US Premiere Date For Doctor Who Announced

BBC America has announced the US premiere date for Doctor Who: April 23 at 9pm ET.

Sarah Palin Is No Barry Goldwater

Ben Smith writes about Sarah Palin’s possible strategy should she run for president:

The prospect of Sarah Palin running for president is, increasingly, dismissed by a political class that sees her facing weak poll numbers — especially in key early states — and doing nothing to correct them or to build the infrastructure for a run.

But I’m told Palin’s camp is, at least, holding preliminary talks about how a campaign would look if she decides to run. One early decision, a source says: It would be based in Scottsdale, Arizona, where Bristol Palin recently bought a house in nearby Maricopa.

One lesson of Palin’s sometimes-difficult time in the spotlight has been that Alaska is an extremely difficult base for national politics. From a distant political culture to a daunting time difference, Palin hasn’t been terribly well served by the fact that her state is little-known to reporters in the lower 48, and that email inquiries arrive at 3:00 a.m. needing answers by 5:00 a.m.

And Arizona carries its own significance: Basing a campaign there would be a provocative rejection of any lingering political cost from those who connect her harsh rhetoric and Gabrielle Giffords’ shooting — a traditional refusal to retreat. It’s also the core of the politically contested, fast-growing new West.

And it would also hark back, perhaps not to McCain, more a Washington figure than an Arizona one, but to what now stands as the iconic campaign for many base Republican voters: Goldwater ’64.

Sarah Palin basing her campaign based upon Goldwater ’64 is funny on more than one level. First, who other than Sarah Palin would want to build a campaign based upon one which lost in a landslide? Democrats tend to be far less politically savvy than Republicans in many areas, but I have never seen a Democrat suggest running a campaign based upon McGovern ’72.

The implicit view that Sarah Palin is like Barry Goldwater is equally ridiculous. Barry Goldwater opposed the religious right which Palin panders to, and would have been one of the first to stand up to insist that Republicans should have nothing to do with the Tea Party movement. Of course such views from the far right have dominated the GOP for years, well before the Tea Party movement name existed. This is why Goldwater considered himself a liberal in his later years when he saw signs as to which direction the party was going.

Among his many views which differ considerably from those of Sarah Palin and the current right wing, Goldwater supported a woman’s right to an abortion. He supported gay rights, including the right of gays to openly serve in the military. I bet he even understood the First Amendment and wouldn’t go along with Sarah Palin’s frequently repeated belief that the First Amendment was written to protect politicians such as Palin from scrutiny by the press. I also doubt Goldwater would have gone along with Sarah Palin in her attempts to practice censorship in Wasilla (here and here).

Quote of the Day: Sarah Palin’s Real and Fake Facebook Pages

“New Rule: When you make stupid into an art form, it’s not stupid anymore. We just found out that the “Sarah Palin” who writes Sarah Palin’s Facebook page is a fake, but the real Sarah Palin has her own Facebook page, under a fake name. And sometimes the real/fake Sarah Palin praises the work of the fake/real Sarah Palin. It’s like Inception for hillbillies. There’s also a rumor that she doesn’t really need glasses, she just wears them to look smart. And when she has them on, Todd doesn’t know she’s Superman” –Bill Maher

The “Lou Sarah” Facebook page, which primarily consisted of “likes” for comments on the official Sarah Palin page and Bristol Palin’s page, was taken down soon after information on it was posted on line. I did get a chance to see the page when it was still up. There was limited activity on the page and I didn’t see it as an attempt to give large numbers of likes to her posts. I suspect it was a rarely used page, but when she did use it Sarah Palin did go to her official page and Bristol’s page and note items she liked.

NPR Once Again Gives In To Conservative Pressure

Following yesterday’s controversy in which a former NPR executive responsible for fund raising, with no connection to news or editorial policy of the network, was caught on tape stating the truth, NPR CEO Vivian Schiller has been made the sacrificial lamb. In addition, Ron Schiller (no relation to Vivian Schiller), who made the comments about the right wing and Tea Party, and had previously taken a job elsewhere, has been placed on administrative leave for his limited time remaining at NPR.

There has been considerable talk about the controversy–much of it in NPR blogs and on NPR shows. For example, Diane Rehm devoted an hour to the controversy. While we naturally expect higher standards from an objective media outlet such as NPR than from Fox, compare this to what occurs at Fox whenever someone there demonstrates conservative bias. Have we ever seen Fox devote time or web space to an honest discussion of  what “fair and balanced” really means? Has Fox ever fired an executive for displaying conservative bias? Has Fox ever reacted the numerous times when an anchor on a news show has slipped and referred to the Republican Party as their side?

NPR’s news reporting is high quality and unbiased–far better than any other broadcast or cable news reporting available. While it is probably true that they employ more liberals than conservatives, the liberals there generally bend over backwards to be fair, often giving conservatives an edge there. The controversial, but mostly true, comments from Ron Schilling are certainly not reflected in the shows they air.

Whether the reactionary and xenophobic views of the right wing should be discussed more on air is open to debate. On the one hand a news outfit should not be openly favorable to one party over the other (as Fox is to the Republicans). On the other hand, the extreme right wing movement which has taken control of the Republican Party does represent a serious threat to American liberty which should not be ignored. The right wing pushes its agenda by spreading misinformation to counter actual facts. Objectivity does not necessarily mean to accept the statements of each side as equally valid when one is being honest and the other is spreading untrue propaganda.

Hostility towards the extreme right wing which has taken control of the Republican Party is not the same as openly opposing formerly mainstream Republican beliefs. Many former conservatives have rejected this extremism. In his later years Barry Goldwater rejected the influence of the religious right on the Republican Party and referred to himself as a liberal. Despite the frequency with which his name is brought up, it is also doubtful that Ronald Reagan would be happy with the current direction of his party.

While NPR does an excellent job in presenting news, they have been rather awkward when it has come to firing people. Juan Williams should not have been employed as a news analyst at NPR but he also should not have been fired based upon the specific remarks which led to his dismissal.

The CEO of NPR is inevitably going to be faced with political controversy when faced with a right wing movement which is hostile to objective news and the First Amendment. Handling controversy is a necessary skill of the CEO and perhaps they ultimately need someone better than Vivian Schiller to handle this position. However to force her out today is a foolish act of capitulation to the authoritarian right. This will do nothing to reduce conservative attacks on either NPR or the free press, and more likely will only act to encourage them.