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« Religion In Politics | Main | Poll: Where do you get your election news? »

New Media, Political Discourse, and the 2008 Elections

(Photo by Robin Holland)

In her conversation with Bill Moyers this week, Kathleen Hall Jamieson has this to say about some of the impact of the Internet on the political process:

"There’s more information available than there ever has been, and it’s more easily retrievable. So we can, within minutes, locate candidates’ issue positions, contrast them to other positions, search news interviews with the candidates where they’re held accountable for discrepancies between past and current positions… And you can hear in the candidates’ own voices their arguments for those issue positions, sometimes at great length – greater than you’re going to find in ads or greater than you’re going to find in news."

And new media is having other effects as well. Barack Obama has a formidable presence on Facebook, including one group with more than 400,000 members - while the largest opposing Hillary Clinton has more than 600,000. And in a development that stunned many analysts, Ron Paul used the Internet to raise more than $4 million in a single day despite minimal coverage from the mainstream media. In fact, this week a new-media driven grassroots movement for Dr. Paul announced that it has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to launch a blimp in hopes of garnering media attention.

What do you think?

  • How is new media impacting the 2008 Presidential race?

  • Will Internet activism be an effective way to marshal votes in primaries and elections?

  • Is new media a net positive or negative for the nation’s political discourse?


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    Comments

    Please someone expose the Bilderberg Group!!!!

    I dread the thought of eight more years of Clintons in the White House. Another co-presidency after Bush-Cheney is not the way to restore accountability to the executive branch. For my grandson and future generations, I hope for a presidential leader of the USA who will restore the system of checks and balances between the executive and legislative branches in accordance with Constitutional law. It's going to take a strong leader who can articulate a worldview based a strong understanding of cultural differences. We need a change from politics as usual. We need a president who can motivate and lead all of to do more to help each other, our nation and world to be better neighbors, stewards of our resources and earthkeepers, parents, students . . . It is my opinion there is only one candidate who has the abilities to inspire renewal of a democratic movement in this country.

    Thank you for bringing such an important topic to light with Kathleen Jamieson. Hillary Clinton is the best candidate we have. She is no saint but she has been vilely trampled in the media. Of course we remember the Clinton years when Bill was our President when the media acted liked fanatical sharks at a feeding frenzy with lie after lie and inuendo. Such political destruction should not have happened again. Some of the postings here are questionable. I think too many times people want more from a candidate than what they need or deserve. Who cares if you want to know her more personally. Do you need to know Obama or McCain more personally? Of course not. You didn't even suggest it. Go to Hillary Clinton's website if you want more information on her. Qualifications is what counts, ideas to help us and our nation as a whole is what counts. It is unfortunately a man's world. It shouldn't be but it is. Women need to jump in and turn this around now. Obama has some interesting background, take a look at Http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article6619.shtml. No one has even ask him in the maintstream media about any of his background. No one has asked him to produce his State Senate records. Just a pat on the head and some say they get chills up their leg when he speaks. He has received a pass and "he's just so wonderful and full of hope and so new". GARBAGE. He is a wolf in sheep's clothing and the American public are being duped. Dumb us, we can't do any research on our own. We listen to the hype and after awhile our brains tune into it. Mass hysteria. Clinton is being made the scapegoat again. Get rid of Clinton and John McCain will have a clear shot because then Republicans and their media dynasty will bring out what they have actually known all along about Obama. As far as being black, who cares what skin color you are. Obama injected the race card, no one else did and the media jumped on it and cried poor little Obama. His speech was a speech to save his candidacy, nothing more, no great revelations except it showed how shallow he actually is. Republicans are clever and I feel Rove's hand in this once again, thats why he left the White House early, needed to get the media set to do the dirty work ahead. Clinton out. Supporters of Clinton ticked off so they'll help elect McCain. You can't get it any better than that. Money and power can buy you anything you want and that unfortunately will bring this country down. We will not remain the greatest nation in the world. Newt Gingrich et al started this fanatism about the Clintons, Karl Rove continues it. Shame on this nation. Men must dominate women in our culture. My goodness a smart women, gid rid of her.

    The Misogyny of Hillary Hating

    What I have to say has nothing to do with which Democratic candidate would be a better president: Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. It has to do with the contest between Hillary, a woman who seeks to be our next president, and the "Hillary Haters", people who have been relentlessly poisoning the public imagination with negative personal attacks against her. They don't attack her politics, policies, intelligence or capacity to be president - only her personality.

    Hillary's personality is no different now than when she held a comfortable lead in public opinion polls a couple of months ago and was favored to win. Recently, though, you'd think that she's morphed into evil itself the way Hillary Haters on the radio talk shows, for instance, relentlessly portray her as: "evil Hillary", "witch", "ball-busting", "prostitute", "that bitch", "mean-looking", "untrustworthy", "doesn't know how to run her own home", "she stuck with Bill just so she could use him for her own political ambitions". These attacks (made mostly by men and some self-deprecating women) are unfair, sexist, and hateful. None of the male candidates are being demonized in this way. For those of us who have worked for women's equality for so long, it's painful to watch a qualified female candidate being trashed in this way.

    Here are some other examples of what has been said about her, but not the other candidates:
    • "I don't trust her. She's calculating and manipulative." - What candidate isn't calculating and manipulative when they want to sway public opinion and gain support...even the ones who are perceived as "honest". It's the nature of politics. Why berate Hillary for doing the same thing the male politicians do?

    • "I don't know why I don't like her. I just don't. I mean, she'd probably be a good president, but she just rubs me the wrong way." We're supposed to be seeking someone who's capable of running the country – not a personal relationship. Hillary Haters are being rubbed the wrong way because she's a woman seeking power, going out of bounds of her expected sex role.

    • "I don't like the way she talks or looks." This is a personal projection having nothing to do with her ability to be an effective president. "Like-ability" is not the best measure of leadership. After all, George Bush was well-liked, and look what we got...twice.

