Saturday, January 20, 2007

More Scarlet R

Today, I was reading Frank Luntz's new book Words That Work: It's Not What You Say, It's What People Hear,in which Dr. Luntz offers insight into how to find and use the right words to get what you want out of life and includes a chapter on language in politics. I like to read the reviews and comments on the books I read and went to to see what reviewers like Publisher's Weekly said about the book. Here is what I found:

From Publishers Weekly: After repeating his mantra—"it's not what you say, it's what people hear"—so often in this book, you'd think that Republican pollster Luntz would have taken his own advice to heart. Yet in spite of an opening anecdote that superficially attempts a balanced tone, the book as a whole truly reads more like a manual for right-wing positioning.

"Okay," I thought, "one negative review dissing an author's politics does not make a good argument for believing that there is leftist bias in Publishers Weekly's reviews. I'll look further and see what else I can find." So I looked up Orson Scott Card's Empireto check out his review:

From Publishers Weekly: Right-wing rhetoric trumps the logic of story and character in this near-future political thriller about a red-state vs. blue-state American civil war, an implausibly plotted departure from Card's bestselling science fiction (Ender's Game, etc.). When the president and vice-president are killed by domestic terrorists (of unknown political identity), a radical leftist army calling itself the Progressive Restoration takes over New York City and declares itself the rightful government of the United States. Other blue states officially recognize the legitimacy of the group, thus starting a second civil war. Card's heroic red-state protagonists, Maj. Reuben "Rube" Malek and Capt. Bartholomew "Cole" Coleman, draw on their Special Ops training to take down the extremist leftists and restore peace to the nation. The action is overshadowed by the novel's polemical message, which Card tops off with an afterword decrying his own politically-motivated exclusion from various conventions and campuses, the "national media elite" and the divisive excesses of both the right and the left.

Hmmm...this seems to be a pattern--if the author leans at all right, his book is given a pretty negative review summarizing the book as "right wing." What happens to the Publishers Weekly's review when the author leans left? Miraculously, their book is suddenly engaging and intriguing! Here is a review of Eric Alterman's, What Liberal Media?: The Truth About Bias and the News.:

From Publishers Weekly: While the idea that a liberal bias pervades the mainstream media has been around for years, it gained new currency with the 2001 publication of Bernard Goldberg's Bias and its 2002 successor, Ann Coulter's Slander. Alterman (Sound & Fury; Who Speaks for America?; etc.) now seeks to debunk the notion and goes so far as to argue that bastions of alleged liberalism like the Washington Post and ABC News "have grown increasingly cowed by false complaints of liberal bias and hence, progressively more sympathetic to the most outlandish conservative complaints." He largely succeeds: whatever your politics, Alterman delivers well-documented, well-argued research in compulsively readable form. His chapter on business journalism, for instance, is a thrill-ride through the excesses of late 1990s optimism and the subsequent crash in stock valuations and mood. But he also counters that while the economy was peaking, major media outlets virtually ignored traditional left-wing issues like labor rights, which had been neglected, and income inequality, which was growing. In contrast, he says, the media fawned over chief executives while almost totally failing to confront corporate fraudsters. Alterman also observes that the center of American politics has shifted to the right in the last several decades, which he attributes to efforts by conservative think tanks and their financial backers. Whether readers agree with Alterman or not, his writing on the business of opinion making is eye-opening. This book will be required reading for anyone in politics or journalism, or anyone curious about their complicated nexus.

Well, you get the idea--I won't bore you with more reviews--but I wonder, is the Scarlet R rearing it's ugly head in the book reviewing world? Surely not!

Oh, and a Disclaimer: This is not a scientific sample--the negative reviews for right leaning authors and positive ones for left leaning authors are based on my observations only and not on scientific fact. If there is anyone out there who wants to do such a study--go to it and email me the results. Or do the experiment yourself and see if you can find a Publisher's Weekly review that is glowing over a right leaning political book or very negative towards a left leaning book and drop a line in the comments.


Blogger SFN said...

Could be Amazon's just picking any left-leaning reviews. The bias could be there, or in both places. Amazon clearly pulls reviews from a variety of sources, and which ones they pick sometimes seem to be a bit random.

11:47 AM, January 20, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out potentially flamable
subjects at wikipedia for further

2:13 PM, January 20, 2007  
Blogger pst314 said...

