CSotD: Communications Breakdown

Eric Allie (Counterpoint) offers a sort of “I know you are, but what am I?” analysis of Cancel Culture, in which, he contends, liberal attempts to control disinformation have become an attack on free speech.

There is, obviously, no lack of Cancel Culture happening at the moment, and not just Ron DeSantis limiting the ability of Florida teachers to cover American history or to provide students with books that, for instance, suggest that Roberto Clemente faced racism in his career.

But, as reported in Reliable Sources, DirectTV’s decision to drop Newsmax rather than pay millions in new fees to carry a service few people watch has been transformed into a rightwing Cancel Culture case, and the Central Committee will be holding hearings to investigate a case of private industry not following Politburo dictates. Or something like that.

Admittedly, it’s not only a case of communist control of private industry: Reliable Sources newsletter also links to a NYTimes report that YouTube has laid off all but one of its staff in charge of policing disinformation on the site.

Who needs government dictates when private industry doesn’t care anyway?

Though, by golly, Elon Musk cares, and when nobody was responding to his tweets, he demanded that his engineers set up a special algorithm for his own tweets to make them go to all Twitter users.

Except the ones like me who have blocked him.

To be fair, Chip Bok (Creators) makes a reasonable point that President Biden has not made a specific comment about the derailment and toxic fire in Ohio. Granted, his championing of Amtrak has included funding to improve the aging tracks, bridges and tunnels of the country’s rail system, and the topic of the accident was covered in the latest press briefing.

It’s not as if the White House is ignoring the issue.

But, as noted in a recent Bulwark podcast, Biden’s successes have gone largely unmarked by voters because he has not been an effective communicator. Charlie Sykes and Will Saletan pointed out that other presidents such as Bill Clinton and FDR have held frequent press conferences and made direct addresses to the American people, while Biden has apparently hoped his deeds would speak for him.

At the TV station where I worked decades ago, the promotions director had a sign over his desk that said, “A terrible thing happens when you don’t promote: Nothing.”

True words, and Biden’s failure to hold fireside chats — trivial as that might seem — opens him up to attacks like Bok’s, and to poor polling results from a public that hasn’t heard from him.

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Marty Two Bulls — AMS)

(Gary McCoy)

Two views of the same event, and they could hardly be more divergent.

Two Bulls sees the ignominious shooting down of the spy balloon, coupled with the cancellation of an important state visit, as an embarrassing disappointment for Xi, while McCoy counts it as a great victory for China.

I’m old enough to remember the U2 incident and I don’t recall Eisenhower throwing any ticker-tape parades to celebrate, though there were other parallels.

But, then, this all happened back in the days when politics stopped at the water’s edge. Perhaps you had to be there.

Pedro X. Molina (Counterpoint) asks if maybe we’re spending too much time obsessing over spies in the skies when the real danger is here on the ground, leading to a major

Juxtaposition of Futility

(Chris Britt — Creators)

(Adam Zyglis)

(Jack Ohman)

Britt lays out the seeming inevitability of pointless slaughter, with a nod to the people responsible, while Zyglis notes the futility of endless, purposeless, meaningless mourning sounds.

The good part being that it’s unlikely the victims of this latest murder, or of many of the similar killings, have ever heard a phonograph record skipping.

I say “good” because it turns out there were kids on the Michigan State campus who were students at Oxford High, an hour away, back in November, 2021, when a shooter killed four and wounded seven. (Not to worry: There will be an independent investigation of the event, probably maybe sometime in the future.)

And there was another kid who had been at Sandy Hook when 26 of her classmates and teachers were gunned down.

And it’s not like the Parkland kids have forgotten.

They care, and they’re coming, and they don’t expect much from their parents’ generation. Good for them.

Florida Governor Ron De Santis was outraged that a single juror’s choice meant that the Parkland shooter would get a life sentence instead of execution:

When you murder in cold blood 17 innocent people, there’s no other punishment that meets the gravity of that crime. And to have one juror holdout on that was a travesty. So, yes, I’m going to ask the Florida legislature to amend that statute.

