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  1. Charles Rodeffer
    02 September 2011 @ 4:28 pm

    Yes there are two ditches. Diffrent views. God must love diversity. Just look at the flowers.

  2. Elaine Nelson
    02 September 2011 @ 4:50 pm

    With the new G.C. president who discourages reading non-SDA writers, his reasoning is that if we don't know the "other side" of a view, we will continue to be wedded to our previous views.

    The best way to introduce students to opposing views is to assign them a topic and be prepared to debate either side.  In debates, the participants are given  position they must take 30 minutes before the debate.  Only in this way will they be fully informed of both sides.  Too bad this isn't a requirement for religious believers.  They might find a lot of positives in other religions than their own, or that their previously held positions simply don't stand up to interrogation.

  3. Ron Corson
    02 September 2011 @ 8:26 pm

    This whole article is built on the false premise that Fox and MSNBC seek to confirm their own biases. Which would be true of MSNBC which really has no conservative opinions, (Joe Scarebourgh was never even as a Republican a conservative) While Fox started out to be fair and balanced. Which it is far more then MSNBC or CNN or the three networks. Remember the news on MSNBC is NBC it is far from unbiased. Most Newspapers or also biased.

    Those who don't listen to people like Rush or Glenn Beck (9 million)don't hear the same ideas as those who listen to Randi Rhodes. However few that may be. But there is something else to consider why does Rush have more then 15 million listeners and Rhodes less then a million? Could it be that those more popular people are not simply insulting people as the above author seems to think (I am quite sure he does not listen to either Rush or Hannidy (14 million)) but that these listeners find the information and entertainment value as worthy of their time to listen. Many of the calls on these shows are from people with some disagreement with the hosts views, all of them play audio from people from all over the spectrum. Perhaps it is more then just to confirm their biases, which frankly is what the first part of the above article tries to do, not by being at all objective but by accepting conventional wisdom and without first hand knowledge disparaging the people named with his own brand of slander.

    When you can't be objective about your politics, you will not be objective about your religion or your history or even your ability to acknowledge current events. The assumptions in the above article are simply biases passed off as if they have some higher objective, a common method of manipulation.

    • Mark Gutman
      02 September 2011 @ 8:49 pm

      I have listened to Rush for probably dozens of hours (mostly before 1995).  I've heard Randi Rhodes several times in the last couple years.  I've heard Sean Hannity a few times over the years.  My description of the way they talk about "the other side" is from my memory of hearing them.  I know they let some from all over the spectrum talk on their program as well, but the vast majority of callers that I've heard (not a scientific sample) side with the host and have similar sentiments about the intelligence and motives of the other side.  While I may have heard that those hosts are one-sided, I don't remember them as sounding balanced.  If I had never been told that they are very partial to one side, I think I would still have figured it out on my own.

      Koppel's article has a lot of truth in it, even if there is some balance in Fox or MSNBC.  When we limit our intake to what we've already decided is right, and when we mainly hear how stupid or wicked those who disagree with us are, we're going to have trouble learning from "the other side." When they see our contempt for them, they'll have a hard time being interested in dialogue with us.

  4. Elaine Nelson
    02 September 2011 @ 10:14 pm

    Only listening to  confirm our biases is exactly what the new G.C. president recommends.  Only read SDA writers and we will have no need to question what comes from the Silver Spring.

  5. Ron Corson
    02 September 2011 @ 10:37 pm

    Now here is the difference, I listen to these people every work day, Glenn Beck, Rush, Michael Medved. When people like the author above say that these people "snickering, putting the worst possible construction on the intelligence and motives of the other side, never pointing out good in the other side, calling others “morons” and “idiots”, etc., etc." I know he does not know what he is talking about. I would agree with the assessment on the Liberal side, not just because I disagree with them but because there is a reason they don't have large audiences and it is because they are so strident you simply can't listen to someone that you can't trust, you may know that someone is partisan but if they don't make sense most don't return to listen more. The exception though I have not heard him in a quite a while is Alan Combs, who by the way according to Talkers magazine is the most listened to Liberal radio host, his number was I think 1.5 or 1.75 million. What does it say about me if I enjoy these people and someone like the author acts as if I am just feeding my biases or listening to people calling people on the other side of the fence as idiots. It is an affront to me and my intelligence. And it is made but someone who does not know what he is talking about yet pretending he does.

    It is frustrating when people knowingly lie and act as if their lies are true, a good example is the recent comments of Rep. Andre Carson, Indiana Democrat and the Congressional Black Caucus whip, stated “[Tea Partiers would] love to see us as second-class citizens…some of them in Congress right now of this tea party movement would love to see you and me…hanging on a tree.”

    People can make all kinds of claims but if you don't have facts on your side you are simply slandering others. If you are going to deal with information and be trusted you have to be specific, it is those who cannot be specific and cannot give examples that are those trying to feed biases.

    It is true in politics and it is true in religion.

    • Mark Gutman
      03 September 2011 @ 6:46 pm

      I could give examples for each of the people I named, but my focus is on the problem of listening with the goal of confirming my belief and confirming my bias against people who hold different views.  I am not criticizing every host.  The hosts I mentioned make good points – I am more concerned with the attitude toward other people that comes through so strongly when they make their points.  Alan Colmes is very different from the type of hosts I was referring to; I like his attitude, even if I don't agree with some of his views.

