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Challenge Match: semperfortis vs Ian McLean: There's No Business Like Propaganda?

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posted on Jul, 2 2008 @ 11:06 AM
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The topic for this debate is "The American Media Uses Celebrities To
Distract The American Public From Political Concerns."

semperfortis will be arguing the pro position and will open the debate.
Ian McLean will argue the con position.

Each debater will have one opening statement each. This will be followed by 3 alternating replies each. There will then be one closing statement each and no rebuttal.

Character limits are no longer in effect. You may use as many characters as a single post allows.

Editing is strictly forbidden. This means any editing, for any reason. Any edited posts will be completely deleted. This prevents cheating. If you make an honest mistake which needs fixing, you must U2U me. I will do a limited amount of editing for good cause. Please use spell check before you post.

Opening and closing statements must not contain any images, and must have no more than 3 references. Excluding both the opening and closing statements, only two images and no more than 5 references can be included for each post.

The Socratic Debate Rule is in effect. Each debater may ask up to 5 questions in each post, except for in closing statements- no questions are permitted in closing statements. These questions should be clearly labeled as "Question 1, Question 2, etc.

When asked a question, a debater must give a straight forward answer in his next post. Explanations and qualifications to an answer are acceptable, but must be preceded by a direct answer.

Responses should be made within 24 hours. One single 24 hour extension can be used by a member by requesting it in the thread. If 24 hours passes without response, you may proceed with your next post. Members who exceed 24 hours run the risk of losing their post, but may still post up until their opponent has submitted their next response.

*In Light of the Holiday Weekend, A Recess Will Be Observed, Beginning on the Fourth of July and Lasting Through July 6th*

This is a challenge match. The winner will receive 2 ranking points, the loser will lose two ranking points.

[edit on 2-7-2008 by MemoryShock]

[edit on 15-7-2008 by MemoryShock]




posted on Jul, 3 2008 @ 12:10 AM
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Semperfortis vs Ian McLean


Semper’s Opening

A moment if you will, to thank MemoryShock and applaud him on his obvious love and dedication to this forum we all enjoy so very much. I would also like to thank Ian McLean for the opportunity to match wits with him on this GREAT topic.

Now on with the fun…

The American Media.

The First Amendment to the Constitution states, in reference to the Media:

“Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press”
(My Edit)

This is a basic principle for the freedoms this country is founded upon and in order to preserve those very same freedoms, this right must be protected.

Now with all of that being said, I intend in this debate to illustrate the bias in American media in regards to politics. Simple? .. Hardly..

Now as we are examining the American Media as it pertains to the use of celebrities, we will of course look at the News Organizations, but more importantly we will examine the more outspoken of American celebrities and their not so hidden agenda.

From Oprah to Gibson, Baldwin to Sarandon, Ali to Fox, we seem to be having celebrities coming out of the wood work to support their particular choices for President, or their particular political party. While celebrities have every right to support whomever they choose, one must ask the obvious question: How is their opinions relevant to the issues we should be using to select our personal choices for public office?

Are they more educated than we are?
Are they more informed?
Do they understand the principles of politics better than we do?
Why do they choose to so openly support one candidate, one party, over another?
Why is that particular party parading them before us at every opportunity?

That is what we will look at in this debate.

That and their possible ulterior motives as well as deflection and subversion.

We will look very closely at this question:

Why do politicians need celebrities to state their positions for them?

During this debate we will examine closely some of the more outspoken celebrities and what qualifications they may possess that would render their opinions any more valid then our own.

We will also look closely at the ties some of these celebrities have to the very candidates they “hawk”. While we are at it, we will not neglect to look at some of the reasons these celebrities are “against” certain candidates. An even more interesting subject if I may say so.

While trying to be “not so terribly” controversial, we can not debate this topic without a study on the general population’s tendency for being “controlled” by the little black box we call a television. How the “truth” of a subject of concern, may not be as important to some as which celebrity is speaking at the time.

The almost “God Like” stature some celebrities have achieved with their audiences is without a doubt massively influential in American Politics. This, possibly more than any other factor, serves to distract Americans from the issues and the individual politician’s records and stance on the subjects we should be concerned with.

While I do not subscribe to the idea the American public is subject to “Jedi Mind Tricks” and are all “Weak Minded Fools”; how many people support a candidate because of Oprah? How many listen to the Baldwin’s and think; “They must be right, they are stars after all”? (Well maybe not the Baldwins)

In all honesty listening to and flowing a “star” is far easier then looking up each politician’s voting record, or listening to speech after boring speech and trying to decipher what they are really saying. How many people really understand the concept of “Trickle Down Economics” and instead of trying to learn, just listen to their favorite News Anchor or Movie Star? How many have actually read the Patriot Act and yet in their misguided worship of certain celebrities, they have come to a decision on it? How many people understand the tax structure; yet support a candidate that openly states he will raise taxes because some celebrity says they should support them?

While I can not promise you an exact number of course, I will present evidence to you in this debate that the number of people that vote a certain way simply because of a celebrity is incredible and the number of people that actually understand the political positions; disheartening.

I will also show you where our News Anchors have obtained celebrity status and many have stopped reporting the news and are simply entertainers. Simply Celebrities.
Some of these “News Entertainers” have even gone so far as to create the very news they report to ensure it is their viewpoint that is injected directly into the American Population. The subjugation and manipulation of the American Public is so complete, that after being caught directly lying to us, some have still continued on in their careers. This will serve as direct evidence of the truth of the debate topic.

"The American Media Uses Celebrities To Distract The American Public From Political Concerns."


We will also not forget to look at each political party and their reasons for using celebrities in their campaigns. How by parading movie stars in front of us each and every day, they manage to avoid issues the American Public needs to be concerned with.

Of particular interest will be the celebrities that are invited to appear before congress in support of or opposition to, a Bill, an Act or other subject of concern to our legislators. Using the same standards discussed above, we will seek to discover why they are invited to Congress and “you” are not.

One can hardly discount the effect of parading someone with Parkinson’s disease before Congress to support additional funding for research into a cure for the disease. Yet one must ask if this is ethical or moral.

Politicians as a rule, don’t want to answer the hard questions, that can cause a split in their base and lose them some very important voting segments; so they bring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie up on stage with them and all of a sudden we forget we are paying $4.00 a gallon for gas and the politicians are not allowing us to drill for the very oil we possess here in our own country. This is just an example of what we will be delving into further on in this debate.

In all of your hearts you already know the truth of this debate; I will just spend some time with you showing you why you know it.

In the end, you will have to conclude:

"The American Media Uses Celebrities To Distract The American Public From Political Concerns."


Thank you

Semper



posted on Jul, 3 2008 @ 02:13 AM
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Semperfortis vs Ian McLean

Thanks as always to the site owners, moderators, readers, and to MemoryShock for moderating this debate! Also, tons and tons of thanks to Semperfortis for agreeing to it -- let's have some fun!

Opening Statement

Whew, whadda topic!

"The American Media Uses Celebrities To Distract The American Public From Political Concerns."

And right up ATS's alley, too!

Honestly, I'm a little intimidated by debating Semperfortis in only my second debate here -- I've read some of his past debates, and boy can he make the issues dance!

In fact, I've only just skimmed his opening remarks. Just enough to get the gist of what he's saying. He seems to be emphasizing the influence that movie stars and such have on politics, that it's out of proportion to what they actually know and such.

So I'm not going to do a point-by-point rebuttal, here in my opening statement, of what he said. I'm not going to try and refute the no-doubt clever groundwork he's laying for his argument. Maybe I'm worried about jumping into a trap, maybe I'm scared.