    • "She's a Washington insider, part of the Establishment. We need a change in the way things are done in Washington." As members of Congress, all three of the leading primary candidates are Washington insiders...Hillary, Obama, and McCain. But a candidate's status as an "insider" or "outsider" doesn't guarantee we'll get what we want. Uh, didn't the "outsider" George W. Bush run for president with a promise to change Washington politics? He did, but not the way we wanted.

    In another example: when Hillary showed a little emotion in public - moist eyes - the media grabbed hold as if here was a true sign of her weakness and inability to be a strong president. Yet when Bill Clinton and George W. Bush shed a few tears while in office, they were perceived as positively human. It was mostly men who were concerned about Hillary's emotions. Most women do not believe the public expression of natural human emotion is a weakness – especially when it's as self-controlled display as hers was. In fact, it's perceived as a strength.

    One could easily assume that curtained Republicans and/or corporate media moguls are injecting the virus of Hillary Hating into the media for ulterior purposes. So much of American media is now owned by a few people, most of whom are white, male Republicans. But I think the success of such a tactic points to a deeper problem than dirty politics or how a media message is skillfully crafted to favor one candidate over the other. If fear of Feminine Power weren't so rampant in our hyper-masculine culture, and if the American public weren't so susceptible to media manipulation and idol-worship, the Hillary Haters would not have found their seeds of slander so quickly bear fruit in the public imagination.

    Hatred of the Feminine is not always easy to see when you're swimming in it. But thanks to blatant media bias during this long primary season, the non-objective choice of words and images that were fed to the public about Hillary and Obama starkly reveal our resistance in being fair to women. Why do we still silently stand by and accept this? Will our media be able to silently get away with racial bias against Obama if he wins the Democratic primary and challenges John McCain for the presidency?

    I'm glad that both a woman and an African American finally have a good chance to become president of our country. But misogyny should not be any more acceptable to Americans than racism. Reflect on this: if nothing other than gender changed, would Obama be able to gain as many votes if he were a black woman (unless, of course, he is Oprah)? Could Hillary Haters skewer Hillary's character in the media as successfully if she were a white man?

    Barack Obama may inspire us because he speaks to our frustrations and longing to be better than we are. But If Hillary is a polarizing figure – as Hillary Haters claim – it's not because of her politics nor even her personality. She's a pioneer, a woman who dares to take on the most powerful leadership position in America, the provence of men. Pioneers always encounter resistance from those most frightened at the prospect of REAL change.

    The Misogyny of Hillary Hating

    What I have to say has nothing to do with which Democratic candidate would be a better president: Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. It has to do with the contest between Hillary, a woman who seeks to be our next president, and the "Hillary Haters", people who have been relentlessly poisoning the public imagination with negative personal attacks against her. They don't attack her politics, policies, intelligence or capacity to be president - only her personality.

    Hillary's personality is no different now than when she held a comfortable lead in public opinion polls a couple of months ago and was favored to win. Recently, though, you'd think that she's morphed into evil itself the way Hillary Haters on the radio talk shows, for instance, relentlessly portray her as: "evil Hillary", "witch", "ball-busting", "prostitute", "that bitch", "mean-looking", "untrustworthy", "doesn't know how to run her own home", "she stuck with Bill just so she could use him for her own political ambitions". These attacks (made mostly by men and some self-deprecating women) are unfair, sexist, and hateful. None of the male candidates are being demonized in this way. For those of us who have worked for women's equality for so long, it's painful to watch a qualified female candidate being trashed in this way.

    Here are some other examples of what has been said about her, but not the other candidates:
    • "I don't trust her. She's calculating and manipulative." - What candidate isn't calculating and manipulative when they want to sway public opinion and gain support...even the ones who are perceived as "honest". It's the nature of politics. Why berate Hillary for doing the same thing the male politicians do?

    • "I don't know why I don't like her. I just don't. I mean, she'd probably be a good president, but she just rubs me the wrong way." We're supposed to be seeking someone who's capable of running the country – not a personal relationship. Hillary Haters are being rubbed the wrong way because she's a woman seeking power, going out of bounds of her expected sex role.

    • "I don't like the way she talks or looks." This is a personal projection having nothing to do with her ability to be an effective president. "Like-ability" is not the best measure of leadership. After all, George Bush was well-liked, and look what we got...twice.

    • "She's a Washington insider, part of the Establishment. We need a change in the way things are done in Washington." As members of Congress, all three of the leading primary candidates are Washington insiders...Hillary, Obama, and McCain. But a candidate's status as an "insider" or "outsider" doesn't guarantee we'll get what we want. Uh, didn't the "outsider" George W. Bush run for president with a promise to change Washington politics? He did, but not the way we wanted.

    In another example: when Hillary showed a little emotion in public - moist eyes - the media grabbed hold as if here was a true sign of her weakness and inability to be a strong president. Yet when Bill Clinton and George W. Bush shed a few tears while in office, they were perceived as positively human. It was mostly men who were concerned about Hillary's emotions. Most women do not believe the public expression of natural human emotion is a weakness – especially when it's as self-controlled display as hers was. In fact, it's perceived as a strength.

    One could easily assume that curtained Republicans and/or corporate media moguls are injecting the virus of Hillary Hating into the media for ulterior purposes. So much of American media is now owned by a few people, most of whom are white, male Republicans. But I think the success of such a tactic points to a deeper problem than dirty politics or how a media message is skillfully crafted to favor one candidate over the other. If fear of Feminine Power weren't so rampant in our hyper-masculine culture, and if the American public weren't so susceptible to media manipulation and idol-worship, the Hillary Haters would not have found their seeds of slander so quickly bear fruit in the public imagination.

    Hatred of the Feminine is not always easy to see when you're swimming in it. But thanks to blatant media bias during this long primary season, the non-objective choice of words and images that were fed to the public about Hillary and Obama starkly reveal our resistance in being fair to women. Why do we still silently stand by and accept this? Will our media be able to silently get away with racial bias against Obama if he wins the Democratic primary and challenges John McCain for the presidency?

