Hit Bait

Why make an uproar over the WaPo re-publishing Sarah Palin’s Facebook climate change conspiracy ramble? For example, the Nation’s Washington Editor, the-no-longer-padawan-but-not-quite-full-Jedi, Chris Hayes declares publishing it ‘unthinkable’. Some predictably contrarian ‘liberals’ even argue for it. They all got played by the WaPo like a cheap piano. Who are these naifs? Palin and the WaPo are perfectly matched. Both are desperate for meme relevance and page hits.

Fred Hiatt, please.  Tell him its Randy Scheuneman with a Palin Op Ed.  Oh, he's on with Bibi?  Yeah, I'll hold.

And booyah! for them both. Palin kept her pub machine going. The WaPo? Wing nuts are flocking, asking to copy the link. Here’s ‘Right Matters’ Rammesh Ponnuru foaming:

The Washington Post’s op-ed page has long been more open to conservative points of view than its news pages, where liberalism is rarely challenged. Some left-wingers find the op-ed page’s balance, and occasional outright conservatism, irritating. They’re going nuts over Gov. Palin’s op-ed on global warming today. See the Huffington Post for a round-up of liberal reaction. The prevailing sentiment is that the Post should not have published her.

It shouldn’t have published her, goes the argument, because 1) she’s not a scientific expert and 2) some of things she says are mistaken. On this principle, we’d have to bar Al Gore from writing op-eds on climate change too: He’s no expert, and he has propagated more, and more serious, scientific errors about the matter than Palin has.

Meanwhile, Palin’s underlying point–that cap-and-trade legislation would impose severe costs on the economy for uncertain benefits–seems hard to contest.

I ask you to compare Palin’s op-ed to this effort by one of her critics, also published by the Post. Which relies more on sneering and name-calling? Which adds least to the discussion? Which should the Post be most proud of running?

Other than Dana Priest’s Walter Reed pieces the Post made no lasting, unique contribution to journalism and the public debate this past decade. Do you disagree? Hiatt’s Neocon hackery speaks for itself. But remember the Post was in the tank for Cheney and the Warlord up to 2006. Woodward’s obscenely sycophantic reporting over the years and two full on French kiss books can’t be wiped away. Not even by his scramble to push out a third book to prove he (Woodward) knew it was all a Charlie Fox to begin with.

The WaPo is the Oldsmobile of journalism. The mass staff layoffs just the latest. Remember WaPo selling of health care access? Trust us – it’s going to get a lot more funky before the edifice fully crumbles.

Trendsetting conversation already moved on. When John Harris and others left to form The Politico they called the Emperor buck. Josh Marshall made the same call. Want proof why the HuffPost is largely a waste of time? So much noise and little signal? How many spent today gnashing teeth over Palin’s idiotic high school essay? Smart liberals and progressives would be examining the calculated effort by the Right to infiltrate and influence The Politico as the new scene of record. We say that after direct conversations with Rightists who publish there and their long term plans. The Right is completely out of institutional power. So to anyone who has experience in this town, it’s truly remarkable how much sway they have meme-wise where it actually matters — in this case, The Politico. The WaPo is yesterday. Someone should tell them.

What we all call the WaPo is a small piece of The Washington Post Company. That listed holding company’s profits and revenue mostly come from Kaplan educational testing and other vocational properties. There are some local TV licenses. Newsweek and Father Meacham are sinking along with the rest of print. The flagship paper? As business and beacon for journalism it deservedly died a while ago.


  1. Comment says

    Re Tweety – It’s always funny to see how in the tank he is for the Kennedy’s despite all sorts of things various Kennedys think that bother him when other pols think them. It’s so obvious he is being tribal.

  2. Comment says

    We are laughing at Simon Schama cheerleading of Obama’s speech – He’s way over the top, but he us opposite of Pastor Meachem, so we don’t dwell.

  3. Comment says

    Japan’s race consciousness is interesting – We think genetic DNA testing will cause some problems over there when people who thought they were pure Japanese discover otherwise. You know in Ireland – the only true Europeans live in the far west of Eire.