      I do not believe that people who listen to the hosts I mentioned are just feeding their biases or are unbalanced, and I apologize for giving that impression.  I have listened to those hosts many times myself, which is why I could describe what I've picked up as their attitudes.  I learn about both sides by listening to such hosts.  I didn't say that people shouldn't listen to them – "I'm not encouraging the watching or listening to of . . . ."  I encourage diversity and balance, but less ridicule or namecalling engaged in by the speakers might help prevent the same in the hearers.  If I can find the discussions by someone like Alan Colmes, I can hear the ideas and the arguments with less Luke 18:9,11.

      • Ron Corson
        04 September 2011 @ 1:47 am

        I think it would be beneficial if you actually tried to give examples of the people you named. You would find that your opinion is very biased. What you would likely do is google the particular name and try to find some site which opposed that person and search for a comment you thought fit your description. You would then think you found the evidence of say for example a person like Rush who is talking for about 15 hours a week. You would find some derogatory comment and think that encapsulates that person. I can find examples of people like Rachel Maddow and others on MSNBC (progressive radio is so little heard I won't really deal with it) who flat out lie, which is to me worse then someone giving the opinon that some idea or person is idiototic. But while it would make me not listen to those people anymore it would not make me characterize them as offering shows that were all about lying.

        What you call the attitude toward other people coming through so strongly is a fiction. It is not there at all except for those who feel complete disdain (those who have prejudice often). What you are arguing against is what you are doing. It is not objective, it does not take all sides into account and it slanders people. If you can't see that in politics and media what do you see in the church? Are you listening to both or all sides? Are your respecting their other side? The problem is when people are objective in one area of life and not some other area. They have a pet view don't critique the pet view (example Rush is mean and calls people names). But critical thinking is needed in all areas of life and objectivity has to include ourselves as well.

        Test what I am saying and give us some of the examples you think make your case…

        • Stephen Foster
          04 September 2011 @ 6:00 am

          This is a classic example of how the so-called “coarsening of the culture” is a real and insidious occurrence. When someone is actually challenged…challenged to come up with examples of Limbaugh and his ilk being mean and calling people names (this is a Hannitarian tactic), we are in the twilight zone of reality; and the culture, such that it is, appears hopelessly coarsened.
          Now of course when one is presumably preempted from providing these examples on the Internet on the basis that the sites from which these may be catalogued are liberal, it becomes nonsense by literal definition.
          Some of us are neither inhibited nor intimidated by this tact, and never will be; and could issue a similar challenge (as to examples of Maddow lying). Limbaugh of course does more than call people names; he regularly race baits too.
          How do I know? I have regularly listened to his radio propaganda for about twenty years and continue to do so. In fact, I have actually gotten through as a caller (some 15 years ago, and loved it). I also listen to and/or watch Hannity, O’Reilly, Levin, Bortz et al; and also watch MSNBC, Fox, and CNN.
          I concur with much of what Mark is saying, in that there is value in hearing all sides and not just feeding our own biases. But just because rudeness and hatred sell and are popular does not make them right. There are media personalities and pundits with whom we disagree who are not obnoxious and vicious; and we can all offer several examples.

          • Ron Corson
            04 September 2011 @ 6:33 pm

            Race baiting…classic Progressive tactic, hey if it works for the congressional Black Caucus I guess the general public can chime in also. Stephen I record all his shows since I listen the day later, and if you are a regular listener why not give me some examples of Rush's race baiting. Just tell me the day and which hour and the general subject and I will transcribe it and we will see. You are not being objective at all but this is your opportunity to prove your point. Of course if you were a member of his Rush 24 he provides the transcript…you could then prove your point easily and so could any of the other anti conservative sites. Strange how they still can't support thier claims…just as you won't be able to.

          • Ron Corson
            04 September 2011 @ 6:50 pm

            Really it is the coarsening of the culture because someone asks for an example. Yes we should all just accept without evidence everyones prejudice. If that is coarsening of the culture, you don't have much of an understanding of culture. And then to assert that someone is Race Baiting again with no evidence is just pathetic.

            Here is the recent example of Rachel Maddow and her lie:

            Or What about Ed Schultz:
            "• It takes a lot to move the needle in the angry, angry world of talk radio, but Ed Schultz did just that when he referred to fellow host Laura Ingraham as a “right-wing slut” and “talk slut” on his syndicated show Tuesday. The Internet rose up in revolt Wednesday but thus far no comment from lefty host, who also has an MSNBC show. Ingraham, via Facebook, quipped she “was surprised to learn that Ed Schultz actually hosted a radio show” and tut-tutted about “men who preach civility but practice misogyny.”

            Or his edited clip to make it appear that Rick Perry said something completely different:

            "On tonight's "The Ed Show" on MSNBC, Ed Schultz admitted he was in error in deceptively editing a clip of Gov. Rick Perry, removing the meaning and context of the governor's statement. The deception was first revealed here at

            He did not apologize, and he did not explain to his viewers that the deceptively edited clip was used by Schultz to make a false allegation of racism against the Texas governor."

            You don't find this kinds of thing on the conservative side with near the frequency. Those kinds of lies and statements are the coarsening of the culture, will examples even.

          • Stephen Foster
            04 September 2011 @ 10:33 pm

          • Ron Corson
            05 September 2011 @ 2:20 am

            So do you know the context or do you just know what was said in that brief moment. Of course you don't you hear cracker and you think insult when he was not insulting steinbrenner at all.

