Tuesday, June 29, 2004

No News, Just Commentary

I just feel like writing for a bit. I have been scanning the news - lots of headlines, a few stories.

The USSC issued three rulings yesterday on combatant detentions. A sophomoric reading of one ruling seemed to cut against W. The press ran with it. Setback. Defeat. Loss. Dozens of headlines. All sky-falling material. Then I read the WSJ editorial take and it all was put into focus. W actually got a whole lot more than he lost. And the ACLU got slapped. Did the press miss it? Maybe. But they didn’t want to see it anyway.

Debra Saunders at the SF Chronicle heads a piece something like, “There is No Victory that cannot be Painted as a Defeat.” How true. That saying should be set to cross-stitch and sent to the heads of the mainstream media, lest they ever forget.

And it was those two above paragraphs that got me thinking about Sen. Howard Baker’s Silent Majority. Remember that time? The press would cry and moan after an election, “Oh, how did we get it so wrong?” Well, for one, numbskulls, you reported your opinion not the news. You gave column inches to yesterday’s versions of Michael Moore and Barbra Streisand (remember when that vacuous idjit tried to spell “Gephardt”? I used to have a tough time spelling “sergeant,” but that was in the 3d grade. Oh yeah, now thanks to Bravo! we learn that her favorite sound is an orgasm; at first that made me ill, then in a flash I pictured her with eyes crossed staring at her nose like she always does, all sweaty like a rodent in a puddle – and I laughed just long enough to get control of myself and move on to another thought, any thought). You, the press, didn’t get the mood of the electorate wrong – you didn’t even try. You were doing something different. You were interviewing loudmouths that can’t honestly research their own genealogy let alone someone else’s policies.

Al Franken? The promise of great things to come for Air America makes page after page of press; then it turns out to be a ranting, hate-filled enterprise. No press comment. Then ratings in NYC in one market segment viewed at a 47-degree angle with something in the plane of Venus and a waning Moon over some Roman God named Arch-something indicates better viewership than Rush and out comes page after page of press; then the next month comes along and Franken gets buried. No press comment. Air America has scads of money from investors making page after page of press; now things are so bad that seek to avoid their creditors by selling the assets to a new entity in a move generally viewed as fraudulent. No press coverage. You want to take the blinders off for a second? Look at the location of their channels – Alaska for crying out loud. Take out NYC and every market put together gets less coverage than the Farm Report I used to listen to everyday in Iowa.

Kerry issues this “Misery Index” that bends, shapes, and contorts economic data in such a way that – surprise – shows good trends under Clinton and bad under W. One of about seven data points was tuition in public colleges. Page after page of press. Turns out nobody can or wants to understand it. So the press coverage ends. But wait – now it turns out that tuition in public colleges which “went up so high and had such a disproportionate effect on the working poor who just want to get ahead” actually went down. Kerry forgot to take into account the increase in grants and other financial aid. Turns out that students on average pay about 25% of the sticker price. So net tuition actually went down. No press. None.

“The Iraq handover was nothing, means nothing, form over substance”? No wonder we don’t believe you anymore. We took out a murderous ruler, rebuilt infrastructure, and stabilized an economy; and then in the midst of all of this turned control over to the rightful owners – even as we continue to work. That only means nothing if you are predisposed to such a conclusion. Personally, I am rather awed by it all. I pray everyday for our soldiers. And everyday, I know some blinded-by-hate terrorist is emboldened by words coming from American liberal politicians. Does that make these politicians unpatriotic? No, but I’m even sure what that means. It is a word used only by liberals anyway. It does make them something, though – stupid. I learned a long time ago how to criticize someone to their face, to get my point across, without giving a listener ammunition. Liberals seem too cranially challenged to accomplish a similar feat. Oh well. What do you expect from a party that looks to Teddy (Make yourself useful, get me a drink) Kennedy as a patriarch. There is one way in which Teddy could be a beacon to the world – remember when funeral pyres were all the rage? With all the liquor in that fool, you could set him aflame onto the Charles River and track him by satellite as he lit the way through the Irish Sea, around the Horn of Africa, and everywhere man has traveled. Just think, another eternal flame, just like his brother got.

Al Gore screams his speeches like a raving lunatic, spittle washing the first three rows. His eyes popping out like one of those stress toys you squeeze. The press says, “Well, if you read the speech rather than watch it, he makes some cogent points.” How can they separate the message from the messenger in such a way? They never do when it is a conservative. Never. Not even once.

No, the press doesn’t miss some underlying trend. They try to create one. Then when something hard and unavoidable like a nationwide vote comes along, they go into a period of self-analysis. Unfortunately, they arise like a phoenix only to editorialize again.

The Silent Majority will prevail in November: the economy is strong, Iraq has little bad but a lot of good news left in it, W is reliable and consistent, and Kerry can lull an ADHD’r to sleep (I can say that – I am one); the Senate majority will be expanded thanks to the South; and the House will stay in our hands. Then the press will be wondering how they got things so wrong. Amazing, eh?

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