But really, I don't think it's wise to try cross swords on specific nit-picky points like what Alec Baldwin knows or whether Moby is a real American or whatever just now. I wanna clear up exactly what we're arguing about before getting into that!

Because, frankly, I was a little confused at first about this topic. There's lots of spin that could be put on the question here! I don't want the audience to get confused!

So I'm going to use a little trick I use myself sometimes, and that's this: phrase the question in different ways, not the original question, and see how they're subtly different than the actual question, and maybe get some specific insight from that. Let's try it:

The topic is not:

1. Celebrities Distract The American Public From Political Concerns
or
2. Celebrities Are Useful Tools To Sway The American Public's Political Concerns
or
3. The American Media Lets Celebrities Sway The Public's Political Concerns
or
4. The American Public Is Easily Distracted By Bright Shiny Objects

Some of those would be a lot harder to debate than the actual topic! Which is this:

Actual Topic: The American Media Uses Celebrities To Distract The American Public From Political Concerns

Tricky tricky, Mr Moderator. So let me try and point out some of the distinctions I notice (the numbers in the list below are the same numbers as the ones on the list of non-topics I just made up, so please read them back-n-forth):

1. Yep, there's lots of celebrities with loud-mouths. Who, often only because of their celebrity, have some kind of 'bully-pulpit' to sound off. And the media does seem to love them! After all, people watch and listen to them and that equals $$$! But is that the same as "The Media Using To Distract"? I don't think so!

2. Politicians trot out movie stars all the time. I guess even if it wasn't a political advantage to do so, ego-maniacal birds-of-a-feather flock together
. And lets face it, some celebrities aren't very smart -- give em a chance to look good in front of an audience, and they'll eat out of a politician's hand. But that's not "The American Media Using Celebrities"! That's the spin doctors and political strategists -- and even though there's some of them on some cable channels with 'news' shows, the pundits aren't the be-all end-all of the "American Media".

3. The media does let celebrities get on the air or rant in interviews. The more controversial the better! And nothing is quite so gotta-see to the American Public as a celebrity on an impassioned rant -- funny, too! Of course the media lets celebrities use them as an outlet. But is the media trying to "Distract The American Public"? Nope! In fact, part of the fun of celebrities dabbling in politics is that it gives the public a chance to mock them by discussing how totally off-base they are in their views! Or perhaps even agreeing with them -- the context is created to actually address politics, rather than be distracted from it.

4. What was number four again? I forget!

So let's look at the actual topic again (I know, I'm getting a little repetitious):

Actual Topic: The American Media Uses Celebrities To Distract The American Public From Political Concerns

There's a few things said here: The media USES to DISTRACT. That's the 'active voice', to get grammatical. As in, by their actions, they purposefully act to DISTRACT by using celebrities. Is that really their motive?

Also, my opponent must argue that they "Distract FROM Political Concerns". That implies that the public really cares totally about politics in the first place! Most people (thankfully not all!) that I know really don't need to be "distracted from" political concerns -- they're quite willing on their own to not worry about stuff they just naturally don't care about.

And notice 'DISTRACT FROM Political Concerns'! Not sway their political concerns, influence them, or even educate them. Distract them from -- like, forget about politics all together! The media doesn't want that -- who would buy their newspapers and watch all their wonderful political roundtable shows?


Okay, hopefully I've got everyone thinking about exactly what points we're going to be making here. Oh one more (I looked this up earlier):

What is a celebrity? The dictionary (Miriam-Webster [1]) says "a famous or celebrated person", which seems a rather blah definition. I found this in a Weekly Standard article with google:


As for "celebrity," the standard definition is no longer the dictionary one but rather closer to the one that Daniel Boorstin gave in his book The Image: Or What Happened to the American Dream: "The celebrity," Boorstin wrote, "is a person who is well-known for his well-knownness," which is improved in its frequently misquoted form as "a celebrity is someone famous for being famous." [2]

He (Joseph Epstein, the author of the article) then goes on to talk a little about Ted Williams, and then makes this distinction between 'fame' and 'celebrity', which I found interesting:


Whether Ted Williams was right or wrong to feel as he did is of less interest than the distinction his example provides, which suggests that fame is something one earns--through talent or achievement of one kind or another--while celebrity is something one cultivates or, possibly, has thrust upon one. The two are not, of course, entirely exclusive. [2]


So just so we don't get needlessly picky in this debate, I'm going to pose the following Socratic Question: What's your definition of celebrity?

Ok thanks everyone, I'm going to go carefully read my opponents opening statement now, and see what subtle and brilliant points I should be terrified of.


Back over to you friend!



posted on Jul, 7 2008 @ 09:47 PM
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Semperfortis vs Ian McLean

"The American Media Uses Celebrities To Distract The American Public From Political Concerns."

Semper’s Reply 1

AH… The often used and at times, anticipated, RE-defining of the debate topic.

My valued opponent has spent the vast majority of his opening statement telling all of you exactly what HE thinks you should be evaluating…. NOW that is interesting…

Perhaps re-defining the debate topic would make it easier to debate as one can define it too suit one’s own particular preferences, yet we are given a debate topic and expected to debate that very topic.

I shall simply continue with my debate and let my opponent continue trying to define that which has already been defined…

"The American Media Uses Celebrities To Distract The American Public From Political Concerns."

Now on with the debate:

Rebuttal


I don't want the audience to get confused!


You may be surprised at our audience’s ability to grasp the topic.


But is that the same as "The Media Using To Distract"? I don't think so!


That is the debate my friend…


The media does let celebrities get on the air or rant in interviews. The more controversial the better!


EXACTLY!!!!

My debate in a nutshell my friends….

The American Media not only “let’s" these celebrities get on the air, they encourage it; all while the American public should be concentrating on the issues at hand and not wondering who Oprah is going to support.

Heaven forbid the American Public learn what is really going on!!!

Distraction…


gives the public a chance to mock them by discussing how totally off-base they are in their views!


Again.. EXACTLY….

Distraction from the real issues….


they're quite willing on their own to not worry about stuff they just naturally don't care about.


Are you really willing to commit to a stance that the American Public does NOT care about $4.00 a gallon gas or higher, loss of jobs across the nation, devaluated dollar and an economy that is going down the drain my friend?

Quite a leap.

Socratic Question:

Socratic Question: What's your definition of celebrity?


Answer:


1.a famous or well-known person.

Online Dictionary

I’m OK with the standard dictionary definition.

Continuation

I think that we can all safely accept that the “Media" has an agenda. Now what that agenda may be is usually a matter of “debate"; no pun intended.

While most of us understand that ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN and PBS all have a Liberal agenda and that FOX leans to the right, the exact nature of that agenda is a mystery. With one exception. Looking at the owners of the particular media, one can easily make the appropriate connection.

Let us for a moment concentrate on the MSM’s, (Main Stream Media) Liberal Agenda.

We have a Republican President. Fact.

The Liberals HATE that as they hate all things conservative. This is an election year, another fact.

So how do you, as a Liberal, make sure a Liberal wins the election? Easy, make it appear the Conservative President is shown in the worse possible light.

Now using the debate topic as a base model, how can the Liberal Media use celebrities to distract the American Public from political concerns?

Bad News Sells

Let us look at one specific instance that in essence proves my stance on the debate topic.


Spotlight one, Hollywood Director Brian DePalma. His film "Redacted" shows American soldiers raping an Iraqi woman and killing innocent civilians. DePalma admits he made the film to hurt the effort in Iraq.