That sort of bias is so common in my local newspapers that I long ago concluded that there was no point in reading their book reviews.

2:24 PM, January 20, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hm, cherrypick some?

I have some observations too. A guy in the news kidnapped and raped two young boys. Also, a recent court case here involved a guy who raped an months-old infant. Oh, and there's a rapist (male) prowling the Oak Hill area here. Got any theories from that evidence?

3:06 PM, January 20, 2007  
Blogger Mercurior said...

there always will be a bias against the other persons view, people dislike to be told that they may be wrong, and it soon degenerates into personal attacks.

the only way to solve it, is to try to see the world as other people would see it, there is no 100% correct way to see the world.

some of the political groups and pressure groups have agendas usually to make themselves more money, this happens world wide..

unfortunatly a lot of people are so closed minded, they cannot or will not say they may be wrong. and this causes so much more bad feeling. the best thing to do is keep an open mind, and find the real reasons why things are done.. use the intelligence you have..rather than just follow the herd

3:26 PM, January 20, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've noticed this in the reviews, too: Unashamed bashing of people on the right, unashamed flacking for people on the left. It goes hand in hand with the way bookstores don't like to display rightish books, but shove all the Bush-bashing books to the big table by the entrance. Anyone who says this doesn't happen is blind, or lying. Thank you for being brave enough to point it out.

4:33 PM, January 20, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...

Anonymous 4:33:

You would think that book reviewers like Publishers Weekly would at least try not to appear so biased. It leads me (and probably others) to discount their reviews altogether, not really a good thing, if you want people to seek out your reviews as a reason to purchase a book.

Anonymous 3:06:

You make no sense at all.

4:38 PM, January 20, 2007  
Blogger David Foster said...

A lot of media these days contains what I call "drive by" political commentary. This is usually a brief shot at the Bush administration, or at Republicans in general, without any support from evidence or logic, and appearing in an article with a completely different topic. The objective is *not* to convince anyone to change their mind on an issue, but rather to exhibit one's bona fides to like-thinking individuals.

9:41 PM, January 20, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe there's something going around -- as I recall there were also some problems along the same line with the reviews in Library Journal. Can't find any reference to it though.

Publisher's Weekly doesn't (at least as far as I've seen) identify who writes the reviews, so we don't know if the bias is one reviewer's or if it's pervasive.

10:53 PM, January 20, 2007  
Blogger Gerald Hibbs said...

I quit taking the Publisher's Weekly reviews seriously long ago having noted such a trend myself. I've never seen an unqualified positive review of a conservative book. I find that it is best to just go straight to the readers' reviews and discount the highest and lowest reviews. Many reviewers will honestly tell you the positives and negatives for conservative books and since the delineation of a book's weaknesses comes from a fellow conservative it is usually based in fact rather than political bias.

I haven't looked at enough left books to know if the same patterns hold true.

1:47 AM, January 21, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in NYC, was in the theater and before 9/11/2001 the only reference I had to 'right-wingers' ie., Conservative/ Republican, was that Rush Limbaugh was a right-wing nutcase out to destroy America. I believed it even though I never actually took the time to listen to the guy.

After 9/11 I bought a home computer and for the first time in my 40 years of living I began reading ideals coming from right-wingers, Convervative/Republican.

Percy Shelley (early 20th century socialist, poet) stated:
"The poet is the unacknowledged legislator"

The Left must demonize the Right and when that legislation is complete unfortunatly Libertarians will be next.

The Left is vicious and I really hope that the Army of Davids will be able to fight against Leftist totalitarian tactics.

9:05 AM, January 21, 2007  
Blogger Serr8d said...

My reviews of books usually means picking it up, reading the first couple pages, the last couple pages, and some random content. If the book 'grabs me', then I'll apply some cash and take a chance.

Granted, I probably wouldn't pick up a book I couldn't find conveniently in a stack, so usually I know what title or genre I'm looking for in advance. The more well-hidden the book, the greater the chance is that I will buy the thing.

Publisher's Weekly's Sara Nelson actually did some navel lint-gathering in her article "Shameless", written about Ann Coulter's Godless. "What's a bookseller to do when he or she detests the author and/or message of the number #1 selling book in America?"