            From Mediate:
            "On his radio program yesterday, Rush Limbaugh took a segment to sing the praises of the recently deceased George Steinbrenner, a “cracker who made a lot of African-American millionaires.” It didn’t take long for Al Sharpton to call for an apology and liberal websites to go on the offensive, and now Limbaugh tells Yahoo News’ Michael Calderone that the fact that he is being attacked for this is a sign of “how bad things are for the left.”

            Limbaugh explained to Calderone, who reached out for comment on the matter, that his intention– and his “stock in trade”– is “illustrating the absurd by being absurd,” and that the use of the term “cracker” (and retelling of his help to African Americans around him) was, in essence, an attempt to ridicule the New Black Panther Party:

            “In the past two weeks, the President of the NBPP, Malik Zulu Shabazz, has been in the media attacking white crackers. One of the NBPP members from the Philly incident, King Samir Shabazz, appeared at a rally and suggested  that blacks would only be free when all the crackers were dead and further said that killing cracker babies was called for […]

            So…George Steinbrenner dies and I, being absurd to illustrate absurdity, make my comments, pointing out that this cracker created many African American MILLIONAIRES (and fired a bunch of white managers) to establish HIS CRED!!!”

            He also takes a shot at Media Matters, who he admits actually “does listen” to his show, but “purposefully distort the things I say” and then spread the distortion to reporters who “print the erroneous take.” Vice President of Research & Communications Ari Rabin-Havt responded by arguing that “Rush just hates that his abhorrent remarks are now available to those not in his listening audience.”

            It seems like his comments were, as many on his program are, deliberately baiting the other side to take offense, but it is strange to see Limbaugh so frankly admit that he was intending to be absurd, rather than standing by his words as serious in order to further infuriate (or, as he says in the email, make the left “pretend to be offended” by his “clever” comments) the other side.

            Calderone has published the full email he received from Limbaugh to avoid taking Limbaugh out of context over at Yahoo , where Limbaugh explains he appreciation for Steinbrenner in detail."

            What most liberals don't understand is there is context and when you are talking you reference things you said earler in the broadcast. But if that is race baiting then are we just to ignore the statements of true racists like the black panthers?

            In an Email to Yahoo News Rush wrote of the incident:

            The only thing I can remember the media and the left ever saying about Steinbrenner is that he was an evil, temperamental dictator who made illegal campaign contributions to Richard Nixon and consorted with hoodlums

            Here's how bad things are for the left:  The best they have is to pretend they are offended by my clever compliments about a fellow successful capitalist—- who has been portrayed negatively by the left until now— and are insanely obsessed with the sale of my NY condo— sold at a profit when home sales are supposed to be a sign of a recovering economy.

            This is my stock in trade: Illustrating the absurd by being absurd. Two weeks ago, a DOJ whistleblower revealed that the Obama/Holder Department of Justice ordered line attorneys to drop a 2008 voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party in Philadelphia. The line attorney, J. Christian Adams, said the case was a slam dunk. And we knew it was: there was video evidence.

            In the past two weeks, the President of the NBPP, Malik Zulu Shabazz, has been in the media attacking white crackers. One of the NBPP members from the Philly incident, King Samir Shabazz, appeared at a rally and suggested  that blacks would only be free when all the crackers were dead and further said that killing cracker babies was called for. No one in what is called the mainstream media has condemned or even reported any of this, though it has  been all over Fox News and talk radio and many internet blogs.

            So…George Steinbrenner dies and I, being absurd to illustrate absurdity, make my comments, pointing out that this cracker created many African American MILLIONAIRES (and fired a bunch of white managers) to establish HIS CRED!!!

            To top it off, and to provoke liberals even more, I said that Steinbrenner was such a great capitalist he even knew when to die. This year, a year in which there is ZERO estate tax. So his family will not have to sell the New York Yankees to pay what will be a 55% tax starting in January.

            Simple to understand and even appreciate IF…IF….IF….one listens to my show. Media Matters for America does listen but they purposely distort the things I say and the reporters who then quote MM, and do not ever listen to my show, print the erroneous take."



          • Stephen Foster
            05 September 2011 @ 4:00 am

            Ron Corson,
            That there are people…even black people…who are offended by terms of racial derision, otherwise known as slurs, even when directed at white people by other black people, is something that clearly is not understood by you. This is indeed tragic; the subsequent irresponsible exploitation of same notwithstanding.
            It is also quite clear that your devotion to Limbaugh is such that no amount of evidence, no number of examples, would mean anything to you; as excuses such as “context” would inevitably be used. Perhaps “context” can always be used to excuse those who engage in race baiting?
            Ed Fry,
            Please see my response to you below; as I fear that it may be overlooked because of my more recent responses to Ron on this thread.

          • Ron Corson
            05 September 2011 @ 3:33 pm

            The problem is Stephen that the evidence is against you. So you have to go to the very subjective offense at a term. Even though it was clear even from the small quote that Rush did not use the term cracker as a term of racial derision (Rush being white as is Steinbrenner and whites rarely call other whites crackers in a serious racial derision way). But you don't care because you have a prejudice against Rush so that only what fits your prejudice is what you hear. Because taking things out of context is what Progressives like to do (I can give you many examples of that). That you think out of context quotes is evidence is the problem here. Context is never an excuse, it is the way people understand each other. For those that want to take it away and replace with small sound bites is classic of propaganda, not reason, not intelligence, and clearly why you seem to have such a hard time with understanding so many things as I have seen in your columns and postings.

