for example, but I have yet to hear of one.


    Great response. Now, did I say I "think there is no liberal bias in the media?" Not really. What I said was "I submit that while you (may) have had a point once with this argument, it's greatly diminished if not altogether absent," then went on into "news branding." In other words, while it may have been an issue through the '80s (although I don't recall it hindering Reagan) that by the early '90s, with the increasing clout of right-wing news and punditry, you criticism had been rendered faint...a victim of its own success. And I do understand your distinction between MSM and special interest journalism. But when you say that most of America gets its news from MSM, significant crossover does occur--MSM eventually covers much of what gets started in special interest media--and the proliferation or "reach" of the latter continues to swell. Still, you drone on about the left-wing media bias. It's old, tired and simply inaccurate.

    Further, I disagree with your contention that to debate opinion, we must resort to using generalizations. We DO NOT and you'll improve your ability to persuade if you disabuse yourself of this notion. Arguments can rest on fact, bias or hearsay. When we can back logic with fact, only then can we begin to change opinions, (unless, of course, we resort to force!). And if we're not trying to change ones opinion, or open to divergent opinions, arguing is little more than verbal masturbation.

    Cecelia has pointed out how hard it can be to convey subtleties in a blog post and I agree. I One can read/interpret a completely or marginally different POV than a writer intends and unlike face-to-face communication, there are no verbal cues or body language to augment understanding. We must take one at his/her rendered words. It's easy to miss a fine point or to address one that jumps out at you at the expense of another, regardless of the writer's priority.

    That said, thanks for redirecting your criticism to liberals other than me. I am trying to be fair and I sense that down deep, you are, too. I truly appreciate you effort and take your point in saying "I am sure that out there somewhere there is a Democrat or liberal that thinks Katherine Harris is a saint...." Kudos! While you're on the right track, you'd be better off with something like "There may be" rather than "I am sure". This is straight from "Weasel Words 101".

    You've got potential, Napa, as do I. Thanks for the input.