Her answer? Hold your nose and put it out there..."In the business of shaping and selling ideas, we bear some responsibility for the ideas we choose to disseminate, and the people we choose to disseminate them. So if we have to do what's best for business, so be it. But I have to hope that at least while we're doing it, we all wrestle with these questions, and even lose just a little bit of sleep over what and who we're putting out there."

Of course I bought, and enjoyed, that book...

9:23 AM, January 21, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tried it. I looked up reviews for Eric Alterman, Keith Olbermann and Frank Rich in Publisher's Weekly. Then I looked up reviews for Bill O'Reilly, Dvid Horowitz and Harry Stein. Alterman, Olbermann and Rich were fawned upon, O'Reilly, Horowitz and Stein were treated snarkily.

BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome) is creeping into books where it doesn't belong. I was reading a plain old novel recently where the author interrupted the story to vent about "right wingers". The book is Two Dollar Bill by Stuart Woods. Avoid it.

11:18 AM, January 21, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!

We have a winner!

Are not book reviews supposed to be about the content of the book?

Rather than about the supposed political leanings of the author.

Conclusion -- Publisher's Weekly no longer reviews books. It just spouts BS about the political leanings of authors and recommends those that have the same
shared "left wing-NUT" leanings.

11:29 AM, January 21, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I don't make any sense? It's pretty simple. You admit you haven't conducted anything approaching a scientific sample. Nevertheless, you've developed a theory based on your unscientific sample. "This seems to be a pattern." You think you see evidence of "leftist bias at Publisher's Weekly".

I could develop a theory that men are rapists based on unscientific evidence like I previously mentioned. But then you would call that idiotic. And you would be right.

I'm just asking for some more rigorous thinking.

12:12 PM, January 21, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...

anonymous 12:12:

Well, do your own sample and let me know if you find a positive review of a right leaning book by Publisher's Weekly or a negative review of a left leaning book at Amazon. Report back.

12:29 PM, January 21, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I concur with Anon 11:18 (btw, people, nicknonymity is trivial simple and makes our reading much easier). Very Bad Deaths by Spider Robinson was an absolutely thrilling tale of the hunt for a psychic serial killer, until using mind power to lure people to their deaths was weighed against the evil of George W Bush.

12:51 PM, January 21, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous 9:05 a.m.

You seem to me to be an individual who has seriously looked at both sides (not that there are only two) of political leanings in this nation. I am assuming that being from N.Y. and your involvement with the theater, you are surrounded by those leaning (perhaps heavily) left, and hear much more of their reasoning than I am personally exposed to. And from what I have gathered from your post, you have decided not to follow lock step. You may be more of a thinker, an individual, than most I have met - myself included (duh - huh).

At the risk of sounding naive,(my greatest attribute)are any committed to that cause open minded? I mean, in doing my best to understand the direction from which they come, I am continuously left puzzled. Long and short, I do not understand them. And in short conversations with the few I have had the opportunity to discuss ideals with, the conversation has always dropped down to personal attacks on me, before I turned and walked away - more confused than ever. In a disagreement, to me it makes sense first to understand, then to be understood. I have been unable to get to the first half with those self identified as liberal.

It seems worse now than ever, and appears to be gathering steam, still. It appears those they are vicious to are ones they are relatively certain will not respond in kind, or with a well placed punch in the nose. Like they realize the more conservative "opponent" will also be predictably civil. Those they fear, they kiss up to, and want to give the farm away to. Even if it isn't their farm. I know I'm not Bill Buckley. Heck, every time I read one of his columns, I do it with a collegiate dictionary in hand. Anyway, any pointers?

1:05 PM, January 21, 2007  
Blogger Webutante said...

Helen, I have just finished Luntz's book myself and found it quite interesting. Subjects like changing the term "gambling" to "gaming" to great effectiveness is fascinating, whether you're liberal or conservative. Yes, Luntz is a right-leaning author, but it's still sad that there's a large segment of society who won't use the book to communicate more effectively or review it favorably.

But for all those inclined to read it, Frank uses several effective examples from Democratic political history. Most notably:

Lloyd Bentsen to Dan Quayle in 1988 during the vice-presidential debate and scored a knock-out:

"Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."

2:00 PM, January 21, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...


