In which I mercilessly criticize Ed Stetzer

I linked to Southern Baptist pollster Ed Stetzer’s lamentation about Fox-induced fantasies replacing reality, and I compared his comments to Rachel Maddow’s sharp response to the “conservative bubble” that burst on Election Day.

Turns out Stetzer also thought Maddow had a good point:

It is time to face reality for some evangelicals — making up your own set of facts is not helping. Being known for conspiracies is hurting. It’s not everyone, and perhaps it is not most, but it is just too many.

Stetzer’s post is notable, too, as a window on what it’s like to operate within the evangelical subculture. In recommending a commentary from Rachel Maddow, he has to preface and qualify and clarify and delineate, repeatedly, that he isn’t offering a blank-check endorsement of everything she has ever said or ever might say.

To avoid causing him trouble with “the usual suspects,” let’s just pretend I have nothing at all nice to say about Ed Stetzer.

“I recognize the usual suspects will likely forward this around and say I am promoting Rachel Maddow’s worldview,” Stetzer writes. “This is not the case …”

He makes it very, very clear that this is not the case, pre-empting this criticism from “the usual suspects” in every way possible.

But it’s unlikely that will satisfy them. Nitpickers gotta pick nits. Gatekeepers gotta keep gates. He mentioned Rachel Maddow favorably, and in the subculture of Southern Baptists, that’s a crime that will need to be punished.

I feel bad for Stetzer. I very much disagree with him on many points — he’s a conservative and I’m a liberal. But he seems like a nice guy and a reasonable fellow.

I worry, though, that my saying as much may be compounding his troubles. It won’t help his standing with “the usual suspects” for a pro-choice, pro-gay, evolutionist northern Baptist like myself to be found saying nice things about him.

As President Obama joked after saying nice things about Paul Ryan in 2010, “By the way, in case he’s going to get a [primary] challenge, I didn’t mean it. … Don’t want to hurt you, man.”

So if anyone asks, just say I viciously attacked Stetzer, calling him a right-wing hack and all sorts of other nasty names.

Related, from Goblinbooks: “A Message to America From Reality

And from Adam Serwer: “Conservative media lies to its audience because much of its audience wants to be lied to. Those lies actually have far more drastic consequences for governance (think birthers and death panels) than for elections, where the results can’t be, for lack of a better word, ‘skewed.’”

* * * * * * * * *

Steve Buchheit notes that interactive digital TV isn’t as developed as it should be:

For all this talk about interactive television (viewing experience), there should be a setting you could make that would say, “I’ve voted, no need to show me political ads anymore.” Although I would expect people would hit that in any case.

I like where this is going. What if such an “Already Voted” setting weren’t controlled on the user’s end, but was coordinated by the local elections board and the digital TV provider? As soon as the votes of everyone in your household are processed, your account switches to AV status and election ads are replaced with the somewhat-less-shrill-and-annoying ads that run when it’s not campaign season.

That would be a great incentive to encourage early voting.

Of course, digital TV doesn’t have its act together anywhere near enough to be able to do this. Just like with the Web, it seems to introduce all kinds of potential for targeted advertising, but also just like with the Web, no one has figured out how to sell such ads.

* * * * * * * * *

Darlene Kelley has some sharp thoughts on “local church diversity.”

What she says here seems true not just for local church congregations but maybe also, I think, for national political parties beginning the process of self-examination after getting shellacked due to their utter failure to appeal to a diverse range of voters:

It’s one thing to invite people of various cultures to the table – changing them positionally from being an outsider to an insider, it’s a totally different dynamic to share the authority that comes with the position. I learned this during my time on staff at the Caucasian congregation as I was repeatedly left out of important meetings and decisions, as my authority even in the area where I was invited to lead was even nonexistent. The dynamics of being a women on a male staff, and not only a woman, but the only person of color, made it nearly impossible for me to lead. I had a position, but I soon discovered that the authority that was to accompany the position was not a reality. Sadly, this eventually lead to feelings of tokenism. If you are a church leader, particularly if you are a member of the dominant group/race/culture, remember not just to embrace the lofty idea of giving positions to people of minority groups/race/cultures, but be prepared to also share the power and authority that is appropriate for such positions.

  • Lori

    “I recognize the usual suspects will likely forward this around and say I
    am promoting Rachel Maddow’s worldview,” Stetzer writes. “This is not
    the case …”  

    I understand why Stetzer says this, but personally I’m happy to promote Rachel Maddow’s worldview. She’s smart, funny, curious, unashamedly geeky, patriotic in the best sense of the word and AFAICT she’s way nicer than I am.

  • Baby_Raptor

    But she’s a filthy homogay, so only us other filthy homogays will listen to her. 

    /sarcasm

  • Lori

    I am not a homogay and I listen to her. Of course I’m a godless heathen, so what do I know?  /sarcasm

  • reynard61

    “But she’s a filthy homogay, so only us other filthy homogays will listen to her.