    I'm glad that both a woman and an African American finally have a good chance to become president of our country. But misogyny should not be any more acceptable to Americans than racism. Reflect on this: if nothing other than gender changed, would Obama be able to gain as many votes if he were a black woman (unless, of course, he is Oprah)? Could Hillary Haters skewer Hillary's character in the media as successfully if she were a white man?

    Barack Obama may inspire us because he speaks to our frustrations and longing to be better than we are. But If Hillary is a polarizing figure – as Hillary Haters claim – it's not because of her politics nor even her personality. She's a pioneer, a woman who dares to take on the most powerful leadership position in America, the provence of men. Pioneers always encounter resistance from those most frightened at the prospect of REAL change.

    Dear Mr. Moyer:
    I watched your interview with Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Melissa Rogers on “Religion and the Red, White, and Blue ‘08” posted on the below website:
    http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/12072007/profile3.html
    I believe that this discussion was very insightful on the religious issues that seem to be so prominent in the ’08 Presidential race. I am a born-again Christian of late and was able to become more informed of the Republican candidates, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney. I disagree with Jamieson and Rogers when they stated they do not believe that asking “do you believe in Jesus Christ” is an appropriate question. I believe that someone’s religious views are very influential in all decisions they make, including governance questions. I believe it tells us a lot about a candidate what their beliefs are and how strongly they believe them.
    I agree with Rogers when she stated, “there’s no real evangelism without recognizing that a person has a freedom to either respond to God’s call or to reject God’s call.” I believe that without non-believers, the church I attend today would not be as strong or as unified as it is. My church is a melting-pot of people, many of which were not raised in Christian households and came to find Jesus later in their life. Without non-believers, we would not have the opportunity to help introduce people to the wonderfulness that is Jesus Christ.
    I also agree with Huckabee when he stated “My faith doesn’t just influence me it really defines me.” I believe this is true of myself and most other Christian believers in the US. Not only does one’s faith influence their decisions on policy, appointing Supreme Court Justices, etc., it also defines who the person is. I am a strong supporter of Huckabee for several reasons, but also because I know we have similar beliefs and that he would make decisions generally how I would, and isn’t that what we look for in someone to support? Don’t we want someone who would represent our views, beliefs, and values?
    In conclusion, the presidential candidates’ religious beliefs are of great importance to the race to the White House. While religion is by no means the only factor in electing our next president, it is very important. I believe religion is a very sensitive issue to most and this election is definitely playing on that. While I agree and disagree with many of Rogers and Jamieson’s statements, I think this interview was very important and informative.

    Two disappointments of the Internet are the ignorance-cruelty (anonymity?) of voluntary correspondents, and how so many flacks have enlisted in the corporate cause for a few bucks or considerations, apeing for peanuts and thinking they may soon become George Will.
    My saddest realization is that people are no more inclined to think for themselves than to sew their own clothes or grow their own food. We chaff under a general and pervading adulteration of what we all need because we are distracted by illusions. K.H. Jameson realizes this but can't say so and keep her job.

    With the Internet becoming a greater source for political campaigns, I think it brings the information directly to the people. Having detailed information, debates and countless other forms of information to me embodies what democracy is about: governance by the people. By having an uninhibited discourse and wealth of information, I believe that this election will be a true example of the participatory government that this country has vested its reputation in.

    Mr. Moyers,

    Great discussion on women in politics and how candidates are treated in the "new media". When Ms. Jamieson asked the question of what would you call a male candidate in the John McCain "b-word" scenario, my first inclination was you might call him a "Son of a b-word". Just goes to show how prevalent this word and related phrase are in our society and how often they're used without concern for the meaning or repercussions.

    Looked up the offending youtube video featuring Mrs. Clinton and the b-word. Absolutely awful, despicable!

    And... there are meanspirited attacks on the president as well (e.g. dubya gets high).

    May we all disarm our verbal WMDs.

    Through violence you may murder a murderer, but you can’t murder murder.

    Through violence you may murder a liar, but you can’t establish truth.

    Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can’t murder hate.

    Darkness cannot put out darkness. Only light can do that . . .

    Peace, Tim

    I greatly appreciated the episode with Kathleen Hall Jamieson and I would like to hear more exploration with her of the topic of gender, politics and language. It does seem to me that women in politics in this country are in a double bind. There are still inherent cultural biases against women in positions of power in this country and often these are operating at an almost subconscious level (like many of our biases). Somebody here suggested that Hillary wears her gender on her sleeve. If you are a woman in politics, or in an executive position in a corporation, or an administrative position at a university, you find that if you speak about sexism, being the object of discrimination, or of women's issues, in general, you are accused of playing the "gender" card. However, if you confront these things and do not fight back, or at the very least, speak of these things, you are seen as being a weak leader. A very important part of the conversation with Dr. Jamieson came when it was pointed out that we haven't set the limits when it comes to the language used to refer to women in positions of authority (such as a serious candidate for President). We must have the conversations we don't want to have if we are to move forward in our struggle to bring about human rights and equality. Thank you for an excellent, thought-provoking program.

    To nina, yes i like Edwards, too. i haven't decided for whom i will vote, but the discussion of a candidate's personal beliefs will always be applicable for decision making among voters. we don't get to know these candidates on a personal, daily level. many voters, unfortuantely, need something quick to grasp intellectually the kind of moral foundation a leader has, so they turn to labels, and the topic of religion and faith. educated voters might find more information beyond the labels to find their deeds or misdeeds. but i agree with you in that political discussion about other issues themselves serves to advance, but a firm understanding of a candidate's views on the faith that supposedly guides their actions is worthy of having it to start debates going.

