07 July, 2008

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

How badly is the Republicon party damaged by the unending fuckwittery? Very:

Lifelong Nebraska Republican David Sayers describes it this way: “The Republican Party has lost its soul. It’s no longer the party of Goldwater. For years, it was about small government, low taxes, fiscal responsibility. Foreign policy was always about, 'Look after ourselves first and humanitarian outreach second,' but it was never about having our own Roman Empire. ... I see Obama as the Democratic Ronald Reagan — someone who can really bring us together and heal us as a nation. ... In the long term, a catastrophic loss in November could be very good for the party."

This is not a fringe festival — Republicans who now support Obama count among their ranks Ike’s granddaughter Susan Eisenhower; Milton Friedman’s son, David; former Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I.); conservative legal scholar Douglas Kmeic; and Reagan’s assistant secretary of defense, Lawrence J. Korb.

When prestigious Republicons start abandoning the party in droves, you know the current bunch of raving idiots have done fucked things up.

It's hard to see how the party could be resurrected. After all, it's looking like they won't even be able to make adjustments to their party platform without stabbing each other in the eyes:

The official national Republican platform is 100 pages long, and 91 of those pages reference George W. Bush. Not only will the party want to downplay the unpopular president’s role in shaping the party’s agenda for the future, but it will obviously be necessary to start promoting John McCain as the party’s leader.

But the prospect of re-writing the Republican platform is ripe with opportunities for intra-party conflict.

Conservative activists are preparing to do battle with allies of Sen. John McCain in advance of September’s Republican National Convention, hoping to prevent his views on global warming, immigration, stem cell research and campaign finance from becoming enshrined in the party’s official declaration of principles.

McCain has not yet signaled the changes he plans to make in the GOP platform, but many conservatives say they fear wholesale revisions could emerge as
candidate McCain seeks to put his stamp on a document that currently reflects the policies and principles of President Bush.

“There is just no way that you can avoid anticipating what is going to come. Everyone is aware that McCain is different on these issues,” said Jessica Echard, executive director of the conservative Eagle Forum. “We’re all kind of waiting with anticipation because we just don’t know how he’s going to thread this needle.”

As a rule, fights over party platforms are rare and dull. A party’s presidential candidate generally reflects the policy agenda of the party’s voters, and while competing factions might want specific provisions and/or language included in the platform in a certain way, the squabbles are behind the scenes and largely inconsequential in an otherwise choreographed

But this year, it appears Republicans are starting from scratch and there are ideological differences between the party’s base and the party’s nominee.

The result could be rather entertaining.

Pass the popcorn! I can hardly wait to see what they end up with after excising Bush. Seriously, 91% of their platform's pages refer to Bush? I don't even have to ask if they're insane - we all know the answer to that one. Cult of personality, anyone?

And speaking of cults... let's check in with Faux News, and see what shennanigans they get up to behind closed doors:

For some of us, keeping an eye on Fox News’ partisan and unprofessional antics is a habit of morbid curiosity. For the great folks at Media Matters, monitoring Fox News is part of an ambitious drive to bring some accountability to modern journalism. But imagine being a media reporter for a legitimate news outlet, and trying to cover Fox News objectively. That has to

The NYT’s David Carr is a media columnist, and has to cover the Republican network as part of his duties. He explained today what that’s like to even consider writing about Fox News in a fascinating item.

Once the public relations apparatus at Fox News is engaged, there will be the calls to my editors, keening (and sometimes threatening) e-mail messages, and my requests for interviews will quickly turn into depositions about my intent or who else I am talking to.

And if all that stuff doesn’t slow me down and I actually end up writing something, there might be a large hangover: Phone calls full of rebuke for a dependent clause in the third to the last paragraph, a ritual spanking in the blogs with anonymous quotes that sound very familiar, and — if I really hit the jackpot — the specter of my ungainly headshot appearing on one of Fox News’s shows along with some stern copy about what an idiot I am. […]

Media reporting about other media’s approach to producing media is pretty confusing business to begin with. Feelings, which are always raw for people who make their mistakes in public, will be bruised. But that does not fully explain the scorched earth between Fox News and those who cover it.

To hear Carr tell it, Fox News operates under a well-coordinated, omerta-like code, where "media relations is a kind of rolling opposition research operation intended to keep reporters in line by feeding and sometimes maiming them.” (Carr noted, “Earlier this year, a colleague of mine said, he was writing a story about CNN’s gains in the ratings and was told on
deadline by a Fox News public relations executive that if he persisted, ‘they’ would go after him. Within a day, ‘they’ did, smearing him around the blogs, he said.”)

We’re talking about what is ostensibly a news network, not an organized crime family.

I think "crime family" is a far more apt description of what Faux News is. "Herd of screaming toddlers" comes to mind as well. Who else does that sound like...?

Oh, yes. I remember: our current fucking government.


Cujo359 said...

To hear Carr tell it, Fox News operates under a well-coordinated, omerta-like code

I've wondered how they've kept everyone in line so well. This, of course, was one of the explanations that came to mind. The other is that those who don't follow the code are gradually ousted or marginalized by their own management. I doubt that any of those big corporations want things to change very much.

Jacob Wintersmith said...

What's bizarre about this situation is that all those PR shenanigans actually do any good for Fox News. Surely it's old news to every journalist that Fox News is a propaganda mill.

I suspect that the unwillingness of other news organizations to confront Fox is just another symptom of their larger problem: pursuing neutrality in political coverage by quoting a left-wing politician and a right-wing one for each story, but never digging into the facts themselves to separate fact from fiction.

Why are mainstream news organizations full of the most cowardly epistemic relativists? I have no fucking clue. Suggestions and theories are welcome.

Cujo359 said...

I think once you look at who owns most of the news organizations in this country, it becomes clear. Richard Mellon Scaife, Sun Myong Moon (sp?), and Rupert Murdoch own a considerable portion of that business all by themselves. The news doesn't dig into things because the owners like things the way they are. What's more, they like the people who watch their news just the way they are - uninformed.

At least, that's my suspicion. I don't read their diaries or anything ...