Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, March 17, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 10



 Mountain Views News Saturday, March 17, 2012 

HOWARD Hays As I See It 


 I wish I could say that the title of this week’s 
article is hyperbole – pure marketing, a blatant 
effort to get you to read the article even though 
the conclusion is much less ominous. Oh, how I 
wish that was the point of the title. Sadly, it’s the 
most serious question we have faced since the 
end of the cold war, and the answer isn’t going to 
be very satisfying.

 The Obama administration has talked tough 
about preventing the mad Mullahs of Tehran 
from getting a bomb but has rarely followed 
through with tough actions. There was hope 
this last time around, given how close the 
International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran 
was to its nuclear goal, that Obama meant it this 
time. Perhaps even he had come to realize that 
negotiations had to give way to concrete action.

 It was a short 15 or so months ago the last set of 
negotiations broke down when it became obvious 
that Iran was simply using the negotiations to 
buy time. They were stalling and clearly lacked 
any serious desire to negotiate their nuclear 
weapons’ program. Now – suddenly – because 
Iran says it’s willing to start up talks again, the 
administration is embracing the opportunity as 
a diplomatic opportunity that will yield success. 
This time!

 Curious word, success. One has to really define 
the goal before one can proclaim success. If the 
goal has been to stop or reverse Iran’s efforts to 
obtain the bomb, then the strategy thus far has 
been a complete failure. If the goal was to get 
China and Russia to take the threat seriously, 
that’s failed also.

 China and Russia still support Iran. Iran has 
used the time to advance their nuclear program, 
expand the number of program facilities and 
burry those facilities further into the earth 
so as to protect them from attack. We should 
cringe when we hear President Obama talk of 
success from his strategy of negotiations much 
as we should have cringed when Britain’s Prime 
Minister, Neville Chamberlain, returned from a 
meeting with Hitler and proclaimed that he had 

achieved “peace in our 
time”. That was 1938, 
and WW II began less 
than a year later.

 What if, however, 
the real goal of entering 
into yet another 
round of negotiations 
is to prevent Israel 
from attacking Iran? 
Sounds conspiratorial, 
doesn’t it? Too bad 
the administration told a reporter from the 
Washington Post that was exactly the goal 
they were pursuing. As reported by Charles 
Krauthammer, the administration source said, 
“we’re trying to make the decision to attack as 
hard as possible for Israel”.

 Again, I wish I was being hyperbolic and 
exaggerating. I wish I believed in stupid, deep, 
dark conspiracies and could be written off as a 
pleasant, but misguided, minion of the right. 
But I don’t, and I’m not.

 The ugly truth is that the administration is 
willing to throw Israel under the bus so as to 
prevent any sort of hiccup from interrupting 
Obama’s reelection campaign. An Israeli 
attack on Iran would demonstrate America’s 
total fecklessness and cowardice in the face of a 
universal world threat that had to be taken out 
by a nation smaller than New Jersey. Not real 
good in an election year.

 Of course, Iran getting the bomb wouldn’t 
be good for Obama either, but that could only 
happen AFTER Nov. 6, 2012. As disastrous as 
a nuclear Iran would be for the U.S., it wouldn’t 
really hurt Obama. So no, Obama doesn’t care if 
Iran gets the bomb.

Gregory J. Welborn is an independent opinion 
columnist. He writes and speaks frequently on 
political, economic and social issues. His columns 
have appeared in publications such as The Los 
Angeles Daily News, The Orange County Register, 
The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. He can 
be reached at

“We used to say, ‘You’re 
entitled to your own 
opinion, but not to your 
own facts.’ Now we are all 
entitled to our own facts, 
and conservative media 
use this right to immerse 
their audience in a total 
environment of pseudo-facts 
and pretend information.”

