Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Hep me Jeebus!
Had to go to Portland OR, for a couple of days. Stayed in a hotel. Turned on the cable teevee "news" on Monday morning. OMG...
As I've mentioned before, I don't have cable teevee in my home, so I don't watch the pollution that passes for "news" on FOX and CNN and MSNBC and so forth, and it's therefore real hard for me to get too worked up over Chris Matthews' latest Outrage! to common sensibility, and typically I don't get too swoony over Keith or Jon or Stephen, either.
I used to watch network news, usually NBC and PBS, then just PBS, then not even that; sometimes BBC (which is carried by my local PBS station), Univision, or one of the other alternatives (there's an East Indian news service from time to time, a Manila news half hour, and sometimes others.) But more and more my news comes from the internet (which means most of it originates in the hated Establishment Institutional Media) often filtered through sympatico bloggers and public interest orgs.
Nevertheless, on Monday I was exposed to the most astonishing sight. Those of you who have cable -- everyone, it seems -- wouldn't find it odd, but I sure did. On CNN, which I decided to stick with for a few hours in the morning and a few more in the evening, literally the ONLY story was Jeremiah Wright and how terrible he had been at the National Press Club. How he was destroying the Obama campaign because he wasn't "humble" enough (the term is Uppity). How Obama HAD to now "distance himself," cut Wright off, end any relationship with him and his church or he would feel the wrath... well, he would feel the wrath anyway, his campaign was all but over, this was the death knell, Obama simply could not recover.
Variations on this theme were being repeated over and over and over again by a rotating (but oddly limited) team of talking heads, on every single program on CNN, throughout the day. There was no other "news" at all. It was all Wright, all the time. Everyone had to weigh in and opine, they all opined the same way, and then it had to repeat, again and again and again. No more than one tepid defender of Wright and/or Obama was allowed to appear in any segment, and even the Defender had to acknowledge that Wright was out of bounds, over the top, and was Destroying Obama's Campaign.
It reminded me of nothing so much as the media campaign against Howard Dean, the screaming banshee attacks against him from every quarter that commenced after he dared to suggest breaking up the media conglomerates on Hardball, and took on relentless destructive power with the advent of the "Dean Scream" after the Iowa caucuses.
It occurred to me that Wright was being "scrutinized" -- ie: destroyed by the media -- for the the same reason: he had criticized them outside the bounds of permitted criticism, and he had threatened their hegemony over popular thought and discourse by satirizing and mocking them to their faces at the NPC. We recall Stephen Colbert was shunned and denounced after his White House Correspondents Dinner appearance, too, don't we?
Apparently Wright's appearance threw the entire Washington Palace Media into a tizzy that they have not recovered from to this day, and they will not, cannot, until Wright is neutered and/or in his grave.
And Obama must pay. Dearly. Which he is doing right now, having been forced to cut off Wright, denounce him, renounce him, over and over and over again. That's the price you pay, you see, when you cross the Mighty Palace Media. Which Obama has done. You see. (He too being perceived as Uppity and all.)
It's interesting to see the reaction to all this over at dKos, one of the more hot-headed of the Obamamania sites, where it seems that the idea is just to make all this... controversy... go away by mentioning it almost in whispers. Fewer attacks on Hillary, fewer attacks on the Media, less polling data. Building up Obama goes on, to be sure, but it's somewhat lackluster, almost apologetic. If Obama goes down "in flames" as they say because of this, Markos especially, but quite a few others as well, will be in a fine pickle.
Digby, I think, has exactly the right take on what's been going on, and I characterize that take as having little or nothing to do with either Obama or Wright, but almost everything to do with the Media itself. Chris Floyd and Arthur Silber mount honest defenses of Wright and they wind up condemning Obama for... condemning Wright.
But it's not about Obama and it's not about Wright. It's about the Media and the power that the corrupt and decadent Palace Media wields against the public and the public interest to provide or withhold information and to crystalize and shape public opinion. We're witness -- yet again -- to the Media going on a rampage of denunciation and character assassination.
And as always, only a handful of relatively weak voices are raised to tell them to shove it. As always, most Dems, so-called Liberals, and much of the internet "progressive" community falls into line, sometimes pushing one another out of the way to denounce whatever the chosen target is -- in this case, Rev Wright -- and to nod their agreeance with Media's general idea of denunciations (aka "lynching"), as long as they get some reward or attention in the process.
The same pattern is followed in the Congress. Dems cave to Rs all the time. It's the same crap.
But we see in the case of the destruction of Rev Wright, it's not just the Spineless Dems who go along. It's almost the whole Liberal/Progressive (so-called) infrastructure.
Read Arthur Silber's take. Then read Joan Walsh's -- her's being an extensive recapitulation of the Standard Media Narrative, which she apparently wholeheartedly agrees with.
Which one do you agree with?