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During the peak ratings years of The Jerry Springer Show -- an alleged reality show -- a fight would break out among the guests during almost every episode.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jerry_Springer_Show

It seemed obvious to me that these fights were orchestrated by the producers. What are the odds that a fight would break out during every episode and yet no one would ever get hurt or arrested?

The surprising thing is that everyone I talked to about the show during its glory years believed the fighting was genuine and spontaneous. I found that level of gullibility to be mind boggling.

Likewise, when big name TV magicians perform spectacular tricks on TV, such as making a jet disappear, and the witnesses on the scene act amazed, it's obvious to me that those people are in on the trick, and/or their comments of amazement are taken out of context. The magician's only obligation is to entertain the gullible viewers at home. Paying actors to claim they don't know how the jet disappeared, and filming reactions out of context, is the easiest way to do it.

All of this gets me to Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. Both of them have been in the news a lot for their outspoken and controversial views. And once again, people don't seem to understand that their jobs are entertainment, nothing more.

I enjoy sampling the content from the far left as well as the far right. When I listen to Limbaugh, I generally have two reactions:
  1. I don't agree with the viewpoint expressed.
  2. This man is an entertainment genius.
Talk show hosts have no legal or ethical obligation to do anything but entertain. And judging by their successes, Limbaugh and Beck are brilliant at their jobs. I find it mind boggling that anyone believes a TV talk host is expressing his own true views.

You could make a case that the things Limbaugh and Beck say influences the gullible masses in ways that are not helpful to society. But that's probably true of every pundit, left or right. It's a price of free speech.

Do you think that Limbaugh and Beck have the same views in private as they spray into the entertainmentsphere?

 
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Oct 24, 2009
I still stand by my view that people have to be "careful" when speaking in public.



Should say, "I still stand by my view that people DON'T have to be "careful" when speaking in public." (As any sense of "careful" would involve outside influence deciding what is "careful.")
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 24, 2009
"At the very least, the speaker is being lazy, at worst it is dishonest and manipulative."


Lazy? If Rush scrutinized what he said that much, I'm sure the transcripts of his show would sound like a legal document. I still stand by my view that people have to be "careful" when speaking in public. I think that Jon Stewart utilizes a bully pulpit for his views, (or his writing staff) but I put the blame on his viewers, not on him. I disagree that they have more power for persuasion than we have for research. I mean, it's expensive to run a show and and quite inexpensive to do some cursory research on the internet. When somebody says something incorrect, it usually isn't long before people know about it and hold it against them. I'd say that the people with a mouthpiece are tools of the masses rather than the other way around.

Your earlier comments confused me as you kept going back to a "responsibility to freedom of speech." How would you prove that somebody was lying anyway? That's why I assumed you were saying the government should influence speech. Sure, you may believe that they are lying while you're sitting at home, but without any evidence that a person is lying and not just being ignorant (or maybe even telling the truth, and it's you who believes the lie, bump bump bahh!) than you would be committing the same crime that you accuse others of committing (not that I'm accusing you, as I don't know your feelings about Rush or anybody else).
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 24, 2009
If somebody states an incorrect fact, they should get crap for stating an incorrect fact. Not for twisting opinions INTO fact. I mean, it's not really necessary. If they're wrong they're wrong. Aren't all non-facts tinged with opinion anyway? Or it's just outright ignorance. Either way, the result is the same. I think that too often people blame opinion when ignorance is probably to blame, too. If Rush says something that is wrong, it's just more evidence that he's trying to take over the world,...... or something. What are people accusing Rush of trying to do? I guess its pretending to be ultra conservative on the air so that he can make money, right? I find that hard to believe, simply because he would have to spend his life in utter isolation so that nobody ever found out about the "real" Rush. I don't know if anybody would sabotage their life like that (for decades nonetheless) just for money. And stating that opinion without any real proof is nonsense anyway. Irresponsible, I guess phaser would say.
 