          • Stephen Foster
            05 September 2011 @ 7:05 pm

            1. Malik Shabbazz’s use of the slur “cracker”—in what, for you Ron, should have been a clear and unmistakable example of race baiting—was gratuitously exploited in a “context” in which there was no correlation, thus itself constituting an example of race baiting (for supposed purposes of “illustration”); which for me, as for a black man who is also a longtime Yankees/George Steinbrenner fan, was particularly hurtful—that was, until I considered its obviously venomous source.


            1.  Its juxtaposition with Steinbrenner having “created many African American millionaires” (itself an insult to the athletes whose talents were available to other franchises on the open MLB market) was patronizing at best; not to mention how it may have come off to African American listeners who were not contemporaneously offered the subsequent “contextual” background, and/or who may not have been at all familiar with Shabbazz or his previous race baiting.


            1. You did not carefully read my objection since you obviously felt a need to inform me that Limbaugh’s use of cracker was not in derision of white people; because I said that there are black people who are offended by that term when black people have used it when referencing white people, as did Shabbazz. This is something you don’t appreciate.


            1. I cited two other sites which reference several other examples of racially charged outrages from Limbaugh—otherwise known as race baiting—which were curiously (perhaps thankfully) overlooked.


            1.  As yet another example of what may be your version of “amazing facts” that I previously overlooked as irrelevant, I should now correct your perception of Joe Scarborough, who had a lifetime American Conservative Union voting record of 95 on a 100 scale; since facts are “against” me.


            1. If context for racial insensitivity is important, since “it is the way people understand each other,” perhaps Shabbazz’s rant was likewise taken out of context. I’m sure he and his supporters would suggest so.

                  7. Might I suggest that what is funny, or “illustrative,” to you as a white person, may
                      just be insulting and incendiary to someone who is not white?     

  6. Ella M
    03 September 2011 @ 1:20 am

          All the posts have made some good points, but their biases are evident.  And why shouldn't they be?  We all have them.  I like to listen to both sides of any issue and can be extremely critical of both–that's just who I am. I don't like to be labled and generally agree with some aspects of any two sides but rarely all of any one.  I also think it important to put oneself in the shoes of another and try to look at life from their viewpoint.
       I used to listen to Beck.  He made some sense (yes, Scoros is a "spooky dude") but also had a tendancy to generalize and distort history to his own thinking.  I have never wanted to bother with Rush L–he just seems too harsh.  I notice Fox gives news that the other stations ignore, because it would be positive to their opposition, and I like that about Fox. But we listen to all the politcal programs in our home.    I have always considered myself a Democrat and felt that party to be more flexible.  I am not so sure now; I guess I am independent.
        But I agree with the gist of Mark's blog.  Getting to know people in other cultures, worldviews, religions, enriches our lives and makes us less arrogant. Listening to all sides gives us freedom of choice that we would not have if we stayed within the prison of our own biases.
         Like Graham Maxwell used to say, the heroes of the Bible were people who were willing to listen. David was like that and God called him "a man after my own heart."

  7. Ed Fry
    03 September 2011 @ 4:09 pm

    Mark, I think your overall point as it relates to the Adventist church — as well as politics and life in general — is well taken.  Ted Koppel's opening quote, though, I think is overstated.  The highest rated cable news program (Bill O'Reilly) averages less than four million viewers each night (slightly more than one percent of the U.S. population).  Rush Limbaugh's radio show averages 20 million listeners a week (about seven percent of the U.S. population).  As influential as both conservative and liberal pundits, hosts and commentators seem to be to those of us who are "political junkies," they're really not that consequential in the whole scheme of things.

    • Stephen Foster
      04 September 2011 @ 6:46 am

      Au contraire my friend Ed, these ideological propagandists are very “consequential in the whole scheme of things.” For example, during the debt ceiling fiasco, I heard prominent politicians being interviewed by one of these guys in particular, who had to answer to his questions as if they had been given a class assignment by a teacher who was dissatisfied with his students' study and/or research.
      Many talk show hosts have toxically ideological audiences who often determine the outcome of primary elections. Ask former Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE), or former Florida Republican Governor Charlie Crist, or former U.S. Senator Bob Bennett (R-UT) if you doubt me. Republican statewide or federal office holders wouldn’t.

      • Ed Fry
        04 September 2011 @ 12:09 pm

        Stephen, we may both be right…in our own way.  The successful conservative pundits and commentators may, in fact, be consequential…in stirring the emotions of liberals!  However, I suggest the conservative commentators are successful because they "reflect" their growing audiences rather than influencing them.  For example, several studies have consistently shown over the past twenty years that approximately 40 percent of the U.S. population consider themselves "conservative."  Another 40 percent consider themselves "moderate" and only 20% consider themselves "liberal" or "progressive."  These figures haven't changed much during the growth of Fox News, Rush, etc.  Therefore I believe the conservative media outlets have been successful because they are tapping into a large population market who have not felt their views were being adequately addressed within the mainstream media.

      • Ed Fry
        04 September 2011 @ 12:24 pm

        As to Mssgrs Castle, Crist and Bennett, they lost their elections because they strayed too far from their constituencies' views (perhaps a bit less so in Castle's case).  I've met Sen. Mike Lee.  He's a brilliant mind and scholar who I think will someday chair the senate judiciary committee, perhaps even be named to SCOTUS.  And, you may not appreciate this, Stephen, but you better get ready in either 2016 or 2020 for President Marco Rubio.

