Archive | November 2014

Ebola Is Just the New Chandra Levy

ACADEME BLOG

Three weeks ago, Ebola was an all-consuming crisis that obsessed politicians and the media. But now, it’s just an old issue and old news.

People are still dying in droves in substandard medical facilities in West Africa, and nothing much has changed in terms of our efforts to insure that the disease is contained when infected individuals travel into the United States.

But compare the summary of the Sunday political news shows that The Hill provided several weeks ago [http://academeblog.org/2014/11/02/ebola-a-symptom-of-our-morbidly-diseased-media-and-politics/], with the summary of the topics covered on this past Sunday.

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SUNDAY SHOW WRAP-UP: IMMIGRATION GRABS SPOTLIGHT

November 16, 2014

IMMIGRATION

Top GOP senator won’t dismiss talk of shutdown over immigration: Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said, “we’re having those discussions.”  http://ow.ly/ElHRJ

Lee: US ‘not heading into a government shutdown’: “There are a lot of reasons for that,” Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) said. http://ow.ly/Em4n2

McCaskill…

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Wishing Doesn’t Make It So

ACADEME BLOG

After the 2012 presidential election, it became apparent that Mitt Romney was very surprised that he lost the election because his internal polling had indicated that he was not just ahead, but solidly ahead, in most of the key battleground states. Progressives found that disconnection from reality quite amusing and attributed it, in Bill Maher’s phrasing, to Romney’s having been trapped inside the Right-wing bubble, in which the only reality is what the Right wants the reality to be.

Well, in the aftermath of this midterm election, I think that we may need to begin talking about the progressive bubble.

In Ohio’s gubernatorial election—yes, there was a gubernatorial election in Ohio, though it was such a lopsided race that the national media gave it almost no attention whatsoever—Democrat Ed Fitzgerald received just 34% of the vote. I will have more to say about what happened in Ohio in another post…

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October Jobs Report: Under the Sunny Headline, Deep Roots of Discontent

ACADEME BLOG

The following post was written by Isaiah J. Poole for for the blog of the Campaign for America’s Future [http://ourfuture.org/] which has become a driving force behind the New Populist Movement.

The group’s report, Organizing to Take Back America: The New Populist Movement, is available at: http://y.ourfuture.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/New-Populist-Movement-Organizing.pdf. Prepared by Riger Hickey, the co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future, the report identifies twelve key principles underlying this new progressive effort to provide an effective grassroots alternative to the Tea Party movement on the Far Right.

Isaiah J. Poole has been the editor of OurFuture.org since 2007. Previously he worked for 25 years in mainstream media, most recently at Congressional Quarterly, where he covered congressional leadership and tracked major bills through Congress. Most of his journalism experience has been in Washington as both a reporter and an editor on topics ranging from presidential politics to pop…

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Politics Is Both Message and Messaging

ACADEME BLOG

The most important paragraph in Isaiah Poole’s piece seems to me to be the following: “Here’s where the tragedy of Tuesday’s election results come into sharp relief. Republicans were more successful than Democrats in tapping into voters’ economic anxiety, even with their record of blocking the policy changes needed to address the causes of that anxiety.”

Slate  just ran an article by William Saletan titled “A Victory for the Left.” The article is ironic because it explains how a victory for the Left amounted to a decisive defeat for the Democrats.

Here are the opening paragraphs:

“Republicans won big in the 2014 elections. They captured the Senate and gained seats in the House.

“But they didn’t do it by running to the right. They did it, to a surprising extent, by embracing ideas and standards that came from the left.

“I’m not talking about gay marriage, on which Republicans have…

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Postmortem

ACADEME BLOG

Given yesterday’s election results, here are some observations and recommendations that I would like to offer to the leadership of the Democratic party—locally, statewide, and nationally:

1. Deluging registered Democrats with fund-raising appeals is ultimately counterproductive. I am on the lists for five dozen or so Democratic and progressive organizations, and at a certain point, the incessant appeals become not only extremely annoying, but also overwrought, incoherent, and cumulatively discouraging. Ahead of one reporting deadline, I received 68 appeals for donations between 10 p.m. and midnight. Some of the messages proclaimed that we were on the verge of winning decisively while others warned that the apocalypse was upon us.

Someone needs to conceive of another way to raise money in 2016, or soon most Democrats and progressives will unsubscribe to most of the lists.

2. Given that the Democrats did much better at fund-raising than at getting out the vote, there…

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Ebola: A Symptom of Our Morbidly Diseased Media and Politics

ACADEME BLOG

On October 25, the BBC reported that, according to the World Health Organization’s best estimates, there were over 10,000 Ebola cases in West Africa. At least 4,922 people had died from the disease, with all but 27 of those deaths occurring in three countries: Liberia, with 2,705 deaths; Sierra Leone, with 1,281 deaths; and Guinea, with 926 deaths.

At that point, there had been fewer than ten cases of Ebola in the United States, and just a single death. More significantly, all of the cases in the U.S. had involved health care workers who had volunteered to fight the epidemic in the most affected West African countries or who had cared for one traveler from West Africa who became the only U.S. fatality.

Yet the following headlines appeared in the Far Right media:

“Ben Carson Warns of Ebola Bio-Terror,” Newsmax.

“Ebola Can Be Weaponized,” Newsmax.

“[Michael] Savage: ‘They…

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