Friday, October 12, 2007

Deep Thought of the Day

Atrios calls this, his "deep thought of the day": "If only our elite media would spend as much time 'debunking' the claims of people in political power (Bush, George, etc.) as they spend doing it to Michael Moore and Al Gore."

Every political storm targets some thing, which it aims to wash away. Whether the chaotic collective action, which is a political storm, can properly be said to have an aim, in the sense of intention, is a metaphysical question, with which I do not intend to be distracted. In the hindsight of history, political reaction, in its effects, can be usefully summarized, as if it had had an aim. Watergate aimed at removing Nixon; the American Revolution aimed at Independence; the Civil War aimed at the destruction (or preservation) of slavery, etc.

Viewed from the liberal blogosphere, the current political storm aims not so much at the removal of George W. Bush from power, as at the overthrow of the elite Media and its Punditocrisy. Journalism is a failed profession, in the era of Media celebrity commentary and millionaire pundits, and it has formed a powerful kind of breakwater, separating the Republican Party's leadership from the political storm.

President Bush, according to all the polls, enjoys the kind of popular approval ratings, which resulted in Nixon's resignation. Back in the Watergate day, every major newspaper editorial board in the country called for the President's resignation. Nothing like that is happening now, despite fully 50% of the population reporting strong disapproval of the President and his policies. And, the reason is quite obvious: those journalists, who dominate the nation's political discourse fatuously pretend that the President is not a liar and an idiot, leading an Administration of unfathomable corruption and incompetence.

The corruption of political journalism began when Reagan assumed office and lied (aka told fables) in speech after speech, and continued thru the Whitewater fake scandal bought and paid for by Richard Mellon Scaife, gave us the "election" of Bush and the "re" election of Bush.

Today, when Al Gore is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (in the same year, he won an Oscar!), we are reminded about the role elite journalists played in the "election" of George W. Bush in 2000. The cost to the country of that idiotic choice . . .

Scott Horton (Harper's Magazine) is scathing in his denunciation of the Washington Post's editorial page and commentators as the total hacks they are.

Brad DeLong notes that Andrew Sullivan is ethically challenged and wonders
"why the Atlantic Monthly thinks it is smart to take the reputational hit of employing a guy who says that he prints things he thinks are false. The only reason for anybody to read the Atlantic Monthly is if it warrants that it is publishing things by smart people who are trying as hard as they can to inform--not misinform--their readers. If that warranty is false or is even widely perceived to be false, it is unlikely to survive.

"Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?"

Digby at Hullabaloo notes that the Republican Party seems to be determined to follow the disastrous George W. Bush with a still more catastrophic choice, such as Rudy Guiliani: "Apparently it hasn't occurred to them that nominating the Village idiot might have been their first mistake."

Digby notes that elite journalists see no need to intervene in any way in a political process, which seems to be leading in the direction of making a dangerously fact-challenged fool, the most powerful man in the world:

I don't suppose any of the alleged journalists present could say anything. They are, after all, just there to get in their tedious, pre-fab gotcha questions from 1978, and tell jokes. Correcting the debater on his facts on current relevant issues during the actual debate (or even after it when they are all getting as much TV face time as possible and subjecting themselves to media of all kinds) is obviously not part of their job description. And anyway, if a rival does manage to bring it up, it's presented as "politics" and "he said/she said" unless a snotty operative can successfully turn it into some kind of "gaffe" or the right wing drags out the fainting couch and stages a ritual humiliation kabuki. Fact-checking? How droll.

In any case, the bar has been set very low for GOP presidents. Yet they seem to be able to set it lower each time. If Giuliani wins we will not only have an idiot for president we will have a dangerously unstable idiot for president who is even more arrogant and malevolent than the one we have now. I have a sneaking feeling "competence" is going to be the least of our problems.

Unless, anyone think that this liberal dissastisfaction actually has any mass appeal -- which, of course, it cannot, because genuine liberal opinion is scarcely represented on television, and, as we all know, "the Real World" only exists on television -- we ought to note, once again that Bush's popularity is better predicted by gas prices than any other issue.

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