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#14 Franklin Pierce Legacy

#14 Franklin Pierce Legacy  

18 members have voted

  1. 1. Which of the following Pierce decisions/events are positives for his legacy?

    • Refused to remove Southern extremist cabinet members, when moderates in his party complain. He kept his entire cabinet for all 4 years.
    • Signed the Kansas-Nebraska Act aimed to allow the people of a territory to decide the slavery status of the state
    • Sided with the pro-Slavery forces during "Bleeding Kansas," removing the pro-abolitionist governor for a pro-slavery official
    • Purchased a strip of land from Mexico ("Gadsden Purchase") in preparation for the transcontinental railroad
    • Attempted to purchase Cuba as another slave state, a manifesto, which was leaked, seemed to imply Pierce was willing to "take control" of the island by force
    • Expelled the British ambassador for attempting to recruit former British immigrants to fight in the Crimean War
    • Used the US military to keep Britain from influencing Central America
    • Recognized a dictatorship in Nicaragua, led by former American slaveholder, who wished to make Nicaragua a slave state in the Union
    • Went against party tradition and allowed funding for internal improvements out west to prepare for the transcontinental railroad
    • Improved the military by building modernized frigates for the navy and by having a new army training manual created
    • Created the US Camel Corps, which didn't last very long
    • Apache, Navajo and Cayuse wars continued, but Cayuse ended in victory at the end of his term.
    • No major wars
    • Reduced the national debt by 83%
    • Outside of railroads and the Atlantic Cable, refused to fund most internal improvements (roads, canals, bridges, etc.)
      0
    • Used federal troops to enforced the Fugitive Slave Act
    • Four new Native American Wars began: 3rd Seminole War, Yakima War, Rogue River War, Puget Sound War
    • Had the worst veto override rate of any president with 56% of his vetoes overridden
    • He was so unpopular that he didn't get renominated by his own party
    • None of the above
      0
  2. 2. Which president is/was a better president?

    • Donald Trump
    • Franklin Pierce
  3. 3. In general, what is your opinion of Pierce's presidency?



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Here's the new poll, which will be used towards a forum ranking. 

All previous presidents have polls in this forum with the number of their presidency before their name.

Please take these polls if you have not done so already. 

If anyone needs clarification/definition of an event/decision, then I'll be glad to provide one. 

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Well, he didn't want to run again.

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@Reagan04

I can't believe I'm saying this, but ---- Cumulatively, how is Pierce a better president than Trump? 

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5 minutes ago, Reagan04 said:

Well, he didn't want to run again.

Also, " This loss [Pierce in 1856] marked the only time in U.S. history that an elected president who was an active candidate for reelection was not nominated for a second term. "

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2 minutes ago, vcczar said:

@Reagan04

I can't believe I'm saying this, but ---- Cumulatively, how is Pierce a better president than Trump? 

If it weren't for him helping to lay the groundwork for the Transcontinental Railroad, he wouldn't be, or at least that's why I voted for Pierce over Trump.

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13 minutes ago, Bruce Fischer said:

If it weren't for him helping to lay the groundwork for the Transcontinental Railroad, he wouldn't be, or at least that's why I voted for Pierce over Trump.

Is one good thing enough? I rarely negate or approve a president on just one or a small handful of decisions. 

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In my opinion, Franklin Pierce is the absolute worst President this country has ever had.  Even though I strongly dislike Trump, I don't think it will even be possible for him to match how bad Pierce was, hence why I voted Trump over him.

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36 minutes ago, jnewt said:

In my opinion, Franklin Pierce is the absolute worst President this country has ever had.  Even though I strongly dislike Trump, I don't think it will even be possible for him to match how bad Pierce was, hence why I voted Trump over him.

I agree with you. Well, it's possible, but I think he'd be prevented from being as bad as a Pierce or Buchanan. I think while the executive is stronger today, I think the legislature is also, in some ways, stronger. Consider that since the 1968 election, nearly every president has been threatened with impeachment, with Nixon resigning before impeachment and Clinton facing impeachment. Part of this is that as privacy becomes less of a thing, and the office of the presidency expands, it becomes easier to find grounds for impeachment. 