Well, since those on the right are more likely to give Luntz's book a chance, they will be the ones to learn more about communication skills which can only help right leaning causes. You would think that those on the left would want to learn more about how to communicate with others, especially those who do not share their viewpoint, but apparently, many have no such interest. It is their loss.

2:12 PM, January 21, 2007  
Blogger Sissy Willis said...

Oh, darn . . . My comment -- extremely brilliant! -- seems to have gone poof. Great post, however, right on the mark.

2:16 PM, January 21, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, ok, helen. But I guess my question would be-- why do I have to do YOUR research. You're the one going around suggesting bias. Wouldn't we all be better off if fewer people went around spouting off assertions without proper backup?

Anyway, here's what I have so far. Bill Maher's novel True Story was absolutely skewered by Publisher's Weekly. But they praised Bill O'Reilly's The O'Reilly Factor: The Good, The Bad.... They noted that one of Jimmy Carter's books (forgot title now) basically trotted out the "standard liberal gripes", which to me sounds at best uncomplimentary. And with Michael Moore's book Will They Ever Trust Us Again?, Publisher's Weekly suggested that, despite Moore's assertions of a lack of bias in preparing the material for the book, Moore surely cherrypicked the material, since it reflects no dissension from his point of view.

I'll keep looking.

2:20 PM, January 21, 2007  
Blogger Webutante said...

Yes, ladies, let's go forward and hone our word skills for the long, hard slog ahead.

And remember, renew, revitalize, rejuvenate, restore, rekindle and reinvent.

All best.

2:30 PM, January 21, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's me again, helen. And I guess in reviewing your last post to me, you only asked me to find evidence of one positive review of a right-leaning book or one negative review of a left-leaning book. So I guess I've actually accomplished that already. In fact, it looks like all but one of O'Reilly's books got negative remarks from Publisher's weekly.

At any rate, I continue to look. Mark Levin's Men in Black (right-leaning) received an at least neutral review (no negatives). And Publisher's Weekly noted that David Limaugh "had a point" in that there are anti-christian tendencies (militant atheists, etc) in his book Persecution: How Liberals Are Waging War Against Christianity.

2:35 PM, January 21, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What I meant was all of O'Reilly's books got POSTITIVE remarks from Publisher's weekly, with one exception.

2:41 PM, January 21, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

James Carville's Take It Back is generally praised but Publisher's notes that some of his assertions are "extremely speculative" and that his criticisms of Republican leadership devolves into name calling and mudslinging.

John Dean's Conservatives Without Conscience is said to "lack journalistic credibility" and "adds little to reasoned debate".

3:02 PM, January 21, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I am ceretainly far from having all the answers since I am still in the process of expanding my own education however, I am tuned into the emotional blackmail used by the Left. Perhaps the reason why Liberals are confusing to you is because the Left hijacked Liberalism's feel-good words incorporating them into emotionally charged 'weapons of mass distraction'. Liberals, as it was once establish before Marxists took over, are supposed to be representitive of tolerance, open-mindedness, individual expression yet none of these ideals are today represented by those who consider themselves Liberal.

When debating issues I have noticed no matter how reasoned a side I present countering a Leftist's (Liberal) argument my rational is inevitably met with highly charged accusations such as "sexist, homophobe, racist, theocrat, classist" Ever since 9/11 we can add "Islamophobe and Bushie' to the list.

When unable to discuss with reason and logic the merits of the argument Leftists ultimately resort to emotional blackmail to end the debate.

My advice for what it is worth is don't be intimidated into believing that you are a bad person for not automatically agreeing to what a Leftist presents. Additionally, when debating someone who claim they are Liberal consider the possibility that they have no idea that they have been hijacked by emotional blackmail into supporting progressive Marxism.

Hey, we are all human and we like to be liked but there is a point at which being liked is not as important as being right (no reference to political affilation).

3:32 PM, January 21, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...

Anonymous 2:41:

Actually, O'Reilly tends towards being a populist (hence, all of the identification with the common man)--not necessarily a conservative and the Publisher's Weekly review I read (on The Good, the Bad and the Completely Ridiculous in American Life) is, I think, positive mainly because O'Reilly points out what is wrong with America: "O'Reilly pulls no punches when describing what he thinks is wrong, and even occasionally right, with the U.S., Americans and the rest of the world."