 
Oct 24, 2009
I apologize phazer, I interpreted your statement of "responsibility" to imply that you had a desire to make rules for others. I have no problem if you want to sit on the sidelines and be upset about what somebody is saying, I just think that we should all resist anybody who would want to control free speech in any way. I also find it kind of odd that somebody would immediately, with no evidence, that because somebody says something that differs from their opinion, this person must have some sort of evil motives and not even believe what they're saying. I think that people have all sorts of different opinions out there, and to many people their opinions ARE fact. It's really all in how you perceive life and what you want out of it. The same fact might mean two completely different things to people who have different opinions, and there is no "right" opinion out there. We're all going to come to completely different conclusions about everything, and in a way, isn't all persuasion in a sense a little immoral? People persuade others all of the time, and the only reason we don't consider it immoral is that we would be robots otherwise. It is our diversity of opinion and ability to play "social games" that make us alive.

And the vast majority of the population has never listened to one second of Rush Limbaugh, so I find it hard to see how these people have this "power" that they have a responsibility to control. He's not spider man. And i've never heard Rush use a fact statement about an opinion that recklessly. If you had never heard a moment of Rush and you read this forum, you'd think that he was this ultra-crazy, ultra-powerful radio menace that has a huge following currently sharpening their axes for combat. He must be saying some really out there stuff! Like, taxes should be lower and illegal immigration is bad, and feminists have hairy armpits (this last one was meant to be stupid and ridiculous; I don't feel that way about feminists personally, as I've never really met one). In fact, it's down right boring. You'd be pretty disappointed.
 
 
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Oct 23, 2009
haven't you been telling us that taking a position publicly makes you believe in that position?
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 22, 2009
"And yes, stating that you want the government to filter information is orwellian and censorship."

I never said that. Not even close.
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 22, 2009
"How is the government even supposed to do the job that you're talking about without sending all media through a "truth" filter?"

"And yes, it is censorship to have a large government department tell you what is fact and not. Do you even understand what you type?"

tkwelge - Did you even read what I typed? The only one talking about the government having any part in this is you. I only mention the government once in my posts, and that was to point out that I do not advocate any sort of government censorship. In fact, I said clearly, several times, that it is the "personal responsibility" of the speaker to be honest about what they are saying, and whether what they are saying is an opinion or idea or a fact that they can back up. You have made a logical jump there that has nothing to do with what I wrote, or think for that matter.

I also state several times that the listener has the responsibility to apply a little critical thinking to what they hear and check it out and make sure it is true, rather than just believing it for its own sake. Far too many people, both right and left, believe whatever they hear without doing that. My point about my friend and ANWR had nothing to do with drilling. It was the fact that she believed what she heard and repeated it as fact without checking into it. The pundit had put it out there as a fact when it really was just an opinion. She did not bother to check it out. As I told her at the time, I am not necessarily against drilling in ANWR, I just want them to be honest about their reasons for it, and there was clearly something at least mis-informed if not downright dishonest about what was said on the air.

You state that they do not have any responsibility to separate fact from opinion. I still maintain my postion that these pundits, on both sides, have a personal responsibility to be honest. They certainly have the right to say whatever they want, truth or fiction. But just because someone has the right to lie doesn't make it okay. We are all pretty much taught as children that lying is wrong. That is the responsibility that comes with the right of free speech. We can say whatever we want, but it really is not acceptable to be dishonest or less than truthful. Just because everyone lies about things at some point does not make it morally right. Everyone has that personal responsibility to be honest.

Or are you saying that there is a point where someone is rich enough or powerful enough or important enough or famous enough that they become exempt from the moral standards of society? Where is that line? Personally, I expect that everyone needs to be held to those standards. In fact, my feeling is that the more famous or more powerful a person is, the more scrupulously they must be about that. Whether it is the homeless whacko on the corner or a nationally broadcast commentator saying that the President is actually the demon spawn of Hitler and Hillary Clinton, it is still a lie and it is still wrong. They both have the right to say it, but only one of them is going to be heard by millions of listeners.

I expect everyone from the President on down (or up, depending on your view) to be honest. Just because they aren't does not make it acceptable for them not to be. You may say I am naive, but I don't think so. I just have higher expectations of these people. In fact, I am constantly frustrated by how often and easy it is to call BS on them. I am totally aware that politics is all about being a creative speaker. I just wish it wasn't so. I am also aware that "facts" and data can be twisted and turned and viewed different ways to get completely different conclusions. But even then, it is still possible to back it up by saying this thing is a fact, and here's the back-up to support it, or to say that this is an opinion and here's why. Too many times, statements are made without any backup as fact or qualification as opinion, leaving it totally up to the listener to figure it out. At the very least, the speaker is being lazy, at worst it is dishonest and manipulative.
 
