Jan. 9th, 2008

phamos: (hotkarl)
I'm thoroughly aggravated by the coverage of the presidential campaign right now. I'm not SURPRISED by the way this is playing out, by the fact that the MSM (god I feel like a tool using that abbreviation, but it's useful in this case) creates a "narrative" for these campaigns rather than actually covering the FACTS and the ISSUES. Hillary's a cranky old witch and nobody likes her! Obama is the new incarnation of Martin Luther King and is UNSTOPPABLE! Oh but wait, Hillary kinda sorta almost cried a little bit and then the boys were all mean to her! Hillary pulls off a STUNNING upset of 2 percentage points; even though she was leading here in double digits for a year this is STUNNING and it's because all the women in New Hampshire came out and voted and burned their bras and spit in mean ol' John Edwards' pretty pretty face! (Did we mention that Edwards is stunningly beautiful? And Obama is, too? And Hillary is an ugly hag with LINES IN HER LIPS! Why can't the pretty men stop the unattractive woman?!?)

So, yeah, I knew that was how the papers and the stations rolled. I wasn't really expecting insightful coverage. I've been through the Dean Scream and the Gore Sighs and the Kerry Windsurfing Robot with the Foreign Ketchup Heiress Sugar Mama Who Dares to Speak Foreign Languages in the USA! USA! USA! I know. But I think it's almost different this time. In the past, I thought they did it all because it's a catchy way to sell papers, or get eyeballs on the screen for their eighteen different news tickers. But now...I think they're lazy. I seriously think the reporters on the campaign trail are writing things up this way because they really, really, REALLY wanted the campaign to be over in two states. It's so much easier that way. These reporters have already been following these chuckleheads around boring-ass Iowa and New Hampshire for a YEAR already, because the higher-ups decided that the race started as soon as the Diebold machines were being rolled back into the closets from the 2006 election. Can you imagine how boring it is to follow Mitt Romney around for a year through cow pastures? Or those poor people who had to stay up with John Edwards through his 36 hour tilt at windmills? The reporters want a break. If Obama had forced Hillary out last night, they would have gotten a damn nap. That's why there are so many Rudy-trashing articles right now. All the reporters are like, "You're kidding me, right? We've got to wait for your delusional ass to get whooped in FLORIDA before we can go home? Where can we find some more city-billed mistress taxi cab rides? Bernie Kerik probably molested children at some point, right? Can we dig that up?"

Last night I saw their laziness in action. I was reading through the New York Times lead article on the website last night after the election had been called for Hillary. STUNNING UPSET, yeah yeah whatever. But as I read down, I realized that they had just stuck a new lede graph at the top of the article they had written earlier in the day! If you continued through the whole article, you would find a paragraph that still talked about how Hillary's advisers were trying to regroup after her LOSS and whether or not she'd drop out! That is absolutely the worst editing, the LAZIEST editing, I have ever seen in the damn Gray Lady. If you were lazy enough to write out the post-election article hours (possibly days) before the election even took place, and then it turns out that you were completely wrong, MAN UP AND RE-WRITE THE ARTICLE. The media is not supposed to create the news, they are supposed to report the news. Do it right.

The Times has written a puff piece on every one of the major candidates at this point (John McCain bonded with his children at barbecues so it's OK that the rest of the time he was a totally cold PTSD-ed out dad; Mike Huckabee plays the bass in some kind of Christian rock band with Chuck Norris so let's ignore that his son rapes puppies and smuggles semi-automatic weapons onto planes or whatever...), but only ONCE have I seen them actually finally write out a chart of where each of the candidates stands on, you know, the myriad of issues at play in this election. If you read just the front page of the Times for the past year, you would know absolutely nothing of use about any of them. You would know that one or the other was grumpy and defensive at a debate, or that somebody spent a ludicrous amount of money on some sort of cosmetic procedure or luxury transportation, or that Bloomberg is maybe running but not necessarily but maybe and then wouldn't that be interesting and awesome and it could be three New York candidates vying for the legacy of 9/11 and then we can have some sort of flag graphic. YES. Oh, and don't even get me started on this new, ridiculous speculation that Lou Dobbs might decide to run on an independent ticket. The Xenophobic Hair-Dye-Addict party! Let's make Lou Dobbs a candidate, and let's have Chris Matthews talk some more about how he wants to make sweet gentle love to Barack Hussein Obama, and let's just make the campaign all about the cable newscasters and how they personally relate to the candidates, rather than about anything of substance. It's easier for everyone that way. Writers won't actually have to write anything beyond Mad Libs-level fill-in-the-political-blanks, and the newscasters can look pretty and advertise their next "Live Your Life Like a Campaign" or "Liberals are Doodyheads" book currently on the front table at your nearby Barnes and Noble (10% off for Barnes and Noble cardholders!), and the candidates can stop worrying about any ideological heavy lifting and just protect their rear flank against 527 neo-Swift Boating. And the rest of the country can watch American Gladiators and get their homes repossessed. And I can rock here in the corner in the fetal position. Everybody wins.
phamos: (superpower)


Bill Kristol: Always, Always, Always Wrong.

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March 2009

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