Here's a brief history:

Nixon - resigns before impeachment

Ford - no real threats of impeachment

Carter - no real threats of impeachment

Reagan - articles of impeachment introduced for Iran-Contra role; failed to go to a vote

Bush I - articles of impeachment introduced for starting the Gulf War; failed to go to a vote

Clinton - impeached

Bush II - multiple impeachment attempts failed to go to a vote for Bush's wars

Obama - Impeachment attempted failed to go to a vote for Obama's drone wars

Trump - Nothing introduced, but he's already been threatened with impeachment for his Muslim Ban

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If the Ostend Manifesto didn't get leaked and Pierce had been able to purchase Cuba, thus preventing "Bleeding Kansas" and kicking the can down the road on the slavery question, he would be remembered as one of our greatest presidents.  Alas, Pierre Soule's big mouth and overly aggressive attitude sunk the Pierce administration.

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40 minutes ago, pilight said:

If the Ostend Manifesto didn't get leaked and Pierce had been able to purchase Cuba, thus preventing "Bleeding Kansas" and kicking the can down the road on the slavery question, he would be remembered as one of our greatest presidents.  Alas, Pierre Soule's big mouth and overly aggressive attitude sunk the Pierce administration.

I personally don't think that prolonging the existence of legal slavery and annexing Cuba as a new slave plantation island (not long after Spain had ended slavery there, themselves, in fact) is an improvement on the historical time, even at all a good, or anything short of a travesty that was thankfully avoided.

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1 hour ago, pilight said:

If the Ostend Manifesto didn't get leaked and Pierce had been able to purchase Cuba, thus preventing "Bleeding Kansas" and kicking the can down the road on the slavery question, he would be remembered as one of our greatest presidents.  Alas, Pierre Soule's big mouth and overly aggressive attitude sunk the Pierce administration.

So it seems you are giving him a positive grade on his legacy for a single hypothetical that might have hypothetically done something. That would be like if someone said Obama is a great president, despite anything else he did, because he aimed to create a very affordable healthcare system with few flaws, and this would have happened if Republicans hadn't have mangled Obama's ideal healthcare bill. Therefore, Obama will be one of our greatest presidents. 

I'm not faulting one for liking Pierce--although, unless your views are like @Reagan04, I can't see why one would give Pierce a positive legacy---I'm faulting the rationale of attributing a positive legacy to someone that not only failed in their task, but also failed to find other means to "prevent" Bleeding Kansas. Had he acquired Cuba it can be argued that Bleeding Kansas could have gotten worse. You must realize it was activists on both sides of the slavery question immigrating to Kansas to influence the votes and constitution for that state. The taking of Cuba could have started the slippery slope thinking (common in humans) that Central or South America would be next, and then the slave powers would be in total charge. It might have started an even greater reaction. Those involved in the Cuba annexation plans did have dreams of annexing the entire Caribbean and Central America. This is why this was so much of a controversy when it was leaked. 

Lastly, as @Patine states, the extension of slavery by mid-19th century morals and today's morals, was and is a travesty. I'm not sure how any US president's legacy can be boosted by any measure that in anyway endorses slavery of any kind. 

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35 minutes ago, vcczar said:

So it seems you are giving him a positive grade on his legacy for a single hypothetical that might have hypothetically done something. That would be like if someone said Obama is a great president, despite anything else he did, because he aimed to create a very affordable healthcare system with few flaws, and this would have happened if Republicans hadn't have mangled Obama's ideal healthcare bill. Therefore, Obama will be one of our greatest presidents. 

I'm not faulting one for liking Pierce--although, unless your views are like @Reagan04, I can't see why one would give Pierce a positive legacy---I'm faulting the rationale of attributing a positive legacy to someone that not only failed in their task, but also failed to find other means to "prevent" Bleeding Kansas. Had he acquired Cuba it can be argued that Bleeding Kansas could have gotten worse. You must realize it was activists on both sides of the slavery question immigrating to Kansas to influence the votes and constitution for that state. The taking of Cuba could have started the slippery slope thinking (common in humans) that Central or South America would be next, and then the slave powers would be in total charge. It might have started an even greater reaction. Those involved in the Cuba annexation plans did have dreams of annexing the entire Caribbean and Central America. This is why this was so much of a controversy when it was leaked. 

