Monday, October 23, 2006

Nothing Proper About This Propaganda

If there were any lingering doubts that The State newspaper (a.k.a. La Socialista) is engaged in a full-scale effort to undermine the Karen Floyd for Superintendent campaign, look no further than the front page of today's paper, which blares the headline "District Leaders Prefer Rex in Poll."

Are you kidding us? This is front-page news?

Of course it is - or at least it is in parts of the world where the press exists solely to perpetuate a specific ideology, like North Korea or Communist China ... and apparently, Columbia, S.C. on this cool October morning fifteen days before an election.

The "news" that 33 out of 34 District Superintendents preferred Democratic candidate Jim Rex to Ms. Floyd is indeed shocking. But that's only because it wasn't 34 out of 34.

Let's see, The State polled the principal architects of the nation's worst education system to find out if they are a) supporting a candidate who will demand a better return on our multi-billion state investment, or, b) supporting a candidate who will continue pouring endless gobs of additional money into their fiefdoms no matter how poorly they continue to perform.

Hmmmm ...

Seriously, this is like going into the Gamecock lockerroom right before the Clemson kickoff and asking the Carolina players who they want to win the game. It's like polling an NRA convention on gun rights, or Planned Parenthood lobbyists on abortion, or asking Mothers Against Drunk Driving for their thoughts on, well, drunk driving, as if the name of the group didn't give it away.

Predictably, former Tenenbaum Deputy and Rex Campaign Manager Zeke Stokes called the results "pretty significant."

Only if you're writing your term paper on The State newspaper's interminable drift toward socialism.

Aside from that, let's call this article what it is - the latest manifestation of The State newspaper's transparent vendetta against school choice.

What's next? The State hires a former Inez Tenenbaum Communications Director under the pretense of providing us with "objective" news coverage of education issues? Oh wait - THEY DID THAT ALREADY!

It's one thing if educrat sycophants like Brad Warthen and Cindi Scoppe want to sit on the sidelines and blather incessantly against school choice from the ivory tower of their editorial boardroom.

As columnists, Warthen and Scoppe don't have a journalistic obligation to be impartial, and absent such an obligation they can openly call school choice supporters a "cancer" all day long if they want to. Come to think of it, THEY'VE DONE THAT ALREADY, TOO!

But reporters and news editors do have an obligation to impartiality. And to brazenly ignore that obligation in a blatant attempt to advance a specific agenda - right or wrong - is to make a mockery of the First Amendment and their chosen profession.

The freedom of America's Fourth Estate is unrivaled in the annals of history. It is absolutely essential to our liberty as individuals and as a nation - a vital check against corruption and involuntary compulsion, and a wall of truth separating us from tyranny and subjugation.

As such, it comes with a huge responsibility.

This morning - as it has done on numerous occasions in the past - The State newspaper willfully sacrificed that sacred responsibility on the altar of its own narrow political agenda.

In communist states, there's a word we use when we see internally-manufactured stories splashed all over the front pages of major newspapers.

We call it "Propaganda."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep, right on the money. Another analogy is asking the DNC if they want the GOP to hold on to Congress. Entrenched bureaucrats whose welfare depends on maintenance of the status quo should hardly be expected to support the candidacy of someone who is campaigning to shatter the mold and make something new. Go, Karen.

1:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Will, I understand your point but I'm not sure why you had to rope James Hammond (the former Tennebaum staffer) into it. He didn't write the story and I seem to remember you writing in another post that you felt he could be objective.

3:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Will, "educrat sycophants" did you borrow Rainey's "word of the day" calender made famous in this Sunday's State.

8:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Anaonymous: There will be a lot more shattered when Attaturk and his absolutely unqualified sychophant for Superintendent of Education are elected. Namely, our public school system. The election of these two will set this state back 30 years over the next four years.

8:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will --

It's obvious that you're a fairly intelligent guy who has some original thoughts, writing flair, and so forth. That is why I think your allusions to North Korea and whatever undermine your point. It makes you come off less like someone interested in an honest, intelligent debate and more like Rush Limbaugh or someone of his ilk.

I think you're coarsening the debate with such non-sense and weakening your own argument.

Moreover, while it's certainly fine to criticize public school educators (or "educrats", as SC's right-wing loves to call them), I think it's debatable whether it's reasonable to call them the "architects" of our system. Several thoughts:

1. Most folks -- and I would certainly think most personal-accountability/responsibility conservative types -- would say parents bear much of the responsibility for their kids' successes in school.....that the parent's are the "architects" of their children's preparedness and willingness to excel in school. And this isn't an effort to lay the blame at the feet of the parents: Many try best as they can. Many work two jobs and can't be at home to help with homework. Many don't have the educational background to help as much as they'd like. And so on. And then maybe others are truly irresponsible.