 
Oct 22, 2009
"They believed it to be fact, not because they checked it out, but because the commentator said it. Not that the commentator said it was fact, but just because they said it. That is a failure on the part of the commentator to live up to the responsibility of their position and on the part of the listener/reader to apply some thinking to what they have heard/read."

That is their own fault. Anyone who believes anything at face value without doing even small amounts of research deserves whatever they get. How is the government even supposed to do the job that you're talking about without sending all media through a "truth" filter? It's your friends' choice to be idiots. The government doesn't have a responsibility to make sure that nobody lies to you. That's your job. And yes, stating that you want the government to filter information is orwellian and censorship. Otherwise, what the heck isn't!
 
 
Oct 22, 2009
"Now, I am no advocate of editorial or censorship power in any form. People should be free to express any opinion they want, and anybody should be able to listen to it. Neither you nor I nor anyone else should be able to decide what is put out there. But there is a responsibility to adhere to at least a little "truth in advertising". If one is to make a claim as fact, then there should be some data or facts to back that up. They can claim that the earth is flat, but if you don't have some data to back that up, it is just an opinion."

If somebody tells you that the world is flat and you believe it, that is your fault. And yes, it is censorship to have a large government department tell you what is fact and not. Do you even understand what you type?
 
 
Oct 22, 2009
"I will give you an example: A friend of mine made the claim, based on what she had heard on a certain FOX program, that we could end our dependence on foreign oil imports if we allowed drilling in ANWR. Having worked on the edges of the petroleum industry, I decided to do a little fact checking. Turns out that by the petroleum industries own statistics and forecasts, backed up by the government's statistics and forecasts, that that claim is a bunch of hooey. Not even close to correct. My problem there is that the person on TV and radio making the claim was clearly positing as fact, not opinion. That is where the responsibility part comes in.Those i n a position of power, including being given a national/international pulpit, have a responsibility to be clear as to what is fact and what is an opinion or idea, whether they are on the right or left, and both sides have done plenty of BSing."

Your friend was simply being an idiot. The point of drilling in ANWR was never to end our dependence on global oil imports. That's missing the point entirely. But that's another argument. Nobody in the industry was arguing the point that your friend made, so he is simply uninformed. That's neither here nor there.

"Those i n a position of power, including being given a national/international pulpit, have a responsibility to be clear as to what is fact and what is an opinion or idea,.."

No they don't. You may not like it, but they sure don't. It's up to us to recognize fact and opinion. No government can do that for you, there are too many conflicts of interests. Most of them do anyway. Rush makes it pretty clear when he is stating an opinion. When he quotes something, he always names the source/author/etc. If he just shouted strange things his show would be more like Art Bell's. Is that the guy's name?
 
 
Oct 22, 2009
"As for accusing me of being an "orwellian grhhhhh OMG!"? I'm not even sure what that is supposed to mean. If you think I am advocating that the government control all media and all messages, then a double-plus un-good on you. I am extremely suspicious of anything any politician says, or any pundit, right or left. And I really can't stand when paid commentators, on either side, try to pass off opinion as "news" or "fact". If it is a fact, cite the source - that is basic journalism."

You then go on to state that the government has a responsibility to state what is a fact and what isn't? Are you blind?!?!? Do you not understand the full implications of what that means?!??! Facts ARE opinions! Believe me, I've seen all sorts of facts twisted by lots of parties, and the government couldn't even keep up with it by a long shot. What you describe is a control on free speech plain and simple. People have a right to lie, use rhetoric and hyperbole, and misinform. You have a right to fact check. That should be the end of discussion. If you start getting rid of what you see as over opinionated, then the person in power gets to decide what is true or not simply by calling some facts "more opinionated" while referring to arguments that support their own opinions as "fact." I think that you are being naive by even assuming that the government could fact check without controlling information.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 22, 2009
"I guess I should have backed up my point about the responsibility of freedom of speech with the equal reponsibility of the listener/reader to use a little critical thinking and decide for themselves what is right or wrong/truth or BS."

You don't think that readers/listeners don't already do this? Freedom of speech includes no responsibility of any kind. The only responsibility we have to freedom of speech is to allow it in all cases. As it should be. From the most vile Nazi hate speech to a painting of George Bush with a hitler moustache.
 
