Friday, May 17, 2013
Sharks!!! Missing White Women!!!! The Summer Driving Season Comes Early This Year!!!!
The recent trio of Scandals!!! at the White House remind us just how desperate the media can be when ginning up something -- anything -- to keep the masses distracted for the Summer.
This Summertime Distraction is an Absolute Tradition and Iron Law among the ink stained wretches who ply the media trade. You got to have a hook. That's all there is to it. And because the media is largely on hiatus during the summer, the thinking is that certain tried and true stories, particularly of Shark Attacks!!! and Missing White Women!!!! and Summer Driving (as gas prices go through the roof, again)!!!, will do the trick. They always have in the past, why not again?
But what if the media doesn't want to play that record again? The summer of 2001 was the most notorious one for these sorts of distractions, really quite shameful when you think back on it. Bush cleared brush, White Women went missing, and sharks, sharks, sharks patrolled the waters eating whomever they chose, and then, right after Labor Day, bam. 9/11 happened. Putting the kibosh on frivolity, at least until the next summer, when of course, WAR was all the rage, and the occupation of Iraq was getting all the news.
It took some time to get back to the distractions of Shark Attacks and Missing White Women, but eventually things seemed to settle down enough to fire up the old tried and true stories once again. And so it has been for a while now.
But there is another summertime media tradition that goes back to Nixon at least, and probably farther.
I'm always amazed when I read historical political material to discover that everything old is new again, and that the political cycle and the scandal-mongering that goes with it has been churning unrelentingly all my life, since well before I was born in fact, cycling through the same, same, same things over and over and over again.
The White House Scandal (!!!!!) is part of the traditional cycle, but it doesn't come around every year like Missing White Women and Shark Attacks are supposed to do. No, the White House Scandal is periodic, but not annual. It typically begins when Someone Who Matters takes offense at something someone in the White House has said or done, much as Katherine Graham took offense at something Nixon said or did (or simply because she didn't like him) and launched the Watergate Thing. The Thing that eventually took him down.
It was a Summer Scandal that ultimately went on for a couple of years, but it was based not so much in the crimes of the Nixon Administration -- gawd knows, there were plenty of those -- as it was in the animosity of the Press (ie: Katherine Graham of the Washington Post) to Richard M. Nixon, President of These United States of America.
Somewhat similar was the media attack on President Clinton, for everything it seemed, until something stuck, ie: Monica. Leading to his aborted impeachment -- which itself was a full-on Summer Scandal (!!!) though the impeachment itself was delayed until fall.
The Media Summer Distraction Machine was fully on during the summer of 2001, and many observers at that time seemed to sense that something was up. The 2000 election was an abomination decided through the lawless intervention of the Supreme Court, and the People were not happy about it, not on a bet. Bush himself was shortly revealed as a stumble bum fool once installed on the Throne, with that eminence grise Cheney skulking about in the shadows doing who knew what mischief? Meanwhile, Bush cut brush on his phony ranch in Texas, and the mighty White House press corps suffered through the heat and humidity of a Texas summer. Bush ponderously pondered stem cell research, and he would give a Speech From the Throne about it, with bats zipping around in the night sky behind him, that left everyone scratching their heads and saying "Whatttt????"
But Chandra Levy was Missing (!!!!!) and Congressman Gary Condit was just like Clinton!!!!! and the likeliest suspect in her disappearance, obviously a murderer, just like Clinton!!!, and he would not be allowed to get away with it, the way Clinton was, not if Nancy Grace had anything to say about it!
And the sharks were biting up a storm. Chomp. Chomp, Chomp.
It was Such a Beautiful Summer. Then it was spoiled by the Nasty Mooslims.
Now that we are deep into White House Scandal Stories that have prefigured what the Summer Stories will be like -- All Scandal, All the Time, with one or two Missing White Women and a Shark Bite Story thrown in for good measure -- we might want to think about what is not being covered in the "news" and what sort of Holy Horror is being worked up for the fall.
Apparently, the more rabid of the Rightists are intent on forcing the impeachment or resignation of the President, though what the point of it might be is anybody's guess. They want Happy Joe on the Throne instead? I seriously doubt it. No, this is Show Business and the political motive is to keep the common people distracted and entertained while... what?... is going on in the background?
The Correspondent's Dinner seemed to mark the point at which the White House Press Corps turned on the President, and from that point their sole (pack) interest was focused on what damage they could help the Rs do to the White House.
