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Subject: What? POLITICS?!? RAWR rss

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fizzle wrote:
Morganza wrote:
Just a quick note: while we share quite a bit of ourselves here, some more than others, contentious RL subjects don't really fit in.


I've always wondered: What is the reason that Americans (in particular) seem to act like someone's lit the fuse as soon as the P-word is mentioned? It's, like, "Yeah, I'm cool, a mature, level-headed human being, we can talk about anything you like... What? POLITICS?!? RAWR" *turns into the incredible hulk*...


The US is certainly more polarised than most other democracies. I think it is because the US voting system produces a two party environment, so like a 2- player board game, the parties are incentivised to bash the other side with attack ads to get ahead, and those sentiments eventually get absorbed by the voters.

In, say, Germany there are multiple parties, so you have to be more positive in your message to win votes. Britain uses first past the post too, but we have 3 roughly centrist main parties, none of which disagree with each other massively so the country is not as divided. There are still hard left unionists and the far right, but they are forced to either feed into the mainstream parties or vote for a tiny party that won't win, so we are somewhat dysfunctional too.

(This is likely only part of the answer.)
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paulclarke339 wrote:
fizzle wrote:
Morganza wrote:
Just a quick note: while we share quite a bit of ourselves here, some more than others, contentious RL subjects don't really fit in.


I've always wondered: What is the reason that Americans (in particular) seem to act like someone's lit the fuse as soon as the P-word is mentioned? It's, like, "Yeah, I'm cool, a mature, level-headed human being, we can talk about anything you like... What? POLITICS?!? RAWR" *turns into the incredible hulk*...


The US is certainly more polarised than most other democracies. I think it is because the US voting system produces a two party environment, so like a 2- player board game, the parties are incentivised to bash the other side with attack ads to get ahead, and those sentiments eventually get absorbed by the voters.

In, say, Germany there are multiple parties, so you have to be more positive in your message to win votes. Britain uses first past the post too, but we have 3 roughly centrist main parties, none of which disagree with each other massively so the country is not as divided. There are still hard left unionists and the far right, but they are forced to either feed into the mainstream parties or vote for a tiny party that won't win, so we are somewhat dysfunctional too.

(This is likely only part of the answer.)
I'm often amazed when I watch the talking heads on US news networks make massively sweeping generalisations about "liberals", "democrats", "republicans" etc and make excuses for their "own team" when someone does something stupid.

Additionally, I have views that range from very conservative to very liberal depending on the issue ... whereas the folk arguing politics on the us TV I see don't seem to recognise people like that....
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paulclarke339 wrote:
fizzle wrote:
Morganza wrote:
Just a quick note: while we share quite a bit of ourselves here, some more than others, contentious RL subjects don't really fit in.


I've always wondered: What is the reason that Americans (in particular) seem to act like someone's lit the fuse as soon as the P-word is mentioned? It's, like, "Yeah, I'm cool, a mature, level-headed human being, we can talk about anything you like... What? POLITICS?!? RAWR" *turns into the incredible hulk*...


The US is certainly more polarised than most other democracies. I think it is because the US voting system produces a two party environment, so like a 2- player board game, the parties are incentivised to bash the other side with attack ads to get ahead, and those sentiments eventually get absorbed by the voters.

In, say, Germany there are multiple parties, so you have to be more positive in your message to win votes. Britain uses first past the post too, but we have 3 roughly centrist main parties, none of which disagree with each other massively so the country is not as divided. There are still hard left unionists and the far right, but they are forced to either feed into the mainstream parties or vote for a tiny party that won't win, so we are somewhat dysfunctional too.

(This is likely only part of the answer.)


Its not? I susp0ect we are divided, its just that vast swaths of the ellectorate are so disenchanted that tey now take to the streets rather then vote.
 
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Politics is tamer in countries where broadcast news is restricted to accurate statements of fact, and where the dividing line between fact and opinion is clearer.
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I think it's because the news in the U.S. has become more about ratings than actual news. We get more coverage on what Lady Gaga is doing and "Do Vaccinations Cause Autism? Jenny McCarthy Says 'Yes'" crap than we do about the wars we are involved in right this moment.

Part of this extravaganza that pawns itself off as "news" is a fabricated "Us vs Them" platform, because people respond strongly to that. If it's not "Freedom vs The Terrorists" it's "Dems vs Republicans". Instead of level-headed news reporting on actual events of any real significance it's "Where's the real Obama birth certificate?".

It's really all crap though. Most people here in the U.S. are completely sane and level when it comes to politics. The RAWR types are a very vocal minority. The rest of us shake our heads when Palin or Bachman get their nut-headed opinions into a microphone and quietly vote them away.

I can't explain how we let the second Bush into office and then re-elected him though. Sorry for that.
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wadenels wrote:
I think it's because the news in the U.S. has become more about ratings than actual news. We get more coverage on what Lady Gaga is doing and "Do Vaccinations Cause Autism? Jenny McCarthy Says 'Yes'" crap than we do about the wars we are involved in right this moment.


Well, it's one of the many disadvantages of a privatized/for-profit business. There is no incentive to do anything but 'race to the bottom' to find the largest possible market.
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XanderF wrote:
wadenels wrote:
I think it's because the news in the U.S. has become more about ratings than actual news. We get more coverage on what Lady Gaga is doing and "Do Vaccinations Cause Autism? Jenny McCarthy Says 'Yes'" crap than we do about the wars we are involved in right this moment.


Well, it's one of the many disadvantages of a privatized/for-profit business. There is no incentive to do anything but 'race to the bottom' to find the largest possible market.


