Commentary

Journalogrpahy? Stenoism?

Sometimes the state of journalism in this country today is enough to make someone who has spent a life in the business want to cry.

Here is the Anchorage Daily News, the state’s largest newspaper and news source reporting a whopper of a misstatement on Wednesday:

Some (the ‘some’ was a story here days ago) have suggested that if Alaskans are given $3,000 Permanent Fund dividend checks, they might contribute at high levels through Pick.Click.Give, a program that allows people to pick individual organizations and donate part of their checks. (Rasmuson Foundation president and CEO)Kaplan said that Pick.Click.Give generates $2.7 million, which is spread among 628 organizations.

“‘To make up for the cuts, every Alaskan, including children and babies, would have to donate their entire PFD,” she said.”

Here are the numbers of PFDs paid every year for the last five years, according to the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation:

  • 2017, 633,005
  • 2016; 638,178
  • 2015, 641,561
  • 2014, 637,289
  • 2013, 634,366

As is obvious, PFD payments have fallen as the state’s long recession has shrunk the population. The 2017 payments were less than 2013, and it is possible 2018 could be even less than in 2017.

The biggest drop in PFD history – almost 14,000 checks – came between 1985 and 1986 when Alaska was in the heart of another recession. With the Alaska economy now stabilizing, although not improving, there is no reason to believe that will happen this year, but let’s say it does.

A 14,000 drop in PFD payouts from 2017 to 2018 would equal 619,000 checks.

Here’s the math that translates that into dollars: 619,000 X $3,000 = $1.857 billion.

The number for Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s budget vetoes has ranged from “approximately $400 million,” the governor’s official statement, to the ADN’s leading estimate to date of $444 million.

No one, not even Dunleavy’s harshest critics, has suggested a cut anywhere near $1 billion, let alone $1.857 billion.

A $444 million cut is about a quarter of $1.857 billion or just shy of 24 percent, depending on how you look at the numbers.

Old journalism’s job

The idea of “children and babies” being asked to donate their dividends to close the budget gap is pretty dramatic. It is also nonsense. 

The U.S. Census puts the number of Alaskans under age 18 at 24.9 percent. All their PFDs combined would thus amount to something near $444 million.

Remove their PFD’s from the discussion, and the pool of money left over is $1.413 billion. To cover the budget gap, a little more 32 percent of Alaskans would need to sign their PFDs back to the state.

Kaplan made an outrageous and false claim so easily documentable that it should be immediately obvious to anyone the least bit familiar with the numbers. And there is nothing wrong with her doing that. It is to be expected.

She is an advocate. Her sound bites are shaped to sell the story she wants to sell. We should all be familiar with this now. President Donald Trump has rendered normal the practice of tossing out whatever numbers come into his head that he believes will support his positions.

The national media, in turn, has made a cause of tracking his falsehoods. As of May, the Washington Post Fact Checker claimed more than 10,000 fibs, fabrications, falsifications, fictions, untruths, inventions, lies, cock-and-bull tales, trumped-up stories, or call them what you will.

Fact-checking everyone – both the people with whom you disagree and most especially the people with whom you agree –  was the bedrock of modern journalism.

For people wondering how much things have changed, the Kaplin quote is an example. It would never have made it past the late Marc Salgado, one of the last, old-school editors at the ADN. Salgado would have said simply, “We can’t say this.”

And if a reporter had tried to argue, Salgado would have explained in crusty way why: A.) The math doesn’t work; B.) Given that the math doesn’t work, it makes the newspaper look to be helping push an agenda.

It’s possible neither matters anymore. Increasingly the country appears head back toward the so-called “party press” of the 19th Century.

Back then, “news” was pretty much synonymous with “propaganda.” It was written to “convert the doubters, recover the wavering, and hold the committed,” as the historian William E. Gienapp observed. “‘The power of the press,’ one journalist candidly explained, ‘consists not in its logic or eloquence, but in its ability to manufacture facts, or to give coloring to facts that have occurred.'”

Change came slowly.

In a speech at the start of this decade, James L. Baughman, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor who helped establish The Center for Journalism Ethics, observed that so-called “modern journalism” didn’t become widespread until the 1950s when “most newspapers, large and small, as well as the broadcast networks, tried to present the news objectivity.  What factors, in effect, closed the deal?   The relative neutrality of broadcast journalists was explained in large measure by federal regulations that all but mandated fairness.  But there are other explanations as to why our national news culture, whether print or broadcast, preferred the middle ground.

“The middle ground was more populated.  By that I mean that partisanship in the 1950s was less intense. This was in some degree because the Cold War had created a consensus on foreign policy, and much of the Republican party had accepted the outlines of the welfare state created in the 1930s.  Even Robert A. Taft, the Republican Senate leader detractors said had the best 19th century mind in the upper chamber, favored federal housing programs.