    Yes, presidents have all kinds of scandals while in office. i'm aware of those marital scandals by the presidents you mentioned, and of the scandals that surrounded Pres. Harding, or the fact that VP Andrew Johnson was completely plastered at Lincoln's inaugural address, not that that is a scandal but come on, these aren't just people being people, they are to be the finest and brightest of what this Land has to offer.

    we do see a lack of eloquence as one commented. many, many young people today can't write a decent essay for anything (just ask your local university professor). there really is a lack of written and verbal communication skills. sometimes great speeches add a spark that dull ones simply can't create.

    and nina, remember bill moyers journal, like many other shows, can only feature so much in one setting. it is probably their goal to talk about different issues on different dates. there is too much to address in one show, but someone as smart as Bill is not going to go on and on about the same subject, show after show.

    Give me a break! I am a woman, definitely NOT a right winger and would welcome a woman president if she espoused my views. (I'd vote for Barbara Boxer as President, for example, in a NY second)

    However, Hillary chills my blood just as much as Giuliani.

    I am totally disgusted by her vote for the Iraq war, and her saber rattling on Iran. She is a blatant, ruthless opportunist who will do whatever is necessary to gain power. Has she EVER answered a question directly?

    So don't put all "Hillary haters" in the Rush Limbaugh camp. Progressives on the left dislike her just as much.

    The reason the right wingers attack Hillary is obvious, she is a smart, very quick witted, talented woman that doesn't defer to their "authority" or their "superiority" they think they have.

    Even many of the right winger women are against her, in the way that those that align with their oppressors because they think they have to, will attack anyone that shows them there is another way to live. People can have a hatred of those that are doing what they would like to do, but can't because they are weak in character.

    Listen to political speeches from the past and you will see how far we have fallen; how ignorant we have become. Listen to the exchange at the UN between Adlai Stevenson and the Soviet Ambassador during the Cuban Missile Crises. Listen to Robert Kennedy's impromptu address to a crowd of supporters in which he informs them of the assassination of Martin Luther King. Listen to Ike's farewell address, in which he warns of the dangers of the "military industrial complex, or to JFK's address on the importance of the pursuit of peace. Listen to the famous "kitchen debate" between Richard Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev.
    I think you will realize that something has changed.
    I'm certainly not saying that times were better back then,but the level of political discourse has certainly dropped to a very low level compared to those days.
    Our country faces grave problems. We must try to elect the brightest, best leaders we can find. It doesn't really matter if you would feel comfortable sharing a few beers with one of them at your yearly block party.

    The issues raised by Kathleen Hall Jamieson and scholars regarding negative affect and visual vilification are shockingly similar to the strong anti-French current that swept the airwaves between 2003 and 2007.

    The language, the images, the caricatures of a people and culture over a foreign policy dispute are just a worthy of interest as the sexism and misogyny directed towards Hillary Rodham Clinton.

    Why is Senator Clinton so polarizing? Gosh, could it be because the right wing ranters have been telling everyone who will listen for the last fifteen years what an evil person she is? The Goebles reference was most appropriate. She is polarizing, and the right wing has worked very hard to make her so.

    To Daniel who posted on 12/9: Your beloved JKF had affairs while in the White House. And FDR also had an affair, as did Eisenhower, among other Presidents. Although I do not condone marital infidelity, I don't think the country in general should be so fixated on the sex life of our political leaders. A President should be judged on the effectiveness of his governmental policies. Similarly, we should focus on where a Presidential candidate stands on the issues, not on what religion he or she professes or doesn't profess. The fact is that "godly" in politics is as "godly" does. Just look at the Bush administration as an example of bad faith in politics,

    I agree with the poster who asks why are we discussing religion at the Presidential level, especially when it's clear that religion and "moral values" do not necessarily go hand and hand.

    As for the misogyny directed against Clinton on the internet, by Jamieson''s own admission, only a relatively small number of people are engaged in this practice. Of course, there are some people who won't vote for Clinton because she is a woman, but there are numerous other reasons not to vote for her. I, for one, distrust her foreign policy given her statements on Iraq and her apparent willingness to keep a preemptive strike against Iran on the table. Personally, I prefer Edwards partly because he is the only candidate who talks about poverty as a national issue.

    Bill, I think your program inadvertently feeds into the national obsession with religion by giving so much coverage to movements and individuals who conflate religion and politics. No amount of dialogue on moral values, in my view, is going to raise the level of the political debate. Like it or not, we live in a pluralistic world, so I'd like to see more programs and more audience feedback on concrete ideas that would enable us to better live together in harmony and peace.

    I'm a fine artist, computer/digital artist, and author. I'm also a believer in Christ, but i don't vote strictly one way or the other in presidential elections. i never voted for a Republican presidential candidate (since 92) and only a Democratic one for the last two elections and wasn't proud of those two offerings, nor proud of what we have to choose from in this country. we are always having to choose from the lesser of the two idiots, and as Americans, if we have the right to choose from a million different restaurants, drinks, meals, movies, websites, etc. why can't we have at least a 3rd major party that has the backing of Washington and the country?? With that said, at least we now have signs of a more interesting presidential election in 2008. we have great access to information as pointed out in Bill's wonderful episode with Kathleen Hall Jamieson. Some people don't understand that personal faith very much applies to the arena of the presidency because a man's, or woman's choices through life, and especially in the Oval Office, are filtered through the prism of personal conviction and morals, and with the notion that God (or the higher power of their belief) is watching and keeping record, and that there are consequences to everything, both to those who made the decision, and to those whom the decision affects. So morals and the personal faiths that provide guides and accountability to God, who sees all, even when man might miss something done in secret, is absolutely a part of the nation's highest office. We the people look to a candidate's moral compass as a barometer of the direction s/he will take the country in all aspects of law and governing. But it's interesting how so many people, including Christians, want to vote a person in office based on only a few issues, when in reality there are so many that warrant serious attention. How is complete fiscal irresponsibility any less a "value issue" than something like what a person does with their body?? we have a 2 party system that is so flawed and archaic that it cannot hold the complexities that are instilled in it. Why should people with a personal faith have to vote for a party who also embraces corporate greed, gun ownership, the status quo, a government that screws up on so many levels, screws the middle class, has a current VP (Cheney) who acts above the law and snorts hot air from his nostrils at the slightest protest, and for those who want real social change and government help in making medical insurance available to more, who look to a Democrat but want one who is Godly?? does this kind of candidate or party even exist?? but we expect only the best and finest in leadership positions such as the presidency. we don't want or need the bitterness and hostility of an LBJ, nor the insecurity and ego of a Nixon, nor the immorality and disgrace of a Bill Clinton, nor the incompetence and arrogance of a G.W. Bush. No we need the bravery and ideals of a JFK, the work ethic and genuine care of a post-office term Carter, the eloquent communication of a Reagan, the ideas and unity of a FDR, and the moral fiber that could rival a Lincoln. This is what we need, and we need everyone, every voter, to take personal responsibility for their daily actions, starting with the trolling filth scattered all across the Net's forums and chat rooms, Facebooks, and MySpace's, and continuing into daily interaction with real people. You want a better America, America?? Start with yourselves.