Lastly, as @Patine states, the extension of slavery by mid-19th century morals and today's morals, was and is a travesty. I'm not sure how any US president's legacy can be boosted by any measure that in anyway endorses slavery of any kind. 

Also, this is the same poster who said we can make no judgement whatsoever of any sort on a US President until 100 years after they've office, but is now saying a US President can be judged and even have their entire legacy turned around by a hypothetical possibility that never happened, likely wouldn't have happened as postulated, and would have only likely made them look worse in the long-run.

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45 minutes ago, Patine said:

Also, this is the same poster who said we can make no judgement whatsoever of any sort on a US President until 100 years after they've office, but is now saying a US President can be judged and even have their entire legacy turned around by a hypothetical possibility that never happened, likely wouldn't have happened as postulated, and would have only likely made them look worse in the long-run.

The problem with voting on presidential legacy is that everyone changes the poll in their mind to, "Which policies would I have agreed with at the time or I agree with now." So, failing blunderously in a well-intention or ill-intention desired policy is a boost to a presidential legacy, as is considering or intending to do something great, but then not actually doing, is a positive in a presidential legacy. So is being unable to get a good idea passed through Congress a positive on a presidential legacy. 

It's one thing to fail, but then inspire the next president of your party to take that failure and make it a success, but to fail and have little positive impact from that failure is not really a boost to one's legacy. 

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I like the idea of Cuba and Nicaragua as US State, but I have a problem with Pierce's position to add them as new slave states.

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I admire Pierce for at least attempting to make the tough choice.  Slavery was a dying institution.  Was it worth an extra generation of slavery (or less) to prevent the hundreds of thousands of deaths the Civil War gave the US?

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12 hours ago, vcczar said:

Is one good thing enough? I rarely negate or approve a president on just one or a small handful of decisions. 

The formula I use to evaluate Presidents is:

Good things they did, divided by the bad things they did = my feelings on the President.

Franklin Pierce is probably like #40 out of 44 on my favorite Presidents list. James Buchanan is directly above him, and below him are Andrew Jackson (#41), Dick Cheney George W. Bush (#42), Richard Nixon (#43), and tentatively Donald Trump at #44. If his presidency ended today I would put him down as the worst President in American history, for dividing the American people to an absurd degree not seen since before the Civil War, for thriving on and creating more misinformation, for undermining Freedom of the Press, for lacking transparency on his financial dealings, and for, in the best case scenario, benefitting from foreign meddling in an election, and in the worst case scenario being the Russian equivalent of the Manchurian Candidate. Of course, I'll reserve judgement until the end of his Presidency, whether that's in 8 weeks or 8 years. If he does pretty much anything good and/or any of the things I've listed change, it won't be hard for him to make mid-30s.

40 minutes ago, pilight said:

I admire Pierce for at least attempting to make the tough choice.  Slavery was a dying institution.  Was it worth an extra generation of slavery (or less) to prevent the hundreds of thousands of deaths the Civil War gave the US?

Absolutely not, slavery is the single biggest stain on America's history, period. Even worse than the Trail of Tears (and how we treated Native Americans in general) and Japanese internment, the two runner-ups. That stain would be even bigger if we let it go on until the 1880's. 

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18 minutes ago, Bruce Fischer said:

If his presidency ended today I would put him down as the worst President in American history, for dividing the American people to an absurd degree not seen since before the Civil War, for thriving on and creating more misinformation, for undermining Freedom of the Press, for lacking transparency on his financial dealings, and for, in the best case scenario, benefitting from foreign meddling in an election, and in the worst case scenario being the Russian equivalent of the Manchurian Candidate.

Undermining freedom of the press?  Seems like something right from MSNBC.  What has he done the restricts the press?

Benefiting from foreign meddling - 1) The Russians (well, maybe) tried to hack into Republican servers as well.  Plus, the new revelations about the CIA bring up lots of new questions.

Trump is not the only reason for the divisiveness.  It is unfair to pin that all on him.

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29 minutes ago, jvikings1 said:

Undermining freedom of the press?  Seems like something right from MSNBC.  What has he done the restricts the press?

OK, and...? MSNBC is opinionated, not biased.

