The discussion shows that are supposed to add to public understanding may actually reduce it, by hammering home the message that "issues" don't matter except as items for politicians to squabble about. ... The press, which in the long run cannot survive if people lose interest in politics, is acting as if its purpose was to guarantee that people are repelled by public life.
James Fallows, Breaking the News (1995)
In this week's sift:
- Voter Suppression 101. Imagine you are a politician who serves only the top 1%. What's your plan for getting enough votes to win?
- Tea By Any Other Name. After the disastrous end of the Bush administration, conservatives used their money and media power to ditch the wounded Republican label and rebrand themselves as the new (and therefore blameless) Tea Party. Now that the Tea Party's public image is tanking, how long before they try the same trick again?
- A Week of Down. Bad as it looked, the debt-ceiling deal was supposed to keep the stock market from crashing and the ratings agencies from downgrading our bonds. Funny how that worked out.
- The Solar Oil Field and Other Short Notes. Oman uses solar to bring up more oil. Protesting Obama's 50th birthday. Sponge Bob, propagandist. The E-Trade baby loses everything. Matt Damon sticks up for teachers. The EPA saves money. And a manufactured snub of Easter.
- Last week's most popular post. At last count Confessions of a Centrist in Exile had received 240 views on the blog. The most-clicked-link was the solar-powered bikini.
- This week's challenge. Six Republican state senators face recall elections in Wisconsin tomorrow. If three of them lose, the state Senate flips to the Democrats. This would send a powerful message to state governments around the country about union-busting and favoring corporations over people. It's too late for your money to do much good, but they need people to make get-out-the-vote phone calls and you can do it from home.
A special note to RSS subscribers. If you read the Sift via Google Reader or some other RSS reader, you've probably noticed all the out-of-date posts you're getting. Here's what's happening: When I moved the Sift to weeklysift.com a few weeks ago, the archived posts didn't transfer perfectly. So I've been fixing them little by little. Unfortunately, those fixes have been showing up in the RSS feed as if they were "updates". I'm not sure what to do about this other than just get the fixes done as fast as possible. Any Weekly Sift post that shows up on anything other than a Monday is the result of this glitch. My apologies.