 - David Frum


 In an article for New York 
Magazine last November, former George W. Bush 
speechwriter Frum lamented that “conservatives 
have built a whole alternative knowledge system, 
with its own facts, its own history, its own laws of 


 Mitt Romney, who once sought the endorsement 
of Planned Parenthood and took pride in his 
Massachusetts healthcare plan, finished third 
in the Alabama and Mississippi primaries while 
failing to adapt to that “alternative knowledge 


 Not for lack of trying; he said “y’all”, expressed 
a fondness for grits, and recited the lyrics to 
“The Ballad of Davy Crockett”. Romney couldn’t 
connect with his audience like Rick Santorum, 
though, who called the president a “snob” for 
suggesting young Americans avail themselves of 
a college education.


 A recent survey from Public Policy Polling shows 
the pervasiveness of “alternative knowledge” in 
last week’s Southern primary states – where the 
dearth of real knowledge favors Republicans in 
general, and Santorum in particular.


 Among “likely Republican voters” in Alabama, 
45% think President Obama is a Muslim while 
14% identify him as a Christian – with 41% 
unsure. In Mississippi the numbers are 52% 
believing him to be a Muslim, 12% a Christian 
and 36% unsure. 


 In Alabama, 60% do not “believe” in evolution; 
13% are “not sure” and 26% accept the science. 
Two-thirds (66%) of Republican voters in 
Mississippi refuse to accept evolution; 11% are 
unsure and less than a quarter (22%) acknowledge 
scientific reality.


 One out of five Republican voters in Alabama 
believes interracial marriage should be illegal, 
with another 12% unsure. In Mississippi, almost 
half (46%) either believe interracial marriage 
should be illegal or aren’t sure.


 As reported by the Brookings Institution 
last December, nationwide 78% of Democrats 
and 55% of Independents believe there is “solid 
evidence” of climate change, while less than half 
(47%) of Republicans do.


 Last Spring, following release of the “long 
form” birth certificate, a Zogby poll showed the 
percentage of voters believing President Obama 
was born outside the U.S. fell to 16%. Among 
Republicans, the percentage stayed at almost 
twice that – with 30% refusing to relinquish their 
birther beliefs. 


 British journalist George Monbiot warns, “Any 
party elected by misinformed, suggestible voters 
becomes a vehicle for undisclosed interests. A 
tax break for the 1% is dressed up as freedom 
for the 99%. The regulation that prevents big 
banks and corporations exploiting us becomes an 
assault on the working man and woman. Those 
of us who discuss man-made climate change are 
cast as elitists by people who happily embrace the 
claims of . . . think-tanks funded by ExxonMobil 
or the Koch Brothers”.


 Last fall, GOP Congressional staffer Mike 
Lofgren released an essay explaining his 
departure after 28 years serving Republican 
Budget Committee members in both the House 
and Senate. The last straw for Lofgren came 
with the debate over the debt ceiling. “To those 
millions of Americans who have finally begun 
paying attention to politics and watched with 
exasperation the tragicomedy of the debt-ceiling 
extension”, he wrote, “it may have come as a shock 
that the Republican Party is so full of lunatics.”


 Lofgren continued, “I could see as early as 
last November that the Republican Party would 
use the debt limit vote, an otherwise routine 
legislative procedure that has been used 87 
times since the end of World War II, in order 
to concoct an entirely artificial fiscal crisis.” 
The rationale behind this seemingly irrational 
behavior was explained to him, he says, by 
a Republican committee staff director: “By 
sabotaging the reputation of an institution of 
government, the party that is programmatically 
against government would come out the relative 
winner . . . A deeply cynical tactic, to be sure, 
but a psychologically insightful one that plays on 
the weaknesses both of the voting public and the 
news media.”


 It’s a tactic that relies upon maintenance of 
David Frum’s “total environment of pseudo-facts 
and pretend information” - which brings me to 
Greg Welborn.


 In his column last week, Greg repeats the 
warning of an impending interruption in 
the “normal personal relationship between 
doctor and patient”, while to the contrary the 
Affordable Care Act strengthens that relationship 
by minimizing the veto authority of private 
insurance carriers. There’s the “pseudo-fact” 
about government deciding “what procedures 
they can have”, when in reality it would be health 
professionals deciding what’s most beneficial, 
rather than corporate functionaries authorizing 
what’s most profitable.


