10.23.2008

What Planet is Orson Scott Card From?

Orson Scott Card, the author of the highly popular Ender's Game, recently penned an open letter to his local Greensboro, NC newspaper lamenting the state of journalism today, especially when it comes to reporting on the candidates running for the office of President of the United States. From what I've read, Card is that rare breed of cat, the conservative democrat. (As for myself, I am a half-breed conservative democrat, with the other strand of my DNA being liberal republican. I'm forever worrying that I'll self-annihilate in my sleep. But enough about me....) While I love much of Card's science fiction, his letter (here or here) is something altogether different. After reading, you could be forgiven for thinking that he had been in a coma for the past seven years, and has woken to the blood-boiling opinions of Fox News. In other words, his letter is nothing more than a rant against the democrats and Barack Obama.

The letter starts off with Card pinpointing the cause of our housing crisis.
This housing crisis didn't come out of nowhere. It was not a vague emanation of the evil Bush administration.

It was a direct result of the political decision, back in the late 1990s, to loosen the rules of lending so that home loans would be more accessible to poor people. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were authorized to approve risky loans.
Nearly 80 years after the fact, the causes of the Great Depression are still being debated among scholars and professional economists. The same will likely be true of our current economic woes. One thing is for certain, there is plenty of blame to go around. But Card filters everything out to boil it all down to the fault of one party:
This was completely foreseeable and in fact many people did foresee it. One political party, in Congress and in the executive branch, tried repeatedly to tighten up the rules. The other party blocked every such attempt and tried to loosen them....

These are facts. This financial crisis was completely preventable. The party that blocked any attempt to prevent it was ... the Democratic Party. The party that tried to prevent it was ... the Republican Party.
That's pretty brash of Card, especially knowing that the Bush administration championed the so-called "ownership society" and that one party controlled both House and Senate during his first six years in office. Yet they were somehow powerless to stave off this looming disaster? And what does the smartest guy in the room have to say about it all?
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan told Congress on Thursday he is "shocked" at the breakdown in U.S. credit markets and said he was "partially" wrong to resist regulation of some securities.
Looks like Card needs to adjust his filter settings. They limit his credibility in these matters, which is to say, they make him sound like a loon.

Later, matters take a turn for the worst as we watch Card dive off the deep end:
If you who produce our local daily paper had any personal honor, you would find it unbearable to let the American people believe that somehow Republicans were to blame for this crisis.

There are precedents. Even though President Bush and his administration never said that Iraq sponsored or was linked to 9/11, you could not stand the fact that Americans had that misapprehension — so you pounded us with the fact that there was no such link. (Along the way, you created the false impression that Bush had lied to them and said that there was a connection.)
Here, Orson Scott Card is railing against the media for engendering a belief that the Bush administration linked Iraq to 9/11. Note that he fails to mention that the media was in a constant state of orgasm during the run-up to war with precious few actually questioning what we were getting ourselves into and, more importantly, why. Only after the price tag started climbing higher than the estimated $60 billion cost for war, and only after it was evident that we weren't being welcomed as liberators, and only after we plainly didn't have a plan to get out, and only after the death toll start to mount, and only after no WMDs were found, and only after Mission Accomplished...did the media start to question the administration's reasons for war. Card should be most critical of the media for this, their biggest failing. Yet he would rather lambaste them for...oh, let's take one example from June 29, 2005:
"This war reached our shores on September 11 2001," Mr Bush said, pointing to links between Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Jordanian extremist thought be behind many of the suicide attacks in Iraq, and Osama bin Laden. "The only way our enemies can succeed is if we forget the lessons of September ... if we abandon the Iraqi people to men like Zarqawi ... and if we yield the future of the Middle East to men like Bin Laden," the president said.
I suppose Card was also pissed off everytime the media reported on IED attacks. That's no way to treat an administration.

Card eventually turns his sights on Obama. As McCain falls into double digit territory behind Obama, desperate times call for desperate measures.
Barack Obama is just another politician, and not a very wise one. He has revealed his ignorance and naivete time after time — and you have swept it under the rug, treated it as nothing.

