Archive for the ‘fareed zakaria’ tag
Crooks and Liars has an article up about CNN’s recent coverage of the Steubenville, Ohio, rape trial that concluded earlier today. If you haven’t followed the case, two teens, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, were found guilt in the rape of a 16-year-old girl stemming from a party that took place back in August. One of the kids will face a minimum of two years in a juvenile facility, while the other will serve at least one year.
The Crooks and Liars article suggested that CNN anchor Candy Crowley was slanting the coverage almost in favor of the two teens who were convicted of rape:
Crowley was filled with sadness for two young men who took advantage of a drunk and possibly drugged young girl because the judge actually held them accountable for what they did. Instead of wondering aloud why they weren’t tried as adults, she was instead very concerned that now they would have to register for the rest of their lives as sex offenders.
They are sex offenders. And now they’re convicted sex offenders.
I watched a lot of the coverage from earlier today because CNN would “break into” a couple shows that I try to catch every week, Fareed Zakaria‘ “GPS” and “Reliable Sources,” with the latest from Steubenville. While I doubt that CNN’s intention was to appear to be a apologetic toward the guilty parties, this is certainly how it came off during news coverage and interviews.
During one segment, a CNN reporter in Steubenville even talked with Richmond’s father about how today was the first time he had ever told his son that he loved him and that he was never a big influence in his life. Sob story number one. The father even went on the defensive at one point to suggest that his son might be innocent, although Richmond and his father all but admitted straight out that the teen was guilty when they apologized to the family. CNN also had an attorney come on the air and talk about how the two teens could be damaged for life because their names would now be on the sex offender list, and they would probably have trouble finding work or even a place to live after they got out of jail.
Sure, CNN talked to the plaintiff’s attorney, and the reporter asked how the family was holding up, etc., but after watching CNN for more than two hours today, I can attest that the focus was largely on the two teens. I certainly didn’t hear any experts talking about what residual effects the rape might have on the girl. And I was particularly troubled by a video clip of Richmond breaking down and telling the victim’s family that he didn’t mean for it to happen. Sob story number two. So, a 16-year-old football star, who apparently is capable of memorizing a large playbook and executing those plays on the field, somehow accidentally has a few drinks, inadvertently drops his pants and inadvertently forces his johnson into another human being? That’s believable.
Rape is so serious a charge that, unlike some other crimes, people can’t just serve their time and the go about their business after jail. No, it’s so serious that it haunts them most likely for the rest of their lives. And whether the news channel meant to or not, CNN came off as actually sympathetic to these two guys, and why? Because they just happen to be two years too young to be tried as adults? Bullocks.
Just how out of touch is John Boehner anyway?
Last year, he nearly caused the United States to default on its debt, and this year, he’s whistling the same tune, refusing to raise the debt ceiling and calling for spending cuts.
We shouldn’t dread the debt limit. As a matter of fact, I think we should welcome it. It’s an action-forcing event in a town that has become infamous for inaction.
A town “infamous for inaction?” Doesn’t he means a party infamous for inaction?
The GOP unanimously said “no” to the health care reform bill. “No” to the $787 billion stimulus package, which, by the way, is responsible for many job-creating infrastructural improvements across the nation, and “no” to nearly everything else Obama has put on the table.
The GOP has languished in Washington the last four years and has been little more than dead weight, unceasingly complaining about Obama, yet accomplishing next to nothing, unless pushing the party even further to the right, “symbolically” passing votes and “symbolically” reading the Constitution counts for accomplishing something.
And at a time when we can clearly witness austerity cuts in Europe failing miserably, Boehner is calling for — wait for it — more austerity cuts. Lucid as ever, Fareed Zakaria identifies the problem with spending cuts in already sagging economy:
The problem is that as these governments cut spending in very depressed economies, it has caused growth to slow even further — you see government workers who have been fired tend to buy fewer goods and services, for example — and all this means falling tax receipts and thus even bigger deficits.
Spending cuts don’t just affect government workers. That’s just one obvious example. If the government starts hacking away at services that improve people’s lives, their quality of life diminishes, thus, not only are they less happy, more apathetic and more likely to hoard what little savings they do have, but they are less likely to turn around and invigorate the economy with new consumer-side spending.
I’m reminded of two memorable lines from Tony Benn, who was interviewed for the 2007 movie, “Sicko:”
Keeping people hopeless and pessimistic – see I think there are two ways in which people are controlled — first of all frighten people and secondly demoralize them.
An educated, healthy and confident nation is harder to govern.
So, let’s look at the other side. What about people that make more than $250,000 per year? When government hands them tax breaks, do they help stimulate the economy? Not so much. Sure, they spend some, but I would wager that rich people are not primarily concerned with consumer spending, but with saving and investing. After all, there is a reason some people are able to accumulate mass amounts of wealth. They happen to be good with managing money and have some smart investment sense. Good for them. But that doesn’t help the national economy or the American public.
As usual, Fareed Zakaria provides some lucid commentary on how the very necessary, if not undersold, bailouts on Bush’s and Obama’s watches helped save the economy from tanking further.
The U.S. government’s actions stopped the fall. Between the passage of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and the massive quantitative easing of the Federal Reserve, markets realized that the government was backstopping the financial system, that credit was beginning to flow again, and that if no one else was going to inject capital into the system, the U.S. government would do so. Part substance, part symbolism, the effect was to restore confidence and stability to the system. In fact, the financial system bounced back so fast that the government will likely recover almost 90 percent of the funds it committed during those months, making this one of the cheapest financial bailouts in history.