In any case, children deserve the best deal they can get, and it's up to the public schools to do their best to serve those kids. Nonetheless, to make the blanket claim that the educators are the "architects" of the state-of-affairs is to deny, it seems to me, the very powerful influence of parents in the education equation -- one that, again, it would seem to me conservatives would stress.

2. To call school administrators the "architects" seems to me to assert that they've designed the system.

Will, wouldn't you agree that it's quite plainly not that simple?

**State lawmakers and democratically elected school boards determine funding levels, right?

**A variety of state and federal regulations determine how special education children are taught and dealt with in terms of discipline, right....how many guidance counselors are required per student....how many librarians are required....correct?

**The federal government (GOP-dominated) passed No Child Left Behind, while SC's legislature (GOP-dominated) passed our state's accountability laws, right? Those measures have driven curriculum decisions and created an emphasis on testing, whether or not individual school superintendents want them or not.

**Local politics -- as worked out through the democratic process -- determine standards in many school districts for punishment and discipline, as well as investments in facilities, sports programs, and other matters that affect school climate and programmatic offerings.

Here again, Will, I think you're undermining your own point by wildly exaggerating the authority and influence of school officials. And that's too bad, I think, because -- whatever side you're on -- this is an important debate that deserve an honest and responsible discussion.

9:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon with the really long post that threw in facts and tried to add some perspective. -Shut up! we are trying to have a politically charged debate here driven by emotion and blind rage against 'edurcrats' So butt out!

12:20 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Annon #5:

You're dead on. The "School Choice", Howard Rich minions care nothing about our kids or the quality of our education system. They are using schools as the first rung in theirLibertarian ladder. They want no taxes, period. That's their ultimate goal.

Intelligent people understand that smart, balanced pooling of the public's tax dollars to invest in the public good is one of the key drivers of successful democratic civilization. Rich, Sanford, Floyd, Eckstrom and the rest are Libertarians - either blinded by irrational idealism, lack of intelligence, or probably both, just don't get it. Thank God Libertarianism is always chopped down, like a nuisance weed, after growing for a liitle while. This will happen in SC, too.

And always remember - Will Folks and Joshua Gross are on Mr. Rich's payroll. No need to try to reason with them - they are just dancing for the puppet master.

7:19 AM

Blogger Brian McCarty said...


Floyd was weak last night in the debate. And, the references to North Korea were over the top.

Come on, conservative ideals are better then this.

Have your candidate learn to be proud to be a conservative and argue the ideas. That is where we win.

North Korea references, fuzzy speech from the candidate, all of that is just well, weak.

7:44 AM

Blogger SCPolitico said...

Unlike my Cowboy’s, Floyd was in rare and near perfect form last night as she dominated the play clock, showing us all again why she is the candidate that will win and deservedly so.

8:07 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just saw Karen Floyd's ad this morning. I don't believe that simply being a parent of a child who attends public schools qualifies you to be superintendant. I am less than impressed with her history as a prosecutor and councilwoman. While it is clear that changes need to be made in the system, I think that a person with a background in education is the better qualified. Call Rex and "educrat" if you will, he has the resume that Floyd lacks.

9:41 AM

Anonymous west_rhino said...

Wil, need I remind you of Christopher Laasch's sage observation that MSM need not tell the truth, they only need to appear credible. No wonder hte left remains afraid of groups like Promise Keepers, pronounced defunct by the State's relgion staff earlier this year, which will be holding a weekend event in '07 in Columbia. When we have a history in SC that includes AME pastors telling congregations that Reagan was going to ship every last "black african" back to Africa, the left obviously expects teh right to use churches to lie to the public as they have and for their credible bully pulpits to go unquestioned.

No wonder Jim Rex is endorsed for the continued dumbing down of SC. The "educrats" ought to follow the lawyers within Shakespeare's advice in Henry IVth.

10:16 AM

Anonymous will folks said...

Couple quick things:

1- I'm not on the payroll of either Mr. Rich or SCRG. Never have been.

2- I did not watch last night's debate, but both Republicans and Democrats have told me that Mrs. Floyd's performance was less than stellar.

10:39 AM

Blogger Rhodes Bailey said...

"RING RING - Hello, Pot? This is Kettle."

How about the thousands in out of state voucher money that has now effectively bought most of South Carolina's Republican Party and democratic process?

(of course this is practically a truism so posting it is moot)

11:06 AM

Blogger faithinsound said...

Dear Mr. Bailey,

While we appreciate your highly original and vivid dramatization of a "Kettle" calling a "Pot" (you obviously dug deep to come up with that unique analogy), we here at FITS have never held ourselves out as being impartial.

Our blog is a form of entertainment, a home to political parody and occasional commentary on serious issues.

We make jokes at the expense of both Republicans and Democrats (sometimes breaking real news in the process), but we are an opinion column and always have been.

If we convince other people to believe as we do, fine. If we don't, that's fine too.

But one thing we are not doing is trying to convince people that we're impartial.

