January 29, 2013

Take the exam in Althouse's on-line class in media bias.

First, read this post about Dana Milbank's description of the way Senator Marco Rubio looked as he waited his turn to speak about the bipartisan immigration plan. Note the literary techniques he employs. He seems to be describing what he sees, but I implied that his descriptions revealed bias, and, indeed, that Milbank would like to destroy Marco Rubio.

Now, here's a video clip showing Marco Rubio giving his presentation. Feel free to listen to what he says, but I want you to concentrate on Senator Chuck Schumer, who can be seen at the left of the screen. Observe any gestures or expressions, because the assignment will involve describing him, deploying literary techniques of the sort we saw in Milbank's description of Rubio.



Here's the assignment. Write 2 descriptions of Schumer, in the style of Dana Milbank's description of Marco Rubio.

1. You are the equivalent of Milbank, but attuned to the goals of the Republican Party. You would like to impede the advancement of Chuck Schumer.

2. You are a Milbank-style columnist at a place like The Washington Post, and you'd like to further the political career of Senator Schumer.

Cast a critical eye on your work. Are your 2 descriptions equivalent? They should be equally accurate, equally presentable as journalism, equally in service to your political agenda.

What have you learned from this exercise? Has your respect for Milbank grown or shrunken? Explain.

87 comments:

ndspinelli said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

ndspinelli F

ndspinelli said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
whoresoftheinternet said...

Chuck Schumer is part of the feces of our society.

No wonder he's a leader of the left.

Seig Heil,Mein Obama! Forward! To Oblivion!

bagoh20 said...

Rubio must be an intelligent guy. Both his Spanish and his English are very smooth. Usually a bilingual person is smooth in only one and often neither, because it takes concentration to stay in the right language and this tends to slow one down and add the ummms and aaas.

He's a good speaker without stalls and stilted thing Obama has in spades and which comes from struggling to suppress the truth of what you know or don't know.

bagoh20 said...

Durbin looks just like he's the arresting officer waiting for the perp to give his statement before dragging him off for deportation.

AllenS said...

Schumer thinks that it's a big fucking joke.

Nick, A-

edutcher said...

Negative: Senator Schumer looked everywhere but at Seantor Rubio, as if Rubio's animal magnetism and sex appeal frightened him. He looked down, to the sides, and was noticeably ill at ease.

Positive: Senator Schumer was in a good, friendly mood as Rubio prepared to speak. As heir apparent to Harry Reid's post as Senate Majority Leader, he carefully listened to all of Rubio's comments and even appeared to offer an occasional word of advice to the freshman from FL.

Levi Starks said...

Just one question before I start, Will I be getting college level credit for finishing this assignment?

bagoh20 said...

The answer is Schumer isn't doing anything. And that's the point.

traditionalguy said...

I saw Rubio make this into a lab experiment causing Schumer to squirm as Rubio did his bi-lingual speech in Spanish after his speech in English.

Schumer was clearly uncomfortable with being one upped.His Empire State Dems want marginal votes they can buy with our money...not intelligent men and women who can talk in that extra language. That's rude, thinks Schumer.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

He stood with sternly crossed arms, and nodded affirmatively, for emphasis, several times during Rubio's speech. He also scanned the crowd vulture-like and frequently licked his lips, seemingly mouthing the words of the speaker.

When Rubio self-translated his talk into brilliantly fluent Spanish, he politely looked on, no doubt aware of the brightness of this political rising star. And Schumer, drawn magnetically to all lights from klieg to searchlights, could not help but stand in the glare.

Cheryl said...

1. Durbin looked uncomfortable standing to the side as Rubio made his address. The elder senator shifted his eyes but failed to look at either Rubio or the assembled guests. At times he clenched the arm of his suit coat, as if stopping himself from seizing control of the microphone from the Republican's newest rising star.

2. The elder statesman stood to the side as Rubio made his address. At times he appeared to say parts of Rubio's address to himself, as if he were the coach watching one of his players make a well-practiced shot. At other times he shut his eyes while nodding, obviously so familiar and enthusiastic about this legislation that even his body language supported it.

Nichevo said...

professor, I will deal with your question later, but right now while thread has 3 posts I want to make something clear to you, and be sure that you have read it and understood.