”’Old Party divisions are less meaningful,’  wrote one Fortune magazine writer in 1960.  “American political debate is increasingly conducted in a bland, even-tempered atmosphere and extremists of any kind are becoming rare.”

Oh, how the times have changed. Baughman died in 2016 at the age of 64. The mainstream journalism that thought it could hold the middle ground is fading fast. And the partisan divisions are huge both in politics and increasingly in the media.

Former CBS chief foreign affairs correspondent Lara Logan caused a stir earlier this year when she broke ranks to accuse what is left of the mainstream of liberal bias, but she was only reflecting what a significant part of America believes.

The Pew Research Center for Journalism and Media last fall found that more than two in three Americans consider the media slanted and a staggering 88 percent of Republicans/conservatives think the old media untrustworthy.

In Alaska, the ADN and the upstart, online publication MustReadAlaska, an admittedly right-slanted entity, look more and more like direct competitors, and the ADN’s behavior isn’t doing a thing to help undercut that perception.

The product

Ignore why or why not ADN reported Kaplan’s outrageous claim as fact. It is possible reporters and editors who share her views on budget cuts wanted to dramatize the inability of charity to cover the veto-gap and willingly embraced an exaggeration of Trumpian proportions. It is equally possible the reporter and editor or editors were mathematically asleep at the switch.

Or they might simply have been engaging in the new practice of journalism as stenography. If someone tells you something, it is “their reality,” and you unquestioningly report it no matter how it muddies the real world of facts. This is especially true if the quote sounds juicy.

The problem is that none of these excuses make the situation better. What the mainstream media sold for a long time – the mainstream “product,” so to speak – was accurate coverage of the numbers. Stories might have sometimes ended up slanted by the nature of information left out, but the profession held to a pretty high standard as to the information put in a story.

It was supposed to be defensible. If the news told you something happened in the dark of night, you could count on the absence of daylight. That is no longer always the case. A lot of slop has crept in.

And a lot of the slop, whether by accident or design, presents a picture of a media heading back toward the days of the party press. The ADN has always been accused of a liberal bias, and there are those who would argue the news organization should embrace that image.

Why? Because the data show that Democrats are more likely to subscribe to a newspaper or pay to access a website. And most news consumers want the news to reflect their world view. This has had some arguing for a while now that the salvation of news might be to go back to the future.

Early American “journalism was hyper-political and deeply biased. But some historians believe that it was also more engaging,” Derek Thompson of The Atlantic observed in December. “The number of newspapers in the United States grew from several dozen in the late 1700s to more than 1,200 in the 1830s. These newspapers experimented with a variety of journalistic styles and appeals to the public. As Gerald J. Baldasty, a professor at the University of Washington, has argued, these newspapers treated readers as a group to engage and galvanize. Perhaps as a result, voting rates soared in the middle of the 19th century to record highs.”

Thompson argues the days are gone when Americans can agree on a “single set of facts” around which to base public policy debates.

“That past is dead and irrecoverable,” he wrote. “We’ve accelerated backward, as if in a time machine, whizzing past the flush 20th century to a more distant, more anxious, and, just maybe, more exciting past that is also the future.”

As someone trained more as a scientist than a journalist, as someone who entered the journalism business when facts mattered, this is a scary prospect. It is pretty hard to have a sensible discussion of public policy when one side of the debate believes the budget cut equals $444 million and the other side wants everyone to believe it equals $1.857 billion.

For the record here, I admit to being hugely skeptical that Alaskans would give back $444 million in PFDs if asked to bail out the state no matter the numbers. We are a generation of greed not just at the corporate level but at many levels. The trickle down has infected most everyone.

From top to bottom and bottom to top, people do their best to take advantage of the system. Yes, that is a negative view of Americans in these times, but it is also a realistic one. This website is funded to some degree by contributions. The ratio of contributors to readers is tiny. Absolutely tiny.

It’s not a complaint. It’s a reality. I’m somewhat amazed anyone contributes. That altruism still exists comes as a pleasant surprise in an all-about-me time when some would consider others foolish to pay for what they can get for free.

Much of the print media understands the latter all too well. Led by The New York Times, their reaction to has been to throw up paywalls on the internet to force people to pay for news. It seems a sad act by businesses claiming to operate in the “public interest.”

And this is another part of Thompson’s argument for why a return to the partisan press would be better.

“As the news business shifts back from advertisers to patrons and readers (that is to say, subscribers), journalism might escape that ‘view from nowhere’ purgatory and speak straightforwardly about the world in a way that might have seemed presumptuous in a mid-century newspaper,” he wrote. “Journalism could be more political again, but also more engaging again.”