        • Stephen Foster
          04 September 2011 @ 10:15 pm

          It’s hard to have it both ways, but this may be the exception that proves the rule. Some talk show hosts do perhaps merely reflect their audience’s views in a general sense, in that both they and their audiences are basically both on the same cultural and/or ideological page(s); or at least in the same book. But the nationally syndicated talk show hosts, of the “household name” variety, are world class propaganda talents. Those hosts who merely reflect their audience’s viewpoints do not make it out of their local market’s morning drive time slots; in other words, the Peter Principle kicks in.
          Another way to look at it is that there truly are very few individuals who actually are not the “reflectors of other men’s thoughts,” much less are large numbers of people. The most prominent of these guys and gals are unfortunately recognized as so-called “thought” leaders. They are in fact opinion makers whose listeners and viewers actually look to them to give them the definitive take—including even the talking points—on many given topics, issues, events, or national personalities.
          An endorsement from a talk show host with millions of weekly listeners is golden, even if it is merely in the form of a wink or a nod, or perceived negative sentiments towards the other guy. These “alternative media” types demand absolute ideological purity at every turn and now almost invariably get what they want. Bob Bennett had a lifetime American Conservative Union voting record of 86 and was therefore considered too moderate!
          Perhaps Limbaugh, the pioneering giant of the nationwide political talk show industry did not, by himself, have the power of political life and death 20 years ago; but now there is Hannity, Beck, Bortz, Levin, O’Reilly, etc., etc., and a national cable network, and national newspapers. If and when they, by and large, effectively endorse a primary challenger, it is over for that incumbent; pure and simple.
          As for Marco Rubio, I don’t doubt for a second that you may be right. In fact, I am on record as long ago predicting that he may be on the 2012 ticket. Believe it or not, I am a realist.
          Just think about the fallout, from a religious liberty perspective, of ideological purity and cultural hegemony, by the left or right.

  8. Elaine Nelson
    03 September 2011 @ 7:24 pm

    It is rather surprising that so many still listen to radio.  I always keep The Teaching Company lectures in my car or either listen to NPR-PBS for both news and music.  News:  ABC and PBS–and of course the most biased (for all sides) Jon Stewart who brings them all down to size.

  9. Elaine Nelson
    05 September 2011 @ 6:02 pm

    Looks like Mark really opened up a can of worms to the extent that this thread has deteriorated down to defending radio personalities.  What does that have to do with Adventist Today?  Or, if it does, it what way only to cause separation over non-religious issues.

  10. Ron Corson
    05 September 2011 @ 7:23 pm

    This seems to be a good time since we are talking about talk show hosts to lists Glenn Becks latest:

    Declaration of Rights & Responsibilities

    Thus, we the people do hereby declare not only our rights, but do now establish this bill of responsibilities.
    1. Because I have the right to choose, I recognize that I am accountable to God and have the responsibility to keep the 10 commandments in my own life.
    2. Because I have the right to worship as I choose, I have the responsibility to honor the right of others to worship as they see fit.
    3. Because I have freedom of speech, I have the responsibility to defend the speech of others, even if I strongly disagree with what they’re saying.
    4. Because I have the right to pursue happiness, I have the responsibility to show humility and express gratitude for all the blessings I enjoy and the rights I’ve been given.
    5. Because I have the right to honest and good government I will seek out honest and just representatives when possible. If I cannot find one then I accept the responsibility to take that place.
    6. Because I have the God given right to liberty, I have the personal responsibility to have the courage to defend others to be secure in their persons, lives and property.
    7. Because I have the right to equal justice, I will stand for those who are wrongly accused or unjustly blamed.
    8. Because I have the right to knowledge, I will be accountable for myself and my children’s education…to live our lives in such a way that insures the continuation of truth.
    9. Because I have the right to pursue my dreams and keep the fruits of my labor, I have the responsibility to feed, protect and shelter my family, the less fortunate, the fatherless, the old and infirm.
    10. Because I have a right to the truth, I will not bear false witness nor will I stand idly by as others do.
    Unconditionally, while maintaining my responsibility to compassionately yet fiercely stand against those things that decay the natural rights of all men. And for the support of this declaration, and with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence we mutually pledge to each other our lives, fortunes and sacred honor.

  11. Mark Gutman
    05 September 2011 @ 9:13 pm

    Just a reminder of what the column is saying:

    1. We can be tempted to look down on others, saying, "God, thank you that I am not like those folks in the other camp – illogical, dishonest, greedy, etc." (Luke 18:9,11).  Instead, let's recognize that there is good in others who are different, who struggle even as we do.

    2. When we only talk with or listen to or read the material of those who think or act the way we do, we make it harder to get close to other human beings who are probably as honest and well-meaning as we are.  Let's be as willing to listen to folks from different viewpoints as we want those folks to be willing to listen to our viewpoint.

  12. Elaine Nelson
    05 September 2011 @ 9:29 pm

    Perhaps if we didn't take our politics and religion so seriously and could see the fallacies and humor in them, we would be able to look at both with a little more humor.

    Is there anything in either worth dying for?  Not in my book because it would have no effect on either.

  13. Stephen Foster
    05 September 2011 @ 9:35 pm

    So, no matter how many examples of race baiting from the same individual that I might have and did provide, they did and would have all—to your way of thinking—fallen under the umbrella of “they were taken out of context.”
    I did not, nor would not, give Shabbazz such blanket benefit of the doubt. I carry a brief for no one.
    Saying anything while brandishing a lack of so-called political correctness, otherwise known as (c)rudeness, as a badge of honor is pathetic. It is also pathetic that it’s profitable.