Fox

Now here we have an actual admission to the debate topic. Brian DePalma, a celebrity by the definition provided, is using other celebrities in a film to “Hurt the effort in Iraq.”

Pure and self admitted distraction.

BAD NEWS SELLS
And casts a shadow on the Conservative President...

Distraction...

By all accurate accounts the “surge” is working magnificently, yet do we hear anything about that? NO

We are exposed; by a celebrity, to other celebrities portraying ONE MANS OPINION and distracting the American Public from real political concerns; being as the war in Iraq is without a doubt a political concern.

While what the movie portrays is without a doubt serious and concerning to all, so is the fact that violence is down and the country is far safer. Heinous crimes happen all over the world each and every day. This is a sad and ever present fact. They also happen in a war zone; this being another fact.

An additional fact is that Brian DePalma used celebrities to distract the American Public from REAL political concerns.

How about some other opinions?

While the worsening economy here at home, the job situation and gas prices have all eclipsed the conflict in Iraq, some Celebrities refuse to let it go and are still attempting to distract the American Public from TRUE political concerns.


Actor Kelsey Grammer, who plays the lead role in NBC's "Frasier" sitcom, said he refused to watch this year's Academy Awards because of the anti-war "crap" that fellow celebrities spewed.

Actor Robert Duvall said he is not a fan of Michael Moore, and he lashed out at Hollywood political activists.

"They should keep their mouths shut," Duvall said.

Asked if the media over-emphasizes celebrity opinions, actor Ron Silver emphatically agreed."I do, because at the end of the day, who cares?


Media Research

Seems I am not the only one who believes the debate topic.

So what we have is one of the oldest games in the world; the game of “Cups and Pea”… Distraction at it’s best.

The Media trots out one celebrity after another in order to cast a shadow on anything conservative. Their goal? To discredit the sitting Conservative President and insert their Liberal choice.

Distraction….

Do we hear about how in 2006 when the Democrats took power in the House and the Senate, that the economy was incredible, gas prices reasonable and the jobless rate at a historic low?

Nope.

We see one celebrity after another being paraded by the media spouting about the war, the lost election of 2004 or health care in Cuba.

Distraction….

Think there is NOT a difference in the Republican Stance on celebrities in politics from the Democrats.. Think again..


Democrats and liberals are much more welcoming of celebrity involvement in politics than Republicans and conservatives. Sixty-nine percent of Republicans said celebrities should stay out of politics, compared to just 33 percent of Democrats.

CBS

So what we have here is… “A Failure To Communicate”, to copy a phrase much used.

Instead of looking at voting records and watching speeches, the American Public spends all their time watching celebrities TELL them who they should support and why.

Now who for a minute, thinks the Media does NOT know this and uses it to their advantage?

Now I have no idea what exactly the ultimate goals of those that control the media are; I know of no one that does. I also can not tell you if they are Conservative or Liberal; I can tell you that they use celebrities to distract us at every opportunity.

They do NOT want us looking at Obama’s voting record.

They do NOT want us paying attention to what the Democrat controlled house and Senate is doing, or NOT DOING.

Talk radio does not want us paying attention to McCain’s age.

Distraction….

Socratic Question #1
“Do you think that Celebrities making political statements distract the American Public from issues they need to be concerned with, whether the media controls this or not?”

Thank you

Semper



posted on Jul, 8 2008 @ 10:22 AM
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'Distractions' Abound

Oops! I guess I give my opponent a little ammo in my opening. Perhaps rather than considering the wider picture of the complex relationship between 'the media' and 'celebrities', and just what we mean by those terms, I should have spun a biased interpretation of the topic. On second thought, nope, I'm glad I didn't.

So, in exactly what world is 'presenting personal opinions' the same as 'distracting'?

I'm still trying to wrap my head around that. It's a great debate tactic: equate the topic with the Conservative/Liberal divide in American politics, and then argue that unless you agree that Hollywood has a 'liberal agenda' which it uses to 'distract'(?) conservatives, you're rabidly partisan.

Huh, that still doesn't make sense! Let me get this straight: if a celebrity tries to be socially conscious (as they see it) and speaks up, saying for example that the Surge in Iraq hasn't solved problems of sectarian violence, then that's distracting from the public's concern about the War in Iraq?

Oh wait: I can see one way in which that argument makes sense:


distract the American Public from REAL political concerns

Ah -- REAL political concerns. Like those of REAL Americans. Unlike the liberal cheese-eating Hollywood elite, huh? Distracting from the TRUTH with their deceptive 'opinions', backed with propagandist 'facts'and 'documentary film footage', huh? Why, perhaps they're even infringing on the public's freedom of thought, by their treasonous 'speaking out'. How abominable!

So, by that measure, this little debate we're having, only serves to DISTRACT the viewing audience from the REAL truth about celebrities and the media? Silly me, here I was thinking we're trying to highlight a wide range of possible truth, and let the audience decide.

Distraction: EXACTLY. Let's keep it 'real'.

Look, the truth is this: celebrities are an idealized mirror of the public. We see in them what we want to see in ourselves, to some extent -- they provide an externalization of our own self-images, aspects of what we consider important. That's why they're sometimes called 'idols'.

Realizing that role, they sometimes speak out politically, blurring the lines between themselves personally and their typecast personas. In doing so, they add diversity of opinion to the public discussion of political and social issues. They do so because they themselves feel it needs to be added. They are in a position to expand the context of mainstream discussion, and sometimes they act to do so.

The alternative is often the drumbeat of conformist opinion. That the media provides a venue for their expression indicates quite strongly that the media's motive isn't 'distraction'. More likely, the media wants to package and convey an interesting product that the public will pay attention to -- regardless of the effect on 'political concerns'.


Socratic Question #1
“Do you think that Celebrities making political statements distract the American Public from issues they need to be concerned with, whether the media controls this or not?”

No, though sometimes I think celebrity antics get more media attention than they rightly deserve. Tom Cruise jumping on a couch, for example. I think he was trying to make a point about psychiatrists. Funny to watch, though, and if it wasn't Tom, it would probably be water-skiing squirrels or something else.

Here's the real conspiracy, if you want to find one -- political opinion in the media tends to be either very partisan, with constant nitpicking and sniping, or very academic, with intimidating intellectuals ready to smack down their opponents. Both of those tend to push the public away from actively discussing politics in their day-to-day lives, with their friends and relatives: they simply don't want to draw fire like they see on TV. Adding celebrity opinion can change that. When I talk politics with my next-door neighbor, she might not have an opinion on what Milton Freedman might think about 'progressive' policies, but I can certainly talk about what Oprah, and she, think about Obama, and go from there. That opens up whole realms of discussion.


'Liberal' Hollywood

You know, I must admit that I'm no expert celebrity-spotter. I can't recognize very many of them by their pictures, or rattle off movie or sports trivia.

I surprised a friend of mine a few month ago, when he mentioned Britney Spears. I asked, 'wait, she's the one who shaved her head, right'? He couldn't believe I wasn't sure who she was. I was only kidding around a little.

Years ago, another friend of mine, when I told him 'I don't know who all these celebrities are', told me that, really, there's only about a hundred name-brand celebrities in Hollywood, it's not too hard to learn who they are, and once you do, the new ones that come along are easily added to the list. Made sense, if only to better discuss the qualities of the acting in various films.

So, my esteemed opponent mentioned three celebrities: Robert Duvall, Ron Silver, and Kelsey Grammer, when he was talking about how actors should keep their political opinions to themselves. I had to do some research. Fortunately, not too hard to do! -- actors sure like to talk and give interviews, huh?