On the "Men in Black" review, granted, it is more neutral than is typical for Publisher's Weekly but hardly a raving review: "Levin is an ardent advocate, but at times his strident tone gets in the way of objective analyses of the system's flaws." So I am not sure this one is as "neutral" as you claim.

And yes, they did say that David Limaugh had a point but went on to say: "But there are plenty of pro-Christian tendencies too, such that Limbaugh's persecution complex seems overblown." Again, not a glowing review. Not bad though.

Contrast this with the rave review and directly telling people that it is "required reading" that a book like Bob Woodward's "State of Denial" gets: "If there ever was a crystalline indictment of a president's wartime decisions, this is it. In the third volume exploring the political carnage and bureaucratic infighting prompted by the September 11 attacks, legendary investigative journalist Woodward (Bush at War, Plan of Attack) dissects the Bush administration's conduct of the war in Iraq.....If journalism is the first page of history, then Woodward's opus will be required reading for any would-be historians of the time."

Perhaps it is Publisher's Weekly who needs to do some rigorous thinking about the way they tend to write reviews for right leaning authors vs. the way they tend to write reviews for left leaning authors.

4:22 PM, January 21, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What I meant was all of O'Reilly's books got POSTITIVE remarks from Publisher's weekly, with one exception.

I just went through O'Reilly's books, and most of them don't even include reviews/"remarks" from PW, so I'm not sure where this statement comes from. Yesterday, I checked out Michael Moore's book ratings from PW and everything I saw for him was positive, so the example cited by anonymous is certainly "cherry-picked."

4:33 PM, January 21, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2:35 says "It's me again." This doesn't tell us much with the probability of multiple anonymi taking part in the discussion. Take a peek at the nicknames being used; they're pretty arbitrary. Br5-49 means something to country music fans, but there's an infinite number of unique charater strings out there. I've worked to establish a nicknonymous identity for myself, but all I'm asking is that you help keep the dialog straight.

If you have cookies enabled, you don't need a blogger ID. After the first time you type it in with "Other" selected, it will pop up in a box once you key in the first letter.

4:41 PM, January 21, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Triticale: nicknonymity is trivial simple and makes our reading much easier

But the disruptive element doesn't want your reading (read: easy avoidance of obvious trolls, like our favorite knowitall physicist, whom we miss So Much) to be easy. Thus, the constant anonymity and sockpuppets. The endgame of that particular troll gambit is disabling anonymous comments, giving the trolls the partial victory of stifling a certain proportion of debate from the (ever-fewer) worthwhile anons.

Do not attempt to reason or negotiate with a troll.

5:23 PM, January 21, 2007  
Blogger Purple Avenger said...

Got any theories from that evidence?

You should move?

7:12 PM, January 21, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You asked me to find either a positive review of a right leaning book or negative review of a left leaning book. I think I clearly did that, even if I accept your assertion (which I don't) that O'Reilly is not right leaning. By the way, The Good, The Bad.. is described as "superb, energetic and engaging". Pretty glowing review for someone who is, populist or not, generally despised by liberals.

anon 4:33: I checked again. There are 3 out of 5 PW reviews of O'Reilly's works. So, actually most are reviewed. Of those, 2 are positive and 1 is a bit negative.

Now, again, if you all claim, he ain't right leaning, then this isn't telling one way or another. But I think he most certainly is. And I will look again for more right leaning reviews, although I have already provided examples of negative reviews of left leaning works.

11:48 PM, January 21, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

purple avenger said "You should move?"

Where should I move that I will not find evidence of rapes by the male population or child molestation by males? Please tell me. That would be a wonderful place indeed. I mean, you know, some place where males exist (since I in fact like males, particularly for sex), but where they don't commit these crimes?

11:51 PM, January 21, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


At the risk of sounding naive,(my greatest attribute)are any committed to that cause open minded? I mean, in doing my best to understand the direction from which they come, I am continuously left puzzled. Long and short, I do not understand them. And in short conversations with the few I have had the opportunity to discuss ideals with, the conversation has always dropped down to personal attacks on me, before I turned and walked away - more confused than ever. In a disagreement, to me it makes sense first to understand, then to be understood. I have been unable to get to the first half with those self identified as liberal.

