easured and firm response to the Warlord. Who knew, but the Democrats showed some political smarts in the right tone during the droning address and the SOTU response.
Interestng how Tweety still gushes over his man crush on the Warlord. It comes out in so many ways — via
his simmering misogyny expressed both by dwelling on how “gracious” the little boy was to Pelosi and his brittle interaction with HRC. Tweety loves HRC as the hot “get” but despises the “get” at the same time — a conundrum refelcted in his wildly uneven tone and contradictory commentary. We also noticed Tweety clearly uncomfortable sharing the co-anchoring duties with the undeniably more intelligent and wittier Olbermann (divergent political viewpoints aside).
Politically, the spin was also interesting. Timmy, NBC's Man in the Imperial City, kept repeating White House talking points that the Warlord was “surprised” by the reaction to his Iraq speech. According to Timmy, the Warlord's dwelling on Iran, the sending of Patriots, a carrier battle group, a new CENTCOM commander with expertise in airstrikes and the raids on Iranian consulates were all unrelated to any conscious policy about Iran. Timmy then underscored that by asserting that the Warlord never intended those signals to be perceived as directed against Iran. Moreover, he tells that to his staff, Timmy bleats.
Ponder that a moment, Dear Reader. If what Timmy said is true, then Nation is in even greater danger than ever before; a truly and utterly incompetent Warlord is at the helm causing international crises and alarms without even realizing it. And tells his staff that he is not causing crises because he says so. Potentially worse blundering about than the Agadir Crisis — there, the parties were at least talking to each other. And if the Warlord is making threats he has no intention of keeping, then he is beyond reckless.
How funny Timmy omits any of this obvious follow-up analysis to his “reporting”. Perhaps because he himself knows what he says to be untrue but feels professionally bound to say it on air. His “unnamed” White House sources allow him to still look connected and relevant in this age of Politico.com.
But we think he also wants to believe. Because that allows him to gloss over and ignore the explicit language in the SOTU about linking Hezbollah with both Al Qaeda and the Iranian Shia complex (long a Likud drum beat). How an NBC Bureau Chief can wave away explicit threats to a sovereign nation in two separate major presidential addresses in conformity with the EOVP/Likudite/Wursmer theology is astounding. Tweety seemed eager to agree with his fellow brother-in-Christ. NBC — for the night at least — officially decided that presidential words and actions do not mean what they say and are, to be safely ignored.
Williams we suspect weeped inwardly on behalf of the entire NASCAR Nation for the Warlord's misfortune. We waited for but did not hear Williams mention the Warlord's omission of New Orleans in the speech. Odd, given Williams' year long commitment to the city in his broadcast. (We turned MSNBC off around 11:00 PM).
verall? We give the Webb response 4 1/2 stars out of 5. The Warlord gets a 2 1/2 out of 5. NBC/MSNBC coverage a 2 1/2. The Russert and Tweety show is so 2004. They need some fresh “brands” to represent 'hard talk' that have not been compromised as Vichy Collaborators during the 2001-2006 Dark Years. And what exactly was MSNBC doing using NFL football-style music scores in selected promos of the SOTU coverage? How soon before NBC/MSNBC SOTU events have overt and official corporate sponsors? At least Buchanan didn't make any more jokes quoting convicted Nazi war criminals tonight (that we heard).
, Tim Russert
, Chris Matthews
, Keith Olbermann
, Jim Webb
any have observed that pundits most responsible for the death of the American Idea in international politics via calamity in Iraq continue to prosper
. They earn ever larger speaking fees, get new book deals and seemingly pay no price for sustained error over several years costing hundreds of thousands of lives. Neoliberals like Beinhart, Ken Pollack share a responsibility with blowhards like Friedman or the more blatantly manipulative such as Brooks, Hitch, Boot or Kristol. In an ethical society, Zakaria too would pay a steep professional price for concealing his direct role in 2001 via AEI's ridiculously self-complimentary “Bletchely II” war-fest which helped Wolfowitz and Bush himself launch this entire car wreck
merica of the 21st Century long ago abandoned Hester Prynne. So too with the pundits. All of these poor souls are in the end commodities. Products to be packaged and peddled by their media platforms to us for profit. They succeeded because they know (implicitly or explicitly) their ultimate societal function.
