Sunday, May 16, 2021

Misleading Headlines: "In A Divided City . . .'

 Most of the headlines in the Anchorage Daily News today are relatively straightforward, probably accurate descriptions.  

"CDC's mask guidance spurs confusion and criticism as well as celebration"

There may be more lurking in this headline than I see, but it seems fairly accurate.  

But let's look at the headline on the ADN's editorial about the election:

"In a divided city, Anchorge's new mayor will face a tough challenge immediately" 

My focus is on "in a divided city."   Sure, there has been an obvious division between at the moment between maskers and non-maskers, between those who put failing businesses ahead of people dying.  But I would note there are also lots of other divisions - racial, financial, educational, religious, for example - that have existed and will continue to exist.  But those aren't what the ADN seems focused on.  They're talking about politically divided.  

This is amplified further on in the editorial.  

"[the election] has left half of Anchorage's residents on one side of a yawning partisan gulf, and the remainder on the other side."

The people who voted - less than 40% of registered voters - are evenly split.  But the ADN editorial board has cited no polls or other evidence to show that those who did NOT vote are so evenly divided.  I don't think they are.  We have had a segment of our population that has been loud and righteous in opposing things like women's rights to choose to handle unwanted pregnancies and LGBTQ rights.  But that doesn't represent the majority of Anchorage residents as our generally progressive Assembly (city council) demonstrates.  

But it's careless to assume we are evenly split.  It mirrors the false impression that our Senate is evenly split, when in reality enough small population states that are Republican disproportionately skew the Senate to the right.  

"But, according to the calculation of Ian Millhiser, writing for Vox, if you add up the population of states and assign half to each of their two senators, “the Democratic half of the Senate represents 41,549,808 more people than the Republican half.”  From MinnPost

Of course, that claim is also misleading because not all the people the Democratic Senators represent are all Democrats either. But then, neither are the constituents of the Republican Senators all Republicans. 

The ADN editorial board does make this point in reminding our likely new mayor, Dave Bronson, that he represents not just his supporters, but also those who didn't support him.  But then further contradicting the Divided City of the headline, they write:

"Fortunately, there's more common ground than the rhetoric of the campaign would lead you to believe, and Bronson knows it.  In meeting with the ADN editorial board, he estimated that he and Dunbar agreed on about 89% of municipal policy. . ."

So we aren't so divided after all?  But conflict draws eyeballs and sells newspapers.

The real concern I have is between those who take it upon themselves to use intimidation and defiance of the law to make their points and to get their  way.  Only the delusional believe still that Trump was cheated out of the the presidency, yet the Republican Party supports that lie in refusing to refute it and in expelling Lynn Cheney for saying those words out lout.  While not censuring representatives who helped the rioters and continue to repeat the lies about the election.  

Senator Dan Sullivan, for example, is a Marine.  He, presumably, was ready to put his life on the line to defend the US Constitution.  Yet he's not ready to put his job on the line to defend the Constitution in the Senate.  


  1. Here is another take on the election. At no time during the election did Dunbar engage me in any way. I pretty much throw out the stuff i get in the mail, and I ditched the cable years ago so I am not sure what ads were run on broadcast TV. What I do know that Bronson's people came to my house twice when I was home, Driving around Anchorage two or three times a week I saw Bronson people out waving their signs, The week before the end of the election I saw the Bronson people out in dump trucks and side loaders with banners. The radio stations I listen to had a at least 10 to 1 advantage in ads for Bronson. I held my nose and voted for Dunbar, but if I not paid attention to the issues I would have only seen Bronsn's name, I would have ended up voting for him. The old saying is 'if you want to change the world you have to show up for the meetings', Dunbar did not show up. He took a page from the Hillary Clinton campaign that 'its my turn for office'
    Say what you like but Bronson was out there working for votes.

    As for the pandemic, you forgot about the people who stayed home and let other people risk their lives for them (some twice as likely do die), while they could have kept themselves save doing their own shopping. That is that height of privileged. And I do not think history will think well of them.

    What Are you thoughts on whats going on in the Middle East and why Israel has to kill least 10 or 15 people or every Israel citizen killed. And how is the AP a terrorist organigation.


    1. Who voted Mitch McConnell an essential service during covid?

    2. Sorry it took so long to respond. We left for Denali about when you posted your comment. Don't dispute your comments on the election.
      You've used the word 'privileged' in a few comments now. I've acknowledged that as a white male I've had more options that people not in that category. You haven't revealed whether you fit that category as well. But seems like a fairly broad usage. I'm not exactly following your logic. Something about people staying home and either getting their groceries delivered or picking them up at curbside are privileged and by doing that they endangered other people. Sure, people who could afford to stay home - as we were all recommended to do, even mandated - had an advantage over folks who had to or wanted to work to feed their families. But those people would have gone to work in even more risky situations if everyone who stayed home went into grocery stores.
      I'm getting a sense that you are calling people 'privileged' because they can afford things others can't. And, yes, to an extent that is true. But privileged began as a term to point out advantages many people have because of their birth circumstances - white, male, economic advantage, etc. All white Americans are privileged by that definition. Those with professional jobs - that allowed them to work from home during the pandemic - were privileged too. Though not doctors and nurses. People can't do anything about the conditions of their birth. What is important, in my eyes, is a) people recognize their privilege and don't claim "I did it all alone, no one helped me" and b) what they do with their privilege. Do they use it to screw over other people? Do they use it to buy lots of toys or take lots of long distance luxury trips? Do they spend it in a bar several times a week? Do they work to help those with less opportunity? Do they work to change the system?
      Israel will need another time. I'm pretty sure I have addressed my basic thoughts on the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians somewhere on the blog but I can't find the post. Here's one that's tangential - but touches on the complications. Basically there are problems on all sides that prevent peace. Israel is not much larger than the Municipality of Anchorage. You know how people here would react if rockets were launched into Anchorage from the Chugach range. I doubt that any other nation in the world that had the military power Israel has, would show the restrain Israel shows facing the attacks Israel faces. But Israel has done a horrible job in how it treats Palestinians. But then the surrounding Arab countries haven't done a whole lot to improve their lot either. The plight of the Palestinians has been a benefit to Arab leaders who use Israel as a scapegoat for all their own issues. Have you watched Fauda on Netflix? It's an Israeli series that doesn't sugarcoat Israeli actions - though it is from an Israeli point of view. This is an issue with no easy solutions and players whose power depends on keeping it that way.


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