January 14, 2011

USAT’s Neuharth Blames Everyone But the Tucson Killer; MSNBC Response Is a Howler

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 4:02 pm

On Wednesday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), in commenting on USA Today’s poor decision to quote a paragraph from a New York Times op-ed by former Congressman Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) — a bad decision because Kanjorski’s call for “civility” directly contrasts with his call for someone to shoot Florida gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott just a few months ago — I wrote that USAT Founder Al Neuharth’s “‘civility’ credentials are also suspect.”

Two days later, Neuharth, who claims to be “independent,” more than justified those suspicions. In a “Plain Talk” item in Friday’s paper (“Who shares blame in Tucson tragedy?”), Neuharth blamed a wide range of people for Jared Loughner’s actions. “Somehow,” he forgot to blame Jared Laughner. It’s not a stretch to assert that many readers would be justified in believing that Neuharth may not even want to see Loughner convicted of a crime.

Neuharth took shots at talkers on the right and left. USAT published an absolutely laughable counter-response from MSNBC President Phil Griffin. The other response (from the right? Are you kidding?) was from a psychiatry prof.

Here is Neuharth’s piece and its responses (published in their entirety because of their relative brevity; bolds are mine):

The killings in Tucson were committed by someone who has had trouble adapting to the rules or laws of life ever since he was a kid. But we need to examine what caused him to go completely crazy as a young adult.

Parents are most responsible. Then teachers. But so are others who influence thinking.

We don’t know what fed the rage of Jared Loughner, but we do know that many mental misfits like him are teetering on the edge. Vitriol on the air around the clock, mostly on cable TV, can stir the unstable mind while reinforcing its nutty notions.

Most media personalities who express opinions in print or on the air do so with some measure of common sense. But some don’t. Examples of those who deliberately agitate to irritate:

• Fox’s Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck, whose primary purpose is to arouse right-wingers.
• MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow who deliberately agitate left-wingers.
• Rush Limbaugh, who stirs up nuts of all sorts.

As a middle-of-the-road political independent, I make sure I have acquaintances, associates and friends with views — or prejudices — across the spectrum.

But I am frequently amazed or shocked at how otherwise intelligent persons buy the stuff that is peddled by media extremists or just plain prejudiced people.

With six young chosen (adopted) children ages 10 to 19, I also am shocked at how often they come home from school and talk about some nutty notions of classmates — often tolerated by teachers.

Media people and teachers have huge influence on young people — often more than their parents do. In the wake of the Tucson tragedy, those in both professions should re-examine their role and the job they’re doing.

Feedback: Other views on Tucson tragedy

“We all must do better. However, those that you compare us with are wholly partisan and assume everyone else is malevolent. MSNBC presents analysis and opinion based on fact. Distinctions matter, Al. Shame on you.” — Phil Griffin, president, MSNBC

Distortions of reality can be powerful drivers of behavior in troubled young people. Let’s go easy on parents, teachers, and even outlandish media personalities.” — Paul S. Appelbaum, MD, psychiatry professor, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons

I’m not a big fan of the Rolling Stones, who have on balance been a very negative cultural influence, but one of their songs pegs Neuharth’s ignorance perfectly. In “Sympathy for the Devil,” Mick Jagger as the devil says (I don’t call what he does “singing”), “I shouted out, ‘Who killed the Kennedys’ — When after all, it was you and me.”

Al, if everyone’s responsible, no one’s responsible, apparently in this case, based on your failure to specifically blame him, not even Jared Loughner, who pulled the trigger about 20 times.

Available information indicates that Neuharth’s entire premise concerning outside influences has little if any foundation, as a high school friend of Loughner’s relayed to ABC’s Good Morning America (HT Drudge archives):

He did not watch TV. He disliked the news. He didn’t listen to political radio. He didn’t take sides. He wasn’t on the left. He wasn’t on the right.

But silly things like facts and direct observations of those in a position to know didn’t stop know-nothing Neuharth from frantically fueling the fire of illogic. As a result, he once again utterly failed to live up to his own mission statement for his publication 28 years ago:

“USA Today hopes to serve as a forum for better understanding and unity to help make the USA truly one nation.”

Really Al?