And I was a little surprised when I found out that they're not exactly what you would call 'Hollywood liberals'. In fact, some of their views are very conservative! Kind of undermines the theory of a homogeneous Hollywood elite, with their media conspirators, advancing a secret agenda of deception, doesn't it? In fact, maybe Hollywood's a little more representative of the diversity of American political opinion than we usually give it credit for.


Robert Duvall: Distracting The Public?

Wow, Robert Duvall is quite outspoken. From a 2003 interview:


I mean, why be so outspoken about it anyway? Does it help Sean Penn’s career to go over to Iraq? Did it help Jane Fonda to go over to Vietnam years ago? I don’t know. But sometimes when these guys speak out... I get embarrassed.

You don’t talk politically very often, do you?

Not so much in public. [1]

He seems to have changed his tune, though. From CBS News recently:


While John McCain’s campaign may not be attracting the star power of Barack Obama’s camp – Scarlett Johansson and Oprah Winfrey spring to mind – the grizzled actor Robert Duvall appeared with McCain at three high dollar fundraisers tonight, which raked in over $2 million for his presidential effort.

“I’m not from Hollywood,” Duvall said. “I’m from Virginia.” He went on talk about how inspiring he found McCain’s stories from his time as a prisoner in Vietnam, saying it showed leadership. “He’s now serving his country in another way, and I plan to vote for him,” Duvall said, to cheers from the crowds of donors. [2]

A little hypocritical, perhaps, but stumping for a Presidential candidate isn't exactly 'distracting' the American public from politics.


Ron Silver: Distracting The Public?

I had a little trouble trying to categorize Ron Silver, politically. In 2006, he supported Joe Lieberman, and was also supportive of Administration policies in Iraq. Here's a quote from him in the Washington Post:


"I find it ironic that many human rights activists and outspoken members of my own entertainment community are often on the front lines to protest repression, for which I applaud them, but they're usually the first ones to oppose any use of force to take care of these horrors that they catalogue repeatedly." [3]

Which is quite a fundamental political issue, and a pretty incisive observation. And look, he's hosts a political discussion show on Sirius Radio:


SIRIUS Satellite Radio today announced that Indie Talk, the first radio channel for independent voters, will broadcast "The Fight for Independents" -- a live, town hall style roundtable discussion program. As the candidates and the nation prepare for the general election, political maverick Ron Silver, comedian Pete Dominick, and former Court TV anchor Vinnie Politan, all hosts on Indie Talk, will hold a live open-forum call-in broadcast with independent voters to find out how they plan to cast their votes and why. [4]

So, is Sirius trying to distract the public here, or is Silver? Or perhaps neither of them are?


Kelsey Grammer: Distracting The Public?

Here's Kelsey Grammer, from a Fox News interview:


COLMES: But Hollywood then is not all just a bunch of liberals running around applauding each other, patting each other on the back.

GRAMMER: It's not to my knowledge, there's plenty of conservatives running around applauding each other and patting each other on the back as well." [5]

Doesn't sound like much of a partisan 'Liberal agenda' to me. And hey, look, Kelsey Grammer, who my opponent cited as decrying 'activist actors', has considered getting into politics himself:


GRAMMER: Possibly senator. But the truth is, I would like to get to a place where I could do the most good for the greatest number of people. And the idea would be hopefully to just dictate whatever policy I would try to advance, based upon the premise of whether or not it's a good idea.

Is this a man who is distracting the public? Or is this a perhaps slightly egotistical man who wants to represent them, and perhaps address their political concerns?



posted on Jul, 9 2008 @ 01:18 AM
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Semperfortis vs Ian McLean

"The American Media Uses Celebrities To Distract The American Public From Political Concerns."

Semper’s Reply 2

Ladies and Gentlemen, before I strike out on my second reply, I would like for you to again look at my opponents post.

There you will find a PERFECT EXAMPLE of celebrities defecting from more serious concerns.

You will find almost one half of my opponents reply obsessed with what Robert Duvall said or did not say, what Kelsey Grammer said or did not say and even if Ron Silver is a celebrity. You will also find much on who they supported and why. Whether they had a liberal agenda or not and other interesting stuff but not relevant to the debate.

YOU GUESSED IT

The mere mention of those celebrities has distracted my opponent from the debate!!!!

I use them as examples and they almost instantly distract my opponent!!!

I almost feel like apologizing.

Rebuttal


I should have spun a biased interpretation of the topic.


I have a thought; maybe you could have left the topic just like it is?


'presenting personal opinions' the same as 'distracting'?


When your personal opinions redefine a perfectly defined topic.


if a celebrity tries to be socially conscious (as they see it) and speaks up, saying for example that the Surge in Iraq hasn't solved problems of sectarian violence


When it is a lie and when the author of the statement comes right out and admits it…. See my previous reply if you are still in doubt. It was very clear.


Like those of REAL Americans. Unlike the liberal cheese-eating Hollywood elite,


EXACTLY… Well put and I thank you…

While most Americans are constantly worried about where their next tank of gas is going to come from, do you think those wealthy celebrities have the same concern?

Celebrities don’t need low cost housing, affordable health care or help finding a job; they are free to spend all of their time distracting us from those concerns and making us worry about the Spotted Owl or drilling for oil in Alaska.

Distraction from Real political concerns

Remember that partisan politics is only one small reason for deflection and distraction. There are many more, including causing us to concentrate on the individual concerns of the celebrities instead of the concerns we have as normal, Non-celebrities. Money, power and opinionated personal concerns also top the list.


here I was thinking we're trying to highlight a wide range of possible truth, and let the audience decide.


By your definition or the debate topic? So now you want the audience to decide?


Look, the truth is this: celebrities are an idealized mirror of the public


Not anywhere I have ever lived. Maybe on Rodeo Drive, but not in my neck of the woods. Here people are just trying to do the best they can with what they have and what they can work for. Now me? I have always thought there was a little Rambo in me, but I may be fantasizing….


They do so because they themselves feel it needs to be added. They are in a position to expand the context of mainstream discussion, and sometimes they act to do so.


Again… EXACTLY…. They feel it necessary to distract the public.

Remember the debate title?

"The American Media Uses Celebrities To Distract The American Public From Political Concerns."

I am SURE they feel it needs to be done, we can’t have people actually concentrating on REAL political concerns, that might take away from one of the Medias pet projects after all.

The remainder of my opponent’s reply is a perfect example of being distracted by celebrities and really needs no rebuttal.


Here we can all read about another perfect example of celebrity distraction in action::


The Donald/Rosie feud is wearing thin and Bush is apparently leaning towards not just not drawing down troops, but increasing our presence in Iraq contrary to the will of the American people, so it's time to fan the flames of another controversey, this one between former child actor Danny Bonaduce and John Conner,

The Factor appearance and the radio interview with Gibson were more about the alleged fallout from the interview than the substance, as usual - kill the messenger.

News Hounds

Reading the entire article one can easily see a wonderful example of a deflection orchestrated by the media using celebrities.

More celebrity distraction; this time, unwanted::


The 2006 International AIDS Conference in Toronto is now nearing an end. After a week of discussions, lectures, symposiums, press conferences and vociferous protests, much is being said about the presence of high profile celebrity speakers.

Scandinavian royal families are here, but not their politicians.

However there is a feeling amongst some delegates that the celebrities have also served to distract many commentators and media representatives from assessing the real business of the conference,

Celebrity Distraction

The “Google” listings go on and on.

Celebrities distract us.

This is a fact.