Their job or their purpose is not 'to be right.' That would be nice, to be sure. Makes things easier on management. But the key is: do they sell? Sell books. Sell advertising in print (helping with circulation is a nice double good). Sell webpage click throughs. Or sell demographics and TV ratings. And of course sell access — do whomever is in power like what they read? And will this help the organization's other reporters get interviews, etc.
All the rest is noise. If being “right” was even part of the overall job description the American media landscape would be as barren as the Moon.An Op-Ed page can have a wishy washy Ignatius here and there who are careful to make sure their back catalog says something on both sides, but they are a luxury.
Sell baby! (AgitProp constructs such as Weekly Standard subsidized and essentially immune to market forces of course operate on purely ideological parameters).
nce we understand their commodity status and purpose, alot begins to make sense. Useful media commodities have a couple of characteristics (I refer here to the general sense of a good, thing or res
, not the specific definition of interchangeable fungibility).
One, they should have a strong brand. Inattentive readers or viewers will know in an instant what memes are being downloaded/viewed/imparted. Two, they simplify complex things or deny they are complex for inattentive viewers/readers. And three, usually they will sell a course of action which will be emotionally and psychologically satisfying but will not impose pain, remorse or negative feelings which might bleed over onto enthusiasm for surrounding furniture ads or commercials.
Savvy media outlets break some of these rules and also mix and match. For Hitch to write in Slate and make light of the hundreds of thousand dead in Iraq by a flippant comment to the effect “we was jinxed, man”
is astoundingly narcissistic even for him. As well as self-serving and exculpatory (Bush failed the Cause, but the dream shall never die!). It also likely pissed off alot of Slate readers. But that intensity is essential and not a bad thing. Does Slate really care if Hitch is “right”? Or consistent? Or even “honest”? Slate one imagines looks to more measurable things than objective reality-- how many clickthroughs does Hitch get? Heck we read it, and are linking to it.
Similarly, for a struggling outfit for the L.A. Times, giving a column to a Jonah Goldberg might be mystifying to all rational people. But to management under attack and financial erosion, someone like aMax Boot tossing off the timorous claim that hoping we might secure Baghad is preferable to facing the grim consequences of a failed state
could be a good call. If he the delivers eyeballs.
Radar's piece mentions William Lind as one voice (among many) who warned against this regime before the madness started. The Stiftung actually believes that Lind in particular was handicapped by his respect for substance and ideas. His writings are informative, dense with insight and wholly inapposite to the USA Today-i-fication of Amercian media and the facile superficiality of the Neocon pundit class. He is also swimming against the tide explaining complexity to a media and audience that yearn for (demand?) its opposite.
For Lind and others, we must not forget the true fear from 2001-2005 most media outlets had of crossing this regime. Such a punitive, vicious and overtly aggressive political apparat was and is unique. Alternative media outlets that stood tall such as the progressive blogosphere and other new media ventures that formed for a while were all that stood in the regime's way. So building a brand persona in such an evironment was particularly difficult and tricky.
The Pundits, National Greatness and Iran
ur sense is that the Neocon/Neoliberal Punditry Noontide already is slipping away. They perfected their external media commercial public role well. Escalation in Iraq is so profoundly unpopular, however. Squaring their function of offering emotionally satisfying scripts at no cost to the American reader or viewer and helping sell furniture and Japanese automobiles is almost exhausted in that context. In addition, their access is limited to an ever diminishing circle around EOVP, the NSC and Oval Office.
A new Congress already is overturning the suffocating conformity of the 2001-2006 unified Christian Socialist Authoritarian regime. And the '08 cycle is already here. The Neocon/Neoliberals, like the Bush regime itself, must stake everything on two final rolls of the dice: a McCain or Giuliani presidency and war with Iran. There is a compelling logic to their radicalized world that the best way to make Americans forget this failed war (and who rah rah'd it) is simply start a new one. (Tomorrow we may write why the non-Likudnik Israelis want a different future and their covert talks with Syria).
After Bush, together you and us Dear Reader can determine the media fate of these creatures. We begin by just stop clicking on Slate when they have Hitchens. Now it is still necessary to keep an eye on them because of their Warlord patron. But after him? Stop reading whatever new flatulence Friedman comes up with. Ignore Boot, etc. Don't cross link video of more Beinhart immature historical mangling. Cross ownership and subordination of news to pure market forces is a done deal by now and can not be unwound. The Neocons manipulated market forces to peddle their Kool Aid. It is time the market responded in kind.
, Max Boot
, Tom Friedman
, David Brooks