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    “… like Thomas Paine and other deep thinkers from before the revolutionary war…”

    “… like Thomas Paine and other deep thinkers from before the revolutionary war…”

    I was pleased to meet a long time reader at my Tea Party presentation at the Cornell Club on Monday night, and even more pleased to get this e-mail afterwards:

    Professor Jacobson,

    It was a pleasure to meet you last night and hear your presentation. In my haste to meet you … I forgot to offer one suggestion for your future pre-presentation audience surveys. It might be interesting for you to get a sense from the audience about where they get their news (NY Times, CNN, Newsweek, Blogs?). It would be a very telling bit of data on where people were coming from in making their debate points.

    Granted I am making some assumptions here but my experience has often proved such assumptions to be accurate. The very first gentleman to address you, instead of asking a question of you, decided to get up and speak for 15 minutes thereby prompting a heated rebuttal discussion in the audience. He struck me as an individual that likely relied exclusively on the New York Times for his sole “quality-sourced” daily news overview (maybe had never even seen a blog posting) and utterly clueless about the current political landscape and why we are where we are.

    He came to your presentation to educate the rest of us rather than to educate himself. His points sounded quaint, dated and tired. Several others in the audience sounded like the ghost of NY Times Editor Bill Keller as they inadvertently echoed liberal talking points and memes. Like a properly sourced blog post, I would have loved to know before (or after) exactly what news source foundation of knowledge individual people in the audience possessed.

    In the past 10 years I have come to firmly believe that if a person doesn’t “work hard” to get their news, preferring instead MSM spoon-feeding, then that person is destined to miss almost everything in current events that they need to know to be a responsible US citizen and voter. Very much like students whose teachers don’t educate them but pass them onto the next grade anyway.

    Both MSM educated city dwellers and poorly taught students grown to adults arrive in a debate of ideas weakly armed and much less smart about the issues than they think they are. Your excellent tea party myth rebuttals (Amazingly a small fraction of the examples you could have used) early in the presentation were very important in this regard and were surely news scoops to your average NY Times reader and attendee who likely thinks that Maureen Dowd is a slight center-left moderate.

    I had mentioned to several people on my end of the table that you and your co-bloggers at Legal Insurrection and other blogs are like Thomas Paine and other deep thinkers from before the revolutionary war.

    You carry on with your conservative thought pieces, leftist rebuttals and incivility hypocrisy call-outs amidst the random hate mail that you and all conservatives in the public eye receive. In so doing you prove on a daily basis that the pen is mightier than the sword and that individuals with liberty are ultimately more powerful than groups of thugs.

    Keep up the great work and I hope to see round 2 at the Cornell Club in the near future.


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    He’s not the first to liken you to Thomas Paine. That’s what I thought when I discovered your blog…two years ago.

    ithacarobin | September 21, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Here’s a question. If I wanted to have my teenaged son read two blogs from each side, what thoughtful left of center bloggers would you recommend? I know he can read any mainstream newspaper and hear the left point of view, but to provide equal grounds by identifying both sides as opinion makers, not journalists, might provide him a better prospective.

      bains in reply to ithacarobin. | September 22, 2011 at 12:08 am

      A better question for you is if your son is watching the Colbert Report, or Jon Stewart, or MTV or any other programing amongst the slew of entertainment television (and for that matter, entertainment radio, podcasts, games, and social networking), where do you send him to get another perspective?

    Professor, while I don’t disagree with your readers sentiment, I think this this misrepresents what is required:

    In the past 10 years I have come to firmly believe that if a person doesn’t “work hard” to get their news, preferring instead MSM spoon-feeding

    Eight years ago I turned off televised news. I had long eschewed network news because they were clearly agenda driven, but I had been an addict to the cables. It wasn’t till I started watching others tendencies when controlling the remote that I realized that so many self-professed news junkies were not seeking insight. No, what they were seeking was affirmation to their political prejudices. Those that regularly tune in to Bill OReilly, or Rachel Maddow, don’t really want real news, they want a comforting narrative.

    Now of course, I’ll tune into broadcast news when events break (e.g. tsunamis, wild fires and riots), but I’ve learned that the half an hour I used to spend reading the daily paper/watching televised news is better spent on my computer. It is not working hard! At my fingertips are news stories from across the globe – with just as good graphics – and hyperlinks that I regularly use to ascertain the veracity, or lack thereof, of stories of interest to me, not some faceless editor toiling for an ideological imperative.

    In fact, through this process, I usually know most of what is behind the “headline” news I see and hear when I am at a friends house where the “evening” news is part of their daily fare.

    It is not hard; it just takes a minor alteration to ones daily schedule. (as a side bonus, I’ve found that when I am in a conversation, others are floored that I’ve already read that NYTimes, or WaPost article that has them so animated, and are already prepared to debunk the falsehoods they impart.)

    It is not hard. Turn off your television (news).

    ithacarobin | September 22, 2011 at 6:45 am

    We don’t have cable, or TV at all really, so unless he is watching online he is not getting either Jon Stewart or the Colbert report. We listen to NPR in the car and I spend a lot of time filling in the blanks, but it would be beneficial to read thoughtful analysis from the other side of the political spectrum.

    I happen to agree with you about finding news online. I am shocked at how clueless people are who just read headlines and watch cable news.

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