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

More Job-Killing, Courtesy of the Obama Administration

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Environment,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:20 am

From the Wall Street Journal:

The Environmental Protection Agency, in an unusual move, revoked a key permit for one of the largest proposed mountaintop-removal coal-mining projects in Appalachia, drawing cheers from environmentalists and protests from business groups worried their projects could be next.

The decision to revoke the permit for Arch Coal Inc.’s Spruce Mine No. 1 in West Virginia’s rural Logan County marks the first time the EPA has withdrawn a water permit for a mining project that had previously been issued.

It’s also only the second time in the 39-year history of the federal Clean Water Act that the agency has canceled a water permit for a project of any kind after it was issued, according to the agency. (Note: It looks like they’re even bragging about it.)

The EPA said Thursday it revoked the permit, issued by the Army Corps of Engineers in 2007, because it concluded new scientific research on mountaintop-removal mining since then indicated the potential harm to streams and watershed areas surrounding the Spruce project could be significant.

A spokeswoman for Arch said the company was “shocked and dismayed” by the agency’s decision, which it said would block an additional $250 million investment that would create 250 jobs. The company said it would appeal to the courts.

… As the EPA stressed that the permit decision had no implications beyond the Spruce mine, business groups outside the coal industry said the government’s action raised questions about whether permits previously issued for other businesses could also be revoked, potentially stranding investments and costing jobs even as the economy continues to heal.

This sends the message to businesses that they can never feel comfortable that their permits will be honored. As if we needed it, the administration has introduced even more regulatory uncertainty. Once again, we see the dictionary definition of “tyranny” (“arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic abuse of authority”) in action.

In addition to the concerns about stranded investments and lost jobs, there will be certainly projects that will not be undertaken because the government has demonstrated that it won’t keep its word. Jobs which could have been created won’t be.

As I said yesterday in my Pajamas Media column:

Sadly, it’s not just the failed Keynesian stimulus that has held back the economy and employment. Despite the president’s positive rhetoric, his administration demonstrates its resistance to steps that would improve the economy and create jobs on a nearly daily basis.

Another day, another example.

Positivity: A beautiful thing — Dr. Carlo Bellieni’s mission to the unborn

Filed under: Health Care,Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 8:20 am

From Rome:

Dec 20, 2010 / 05:02 pm

Dr. Carlo Bellieni, a neonatal doctor in Siena, Italy, is working tirelessly to change the way the world looks at unborn children.

In more than 20 years of work and study he has developed new channels of understanding the unborn and the newborn child and new methods of giving them medical assistance.

He is an avid researcher, often collaborating with other scientists and doctors internationally to produce books, scientific papers and new studies examining pre-born and newborn babies. The Italian Neonatology Society, the European Society for Pediatric Research and the Pontifical Academy for Life count him as a member. He is a frequent contributor to the Vatican’s newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.

His particular passion is researching the way an unborn or a newborn child feels pain and finding ways to alleviate it through pioneering medical methods and strategies that don’t use pharmaceutical drugs.

There are many things that go untold about neonatal medicine from the “horrendous” to the “beautiful,” the doctor told CNA in November.

His research has led him to make the “very strange” discovery that modern medicine has often created a harsh environment for the prematurely born child due to a lack of understanding and research.

In the 1990s, he found that sound levels and the strength of magnetic fields in incubators were off the charts, for example. Pain scales and pain relief measures for those premature babies needing surgeries were non-existent or inadequate, he said.

These and other examples led him to ask, “Why didn’t anyone realize this before?”

According to available research, the unborn child experiences sensations of pleasure, taste, hearing and pain. In a world where these possibilities are often neglected, these studies give the fetus “a human face,” said Dr. Bellieni.

At 20 weeks from conception the baby’s brain is developed to the point where it begins to process painful stimuli. The fetus responds to pain by releasing the same hormones and exhibiting changed heart-rate frequencies just as adults do in the presence of pain, said Bellieni.

One study has even recorded a baby crying in the womb.

Under normal development, by the time a baby is born, he can feel not only pain but has also begun to prepare for the outside world.

When a baby is born, he is already accustomed to the voice, cadence and even the language of his mother. Her diet will have influenced his food preferences and he will recognize the sound of his mother’s favorite sitcom, music and other common ambient sounds. …

Go here for the rest of the story.