    Great show about misogyny in middle america and the backlash against women's gains of the late 60's early 70s. It's just so much background noise that we don't even notice it anymore. Imagine if Oprah had jumed on McCain as she did Imus? Where are the other democratic candidates on this one? Another writer made a good point about Ferraro--who was demonized for having an Ital=American surname--remember how they basically painted her as 'mob' because of a in intensive investigation of her husband's business dealings. Shades of Martha stewart!

    I don't find Hillary Clinton polarizing any more than Christine Gregoire is. I think that it is the possibility that Clinton might win that is driving socially insecure men nuts! These same men love to have women volunteers because they will do so much work; once those volunteers have learned from the experience and decide to take that learning into politics themselves, suddenly the women are not so likeable--and become 'polarizing' (their term) or threatening (my term). BTW, the idea that Clinton is polarizing because she has an integrity problem is a joke! SHE has less integrity than, say, Guiliani? Pul-leeze. And the notion that Brits accept female leadership because British men are momma's boys is equally ridiculous. As your conversation with Kathleen Jamieson revealed, Brits have seen the wisdom of some female leaders (e.g., Elizabeths I and II) and the unfortunate nature of some other female leaders (e.g., Thatcher). Just because some American men feel threatened by the prospect doesn't mean that every other man has to feel that way.

    The Journal again hits a homerun bringing to TV a story not addressed by the MSM! It is refreshing to see real solid news and realize people who do not have access to the internet or independent media can be exposed to a story behind the stories. Three Cheers for the Journal!

    Bill,
    I must say how disapointed I was with this show. I thought it was going to be about politics, newsmedia, and the internet. It should have been advertised as a show on how unfairly women are treated. Hillary is not the only canidate who is being "slammed" on the internet. The only redeaming value of this show was it was so off point I felt compelled to post a comment. So here I am, and low and behold on your "front page" discribing the show is all the information and topics I thought were going to be discussed. Bill I enjoy your show but only watch episodes which I think will be of interest. I really don't appreciate this false advertising.

    ok. i'm late. our station had pledging on and i just couldn't stay up till 3AM eastern to watch the show...sooo, i just watched it on this fabulous, easy to navigate, and visually quite beautiful site. :)

    onto the show...

    everytime i see Kathleen Hall Jamieson i learn. i learn to continue to listen oh so very closely to "the words." sometimes "the words" are strung together so nicely (mitt romney's symphony reference in his speech, etc) that it's easy to miss the meaning of the actual "words." thank you, ms.j for making me a better listener, a more savvy listener, and a smarter voter. (still working on the better writer part...)

    but ms.j also alerted me to another fact: repetition and placement are key components in the whole process.

    for example...let's look right at this blog? "why is hillary so polarizing?" this question is spread all over the media. gee, ya know, after a while, i bet a lot of people start saying "that hillary, you know she's so polarizing, i wonder why..."

    back in the day, we used to call it the "whispering campaign." anywhere and everywhere in polite social conversation, a question would be asked, a statement made. "oh i heard he drinks." "oh, you know he cuffs his wife around." now it's splathered out on the internet and on pundit broadcasts,etc. it was ugly then, and it's real ugly now.

    puleeeze...it's so "last century."

    but so is sexism and it, sad to say, is alive and well in the political industry. as a person working in the political industry, i see men in this business and i see how they treat the women in this business. the news from the front lines ain't rosy. the misogynistic treatment extends all the way down the line to even local elections. it extends to women other than candidates. women political workers, often talented, creative, and more competent than their male counterparts, are often discounted, often outright patronized and often outright insulted if they "step out" of their "place." i have seen female campaign workers yelled at in public while male counterparts are taken aside and chastised for the exact same mistakes. and, sad to say, this stuff often comes from men under 40 who should "know better." i think it is really sad that those guys feel so threatened that they have to behave that way.

    i remember one female event planner saying "i know he wouldn't have treated me so rudely if my name was carl, not carla." to which i replied, "exactly! carl would've punched him in the nose!"

    then i told her to raise her fees. :)

    dear bill regarding the discussion inre the question to candidates" do you believe the bible is true?.
    the correct answer foe a political candidate is===
    I must support the Constitution, which guarntees FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND FREEDOM FROM
    RELIGION. I was dissapointed by the waffling and double talk
    by most of the
    Republicans at the debate. I can only hope the Democrats can do better I might bve forced to vote ( Non of the above ) in 2008

    As a female elected official, hearing your report gave me a sick feeling in my stomach--almost all elected officials must face negative attacks, but this is far more destructive and hurtful than what I have observed in the past. I will share your program with members of our Women's Caucus here in Hawaii. This is not a partisan thing --it is a deeply disturbing trend and it frightens me. Keep up the good work. Aloha, Marilyn Lee

    Although I am unsure if I will support Sen. Clinton in the Democratic primary, I think Ms. Jamieson has captured precisely the reasons for alot of the bitter and hateful rhetoric about her. When you listen to or watch the news, try sometime just to tally how often she is referred to by just her first name, while male candidates are referred to by their last names or by title and name, such as Sen. Biden. The examples cited by Ms. Jamieson drove me out of a local service club, dominated by male business types, but pushed me toward becoming more active in politics.

