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Politicians vs. The Media

(image: donkey hotey/flickr)

(image: donkey hotey/flickr)


One by one, the Republican presidential field has come to ruination and they’ve blamed the media, or mainstream media (MSM), or Lamestream media in Palinspeak – at every turn.  They are apparently of the mistaken opinion, as was US Senate candidate Sharron Angle, that journalists should only ask questions candidates want to answer. As news consumers and master media manipulators themselves that belief alone should be a disqualification for lack of critical thinking skills.

When faced with proof of their objectionable behavior, they vigorously deny it. Even a world-class nimrod can see that is a surefire strategic loser. In taking that position politicians deny the existence of videotape, reporters’ notebooks, and public records. Oh, and any lick of common sense too. Without these contradictions in their truthy narratives, The Daily Show and Fox News would starve for a lack of comedy gold. And, Newt Gingrich would still be unstoppable and not a fast-sinking nitwit outfitted with concrete overshoes.

When repeated denials collapse under their own weight the fraidy-cat graftmeisters often blame the media for gotcha journalism. The Half-Term Schoolmarm was a master practitioner of this craft – even if it is the least successful strategy of all. When Katie Couric asked her which newspapers or magazines she regularly read she stammered, “All of them”. Unsurprisingly, Couric and the general public didn’t buy that. If you’re running for President of the Free World and you’re tripped up by a question you could have answered with Time, the Wasilla News Weasel, or Reader’s Digest your mind is as nimble as a saguaro cactus with one of its quills on the “noo-cu-ler” football.

She whined and stamped her sensible pumps and said something on the order of, “That was gotcha journalism, you betcha. They wouldn’t have asked Barack Hussein Obama that.”

In fact, they probably wouldn’t have, although he got plenty of equally dangerous questions too.  However in this case, she was rumored to be aggressively incurious, much like George the Lesser. Since escaping his Reign of Error was nigh, it’s a legitimate question to ask about that uncuriosity. After all, you could accuse The Messiah of many things, but being incurious or poorly spoken wasn’t one of them.

I don’t always buy the flip-flopper angle either. There are numerous legitimate reasons to change a position and if you can reasonably explain them you can minimize their damage. But, changed too often – Mitt Romney, I’m talking about you – you are either extremely hypocritical at best or a pander bear at worst.

The media – Hannity, Rush, O’Reilly, and Maddow you are the media too – makes its share of mistakes. But they share a kinship with all politicians and others they cover. When they make a mistake it’s in full view of the public just like when politicians act like stupid lunkheads. Both careers need a certain amount of aplomb that all too often is sorely missing.

And one other thing: perceptions of media bias are one of the few bipartisan things left in America. If the same story, with reasonably consistent facts, gets complaints from both left and right it’s a sign that the bias may be more between your ears than splashed across a screen or paper.

So quit yer bellyachin’ and act like rational adults.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

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