Keywords: politics
Since I've been grousing about political groups making up crap instead of debating real differences in this election, it's a relief to be able to point to a politician who actually does that:


It's short -- I encourage you to listen to it.

I didn't pay much attention to Mike Gravel during the Democratic primaries...he seemed like a cranky old man who just kept bitching about not getting as much time as others in debates. So I was quite surprised to hear that interview.

This interview is useful to our current discussion in a couple of ways:

1. It demonstrates in just a couple of minutes the kind of media bias I've been talking about. In the process of this conversation, the interviewers:

- Trumpet myths about Palin as fact without actually having looked into them.

- Portray Palin as an extremist without actually knowing her background.

- Follow the standard script for introducing disgusting conspiracy theories by saying, "We shouldn't even be talking about this, but, you know, it's out there...", where out there means on Andrew Sullivan's blog. Then they say, "How do you think these [disgusting conspiracy theories] will play?" will lets them pretend they are just talking about the political game, not further perpetuating the disgusting conspiracy theories.

- When Gravel, who actually knows a lot about Palin because they are both from Alaska, starts providing actual facts about her, instead of learning from his knowledge, they cut him off, change the subject, and attempt to end the interview early.

Granted, I take it the interviewers are part of an advocacy radio station, which means their job is to filter everything the way their listeners want to hear it regardless of reality, so this is standard operating procedure for them (and both sides of the political spectrum have radio stations like this). Their listeners would be actively upset to hear anything that doesn't jive with The Program.

The striking thing is that there is nothing here I haven't watched the "mainstream media" do repeatedly in the last couple of weeks.

2. Gravel hates what McCain/Palin stand for (particularly related to the war) and, as he says at the end of the interview, would never vote for them. Yet -- and I practically can't believe I heard someone say this right now -- he has great respect for Palin and what she has accomplished in Alaska. He knows she is a sincere person with integrity, and he just happens to disagree with her.

I wish he were still in the race so I could have the honor of not voting for him!

HT to Hot Air...
Good gads. When I started listening to that I was expecting a little subtlety from those interviewers--though granted, not a lot. Usually bias plays out very subtly, but here it's brash and intense. The way the woman was practically shouting over him when he said "That trooper shouldn't have been wearing a badge" and kept trying to insist this was a personal issue for Palin, that was just breathtakingly obnoxious. I love how she repeated this behavior again around six minutes in when she brought up the abortion issue and kept whining "But her views are extreme! They're extreme! Agree with me!" Gravel said "So what?" and pointed out that she has every right to her position even though he doesn't agree with it.

But what gets me more is how short shrift Gravel got in the election. Yeah he never had a prayer at attaining the Presidency, but in that interview I hear a lucid, straightforward man who credits his opponents with integrity and says that while he disagrees with their principles he has nothing bad to say against their character. Based on what he said I have to think his policies are nothing I could agree with, but he had the class to say what's right and not to take the interviewers' crap when they tried to press their opinions.

I suppose I should point out that what little I've listened to of conservative talk radio has interviewers keeping to a very similar aggressive style, so that part is not that unusual. The difference is I've never heard one of them shout down someone for saying "So and so is a decent person" or try to inject smears. They'll disagree forcefully with some callers, but I've never heard this kind of strained attempt to shift the topic.