In fact, our affinity for partiality is not unlike Imelda Marcos' affinity for shoes. Or Boy George's affinity for eye shadow.

We're partial to school choice because it's been proven to raise achievement in PUBLIC schools. We're partial to income tax cuts because they've been proven to create jobs and raise income levels in other states. We're partial to government restructuring because it's been proven to enhance accountability and create savings to the taxpayer.

Most importantly, however, we're partial to getting folks to loosen their collar every once in awhile and enjoy a laugh - oftentimes at our own expense.

We appreciate your noble and quite creative effort to place us in the pantheon of responsible journalism, but as our tagline "irreverance institutionalized" would suggest, we're quite happy where we are.

Oh, and by the way it's the "Pot" that called the "Kettle" black, not the other way around.

Enjoy your service,


P.S. - Please give Phil our regards.

12:37 PM

Blogger Rhodes Bailey said...

Mr. Folks,

My use of an obvious and trite metaphor like a "pot calling the kettle black" was used to parallel the tired and uninspired attacks on the State newspaper as "socialist" (while we're pointing out literary devices).

Although I do appreciate you pointing out that kettles don't call pots (a mistake that could have lead to dangerous distortions of truth had it not been corrected), the assertion that vouchers have PROVEN (your word) to raise achievement in public schools is bold and unsubstantiated. I suppose school "choice" activists have some howard rich pet project pilot (attempted on a small scale) that they may treat as scientific evidence, but on close examination, even non-educators (like Karen Floyd) can tell vouchers are part of this year's snake oil medicine show.

Anyway, I do like to read your blog, and I do enjoy the laughs. As for Boy George, I think we could use more Republicans in eye shadow.

2:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous here again from the long post earlier....

I would only add that I think Will is entirely wrong about the article by The State. Beyond all the North Korea absurdity, the deal is, in my opinion, that this was a perfectly reasonable subject to tackle.

It's not to say that the school administrators are right to prefer Jim Rex instead of Karen Floyd, but if the administrators who run the schools she wants to oversee want her opponent to win, that seems like a story of clear interest to the public.

Perhaps no conclusions have to be reached, but the very fact raises some very worthwhile questions:

Why DO they prefer Rex over Floyd? Is it because, as Will asserts, they're no-good "educrats" or whatever, so we should all vote for whichever candidate they oppose? Or do they really have some worthwhile perspectives on the field they are part of and their preferences should be heeded by voters? Either way, it's interesting information to note.

And what does it mean for Karen Floyd and for the system should she win? How will she work with these folks who oppose her candidacy? What are possible political implications? Since local school boards -- not the state superintendent -- hire local superintendents, what kind of influence will she have over these people? Will it put her in a bind in trying to put forth her agenda? Will she able to push them in the directions she wants to go?

The answers are not clear, in my opinion, but it's ABSOLUTELY proper of The State, in my opinion, to make the public aware of the stance of the very people the state superintendent of education will have to work with.

4:15 PM

Anonymous Silence Dogood said...

"We're partial to government restructuring because it's been proven to enhance accountability and create savings to the taxpayer."

Now that's the kind of blind loyalty to sound bites I'm talkn' 'bout! Wouldn't it make a difference HOW you restructure?? That is like saying remodeling will improve the looks of a home - I would imagine that might depend on what remodeling you do. If you just say "we going to remodel" because that will "improve the home" then you are out of your mind. Restructuring for restructuring sake is just a political ploy. If you are going to trump that by saying "obviously we me restructuring in a positive way" Well who the hell doesn't? That was a lame, lame line. Way worse than the pot calling the kettle black (or if one were to use the rhetorical device to show extreme hypocrisy the kettle now calling theh pot black - to reverse the anology).

7:39 PM

Blogger Sen. Kevin L. Bryant said...

33 out of 34 District Superintendents preferred Democratic candidate Jim Rex to Ms. Floyd. Reminds me of the cows telling us to "eat more chiken" as Mrs. Floyd will be a threat to the status quo.

8:10 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will, today the state endorsed Thomas Ravenel and wrote an editorial defending Sanford against Moore's attacks on education? Now what - oh wait let me guest they weren't going to do that until your blog turned them around. So 'The State' is worthless dribble YET they support T-Rav and defend Sanford? Put those two together???????

6:03 PM

Anonymous west_rhino said...

Senator, are you telling us that the status quo is not the good thing that the other side of the aisle claims? Horrors! Apostasy! The next thing you'll be telling us is that Tommy Moore's actually extolling socialized medicine and wants you to give oxycodone away, gratis...

which is, from my reading of things, the basis of his (Moore's) health care charges against Governor Sanford.

7:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

would it be called propaganda if the headlines were in Karen Floyd's favor????? republicans' favor???? that's why it's time to start identifying ourselves as "Independents"... There is to much hyprocisy going on in today's politics. Vote the man!

11:23 AM


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