You play this "why can't a woman be more like a man" game, where all that seems to matter to you is that the Republicans agree with your own views on social issues like immigration, gays, abortion, whatever. Issues of little inherent existential importance but very splashy.

Yet in your better moments you have shown clear understanding that the major influences of the Democratic Party leadership, to put it simply, are corrupt and evil, that through demagoguery they are currently enjoying success, and that their major policy trends are the ruin of this nation.

Why can't you put first things first and forego your superficiality? Your hummingbird magpie SQUIRREL! susceptibility to trivia and distraction? Your apparent total inability to prioritize past your own velleities?

May I ask you to please answer this as best you can instead of taking refuge in snark, profanity or censorship? I did send Amazon bux your way so would appreciate a little service.

In fairness I suppose this is really unanswerable, but please take this opportunity to see yourself from outside yourself.

Fritz said...

"Has your respect for Milbank grown or shrunken? Explain."

My respect for Milbank could not shrink.

bagoh20 said...

It would have taken Obama an hour and a half to say the same thing Rudio did there, even if you subtract the extra time he would take to vilify a half dozen straw men in the process.

The other difference is that Obama would have made a historic and powerful speech that transcended the decades long debate.

Levi Starks said...

Schumer face is shows smugness, as he see's a a republican is on board with is idea,
However his body language says he's experiencing a high level of insecurity, because he's not used to being in such close proximity to a republican.
HIs conscious mind says I'm winning, but his unconscious mind thinks he may have fallen into a trap.

Big Mike said...

I agree with Fritz.

EDH said...

Schumer, like Senator Menendez, had a look on his face as if to say "I'm here for the underage Latina prostitutes."

Meanwhile, as Rubio spoke in Spanish, Schumer looked askance as if to say, "enough already, the grass needs cutting."

Patrick said...

1: Schumer stood next to and slightly behind Rubio. He looked uncomfortable but gamely laughed at Rubio's joke. While Rubio spoke, his eyes shifted nervously, darting back and forth as he likely pondered how he should behave next to the Republican's rising star. At one point, with his eyes cast down, his own thoughts seemed to overwhelm him as Rubio undercut his and his party's position on immigration. Before catching himself, Schumer briefly looked terrified when Rubio began to speak in Spanish.

2: The avuncular Senator from NY gamely laughed at Rubio's weak joke. His presence lent credibility and gravitas to the young and clearly nervous Rubio. Although at one point he seemed disgusted with Rubio's simpleton approach, and his irrelevant reference to the national debt, his experience in statecraft showed. He even remained respectfyl when Rubio again used his favorite gimmick speaking in spanish to no one in particular.

Cheryl said...

Dang it I meant Schumer. My hatred of Dick Durbin knows no limits.

bagoh20 said...

Milbank to himself: "I need distraction - 60% more distraction."

chickelit said...

(1) After ejaculating his own statements to the press, Senator Shumer stood aside, allowing Senator Rubio to speak his mind. Shumer's erect thumb softened and as if entering refractory repose. A time-lapsed analysis of Shumer's thumb shows shrinking stature as the future of the Republican party rose to the occasion.

(2) Shumer stood aside for Rubio's turn. His facial expressions showed agreement on some of Rubio's remarks. Shumer's own body language was unremarkable.

traditionalguy said...

Leaders show an appearance of leadership and Rubio made a perfect ten on that.

Schumer is contemplating how he will destroy the upstart's power.

Schumer knows that the Hispanic culture could easily go GOP if given a leader who does not scapegoat them.

The Dems normal method has been to feed the right wing haters with images of the "other" that cause them to destroy the other's leader for the Dems. It can be a short time between a Palm Sunday and a Good Friday.

Jourtegrity said...

1. While listening to Marco Rubio speak Senator Schumer appeared disconnected from the event often dragging his thumb across the arm of his $3000 suit as if to calculate the thread count. Eyes darting and lips forever smacking, Schumer rocked back and forth like a 6 year old pining for a quick exit to relieve himself.

2. Occasionally nodding in approval and casting sweeping glances to the media swarm Schumer appeared to be in full control of the event as he waited patiently for the Q & A session to begin in order that he could clarify any verbal miscues from “the Republican”.

