Monday, September 08, 2008

Darling is as Darling Does

I'm going to start with a proposition, that the only real darlings in the media are the media whores themselves, and that their opinion is that it is all about them. It's about who they talk to and who they are seen with and who gets into whose funeral and who is king of the world because he's the arbiter of who gets to be Preznit. What most concerns them is their appearance to the world - hip, cool, yet achingly authentic and straight-talking, summoning moral outrage over the terrible people who don't pay attention to them.

They all secretly (or not so secretly) think they are, personally and directly, the inheritor of Murrow, Cronkite and Woodward & Bernstein. (Even Woodward thinks this, missing the irony that he is not himself, if he ever was.) Their delusion is that they are the defenders of the public weal, and from that conceit a thousand fetid flowers bloom. They like candidates who make them feel like they are on the cusp of history. They worshipped Ronald Reagan because he was a spectacle, the visual personification of their own fantasies about themselves.

This is the mainstream media. The Movement Conservative media understands that what they are here to do is stay in power by any means necessary. They are the ones who set the political agenda on the public ariwaves, seeding the stories as they salt the political earth. They help Republican candidates work the refs.

I noted a few days ago the NYT story about McCain cutting off his old media buddies, which got him attention that he needed. [Note - following sentence rewritten to be readable English.] Now, via Shakesville's Mustang Bobby, the McCain campaign is shoving back on the media again, demanding that Palin be treated with deference by the press, and having her refuse to talk to the press if they won't capitulate to the campaign's demands. And it's working. The Republicans are, once again, kicking the shit out of the press, calling out legitimate bad treatment, like the invasive questioning about Bristol Palin, but quickly expanding it to cover all treatment.

The Incomparable Bob Somerby goes into detail on the way in which the flat-out lies by Palin - lies he could rebut with a small amount of research - are being allowed to cruise right through, such as the total horseshit that she "sold" Murkowski's jet on eBay. He then points out the difference between how Palin is being treated and what has been done to Democrats (my emphasis):

For the record, the “luxury jet” was 23 years old—and it doesn’t seem to have been all that luxurious (more below). But no: Palin didn’t “sell” the jet on eBay—and she didn’t make a profit. Indeed, she lost money for the state of Alaska when she tried to sell the jet on eBay—a procedure that had long been the norm when the state sold its assets.

In short, the eBay story is basically bogus, like the tale of the Bridge to Nowhere. But these stories exist for an obvious reason; they exist to define Palin as “a woman with a lot of guts”—with a ton of hockey-mom savvy. These stories are effective politics—but then too, they’re basically lies.

That brings us back to our basic question: Why can Republicans tell such tales? For two solid years during Campaign 2000, the press corps invented such embellished tales, then pretended that Gore had said them. They then savaged Gore for his vast dishonesty. How can Palin herself pimp such tales, with barely a peep from the “press?”

And this is why arguments about what Democrat will be trashed less than the others is a crappy way to pick a nominee. The press has a narrative about Democrats - they lie, they are morally corrupt, they are cosmopolitan hillbillies, elitist hicks who don't understand heartland, working class values the way we inside the Beltway, Boston-to-DC corridor Villagers do.

If you want to know how the SCLM got the way it is, look at the way WKJM prostituted himself and his reputation (rightly earned by taking on Trent Lott, and by setting up a protest to prevent SS privitization) for the opportunity at those awful, monstrous, racist Clintons and be patted on the head by the Village for helping take out the trash. WKJM is like a little Woodward & Bernstein, flush with his fame at exposing and helping bring down someone high and mighty.

Somerby's point, the one the Blogger Boyz don't want to hear because it interferes with their vision of themselves as the culmination of the great muckraking tradition (stuck as they are in their Cliff Notes version of Hegelian dialectics), when they are in fact mere pool boys at the parties thrown by the Jackie Treehorn's of the media, is that this same media is simply, thoroughly, incorrigibly corrupt. These people are also cowards, quickly coming to heel when the Republicans snap their fingers and threaten to send the naughty reporters off to put the stories to bed without any gossip, free lunches or insider scoops.

The DNC and PB 1.0 willingly colluded with the media to tear down other Democrats, trying to be on the right side of the media by getting on the wrong side of liberal politics. The damage inflicted on their own side in this electoral round will, like the broadsides against Gore, come back to haunt the party for years.


(I completely rewrote the sentence about the push back on the press that I originally read in a post by Mustang Bobby. I apologize for the original mangled mess.)


Anonymous said...

I have assumed for years that most members of the media do what they are told by their employers. That includes what stories they cover, and how they spin those stories.

The reason I believe this is A) they can't really be that stupid and B) no one would pay them the huge salaries they get for the crap they produce unless that crap was exactly what their employers want.

Don't look at the media, look at who owns the media.

cal1942 said...

Great post anglachel.

Clearly demonstrated yesterday when NBC dumped Matthews and Olbermann as election coverage anchors based on GOP complaints.

When both were egregiously assaulting Hillary Clinton the Dem leadership was silent. In part because they must have felt that joining the press in trashing the Clintons would somehow gain them favor.

I never agreed with Big Tent's basis for supporting Obama, that pacifying the press was the principle strategy. Just for starters I felt it was just plain wrong and an all too vulnerable foundation for support.

For me the proof was that after February Hillary piled up victory after victory in spite of ever increasing assaults by the media.

By the way, did your cat ever return?

Anne said...

It is the nature of the main steam press to either grovel or attack. And even though the word has gone out to be nice to Barry, they are trained to heel when the GOP barks.

DancingOpossum said...

I'm dense. Who is WKJM??

Anonymous said...

This was a tough one for me. The fact that journalist "like candidates who make them feel like they are on the cusp of history. They worshipped Ronald Reagan because he was a spectacle, the visual personification of their own fantasies about themselves" is really not surprising nor exceptional.

Any group controlling major social resource will feel superior and indispensible. What is different about our media is the corruption and deception they employ. Surgeons believe that they are the source of life. They, however, don't claim that they performed a brain surgery when it's only an oral one. Lawyers also suffer from a vastly inflated egos. They feel smarter and better than most of us. Individual lawyers, however, try to do the best job they can rather than spend most of their time promoting their importance.

So our complaint is about the lies, e.g. Gore said that he invented the Internet, or their corruption, as in MSNBC attacking Hillary in the debates.

When you see a bunch of pundits, typically journalists, talk about politics they look utterly ridiculous. In most cases, their level of understanding of events is infantile. Still, like W Bush, they are full of self importance and their contribution to the country is pure damage.

NĂ¡mo Mandos said...

I suggest that while 90% of your analysis is spot-on, but 10% of it is awry. You seem to attribute the Big Bloggerz behaviour to be on the right side of the media, but I suggest another motivation wrt the Clintons: the feeling that, under the Clintons, they would have lower influence and lower priority of access.

Now whether they'll *actually* get that under Obama is another matter; but the motivation was that the bridges had been burned with the Clinton faction long before the primary.