Vote Vets (or Don't)

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So there's this ad from Vote Vets, an antiwar organization, that stars General Batiste claiming (incorrectly) that Bush did not listen to the requests of his commanders on the ground, and that Bush is continuing a failed strategy.

Whatever. People, including generals, say incorrect things all the time. But this General happens to have been a paid news consultant for CBS. And they didn't like his overt opposition to the war, as it reduced their own integrity, so they fired him. As they should have.

There's some concern about other consultants who favor the war. I don't know anything about those and I don't care. If they should be fired too, so be it.

But the reason I am mentioning this is because I saw the head of Vote Vets on PBS NewsHour the other day, and due to his misbehavior, he is being "fired" (i.e., won't be allowed back on) that program. Apparently their leader, not just their high-profile spokesman, has issues too.

My e-mail to the PBS Ombudsman on May 9:

The May 8 "debate" between Jon Soltz of and Melanie Morgan of Move America Forward was one of the worst such segments I've seen on NewsHour in awhile. I turn to NewsHour to escape the shouting heads pervasive on the 24-hour news networks.

Between Solz's offensive insistence that he represents "the troops" (when in fact, many of the troops vehemently disagree with his views), and Morgan's insistence that the Democrats don't want victory (merely because they want to fund it only six months at a time), and their nasty and disrespectful attitudes toward each other and the viewers, I was sickened by the whole display.

If I wanted red herrings, straw men, ad hominems, and other such nonsense I wouldn't be watching NewsHour.

The reply I received the next day:

Dear Mr. Nandor:

Thank you for writing to us. We asked Linda Winslow, the executive producer of The NewsHour, about the interview that aired last night and here is her response:

Last night the NewsHour attempted to help our viewers understand why the members of Congress are having so much difficulty arriving at a decision regarding the way forward in Iraq. We believe the intensity of the pressure being exerted on Democrats and Republicans by the "wings" of their respective parties is having an impact on those who are looking for some sort of compromise position. We decided to let representatives of those wings explain their positions, hoping they would participate in a dialogue with us and each other. As our guests demonstrated, however, that was a forlorn hope and the result was a lot of heat, but very little light.

Since neither guest was in the studio with Judy Woodruff, there wasn't much she could do to prevent them from interrupting one another, short of saying --as she did at least three times -- "please let him/her finish his/her point". The NewsHour style is to ask pointed questions politely; we expect our guests to subscribe to the same rules. Since the program is produced live, we can't do much to eliminate rude guests from your television screen once the segment has begun; what we can do is guarantee you will never see that person on our program again.

Linda Winslow
Executive Producer
The NewHour with Jim Lehrer

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on May 12, 2007 6:59 AM.

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