The Watch

The Watch is concerned about the increasing pressure towards feudalism in the United States from corporations, social regressives, warmongers, and the media. We also are concerned with future history concerning our current times, as non-truths which are “widely reported” become the basis for completely false narratives.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The real problem we face: Dems and the toadying media

No matter who wins today, we still have a big problem, and that is the media and its relationship with the Democratic party and Democratic politicians. Claims of media bias (from the Right, claiming that the media is biased against them) still abound, absurd as they are, and have recently been voiced by Dick Cheney and Lynn Cheney as well as many others. But what is actually going on is a little more complex.

The political discourse in this country has been reduced to that of the pecking order at Ralphie's Warren G. Harding school in "A Christmas Story": You're either a bully, a toady, or one of the hapless rabble of victims. Our problem is not that the media are bullies, it is that they are the toadies to the GOP bullies.

Consider the Kerry flap, based on an awkward delivery of a joke about how stupid Bush is to have gotten us stuck in the pointless, bloody war in Iraq. Such awkward deliveries are made about fifty times a day by everyone who has to do public speaking. It goes with the territory: if you are going to be speaking in front of crowds all the time, you are going to mess up, not deliver lines quite the way you want to every single time.

For some well-worn examples, here are some of the things which Bush has said, and which the media, surprise surprise, did not raise a three day fuss about:

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2004. Was he really implying that his administration is always thinking of new ways to harm the country? Shouldn't the press have held his feet to the fire for days until he apologized?

"I want to thank my friend, Sen. Bill Frist, for joining us today. He married a Texas girl, I want you to know. (Laughter.) Karyn is with us. A West Texas girl, just like me." Nashville, Tenn., May 27, 2004. Was he implying that he is transgendered? Should he have apologized to the transgender community? Should he have apologized to the evangelical community for confusing them?

"There's only one person who hugs the mothers and the widows, the wives and the kids upon the death of their loved one. Others hug but having committed the troops, I've got an additional responsibility to hug and that's me and I know what it's like." Washington, D.C., Dec. 11, 2002. WTF? Should he have apologized to the English language? Should he be required to go to at least ONE serviceperson's funeral?

"I can look you in the eye and tell you I feel I've tried to solve the problem diplomatically to the max, and would have committed troops both in Afghanistan and Iraq knowing what I know today." Irvine, Calif., April 24, 2006. This isn't even a misstatement. But shouldn't he have to apologize for making this horrifying assertion anyway? He seems to be admitting to even more war crimes than those he has already committed.

"I'm certain to maintain the peace, we better have a military of high morale, and I'm certain that under this administration, morale in the military is dangerously low." Albuquerque, N.M., the Washington Post, May 31, 2000. This was a campaign speech. Shouldn't he have been required by the media to apologize for bad mouthing the military this way? (He did this incessantly in the 2000 campaign, by the way, constantly talking about how rotten our military was, as a way to attack Clinton and Gore's record.)

Ok, enough of that idiot's braindroppings. The idea that Kerry, a highly decorated veteran who volunteered for one of the most dangerous assignments in Vietnam and who had an Ivy League education, was implying that only stupid people end up in Iraq, is retarded on its face. Even without the prepared transcript of his speech, it is evident that he was indicting Bush.

But then, what happened? The Rovian GOPers, sensing that their time in control of Congress is perhaps almost up, need a whipping boy, and they stumble on this quote, which they realize that if read with your brain turned off, could just barely be construed as a cut on the military. Again, you'd have to be stupid to come to that conclusion, but hey, whatever works. They demand Kerry issue an apology.

And what do the toadies in the press do, sensing that the bullies have picked a Democrat out of the herd to beat up on with a phony baloney "issue"? They immediately pick up on "question" of "Why doesn't Kerry apologize?" as if he should apologize for something he never said. Several Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, sensing that the pack of bullies and toadies is moving in for a kill, also denounce Kerry's remark and call for him to apologize.

Digby, as usual, nails it:

First you had the John Kerry flap. After the first news cycle everyone knew he'd blown a punchline. There were even plenty of conservatives who admitted it. But that didn't matter. What mattered was forcing him to apologize for something he never said. It was a pure act of force, as if they put their foot on his neck and demanded that he agree that "up is down and black is white" --- a modern show trial in which Kerry agreed to confess in order to spare his party's chances in the upcoming election. He instinctively resisted, as sane people always do when forced to deny reality. But the sheer power of the coordinated Republican outcry (with the willing help of cynical Dems and the media) finally made it imperative for him to issue an apology for something he never said.

And the Republicans laughed and laughed because once again they had forced a leading Democrat to bow to their will as surely as if they'd physically held him dow n and made him agree that black was white and up was down. It was all the more delicious because every party to it, the Republicans, the Democrats, the public, the media and John Kerry himself all knew the real truth. Now that's power.


So, that is the real problem. The media, toadying to the GOP bullies, will agree that the sun rises in the West if it allows them to keep participating in the group attacks on Democrats. What can be done to counter this dynamic, especially in the context of the 2008 race?

It isn't clear. Kerry tried to tell people to shove their calls for apology up their butt, but had to humiliate himself for the good of the party after 48 hours of relentless attacks by toadies and the indifference of other victims finally left him no choice.

Bill Maher and some idiot journalist on his talk show last Friday agreed that this meant Kerry's hopes for a 2008 nomination were over. Wow. He misspoke a little and then didn't bend over immediately for a media pantsing, and now his presidential aspirations are down the drain? Wild. Hillary's continued assumed viability as a candidate appears to be based on her ability to run with the crowd of toadies.

They destroyed Dean using a tape of him yelling "Yeah". There wasn't even a misstatement there. What effective strategies are there against the media toadies?

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