Monday, July 30, 2012

Face the Facts

I make a habit of watching the Sunday morning talks shows.  I like to call them the Sabbath Gasbags, mostly because that's what Calvin Trillen, noted curmudgeon calls them, and honestly, like Trillen, I believe their opinions are no more valid than my own.  So once a week, I take pleasure in shouting back at windy dopes like George Will, Jeff Sessions and Ramesh Ponnuru. Newt Gingrich or Michele Bachman are a very special Sunday morning treat, something like Baked Alaska, special dessert one doesn't get often, but relish the experience when you do.

My favorite Sunday show is Reliable Sources on CNN.  It's unusual because it is a critique of the media.  As a high school media adviser, it's interesting to see how the media views the way it is covering the news.  The host is Howard Kurtz of Newsweek and the Daily Beast, and I agree with what he has to say about 85% of the time. Because the show is focused on the media, it often is able to avoid a lot of the ideological battles in politics, although that sometimes makes its way into the discussion.  Further, the discussion is usually among two or more media figures, rather than the usual crowd of political talking heads, so the perspectives are somewhat different.  Kurtz is an effective moderator, though occasionally he can be heavy-handed.

Yesterday, after viewing the media coverage of Mitt Romney's foreign trip, coverage of the Aurora shootings, and the NBC news department's relationship to the Olympic broadcasts, Kurtz welcomed a discussion with Frank Sesno.  You may remember Sesno.  He was the national desk editor at CNN for many years and is now the Director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University.  He went on the Kurtz show to promote his new project, Face the Facts.  It's described as a:
new nonpartisan, multi-platform content hub and civic engagement initiative dedicated to elevating the tone of national debate with provocative facts found at
The website pledges to produce facts from primary sources only that present the reader information about important issues facing the nation every day from now until the elections in November.  In addition, there are links to views of this problem from at least two sides of the political spectrum.  There are 100 days until the election and the site pledges a new fact each day until then.

The site opened this morning with a look at the rate of increase of the deficit.  Included is a short video, with links to an Ezra Klein column from Bloomberg, articles from the Heritage Foundation, and the Concord Coalition among others. The fact comes from the Office of Management and Budget and shows a spreadsheet using their figures. 

If you like to know the facts, wish to be an informed voter or debater of the issues, this could be the site for you.   You may not always be comfortable with the facts, but at least they're there for you to see.  It's a great way to spend 15 minutes in your morning.

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