As someone who long believed journalism could be engaging and still get the numbers right, as a believer that journalism could focus public discussion on facts at least as much as emotion, that observation is troubling if for no other reason than that it fuels the nation’s political leader of the moment and increasingly appears to fuel his opponents.

“There’s a reason why, in the crucial battle for the legitimacy of a free press, Trump is still on the offensive,” Andrew Sullivan observed in New York Magazine in January. “Our mainstream press has been poisoned by tribalism. My own trust in it is eroding. I’m far from the only one.”

I share Sullivan’s views and fear the history of all of this. The debate in the partisan press might have been more entertaining than the news of the 1950s, but it wasn’t very productive.

“….America survived the fiercely partisan press of the 19th century,” Baughman observed. “But just barely.  The robustness of political engagement then could not prevent the Civil War….”

Sometimes it almost seems like we’re trying to work our way into another of those with media the biggest cheerleader.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

45 replies »

  1. Kaplan is spot on. Collectively the cuts equate to more than $700 million ($410 in vetos plus $280 in cuts from the legislature). Factor in the loss of matching federal grants and the number rises even more.

    • Prison for mr ohr would be good . He abused his position of power for the clintons . While I’m on it , how the heck is Hillary and her cohorts still free . Hopefully mr Barr can clean her traitorous entourage up and prosecute. Fusion gps is small compared to her dealing with Russians and selling nuclear materials. She is worst criminal our country has seen . I doubt a halibut would touch her she’s so slimy . All the accountants for that Russian and Clinton’s uranium deal died in a plane crash . Hmm what another coincidence! Just like ted Stevens death after Obama’s justice dept was found out to be bribing criminal witnesses against ted and withholding evidence. Charges dismissed and when ted sued them – plane crash he’s . dead . Problem solved. He was only one of most senior powerful House members . Another republican bit the dust and Hillary smiled. Call it conspiracy if you like but tracks point to certain people.

      • Are you suggesting that Obama had Stevens plane crashed? Maybe he just arranged for the weather to be shitty and then arranged for someone to make the poor decision to fly. Then, maybe he arranged for several people to survive the accident.

        Be careful of carelessly bandying around conspiracy theories, its a small community here in Alaska and several of the victims of the accident were family of a friend. I’m sure that he would love to hear your shoot from the hip speculation.

        BTW – SENATOR Stevens was not a member of the House… Also, while Hillary is a POS, are you SERIOUSLY saying that she’s the worst criminal our country has ever seen? Might want to check into a prison and test that theory out..

      • Yes jack I’m saying she’s worst criminal we’ve seen in our country excluding all other countries. Yes that’s my opinion At least that I’ve heard of . Other people are welcome to their opinions for sure . Her and bills decisions have damaged a lot of lives . If you betray your country – nafta – deals to favor China trade – close ties to middle eastern terrorists plus Islamic brotherhood- steals election through back channels from sanders – protects people like bill and Epstein pedophiles – Russian deals for uranium and have enimies killed / suicide ect and don’t stand up for soldiers when attacked/ no reinforcements smash your evidence/ phones with hammer and beach bit use a server accessible by everyone giving them security secrets on purpose or by accident – that’s all tip of ice berg . Yes any idiot would think she was bad news . As to Obama having senator steavens killed- I didn’t say that at all I doubt Obama had an iota to do with it . The president in power has minimum control over doj , cia fbi ect The lawyers and others that evidence came out against may have worked to end Stevens ,Eric holder and whoever runs doj had a very specific ax to grind with him . Yes Obama’s was a Democrat and yes there is an unducurrent of a civil war between political parties. A Top ranking senior republican senator killed on purpose or accident the effect is same , when he was doing a payback lawsuit. I can fill you in on specifics of the occurrence but I’m guessing it would be lost on you . As you have not bean doing your research. The weather was not that bad the pilot was experienced and the plane was a good one . Yes I know pilot had heath troubles. Dang odd coincidence- I wasn’t born yesterday. Yet I sure could be wrong and it wouldn’t surprise me . Planes fall out of air all the time . You choose what you want to believe but there is a lot going on that doesn’t easily come out . As to me speaking my opinion exercising freedom of speech bucking the opinion of what happened and you putting forth a veiled threat at me about other people you can stuff it comrade Jack . It’s a free country until people like you try to dissolve freedoms by oppression. Speech and opinions are thoroughly protected.

      • All right, I’ll stick with what I know to be factual. That plane flew into a mountainside in bad weather. As in they couldn’t see the f’n mountain bad weather. Per the survivors. Per the NTSB. Per everyone but apparently you. Billery Obama did not kill those people. The rest of your rant speaks for itself. I hope that you have enough tin foil laying around to take care of your condition…

        Good luck! I look forward to seeing some more of your ideas regarding the ways of the world. Feel free to speak – I didn’t know that I was oppressing anyone with MY thoughts… Or, is it only OK for you and others of your wack ass tilt to divulge your opinions upon us – not the other way around?

