21 March, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Well, yesterday's discourse, anyway. I meant to get home in time to post up before too late, but today's been one long comedy of errors that began with a quest to discover where my rental truck was hiding and ended with a rock bouncing through my headlight. And I'm not talking a small rock - I mean a rock the size of my fist.

It's been one of those kind o' days.

But I finally have a little something for ye.

We'll start with a premier fuckwit who is currently pretending to be a journalist:
I had an item a couple of weeks ago noting an instance of the LA Times' Andrew Malcolm playing fast and loose with the truth as part of a slam job on Democrats. Since then, I've received quite a few emails from readers highlighting examples of Malcolm, a former press secretary for Laura Bush, not only being a rather blatant partisan, but being surprisingly sloppy with basic truths.

I mention this because the lead story on Memeorandum right now is this gem from Malcolm, criticizing President Obama's alleged lack of transparency.

We are not making this up:

Barack Obama was elected commander in chief promising to run the most transparent presidential administration in American history. This achievement and the overall promise of his historic administration caused the National Newspaper Publishers Assn. to name him "Newsmaker of the Year."

The president is to receive the award from the federation of black community newspapers in a White House ceremony this afternoon. The Obama White House has closed the press award ceremony to the press.... Maybe they'll let the newspaper people pass the award through the fence.

Now. Normally, you would expect someone who works for the media to understand how the media works. But not Malcom. He doesn't have a clue:
In our reality, the president will be speaking to the National Newspaper Publishers Association, granting them an exclusive interview.
That's right. There will be reporters there. They will report on this award ceremony. This is a bloody exclusive, which means the reporters will be from one news agency, which kinda sort may want to not water down its exclusive by inviting every other news agency to share the glory.

So, when Malcom tells you he's not making this up, he really means, "I have no fucking clue what I'm talking about, but I'm yapping anyway."

And just in case that wasn't breathtaking enough, here comes Faux News, ready and willing to destroy what may be left of your irony meters:
Last night, the conservative Media Research Center, which houses the ever on point NewsBusters blog, hosted its annual “DisHonors” media awards gala in Washington, D.C. Aside from the cornier “Media Messiah” and “Obamagasm” media honors the group bestowed to alleged “liberal” members of the press, MRC presented Fox News’s Brit Hume with its “William F. Buckley Jr. Award for Media Excellence.” In his acceptance speech, Hume warned of the dangers of the rise of blogs and news being “presented from one political viewpoint”:

HUME: What are we getting?…We’re getting bloggers and websites and all sorts of individual entrepreneurs, and we have a vaster menu of choices today than we’ve ever had. But I think that we also have the danger that everything will be presented from one political viewpoint or the other, and that the media that confront us are going to be more partisan than ever — which means that the Media Research Center will have a mission for many years to come, and a good thing that is.

Hume’s warning is rather odd because in the very same speech, he thanked the MRC — an unabashedly conservative outfit — for feeding him information for his reports as anchor of Fox News’s Special Report...
That's right. This partisan hack, babbling on a blatantly partisan hack station, is worries that blogs will be too partisan. Are these people even sentient? Because I believe part of the definition of "sentience" is "to be self-aware," and these fuckwits obviously aren't.

And while we're on the subject of self-awareness and lack thereof:

Can you say "chutzpah"? I knew you could!

While the American International Group comes under fire from Congress over executive bonuses, it is quietly fighting the federal government for the return of $306 million in tax payments, some related to deals that were conducted through offshore tax havens.


A.I.G. is effectively suing its majority owner, the government, which has an 80 percent stake and has poured nearly $200 billion into the insurer in a bid to avert its collapse and avoid troubling the global financial markets.

You know something? I've had pet rocks smarter than these people. I've got bacteria growing in my toilet more capable of learning from mistakes and knowing when luck should not be pressed. Unfuckingbelievable.

As if that's not enough, they're trying to play cute and forbid their employees from talking to the media by pretending all they're worried about is safety:
The memo AIG sent to employees offering safety tips might lead you to believe that AIG is concerned about its employees' safety. And, true, it offers really practical advice about how to limit the chances that someone is going to attack an AIG employee: hide your badge, alert security if people are hanging around.


If you are genuinely concerned about the safety of your employees, you do not let the most public of those employees take public transportation on a widely-publicized trip.

So I would suggest that the warnings from AIG might serve a completely different purpose (aside from instilling a sense of defensiveness that might draw employees closer together). Consider this warning, for example, ostensibly designed to keep employees safe:

Avoid public conversations involving AIG and do not engage any media personnel regarding the company.

You see, all but a few of the warnings AIG gave its employees have a dual effect: they remind employees to guard their personal safety (and I do hope they remain safe). But they also ensure that anyone trying to report on AIG will be regarded as a physical threat.

Well. Isn't that special? Interesting how they managed to create guidelines that sort of guide employees away from encounters that may reveal information more harmful to the company's attempts to rob the nation blind than their employees' actual safety.

On a final note, here's so hypocrisy so rich, you'll probably end up with heartburn afterward:
When criticizing the Employee Free Choice Act, conservatives tend to argue that the legislation would "eliminate secret ballots" for union elections. It doesn't; it's just another bogus talking point intended to scare people.


But in a fun little twist, Greg Sargent notes that the Republican National Committee -- which levies the bogus EFCA argument in its party platform -- itself "forbids the 'secret ballot' as a way for the committee to make many of its own decisions."
Gee, whoever would've suspected Cons could be so two-faced, eh? If you'll excuse me, I must go die of not-shocked now.


Hank said...

If we have "a vaster menu of choices today than we’ve ever had", how can we be in danger of only one political viewpoint? I'm sure not every blogger will think the same as evidenced by some comments others leave for you.

It's all about choices baby! You're in America! But honestly, every time I think these fuckwits have gone as low as they can, they manage to limbo even further!

Cujo359 said...

Webster's defines "sentient" as "aware", without the "self-". Even by that rather more inclusive definition, I don't think the people in question qualify. They seem to be just this side of insensate.