  4. Comment says

    We pretty much have to ‘bow’ to your analysis/takedown of the bow. But we maintain our concern was less the bow in the real Japanese context than the Tweeety context.
    It seems to us he was poorly advised. But then again, that’s what we want to think and we are just tempermentally inclined after years of negative feeling to always think the upside re Obama. Hopefully he will kiss the Pope’s ring so as to ratify a general sense of things.

    But we do prefer a less deferential style – Including Bush and his slobbering over savage Arab monarchs.

  5. Comment says

    re Bowgate – interesting backround – We wersonally were against the bow – just out of instinct. But since we are in the tank we try to change the subject. We did not see the Olberman segments – He’s a bore. We only watch him if he comes up on memeorandum or some other website.

  6. Comment says

    re Jesse Ventura – Yes, we respect his UDT days and have sometimes wondered about them. We sort of grafted the fact Sarah had a son go in the army onto her resume since we know the pain that some mom’s feel. We were being charitable. Ventura was also awesome as a pro wrestler and we mean that sincerely – just as we admire Sarah’s cuteness.

  7. dilbert dogbert says

    “Woodward’s obscenely sycophantic reporting over the years and two full on French kiss books can’t be wiped away”
    French Kiss doesn’t quite do it. The activity I think would fit would have one asking Woodward if afterwords he spit or swallowed.

  8. Dr Leo Strauss says

    @Comment re Tweety bowing obsession

    Americans remain pretty ignorant. A bow is not a bow. In Asia, bows are calculated to the millimeter regarding height of head and most importantly, line of sight. All based on status. Olbermann is the greatest offender of peddling sloppy well, stupidity in this regard.

    First, Asia is not France. For Eisenhower, the Supreme Commander of WW II, nodding a head with De Gaulle is not a formal bow. Ike had to mollify De Gaulle in London because Roosevelt hated him so much. To nod his head in greeting now as presidents is not a formal bow on its face in the picture Olbermann flashes let alone as a bow understood in Asia. Because one can snap fingers and call ‘garcon’ in France doesn’t mean you do it in Shinjiku. Talk about Olbermann needing a Homer Simpson ‘Doh!’

    Now, back to Asia. Nixon and Hirohito was not a comparable Obama bow. Examine the photograph. Nixon is careful to keep his eye line and head on a plane slightly higher than the Emperor. It was a gesture of respect but one that understands ancient Asian signals of hierarchy and status. Moreover, Nixon gave back Okinawa and Kissinger famously pushed Tokyo to go nuclear as part of his premature pentapolar world.

    By contrast, Obama’s bow was a full on complete subordinate bow in Asian culture made by a ‘kohai’ (underling) to a ‘sempai’ (master or mentor). This relationship is true from father to son, boss to subordinate, coach to player, student to ‘sensei’ (teacher). His head and eye plane are disproportionately lower. In the Asian/Japanese context this is 100% a bow of the inferior to venerated superior. It’s that simple. Obama may not have meant it that way. But if he is going to use symbols from other cultures he needs to understand what he is doing. What *Obama* intended is irrelevant. How it will echo down the years in Japan and Asia is what matters.

    OK, so he screwed up. Americans are allowed a certain latitude. Asians know we are not adept at sophisticated social signaling. Few people in Asia expect Americans to be sophisticated and ‘up to speed’ anymore. Bush has lowered expectations – remember that frantic exit to non-functioning doors?

    What makes it more troublesome for us is that Obama is 1/2 Black. People should not dance around this. Race matters in Asia. Japan is an extraordinarily race conscious society – and they can make Bull Connor look like a HuffPost regular.

    When the U.S decline first set in under Reagan, then Prime Minister Nakasone caused a minor flap when he explained to the Japanese people it wasn’t the Americans they knew (white)’s fault, but American by the 1980s had too many Blacks (genetically inferior). A small furor ensued and everything went back to normal. Superficially things have improved in public attitudes. Obama recordings are used to teach English and there is the whole ‘hey our town is named like him’ thing. But scratch an inch as they say . . . Obama’s obsequiously low bow resonates with and activates all sorts of unfortunate and rarely spoken racial assumptions.