        PS – And I know I shouldn’t ask, but why exactly would THE EVIL EMPIRE want to kill an old ex-senator again?… What’s the motive? Probably one of those ‘you need to research better’ things but of course, it would have to be from your approved dictionary in your approved internet world – Amiright?!

      • Jack , I’m not in need of tin foil . You are in need of looking deeper into what’s going on around you to get full picture. I will politely give a partial very brief rundown on why it was very beneficial for democrats to permanently remove/ take down an old senator . You should look it up and if you had carefully bean following news and lawsuits for last 20 plus years it would be apparent. . # 1 he was one of longest serving senators had seniority on various panels and strong jurisdiction over appropriations which he used in various ways to benifit republicans and mostly Alaska versus lack of power over such items for democrats, also his voice and vote held a lot of weight due to seniority, helping to balance the democratic process towards republicans fewer republicans voting makes easier to pass democrat bills . #2 look up veco lawsuits and what Stevens did . ( some possible illegal financial issues/ undeclared donations and favors . Free grill – under market work on his home . Fed lawsuit caused him to loose senatorship. During trial it was found feds holders doj were bribing criminal witness to influence testimony as well as illegal withholding of positive information Stevens was allowed to recieve by law . Multiple very very bad actions by prosecution misconduct- judge dismissed/ threw out case . Per documents the misconduct led to eric holder and beyond. Stevens filed counter lawsuit and made headway starting to put doj in bind . – Bang Stevens dead . Lawsuits done . Make what of it you wish . Stevens flew a over Alaska for years and years without major mishap . Coincidence? Maybe. Not by what I’m seeing come out of Obama’s doj under trump investigations . Very possible I’m wrong. I’ve had a few pretty smart people tell me I am . All the same I might not be . Looks like they stoop to any level . Remember Waco and ruby ridge . Clinton’s were involved with burning down compound with tanks while citizens and children were inside . Video proof . So step by step doj fbi ect has proven its untrustworthy. I don’t blame you for not believing me . Few years back I wouldn’t believe me either😉

  2. Despite the history of journalism and the political press of early days, I want good investigative journalism with both sides presented fairly and thoroughly. If facts are purposely hidden I consider that dishonest and if the author writes in their bias with only information to support that, then it is opinion. News should be news. I had the privilege last year of hearing famed former investigative journalist, of Boston Globe Spotlight team fame, Robby Robinson, speak at luncheon and he talked about the toil and importance of investigative process in journalism. Also, everyone has a bias but hard facts will rise above the writers bias. I loved his quote “A good journalist walks down the center isle and shoots out both sides.” With that said, great article Craig Medred, I actually wonder if you ever sleep?! I am one of those tiny percentage of supporters and am reminded I’m due to add some more funds to the pot – I consider it a subscription of sorts! A worthwhile investment 😊

  3. I went to the media to the media bias chart website to confirm my biases about the author (convinced she is left of center). Came across this gem on her profile “I feel like it is important to be transparent about who I am and what my political biases are.” Of course there was no information about her political biases! No further questions.

  4. I started to read your story until I came to ypur stated fact concerning the Washington post. U just blew any credibility your story may have had. That rag has nothing good to say about TRUMP or anyone else of like mind. After submitting this post I will delete your crap…,,,

    • I did not gather that Craig was giving any favorable opinion toward the post (WaPo) – he was making reference only to some fact checker tool. I would not throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water – his case is very valid.

  5. Honestly,
    After ALL the stories written on the PFD over the last 6 months, I believe Zach Fields was one of the first writers to offer a simple solution that allows a compromise of services retained for Alaskans and a moderate PFD…
    “Here’s another way to put $444 million in perspective: That is almost the precise amount of additional revenue the Legislature could generate through a modest adjustment to per-barrel tax credits claimed by the oil industry. Specifically, reducing the per-barrel credit to the amount industry requested — $5 per barrel — would save the state nearly a half-billion dollars.
    That’s enough to negate the need for every single veto of Gov. Dunleavy’s and have a $1,600 PFD payout.”
    Personally, I would drop the Corporate Welfare (oil tax credits) down to zero and pay residents a full PFD while retaining services for Alaskans, but I doubt the bought and paid for ConocoPhillips Cabal will budget an inch on this one.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.adn.com/opinions/2019/07/16/a-3000-pfd-forget-about-it/%3foutputType=amp-type

    • Hi Steve,
      Wouldn’t just lowering the PFD to $1600 per comrade pay for the vetoed $444M by about double? Also, your figure of $5/ barrel of oil credit is off pretty far. Over the past year, we’ve averaged about 1/2 million barrels of oil per day in production – that would be $2.5 Million lost every single day to the oil companies or approximately $912M/Year. Good news – you only need to ask for a $2.25 add on from the oil companies! The bad news is that I’m pretty sure that the state made more in royalties than under the new ‘credit’ system than we would have under the ACES system… But I’ll let others in the know argue that one out.
      Cheers man!