In many cases their views aren't that well thought out. Many people (both left and right) don't know a lot about economics. Marxism is a lot of claptrap - one you learn about economics you realize it will lead to disaster. So pretty much a prerequisite of being to the far left economically is not knowing a lot about economics.

Then a lot of the views are wrapped up in emotionalism. Like the notion that only the left cares about the poor. That's utter nonsense. But once the emotionalist script has been adopted in many cases it will not be abandoned, no matter what evidence to the contrary is presented.

1:26 AM, January 22, 2007  
Blogger Purple Avenger said...

Where should I move that I will not find evidence of rapes by the male population or child molestation by males?

Chavez's new workers paradise looks promising. Or so I'm told...

If you can forgo electricity, the Amish are always recruiting.

Myself, I just pack a handgun.

1:59 AM, January 22, 2007  
Blogger marklewin said...

Isn't there a fairly robust line of social-psychological research that suggests that people are more persuaded when they perceive someone arguing contrary to their own interests? I guess this is why I tend to scan partisan blogs (on the right and left) and the mainstream media for observations and opinions that run contrary to their particular belief systems and tend to place less stock when they are arguing in support of their preferred ideology.

While it is gratifying to have someone tell me what I want to hear, it is often in my best interests to be told what I need to hear.

7:43 AM, January 22, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 11:51:

Wow. Just what percentage of men do you regard as rapists? And in your mind, where does the line between bad manners and criminal rape lie?

Off-topic, I guess, but your statement fairly jumped off the page at me. I mean, yeah, avoiding rape would be a good thing, and there are probably places on the planet where it's less likely to occur than others. But you make it sound like the safe places are so few and far between. It begs those questions.


9:21 AM, January 22, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um, Rusty--you (and I suspect purple avenger) COMPLETELY missed the point. My point was, just as it would be silly to take a few stories of rape as evidence that all men are rapists, it is silly to cherrypick a few examples of good reviews for left leaning books or bad reviews of right leaning books as proof of wholesale leftist bias on the part of Publisher's Weekly.

Making broad assertions with what is nowhere near a scientific sample is silly.

10:22 AM, January 22, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And Rusty, I don't even know what you mean by this statement:

"And in your mind, where does the line between bad manners and criminal rape lie?"

I would think that it is a fairly bright line between those things.

10:24 AM, January 22, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"offers insight into how to find and use the right words to get what you want out of life"

Do you think this will on husbands?

11:21 AM, January 22, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry...........will this work on husbands?

11:22 AM, January 22, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is more blatant in some circles. Openly Christian content is flat out excluded from publication in most sci fi circles. That's due primarily to the smug, narcissistic and highly provincial attitudes of most of the lefty literary snobs. They can't even imagine an intelligent, yet traditional, adherence to orthodox Judaism or Christianity, so such content doesn't even get the time of day.

It should come as no surprise, though, that the left doesn't tolerate dissent and ridicules others because their whole belief system is based on controlling others. This is why there is no such thing as a "left-wing dissident" in the sort of "freedom dissident" mold. All liberals by virtue of supporting big government are tacit advocates of its violence against the public. They may disagree with it here and there, but they fundamentally agree that the state has the right and duty to remake society. You can't have a world view that is based so thoroughly on controlling others without it spilling over into other areas like how you approach art, literature and dealing with other people.

11:36 AM, January 22, 2007  
Blogger TMink said...

Liberals act that way, Democrats do not. There is an important distinction that I have found lately.

I can disagree with, agree with, persuade or be persuaded by a Democrat. Democrats believe in facts. They refer to facts, are verifiable, and appologize when they get their facts wrong.

Liberals are not concerned with facts, they are concerned with things like "justice" and "oppression." If the facts are in error, they do not care. For a wonderful example, look at the faculty letter re the Duke rape allegations. The teachers did not appologize when it became clear that there was no rape, they stuck to their story and said that the factss were not the issue, injustice was the issue. See the Tawanna Brawley story if you need more examples.

It is interesting to me that the opposite is true when dealing with the right. Conservatives are fine and good to deal with, it is the Republicans that you cannot trust. Conservatives can be reasoned with, Republicans will just betray you by selling their vote to whomever gives them the most re-election money.

That is why I am NOT a Republican. I am a Conservative and need a big red C on my forehead.


