Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Raising questions on Palin

A large portion seems to think asking questions on Palin's experience is out of bounds. I guess just having had some kids and giving a good speech is enough to convince some people. And James Fallows parallels the Clinton Bosnia story with Palin's "bridge to nowhere" story. He doesn't say that the press has been cowed by conservative bullies who treat any question about Sarah Palin's thin (and misleading) record as bias. I am.

I find it interesting how complicit the press is in assuring its own irrelevance. The press evidently feels that balance is important--that reporting critically of one side without reporting critically of the other in equal balance is not okay. But this is silly, and any honest person would admit so, unless one assumes that both sides make the same amount of errors. In this election, though, we have seen out of John McCain's campaign a deliberate attempt to game the system by constantly uttering falsehoods (the most recent of which being the idiotic pig remarks and the misleading ad on Obama and sex ed) and continuing to say them once they've been debunked. Steve Schmidt, McCain's campaign manager, has gambled that the press doesn't want to be seen as biased by pointing out such lies. Unsurprisingly, he gambled correctly. The press has said these things are untrue. They haven't kept saying it. Not with any energy, anyway.

Evidently, the model for the media has shifted from searching for the story, being skeptical, gathering all the facts, looking past the conventional wisdom, and reporting the truth into being an aggregator of press statements and he said, she said arguments, at least when it isn't obsessing about the gaffe of the day. It says a lot about how much rot there is in the institutions we had hoped would protect us, and a lot about the character of John McCain, who would much rather win an election than try to improve the shoddy state we are in by actually running an above board campaign. The irony of his "country first" argument is biting. He cares nothing about the country. He used to respect the press's role in a democracy, and now they're an enemy to be bullied. I agree with Andrew Sullivan: John McCain lacks the character to be president. And the media lacks the capacity to even report a simple story: did a woman tell the truth? McCain has been corrupted, as has the media, which has become too enamored of "access" and fame to do its job. I am beginning to have little use for either.

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.