 
Oct 22, 2009
"I guess I should have backed up my point about the responsibility of freedom of speech with the equal reponsibility of the listener/reader to use a little critical thinking and decide for themselves what is right or wrong/truth or BS. I agree that we live in a marketplace of ideas, and that there are many different viewpoints to be heard and many many places to hear and read them. The internet is a great thing for that. But, in the end, the outlet does matter. Who do you think is more well known - Rush Limbaugh or Noam Chomsky?"

So now it is only fair if everybody is equally well known. I remember that part of the first amendment that says that free speech isn't relevant if one side is more popular than the other. Or wait..... The outlet doesn't matter. People gravitate to the ideas that they like. Rush limbaugh is better known than Noam Chomsky, but I would say that Chomsky probably has far more influence on a college campus. Should college campuses be forced to give Limbaugh equal speaking time? This is where your whole point eats itself.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 22, 2009
"And while I am thinking about it, it does "matter if people are twisting their opinions into facts". I don't care who is doing it, but twisted opinions are not "facts". A fact, by definition, has to be verifiable. A twisted opinion isn't verifiable. That is the exact problem. Too many people make their opinions sound like facts, and then too many more people accept that as fact, until a good portion of the population believes it to be fact, when it never was in the first place. History is full of examples of this, recent history included. Recent history is just more full of these instances because there are more outlets and louder voices"

All facts aren't far from being twisted opinions. Very few people read peer reviewed studies, and anytime you hear any nugget of information, you should realize that facts are almost an illusion as far as the little guy is concerned. If we only allowed people to discuss "fact," people would talk about one one hundredth as much as they do now. It's important that we form opinions, though. There are two types of reasoning, deductive and inductive. Deductive reasoning is factual as long as every part of the reasoning is 100 percent logical and verifiable. Sometimes we HAVE to use inductive reasoning which is a lot more open to fudging. That's the whole point. Who gets to decide real truth?

Awwwww! Poor you! Rush has a big loud mouthpiece and you have nothing! Except for the fact that Democrats control both houses of congress and the white house, which is evidence of how wrong you would be to argue that people who "shout and yell" control everything. You can't tell me that the other side didn't use an even louder noise machine during the Bush years, ya know, when it was cool to be anti establishment. Now if you resist, you're labeled a shrieking hillbilly.
 
 
Oct 21, 2009

Yes, they do believe but they over-express & fluff-up their opinions and act outraged for a great show! They are not guilty of anything that any of the other pundits are but they actually present facts. When a poll result is given the source is quoted, real budget numbers are offered and the fact that no one could ever read any of the long winded pork filled bills that will soon be law. We were outraged before Fox fed the fire.

The other networks are PC and don't report the news, the other networks drove us to Fox and the BBC even (where there is actual world news, gosh) . There is no news on the "major" networks screw the balloon boy and all the other crap before you go making fun of Fox's moto check out CNN's (the most trusted news) and the other networks---I don't trust any of them

How does Chris Matthews still have a following when we all know that Obama is making his leg tingle?

 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 20, 2009
And while I am thinking about it, it does "matter if people are twisting their opinions into facts". I don't care who is doing it, but twisted opinions are not "facts". A fact, by definition, has to be verifiable. A twisted opinion isn't verifiable. That is the exact problem. Too many people make their opinions sound like facts, and then too many more people accept that as fact, until a good portion of the population believes it to be fact, when it never was in the first place. History is full of examples of this, recent history included. Recent history is just more full of these instances because there are more outlets and louder voices.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 20, 2009
ikwelge:

Is that what it really had to come to - shouting insults and invective? "Screw you" - Really?

I guess I should have backed up my point about the responsibility of freedom of speech with the equal reponsibility of the listener/reader to use a little critical thinking and decide for themselves what is right or wrong/truth or BS. I agree that we live in a marketplace of ideas, and that there are many different viewpoints to be heard and many many places to hear and read them. The internet is a great thing for that. But, in the end, the outlet does matter. Who do you think is more well known - Rush Limbaugh or Noam Chomsky?

As for accusing me of being an "orwellian grhhhhh OMG!"? I'm not even sure what that is supposed to mean. If you think I am advocating that the government control all media and all messages, then a double-plus un-good on you. I am extremely suspicious of anything any politician says, or any pundit, right or left. And I really can't stand when paid commentators, on either side, try to pass off opinion as "news" or "fact". If it is a fact, cite the source - that is basic journalism.