Learned. The idea of real, equivocal journalism has long since passed.

Milbank is a smudge on the page of any document.

Inga said...

Schumer stands with arms folded nodding as if he has produced young and capeable Rubio in his own image, in an attempt to shift credit for a bipartisan agreement on the Democratic Party.


Schumer stands quietly nodding, pleased that Rubio and Republicans finally understand and will at long last work across the aisle for the long needed immigration reform legislation.

Bob Ellison said...

You should use "shrunk". One of my pet peeves. I wrote "gotten" on a college essay and got nicked by the (British) TF for that.

bagoh20 said...

Were there really people there that didn't understand English?

I have to do this everything-in-two-languages stuff everyday, although my Spanish is not good enough to speechify, so I get help if I'm in front of a crowd. It's a real pain in the ass. We need to get people to learn English as a first requirement. Immigrants don't need to learn it to get through their day, because everyone in their daily life circle speaks Spanish, but their media lies to them incessantly and treats them like trained seals to use for political ends. Our English language media are pikers by comparison.

Mark O said...

Objection: Assumes a fact not in evidence, that is, the existence of respect for Milbank.

Sustained. Next question.

madAsHell said...

Will I be getting college level credit for finishing this assignment?

Did you pay your tuition??

bagoh20 said...

I appreciate you good students following the assignment, and now understand how one graduates from college. I just don't have what it takes. I'm undisciplined, lazy, and clearly by now incorrigible. I'll never amount to anything, and I'm ashamed of myself. I quit.

Roger J. said...

I enjoyed this blog more when the professor was not in her school marm mode

Patrick said...

I think the goal of this assignment was to show how pathetically easy it is to be a hack writer for the Post.

edutcher said...

Is this going to be on a curve?

How long before we get our final grade?

Will you be in your office to talk about this?

DADvocate said...

Schumer stands with arms folded nodding as if he has produced young and capeable Rubio in his own image, in an attempt to shift credit for a bipartisan agreement on the Democratic Party.

Arms folded is classic body language for defensiveness. It would indicate that Schumer is not comfortable with what he thinks Rubio might say, and/or the announcement in general and/or their proposals. He nods his head in seeming agreement, or he's just sleepy. Schumer also makes movements with his lips reminiscent of a psychiatric patient suffering from tardive dyskinesia, i.e. Schumer's mental faculties are declining, either from psychicatric meds or old age. Poor guy, I hope he makes it to the end of his current term with his mind still intact.

edutcher said...

PS Roger, you know in all the Westerns the Rangers always had an eye for a pretty schoolmarm.

Roger J. said...

Edutcher: that was then when Randolph Scott rode the range--this is now :)

bagoh20 said...

Nichevo, I partly agree with your analysis, but would attribute much of it to her just wanting to have some fun with this blog, and keep it readable and interesting to a wider audience. She accomplishes that well, maybe even unparalleled.

But, I do agree there seems to be a reluctance to fully embrace what she must certainly see. She understandably does not want to accept that things are so clearly one-sided. I think most of us here have come to accept it. For many of us it's the reason we have migrated right and feel solid about it.

bagoh20 said...

This blog stuff is like herding cats.

Chip Ahoy said...

Look, don't ask me hard things, I'm a low information voter, so low that I thought the guy on the right is Schumer and five minutes into it a voice said, "It's the other guy, idiot."

1) Schumer his holding his arm, the arm being held is holding his waist. Like a swimmer. A shivering teenage swimmer whose coach says, "Quit holding your skinny little body!" in front of the rest of the class, strange school that, two weeks on this, two weeks on that, and bang two weeks in the pool. A big pool too, surprising a high school would have that, with a really high diving board too and that shivering skinny teenager is wondering, "Are we going to have to jump off that thing?" As it turns out he WILL have to jump off that tower but for now all he can think about is, yes, it's true, he really is the skinniest kid the whole gym class and that scar set long ago never did fully heal, and here he is again in that gym class again, nearly naked and wet, and he realizes that everyone there is actually bigger and more adequate than he is himself. He's on the way down and that guy is on the way up. He averts he eyes, and take a rodent disposition, he can hardly stand the idea of this young opposition weaseling in on the issue that is rightfully his own. He stoked this issue, HE kept the issue alive all these years, and now somebody else will get part of the credit, well not if he can help it. He nervously scratches his face and realizes how that looks on camera and chastens the offending hand back into body squeezing function. He nervously darts his eyes back and forth, he's hearing the words and cannot believe they're coming out of the mouth of his opposition', and he does notice that dark hairline receding and, yes, that does give Shumer at least that satisfaction.