Meanwhile, you have participated in the borking of Sarah Palin, reporting savage attacks on her for the pregnancy of her unmarried daughter — while you ignored the story of John Edwards's own adultery for many months.
Borking? Oh yeah...alien speak. I really have to catch up on my SciFi. While we're on the subject of naivete, Card should take a moment to look down. He'll find the path he's on is well worn. Thousands of mule trains have gone before him. Few come back, and those that do have the battle scars to show for it. There is little question that Governor Palin is not yet ready for prime time. The turkey, as it were, was taken out of the oven too early. And as far as the pregnancy of her unmarried daughter, the only time I hear that is as a talking point from the right. There's just so much more interesting fodder that keeps getting dumped by the McCain campaign that the left has no reason to recycle old jokes.

But I will give Card a point on John Edwards. As we are not yet a nation of adults, we can pry into the personal lives of our would-be leaders and feign disgust while still wanting to compare pictures of the mistress with the wife. Why the Washington Post didn't want to conduct surveillance for hours outside a hotel and then chase Edwards into a bathroom with penetrating questions is beyond me. Do they really want to continue to cede that territory to the National Enquirer? No wonder the elite print media's stock is falling.

The last bit of Card's letter is your average right-wing rant against the media. We should note that it's kinda late in the game for this (assuming Card's purpose is to sway voters - if not, then his letter really is poor and, frankly, illogical). I can only guess that echoes of the Republican National Convention are still rattling around in his head, heavy on media bashing, light on substance.
If you do not tell the truth about the Democrats — including Barack Obama — and do so with the same energy you would use if the miscreants were Republicans — then you are not journalists by any standard.

You're just the public relations machine of the Democratic Party, and it's time you were all fired and real journalists brought in, so that we can actually have a news paper in our city.
For Card, the truth is what he wants to hear and the real journalists are the ones who would parrot his beliefs. Failing the wholesale dismantling and rebuilding of the media around Card's particular brand of truthiness, as a professional author, he can write his own truth and sell it in the fiction section of your local bookstore. Until then, let's hope he can find his way back home from whatever parallel dimension he happens to be visiting.

4 comments:

NicoL said...

Having recently read the wikipedia article on O.S.C. (whom I otherwise find to be a fairly competent author), I have to see he seems to have some pretty horrible views on a wide range of subjects :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orson_Scott_Card#Personal_views

His views on sexual morality (homosexuality in particular, of course, because that is the constant fascination of the ultra religious) are particularly devoid of any kind of empathy or respect for personal liberty, imo.

The skepTick said...

Thanks for the link.

"I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn."
(July 24, 2008 in the Mormon Times - but they've since pulled it from their site).

That's what we call "anti-american". Treasonous talk. But now I know what planet he's from: Homophobia.

Dave said...

You make the claim that "one party controlled both House and Senate during his [Bush's] first six years in office."

I guess you have forgotten all about Jim Jeffords handing control of the Senate and all committee chairmanships to the Democrats in 2001. Even when republicans held both the House and Senate they had slim majorities and were easily filabustered by democrats. So don't act like they had complete controll.

Yes, through republican sponsored deregulation they threw fuel on the subprime fire by allowing banks to merge with insurance and mortgage houses. These were the same institutions that took the subprime bad debt and bundled it with good debt into CDO securities that were then sold to banks and investors across the globe. But the catalyst was the subprime lending in the first place.

Democrats are at the dead center of this and the media has done nothing to point that out to the public. They have done nothing to show that Obama, in his short time in the Senate, is the second highest recipient of "donations" by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and that Raines is a housing advisor to Obama after he had to resign in disgrace from running Fannie Mae into the ground with corrupt accounting practices.

This article is not about Card's view of homosexuality and religion (on which I disagree with him), and it's not even so much of blaming the democrats. The article mainly showcases the complete lack of journalistic integrity of the media today and how they biasly report events, especially those surrounding the democrats and Obama.

Well, no said...

No matter what he might claim, OSC is not a Democrat, conservative or otherwise. I think the statements in his letter make that entirely clear.

Funny how OSC, dave, and the Republican party want to blame a financial crisis on poor people.

Lastly, "borking" isn't alien speak, it refers to Bork's confirmation hearings, although OSC use of the term is somewhat incorrect.