    /sarcasm”

    Actually, I’m a straight, white, filthy (read: non-Christian) cismale; and *I* listen to her. Granted, she has a sometimes irritating habit of putting waaaaaaaaaaaay too-fine-a-point on some of her stories by prefacing them in near-quantum detail (I realize that this is for the benefit of that portion of her audience that may not necessarily watch the news often enough to be completely caught up on the ins-and-outs of that particular story; but still, I sometimes find myself thinking “GET ON WITH IT, RACHEL!!!”); but once she finally comes to the meat of the subject she’s probably second-to-none in terms of both accuracy and a willingness to be corrected if she *has* reported a story inaccurately — and all without the histrionics and interruptions of Chris Matthews or the bluster of Ed Shultz. (Make no mistake: I do like Ed. I just wish he’d come off less as a Union recruiter and be a bit more of a news man.)

  • Random_Lurker

    Regarding reality, the shell game congressional Repubs have been playing has just been layed bare.  There is no fiscal cliff- they put in sequestering hoping that Obama would not be re-elected, and they could come in and save the day.  Just in case he DID get re-elected, they still look good by being the nice guys so willing to work out a compromise, reluctantly surrendering some of their core demands for the good of the nation as a whole.  There is no cliff, and never was.  Wait and see.

    Which just proves the point about the lies affecting governance.  If those lies were not mainstream, this underhanded tactic would never have been tried.  At least now they know it won’t work anymore.

    -”Just like with the Web, it seems to introduce all kinds of potential for targeted advertising, but also just like with the Web, no one has figured out how to sell such ads.”

    This one’s really simple, really.  To sell targeted ads, you have to have targets.  Privacy concerns have tanked any method of setting these targets up (see: Facebook).  So far.  I don’t see this changing until the culture shifts, or people can start selling their data for some kind of reward. 

  • Baby_Raptor

    Okay, I think I might have been a bit unclear. I was mocking the response Mr. Stetzer is likely to get, not trying to actually insult anyone or imply anything. 

    Sorry. I’ll try and word better next time. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

     The real test of their commitment will be if they voluntarily cut military spending.

  • JonathanPelikan

    Given that this is the party of “If Democrat in White House, then Deficits = 7 Hitlers, if Repulican in White House, then Deficits = Meh”,  I don’t hold out a lot of hope for their moral consistency and principles.

    I should say, I’d love to be proven wrong here and get a fair deal, but based on just about everything we’ve seen so far, it’s not encouraging.

    (And yes, they do it like this on purpose, and yes, it works really well. See the “Second Santa” theory. Democrats are Santa, they give you stuff like health and not starving to death in the streets, and trying to take that back is unpopular… so you become the second Santa, so to speak. You don’t take programs, you -give- people tax cuts and then, when the money gets tight, aw shucks, guess we’ve got to jettison another bit of the New Deal. Tee hee.)

  • JonathanPelikan

    Given that this is the party of “If Democrat in White House, then Deficits = 7 Hitlers, if Repulican in White House, then Deficits = Meh”,  I don’t hold out a lot of hope for their moral consistency and principles.

    I should say, I’d love to be proven wrong here and get a fair deal, but based on just about everything we’ve seen so far, it’s not encouraging.

    (And yes, they do it like this on purpose, and yes, it works really well. See the “Second Santa” theory. Democrats are Santa, they give you stuff like health and not starving to death in the streets, and trying to take that back is unpopular… so you become the second Santa, so to speak. You don’t take programs, you -give- people tax cuts and then, when the money gets tight, aw shucks, guess we’ve got to jettison another bit of the New Deal. Tee hee.)

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I don’t hold out a lot of hope for their moral consistency and principles.

    I get the impression that their morals are usually very consistent   However, the morals that they assert and the morals that they hold are not necessarily the same things, perhaps because they are afraid of what others may think of them if those morals were voiced in full.  

  • Carstonio

    Maybe the churches that Kelley describes are some of the last refuges of semi-official discrimination, because the leaders know that they’re exempt from the anti-discrimination laws.

    While I’ve never seen Maddow, I do get frustrated when opponents and even some independents claim that she and Olbermann are “just as bad” as Fox News and Limbaugh. Just a hunch, I doubt that the two liberals use racial and sexual demagoguery to play to resentments of people who have social privilege based in race and gender.

  • DoctorChimRichalds

    Oh man, I hadn’t seen that transcript of Obama addressing the Republican Caucus. That’s really good stuff.

  • Ross Thompson

    The real test of their commitment will be if they voluntarily cut military spending.

    No-one in American politics will voluntarily cut military spending. Bear in mind Obama is just as keen on killing foreigners as as Republican.

  • Lori

    Actually, the Dems are perfectly willing to voluntarily cut military spending, in no small part because the Pentagon is. If we made exactly the cuts the Dems are willing to make the Pentagon budget would still be way too high but it would be quite a bit lower than it is now, never mind that the Republicans want to raise it from current levels.

    And no, Obama is not “just as keen”” as the Republicans on killing foreigners. Way too keen, yes. Just as keen, not even close.