2) Schumer stood stoically, quietly listening as Rubio restated the work Schumer himself had organized, gracefully allowing the aggressive Rubio, which incidentally means "blond" in Spanish, he thought as he stood there patiently "e claro no es rubio, así mientoroso!, por realidad," but nonetheless allowed the upstart contrarian Rubio to stand there speaking as if he had all done the work himself. It's this unnoticed practice of sharing that has made Schumer's reputation for successfully framing compromises by giving a little reachaound while he's back there, I mean, for cooperatively reaching across the aisle, his calm composure a reflection of his years of stolid statesmanship.

Bob Ellison said...

The senior Senator from New York, Charles ("Chuck") Schumer, shifted from his left foot to his right foot. The left foot had recently been acting up due to his habit of leaning to the left. As the pain eased, Schumer smiled slightly, and then suddenly realized that his facial expression might be misinterpreted. He frowned again.

Later, a surprisingly small duck walked into the frame. Schumer, exhibiting his cat-like reflexes, whipped out a shotgun and shot the duck. The audience erupted in applause. "We'll eat tonight!" Schumer winked and quipped "Peking, or a l'Orange?", thus sending a note of respect to the new monarch of The Netherlands.

AllenS said...

Immigrants should be required to take an ethnic studies class. They should be knowledable about things that white people like. Fail that, and you're out.

This is the second time that I had to type this because of a blogger booger.

edutcher said...

Roger, I could say something about Madame La Professeur, with her wire-framed specs perched on the end of her turned-up nose, an old-fashioned wooden pointer in her hand, making the now quite appealing, but the She-Wolf of the SS would go berserk.

jacksonjay said...

Thank you, ma'am. May I have another?

Chip S. said...

•Schumer clenched his elbows with his opposing hands, as if to ward off the burgeoning political force standing at the podium beside him. Rubio, whom Schumer eyed warily yet respectfully, swirled the winds of the immigration issue into a potent tropical storm. Will he soon develop into a hurricane strong enough to blow away Schumer's obvious presidential ambition?

•While Rubio produced his talking points, Schumer focused intently, seeming to concentrate on the immense political task at hand. What would be required of him in order to overcome Republicans' long history of intransigence on an issue that, at its core, turned on one's deepest commitment to human rights?

....

My respect for Milbank has shrunk quite bit. This is way easier than I thought it would be.

Calvinus said...

I'd vote for Patrick (if this was a democracy).

chrisnavin.com said...

1. "Schumer stood reticently behind Rubio throughout, arms crossed in front of his chest, only occasionally offering an affirmative nod or gesture of support."

"...another one of those Democratic leaders is Chuck Schumer, who throughout Rubio's speech, offered many affirmative nods and gestures, even smiling at times to signal his support for this bi-partisan legislation that has the power to fundamentally change America's future."

and here's my take:

"An odor of brill cream and menace hung around the figure of Chuck Schumer today, as he occasionally flashed a row of yellowed teeth Marco Rubio's way.
To observers, Schumer's brow seemed to lift from the clouds of political calculation only when he recalled the sunshine of the national spotlight was upon him."


rehajm said...

1. The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.

2. He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced--or seemed to face--the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.

ricpic said...

Anyone with blood pressure problems should studiously avoid Schumer-watching for even a second.

BarrySanders20 said...

"It's this unnoticed practice of sharing that has made Schumer's reputation for successfully framing compromises by giving a little reachaound while he's back there, I mean, for cooperatively reaching across the aisle, his calm composure a reflection of his years of stolid statesmanship."

That should be in Schumer's eulogy.



GrandpaMark said...