      • Jack,
        I guess you are just ANOTHER Libertarian who does not believe in Libertarian values?
        Like why are we handing over money to Billion dollar multinational private corporations just to extract our state’s resources…especially when our state budget is in “deficit mode”?
        On average oil companies make $13.00 a barrel profit around the globe, yet here in Alaska (with the added $8.00 subsidiary) they profit $25.00 a barrel on exported crude?
        Those figures of $8.00 a barrel Corporate Welfare to oil companies is from Zach Fields a state representative…he states even oil producers only wanted $5.00 a barrel…Why did we give them $8.00?
        If you remember correctly Sarah Palin was even against the change from ACES and this is why she supported Walker instead of Parnell in the governor’s race.
        Most state economists agree we would do better (i.e raise more revenue) under ACES or NO subsidies to oil companies.
        Here is a study by the top Libertarian Think Tank in the country….the Cato Institute.
        “Corporate welfare refers to subsidies and regulatory protections that lawmakers confer on certain businesses and industries….
        A forthcoming Cato Institute study finds that federal business subsidies total almost $100 billion annually.”

        https://www.cato.org/research/corporate-welfare

      • “Rising spending and huge deficits are pushing the nation toward an economic crisis…
        One good place to find savings is spending on corporate welfare.
        Some people claim that business subsidies are needed to help fix market failures in the economy. But corporate welfare is just as likely to create failures by misallocating resources and inducing businesses to spend time on lobbying rather than on making better products. Corporate welfare transfers wealth from average families to favored businesses, and it creates corrupting ties between government officials, politicians, and business leaders.”

        https://www.cato.org/publications/congressional-testimony/corporate-welfare-spending-vs-entrepreneurial-economy

      • Wow. Sorry man – wasn’t pushing an agenda. Just pushing actual #’s. I was saying that you could have both things, a $1600 PFD AND still have enough $ to pay for the vetoed stuff in the budget. Libertarian values (to me) means having a very limited government that does what its constituents demand of it and doesn’t interfere with my personal (and yours too!) liberties. You know me – I’m the guy who gets called a socialist from the PFD lovers (because I dared to criticize someone who was criticizing people who think that the PFD is socialist…. which it still is :>)), and the guy who is a capitalist pig who is against the proletariat because I dare own a business and love the free market. Very liberal socially and very conservative when it comes to government spending. You know, government spending like when the liberal president Obama ‘bailed out’ the banks and didn’t put one of those criminals in prison for raping our economy…. Or, when our current joker in chief sets his good buddies up with jobs in administration – gots to love crony capitalism!
        Chill brother – cheers!

      • PS – Good on you to use a ‘conservative’ media source (Cato Institute) that is outside of your ‘liberal’ viewpoint to back up your data. Respect! Just don’t start dropping Fox News bombs on me – I’d have to unplug for the rest of my life.
        Cheers, Steve!

      • Jack,
        I am registered as a Non-Partisan….for 15 years before that I was (and voted) as a Republican….I would say that I am also “Very liberal socially and very conservative when it comes to government spending.”…Hence my arguments above for ending “Corporate Welfare” to Oil Companies in Alaska at over $ 1 Billion a year.
        I also owned my own small business for 10 years and built my cabins “out of pocket” as well as paying off my college loans…
        I think the difference is that you feel you can be “very liberal socially” without helping those less fortunate than you.
        My experience as a Paramedic would tell you that those with NO money still call 911 and enter our ER systems and call for police, etc.
        As a civil society we must help life these folks out of poverty in our great (our good) nation or they are likely to continue to bring us down through all their vices and crime that floods our society.
        This is why I actually agree with over 75 percent of what comes out of the Cato Institute.
        Examples would be 1. ending the costly “war on drugs” 2. practicing non-interventionism throughout the world 3. ending the Corporate Welfare system that allows the Federal Reserve to pump out $100 Billion a year to multi national corporations.
        Lastly, I do not feel the PFD is socialism since we as “free market” land owners are not afforded our mineral rights to our land….it is a system to prevent wide spread degradation from drilling and mining in everyone’s backyards while allowing the citizens to have a “share” in the representative democracy at hand.
        We are similar than you think, just may be separated by a generation gap and formal education on the history of government bailouts…
        Remember that Welfare is far from the greatest expenditure each year…think military spending!
        Look back at the airline industry and see how many Billions go to keep the birds in the sky…and then there was the auto industry as well…as the bankers and before all this the RAILROAD.

        https://www.propublica.org/article/government-bailouts#

      • Steve, how can you be “very liberal socially and fiscally conservative”?
        Seems those 2 do not go hand-in-hand if what you say is true.