I didn't say he's done anything to restrict the press (though he has advocated for libel laws in the past), I said undermined them. Calling them the "enemy of the people," which is ridiculous, saying they're "failing" when the New York Times is getting a record influx of new subscribers, whining that the media "treats me very unfairly" when in fact their entire purpose is to be bastions of truth which includes treating emotionally insecure Presidential candidates/Presidents in a way that they might call "unfair," saying the media didn't cover Clinton negatively when they gave her email issues approximately 18 times the amount of coverage it deserved, appointing a guy who's job was previously to purposely misinform people and create fake news as his campaign CEO and chief strategist, etc. etc. etc.

29 minutes ago, jvikings1 said:

Benefiting from foreign meddling - 1) The Russians (well, maybe) tried to hack into Republican servers as well

I'm going with what the intelligence agencies say in this report: "Russia collected on some Republican-affiliated targets but did not conduct a comparable disclosure campaign."

29 minutes ago, jvikings1 said:

Plus, the new revelations about the CIA bring up lots of new questions.

How does the hacking arsenal being released in any way affect their reports on Russia?

29 minutes ago, jvikings1 said:

Trump is not the only reason for the divisiveness.  It is unfair to pin that all on him.

Of course he isn't but you can't honestly say he didn't contribute to it significantly or that he tried to help heal our divisions, he preyed on divisions in the Republican party to gain the nomination, then used divisions in the country as a whole to gain the White House. Without a divided nation, there wouldn't be a President Trump (or a President Hillary Clinton, either, but I digress).

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21 minutes ago, Bruce Fischer said:

OK, and...? MSNBC is opinionated, not biased.

MSNBC is not news.  It is completely biased.  That would be like saying Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity are news sources.  Commentating on news doesn't make something a news source.

I didn't say he's done anything to restrict the press (though he has advocated for libel laws in the past), I said undermined them. Calling them the "enemy of the people," which is ridiculous, saying they're "failing" when the New York Times is getting a record influx of new subscribers, whining that the media "treats me very unfairly" when in fact their entire purpose is to be bastions of truth which includes treating emotionally insecure Presidential candidates/Presidents in a way that they might call "unfair," saying the media didn't cover Clinton negatively when they gave her email issues approximately 18 times the amount of coverage it deserved, appointing a guy who's job was previously to purposely misinform people and create fake news as his campaign CEO and chief strategist, etc. etc. etc.

Again, how is he weakening freedom of the press?  They can still say whatever they want, whether true or not.  You could successfully say that he is undermining the press but not the FREEDOM of the press.

I'm going with what the intelligence agencies say in this report: "Russia collected on some Republican-affiliated targets but did not conduct a comparable disclosure campaign."

How does the hacking arsenal being released in any way affect their reports on Russia?

But, that could have been the CIA for all thanks to WikiLeaks.  The reason the Russians, or whoever, didn't have anything to release is because their attacks on the RNC server only hit outdates servers no longer in use.

Of course he isn't but you can't honestly say he didn't contribute to it significantly or that he tried to help heal our divisions, he preyed on divisions in the Republican party to gain the nomination, then used divisions in the country as a whole to gain the White House. Without a divided nation, there wouldn't be a President Trump (or a President Hillary Clinton, either, but I digress).

When have there ever been no divisions in politics?

 

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45 minutes ago, jvikings1 said:

You could successfully say that he is undermining the press but not the FREEDOM of the press

This was my main qualm with what Fischer said as well. I knew what he meant, but undermining the FREEDOM of the press is a lot worse than just undermining the legitimacy of it. 

I think that Trump is definitely a better president than Pierce at this point in time. Pierce was a disaster. Trump is disorganized and at odds with the media, but he's not been the train wreck that was Pierce, Buchanan, etc. 

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@CalebsParadox

I agree. I can't believe I'm defending Trump, but he has a lot of mistakes to make before he gets to the bottom of tier of Buchanan, Pierce, Tyler and Andrew Johnson. I do think he's likely to be in the next lowest tier. 

One thing that needs to be considered is how Trump's unique way of handling the presidency might set an undesired protocol -- slandering former presidents, attacking major news networks (even in the instances that they are purely providing facts, and not establishing just an opinion or bias), commenting on really petty things on TV like the apprentice and SNL, when he should just ignore them, etc. If this sets a new trend on behavior, it could be very destructive, and if it doesn't, it just sets him apart as being "that unbalanced president" from an observer 50 years from now, whether his policies are successful or not.  