At times, this is a good thing as I routinely watch one of my favorite adventure flicks as an escape. I want to be distracted by the movie and escape my present.

The media using celebrities to distract us from important political concerns is a very real fact and should be paid attention to. Just look at my references, look at my opponents distraction, it is all there.

Without a doubt:::

"The American Media Uses Celebrities To Distract The American Public From Political Concerns."

Thank you

Semper



posted on Jul, 9 2008 @ 07:40 PM
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Second Response


I almost feel like apologizing.

No need for that. I trust the audience to discern the bluster and spin in the first half of your response, and distinguish that from valid argumentation.

You did later cite two actual news articles; I'll address those in a few minutes, after clearing up some of your misconceptions and continuing my case.


From my opponent's first response:
Let us for a moment concentrate on the MSM’s, (Main Stream Media) Liberal Agenda.

From my opponent's second response:
Whether they had a liberal agenda or not... not relevant to the debate.

Handy that, when the arguments you attempt are only relevant if you can get away with your particular spin. The audience is a little more sophisticated, as is the American Public, when discerning bias in particular sources. More on that in a moment.

Let me summarize what we learned from your example of Messers Grammer, Duvall, and Silver:
  • I linked to examples of the use of these celebrities by three different Media sources -- television (CBS News, FOX News), print (Washington Post), and radio (Sirius Satellite). In each of these media, the celebrities in question expressed political concerns -- REAL political concerns shared by the American Public.

  • Rather than distracting, the various types of Media provided political opinion and a forum, perhaps not altruistically, but in order to enhance their market-share by addressing and encouraging discussion of the public's political concerns.

  • Instead of the ridiculous 'Liberal Conspiracy' you posited in your first reply, the views of these particular celebrities are actually quite Conservative. Mr Grammer in particular expressly denied the stereotype of homogeneous political opinion in Hollywood.


I have always thought there was a little Rambo in me

You go, Semper!



Bias Or Distraction?

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am not going to attempt to argue that there is no bias in the media. Indeed, as my opponent has so aptly demonstrated, political opinion in the United States is diverse; one man's bias is another man's truth. A purely objective media is, in fact, impossible: one aspect of reporting is selecting and presenting content the Public finds important; if their concerns are not addressed, the Public demands coverage or turns elsewhere in the Media Ecology for their news.

And the media does add diversity to the mainstream discussion via the political opinions of celebrities, to attract viewers and provide the public what they want. Anything for market-share.

But things could, as always, be better: the American public doesn't give their media much credit:


January 8, 2008

FAIRFIELD, Conn.—A Sacred Heart University Poll found significantly declining percentages of Americans saying they believe all or most of media news reporting. In the current national poll, just 19.6% of those surveyed could say they believe all or most news media reporting.

“The fact that an astonishing percentage of Americans see biases and partisanship in their mainstream news sources suggests an active and critical consumer of information in the U.S.” stated James Castonguay, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of SHU’s Department of Media Studies & Digital Culture. [1]

The American public is not as easily distracted as politicians might wish. From a further analysis of the survey results:


news consumers actually like opinions. They think of them as helpful perspectives that fill-in the gaps, allowing them to make their own, more informed decisions. They do not view opinions as contaminants of facts, as long as everyone understands that the content is not the truth, but simply what the writer believes to be the truth. [2]

I challenge the reader to talk to any American who regularly watches mainstream media news. In the vast majority of cases, you will not find a mindless puppet -- you'll find a fairly savvy (and often cynical) consumer of information content, tempered by fire in the age of 24/7 media, who understands about 'spin' and how politician evangelize their issues, and who forms their own opinion, drawing on various media sources as they see fit.

Why the illusion of a dumb, easily distracted public? Consider this: there's a certain sense of despair that arises, when an individual considers the 'impossibility' of an active citizenry effecting significant political change. The masses are often seen as asleep, and uncaring and unconcerned. That's not the case, as the survey I just cited indicates. So, who benefits? I'll simply point out that much of the appeal of politicians arises from them presenting themselves as the only possible avenue of change. There's a conspiracy for you.


Rebuttal


former child actor Danny Bonaduce and John Conner


Really? You're going to build your case on the actions of Danny Bonaduce? Danny Bonaduce is a jerk. To say he's a little self-centered and self-absorbed is like saying the sun is a little warm, or the ocean is not very shallow.

I did as you suggested, and read the entire article you cited:


It is natural that the media should be attracted to the already famous. Their readers and viewers demand a daily diet of celebrity. [3]

Yes, the American Public is fascinated by extremes. As well as opinions we agree with, we also want to see opinions and actions we disagree with. Thus we each define our positions, and indeed, ourselves, somewhere in the middle, as we see fit.

As recommended, I searched google for more about this incident. I found hundreds of comments and articles, only one of which agreed with the actions of Mr Bonaduce [4]. Rather than being distracted, the public seems to have found this incident a valid basis for discussion about the morality of 'ambush interviews' and the media's coverage of 9/11 (which is what got Danny so riled up). If the intent of FOX's sensationalism was to use Mr Bonaduce to distract the public, rather than attract viewers via controversy, it rather seems to have backfired on them.

On to your second news article...


The 2006 International AIDS Conference in Toronto is now nearing an end.
*snip*
...the celebrities have also served to distract many commentators and media representatives from assessing the real business of the conference [5]

I'm not sure what point you're trying to prove here. Did you just search for 'celebrities distract' and quote the first article you could find? Remember the topic:

"The American Media Uses Celebrities To Distract The American Public From Political Concerns."

It seems that The Media here is not using anyone! In fact, they're probably a little bitter that the celebrities in question chose to voice their opinions in a public conference, rather than giving them juicy exclusive interviews, with which they could boost their ratings. And the delegates at the conference, of course, are a little miffed at all the kerfuffle. What exactly is your point here? Are you saying the Media itself is distracted? Interesting, I guess we could argue that in a later debate, if you want.



posted on Jul, 9 2008 @ 11:19 PM
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Semperfortis vs Ian McLean

"The American Media Uses Celebrities To Distract The American Public From Political Concerns."

Semper’s Reply 3

Before we get started with the usual rebuttal and continuation; I would like to draw the readers attention to some small tidbits of interesting information gleaned from my opponent’s drafts.


nit-picky points like what Alec Baldwin knows or whether Moby is a real American or whatever just now.


Distraction


Yep, there's lots of celebrities with loud-mouths. Who, often only because of their celebrity, have some kind of 'bully-pulpit' to sound off.


To distract?


Politicians trot out movie stars all the time


Wonder why? To Distract.


give em a chance to look good in front of an audience, and they'll eat out of a politician's hand.


Again distracting us.


And nothing is quite so gotta-see to the American Public as a celebrity on an impassioned rant -- funny, too!


And quite so distracting huh?


Most people (thankfully not all!) that I know really don't need to be "distracted from" political concerns -- they're quite willing on their own to not worry about stuff they just naturally don't care about.


Don’t you think that is because they are distracted?


'Distractions' Abound

Oops! I guess I give my opponent a little ammo in my opening.]


Exactly!


I found out that they're not exactly what you would call 'Hollywood liberals'.


Again you were distracted…

Well, there is more, but as you can see the pattern is very clear. My opponent has succinctly and clearly stated my case for me.

Let us look for a moment at the definition of “Distraction”….


1. to draw away or divert, as the mind or attention: The music distracted him from his work.
2. to disturb or trouble greatly in mind; beset: Grief distracted him.
3. to provide a pleasant diversion for; amuse; entertain: I'm bored with bridge, but golf still distracts me.
4. to separate or divide by dissension or strife.