Which brings us to Ohman’s accusation: De Santis wants vengeance, but not to stop the need for vengeance. He’s waiting to sign a new law allowing concealed carry with only an optional permit. If you buy the gun from a private party, you won’t have to undergo a background check, either.

Nor does anybody else in his demographic seem willing to step up and address the problem with more than empty bluster and crocodile tears.

Jeff Stahler (AMS) sums the issue up, at least for those of us over 30. We’ll spin the wheel and, as he accurately points out, the odds are strongly against us ever being a victim, which means we won’t have to do anything about it.

The country is full of problems that only matter if they affect us personally. But Gen Z is taking this personally, bless their wounded little hearts.

Roberto Clemente would be proud of them.

Then again, they’re not supposed to be reading about people like him.

11 thoughts on “CSotD: Communications Breakdown

  1. Regarding the decison by DirecTv to drop Newsmax (due to the expense and very low viewership), whatever happened to the conservative mantra of anti-regulation free enterprise and let the marketplace decide such things? Do they now want the government to step in and tell a private company what they must carry as part of their service? Asking for a friend.

    1. Newsmax is one of the fastest growing cable news networks in the country with viewership greater than 20 liberal news networks Direct TV opted to keep. Newsmax wasn’t asking for any more than those poorly watched liberal news networks were getting.

      Direct TV’s decision to drop Newsmax is comparable to Twitter’s decision to censor President Trump and many other conservative voices.

      Newsmax was one of the few remaining news networks to give President Trump and other conservative voices coverage. Even Fox News has decided not to provide President Trump and some other conservatives with coverage.

      So censoring Newsmax is clearly intended to ensure that only liberal voices can be heard.

      1. The numbers speak for themselves. Nobody chants “We’re #73! We’re #73!”

        And it would be hard to explain to customers why their bill just went up because #73 wanted several million dollars for a service that had previously been offered for free and that remains free on other platforms.


      2. By that logic, every newspaper that doesn’t run my comic strip is guilty of censorship and should be forced to buy it (by congress? The courts?) against their wishes. Sweet!

      3. Mr. Dest and his fellow travelers need to make up their minds. I thought conservatives were in favor of private companies like Direct TV and Twitter running their businesses as they see fit, without government interference. If he doesn’t like Direct TV’s offerings, well then he’s free to go to a competitor! It’s the free market at work! Anything less would be unAmerican. In any case, “censor” doesn’t mean what Jim seems to think it means, unless Wiley is right and he’s being censored by every newspaper that doesn’t run his excellent comic strip. Sauce meet goose and gander.

      4. I’m not sure which is more amusing.
        The idea that Fox is NOT very right wing.
        That there are 70* “liberal” news networks!
        That Newsmax is actually a legitimate news network.

  2. What’s also missing in that “Amtrak Joe” piece is that the rail line in question is Norfolk Southern, and not Amtrak. Norfolk Southern is a private, profit-driven corporation that screwed up here, and now right wingers are saying, “But … what’s the government doing about it?” It’s massively hypocritical that the people who want government regulations sliced to let businesses run as they please want the government to step in every time the corporate world has a massive collapse. It’s happened over the past year with gasoline, eggs, semiconductors, baby formula, children’s medicine, and now with this massive PRIVATE derailment and toxic waste spill.

    How about laying the responsibility for this on the feet of the business that screwed up? How about not blaming Amtrak or the president for the failings of the free market?

    1. There were similar complaints a few years back about a big mine disaster in West Virginia. The righties were yelling “Why didn’t the Union do something to prevent it!” Um, because it was a non-Union mine???

  3. The hypocrisy of Eric Allie is quite spectacular. While mocking those who criticize him as “tiny totalitarians” in the GoComics comment thread for that cartoon, he complained about my (nasty) satirical comment so that GC removed it, along with supportive comments from other posters, and made a legal threat against me. He also made hideously offensive comments comparing his critics to “stroke victims” and people with “special needs.” When the response was overwhelmingly negative, he didn’t apologize. Instead, he removed his worst comment in a way which ended up deleting most of the very accurate, often caustic, criticism of him.

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