@jvikings1

I agree that MSNBC has more than just an opinion. It is biased, in the same way Huffington Post is (I used to work for them). They only tell me stuff I want to hear, which I don't like. I think Fox and Breitbart are conservative analogies of these. NBC, CNN, ABC, RealClearPolitics, Politico are the only relatively balanced sourced (I'm leaving some out, probably). However, CNN and Politico have become increasingly more opinionated in the Age of Trump. I see what they're trying to do. They see themselves as patriots trying to save the Republic from Donald Trump. While their intentions have merit, they proved unsuccessful in helping save America from Trump, and are ruining their credibility by not returning to a form of balance. They can still bring Trump down by neutrally delivering the facts in the instances that Trump errors. Unfortunately, we don't have a single unopinionated, unbiased news source.

If I ever had the capital to build one, I would. I'd hire people who's specific job is to check for neutrality in phrasing, neutrality in coverage, and to make no judgments, and to give two or more sides on any issue in which someone in an article is quoted as commenting on a topic. The staff would be a range of ideologies, but no one would be allowed to offer an opinion, except in an Op-Ed, and only if they find a contrasting view to write upon the same subject of the OpEd. Additionally, I wouldn't have any junk news. Just the important stuff. I'd leave out the petty news, celebrity news, "popular news" except in the cases it overlaps with essential news. Maybe it would be called Essential News. 

I think a high credible, neutral paper has a better shot at bringing down any candidate, nominee, president or other elected official than a paper with a clear bias. It would help in a bipartisan rebuke, I think. 

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11 minutes ago, vcczar said:

@CalebsParadox

I agree. I can't believe I'm defending Trump, but he has a lot of mistakes to make before he gets to the bottom of tier of Buchanan, Pierce, Tyler and Andrew Johnson. I do think he's likely to be in the next lowest tier. 

One thing that needs to be considered is how Trump's unique way of handling the presidency might set an undesired protocol -- slandering former presidents, attacking major news networks (even in the instances that they are purely providing facts, and not establishing just an opinion or bias), commenting on really petty things on TV like the apprentice and SNL, when he should just ignore them, etc. If this sets a new trend on behavior, it could be very destructive, and if it doesn't, it just sets him apart as being "that unbalanced president" from an observer 50 years from now, whether his policies are successful or not.  

@jvikings1

I agree that MSNBC has more than just an opinion. It is biased, in the same way Huffington Post is (I used to work for them). They only tell me stuff I want to hear, which I don't like. I think Fox and Breitbart are conservative analogies of these. NBC, CNN, ABC, RealClearPolitics, Politico are the only relatively balanced sourced (I'm leaving some out, probably). However, CNN and Politico have become increasingly more opinionated in the Age of Trump. I see what they're trying to do. They see themselves as patriots trying to save the Republic from Donald Trump. While their intentions have merit, they proved unsuccessful in helping save America from Trump, and are ruining their credibility by not returning to a form of balance. They can still bring Trump down by neutrally delivering the facts in the instances that Trump errors. Unfortunately, we don't have a single unopinionated, unbiased news source.

If I ever had the capital to build one, I would. I'd hire people who's specific job is to check for neutrality in phrasing, neutrality in coverage, and to make no judgments, and to give two or more sides on any issue in which someone in an article is quoted as commenting on a topic. The staff would be a range of ideologies, but no one would be allowed to offer an opinion, except in an Op-Ed, and only if they find a contrasting view to write upon the same subject of the OpEd. Additionally, I wouldn't have any junk news. Just the important stuff. I'd leave out the petty news, celebrity news, "popular news" except in the cases it overlaps with essential news. Maybe it would be called Essential News. 

I think a high credible, neutral paper has a better shot at bringing down any candidate, nominee, president or other elected official than a paper with a clear bias. It would help in a bipartisan rebuke, I think. 

Southam News (which owns my local newspaper, the Edmonton Journal), actually seems to acknowledge this and has both left-leaning and right-leaning writers on staff to cover both angles (also, their movie critics are mean as hell and not the fawning ones that praise every blockbuster out of Hollywood like some newspapers I've heard about). Unfortunately, they're only a chain of Canadian local newspapers (though may be a subsidiary of, or affiliated with, an American chain, I don't know), but it is an interesting idea (and must lead to interesting press room dynamics).

