Tag Archives: SE Cupp

Lending Credibility

Fake news

Back in February 2014, Bill Nye “the Science Guy” debated Ken Hamm, the creationist who built and operates the Creation Museum in Kentucky. Prior to the debate, people didn’t think it was wise for Bill Nye to be debating Ken Hamm. Though Nye wanted to have a debate from a more inquisitive perspective, to learn more about creationism and to see if it is an actual viable model for explaining the origin of things, people saw it as a way of elevating Ken Hamm, of inviting superstition to the scientific table, long after most of the world’s academic and critical thinkers have discarded religious dogma to explain natural phenomenon. I thought it was a useless exercise. Nye was lending his credibility to Ken Hamm and making him an “expert” equal to himself. I’m not opposed to debate, but I don’t see the value of debating people who sees a challenge to their ideas as fuel to their faith, scientific evidence as devilish trickery. The religious don’t even have conversations to be convinced. They are there to convince you, to add you to their flock. Scientists debate to see if there are holes to their ideas; see if their initial hypotheses holds up. So in the end, the debate didn’t do anything but raise Ken Hamm’s profile. It made him known to people outside of religious circles.

This is similar to my problem with Bill Maher. He claims that the best disinfectant is sunlight; and that we should confront irrational ideas and characters, and show them what fools they are. His show will have accomplished people like Senator Elizabeth Warren, Michael Eric Dyson, and Cornel West, then he will have people like SE Cupp, whose initial schtick “I’m an atheist but I envy the faith of the religious” is such a boldfaced sham that it’s a wonder why Maher didn’t run her out of the panel. Cupp was just a blip on the media radar at the time, but Maher elevated her, lent her his credibility as well as the credibility of his guests, and this resulted her getting employed by CNN and other media outlets. Maher claimed to do the same thing with Milo Yiannopoulos earlier in the year, to invite him to his show for a dialogue to see what makes him tick, then later took credit for Yiannopoulos getting exposed for his past comments regarding homosexuality and pedophilia. I saw the show and was not impressed with either of them. He didn’t really challenge Yiannopoulos too much on his flimsy arguments. I predict if Yiannopoulos wasn’t drummed out of the public eye by the Internet a week later, Maher would’ve had him as a regular guest, feeding off of his notoriety.

And now we see Kayleigh McEnany working for TrumpTV. A lawyer who graduated from Harvard, she worked at CNN as a Trump supporter, arguing for Trump’s and the administrations worst comments and actions. I wouldn’t mind her if her arguments were substantive, but the points she defended often goes against the viewers own senses (like Trump’s flip flops) and she sounded so disingenuous that it makes me wonder what it really takes to graduate with a law degree. She added nothing of value to debates, and it was infuriating to see CNN has people like her misinform their audience. A previously unknown person, CNN has elevated her and lent her their credibility simply by having her on their airwaves. The Most Trusted Name in News has misinformers on their payroll. And now McEnany is doing propaganda on TrumpTV. TrumpTV can now boast that it employs not just Trump relatives, but also former CNN contributors, giving merit and credibility to its “news.”

James Randi did it best. He had scammers on his show and showed them the flaws of their tricks. He exposed them in such a way that it wasn’t disrespectful. With logic and science, he showed how a person was deceiving the audience. Afterwards, he moved on to the next scammer. He didn’t have them as a regular guest nor consulted them regarding other matters. He didn’t lend them his credibility. Now, I’m not saying people like Bill Maher or networks like CNN should be debunkers. But they should call out lies and disinformation for what they are, and don’t reward liars by employing them or inviting them to sit on discussion panels to lie again.

 

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More Empathy, Please

kidneys

 

More urinary tract stuff. Yay!

I like watching Bill Maher. I enjoy his panel, although I sometimes cringe at how he legitimizes certain people by having them on the show. Darrel Issa might be one of the worst political actors around, and but he has enough charm to appear like a somewhat reasonable person in his show. Bill also sometimes bring in S.E. Cupp who is the dumbest political commentator clown I tried to watch. Granted, she claims to be an atheist, just like Bill, so I’m guessing that’s why she has her on the show, but what the heck is a self-hating atheist who is jealous of the faithful?!

Now, I was raised Catholic, and although I don’t practice the faith too much, I still consider myself a member of the church. Now, I get Bill’s problems with religion, but really, he does paint with a wide brush especially when it comes to Muslims. There’s over a billion Muslims in the world and not all of them are seeking the death of infidels the same way not all Christians are seeking to stone all adulterers. Religion divides people into those who would be saved after death and those who would burn in hell (or those who simply don’t matter at all). This gives extremists of any religion an excuse to do horrible things. The Bible was used as an excuse for slavery. Heck, there are stories of wiping out whole populations in the good book. So to say that the Muslim faith is a great source of bad ideas is not only very selective, it is also racist, and wrong. Bill argues that the reality is counter to my idealism, and that Muslims are causing a lot of trouble in the world, but that in itself is very narrow-sighted. A lot of the troubles happening in the Middle-East is due to greed and an out of control capitalist machine. It is also due to populations who feel disenfranchised at the very least, and at most, angered by the injustice caused by a foreign force thousands of miles away. This injustice is why young people from countries outside of the Middle East are flying in to join. What’s happening is injustice, and it just so happens that the extremist leaders in those countries are religious and that they would use religion to control people the same way leaders in every country would use anything to control the people under them. Not all Muslim countries are controlled by extremist forces, and not all Muslim countries have bombings which give people cause to be extremists.

My Muslim neighbor doesn’t have any more bad ideas than my Christian neighbor. Both neighbors don’t have any more bad ideas than my Buddhist neighbor as. One could argue that my atheist neighbor might have fewer bad ideas. But if that neighbor starts trafficking in racist stereotypes, then he just me be the worst neighbor there is.

So yeah, the whole dismissive attitude people of the Muslim faith really turned me off. And then comes New Rules regarding the Hong Kong protests for democracy. Granted, it was just a joke. But really, saying that the protest signs look like restaurant menus? Let me guess, “flied lice?” What’s the matter? Can’t make a love-you-long-long-time joke instead? This is the thin treatment the protests get when it is a huge move for democracy in that part of the world. In fact, that dig makes me wonder if his empathy to people unlike himself only extends towards black Americans.

His show is off next week, so I’m hoping he’s got a better show when he comes back. I’d still be watching, but the hate disguised as critical thought and some of the tired jokes are starting to get to me.

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