 Greg’s citing of “requirements that the Catholic 
Church pay for contraceptives and abortion-
inducing drugs” is “pretend information”. During 
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ appearance 
at a House Energy and Commerce committee 
hearing, she made clear insurance companies, 
not the Church, would pay for coverage. When 
she attempted to explain the difference between 
contraceptives that prevent fertilization, which 
are included under preventive care guidelines, 
and abortifacients that terminate pregnancies, 
which aren’t, Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) abruptly 
cut her off and changed the subject to Jesus and 
the apostles.


 Greg uses an “alternative knowledge system” to 
suggest “freedom to practice religion” necessitates 
granting to an employer authority to impose 
their own beliefs on an employee, especially as it 
concerns the most intimate matters of personal 


 One side attempts to garner support by 
promoting “its own facts, its own history, its own 
laws of economics”. The other side is confident 
support will come its way once the real facts and 
real history are out there for voters to consider.


 It’s the side that believes quality education and 
healthcare should be available to all Americans – 
including those who live in parts of the country 
where they think our president is a Muslim.

Independent’s Eye by

JOE Gandelman



The latest on Business News, Trends and Techniques

After nearly 30 
years of rapid growth that 
saved the sagging AM 
radio format the question 
is being seriously asked: is 
conservative talk radio as 
we know it on the way out?

According to reports, 
conservative talk titan 
Rush Limbaugh has lost 
141 advertisers due to his 
three-day, bordering-on-slander verbal assault 
on Georgetown University law student Sandra 
Fluke. The company distributing his show has 
suspended his national advertising for two weeks.

Various analysts note that former Arkansas 
Gov. Mike Huckabee is launching a radio show 
April 2 in direct competition with Limbaugh. 
There are rumblings that some stations might 
decide to replace Limbaugh with Huckabee. 
Why? Huckabee has shown wide appeal in 
his Fox News show where he comes across 
as a thoughtful conservative who prefers 
discussing issues to polarizing polemics.

Meanwhile, The Daily Beast’s John Avlon 
points to a list that Premier Networks, which 
distributes Limbaugh and various other 
conservative talkers, put out containing 
98 companies that don’t want their ads on 
controversial political radio shows anymore.

This comes, Avon writes, “at a particularly difficult 
time for right-wing talk radio. They are playing 
to a (sometimes literally) dying demographic. 
Rush & Co. rate best among old, white males. 
They have been steadily losing women and 
young listeners, who are alienated by the 
angry, negative, obsessive approach to political 
conservations. Add to that the fact that women 
ages 24–55 are the prize advertising demographic, 
and you have a perfect storm emerging 
after Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke comments.”

 The bottom line: conservative political 
talk may be outdated business model.

Talk to many young people and you’ll find most 
dismayed or amused by the anger and rage talk 
show hosts direct at those with whom they 
disagree. This is partly generational. Some top 
talk show hosts are baby boomers. I’ve always said 
American politics will be better off when all of the 
baby boomers (except me) die off. Many baby 
boomers seem frozen in polarization stemming 
from the 1960s’ great war/anti-war divide.

Much of talk radio IS hate radio. Republicans 
hate Democrats. Democrats hate Republicans. 
Conservatives hate liberals. Liberals hate 
conservatives. And they all hate moderates. 
When the liberal talk network Air America 
bombed big-time one reason was that its 
talkers tried copying the Limbaugh talk show 
model and offered strident liberal talk shows 
that tried to do to conservatives what Rush 
does to liberals. One tiny problem: Limbaugh 
has broadcasting talent and they didn’t. 

Today’s conservative talk is now experiencing 
entertainment’s traditional cyclical nature. 
The genre could eventually go the way of TV 
variety shows and soap operas. Plus, with 
heightened competition from the Internet, 
social media, and an increasing number of 
Americans unwilling to continue accepting 
demonizing or demeaning polemics without 
a strong push-back, the old formula is frayed.