      • Hi Bryan,

        Here’s a real quick example of a socially liberal and fiscally conservative idea:

        Problem – drugs are bad. What can we do? Socially conservative who is stupid with money solution: Let’s spend Billions upon billions of dollars every year to win this war and enslave our addicted population in prisons which will then cost us even more money to keep them there! Then we can let them out, chop their legs out from underneath them and repeat the cycle. Socially liberal idea – let’s legalize all drugs and have the government supply drugs to the addicts for FREE. We can then put some of the money that we no longer need for prisons, DEA and street police towards drug rehab and education programs as well as family support programs for these addicts… Worse case, we have addicts lining up for their drugs and they die…. and our crime rates plummet (gangs? thieving to supply habits? going to jail for doing drugs?), we stop giving really bad people our country’s cash and we no longer live in a police state.

        That’s just a quick example though…Basically, I support individual freedoms and rights over the rights of the state and I although I understand that we as a country need to have a ‘government’ to run things and protect our national interests (and make roads, blah, blah, blah), I feel that our ‘government’ is trampling our constitutionally protected rights as citizens. Also, I want our government to quit wasting $ on stupid shit. Like bank bailouts. Corporate and farming subsidies. And basically all crony capitalistic expenditures that we’ve been specializing in for the past 80 years (basically, since WWII). Rant over – mic drop!

        Cheers sir!

      • Jack, I think we both know reality looks more like this: “let’s legalize all drugs and have the government supply drugs to the addicts for FREE. We can then put some of the money that we no longer need for prisons, DEA and street police towards drug rehab and education programs” and use all that taxpayer money to pay the trillions in lawsuits brought against the government by the said addicts. Also, I think we are old enough to know nothing is FREE and everything comes with a price. So, as you see, anything with the words – “Socially or Liberal” atrached to them are losing propositions.

      • Hi Bryan, I think that the only thing that we KNOW for certain is that what we’ve been doing in the drug ‘war’ the past 60 years has not been working. Labelling ideas good or bad based on the words socially or liberal is like not feeding your dog food from a yellow or blue bag. If you’re just looking at the labelling, you’re getting sold something…
        Cheers!

      • Steve,

        I’m glad you are reading up on libertarian values, but you need to actually understand them before you start attributing other belief systems to Libertarians. Libertarians do not believe in big government, nor do they believe in excess taxation. The term free market should ring a bell, but that does not mean free meal ticket for government to seize whatever money they want.
        Why you are falsely calling tax credits corporate welfare, is simply parrotting the talking points of those on the left and ingorant statements at that. Taking money from a corporation or a person and then giving them their money back is not welfare. Big oil, like it or not, funds our government…at all levels and across our country. Keep reading about aces vs mapa, don’t just parrott Zach Fields or Bill Wieechoski.

      • Steve-O,
        When you say: “Libertarians do not believe in big government, nor do they believe in excess taxation.”
        I would ask, Why are NO libertarians speaking out on when guys like Dan Sullivan question whether or not the PFD is a “rainy day fund” for the Government?
        It is not only Democrats and those on the Left who are looking to get their hands on our Dividend Checks…just look at how state spending Sky-Rocketed under Palin and Parnell Administrations….did they not think of saving any money during those years when Oil Revenue was flush?
        As for that $8.00 a barrel tax credit or Subsidy handed over to Big Oil in Alaska, I did not term the phrase “Corporate Welfare” as that came direct from papers at the Cato Institute online.
        Why would a libertarian agree to spend government funds on supporting corporations when they do not believe in “growing” government which ultimately equates to money spent overall?
        It seems a classic dilemma of greed occurring these days in the Arctic…the government has all of the state’s mineral rights and now it wants more…the people’s dividend which was designed as a “stop valve” for out of control government spending?
        We are looking at the “day of reckoning” that Hammond predicted so many years ago when he started the PFD after over $900 Million had been squandered by the 1969 leases to the North Slope…
        Hammond wrote, “He’d learned early on we don’t like or dislike others so much for what they are, as for what they make us think of ourselves, a ploy used by many successful politicians.”

      • Steve,

        I’m not sure why Libertarians do not speak out when people question anything, some do speak out others do not…same with Democrats and Republicans. As far as spending under Palin and Parnell, I agree they spent too much. They also saved a lot, at least under Palin. Oil was also well above $100 a barrel, something you simply gloss over and/or forget about. If you think spending would have been less or similar under Democratic administrations you are only fooling yourself.
        When you say government funds you are talking about taxation. Returning taxes to those who paid them is not corporate welfare or individual welfare, it is simply returning that money to who it belongs to, just like on your tax return…Unless you consider a tax return welfare?

