The War on Tebowing

I get a feed for the most popular headlines on Fox News. Today, one of those headlines is High school basketball players beaten for ‘Tebowing’. This fight happened after a game between Wando and West Ashley high schools in Charleston County, South Carolina. These schools have a history of after-game violence, and an even worse fight broke out last year. There is a real problem with these high schools that should be addressed. Thankfully the injuries were not serious.

But even though the violence-prone rivalry between these two schools is newsworthy, I don’t think this story would be in the most popular list if it wasn’t for the misleading “War-on-Christians” slant that the headline implies. The fight didn’t break out because of an act of Christianity. It was triggered by a display of celebration. Excessive celebration is against the rules in most leagues today.

I can’t get into the head of Tim Tebow, who might be genuine is his need to pray openly in front of an audience of billions, in defiance of Mathew 6:6, but I think for most young athletes, Tebowing is the new ass wiggling. Try to stop it though, and you’ll be up against a national army of Christians with a persecution complex.

The story of the fight between Wando and West Ashley students is a story about sports related violence and violence in high schools, which are important topics. But a story about a basketball fight that didn’t result in any serious injuries, involving two schools with a history of fighting, doesn’t rake in the advertising dollars as well as a headline about Christians getting beaten up for praying.

Like OMG, Four Troops in Libya!

The first paragraph of a Fox News story:

Despite repeated assurances from President Obama and military leaders that the U.S. would not send uniformed military personnel into Libya, four U.S. service members arrived on the ground in Tripoli over the weekend.

Well, then, I guess we invaded Libya after all! Not quite. The rest of the story is more sane then the opening paragraph. It explains that these four military members are being sent to the U.S. embassy to disable explosive traps and provide general security. The article even quotes John Bolton, saying this is “No big deal”.

Nowhere in the article is Obama accused going back on his word. But the phrase “Despite repeated assurances from President Obama” is very suggestive. As I’ve said before, most readers won’t get passed the first paragraph. So Fox can lead with a harsh sounding teaser, nullify its own words in the following paragraphs, and claim to be as innocent as a cherub after triggering an army of keyboard reactionaries to spread the word that Obama is a lier.

And the keyboard army is, indeed, in motion. From the comments on a you-tube video:

sorry that facts bother you HA HA HA
so many ignoramuses on YT so little time!!
Obama Lies Yet Again!: ‘No U.S. Ground Troops In Libya’
Pentagon Confirms U.S. Troops on Ground in Libya…
Despite repeated assurances from President Obama and military leaders that the U.S. would´╗┐ not send uniformed military personnel into Libya, four U.S. service members arrived on the ground in Tripoli over the weekend.

So popular is this story that as of this morning, if you type “Ground Tro” in Google, it will auto-fill “Ground Troops in Libya”, and the Fox news article will be the first hit.

I’ll say it again and again: You have to read the story, not just the headline, and not just the first paragraph. And you have to read critically, and consider alternative views. That’s true if you’re a Liberal or a Conservative. I know we’re all busy and it’s Football season again, but if you’re going let yourself be led around by the nose from any agenda-driven news source, you’ll be even worse off than you would be if you imposed a news-blackout on yourself.

Read carefully and critically, then vote. Don’t do one without doing the other.

Disturbing Comments about a Census Bureau Story

Sorry I haven’t written ( sounds like I’m talking to my Mom), but I’ve been busy with the house and some work on my websites.

What brought me back to my blog were some disturbing comments from readers of a story about the Census Bureau. The stupidity and meanness of these comments is astounding.

The story at issue is about a report from the Government Accounting Office which states that the Census Bureau botched several fingerprints which were taken to screen temporary workers. Temporary workers are disqualified based on criminal records that include certain egregious felonies. The FBI did the background checks for the Census Bureau, and provided name-based background checks for people who’s fingerprints were unusable, or in FBI-speak, “unclassifiable”. But the name-based checks aren’t as effective. The GAO concluded, based on the effectiveness of the name-based checks and the amount of botched fingerprints, that there may have been two hundred people with histories of violent criminal behavior hired by the Census Bureau to go door to door. Although the census isn’t until 2010, these workers have already been canvassing, doing such things as verifying addresses.

This report prompted a series of hateful and idiotic responses by on-line news readers, and not surprisingly, some of the meanest and dumbest of these can be found at Fox News

If you’re in the mood to jump on the bandwagon and write a stupid comment connecting this story with unfounded and unrelated accusations about the Obama administration, or use this story as an excuse to to call for violence against innocent people in the name of patriotism, please consider the following:

If you’re a patriot, be counted. Don’t shoot the census worker. The census was created by our founding fathers. It’s in our constitution. We’ve been doing it since 1790.

Don’t blame Obama. The GAO report, which was released in October, concerns events that happened before March. The people in charge of hiring the temporary workers where almost certainly people who have been working at the Census Bureau long before the president took office.

Give the Census Bureau credit. The fingerprinting is a new requirement. It has never been done before. The 2000 census workers were not fingerprinted. This is important! It’s probably the reason some of the fingerprints were botched. The Census Bureau is improving their safety standards, not the other way around.

Relax. This whole story is being blown out of proportion. The Census Bureau will refingerprint employees with unclassifiable prints if they are used for another operation. Fox News doesn’t mention that, but it’s in the report. What happened won’t happen again, and all that did happen was new safety checks weren’t carried out as well as expected but were still better than what was done in the past.

Don’t be stupid. This isn’t a government conspiracy. It was a mistake made by people who were given a small amount of training on fingerprinting before officially doing so for the first time.

Finally. Can we just stop talking about ACORN? They have nothing to do with this.

Should be Show-Stoppers

I would like someone to explain to me why Glenn Beck’s astounding reversal of opinion on the health care system isn’t a show-stopper. Why hasn’t he been laughed off the air? And what about O’Reilly for claiming that life expectancy is lower in the United States than in Canada because our higher population provides more opportunities to die? We all make gaffs, of course, and I’ve made some doozy’s in my life. But rarely have they gone unpunished. The fact that these two idiots can stay on air after all the just plain wrong things that they’ve said breaks my heart. The good news is advertisers are starting to notice, and a slowly growing movement may help remove at least the most obvious liars and idiots from the airwaves. I came across this link, which is a petition site asking Walmart to drop advertising on Glenn Beck’s show. I’m sure there are more. These shows survive because corporations believe that running ads while people are watching them will bring them new customers. By convincing them that they’re wrong we can shut up these dopes.