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Oh Fa Chrissake...
Posted by WilliamPitt in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Tue Oct 02nd 2007, 08:33 AM
This guy is an ace:

http://www.alternet.org/mediaculture/64109...

Political Absurdity Hits the Iowa Primaries
By Matt Taibbi, RollingStone.com

(snip)

This is why I hate showing up at functions like this Thompson thing and seeing everyone, from campaign staff to press reps to audience members, looking so content of disposition and cheered of conscience, like they're joining up with a neighborhood can drive. Like there isn't something totally fucked up and insane about the whole thing. In the filing room after the event, the reporters sleepily puttered around the buffet table in between sessions at their computers sending the nothing details of Thompson's nothing speech out into the world; there were chuckles as CBS radio reporter Peter King screamed his way through 15 or 20 takes of a four-sentence remote report on Thompson's debut, while a pair of TV guys in the back joked about the culinary shortcomings of this campaign. "I hope it isn't warm cheese cubes again tonight," one cracked, as he stared at a sad little plastic miniplate of warmed jalapeno jack. "I hate warm cheese cubes."

An hour or so after the speech, we all filed onto the bus to head for Council Bluffs, and the press members cozied up to Thompson's campaign guys, some of whom they recognized from previous tours at previous campaigns. Behind me I overheard Thompson's press flack Harris rhapsodizing to a newspaper scribe about a phone conversation he'd recently had with that great bard of bullshit campaign journalism, Howard Fineman of Newsweek. "Howard called me after he saw Fred on TV," Harris was saying. "And he was like, 'Todd, I tell you, he didn't say a single thing I disagreed with!'"

"Wow," said the reporter, genuinely impressed.

(snip)

Last but not least, there are parallel irritant figures on both sides in Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich, whose jobs it will be to be roundly pilloried for wasting valuable air time (especially in debates) via their embarrassingly dead-on, pain-in-the-ass candidacies. Since neither candidate is a worn-out whore, and neither candidate has cast a single vote for any of the numerous completely avoidable political catastrophes that befell the country in the last four-plus years, both will be described as "fringe" and "unserious" figures who should rightfully be assigned to the "second tier" of presidential hopefuls. Meanwhile, the press will line up to laud as exciting breaths of political fresh air a one-note B-list character actor, a southern governor who believes the earth is 6,000 years old, and a hack plagiarist from Delaware with a head full of hair plugs who offers a "statesmanlike presence" and "raises the level of discourse" as he campaigns shamelessly for the secretary of state's job.

There is a dark irony waiting to announce itself as a factor in this campaign -- a trap that our press corps was almost certain to fall into from the moment the Bush presidency exploded in a nightmare of incompetence and horrifying corruption. Having observed all the awful missteps of the last seven years, missteps that came as a result of having indulged and enabled a preposterous figure like George W. Bush, the national press ought naturally to have learned a whole host of painful lessons.

Questioning the logic of viciously attacking too-intellectual fringe candidates while simultaneously lionizing a baldly incurious flag-waving moron like Bush is only the most obvious; there is also the matter of mistaking meanness for substance and falling under the spell of candidate access, and routinely blaming a dearth of issue politics on voter preference, when in fact it's the news organizations themselves that more love (and, more to the point, need) the mudslinging and the horse race.

The press should have looked at the rise of blogs and the angry momentum of blog-powered insurgent candidacies like that of Paul and Ned Lamont and recognized that the mainstream political press has become, in some circles, as much of a villain as the establishment candidates themselves. It should have seen this and made changes, if only out of pure self-interest, in an effort to retain both its political power and its market share. But it didn't. Instead, the big press seems to have mainly concluded that voter discontent toward the media is based upon its having been too friendly to George Bush in particular.

There is a vibe that can already be detected in campaign coverage that suggests that the media thinks that if it disavows Bush and in particular Bush's war, all will be forgiven. We journalists seem to be in a state of half-apology for having overstepped our traditional role as ideologically promiscuous ass-kissers and briefly gone over, after 9/11, into a dark side of frank and open cheerleading for Extreme Measures and Total War.

We're apologizing for that, but only that; the attitude is not much different from a high schooler from the OC who thinks that if he just promises to never again get into daddy's Porsche at 3 in the morning, it's still okay if he goes to keggers on school nights.

(snip)

When I found out that I was going to be sent out on the campaign trail for another election season, I found myself struggling once again with the question of how to cover in a substantive way a story that is essentially uncoverable on its own terms. In my last book, Spanking the Donkey, I spent nearly 300 miserable pages groping around for an angle from within the self-contained, stage-managed pseudoreality of the campaign trail, settling eventually for the not-exactly-brilliant insight that the campaign is basically a rolling bourgeois television entertainment that has as one of its chief purposes the projection of a weirdly fictional vision of American political reality -- clean, healthy, positively engaged, and so bereft of real problems that it can afford to choose leaders on the strength of such questions as who looks better in a duck-hunting costume, or who can more charmingly engage an MSNBC morning anchor in a discussion about "traditional values" while squeezing a cow's teat in Wisconsin via a 5 a.m. satellite feed.

...more...

MONSTER. This dude can write.
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