  6. Craig good job bringing light to the situation and so many subjects. I disagree with the chart . It’s pretense should be recalibrated from right left to factual not factual. As that appears to be our current problem . Who would be in Middle high ground then ? That would be interesting. The spin of right or left is very distasteful and just method to garner sides / drama and divide us all. I no longer think that effort is by accident. To me it looks like an effort to divide and conquer the u.s combined with a few irrational crazies and people with a misplaced agenda. I agree with James and erak . Like you showed with pfd data ,factual numbers matter to create an accurate narrative. Otherwise it’s just tabloid waste of time and a dishonor to our freedom of press . Did those reporters graduate grade school?

  7. Television is guilty of much. What is essentially journalism for entertainment has made the print media all but irrelevant for most Americans. As for the civil war, there’s no question this country is sliding into one. But I don’t blame the media, I blame the universities. They are creating a view of America that is far from what most Americans see. They are destroying the fabric which holds this nation together.

      • Who owns UAA. Google UN office in Anchorage and the UN comes up. Look up and read agenda 21. Yes it’s real. Then look up agenda 2030 read them. Then look up the sustainable development plans for Anchorage. Alaska has accepted grant’s from thousands of NGOs and non profits. Probably more like millions. And with each one comes conditions and strings attached. Our schools are hotbeds of liberalism. Hospitals have CHNA. Look it up. The plans for a rail system is going forward, I guarantee it. Stores have been bribed to eliminate plastic bags. The Roberson Pitman act gave the shores of our oceans, lakes and rivers and streams to environmental groups. Smart meters and appliances will connect virtually everyone and everything. Look up the sustainable development report for the US. It just came out. The US, I’m overjoyed to say, is doing abysmally. All of this is UN oriented. They are reshaping the world economy and are in the process of collapsing it if we dont do anything. The UN even brags that NO ONE will be left behind. Gee, that means we all will be socialist/communist Americans. It has no beat and I wont dance to it. I hope they leave me behind. But I doubt it, they were up here earlier this month. The UN, MMUN branch and a delagation to have an environmental summit here. Just a question…. how many heard of it. Sure wasnt advertised was it? Wonder why.

    • Hi James,
      Honest question here – do you think that our current social climate is more volatile and dangerous now than it was in the 1960’s and ’70’s? I was just a wee tot back then (I have no idea how young you are) and don’t have any memories of the troubles back then. However, I do try to educate myself regarding history and it seems like that was a particularly violent and dangerous time in our country’s history. Much like several periods in our history, including the 1850’s and ’60’s… I hope that all of the assholes pushing for ‘revolution’ study up on their history before they push too hard. Turns out, civil wars don’t turn out well for anybody – just ask Robespierre.
      Cheers sir!

      • Jack You are wrong. Civil wars usually make major progress. Just ask African Americans. sure lots of sacrifices and risk but often change is needed when people in power refuse to use reason and become tyrants abusing their power. Robespierre was no saint . You can ask the people he executed . That said I would never ever promote that method of change . I do respect what it brings.

      • Am I wrong saying that civil WAR doesn’t work out well for people? Are you certifiably insane? Do you know anything about the history of civil wars? Do you realize what a large percentage of the population, wealth and infrastructure are wiped out during these little progresses in the world? BTW, the American Civil War was just a minor affair compared to many of the civil wars throughout history. Just ask France, Russia, China, Cambodia and Vietnam to name a few recent instances of ‘major progress’. Are you seriously saying that WAR is better than civil discourse? If so, I suggest you join the military and see what it’s about 1st hand. Or, study history. I would suggest some Dan Carlin to start with.
        You are starting to make me think that you are WAY out there, man.
        PS – Robespierre was also executed during the 75 year shitshow that was the French Revolution (but it was a civil war) – that’s what I meant when I said that civil wars don’t turn out well for anybody – just ask Robespierre..