Dictionary.com

Now looking at my opponents previous drafts, it is VERY clear that “HE” has in fact substantiated the “distraction” element of the debate.

Now that is cleared up, on with the debate.

Rebuttal:


Handy that, when the arguments you attempt are only relevant if you can get away with your particular spin.


sigh

My good and valued opponent; you so completely missed the point of my contentions; it does not matter what spin you may want to place on it, or even accuse me of placing there. Spin it how you will or I shall for you. The particular political stance is completely irrelevant.

It is all distraction from true political concerns. Whether it is Liberal or Conservative does not enter into the equation. I was simply using a standard I am most comfortable with. If it makes it easier for you to understand, we can look at how Talk Radio uses distraction to further the Conservative clause. There is no need to get into a partisan argument here as the actual politics are not relevant to the debate.

Look at it this way: Is there really anyone here that would argue whether Rush Limbaugh uses distraction or not? I doubt you will find many that will say he does NOT…. Even I, being an avid Rush listener and supporter understand that he uses distraction to his advantage all the time. And yes; admit it or not, Rush is the single most successful radio personality in history and therefore qualifies as a celebrity.


provided political opinion and a forum, perhaps not altruistically


Perhaps?


Instead of the ridiculous 'Liberal Conspiracy' you posited in your first reply, the views of these particular celebrities are actually quite Conservative.


It does not matter….

It distracted the American public as it has distracted you…..

Now from your own source:


The perception is growing among Americans that the news media attempts to influence public opinion – from 79.3% strongly or somewhat agreeing in 2003 to 87.6% in 2007.

And, 86.0% agreed (strongly or somewhat) that the news media attempts to influence public policies – up from 76.7% in 2003.

Source

Now how is it you suppose they are doing this?

DISTRACTION

Remember the two sections of the definition for distraction…


2. to disturb or trouble greatly in mind; beset: Grief distracted him.
3. to provide a pleasant diversion for; amuse; entertain: I'm bored with bridge, but golf still distracts me.



Yes, the American Public is fascinated by extremes.


EXACTLY


I'm not sure what point you're trying to prove here.


Did you even read the article? It was VERY clear.

Look more closely at the section where they said the “politicians did not even show up” and you may better understand the import.

Socratic Question #1

On reading your drafts again, do you agree that the attention you have applied to partisanship is in and of itself a distraction?

Socratic Question #2

Would you not also agree that you have spent an inordinate amount of time on the celebrities and their political affiliations I used as reference and that is due also to distraction?

Continuation:

Distraction, deflection and celebrities.

One can argue this debate all year long and never be able to run or hide from one simple fact.

It is the JOB of a celebrity to distract; it is what they do and what they have always done. They distract us from the ho hum of our everyday existence and they deflect us from serious issues for a time. This is wonderful when sitting down to watch a movie, not so good when they are trying to get us to, or unintentionally causing us to ignore political facts we need to be concentrating on.

Just look at how distracted my opponent has already become; and he is arguing against distraction!!!

It is in our nature to want to be distracted, that is why Brittney gets so much press and the situation in Darfur gets so little. It is a shameful fact of modern America; yet it is a fact no less.

Remember this: I am under no obligation to prove WHY they are distracting us. Perhaps it is because Brittney gets better ratings; that fits each and every scenario I have presented to you.

Perhaps they have a political agenda as I have suggested.

Perhaps they just hate politics.

The reason does not matter, only that it is happening and that has been proven.

There is no doubt that:::

"The American Media Uses Celebrities To Distract The American Public From Political Concerns."

Thank you

Semper



posted on Jul, 10 2008 @ 07:08 AM
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Before I begin, I was considering answering my opponent's Socratic Questions in a manner that he would find minimally distracting:

1: No
2: No, and no.


To be fair, I won't do that -- I will expound upon those deep thoughts in more detail, answering the questions verbosely, as I continue my presentation and rebut my opponents amusing assertions.


Undistracted But Alone: Life On The Mountaintop

My esteemed and undistractable opponent began his last response with the following cogent arguments (quoted completely):


Distraction

To distract?

Wonder why? To Distract.

Again distracting us.

And quite so distracting huh?

In the course of his replies, he has argued:

  • Expressing opinions can be distracting
  • Introducing new topics can be distracting
  • Information can be distracting
  • Bias can be distracting
  • Entertainment can be distracting
  • Obnoxious celebrities can be distracting
  • Celebrities being serious can be distracting
  • Political dissent can be distracting
  • Politics can be distracting
  • Topics other than politics can be distracting

    Congratulations! He has won! Unfortunately, the topic that he has successfully argued is:

    Topic: Everything Can Be Distracting

    The prize: a calm mountaintop somewhere, where one may purse a life free of all distractions. A comfy cushion is provided, upon which to sit, should the chill of the cold rock break one's concentration, and distract from 'REAL concerns'.

    I believe the technique employed by my opponent is known as 'broadening the topic'. It goes like this: if everything's a distraction, then all actions, no matter what, are being used to distract.

    We are not talking about all distractions.

    We are talking about the deliberate use of distraction.

    We are not talking about that use by politicians, or celebrities themselves. We are talking about the use of distraction by the American Media.

    And we're not talking about distractions that serve the public's appetites, or offer relief from the boring aspects of their day-to-day lives. We are talking about the use of distraction, by the American Media, to distract from the public's concerns.

    And not just any concerns, their political concerns.

    Oh, and we're only talking about the use of celebrities.

    The Topic: The American Media Uses Celebrities To Distract The American Public From Political Concerns

    I would consider my opponent's use of wild rhetorical flailings as an attempt to 'distract' from the real topic, but that would be inaccurate: there is a large difference between distraction and attempted obfuscation.

    As the scope of 'distraction' and 'use' is narrowed, to what the topic actually states, convincing evidence must also become more specific, as those meaning of those terms becomes more definite as the context becomes less vague. Perhaps my opponent will attempt to argue that since "everything's a distraction", the narrower phrasing of the actual topic of course applies. If that were the case, which it is not, why has he not shown evidence of a specific pattern that meets all the criteria of the debate topic?


    Rebuttal


    It is all distraction from true political concerns. Whether it is Liberal or Conservative does not enter into the equation.

    I agree with you that the terms 'Liberal' and 'Conservative', when applied broadly, and not in the context of specific issues and stances, can be falsely divisive.

    Once again, in the above quote, you're using the undefined term 'true political concerns'. Is there some secret Grand Unifying Theory of political opinion that you would care to share with us? Or perhaps some specifics? I ask you:

    Socratic Question #1: How does a diversity of opinion in the media give the public less of a context in which to address their political concerns?


    To answer your first Socratic Question:


    do you agree that the attention you have applied to partisanship is in and of itself a distraction?

    No. I would ask the reader to search this debate for those terms ('liberal' and 'conservative'), to see where they were first introduced (by my opponent), and why I felt the need to address his bandying of such irrelevant divisiveness.


    And your second Socratic Question:


    [would you agree] you have spent an inordinate amount of time on the celebrities and their political affiliations I used as reference and that is due also to distraction?

    No, and no. My research time spent on the celebrities you specifically introduced was quite, um, ordinate, for the many flaws it revealed in your argument. See the bullet-points at the start of my second response, if you need a refresher.



    Is there really anyone here that would argue whether Rush Limbaugh uses distraction or not?

    I actually like Rush, even though I rarely agree with his politics. He's quite a talker, and he certainly knows how to stir up political opinion. He's very good at presenting his opinion in a way that suits his agenda; there's a lot for the savvy listener to learn from his rhetoric. But how does he use celebrities in his rants? I've often heard him rail against various celebrities, of course, but he does it to bolster his political arguments, not distract from political concerns.

