Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Lean Forward...

Holy schmoly... Something I made just blewwwwwww up.... Win!

So have you seen MSNBC's stupid "Lean Forward" campaign? All their anchors and hosts are in these short, 20-30 second, bits making asinine logical fallacies and exposing their abysmal failure to understand even the most basic concepts of economics in support of a massive state.

Now keep in mind that all MSNBC's people are doing this, so there are moronic videos from Ed Schultz, Lawrence O'Donnell, Jr., Chris Matthews and all the rest... But for my purposes today, I need to single out and pick on Rachel Maddow.

Maddow claims to be "obsessively devoted to facts" in one of these videos.

Thing is... She's not really all that good with facts, as it turns out. For example, she'd also like you to believe that it isn't going to be a "profit-making venture for some company" to build... A bridge.

You heard me. Check it out:

She says, "It's never going to be a profit-making venture for some company to build this idea...", as she points behind her to a bridge... Seriously. A BRIDGE!??

Miss "Obsessively Devoted to Facts" couldn't do the 30 seconds worth of research that it might take someone to discover that virtually all the bridges in America were built by private companies seeking to profit?


Of course we should all understand that even when the government pays for the bridges to be built, most bridges are designed and constructed by private companies competing with each other for those contracts.

But in fact, once upon a time, not even that long ago, government didn't have anything to do with it at all... For example, the uber-capitalist himself, Andrew Carnegie, was the proud owner of a major bridge-building operation called Keystone Bridge Company, which built dozens of bridges "for profit".

Why, here's one of their fabulous bridges now!

Pretty nice, right? Easily as nice as the bridge in the background of the Maddow video, no?

Wanna know something else? The Keystone Bridge Company was eventually purchased by a J.P. Morgan-owned company called the American Bridge Company, which owned around 30 additional for profit bridge manufacturing firms.

But hey, that's not possible, because building bridges isn't a "profit making venture", she says.

This is the beef I have with these Lean Forward videos in general. In each instance, the host/anchor is saying something flagrantly stupid yet with the epitome of arrogance and smug, self-satisfaction. It's such a perfect maelstrom of pretentiousness and ignorance that it was crying out to be parodied... Thus... That's exactly what I did.

Check it out:

MSNBC likes to talk a big game about being news for "smart" people... But what it really manages to be in most cases is simply news for ignorant, economically and historically illiterate people. For all of the Fox hatred, I don't think Fox would have done something like this... The worst they're going to do is say something silly about how ridiculously awesome America is, and how our militaristic power gives us the right to do whatever we want - possibly on the basis that someone else would fill the void if we weren't there, and they'd be "worse".

Fine... That stuff may be wrong, but for whatever reason, it just doesn't offend me intellectually the way MSNBC's Lean Forward campaign does.

Perhaps that's because the war-mongering and fist-pumping that originates at Fox isn't a problem with basic facts, it's a problem with bad philosophy and false premises... Actually, scratch that, it's not a problem necessarily of incorrect facts, so much as a problem of incomplete facts (e.g., yes, we were attacked on 9/11, but thinking that the story starts or ends there and whatever America does in response is perfectly acceptable is insane).

At least for me, this is what makes Fox irritating as a network, but I've never seen them do promotional videos like these and honestly... it's boring talking about Fox. Everybody talks about and makes fun of Fox.

The difference for me really comes down to the smug. MSNBC's overall editorial position is based on equally (perhaps worse in some ways) bad philosophy, and equally false premises to Fox, but given how insanely smug their network and all their anchors are... You'd think they could get something as simple as the idea of private, for-profit bridge companies correct. If you're going to be a preachy jagweed, you should probably have a point that actually makes some sense.

Unfortunately, their blatantly socialist propagandizing requires them to believe that government provides all the good, big and important stuff like bridges... Even when that's simply not true.


Paul Schmidt said...

I just saw the bridge ad. The Chunnel was the first thing that came to mind. But while searching for comments on this ad, I found many stories where Maddow was criticizing government officials (Republicans) for bridge failures: Palin's bridge to nowhere and blaming Bush for a bridge collapse.

Maybe Maddow is right and a private company CAN'T make a profit if the bridge is built in such a place that no one uses it! In other words, a waste of taxpayers' money.

Sean W. Malone said...

I think the real problem here is that Maddow fundamentally doesn't understand that in a free market, profits are an indication of whether resources are being used in ways that benefit consumers according to their own values.

Of course a $50,000,000 "bridge to nowhere" isn't gonna be profitable... perhaps that should tell us that we don't actually need that bridge. Incidentally, I have been to the Airport in Alaska that the political controversy was about and I got to it via Ferry. With 2 other people. At "rush hour". A bridge to that airport is a spectacular waste of,money and any company that built such a thing "on spec" deserves to take a massive loss for their foolishness.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the comments. I too saw the Maddow ad and kept scratching my head, so to speak. What worries me is not that Maddow is an idiot, but that people will both believe her and then use her comments as justification for new government idiocy.