Looking Left and Right Quote of Note # 49 (D. Larison)


Following up on a related theme raised by Dan Froomkin in a recent post of mine, here’s an observation worth noting … and pondering, from Daniel Larison:

I expect partisan media outlets to be partisan. But it’s one thing to be overly skeptical of the claims being made by one’s opponents and overly deferential to those made by those on your team; it’s quite another to simply ignore the facts on the ground. [quoting James Joyner]
The deeper problem here is that many of these outlets and writers don’t accept that the “facts on the ground” are the real facts, and so replace them with “facts” that are consistent with the party line or the ideological boundaries being enforced….
Hagel’s opponents in conservative media weren’t just misinforming their readers. They were immersing themselves in misinformation and congratulating themselves on their keen insights into reality.
Movement conservatism’s misinformation problem doesn’t just come from sloppy reporting or a refusal to acknowledge inconvenient evidence, though these contribute to it, but mostly from relying on extremely bad assumptions on matters of policy.

That was written earlier this year, in the wake of some of the farcical “information” being passed along about then-nominee for Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. Sad to say, as is evidenced on a continuing, daily basis, the “misinformation … sloppy reporting” and “refusal to acknowledge inconvenient evidence” is not limited to that episode. It’s part of what drives much of our climate and energy supply debates (see my other blog, Peak Oil Matters, for more), as well as almost every single policy proposal offered by the Obama Administration.

How much damage to our economy, our trust in officials, or our system of democracy before enough is enough? How can we properly address the economic, cultural, climate, energy, and political challenges of the day when one party and its media elite are hell-bent on conveying whatever information (and only that information) will serve the interests of the wealthiest and most powerful? At what point do everyday citizens—supporters of established conservative principles—start to understand that much of what is ostensibly being done on their behalf sounds good today but will turn out to be incredibly damaging later on?

As I noted in my recent Quote of Note referenced above, the general media bears some responsibility for failing to properly inform and explain what are honorable and valid talking points and principles, and what is self-serving nonsense. But we can’t hand off that responsibility entirely.

If some of us want to enter the fray and speak up, speak out, and participate in the process of governing, we have a responsibility to ourselves and to those relying on us to carve out a path ahead of them, to not only speak the truth, but appreciate what that undertaking calls for us to do, say, and understand. Too many are still engaged in ideological, straight-from-the-playbook discussions without a heightened level of appreciation for what is being advocated, why, and what happens when the principles being promoted become law.

We have enough challenges and conflicts and problems as it is. Adding to those burdens by hurtling down paths destined only to create more harm later on is not exactly our best choice. If we choose not to honor that responsibility now, what happens later? Since when are more problems a good thing?

Final Quote of Note for 2013

I’ll have concluding posts from the two current Series on Wed, Thurs, & Fri
A new Tuesday series begins on January 7
Quote of Note will resume on January 6
See below for upcoming features

Happy holidays!

~ My Photo: the view atop Salt Island at Good Harbor Beach, MA – 08.27.05


       ^ Watch for some new features debuting soon at this website:


This new column begins on February 3, 2014. It’s a slightly skewed look at life for those of us on the north side of 50.


A political thriller filled with unexpected plot twists and drawn from real world historical events, this eBook is scheduled for Publication on January 28, 2014.
I’ll begin posting excerpts on January 6th. A few teasers will appear between December 16th and December 31st


(The inspiration for the other blog at this website). This eBook is scheduled for Publication on February 12, 2014
I’ll begin posting excerpts on January 15th. A few teasers will appear beginning right after Christmas


I’m a writer Looking Left and Right:
Inspiring Different Ideas, Envisioning Better Tomorrows
by sharing observations about the ideologies
which motivate our political, economic, and cultural discussions.

Be the change you want in the world – Gandhi

This blog is offered to encourage more enlightened public discourse—by sharing observations about the ideologies which motivate our political, economic, and cultural debates. The simple hope: shedding light on current “strategies” will prompt more of us to realize a different approach is at least worth considering … assuming a better future is worth pursuing. (It is!)

The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm, but because
of those who look at it without doing anything – Albert Einstein