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4 minutes ago, Patine said:

Southam News (which owns my local newspaper, the Edmonton Journal), actually seems to acknowledge this and has both left-leaning and right-leaning writers on staff to cover both angles (also, their movie critics are mean as hell and not the fawning ones that praise every blockbuster out of Hollywood like some newspapers I've heard about). Unfortunately, they're only a chain of Canadian local newspapers (though may be a subsidiary of, or affiliated with, an American chain, I don't know), but it is an interesting idea (and must lead to interesting press room dynamics).

Even the opinionated/biased news sources will sometimes have staffers on both sides of the aisle. For instance, Fox News has liberals, but they purposely select the dweebiest looking Liberals, more far-left liberals, or intellectual lightweights to make the ideology look bad. I'd want balance in merit and ability, as far as it can be achieved. 

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4 minutes ago, vcczar said:

@CalebsParadox

I agree. I can't believe I'm defending Trump, but he has a lot of mistakes to make before he gets to the bottom of tier of Buchanan, Pierce, Tyler and Andrew Johnson. I do think he's likely to be in the next lowest tier.

But what's one good thing to come out of the Trump Administration so far? At least Pierce paved the way for the Transcontinental Railroad, so far (let me stress that it's still extremely early in Trump's presidency, and I would be open to moving him up from the 44th spot, in fact for the sake of the country I hope he does) I can't think of anything that Trump's done that's widely accepted with positivity. I've stated that my subjective rating is not at all final, plus it suffers from recentism a little too.

8 minutes ago, vcczar said:

I agree that MSNBC has more than just an opinion. It is biased, in the same way Huffington Post is (I used to work for them). They only tell me stuff I want to hear, which I don't like. I think Fox and Breitbart are conservative analogies of these. NBC, CNN, ABC, RealClearPolitics, Politico are the only relatively balanced sourced (I'm leaving some out, probably). However, CNN and Politico have become increasingly more opinionated in the Age of Trump. I see what they're trying to do. They see themselves as patriots trying to save the Republic from Donald Trump. While their intentions have merit, they proved unsuccessful in helping save America from Trump, and are ruining their credibility by not returning to a form of balance. They can still bring Trump down by neutrally delivering the facts in the instances that Trump errors. Unfortunately, we don't have a single unopinionated, unbiased news source.

HuffPo is basically a tabloid as far as journalism quality goes and is almost liberal propaganda. Yes, it does seem that CNN and Politico are moving towards ideological extremes (with Jeffery Lord serving the same purpose on CNN as that one liberal on Fox serves, to appear to provide "ideological diversity" instead of the echo chamber newsrooms on both sides of the aisle actually are), neither are unbearably partisan yet. MSNBC is biased like Fox is biased: it depends on the show. If you watch Rachel Maddow, then yes, they're just as biased as Fox is, if all they ever had on was Bill O'Reilly or, even worse, Sean Hannity. If you watch Morning Joe or All In, however, they're still opinionated, of course, but it's like watching Shep Smith. It's still true. That said, I hate all cable news because of its tendency towards sensationalism and have little substance.

1 hour ago, CalebsParadox said:

This was my main qualm with what Fischer said as well. I knew what he meant, but undermining the FREEDOM of the press is a lot worse than just undermining the legitimacy of it.

Yes, I should've worded that differently. I do still fail to see how eroding the legitimacy of the press is much different from eroding the freedom of the press, after a certain point (which we haven't reached yet).

2 hours ago, jvikings1 said:

But, that could have been the CIA for all thanks to WikiLeaks.  The reason the Russians, or whoever, didn't have anything to release is because their attacks on the RNC server only hit outdates servers no longer in use.

Are you suggesting the CIA hacked the campaign of Hillary Clinton, the nominee of the party the President who appointed James Clapper belonged to, so that she'd lose, then blamed it on Vladimir Putin, who's had a personal vendetta against Clinton for years AND has the hacker army to commit these types of attacks? The fact that these hackers couldn't get into the RNC computers suggests that it most certainly wasn't the CIA.

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