I've argued before that one problem with the news media is that they are quite stupid. A recent speech by CNN celebrity journalist Candy Crowley reinforces that idea. While others commented on her sleep deprivation, this quote leapt out at me:
"On the Democrat side, we never get a chance to see anyone up close. The public has not been as well served because it doesn't know who these people are," she said. "Something in me says, 'Do we know enough?' It's hard to find a moment when we think 'This is the person, not the candidate.' We don't have a chance to flesh them out."
She said neither Clinton nor Obama has much patience with the press generally,
"John McCain doesn't mind us crowding around. He can talk forever," she said.
Obama, however, is wary of "What's the trap here?"
For the record, I consider an utter lack of introspection as a form of stupidity? Without going Full Metal Somerby, does it even occur to Crowley to ask why Democratic politicians might not want the press to 'see them up close' or why Clinton and Obama don't have much patience with the press?
It might have something to do with how Democratic politicians are treated. Al Gore was literally called "lactating" by Maureen Dowd, a NY Times op-ed columnist--and she received a fucking Pulitzer for that drivel. The defamation of Senator Kerry's military service was not as a pack of scurrilous lies, but, instead, treated a 'serious' story.
Then there are the Clinton rules, where anything done by Bill, Hillary, or even Chelsea Clinton, must be poll-tested and conniving (here's a truly absurd example). And the recent press-inflated controversy regarding Senator Obama and his pastor Jeremiah Wright (apparently, Obama is accountable for statements made by any black person he happens to know) lets you know that this is a Democratic phenomenon: has there been a front-page story about McCain's endorsement by John Hagee, a man who believes that a nuclear armaggeddon in the Middle East is required for Jesus to return? Nope.
Before I go on, let's make one thing clear: McCain has not been subjected to anything remotely similar to what Obama went through, even though McCain has publicly accepted Hagee's endorsement and praised him while doing so. That's right, McCain praised a man who believes that God wants the nuclear Holocaust of the Jewish people, and... no media feeding frenzy at all.
And Crowley wonders why Obama is worried about "What's the trap here?"
But what's more pathetic than her breathtaking stupidity is her naivete. Does she really think any politician actually reveals their inner thoughts to a journalist? She, along with the rest of her colleagues, are being played. When McCain invited his campaign press gaggle over for BBQ, for all I know, he really did have a good time. But to think that he wasn't also manipulating them is absurd. They're worse than puppies: you don't even have to rub their tummies, and they roll over.
How can someone be so dim?
She is terrible! She was talking about the passport files that were just revealed to have been breached, she said that she doesnt understand what it is about and that it is not a scandle!
Even though I'm an Obama supporter, I think you trivialize the Wright issue. This is not someone he "happens to know" but one of his closest advisors. And the whole air of "I didn't know he was saying that stuff until just now" is really hard to believe.
On the other hand, it would be nice to see similar treatment when right-wing candidates suck up to or honor bigoted fundy preachers and creatures like "liberal Supreme Court justices should be shot" Ann Coulter.
TV journalists are by and large both pretty and sheep-like. Cable also has hours and hours of time to fill up with pretty faces so one shouldn't expect much.
Now online journalists--they're all credible and smart;-)
Re David Lee
Fat slob Candy Crowley is a pretty face? Mr. Lee must have very low standards.
I'm not sure this behavior is stupidity, but it is certainly irresponsible. It's different but related to my other observation about journalists (based on personal experience as a journalist and a long time reading and watching what passes for news): journalists are, as a group, the worst educated of all professionals. They learn how to write a story or report a story, but they learn nothing about any subject other than journalism. And then they have to report on every subject other than journalism. At the same time they think they know better about every subject even than the experts in those subjects (e.g. the latest controversy about framing). That's why so many of the reporters I knew went to law school. They saw a few trials and thought they could do a better job than the lawyers. I wonder what kind of hack lawyers they turned into.
While I agree with your article, I think an important point Ms. Crowley was getting at was media responsibility (or lack thereof). Granted, this is just hinted at in the first half of the piece.
Ok, I get that you like the democrats and that the republicans are the enemies of all that is good in the world, but take a minute and rest your biases. Take off your democrat glasses and sit on the sidelines. From the moderate center right place that I come from you sound tin-foil hat bonkers in your media persecution of the dems conspiracy theories.
Wouldn't the world be a better place if we could all be a bit more objective?
Just because this post uses pathos doesn't mean that it forgoes logos. After all, the best arguments appeal to both logic and emotion. In case you missed it, here's a logos portion of the argument:
Wright says crazy stuff. Obama says he disagrees with that stuff. The media makes a huge deal of it.
Hagee says even crazier stuff. McCain is silent about that stuff. The media does nothing.
Q.E.D. The media has huge double standards.
Rev. Wright and Rev. Hagee are not remotely equivalent. I saw reasonably proportionate news stories about Hagee (we both heard about it, right?)--it's not like this didn't make the news. John McCain is not a follower of Rev. Hagee, and I'm not sure that they have even met in person.
With that said, however, the Rev. Wright thing is overblown at this point. Yet this has more to do with the Clintons than with McCain.
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