2:40 PM, January 22, 2007  
Blogger Purple Avenger said...

My point was, just as it would be silly to take a few stories of rape as evidence that all men are rapists,

That silly POV is being pitched by some in influential positions.

4:21 PM, January 22, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay... I'll make the bold assertion that the two posts I'm responding to are from the same anonymous person.

1: " it would be silly to take a few stories of rape as evidence that all men are rapists..."

Okay, point well taken.

2: "I would think that it is a fairly bright line between those things"

I would agree that it is bright, but I submit to you that it's in different places for different people. This debate would be out of place here, so I'll pursue it no longer, especially in light of your original point.


4:36 PM, January 22, 2007  
Blogger Bill Dalasio said...

At risk of sounding like I'm defending the indefensible, I can't say the bias is remarkably surprising or is necessarily ideological in nature. Ultimately, people are more likely than not to purchase materials that confirm their own beliefs and opinions. While the market comprised of readers may be neutral or even conservative, I'm not sure that Publisher's Weekly is aimed at this market. It seems more likely to me that the market for this journal is bookstore buyers. From what I've seen in most bookstores I've visited, the employees in these places tend to be much more liberal than the general population. If you're aiming your publication at this market, you're better off producing a liberally biased journal.

5:26 PM, January 22, 2007  
Blogger pst314 said...

"Openly Christian content is flat out excluded from publication in most sci fi circles."

Can you elaborate, MikeT?

I know for sure that much of the science fiction community is openly and and loudly hostile to Christianity and contemptuous of devout believers, but I no longer speak frequently with editors and writers.

12:15 AM, January 23, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Without slogging into the minutae, it is indeed my impression that the reviewers in Publisher's Weekly tend to exhibit a liberal to left bias in their reviews. When I was on that side of the fence, I admit that I did the same. PW's audience are book buyers for libraries and bookstores. It has been my experience there are not many conservatives in those fields. Indeed my favorite bookstore owner was an old Trotskyist from City College of New York. He was a character out of a Woody Allen movie. Most of them feel underpaid, unappreciated, and envious. Were a reviewer to give a favorable review to a conservative book, you would surely see a customer revolt. When I read one of their reviews, I take that into account. As they say on Wall Street, the price already reflects the news.

2:58 AM, January 23, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

democrats believe in facts. They refer to facts, are verifiable, and appologize when they get their facts wrong.

.... See the Tawanna Brawley story if you need more examples.

Al Sharpton (he played a pretty big role in the Tawanna Brawley farce) went for the presidency with the tacit approval of the democrats. Not sure that example serves your point.

4:56 PM, January 23, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Helen, I've become convinced that they -are- concealing their leanings. They truely believe that they are middle-of-the-road. There's an old joke about Minnesota politics: A Minnesota Democrat and Minnesota Republican move out of state and run for office. The Democrat is embraced by the Communists, the Republican by the Socialists.

-- htom

11:14 AM, January 25, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

This silly review of Patrick O'Donnel's _We Were One_ bares out your observation, not least because the reviewer is unconvinced that U.S. Marines are better warriors and men than their terrorist adversaries. Unbelievable.

"As the author portrays them, these Marines were heroes and warriors with only macho flaws, such as heavy drinking or practical joking, while their enemies are simply terrorists. Maintaining that our troops fight because they love America and their buddies, but their opponents fight because they are drug-addled, suicidal maniacs, the author forgets what every military buff knows: one cannot be a great warrior without a worthy opponent. Like many embedded reporters, O'Donnell appears to have fallen in love with his subjects, adding to the growing genre of worshipful, jingoistic battle narratives about Iraq. Though these Marines fought with great courage and the details of their battle make gripping reading, the author's uncritical cheerleading reduces their accomplishment to fantasy heroics."

Bet he loved _Jarhead_.

3:48 PM, March 10, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

Lol, yes, the same reviewer, PW, did indeed love _Jarhead_...I honestly didn't look for the _Jarhead_ review before the previous post.

4:01 PM, March 10, 2007  
Blogger Serket said...

I'm not going to read through all of the comments, but I just wanted to make one point. It is kind of strange that they would attack Card as he considers himself a moderate Democrat.

4:21 PM, March 26, 2007  
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