    Why are we even discussing religion at the presidential level? I know this is a rhetorical question. But you have to ask yourself, continually, why is this country, founded on religous freedom, become so enslaved to religiosity? There are plenty who would love to see us become a religious state -- a theocracy -- and take us right back to the most primitive of cultures. We decry the Taliban and the Mullahs, but we experience the same exhortations.

    Where are good healthy discussions about global warming, fuel efficient autos, true energy plans, rigged ballot machines. None of this really permeates the "presidential debates."

    I ask again, why the focus on religiosity? Because it is designed to inflame the passions and divert us from the serious and real issues at hand.

    So it has been said all elections are a choice between the unthinkable and the unpalatable.

    It's all Roman Circus.

    Excellent discussion which pointed out the internet bashing of Hillary, especially noting the continual degradation of her as FEMALE. America is awakening to the reality we are a racist nation, but we have yet to realize we are one of the most sexist country in the world. A heavy statement, but the facts speak for themselves: highest rape statistics in the world, highest domestic violence in the world, and the respect and protection for mothers and children is the worst in the world (when economically compared). We are a misogynistic nation. Of the world’s nations American women are least likely to celebrate their femininity, dress with elegance, or be respected for their kind hearts and generous nature. We are so mislead on what female beauty is that the entire nation has been brainwashed (by men) to believe that sexuality and overt sexual attire and behavior equates femininity (its no wonder they hate Hillary). Americans are the first to attack countries like Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan for denying women’s rights, and yet we will never cover how respected these women are within their cultures (or dare to compare it to American women’s lives). It is time for an American female leader, and time to expose the truth about our sexist nation.

    The reason Margaret Thatcher did not recieve the kinds of invectives that Hillary receives, or that Christine Gregoire (D Wash) received, is because Thatcher was Conservative while Hillary is Liberal. It is in the nature of modern conservatives to be mean spirited and hateful toward those with whom they disagree. And there is a male name for them that is much stronger than the female term "bitch." It starts with "p" and ends in "k." And it is exclusivley male. A recent article about the personality types attracted to modern day conservatism stated, "you show me a conservative and I'll show you a p---k."


    The story you do not tell about the new media is how it is used to circumvent the censorship of omission perpetrated upon us by the mainstream media. Controlling the debate is a well-known tactic, but now it will not work.

    *Which Republican candidate has won the most straw polls?
    *Which candidate has the most popular MySpace page?
    *Which candidate has used the Internet to outraise the funds of the corporate backed candidates?
    *In Florida recently, a man was forced to remove campaign signs from his yard or face a fine of $1000 per day. Which candidate did the signs support?
    *Which candidate has garnered an Internet following that has established over 1100 meet-up groups all over the U.S. and the world?
    *Which candidates positions are constantly misrepresented and ridiculed in articles, called "crackpot" and worse?"
    *Which candidate actually understands monetary policy, history, and our Constitution?
    *Which candidate recently berated the head of the Federal Reserve over monetary policy, and was cheered by stock market traders who watched on CSPAN?
    *Which candidate receives the most donations from active military personnel?
    *Which polling firm has been caught removing from their list any who indicate they support "other?"

    The real story of this campaign is not being told - unless you Google Ron Paul.

    I agree wholeheartedly that the 'bitch' question should have been quickly condemned by McCain and his disdain for the remark should have been strongly and unequivocably asserted. However, we must remember that the reesentment towards Mrs. Clinton is old and deep. It arises not merely because of her gender but perhaps, in part at least, because of the way she has used her gender to trumpet her accomplishment and her victimhood.

    She has, unlike Margaret Thacher and Golda Meir, worn it on her sleeve.

    To get to the root of whatever antagonism there may be towards Mrs. Clinton one must drill much more deeply to her true attitudes, to the fear that she is disingenuous and good oh so good at hiding who she isreally. (Can she really spin away from her "stay at home and bake cookies" comment? Can she deny that her healthcare failure was due in part to her blindness to the limits of any one individual's power? Why not just say I was younger and put idealism ahead of pragmatism?) Is she extrordinarily competent in certain spheres? Undoubtedly. Is she a leader of people? Yet to be determined. Is she cold? I know not? Does she appear cold and calculating? You be the judge. Is the animosity about plumbing? Or is there an element to the unresolved stonewall of white water and the sense that she was a strong participant in the wasted talent of what could have been a great presidency? Smarter peole than me may know; I don't.

    What I do believe is that raising the fact of being any or either of black, catholic, jewish, protestant or of being a member of one gender or another as a campaign tactic is frought with risks.

    I wish I knew more about the candidate. I wish she would risk letting her guard down and allowing us to see her like a person both warm and flawed, rather than as just as a smart competent advocate and lawyer.

    I'd love to assess her on what I have, on such evidence, concluded about her and whether (rightly or wrongly), I'll sleep ok with her at the helm.

    In sufficient circles to maintain his perception of competence, her husband, was able to survive our perceptions of his great strengths and undermining weaknesses. Not all but many of us were actually pulling for him.

    Please give me a reason to embrace her wisdom, her judgment, her leadership, her values. The country wants and needs more than competence and the ability to sit as President. The electorate want someone with a passion to serve. So somebody anybody.. either let those of us in a fog behind the Hilary curtain or convince us that you have!!

    Personal attacks on presidents' spouses, including Eleanor Roosevelt, is nothing new, although the level of language is sicker.
    I must admit, however, to being disgusted by Hillary, as I was by Bill, who was an economic, political and environmental catastrophe.I fail to see her appeal to informed people - people who know, for example, that her "health plan" was a 1320-page plan by and for the big insurance companies and lead to the HMO mess we have today.
    If she buys her way in, Nader gets my vote!