    Socratic Question #2: Are you saying that Rush distracts his audience from their political concerns?



    "the news media attempts to influence public policies" Now how is it you suppose they are doing this? DISTRACTION

    Again with the conflation of 'influence' and 'distract'. I would say the more biased media often distorts reporting of events, makes inaccurate presumptions of 'fact', and uses emotionally-charged viewpoints in order to influence the public's opinion, and resulting policy. But deception is not distraction, in practice: attempting to sway someone's opinion is very different than distracting them from political concerns. And what was the point you were making about the use of celebrities in all this?



    Look more closely at the section where they said the “politicians did not even show up” and you may better understand the import.

    Oh, now it's the politicians who are being 'distracted'? By whom, again? The media, or was it the celebrities? Look, efforts to combat AIDS are nothing to joke about, really: the fact that politicians are no longer finding political capital in an up-front stance to do so is rather sad. Blaming it on the media who were there to cover the event, or the celebrities who still find it an important issue really makes no sense.



    It is the JOB of a celebrity to distract; it is what they do and what they have always done.

    By the definition of 'distract' as equivalent to 'entertain', that would be correct. But from what do those 'favorite adventure flicks' you (and I) watch serve to distract from? The mundanity and struggle of everyday life, of course. If you need to watch a movie to escape from 'political concerns', you're not really escaping those concerns -- you're temporarily escaping the burden of unaddressed and unresolved concerns.

    Did you really come out of the latest Indiana Jones movie with, say, your concerns about the political situation involving Iran erased? I know I didn't.

    Socratic Question #3: If the media didn't exist, would the average American really think about political concerns all the time? And if not, why?



    they are distracting us
    *snip*
    The reason does not matter, only that it is happening and that has been proven.

    You have proven nothing of the sort. You've shown that the term 'distracting' can, without context, be defined as virtually any action. You've shown no pattern of deliberate use of celebrities by the media, and no intent to distract the public from anything, rather than merely provide entertainment or diversity of opinion.

    But a fine debate none-the-less. Thank you.


    I now turn the floor over to my opponent, fully expecting him to argue that everything discussed thusfar has merely been a distraction, and the real truth is that Inside Edition is in fact a conspiracy by the Illuminati-controlled Media Complex.



  • posted on Jul, 10 2008 @ 10:12 PM
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    Semperfortis vs Ian McLean

    "The American Media Uses Celebrities To Distract The American Public From Political Concerns."

    Semper’s Closing

    Yes my valued opponent, your “first” answers did in fact distract me and amused me as well. Thank you.

    Another debate draws to a close, another meeting of the minds and matching of wits, all courtesy of this wonderful site we all call our home away from home. ATS

    Thank you ATS, thank you Ian McLean, thank you MemoryShock for your work, contributions and this opportunity.

    On with my closing:

    Socratic Questions Answered:


    Socratic Question #1: How does a diversity of opinion in the media give the public less of a context in which to address their political concerns?


    Quick answer; it doesn’t. It also does not matter in the context of the debate. All that needs to be addressed is whether it is a distraction or not, and I have proven time and again that it is.

    Look at it this way; it can be a distraction regardless of what it is distracting from or what it is distracting about. The topic of the debate does not limit us to a certain “type” of distraction, or a certain “cause”, only the distraction itself.

    As this debate is being judged, I ask that this be considered.


    Socratic Question #2: Are you saying that Rush distracts his audience from their political concerns?


    ABSOLUTELY!!!!!

    Listen to him on “open mike Friday” and you will hear it in his own words. Monday through Thursday Rush only talks about exactly what he is interested in. He distracts us from our own personal concerns and entertains us with his own. His very persona is a distraction; enjoyable yes, but very distracting.


    Socratic Question #3: If the media didn't exist, would the average American really think about political concerns all the time? And if not, why?


    “All the time” is a silly concept of course; yet the percentage would definitely go through the roof.

    Rebuttal:


    Topic: Everything Can Be Distracting


    YES!!! Now your getting it!!!

    It has NOTHING to do with the material, only how it is presented that makes it distracting.

    Put yourself in this position. You and I are talking and your concern is about raising flowers; yet all I will talk about is the Presidential Election. I just won’t shut up about it, I go on and on and on until I have either driven you insane, or you indulge me and begin to discuss my topic. You have been thoroughly distracted.

    Now of course not ever scenario will be as complete as that, but the scenario remains valid. Topics are not relevant to the debate, only manner and intent.


    We are talking about the deliberate use of distraction.


    And remember this my valued opponent, I do not need to show you WHY they are deliberately doing it, only that they are to fulfill the debate topic. I have accomplished this several times over.


    As the scope of 'distraction' and 'use' is narrowed, to what the topic actually states,


    Again with the defining… could you just leave the topic the way it is?


    I agree with you that the terms 'Liberal' and 'Conservative', when applied broadly, and not in the context of specific issues and stances, can be falsely divisive.


    And distracting in and of itself!!!!


    I would ask the reader to search this debate for those terms ('liberal' and 'conservative'), to see where they were first introduced (by my opponent), and why I felt the need to address his bandying of such irrelevant divisiveness.


    I simply used them as references, you made them the meat of at least one of your replies and for some unknown reason seemed intent on focusing on them. I could only assume you were distracted.


    My research time spent on the celebrities you specifically introduced was quite, um, ordinate,


    AGAIN.. I simply referenced them to show distraction, (Which they accomplished quite nicely) you seemed intent on debating their political stance for some reason. I still do not understand your obsession with the politics of those celebrities as it has nothing to do with the debate.


    He's very good at presenting his opinion in a way that suits his agenda; there's a lot for the savvy listener to learn from his rhetoric. But how does he use celebrities in his rants?


    Again, you clearly have stated my stance. He presents HIS opinion using RHETORIC and HE is a celebrity.

    He is only one example, but he is certainly a good one. Rush has opinions and they are his alone. That is perfectly fine. (No one said that what the media does by distracting is a BAD thing, the debate is only that it happens) yet there is no denying that while listening to Rush, he is the master at making us care more about what he is concerned with then our own personal causes, we become enamored with his rhetoric and forget all about our own concerns.

    Rush is a good example in that he is the Media and a Celebrity all combined in one neat package.


    I would say the more biased media often distorts reporting of events, makes inaccurate presumptions of 'fact', and uses emotionally-charged viewpoints in order to influence the public's opinion, and resulting policy.


    Then how can you deny they use celebrities to accomplish exactly what you have just stated they are doing?

    You very own admission above substantiates the debate topic perfectly!

    Thank you

    Continuation:

    First and foremost we MUST remember the debate topic exactly as it stands, without re-defining.

    "The American Media Uses Celebrities To Distract The American Public From Political Concerns."

    Now look at it closely and you will find no reference as to WHY the media is doing this. One may make several conclusions based on well known facts however.

    Politics… Low ratings
    Celebrities… High Ratings

    Politics… Slow moving
    Celebrities… Fast Paced

    Politics… Agenda
    Celebrities… Supportive

    Regardless of the reason the media distracts us from political concerns, the FACT that they do is clear, it is evident and it has been proven here.

    My opponent would seek to “distract” you from the debate topic and make you concerned with the “why” of it all; when that is NOT a part of the topic of the debate. Remember this.

    All through this debate I have given you much to consider.