I will give you an example: A friend of mine made the claim, based on what she had heard on a certain FOX program, that we could end our dependence on foreign oil imports if we allowed drilling in ANWR. Having worked on the edges of the petroleum industry, I decided to do a little fact checking. Turns out that by the petroleum industries own statistics and forecasts, backed up by the government's statistics and forecasts, that that claim is a bunch of hooey. Not even close to correct. My problem there is that the person on TV and radio making the claim was clearly positing as fact, not opinion. That is where the responsibility part comes in. Those in a position of power, including being given a national/international pulpit, have a responsibility to be clear as to what is fact and what is an opinion or idea, whether they are on the right or left, and both sides have done plenty of BSing.

Now, I am no advocate of editorial or censorship power in any form. People should be free to express any opinion they want, and anybody should be able to listen to it. Neither you nor I nor anyone else should be able to decide what is put out there. But there is a responsibility to adhere to at least a little "truth in advertising". If one is to make a claim as fact, then there should be some data or facts to back that up. They can claim that the earth is flat, but if you don't have some data to back that up, it is just an opinion.

And, finally, I do talk to the people around me. Lots of them. I know many well educated folks, others with less education but no less valid opinions, and kids who sometimes say the most insightful things. I am very happy to discuss things with them on a wide range of topics, and I am interested in other people's ideas and opinions, and any new information they might have that will help me to be informed and update my thinking if needed. But, I am constantly amazed when I hear people say things that are almost verbatim of what they heard or saw or read on some media outlet. They haven't done any critical thinking about it at all, they just swallowed it whole and are spitting it right back out. They believed it to be fact, not because they checked it out, but because the commentator said it. Not that the commentator said it was fact, but just because they said it. That is a failure on the part of the commentator to live up to the responsibility of their position and on the part of the listener/reader to apply some thinking to what they have heard/read.

So, don't try to peg me as rigth or left or as a government groupie or any other box you feel you have to classify me in. You don't have any idea who I am from a couple of posts. Just a bit of my opinion on one particular topic.
 
 
Oct 19, 2009
"IN THE WORDS OF A MASTER, ITS BEEN SAID THEY WERE FIRST WITH TV. HE BELIVED THE LIES WOULD WORK EVEN BETTER ON TV. The size of the lie is a definite factor in causing it to be believed, because the vast masses of a nation are in the depths of their hearts more easily deceived than they are consciously and intentionally bad.

The primitive simplicity of their minds renders them more easy victims of a big lie than a small one, because they themselves often tell little lies but would be ashamed to tell big ones.
Such a form of lying would never enter their heads. They would never credit others with the possibility of such great impudence as the complete reversal of facts. Even explanations would long leave them in doubt and hesitation, and any trifling reason would dispose them to accept a thing as true.
Something therefore always remains and sticks from the most imprudent of lies, a fact which all bodies and individuals concerned in the art of lying in this world know only too well, and therefore they stop at nothing to achieve this end.
~ Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf "


Cause every group and political interest hasn't lied or used television to push their agenda or worldview..... What is the friggin point sir?
 
 
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 19, 2009
"THERE IS NOBODY ON THE NON RIGHT LIKE RUSH OR BECK. IF YOU KNOW ONE TELL US WHO?
"FOX understands that its viewers use the FOX News Channel the way a drunk uses a lamppost: more for support than illumination. And so FOX of­fers more affirmation than information. The But FOX News...is a twenty-four-hour-a-day in-kind contribution to the conservative movement. It's run by R........... blah blah blah wah wah wah!"

WOW! News agency's that have different opinionated slants EXIST? SOMEONE ALERT THE MEDIA! BUT WHICH ONE?????!?!?!?
 
 
-2 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 19, 2009
"It's been said many times above that it doesn't matter what the talk show hosts believe or its entertainment value. What matters is that people end up believing the crap. At the end of the day it is a beguiling influence on society that distracts society from solving real problems."


BUT WHO DECIDES THIS????? WHO???? You!?? Do you get to decide what's "REALLY" important! I'm sorry that other people's opinions derail others from shoving an agenda down everyone's throat. Why don't they just get out of the way so we can get this program on the road!?!?!?! OUT OF OUR WAY!!!!!!
 
 
 
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