The lingering question: Exactly when did we make 
the shift where it was considered “entertainment” 
to listen to a radio talk show host for three 
hours a day five days a week demonize another 
political party and anyone who sympathized with 
it? When did negatively politically defining talk 
become so much “fun” for millions and why? One 
reason: a charismatic talk show host becomes 
a listener’s trusted friend whose viewpoint is 
believed -- and absorbed.

Market forces propelled talk radio and now 
market forces seem poised to force its evolution. 
And what have been its key impacts? Greater 
citizen involvement, increased interest in politics 
– and promoting the notions that compromise is 
a filthy word, big umbrella coalitions are for the 
weak, and that demonization and denigration 
of opponents can be fun and profitable in terms 
of revenue and in getting out the partisan vote.

It makes sense that it’s time for an adaption 
or shift: after years of the “dumbing down” of 
American politics, it’s time for a smartening 
up – which is apparently what’s happening now 
with some of talk radio’s potential listeners who 
seem to crave hosts who have open minds versus 
perpetually open mouths.

Joe Gandelman is a veteran journalist who wrote for 
newspapers overseas and in the United States. He has 
appeared on cable news show political panels and is 
Editor-in-Chief of The Moderate Voice, an Internet 
hub for independents, centrists and moderates. CNN’s 
John Avlon named him as one of the top 25 Centrists 
Columnists and Commentators. He can be reached at and can be booked 
to speak at your event at

By La Quetta M. Shamblee, 


Out of work or at a crossroads on your career 
path? Wondering which options are best for 
the long-term? As news of improvements in 
the economy seem to be fueling job growth, 
it’s timely to revisit the rapidly expanding 
opportunities in social media since the jobs 
just keep on coming. This field is ideal for 
anyone with a knack for the internet, coupled 
with a talent for writing in a specific industry 
or across a broad spectrum of industries.

The website posted more 
than 31,000 job openings for social media 
jobs during March 2011, and this is only one 
online jobs resource. The industry continues 
to expand with branches of specialization in 
website design and maintenance, blogging and 
other areas of concentration.

Mastering the basics of the most popular 
social media tools is becoming a prerequisite 
for a position as Director of Communications, 
Director of Marketing and for many newly-
created positions that merge different 
functions. This new field has taken root in the 
U.S. business culture just as deeply as baseball, 
hotdogs and apple pie are imbedded in the 
American psyche.

A May 2010 article by Carol Tice on the AOL 
Payscale blog described six distinct positions: 

1) Social Media (Digital) Strategists who 
are usually retained by larger companies 
to plan and manage the system and all 
related activities, 2) Community Managers 
who marry their marketing expertise with 
the new technology, 3) Bloggers whose 
talents can parallel that of newspaper and 
magazine columnists, 4) Social Media 
Marketing Specialists who create and 
manage the “virtual” versions of a companies 
marketing materials and messages, 5) 
Search Engine Marketing Associates who 
perform online activities to enhance and 
maintain a company’s SEO (search engine 
optimization) and 6) Online Customer 
Service Representative who have simply 
taken this important function online.

Some of the titles on this list have become 
associated with a certain range of expertise 
and job function, but still, these titles are not 
consistent from company to company. 

A Social Media Manager for one company 
may be called an E-Commerce Manager for 
a person responsible for the same functions 
in the retail sector. The evolution of social 
media is creating opportunities in a similar 
manner that the introduction of the single-
station computer for widespread business use, 
translated into newly-created careers and titles 
like Data Entry Managers, Wordprocessors 
and Database Administrators. Network 
Administrators and Directors of Management 
Information Systems came onto the scene 
along with the introduction of “networked” 
computer systems.

Compensation is plotted across a broad range, 
with some intern positions starting in the low-
to-mid $20,000’s to six-figure opportunities for 
professionals with the combined package of 
expertise in their respective fields and a mastery 
of popular online tools. Younger workers 
usually have the upper hand with almost 
no learning curve to master the technology. 
Older , more experienced workers often have a 
steeper learning curve to master social media, 
but when they do, they are some of the most 
competitive and successful candidates for 
growing opportunities in social media.