Watching for one minute with sound off, I observed;
Bobbing head like a solar powered flower from the dollar store.
Clasping his left arm as if un consciously hiding track marks.
Stretching mouth nervously
Wiping a drop of foam from left corner of his mouth
Laughing maniacally at times

Jay said...

Chuck Schumer looks more & more like Richard Nixon every day...

Crunchy Frog said...

Where the hell is betamax? I want the Space Robot Monkey version.

mccullough said...

Most striking is the difference in age and energy between Rubio and his older (and whiter) colleagues. Rubio was eager and enthusiastic to discuss the proposals, even delivering them in Spanish to the primary audience for immigration reform, the undocumented immigrants. Although Schumer and Durbin hail from deep blue states with a large number of Latinos, neither long-serving senator speaks Spanish. While Rubio spoke to immigrants in their native tongue, Schumer stood by, unable to hide his appearant embarrassment behind his usual affected sneer.

FleetUSA said...

Schumer was doing his best Ed Sullivan immitation with the very tight arm stance.

He would rather not share the microphone with any body else.

Jim O said...

I don't think you implied. I think you inferred.

Jim O said...

I don't think you implied. I think you inferred.

Jim O said...

I apologize for the double post. I'm imperfect, too.

Frank Turk said...

Back in '98 when he was running for the senate against Alphonse D'Amato, D'Amato called Schumer a "putz" during one of their debates.

D'Amato was right, even if it did cost him the election.

Jim O said...

I apologize for the double post. I'm imperfect, too.

JL said...

"Elder statesman Shumer clasped himself uneasily, as he stood beside the youthful up-and-comer Rubio. His saturnine gaze was only disrupted when an occasional giggle escaped though the gaps in his teeth; all the while his narrow eyes shifted back and forth like a cornered rat. At times he signaled his agreement by rocking his body back and forth like a worshiper in front of the Israeli wailing wall. But he squirmed uncomfortably when Rubio switched to Spanish, in a way that suggested he was thinking, "I wish we could get one of those Spanish speakers on our side"."


"Democratic patriarch Shumer stood poised and alert next to the novice Rubio. His usual gravitas interrupted only briefly by a sage nodding of his head as if to signal to those watching that, yes, this is good; this is the bibartisan spirit that the American people want from their representatives. To his credit, he stood by patiently as Rubio repeatedly pandered to the Hispanic vote by switching to Spanish."

Levi Starks said...

I'm going to assume the test is over now, and we can discuss.
It seemed like When Rubio bent his head forward I could detect some hair thinning, and possibly the beginning of a receding hair line, If he's going to be president someday he'd better not wait long.
It won't be long and he'll go from cute white hispanic man with boyish face to being just some old white guy.

Patrick said...

Well thanks for that, Calvinus.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

1. Chuck Schumer laughed nervously, arms clasped tightly to his chest, while Rubio spoke. Feigning attention, he gazed vacantly at the floor, occasionally nodding and smacking his lips.

2. Chuck Schumer gave his entire focus to Rubio's words, nodding sagely whenever Rubio gave a credible simulation of bipartisanship.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

1. Chuck Schumer laughed nervously, arms clasped tightly to his chest, while Rubio spoke. Feigning attention, he gazed vacantly at the floor, occasionally nodding and smacking his lips.

2. Chuck Schumer gave his entire focus to Rubio's words, nodding sagely whenever Rubio gave a credible simulation of bipartisanship.

Nichevo said...

Edutcher, I myself could say something about madame la professeur, bent over a pool table with her panties around one high heeled ankle, skirt pulled up over her back, pencil between her teeth, but I thought it better to make some vague attempt at topicality. (I would also be more interested in kentuckyliz's opinion on that scenario than in Inga's, but fair is fair.)

EMD said...

I will only do this if I receive a certificate suitable for framing.

Or one not suitable for not framing.

GeoffNewbury said...

Jim O said...

I apologize for the double post. I'm imperfect, too.

That would be 'post imperfect'.

Almost Ali said...

Objectivity is impossible; political characters are what they are.

And from where I'm sitting, Rubio appears to be taking the shortest route from Miami to DC's back-slappers club - a RINO in the near-do-well tradition of long-time backslapper John McCoddle McCain. And more recently, Gov Wet-Kiss Christie.