  14. Ron Corson
    05 September 2011 @ 11:55 pm

    "The YouTube video was pulled, it gave 5 minutes but was pulled for violating  hate speech policy. (these words are yours; if it violates YouTube, it surely violates AToday)"

    It was no longer posted on youtube and I did not give a youtube link. The link I did give only covered the particular comment of Shabbaz, it was about one minute, the 5 minute youtube version would have given even more context. Stephen said and I quote "

    1. If context for racial insensitivity is important, since “it is the way people understand each other,” perhaps Shabbazz’s rant was likewise taken out of context. I’m sure he and his supporters would suggest so."

    So I used the you tube hate speech notice to indicate to him that in context there was no redeeming context, that it was not taken out of context is the point. The link  I gave had the minute portion and transcript. It was not posted here it was for reference, knowing what you are talking about is more important then assuming that people are just taking things out of context.

    Now what xenophobic comment did I make: "

    "unreasonably fearful of or hating anyone or anything foreign or strange. "

    I take it you do not know what xenophobic is! I also kept all my comments in the sub area of the particular conversation. So you edited my post, what a surprise, and you made up an excuse which has nothing at all to do with anything, as there was not you tube link given. Then you insult me and call me, via my comment xenophobic and remove it so no one can see your error. When people like you and Stephen cannot even argue a subject but have to resort to name calling it is evidence of just how poorly some people's understanding of issues really is. For them remove the information is the best they can do. And yet you want to pretend you look at both sides.

    By the way if you post here as an editor it would be helpful if you identified yourself and your statement as that of an editor or someone responsible for moderating the conversation.

    • Stephen Foster
      06 September 2011 @ 1:19 am

      Ron Corson,

      My point #6 was quite simply a direct CHALLENGE to the entire notion that “context” in so far as either Shabbaz’s use, or Limbaugh’s re-use of racial slurs, should be taken into consideration. It would be as illegitimate for a Shabbazz supporter to claim “context” in defending his slur-laced rant as it is for you to do so defending Limbaugh’s responding “illustration.”
      I had previously attempted to make this point in an earlier posting when I posed to you the obviously rhetorical question, “Perhaps ‘context’ can always be used to excuse those who engage in race baiting?”
      Perhaps if you had read, understood, and appreciated the preceding paragraph in which I clearly indicated that most black people are offended by slurs used by blacks against white people, you would have seen that there was no need to point out to me that any attempted contextual framing of Shabbazz’s rant would be futile.

      Finally, I don’t see where Timo Onjukka called you a name; and for you to imply that I “cannot even argue a subject but have to resort to name calling” is, needless to say, laughable.

  15. Anonymous
    06 September 2011 @ 7:16 pm

    I find this post very provocative – in more ways than one. My reading material is very diverse, and includes not only The Claremont Review of Books, Commentary, the weekly Standard, and National Review, but also The Nation, New Republic, and Atlantic.

    "Koppel's Complaint" – opinion shopping – is not the problem. The problem, I submit, is fact shopping. Not only MSNBC, but CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, AP, Reuters, NYT, Washington Post, NPR as well, are extremely selective about what stories they deem newsworthy. Brian Williams, for example, felt that the Anthony Weiner scandal was not newsworthy, but had no similar problem reporting on Sarah Palin's purloined, and totally unremarkable emails. How long did it take, after Fox News broke the story, for the MSM to report on the Acorn Scandal? What MSM source has reported on the scandalous selective prosecution and failure to prosecute by the Justice Department? How often do you see reports in the MSM of just what percentage of tax revenue comes from the top 1% or 5% of income earners? Most of my Leftist friends don't know. Which MSM outlet has covered the flagrant hypocrisy of the Left since their blaming of conservative rhetoric for the Jared Loughner shootings? Which MSM source reported, once it was revealed by the informant himself, that it was really an anti-war Democrat who outed Valerie Plame? More examples of reporting bias could fill books. And we haven't even started on the biases built into the fare offered by the entertainment industry on shows like Oprah, and virtually every movie containing any sort of moral theme. To suggest that there is any sort of equivalency of viewpoint exposure between the Left and the Right is to my way of thinking just ludicrous.

    So my question, Mark, is this: Where do you propose that we go to get the inconvenient facts that might call into question the prevailing metanarratives of the MSM and academia, and supplement the facts they choose to reveal? I am not a fan of either Hannity or O'Reily because I want information – not spin by talking heads. I prefer NPR for news. But talk radio – especially Rush Limbaugh – does report a lot of information that the MSM would prefer to cover up, the same type of negative information that gets recycled for days and years when it applies to conservative politicians. I think it is as important to know what we are not being told and why as it is to know what is important and significant to the Left. Where do we go to find that out, Mark?

    I know what Saul Alinsky wrote. I know what Jim Wallis thinks, and I know about his relationship with the President. How come most of the country doesn't even know who those people are? Don't you think that a media obsessed with the religious influences on Bachman and Perry would be interested in what religious figures have our President's ear? Do you think the characterization of communism as evil by Whittaker Chambers, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and Natan Sharansky was due to the fact that they got their opinions from Fox News? I tend to think it was because they knew their facts. Do you think that Steyn, Dalrymple, Podhoretz, Sowell, and Scruton depend on Fox News or talk radio for their opinions or information? The historian, Stanton Evans, in his book "Blacklisted by History" exhaustively documents the extent to which the allegations of Joseph McCarthy were supported by facts. Yet McCarthy's name has come to be associated with unfounded calumny.