Beng[h]azi was the key to the process in that Congressional Hearings were in the offing, and they would heat the Scandal Pot to a boil, no matter what was revealed. But then to find out that the IRS had been targeting conservative political groups!!!! OMG!!!. Actually, this had long been known, the 'Baggers had long been fuming about the delays in approving their non-profit status, and there had already been official look-sees over it. In other words, the story was old, it just hadn't been made a Scandal(!!!!) yet. But you see, anything can be turned into a Scandal(!!!!). And so it has been with the IRS Thing. Notice that with this one, the White House has gone fully along with it, too. Something in the background will likely not be done because of this, and I wonder what it might be. Some people seem to think it could mean that Obamacare subsidies would have to be scrapped (because they are administered by the IRS.) That would be interesting. It would effectively blow up the whole Rube Goldberg contraption, and there are plenty of Americans who would not have a sad over that. On the other hand, we may be looking at the imposition of "Tax Reform" sooner rather than later. "Tax Reform" as in "broadening the base and 'lowering the rates.'" What it really would be is a massive tax burden shift from them that's got onto them that's not, and though I've been pointing this out for many years, the notion still hasn't firmly penetrated the conscious understanding of many of those who write about these things.
That's what I see as the likely upshot of the IRS Thing.
The Beng[h]azi Thing appears to be little more than endless face-time opportunities for that execrable Darrell Issa, and I say, dayum, if Dude wants to get his ugly mug on the teevee that bad, let him. He has always come across as a maroon of the first water, and the more people see of him, the more they loathe him and everything he "stands" for -- which is more face time.
The Beng[h]azi Thing is going nowhere as a Scandal (!!!!) except on FOX, and they don't have any idea what to do with it. In due time, it will simply evaporate as if it never was.
On the other hand, the Beng[h]azi Thing could be serving as a mask -- or an excuse -- for preparations for yet another warrior foray into the Heart of Darkness, ie: the Mooslim World. The various wars, after all, have not been going well, and clusterfucks (like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya) that have resulted from unleashing the Dogs of War among Those People have created a level of uncontrollable chaos that gives the willies to anyone who observes it and leaves tragedy and bloodshed throughout the region. Shock Doctrine principles (which seem to be the rule among Our Rulers) require an even bigger shock than the daily bombings and dronings and catastrophic living conditions that have become routine in the Middle East and North Africa. Something much bigger must occur to bring Those People into line. I would guess that's a joint American-Israeli attack on Iran, something lusted after by the already blood-drenched Ruling Class for many a long year.
Perhaps the Beng[h]azi Thing will prove to be the catalyst for doing it. I hope not, but that's the way these things tend to go. They take on a life of their own.
The AP Thing is another one that was a story but not a Scandal(!!!!) sometime back. It involves a key aspect of the National Security State, the essentially universal surveillance of the public that's been going on for years.
Apparently, the AP (along with other news outlets) think they should be exempted and immune from the surveillance everyone else is routinely subjected to. There's a lot of history of press freedom in this country, and there is the tattered remnant of the Constitution to fall back on, but there are certain court rulings that essentially cancel those privileges in the face of National Security, and so as much as Gary Pruitt and the AP want to make this into some Big Deal, it's unlikely they will succeed. For one thing, the public has little tolerance for media preening and complaining, and for another, the AP has long sucked. They have been the ones promoting the Summer Scandal/Summer Distraction stories for years and years, and the AP wire is filled with trash like this (though Pruitt, to his credit has tried to clean it up a little).
The AP is trying to make a case that they are somehow above you and me, and it's just not going to fly among the public. Whether it will have an impact among the High and the Mighty remains to be seen. And it will depend on what the real objection is -- and who is making it. Nobody really cares if the phone calls of reporters in the field are looked into by the Security State. But if the Government goes "too far" all hell could break loose, with the press going fully rogue against the State. So I'd look at this as a shot across the bow, a warning to the Government to stay within bounds, which will be set by the High and Mighty to protect the High and Mighty.
Surveille the public all you want (and please share the information with the press!!) they seem to be saying, but stay within strict bounds when it comes to surveilling the establishment press or pay the price. This is a periodic issue. It's always been resolved one way or another, but it crops up again and again.
So Summer has come early. I don't know where all these White House Scandals are headed, but there were signs on the "news" last night that the media isn't going to go all the way with them -- depending on how well they are able to control these things of course, and how much the White House is willing to play.
Now that the White House is paying attention to the plaints of the media, they seem to be happy enough.
If the Missing White Women and Shark Attacks start bubbling up to the front pages again, we'll know that the plug has been pulled on these Scandals(!!!) -- at least for the time being. On the other hand...