Dean Sticks Foot In Mouth

Howard Dean was on Hardball with Chris Matthews, and managed to say some rather questionable things. First he responded to a question about Iranian nuclear weapons by calling for the US to buy surplus weapons from the Soviet Union. This ignores the fact that A:) The Soviet Union hasn’t existed for over a decade and B:) Iran can just as easily buy nuclear technology from Pakistan and North Korea.

This could be dismissed as a simple slip of the tongue, although if Bush had said it the usual suspects would still be jumping all over it. With Dean however, there’s been little said or made of the comment – now who said the media isn’t liberal?

What can’t be dismissed are his inexcusable views on media ownership. Dean essentially argued that the President has the right to decide what is the appopriate size for a media company. As Jeff Jarvis responds:

Translation: He’s going to meddle in news. He’s going to decree who can and can’t own media outlets. He’s going to break up companies for sport and political pandering. He’s not concerned with the First Amendment. He’s not concerned with the realities of the media business today (if you don’t allow some level of consolidation, then weak outlets will die).

Yes, I work in big media. But I don’t own it. I just work in it because I love news and media and I cherish the lack of government involvement in media in this country; I cherish our freedom of speech; I am a First Amendment absolutist. I do not want to see government meddling in our free speech.

This isn’t Europe, Howard. Not yet, anyway.

Despite Dean’s supposedly “moderate” record, he’s a socialist at heart, which is why he will be unable to connect with the American electorate out of the rabidly partisan “anyone but Bush” crowd.

2 thoughts on “Dean Sticks Foot In Mouth

  1. Well, that raises an interesting question, Jay: at what point is a media conglomerate so big as to impede free speech? If, for example, GE reached a point where it owned 80% of media outlets, would it be acceptable to break up that ownership in order to allow other voices into the markets? What about situations where one company has a monopoly in a media market…would it be okay for only one point of view to be aired in, say, a midwestern city?

    In any case, I’ve only seen snippets of the transcript from Hardball, but the impression I’ve been getting from analysis I’ve seen of the interview is that Dean managed to do very well for himself, and almost certainly said nothing that would contract his base of support. I think everyone knew what he meant in saying “the Soviet Union” when speaking of nuclear proliferation. The fact that Iran could get nuclear material from Pakistan or North Korea (naw, this guy wants to keep his nukes too badly to part with them–they’re no good to Kin if he can’t beleivably threaten Japan) doesn’t mean that we should let a possible avenue for obtaining those materials remain open.

    Still, Howard’s got my vote come March, and I think he’ll be around to get it come November.

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