    So explain to me again, Mark, just what opinions I need to be exposed to that will cure me of the disease of conservatism. Because I am under the impression that overexposure to the Left is what has solidified and vindicated my conservative philosophy. 


    • Stephen Foster
      07 September 2011 @ 1:51 am

      My views of Limbaugh and his ilk are by now known to you and others, but I think that Mark’s point is illustrated by what you have posted.
      Some of us are totally convinced that Lawrence O’Donnell, Keith Olbermann, and Rachel Maddow put things in proper perspective and are largely if not always accurate; some of us believe that Bill O’Reilly, Shawn Hannity, and Limbaugh have a handle on reality and put things in their proper perspective.
      The point is that those who listen to MSNBC or Olbermann’s station should also watch and listen to Fox News and right wing talk radio, and people such as you should also watch/listen to MSNBC or NPR. Otherwise we are only reinforcing that which we already believe, at best; or being indoctrinated, propagandized, and brainwashed, rather than informed.
      For American Adventists, the danger I perceive for either side of the political ideological spectrum is if/when we see biblical prophecy being fulfilled insofar as compulsory observance of a day of the week—or if we see advocacy of religious or sectarian beliefs as public policy which would lead to/precede such compulsion—by the side of the political spectrum that we may be on, will we recognize it? (Acceptance would be as important as recognition.) 

    • Mark Gutman
      07 September 2011 @ 3:55 am

      It appears that Stephen has already answered some of the question for me.  And it sounds as if you are already letting the other side talk.  I'm not saying that if you don't change your views you must not be listening to others. If you're reading all those periodicals and not regarding the holders of those viewpoints with contempt, it sounds as if you're achieving balance.  

      I was addressing what I (and Luke 18:9,11 and Koppel's column) see as a problem when we ignore the other side and lessen our chance of seeing any merit in their viewpoint.  Even if the other side is "wrong," there is usually some reason people hold to such a belief, and we can at least put together a "poles-apart" paper (described in the 6th paragraph of my column).  To use a cliche, we need to disagree without being disagreeable.  Even if I think you're wrong on theology or politics or baseball, I can treat you with the respect I'd like you to show me even though I don't agree with you.

      One of the reasons I'm writing this column is to allow people a chance to help me refine my views.  I don't expect everyone to agree with everything I write, but disagreement is easier to take if I sense kindness or civility and an interest in dialog, as opposed to condescension or hostility.

      • Anonymous
        07 September 2011 @ 4:59 am

        I wholeheartedly concur with the importance of being able to separate ideas from the holders of those ideas. I think most, if not all, people believe that their political views will lead to better earthly kingdoms. This does not mean, however, that all ideas are meritorious or entitled to respect, particularly when they need to ignore history and distort reality in order to have credibility.  

        BTW, The elder brother's problem in Luke 18 was not, in my opinion, his inability to see things from his younger brother's perspective. It was his unwillingness to rejoice with the father and share in the father's forgiveness when the younger brother came home. The point of the story is not a younger brother whose viewpoint or experience had merit waiting to be discovered. The story contrasts God's attitude towards sin, rebellion, and repentance with that of the Pharisees. God doesn't see things from the younger brother's perspective. He loves and forgives. I don't see much in Christ's life or teachings to encourage ideological diversity or to support the notion that folks should expose themselves to a variety of opinions.  Now if liberals want to admit the error of their thinking and beg forgiveness… (LOL)

        • Stephen Foster
          07 September 2011 @ 1:52 pm

          You say that you agree with separating ideas from the people who hold them; but I don’t believe that this was Mark’s basic point. You follow with your not believing that all ideas merit respect and then characterize an opposing point of view in a way that would disrespect those belief holders as ignorers of history and distorters of reality. Mark’s point is that there is often something in the perspective of others that merits our consideration; discovered only by exposure to those perspectives. 

          • Anonymous
            07 September 2011 @ 6:47 pm

            I guess, Stephen that we just kind of have to agree to disagree. To me, the fact that I think someone else's opinion is nutty and ill-informed doesn't mean that I disrespect them or the honesty with which they hold that opinion. We all see reality differently. I am disinclined to relinquish my grip on reality simply to make others feel that I think their perspectives are meritorious. "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the ends thereof are the ways of death." By pointing that out, I don't think I am disrespecting the person.

            The ideas that are usually the most dangerous are espoused by people who are honest and well-meaning. Tea Party sympathizers couldn't care less about whether big government spend and tax politicians are well-meaning and honest. We very well understand their perspectives and the sentiments of their constituents. And we think their ideas are terrible. Jesus didn't seem to think there was much in the perspective of the Pharisees that merited serious consideration, though I'm sure he loved and respected them as human beings.

          • Stephen Foster
            07 September 2011 @ 8:43 pm

            I see your point Nathan. I guess for purposes of illustration, what I hear Mark saying (although it may actually be me), is that although I may find Limbaugh’s worldview, thought processes, and personality absolutely evil, nutty, and repugnant (respectively); there is something about his perspective on things worthy of respectful consideration, because he is a human being with a history that has taken him to where he is, and that fact alone makes him worth hearing.

          • Anonymous
            08 September 2011 @ 2:47 am

            Stephen, now you sound like Mr. Rogers: "Rush is special, so he's worth hearing." Why waste your time on people whose worldview and ideas you find evil and nutty – unless of course you want to be informed, and are willing to go through Hell for it? Life is too short. If you must find out what the dark side is saying and thinking, listen to Michael Medved or Dennis Prager – much less abrasive and belligerent than Rush. Or better yet, google Townhall or Pajamasmedia.

