Monday, October 19, 2009

Foxes and Henhouses

"There's a fox among the chickens, and a killer in the hounds." -- Iron Maiden, Back in the Village

Oh noez! Legitimate media personages agree that Obama should just grab his ankles and take whatever Rupert Murdoch's flying monkeys slap together. Instead of pointing out that a lie is a lie, he should shout, "Thank you sir, may I have another?"

Talk about professional courtesy. Ruth Marcus sez:

Where the White House has gone way overboard is in its decision to treat Fox as an outright enemy and to go public with the assault. Imagine the outcry if the Bush administration had pulled a similar hissy fit with MSNBC. “Opinion journalism masquerading as news,” White House communications director Anita Dunn declared of Fox.

Fox is an outright enemy -- it is cheerfully, consistently unencumbered with even the pretense of factuality or intellectual honesty. Its most prominent cartoon characters spent the summer promoting these noxious "teabagger" rallies, acting as if misspelled placards bearing swastikas and incoherent slogans were some sort of patriotic call to arms. It gives Glenn Beck a nightly sandwich board to wear and a sidewalk to prowl around on, weeping and ventriloquizing the voices in his coke-damaged brain stem.

There are so many to choose from, but I think my favorite summer clip was Beck's notorious Fox and Friends (The Today Show for retards, which is redundant) appearance, in which he sagely opined that Obama -- a black man with a white mother, raised in Hawaii by his white grandparents, mind you -- had a deep-seated hatred for white people, then seconds later said Obama was not, in fact, a racist, and shame on anyone who thought that was what the Beckster meant. It was a perfect example of Fox's knack for pure doublespeak, where words and ideas have practically no meaning, but are merely chosen for their power to incite and antagonize. You could almost literally take anything Beck has said, rearrange the words and phrases in random order, and get the same basic level of factuality.

Thus Obama hates white people, but seconds later is not a racist. Thus the teabaggers are a cross-section -- indeed, a veritable majority -- of reg'lar Americans, but are monochromatic by sheer coincidence. Thus the signs the 'baggers carry, which impute diametrically-opposed ideologies to the same person, are taken as gospel, rather than a cry for help scrawled by people who don't know the difference between socialism and fascism. Thus the Fox Nation is a seething, teeming, vigorous majority of hearty, strong-willed, long-suffering rugged individualists. It's just one of life's silly quirks that such folk are somehow kept down by a bunch of arugula-sucking elite faggots who think they're better'n yew.

I mean, Jesus H. Christ. For a movement of self-proclaimed tough guys, this is the thinnest-skinned bunch of perpetually-aggrieved ninnies around.

So now that the Post has showed its objective belly on this, it's the Times' turn:

At Commentary today, Peter Wehner writes “The White House’s effort to target a news organization like Fox is vaguely Nixonian.”

Uh, yeah. That would be this Peter Wehner:

Bush speechwriter Peter Wehner worked for William Kristol when he was chief of staff to then-Education Secretary William J. Bennett.


William Bennett is not shy in praising his former aide: 'I've met a lot of people, famous and not famous. He is the single most impressive human being I've ever met.' But Mr. Bennett says the real secret of the Bush speechwriters' recent success is that they've found the president's own voice, that they've given voice to his thoughts: 'Pete has been my brain. I'm not embarrassed to admit it.'

Well, if he's got Sportin' Life Bennett's vote, hell, he's alright by me. Once again, in this quest for the appearance of "objectivity", as it is technically defined, the "legitimate" media continue to legitimize people who, if one is intellectually honest, should be marginalized. This has less to do with politics and ideological sparring than the refs wish to believe, but then, they have a vested interest in keeping the games going and the rubes tuning in to the slap-fighting.

I just finished the Business Communications class in my grad studies, and one thing that was cool about the class was that the instructor tried to use current events and media coverage to illustrate ways that businesses communicate. The media in general were a notable subtheme throughout, given the tectonic changes over just the last decade. Obviously it's been a major theme of this blog all along, and over the course of five years now, I sometimes feel as if the media inadvertently go out of their way to prove my most polemic comments true and correct.

The idea (bolstered in class) that convention has bestowed some ineffable legitimacy on "professional" journalists that is somehow beyond mere bloggerses is one of the more pernicious assumptions, I think. And again, the corporate media, as they reel from the body blows their revenue model has taken, continue to undermine their own legitimacy. Fox isn't the only major "news" org that's fucked -- MSNBC is more prison docs than news or commentary, CNN spends half its time reading its viewers' tweets and the other half embalming Larry King for the next softball interview, and the networks have spent the last week getting their chains yanked by some reality-show loser with poor parenting skills and a weather balloon.

The fact of the matter is, they're scared to death of the immediacy of the blogs' content model, and their way of keeping up with it is to find one story per week that no one in their right mind could possibly give a fuck about and beat it into the ground until everyone knows about it whether they like it or not. Any blogger with that low a level of accountability or intellectual rigor would be rightfully scorned; in the MSM it's SOP.

They don't even have the good grace to be embarrassed that Stewart and Colbert -- you know, the fake news guys on the comedy cable network -- run circles around them in fact-checking, interviewing, and story relevance. Stewart and Colbert call ridiculous people ridiculous, instead of blowing them every Sunday morning on their serious chat shows.

This whole Fox thing began a few weeks ago when the administration pointedly decided to leave Chris "Borrows Dad's Hair Lacquer" Wallace out of their Sunday morning zone-flooding to pimp their upcoming health-care failure. Wallace got butt-hurt and Fox turned up the heat, which was entirely expected.

What makes less sense, until you recall that most of the people in this profession are gutless turds who seriously think they're doing the world a favor with their useless moral equivalences, is the non-Fox journamalists rushing to criticize Obama for his temerity, rather than Fox for its incessant calumnies. If they applied half that rigor to themselves and their colleagues, we might not be stuck with reality-show morons and celebritards and balloon hoaxes every fucking week.


Joe Blow said...

I am distressed that no one in they followup says things like...

"but FOX DOES lie almost all the time..."

"Half of the programming is vicious unfounded attacks and the other half is pimping them on the news shows."


"Why report what happening when you can just make up the news you want to report?"

Anonymous said...

I think the last honest journalist we had was Hunter S. Thompson. He was a jerk and a ne'er do well and said so up front and didn't care who knew it. He called a spade a spade and wasn't afraid to give a beatdown to a professional sports franchise or an Administration in the White House.