    I have shown you some compelling reasons as to possibly why the media distracts us. (Even though that was not necessary)

    I have shown you celebrities that have admitted to using distraction to further their own political concerns.

    I have even shown you other celebrities that recognize such distraction is happening and wish for it to stop.

    My opponent on the other hand, has tried to re-define the debate to fit his argument, he has spent a vast amount of time on the particular politics of celebrities I used as reference and many times throughout the debate, it appears he was distracted from the topic as well.

    In the end, it is up to all of you to decide which argument is the more convincing; I would only ask that you consider this debate within the parameters of the topic as stated; not as re-defined.

    My evidence is compelling.

    My research is there.

    There is NO denying:

    "The American Media Uses Celebrities To Distract The American Public From Political Concerns."

    Thank you.

    Semper



    posted on Jul, 11 2008 @ 07:46 PM
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    Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for reading this debate. Any debate with the inimitable and "always strong" Semperfortis is certain to be a well-fought and enjoyable battle; I thank my opponent for his participation, and of course also thank the site owners and our esteemed moderator Memoryshock for making possible this venue.


    Concluding Statement

    During the course of this debate, I have been asking my friends and coworkers their opinions on the subjects of the Media and Distraction. I found that all of them were of the opinion that the media sensationalizes celebrities, and that the American Public experiences pressures that divert and sway their political opinions. I knew I had an up-hill battle on my hands.

    I was a little surprised that my opponent has been unable to show a pattern of distraction in the Media's use of celebrities. Surely the existence of sensationalistic fodder such as "Hard Copy" and "A Current Affair" supports his position? However, let us remember that the Public's appetite for sensationalism and scandal far predates the modern media and their manipulations -- gossip was invented before the written word! And the thirst for entertainment far predates Democracy.

    Still, my preconception, too, was to agree with the topic. Imagine my surprise when, during the course of this debate and my own research, I concluded that this is yet another example of a subject in which the commonly held perception, in this case, 'a distracted public', is an illusion that crumbles when analyzed objectively.

    To begin to explain: I have long been intellectually fascinated with the media, as much is revealed about individual psychology, sociology, and political theory by studying their actions and the results.

    On ATS and elsewhere, I have expounded upon my own theories of the effect of media on the public: it is my belief that the polarization of opinion and recasting of facts by the media actually serve to create conflicting worldviews in the minds of the American public, undermining the capacity for productive individual-to-individual discussion of public policy, and enhancing the role of establishment hierarchies in their control of the avenues of societal change. There is an active attempt to engineer a 'Balkanization of consensus'.

    The role of the demagogic media in this process is particularly interesting. Strongly opinionated and vocal 'opinion-makers' attempt to lead the public, not by distracting them, but by engaging them, with appealingly simplistic world-views and emotionally charged conclusions. Once a listener or viewer embraces the viewpoint of a particular source, and frames their opinions in the terms offered by that source, rational discussion is impaired. Debates with those of other opinions and viewpoints often degenerate: understanding is prevented by barriers of incompatible 'spin', discussion is replaced by the lobbing of slogans and catch-phrases.

    And so they would control us. But is it working?

    The answer: NO!

    And not only among the 'intellectual' or 'awakened'!

    The American Public is, as are humans everywhere, resilient and adaptable. WE LEARN. One need only look at the ever-increasing tide of dissent, from ALL points of the political spectrum, against the actions and supposed trustworthiness of the public's 'representatives'. The Public is not 'distracted' one iota! The expression of the Public's political concerns is being suppressed and subverted!

    WE NO LONGER BLINDLY TRUST THE MEDIA. Consider again, carefully, the words of Dr Castonguay, from the survey I cited earlier:


    “The fact that an astonishing percentage of Americans see biases and partisanship in their mainstream news sources suggests an active and critical consumer of information in the U.S.” [1]


    That same survey shows that in 2007, amazingly, less that 20% of the American Public believe that even "most" of the Media's news product is trustworthy, down from 27% in 2003.

    Less than 20% of the ENTIRE AMERICAN PUBLIC, of all education levels and walks of life, believe there is even a majority of unbiased truth present in the media. Eyes are open, and opening.

    And yet, the perception of an easily-swayed, gullible and distractable American Public remains. WHY? Surely the media companies are aware of the truth of how their product is perceived. I return to the concept of the 'Balkanization of consensus':

    The MYTH of a DISTRACTED AND UNCONCERNED PUBLIC serves to UNDERMINE the Public's faith that political change can be effected through emergent coordination of concerned individuals, UNCONTROLLED BY ESTABLISHED HIERARCHIES OF POWER.

    The PERCEIVED barrier of overwhelming indifference serves to maintain a state of DESPAIR.

    The American Media does NOT distract the American Public. Those in power only want us to THINK they do.


    Gentle reader, thank you.



    posted on Jul, 11 2008 @ 08:23 PM
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    Well fought, on both sides, gentlemen.

    We are off to the judges.



    posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 01:30 PM
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    I can attest that the judges had a very difficult time judging this debate and would like to say that it was an excellent debate and one of the finer Fights that I have encountered in this debate forum. Both sides brought out great points and debate strategies.

    That said, winner, by split decision, is Semperfortis. Here are the judges comments.



    First of all, excellent, excellent debate by both members! Congratulations to both Semper and Ian for a job well done on a fascinating subject. Fantastic job by both gentlemen. This was a very difficult debate to judge.

    I felt that both debaters did great defending their positions but was confused as to why Ian kept trying to meddle with the topic subject. I almost felt it was done as somewhat of a defense mechanism to create a distraction due to what would was a difficult topic to oppose. Another thing that I felt put Ian at a disadvantage, although I admire his honesty, is that he seemingly agreed with Semper's position on a few occasions whether or not he did so intentionally. That was a snag I simply couldn't and didn't see him pull himself out of.




    But I believe "The American Media Uses Celebrities To Distract The American Public From Political Concerns." was a difficult proposition to debate either way. The defender of the assertion was destined to lose because of the contextual requirement to prove intent. Anyway. I don;t want to torment you

    Semper Fortis won. He would have lost until Ian McLean revealed in his closing that such an intent did in fact exist, although it was unsuiccessfully executed by the media.

    Ian McLean was the better arguer, his process was controlled and although he fell for the political bait, he recovered maintaining a proper grasp of the contextual challenge faced by Semper Fortis.

    Semper Fortis made a valiant attempt to invalidate the intent issue, but it is embedded in the argument, and needed to be addressed more definitively.




    This was a tough debate to judge.. they both seemed to be arguing different questions. As I read it, the question is not so much do Celebrities distract us from Political stances politicians hold, but rather Does the Media "use" Celebrities to distracts from all things political.

    IMO, that would imply there is a major international issue and instead we talk about who's been sleeping with Britney's baby's daddy's mother.

    In the end, I have to give my approval to Ian. He knew what the topic was, and presented that the Media does not "use" celebrities, but rather we as Americans prefer celebrities.

    I seriously do not believe Semper did enough to distinguish between typical and expected American lust for celebrities, and a clear agenda of news programs purposefully using celebrities in some way to distract from political events.

    Ian gets my vote


    Again, well played, gentlemen, well played.



    posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 04:41 PM
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    My hat is off to Ian.....

    What a great debate...

    Ian, You are sure a CLASS ACT in every meaning of the phrase...

    Semper



    posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 07:19 PM
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    Semper, thank you -- a true honor: I'm learning from the best here.

    Well fought, and congratulations -- just wait for the next tournament, though....



    posted on Jul, 15 2008 @ 12:50 PM
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    I would have refused to judge this debate. Brilliant from both sides.





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