            In the world of ideas, it matters not a whit to me who holds the idea or what his life experiences consist of. It is only the relative convincing force of the idea that makes it worth considering. The reasons you offer as to why Limbaugh is worth hearing apply to your relationship with your wife – not some radio personality that you think is at best a big blowhard.

          • Mark Gutman
            08 September 2011 @ 3:24 am

            I'm trying to catch up on the day's posts.  You and Stephen are both enlarging my point very well (even if I keep thinking, "I wish I had put it that way").  I'm not suggesting that we must listen to all who disagree with us.  The fourth paragraph in my column says, "I'm not encouraging . . . ."  And I think some ideas are pretty nutty.  Other ideas that I can't buy I occasionally get an insight on from their proponents when I listen to them.  I hope I can still be somebody's friend even if I disagree with him or her.  I may not even have a lot of time to listen to the other side, but I want to at least make sure that some of my time is devoted to hearing from other than my favorite talk show hosts, preachers, or politicians.

          • Anonymous
            08 September 2011 @ 5:56 am

            Exactly. Some of my finest friends are liberals. It works just fine as long as neither of us attacks the other personally or takes personally vigorous challenges to our ideas. My liberal interlocutors have never persuaded me. But they have certainly made me think more deeply and express my ideas more clearly. And I sometimes find, to my great surprise, that we actually have points of agreement. So I would concur with both you, Mark, and Stephen, that there is value in seeking positive personal interaction with people who have different values and ideas. This is part of education, maturity, and character growth in a diverse, civilized society. 

          • Stephen Foster
            08 September 2011 @ 6:00 am

            Listening to Limbaugh juxtaposed with listening to my wife; I better quit while I’m behind. What more can I say?

  16. Stephen Foster
    07 September 2011 @ 1:48 am

    When race is injected into a conversation, or monologue, for political purposes wherein, resulting from one’s race, they are ridiculed or maligned, or their integrity or, or motivations, or competence are called into question, and race is therefore made an issue when it could just as easily have been ignored, that is race baiting.

    “The act of using racially derisive language, actions, or other forms of communication in order to anger or intimidate or coerce a person or group of people,” just happens to be a(nother) publicly recognized “definition.”

    Some Limbaugh examples (directed against the President of the United States):

    "We are being told that we have to hope [Obama] succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles … because his father was black."

    "I do believe" Obama is an "angry black guy."

    "[I]n Obama's America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering."

    "Obama's entire economic program is reparations."

    Obama is "more African in his roots than he is American" and is "behaving like an African colonial despot."

    Obama is "Halfrican-American."

    "Obama has disowned his white half … he's decided he's got to go all in on the black side."

    Sotomayor "a reverse racist" appointed by Obama, "the greatest living example of a reverse racist."

    Obama "wants us to have the same health care and plan that he had in Kenya" and "wants to be the black FDR."

    Latching onto LA Times op-ed, Limbaugh sings "Barack, The Magic Negro."

    Limbaugh suggests Obama would not have acted on Somali pirates if he'd known they were "actually young, black Muslim teenagers."

    Limbaugh suggests Democrats, media believe "you can't criticize the little black man-child."

    Here are plenty  other Limbaugh examples directed toward others:

    Never mind, I’ve had enough; for now.

  17. Elaine Nelson
    07 September 2011 @ 2:59 am

    Is it possible that the Adventist description of last day events may not occur as the scenario presented?  If a thief comes in the night, he will not enter in the front door, and if things in the world do not prove to be what Adventists have long expected, then what?  Being so certain of how everything must "fall in line" is courting disaster.

    • Ella M
      10 September 2011 @ 4:26 am

        I totally agree with this.  Jesus' first advent–The Messiah did not come as the Jewish leaders expected. 

      • Stephen Foster
        10 September 2011 @ 8:31 am

        Exactly what “disaster” are Adventists courting if our eschatology is wrong? I thought that your position has been that it doesn’t make any difference, and/or we needn’t be concerned with this topic at all.
        The prophecies of Daniel and of The Revelation of Jesus Christ were given for a reason. Luke 21:28-36 certainly suggests that watchfulness is important. Since prophecies and signs were provided, it would seem reasonable to conclude that somebody might be right in their interpretations of prophecies and signs.
        I suggest that that “somebody” is “us.” 

  18. Herbert Douglass
    10 September 2011 @ 2:54 am

    Mark: I salute you for arranging this most illuminating trail of keen thinkers. Most of the contributers are far from being dummies. If anyone in this column has not learned something, I kinda feel sorry. What really got my attention was Nathan's appeal for "facts" ("fact-shopping" being the real test of truth. Now that is hard to do these days, wherever I look. In my blog on another network, I have been making the case for the blindness in succumbing to the "cult of the experts." Especially in the hard sciences ("settled" science? and in theology. I don't have a whole lot of excitement when I see an article or book loaded with footnotes because I am more concerned who is being quoted before I leap. And then "who" gets his line of thought from "whom." Seems it is easier to check out what primary authority or world view a person has "faith" in–or it should be easy, but it often tasks a little time. Real facts rest on indisputable authority, not merely on "peer review." I have seen too much of that. I am an Adventist after going through the rigor of testing alternatives and continually assessing the reasons for my "faith." All I want are the facts, ma'am. Cheers, Herb