      • Jack,
        I agree with you on the destruction of civil wars (and all violent conflicts for that matter).
        I think that too much relevance is place on our own civil war in the 19th Century and not enough attention is given to the causes for the collapse of modern Yugoslavia during the early 1990’s.
        Yugoslavia was a very prosperous country after the 2nd world war yet both America and Russia were not happy with their “isolated” economy that was neither dependent on Communist Russia or Imperialist America….this led to the isolation (through foreign policies) and destruction of what was a great and prosperous nation.
        Many war correspondents like Chris Hedges state over and over again the America is traveling down the same road as Yugoslavia as we allow “leaders” like Trump and Dunleavy to divide the 99 percent in this nation and push us apart with “social beliefs”…
        United We Stand, Divided We Fall as the old saying goes.
        “The Yugoslavian Civil War occurred because the country was initially created as a federation of diverse ethnic states, and once central government was no longer strong enough to keep them all together, the patchwork nation began to fall apart.
        In 1990, Slovenia, Croatia and Macedonia agitated for independence, but Yugoslavian president Slobodan Milosevic refused to address their demands. When Slovenia declared independence, Serbian forces moved in and initiated the war…”

        https://www.reference.com/history/caused-yugoslavian-civil-war-b2a344f9912b203f

      • Jack I did not say civil war was better than discourse . You need to try to read more carefully. Words first before war no question. Of course I’m aware of all the sacrifices as are anybody. You are apparently unaware of what civil war represents. Change – in America’s case for the better I hope . Our civil war brought neededchange . Our war for independence was certainly a form of civil war . We separated ourselves from the brits . Creating our country as we know it . A great advancement and gain . You my freind do not understand history adequately to be judging others . But you are welcome to your opinion and I respect that !

      • Jack, I am inclined to believe today is worse then the 60’s. Today we have Democrats who self-identify as Marxists/Socialist/Communists actually sitting in Congress, DOJ, Education System, and local governments. The 60’s were just a time for losers who grew-up, had twisted children who know are now in seats of power..Civil War might be what is necessary to rid this country of this cancer. After, it is YOUR duty isn’t it? There will come a time when these loons start passing crazy laws that need checked.

      • Hey Bryan,
        My duty is to protect and defend the constitution from enemies, foreign and domestic. I think that includes protecting people right to be free regardless of race or creed (you know, like if they believe in communism, socialism or nudity), or religion (yes, even those pesky Muslims). If they are American citizens, then they have the same rights as you do and if there are enough of them to legally enact laws (even ones that you disagree with), then so be it. In fact, wouldn’t the people who would change this legal American process be the enemies (domestic) that I was just talking about?
        Hmmm….
        Cheers!

      • Jack note preamble/ introduction to Declaration of Independence. It will help you understand Bryan’s concept. Don’t use internet analysis of it . You have to read a copy of original as internet prefers to make their own changes on subject unless you happen on exact one .

      • Opinion, I love our circular arguments… Don’t worry, I have a paper copy of the declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the USA and the bill of rights handy – no internet needed. Although if I Google Constitution of the USA….. It reads the same, word for word… Who’da thunk?

        So do the people that I mentioned in my comment above have the same rights as you ND I? If so, is it not up to us to support their rights, even if we disagree with them?

        I better go find the preamble before they’re all gone!

      • Jack I’m glad you have a copy of declaration of American independence. That makes it possible for us to have a coherent conversation. – Be on the same page. As to your and Bryan’s discussion- The declaration shows our founders considered civil war nessasary for public good – it mentions why division shouldn’t be taken lightly but why it was needed. Basically showing force / war can be justified . Obviously a Declaration of Independence is going to spark trouble when trying to divide from the strongest nation in the world who wants us to behave on their terms. At the time we were part of the crown . Our founders were admirably civilized in their methods. Our declaration and the second amendment recognized the fact at times government must be remodeled or overthrown but not for slight improvements or reasons. Only under extreme violations of rights or humanity. Thus civil war can be justified but not preferred. What I consider our second civil war – south against north was sparked by multiple very justified items on both sides . Government overreach north being overbearing and south not complying with interpretation of constitution that men are born equal and free . ( amongst other things) thus that civil war was important and the freedom of slaves was a great gain to our nation. The biggest loss to our nation was Lincoln using force to achieve victory and over strengthening central government in the process. Creating permanent divisions hurt feelings and a precedent for extreme violence against fellow countrymen. Granted Washington set first precedent for that during Shaw’s rebellion. Over alcohol taxes I believe. I personally believe Lincoln should have worked harder to bring consensus over a longer period of time . It may have taken Multiple presidential terms but if he looked at history around him world wide he would have seen slavery being phased out . It’s arguable He should have used eminent domain combined with constitutional requirements that each person must be compensated when the government takes something from them . Using long term time and compensation would have been a less dramatic change method. I wasn’t there so for now I’m going to assume he did what was right with creating the civil war . I argue the losses were worth the gain . Now as to your question of rights to be upheld by people of different opinions. Yes they should be . Unless those opinions violate the constitution.

  8. Interesting chart. Skewed right. FT and Economist used to be conservative but now lean left – not at all right. Both endorsed HRC and Obama for POTUS. NYT and NPR need to be moved left, obviously. But if you are a Lefty they seem like the gold standard.

Leave a Reply