Strelnikov said...

My regard for Milbank could not shrink.

Strelnikov said...

On the other hand, my regard for Mario is significantly reduced.

Sam L. said...

You 'inferred' that from what he said.

Milbank was implying that Rubio was nervous and uncertain about what he was going to say, and how it would be received.

Kansas City said...

The only think I saw was that when Rubio started speaking fluent Spanish, Schumer thinking "Oh my God, this guy is going to be the next president of the United States, if we don't figure out a way to destroy him."

Molly said...

"Shumer looked on with a supercilious and patronizing smile, as if showing ironic pride, as one might when showing a neighbor a dog's new trick, or a video of a daughter's clumsy first ballet recital."

jaynie said...

bagoh20 said...
It would have taken Obama an hour and a half to say the same thing Rudio did there, even if you subtract the extra time he would take to vilify a half dozen straw men in the process.

The other difference is that Obama would have made a historic and powerful speech that transcended the decades long debate.

1/29/13, 9:53 AM


I am STILL laughing!

jaynie said...

1. Senator Chuck U. Schumer appeared ill at ease and fidgeted during Senator Rubio's transcendent speech solving the immigration crisis.The young Senator's rhetoric inspired all who heard him and solved other problems dogging the nation such as global climate change, poverty and most of the conflicts in the Middle East.

2. Senator Schumer listened respectfully to the young, inexperienced Senator as Rubio made his extreme proposal to clamp the border shut even with people standing in the door who would get their fingers jammed in the hinge.

Oh, whoops! I think I misunderstood the second part if the assignment.

chuckR said...

I'm only auditing this course and don't wanna do the assignment. Seven minutes of closely studying Schumer is cruel and unusual punishment.

However, Jersey Bob Menendez wanders in and out of the picture.

Senator Menendez, flanking Senator Rubio with Senator Schumer, lent his consider gravitas and air of quiet competence to the inexperienced Rubio as he gave a presentation that might be political suicide.

Senator Menendez, despite Rubio's concise and dynamic presentation, occasionally lost focus. He was no doubt recalling intimate moments with his underage Dominican prostitutes and thanking God this tool Rubio wasn't already President with the resources and integrity to turn the heat up on the investigation.

Citygal said...

Chuck U Schumer looks a if his medication is wearing off. He's sniffling, can't stand still, his head bobbing and constantly looking around and looking down. His arms are in a defense mode crossing his chest. His body language suggests he is placating Sen Rubio by listening to him. On the other side is the good soldier Sen Durbin, not moving, being respectfully attentive to Sen Rubio .

Citygal said...

Chuck U Schumer looks a if his medication is wearing off. He's sniffling, can't stand still, his head bobbing and constantly looking around and looking down. His arms are in a defense mode crossing his chest. His body language suggests he is placating Sen Rubio by listening to him. On the other side is the good soldier Sen Durbin, not moving, being respectfully attentive to Sen Rubio .

sybilll said...

Schumer: "It chaps my ass that I'm going to have to be calling this guy Mr. President someday".

Ctmom4 said...

Chip Ahoy - A+
I couldn't take the test because anything I could say about Schmuck Schumer would be unsuitable for a family blog. and I couldn't watch the whole thing because I can't look at Schmuckie for that long.

Ann Althouse said...

I love the real answers to the exam!

I give an A to everyone who followed the instructions and really tried to see the point of all this.

I should pick out the best ones and do a front page post, but there are so many that are good!

Ann Althouse said...

Now, if you could just do it again, Gatsby style...

MarkD said...

Chuck Schumer looked for the nearest television camera, like a strung out junkie overdue for his fix.

Almost Ali said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rusty said...

MarkD said...
Chuck Schumer looked for the nearest television camera, like a strung out junkie overdue for his fix.

Gatsby. Not Howl.

Brian C. said...

Can I point out that Dana is an Opinion Writer. As a former newspaper person there is a difference between that and "journalist." I know, i know, many disagree. But in that profession there the distinction is that the Op writer can and should give his opinion, bias, whatever. They aren't there to be equal. They are there to push their agenda, quite openly. If you can cite a similar example where the writer ISN'T working in the Op/Ed section, then I think your point is valid.