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    The comments to that article are giving me a nice laugh to start my Monday morning.  For every reasonable, introspective comment, there are two that are of the philosophy, “Dig deeper!” or “Maddow is a lying wench!” or “Creationism-Benghazi-NotARealChristian-WrongVPCandidate!”

    I have some friends who voted for Romney, and even they had a good laugh about the Fox News response to calling the election for Obama.

    Bigger point: It isn’t that they need to “refine their tactics” or stop giving quite so much airtime to the “fringe” of their party.  It’s that they need to accept that the world has changed for good (and I mean “for good” in both senses): it is becoming less and less okay to be homophobic or to imply that rape is no big deal.  Less and less okay to blame the poor for being poor.  We are getting to the point where those dogs just won’t hunt.

    But no, the conservative response is that they just need to tweak a bit.  Maybe not quite so much with the conspiracy theories.  Maybe not quite so many rape apologies.  Wear your WWJD bracelets.  And then the nation will come to see that gays really are destroying marriage, women should doff their shoes and get themselves married, and everyone will see the glorious light of the love of Jesus.

    They still don’t see that the ship has sailed.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Back in early 2012, the Repubs proved themselves to be untrustworthy when they refused to even consider cutting back military spending like they’d pinkie promised in this bigass grand bargain that supposedly attacked all the sacred cows.

  • Tricksterson

    I fear that despite his best efforts Mr. Stetzer is either going to be beaten into line or expelled into the Outer Dark (or as I call it “home”.)  The modern conservative movement no longer has a place for reasonable people.

  • Lori

    He shouldn’t worry too much about outer darkness, we have cookies and pie. Besides, cutting down on UV exposure is good for the skin.

  • 2-D Man

    Are you telling me that all this Republican nonsense is just a result of sunstroke?

  • Daughter

    Re: the polls vs. what the rightwing “saw”: For a while, my husband and I were wondering if the Republicans were right about Romney’s possible win. In our county, which generally votes blue, we saw no Obama signs anywhere, but Romney-Ryan yard signs all over the place. (We did see a few Obama-Biden 2012 bumper stickers). What was really scary was that there were Romney-Ryan signs in yards that also had signs for Democratic state and local candidates. And so we were wondering if even the Democrats in our county planned to vote for Romney.

    Post-election we had to check the results to be sure. And yes, President Obama won our county, 54% to 46%.

  • Daughter

     I have read that in some red areas, people were reluctant to put up Obama-Biden signs because of worries about violence or vandalism. I wonder if any of that dynamic was going on in our blue county. Still, the ubiquity of the Romney signs was puzzling.

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    I got my folks an Obama yard sign as a little gift.  Their neighborhood has had some problems in the past with liberal signs being stolen, so I seriously considered getting them the one that said, “I will donate $25 to the Obama campaign if this sign is stolen.  Thank you for supporting President Obama.” 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino
  • http://twitter.com/Jenk3 Jen K

    A friend made a laminated sign to put at the base of the stairs to her house.  

    “No Solicitors - and We’ve Already Voted!”

  • Carstonio

    My county was like that for a couple of decades. The local Democratic candidates were machine politicians in the pockets of developers. Often the local Republican candidates were more liberal on issues like education and the environment – they ran under that party affiliation just to bypass the machine-controlled Democratic primary. Many conservative voters went Democratic in local races and some state races and Republican in the national races. The machine has collapsed somewhat so the local alignments more closely match the national ones. Most of the local Republican candidates now tend to bill themselves as pro-business and pro-military, mostly avoiding the culture wars.

  • Tricksterson

    Finally, someone saying what I’ve been thinking about the “Fiscal Cliff” all aliong, that it’s probably not nearly as bad a thing as everyone is saying it will be and might just be a good idea.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    My thinking is that given that nothing has substantively changed, Congress will end up deadlocking on the military spending cuts and we’ll end up seeing the enture next fiscal year run on continuing resolutions until the Repubs realize they are not going to get the Senate to agree on reconciliation without allowing the cuts to go through.

    (and how lovely it is that neither house has a veto-proof majority of anything. :D )

  • http://willbikeforchange.wordpress.com/ storiteller

     I have some friends who voted for Romney, and even they had a good laugh about the Fox News response to calling the election for Obama.

    Although Maddow went into the issue in much more detail, I’m surprised Stetzer didn’t quote Megyn Kelly with her “Is this just math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better or is this real?” quote.  It was certainly the most truthful thing I’ve heard on Fox News in a long, long time.  And because it was a Fox anchor, he wouldn’t have the same issue that he has with Maddow. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The one hope is that the Republican party’s House members start realizing how ridiculous their epistemically closed party discipline is becoming, and break enough ranks to actually act in a bipartisan manner instead of just saying they are with their fingers crossed behind their backs.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino
  • http://chucklingabit.livejournal.com/ Chucklingabit

    Can we ditch the “cis” label and just go straight to “boring”?


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