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Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Fox News Rocks

Tom Long goes into an exhaustive whine about the decline of our interest in the news in an article in the Detroit News today. (link)

... a vast number of news providers -- broadcast, cable, Internet, print -- [are] battling for the attention of a dwindling audience, with the nightly network broadcasts perhaps fighting the hardest battle.

In 1993, 60 percent of Americans said they watched a nightly network news show, according to a January report by the Pew Research Center in Washington. By 2004, only 34 percent of Americans were watching one of the Big Three broadcasts nightly.

He uses the chart shown above to back up his pronouncement when, in fact, it shows something completely different.

A cursory look at the chart would lead one to believe that viewer interest in the news is, indeed, in decline. But look closely and you'll see a general uptick beginning in 2000. It is possible, if the survey is only updated every two years, as it appears, that 9/11 and the war on terror may have contributed to the turnaround.

But if it truly began in 2000 - before 9/11 - then there can be only one explanation.

Fox News.

I and many other conservative Americans quit watching the liberal evening news long ago. In my case, I voided my subscription several years ago to the local newspaper out of frustration over the offensive bias that I found myself paying to read. It was only when I stumbled upon Fox News (and talk radio) that I came back.

So, make of the statistics what you will. I tend to believe that as more cable networks choose to carry Fox News, the charts will continue to reflect a growing interest in the news.

We're back!

Chart courtesy of Detroit News.
Click on image to enlarge.Posted by Hello

Great. A New Tax To Ponder

Remember when the governor of Oregon, several years ago, urged people to visit his state but not to move there? That seemed so inviting. And a bit weird.

Now the people of Oregon are showing that they are, collectively, weird. They have come up with a new tax on themselves.
Oregon weighs tax on mileage

A planned program in Oregon would tax drivers by the number of miles they travel instead of by the amount of gasoline they use to compensate for an expected loss of revenue caused by increasing use of more fuel-efficient vehicles.

The mileage fee, which would be computed whenever a person pumps a tank of gasoline at a service station, would replace the state's fuel tax and compensate for a projected loss of revenue resulting from increased use of hybrid and other fuel-efficient vehicles, Oregon officials say. (link)
It is a bit ironic that the widespread and growing use of electric - particularly hybrid - cars on the left coast has prompted this. Less fuel consumption means lower tax revenue on fuel. Which means change the tax. The end result - you can bet money - being increased revenue.

Good grief.

Those Wonderfully Deceptive Statistics

The New York Times reveals in an op/ed this morning that 47 terrorists have purchased assault rifles here in the USA and intend to use them.

And if you believe that ...

Terror Suspects' Right to Bear Arms

The good news for Americans concerned about post-9/11 preparedness is that 58 potential gun buyers were flagged in a nine-month period last year as positive matches on a federal watch list of terrorism suspects. The bad news is that 47 of them were cleared to go ahead anyway and buy assault rifles, ammunition or whatever else was on their firearms shopping list. Federal agents could only watch as the crazy quilt of loopholes that passes for gun control in this country enabled dozens of suspects to stock their personal or group armories.

Welcome to the new world of homeland security, where all the national resolve to be alert is clearly butting into the citizenry's near-almighty right to bear arms. (link)

Now, what's missing from this bit of propaganda?

We could start with the questions that should leap out at everyone - WHY? HOW?

The editors never seemed to have asked. Perhaps because they didn't want to know the answer. What you see above makes for a better editorial.

But there is probably a very simple answer to both questions.

We learned from Bill Clinton's only legislative achievement in his eight years in office - the Brady Law - that thousands of people who attempted to purchase firearms over the counter were temporarily denied. Thousands. Mostly because they were mistaken for someone else; usually a felon.

That is what is going on here, I'll bet. Might there be 47 Osama bin Ladens out there wandering our streets? My guess is no. But you know how the federal bureucracy is. Osama bin Laden is close to Osama lim Baden. To Osama yo Mama. Heck, it's not too far off from Barack Obama. To Yosemite Sam.

47 people were temporarily prevented from purchasing firearms (or assault weapons as the Times hysterics prefer). They were checked out and were cleared.

End of story.

Ah, those wonderfully deceptive statistics.