    I did not find the conversation about the lowest parts of political campaigning either enlightening or refreshing. If you want to find dirt on the internet, I suppose it is the best place to do so. However, to then make general statements about the difference between the way women and men are treated at the lowest level of commentary seems to me to beg the important issue of whether or not such candidates are worthy to be president. I was disappointed that instead we heard all the crude talking points again and again. Why? What can we as voters do except ignore such trash,which of course will be there for those who choose to be titillated by it; instead we were sent to bed with such vitriole ringing in our ears, and we haven't even started on the entire year of avoiding such crud.
    It seemed to be enjoyable to biff it about while decrying it, and I rather resent that ploy.

    Let's get real here folks, this is a battle for the presidency! Since when was that clean? I could post tons of words and phrases that are used to negatively impact candidates, the point being, if a woman is going to step in to the ring, she best be ready to take a couple punches, some below the belt. If she can't take the B word, gosh, how will she handle terrorists, drugs, crime, race issues, etc.? Let's stop making women out to be fragile, weak things in need of protection from the entire world. This is NOT domestic violence, this is a tough political race, tough for all! Any by the way, I think Hillary is one tough cookie that can handle the B word ten times a second without flinching.

    It is certainly refreshing to watch your show where reason prevails over hateful rhetoric that is all too prevalent. As a woman who took a nontraditional job in the 70's I was subjected to sexist comments that still come out of the mouths of my fundamentalist Christian family & friends who believe women should be at home and in subjection to a man or other authority.
    Beliefs cause division. Beliefs cause us not to deal with the facts but rather with the idea of what it should be or what we want it to be. The "idea" in our society says that all people are created equal but the facts do not show that and the fact is that we are not all treated equally.
    A truly religious person is concerned with the transformation of society, which is oneself. Society has been created by each of us and only when each of us change individually will we change society. Questioning begins with each of questioning our own beliefs and seeing our own prejudices. When each one of us change, then the world will change.
    Compassion and love are the answer to every problem in the world, not whether one believes in dogmas/ideas that separate human beings and keep us acting from the mind instead of the heart. Religions talk about love while supporting organized murder which we call war. Belief has not stopped violence and hate. We have seen the violence of war that has come out of believers, including Adolph Hitler so belief is not the answer and should not be the question in the presidential elections.

    Mr. Moyers,
    I thought the woman asking Senator McCain how to beat Senator Clinton did not look very feminine.

    Why did you and your cohost ignore the "possibility" that the vitriolic comments are more associated with their target than a generalization of our society.

    Indeed, why is Ms. Clinton such a polarizing figure???

    The info that you presented about the way that Hilary is being demonized was brutal. I wish you had presented something positive about her because I fear that your presentation simply will be seen by many as why she is not good. I suspect that the republican attack machine is behind this attack in the same way that they swift boated previous candidates and any presentation will be seen as confirmation. The science of linguistics is too complicated for the average person to understand as Latoff demonstrated in his book, Don't think of an elephant.

    The discussion about Hillary really made me stop and think about my own reluctance to support her candidacy. I'm a woman and am leaning toward Obama. But I wonder if I subconsciously allowed some of these negative associations to effect my thinking. I wonder if my tendency to view her as crafty, distrustful, false, and deceitful was entirely true or, in part, exaggerated by these attacks. I'd like to think of myself as someone who can think for herself, and sensitive to these sexist attacks. But I'm left with an uneasy feeling that I can not distinguish within myself the difference between my own feelings about Clinton and some of the spin.

    I've recognized the volume of vitriol and the increasing crudeness in all media for several years. I was glad to hear Ms Jamieson acknowledge that it comes up from relatively small group of people and if it goes unrenounced, enters the mainstream. I've felt this happening for some time and believe there are many in the 'mainstream' who are willing to let the loonies do the work for them while they keep their hands clean. Many days it seems as if even that separation breaks down in the work place, churches, coffee shops and other gathering places of what used to be our more reasoned citizens. I wonder what it will take to put that genie back in the bottle?

    I found last nights show a perfect example of how the Dem's would prefer to approach an attack. Discuss it...intellectualize...be reasonable. I'm not seeing a lot of reasonable people on the other side to discuss anything with. Laudable, interesting to those who hunger for that kind of discourse...but we appear to be losing. Will we get a gold star for 'deportment' when we're living in a theocracy or a plutocracy?

    What a pleasure and relief to listen to your thoughtful, civil, discussion with Ms. Jamieson, that was more than two or three soundbites!

    Dear Mr. Moyers,

    You and Ms. Jamieson ignored the elephant in the room in your discussion of the demonization of Ms. Clinton.

    Recall that in 1987 Lee Atwater sent his minions out to find dirt on each of the probable 1992 Democratic hopefuls, or at least some characteristic to which mud would stick. So, shortly after Bill Clinton was nominated he released the tales he had found about Mr. Clinton's philandering. But then Mrs. Clinton defended her husband brilliantly, and one of Atwater's juggernauts went to the bottom of the sea. Very shortly thereafter Rush Limbaugh began attacking Ms. Clinton daily, at about the same time he was vilifying Carol Braun in a most racist way. Recall too that Limaugh's boss was Atwater protege Roger Ailes, now running Fox.

    As Goebles observed, after you repeat a lie often enough people will believe it. After sixteen years of nonstop Hillary bashing on TV and radio is it any wonder that some normal people follow suit?

    Are R.E.Mant and James McDonnell also known as Jean Davison?

    Are R.E.Mant and James McDonnell also known as James McDonnell?

    Mr. Moyers,

    Your dialogue with Ms. Jamieson suggests that you are genuinely astonished at all of the vitriol surrounding Hillary Clinton. While I do not approve of all of it - I understand where much of it comes from.

    It's not related to gender or politics. Men and women, Republican and Democrat, draw such fire in campaigns.

    A more intriguing question is - why is Mrs. Clinton such a polarizing figure? I believe the answer goes to the heart of who she is - many believe she has a deep integrity problem and that she is purely craven for power. It's easy to see into her soul.

    If we must have a Democrat winning the White House in 2008, many Republicans including this writer would find Mrs. Clinton by far, the most objectionable of all candidates in her party.

