« Latest reviews on the KlezmerShack | Main | Folksbiene Weekend, Catskills, NY, Labor Day Weekend, Aug 29 - Sep 1 »

Now we're "Fair and Balanced"

Every so often someone makes a claim to the English language that is so egregious, and at the same time, hits my funny bone just right, that I am forced to rename the site for a while. The first instance, of course, came when RadioShack decided that it owned the term "Shack" and went after an early web-based community, the Smut Shack. That one seems to have stuck permanently.

This site was only the Twisted Barbie KlezmerShack for a while, and ya'll can guess what prompted that alteration. Now, Fox News is going after Al Franken, whose new book, "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right" allegedly might confuse folks who know Fox's news slogan, "Fair and Balanced."

Now, here's where I lose it in so many ways. And it's too bad this has nothing directly to do with Jewish music, or klezmer, other than that without freedom of expression, and without a diversity of opinion, and without respect for that diversity, this site, like others, gets repressed or ignored.

First, let me state the obvious. "Fair and Balanced" is not copyrightable. It's a common phrase. Second, let me state the equally obvious. Fox News' sensationalist, vitritolic hate-mongering is a parody of "Fair and Balanced." It is "Fair and Balanced" for those who believe that the substitution for full-time hate speech, the elevation of the likes of Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh from the gutter to positions of credibility, and the end of civility in civil life--the presumption that if you lose an election, then you can just dig and dig and when you find nothing, impeach a president anyway, or recall a governor of California--that you can pour your money into full-time vitriol and obscene abuse of the democratic process and the respect that such a process requires for democracy to survive--yeah, if that's your idea of democracy, or of "fair and balanced" then Fox News is probably doing the right thing. Those of us who are literate might have other views. I certainly do.

I don't actually find Al Franken funny, although I do like the titles of his books. But if objecting to this suit is one way of encouraging people to ask what the far right has done to the American political process, and how that might not be a good thing, then I'm all for it, and for now, we're going to be the "Fair and Balanced KlezmerShack.

And I intend to be (in my own mind, continue to be) the"fair and balanced Klezmershack." I won't give you one point of extreme view and claim that it runs the gamut. I'm not Fox News (this statement here just in case you didn't notice the static, and non-"parody-patriotic" tenor of this site). I'll continue to post and to link to as much information and opinion about good music of interest to site visitors as I can. When I hate something, I'll say so. (More often, I just bite my tongue--the goal here is to promote the good, not to waste time on the bad). And I'll also link to people who say otherwise. Music, like democracy, sounds best and gets most interesting when more and more people with interesting ideas get heard.

And for goodness sake, buy a copy of Franken's book and send a copy of your sales slip to Fox News, thanking them for letting you know about it. And while I have your attention, if you're an American citizen, better take a look at the so-called Victory Act, with its echoes of 1984, that our so-called Fair and Balanced Attorney General, he who doesn't seem to have much respect for the Constitution, is trying to PATRIOTically foist on Congress now. Sheesh. And I thought keeping track of who plays with whom and who wouldn't be caught on the same stage--or carefully defining just what, exactly, Jewish music (or klezmer) is--was tough.


"Fair and Balanced" is absolutely copyrightable. See, you have a copyright in the above post, and therefore you have a copyright in the phrase "fair and balanced" as used in conjunction with what you've written.

So it's a good thing Fox TRADEMARKED the phrase "fair & balanced" under class 41 for "entertainment services, namely the production and distribution of new programs for television."

Now, Al did not use the phrase "fair & balanced" as a trademark for anything. He also did not use the mark for purposes that in anyway relate to "entertainment services, namely the production and distribution of news programs for television," So you're right, the whole thing is really stupid. Just get your facts straight.

I'm not endorsing Fox, although I don't think it's any worse than the other networks. But to say it's the voice of the far right ignores the ratings. You may not like it, but it's more like the far middle.

But you're right about the suit. It's a (big fat) stupid lawsuit.

>to say it's the voice of the far right ignores the ratings.

Ratings have what to do with political outlook? I mean, Rush Limbaugh doesn't even make the first rung of the rational scale, yet he is widely popular. Does that make him "middle of the road"?

Rather, I would suggest that it is important for Americans to take a look at the news they get and to consider that it may, in fact, be as biased as I say. And that may not be so good. I think it is not.

Worse, what has happened to the political process in this country? When the vindictive, hate-mongering elements of the right didn't like Clinton's re-election, they tried impeachment. When a California far-right politician decided that Gray Davis shouldn't have been re-elected, he paid for a recall campaign--well, he paid to get it on the ballot. The cash-strapped local counties, hard put to provide basic services, will have to pay for it. This right is good at paying for hate and distraction, not so good at paying for the results.

Ratings have what to do with political outlook?

Ratings are democratic. Our political system is democratic. Hence the connection between politics and ratings.

Politics is a social (and I hate to use this term, but it's true) construct. One of your conservative friends might be the most liberal person in someone else's circle. It's all relative as they say. To some Rush is too liberal. To a larger group he is too conservative. And to many he is just right, the middle or the road. The ratings tell us how many. And in a democracy, 'how many' is important.

Should people be concerned about bias in the media? Aware yes. Concerned, no.

By your logic, the democratic vote that justified Hitler's coup was "what's important." I beg to disagree.

Moving to America, Rush Limbaugh is very, very far from reality, and he represents extreme views. It doesn't matter how many listeners Limbaugh has--he's still an extremist, and he's still a liar. Picking apart Limbaugh-isms for the place where vindictive, nasty personal opinion trumps reality is pretty common. Fox News may be liberal compared to Rush Limbaugh, but they are also the antithesis of "fair and balanced." Fox News is news as entertainment, pandering to the demographic that they feel is most likely to watch. That also, is pretty clear--go back and look at their little symphony of the bombing of Bagdad and tell me otherwise.

I'm not saying that there is good TV News. I can't speak to it. I don't watch TV most of the time--partly because I never found a news show that seem to adhere closely enough to news as I observed it. But that's me.

I do want to say that I love the fact that you (Ari) have a sense of humor about this. I will always support the "fair and balanced" Klezmershack.

And while I know this is an unpopular opinion in these parts, I do have to say that I find BBC News to be outstanding in its international coverage. They actually cover things from both sides. I find it (sad, yet) laughable that people consider them anti-Semitic or anti-Israel just because they dare to show that Palestinians die at the hands (and tanks, and gunships) of Israelis in addition to their coverage of the terrorist attacks on Israel.

In this country, though, there is no good news on TV. Most of it is just paid product advertising masquerading as news (all those segments starting "a new breakthrough..." are actually written, produced and paid for by the company who made the 'breakthrough'). There are some excellent books on the subject which I can recommend if anyone's interested...

Thanks for the compliments. I, too, have trouble with the notion of the BBC (or NPR, so long as I'm cutting my throat by speaking the obvious) are antisemitic, or overly pro-someone else. But that's part of the problem, isn't it? We have very messy, very difficult situations in which people are being killed, and in which there isn't a clearcut right--other than the right of people to live in peace. And there isn't an obvious way to get there, at least, not one so obvious that those who love peace have been able to successfully wrest control of the process away from those who hate. But hate's easy. Reducing the world to black and white is easy. It's like masturbation, though.

Makes trying to figure out what "Jewish Music" is seem positively simple!

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)