I think the "for profit" problem is less about finding the largest market and more about cutting costs and winning over a niche.

It's hard to compete for the large center and it's very expensive to do in-depth analysis and research. It's much cheaper to have some talking heads say whatever they think and much easier to find a subset of the population that feels a certain way and give them what they want.
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Morganza wrote:
Politics is tamer in countries where broadcast news is restricted to accurate statements of fact, and where the dividing line between fact and opinion is clearer.


Examples?

While I'm not an apologist for the current media as it exists today in the US, being an avid reader of several international newspapers, I don't see political reporting abroad is THAT much better.

Darilian
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Darilian wrote:
Morganza wrote:
Politics is tamer in countries where broadcast news is restricted to accurate statements of fact, and where the dividing line between fact and opinion is clearer.


Examples?

While I'm not an apologist for the current media as it exists today in the US, being an avid reader of several international newspapers, I don't see political reporting abroad is THAT much better.

Darilian


Speaking of international news, I sometimes watch Russia Today and Al-Jazeera on our Roku box. It seemed to me that Russia Today had a markedly more anti-U.S. slant than Al-Jazeera, which is the exact opposite of what I had expected based on what I've gotten out of regular news channels. I would say that most of the news stories on Al-Jazeera were top notch. Russia Today slightly less so, but often better than what I see on CNN or similar.
 
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Darilian wrote:
While I'm not an apologist for the current media as it exists today in the US, being an avid reader of several international newspapers, I don't see political reporting abroad is THAT much better.
Depends on the channel or newspaper. From what I've seen of US media PBS seems pretty decent and Fox is far worse than the worst of what we have here. Just this year we got our first ever right wing pundit TV show... we have a lot of catching up to do.
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For reference, here is Australia's lowest common denominator right-wing racist newspaper.

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/
 
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"Cops' dancing at parade

5:26PM POLICE officers started dirty dancing with scantily-clad women at a parade where at least shootings took place. See video
NY: Three killed near parade"

A close reading of that headline indicates that Australian conservative racists are disappointed with sex and eager for violence, just like their American counterparts.
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sbszine wrote:
Darilian wrote:
While I'm not an apologist for the current media as it exists today in the US, being an avid reader of several international newspapers, I don't see political reporting abroad is THAT much better.
Depends on the channel or newspaper. From what I've seen of US media PBS seems pretty decent and Fox is far worse than the worst of what we have here. Just this year we got our first ever right wing pundit TV show... we have a lot of catching up to do.


No, Alan Jones had a tv talkback show years ago (based on Larry King's.) It didn't last long. The Gina Monologues (as The Bole Repore has been called) has lasted longer.
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Darilian wrote:
Examples?

While I'm not an apologist for the current media as it exists today in the US, being an avid reader of several international newspapers, I don't see political reporting abroad is THAT much better.

Darilian


The newspapers from the UK are probably about as bad (and in some cases, much worse) as lots of US media outlets. The TV coverage is however much, much better, particularly the BBC (and by extension, the BBC website).
 
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Dolphinandrew wrote:
Darilian wrote:
Examples?

While I'm not an apologist for the current media as it exists today in the US, being an avid reader of several international newspapers, I don't see political reporting abroad is THAT much better.

Darilian


The newspapers from the UK are probably about as bad (and in some cases, much worse) as lots of US media outlets. The TV coverage is however much, much better, particularly the BBC (and by extension, the BBC website).


I think we in the US let the accent charm us and smooth down the rough and tumble in what we are seeing.

That's how Benny Hill can end up on our public broadcasting outlets, alongside All Creatures Great And Small, Faulty Towers and Doctor Who.
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BlueMountain wrote:
... whereas the folk arguing politics on the us TV I see don't seem to recognise people like that....


Because we in the middle have better things to do than to watch that crap on TV.
 
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tstone wrote:
I think we in the US let the accent charm us and smooth down the rough and tumble in what we are seeing.


Whenever anyone says the English accent is charming, I think of Newcastle


I should add to my last post, that I generally mean the BBCs home broadcasts. I've just had to put up with a weekend of access to nothing up BBC's world news service channel, which is about as awful as most other 24 hour news channels (although when I was in the US for a week, it was a blessed relief, so it's all relative I suppose).
 
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Mostly because I have pretty strong political opinions but when mixing with people who have similar hobbies (i.e. board games), I would much rather focus on that so I can respect people for their well-thought opinions on that subject rather than wonder about how in the world they ever reached their particular political views. This is actually true of many people who are politically on the "same side" as me, amusingly enough. So I would rather discuss areas of common interest in keep my respect for them, rather than venture into politics and lose said respect and potentially get into an argument at the same time.
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Morganza wrote:
Politics is tamer in countries where broadcast news is restricted to accurate statements of fact, and where the dividing line between fact and opinion is clearer.

Which countries might those be?

I might also point out that politics are tamer in countries with ruthlessly oppressive governments. Might there be some correlation?
 
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doubtofbuddha wrote:
So I would rather discuss areas of common interest in keep my respect for them, rather than venture into politics and lose said respect and potentially get into an argument at the same time.

No you wouldn't.
 
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out4blood wrote:
Morganza wrote:
Politics is tamer in countries where broadcast news is restricted to accurate statements of fact, and where the dividing line between fact and opinion is clearer.

Which countries might those be?

I might also point out that politics are tamer in countries with ruthlessly oppressive governments. Might there be some correlation?


There was a big kerfuffle in Canada last year, when some right-wing politicians tried to get the law enforcing accuracy in broadcast news repealed.

Note, though, that all the coverage I could find easily was in the liberal media, for example The Huffington Post
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