    Respectfully,

    JJM

    Listen to some rap or hip-hop lyrics. Look at some of the bedroom and violent scenes on prime time television that would have been unacceptable 20 years ago.Observe how people act on the road and in public shopping places.
    You are witnessing a general coarsening of the culture in both speech and behavior.

    Reasoned speech has no place in our media or general public discuss .... appeals to emotion are used to control the rabble.

    I don't like Hilary Clinton but it has nothing to do with her gender. I'm willing to vote for anyone who is rational, has personal principles and ethics and works for the benefit of all americans .... that leaves her out.

    Religion, for me is superstitious nonsense. Jefferson spoke of the "normal" alliance of govt and religion.

    The founding fathers were deists(they didn't say they were atheists as the masses would probably not have liked that term). Deists believe God made things and then disappeared, ie, is not involved in the affairs of men. Saying they were deists allowed them to "appear" religious without subscribing to the irrational chains of organized religion.

    Whatever the media, I find it very disquieting that the candidates are clearly promoting their personal belief system giving a strong implication that if elected this will give them permission to use the powers of the presidency to impose their beliefs and values on the country.

    What I want to hear the candidate say is that, if elected, he will in fact respect, protect and defend the Constitution and will ensure the individual rights enumerated in it are guaranteed in their entirety, and that he will respect and abide by the laws of the land, not making up his own laws.

    Moreover, I want all candidates running for public office to commit to taking the necessary action to restore the Bill of Rights which have been illegally and immorally dismantled by the demagogues in power who tell the people that despite the unique success The Bill of Rights has has brought America for over 200 years it must be set aside "to protect us."

    When they speak of the terrorist threat make define it, and when they do you may be surprised how little they know about threats, and how insignificant those threats really are compared to the inherent strengthes of the US

    Regarding the social acceptability of tasteless Facebook ads; compared to the misuse of the powers of office, they are irrelevant. Squelching stupidity won't make it go away. MS Jamison might think of ways of challenging your listeners to ignore or reject such garbage. I automatically erase them when they come in email form. I won't waste time on them, but I do let it tell me something about the character of the people that make them.


    The governor's race in Washington State in 2004 was very close, and it took a couple of months after the election for the outcome to be decided. During the race, between Christine Gregoire (D), and Dino Rossi (R), the rhetoric was heated, and especially while the outcome was pending, I heard Chris Gregoire called the same kinds of things Hillary's being called now.

    A very important show, Bill...I breathed a sigh of relief, as I have felt lost in a sea of religious fanatics, lately, and it was nice to hear some intelligent, thoughtful talk, for a change. I am really frightened of what is happening in our country...what is all this religion doing in this election? I mean, I understand where it is coming from, I just can't believe it! I am the mom of a Lesbian daughter, and at this rate, I'll never see her have the option of making a real marriage vow...even though we supposedly have equality, under the Constitution.
    As for the Hillary bashing,it makes me sick! What makes America different from all the other countries, who have elected woman leaders, and have loved and respected them? Could it stem from a vestige of Puritanism? I mean, aside from the obvious old boy network, there is a real FEAR of us, having power over them.

    Why isn't it just as unacceptable to use the B word as a characterization of a United States Senator, and former first lady of the United States, as it is to use that other awful word to characterize a college sports team?
    I think, in general, we have become stupid and proud of it!

    I noticed in your discussion of the use of language in attacking Hillary Clinton you focus on the use of the pejorative "bitch." Personally, I was chilled by the word "beat," especially repeated by various voices. Yes, it can mean "defeat," but the undertone of violence towards women was there, I think. Did anyone else feel uneasy over THAT choice of words?

    What a refreshing program with Kathleen Jamison on the sexist vilification of Hillary Clinton through Internet sources such as YouTube and Facebook. A key point raised was the significant number of men in the media and through the Internet who fear strong, articulate women and their power and continue to denigrate them. This behavior comes mainly from insecure men, but it is a phenomenon that is, unfortunately, still alive in our society. Thank you for beaming a light on this problem.

    What would women call men? How about Nazi?, or Fascist?, or the favorite substitute for them, patronizing?

    Kennedy may have said that the Church didn't speak for him, but Cardinal Spellman, patriarch of the Vietnam War, certainly did, and he was a knee-jerk anti-Communist same as they. His wife was no different.

    There is no doubt but that Liberal evangelicalism, enthusiasm and urban economic growth in all religions and women have been tied in all recorded history. Your friend Joseph Campbell was certainly right about this. Sex is not neutral.

    British men have been momma's boys for a long time.

    Personally I think Romney belongs to the Church of Latter Day Unitarianism, same as the Bush family, and is just as hypocritical as they. I'm sure this proves that he is their chosen successor.

    What would women call men? How about Nazi?, or Fascist?, or the favorite substitute for them, patronizing?

    Kennedy may have said that the Church didn't speak for him, but Cardinal Spellman, patriarch of the Vietnam War, certainly did, and he was a knee-jerk anti-Communist same as they. His wife was no different.

    There is no doubt but that Liberal evangelicalism, enthusiasm and urban economic growth in all religions, and women have been tied in all recorded history. Your friend Joseph Campbell was certainly right about this. Sex is not neutral.

    British men have been momma's boys for a long time.

    Personally I think Romney belongs to the Church of Latter Day Unitarianism, same as the Bush family, and is just as hypocritical as they. I'm sure this proves that he is their chosen successor.

    Mr Moyers, In listening to your discussion with Kathleen Jamieson you mentioned to her that you didn't hear any of these degrading comments when Geraldine Ferraro was running for office. You've forgotton that when Barbara Bush was asked what she thought of Ferraro, she said that she didn't want to say but that that it rhymed with "witch". Classy lady.

    Mr Moyers, In listening to your discussion with Kathleen Jamieson you mentioned to her that you didn't hear any of these degrading comments when Geraldine Ferraro was running for office. You've forgotton that when Barbara Bush was asked what she thought of Ferraro, she said that she didn't want to say but that that it rhymed with "witch". Classy lady.

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