    By the way, the Japanese are not narrow-minded. They have historically felt the same way about Koreans, Vietnamese, etc. The Chinese are the one ethnic group that has always given them a slight inferiority complex. Even before the economic powerhouse kicked in. (The Koreans return the favor as well, remembering the murderous Japanese occupation even in contemporary hit movies). In Japan, there are Koreans who were brought over generations ago and who look, dress, act and speak as Japanese – even to the Japanese they can’t be picked out of a crowd. They are still required to have internal passports because they are genetically foreigners. Blood type fascination is so pervasive that even cartoon characters list their blood type in TV shows and manga-related merchandise.

    Whoever advises Obama on protocol has to know all this. So why did he do it? His ingratiating need to be liked? His recognition that our economy is a shambling outsourced hollow joke and we need desperately to keep the Japanese from punting on the dollar? Perhaps thanking the Emperor for the Nintendo Wii?

    Who knows, but it was a mistake. If he wasn’t going to shake hands then he needed to calibrate his bow as slightly above the Emperor. Why signal abject servitude status until one has to?

    Tweety’s fixation is different – his objection seems to come from an inner inferiority complex. A complex that renders his show almost unwatchable. He radiates such neediness. Just like Tweety used DeLay et al. as barometers of successful *men* to define his own manhood and his new club membership 2001-2005. That was before Tweety turned against DeLay when that became fashionable. Remember? When he was for the war he now claims he always opposed.

    How it must drive Tweety bonkers that Olbermann does twice his numbers.

  9. Dr Leo Strauss says

    @Comment re Newt speech

    Agree, reading (or listening) to Newt’s speeches are an utter waste of time. One merely needs to grasp the AgitProp purpose for analytical reasons and move on. That’s a pretty good one about sending a drone to pick up the prize. And if it was JSOC via Blackwater, the drone could fire on the crowd and the Administration would deny it happened. Meanwhile, as workers cleared the carnage the NYT would run front page stories blaming the Agency and its ‘covert program’ with Blackwater as fall guy. In the latter case, Gibbs might express ‘regret’.

    It’s a shame Buck Henry is advanced in years. There is a tragically funny screen play.

    We were wondering tonight what the iconic images of ‘war’ would be for this generation coming up. The equivalent of the helicopter gunship or napalm strike. Or even the video missile strike footgage from Stormin’ Norman. ‘War’ in their visual memory actually is regular people screaming at each other on ‘Hardball’ or Faux News. These people mention predators/drones/COIN, etc. but the typical 17 or 18 year old is not immersed in any images except for a vague sense of desert. Taylor Swift and Adam Lambert are the disconnected sound track. All the more ironic re the huge debt service. These kids are screwed and don’t even remember it happened.

  10. Dr Leo Strauss says

    The Ventura clip could have been on Hardball if it had slightly better camera work. The kid easily could be played by Cheney stooge Ron Christie when he squealed Ventura was not allowed to raise the Gulf of Tonkln as an example of governmental duplicity.

    Ventura is an entertainer primarily, even as governor. So that connection with S Palin makes sense. Nonetheless, the UDT deployments in theater are the real deal and demonstrate a discipline and focus absent from S Palin’s schtick. Tweety, of course, gushes over S Palin’s discipline at always maintaining eye contact with the tv camera. Perhaps to him that’s the same as BUDS.

  11. Comment says

    Andy Borowitz is not very funny, imo – But he made us laugh for the first time with his “Obama sends predator drone to pick up Noble peace prize.”

  12. Comment says

    We didn’t bother clicking the link or reading the article because it’s sort of pointless – But we had to laugh seeing a headline saying Newt praises Obama’s Oslo speech.

    Almost everything Newt says seems contrived and semi-insincere – His long desire for ‘greatness’ is in the dust and he has to sit thru this Obama mania that he always really wanted for himself.

  13. Comment says

    We thought it was hilarious that her impolitic father blew her cover story (too much sunshine) for why she wanted to leave school in Hawaii (too many Asians).

  14. Comment says

    Sarah was so cute back then when she was doing TV news – Yes, a bit of a gumsnapper. But she had this small townie charm thing down. Too bad she’s subliterate.

  15. Comment says

    Good parlay with Tweety:

    Ofcourse Tweetys concern over bowgate is akin to his concern about bowling (though we doubt the unathletic Tweety can bowl, but whatever) – It’s all about his endless chase of what he thinks is trendy politically but has past. He’s compensating for being a cafeteria Catholic etc. It’s all so obvious – we note that when he went after that Bishop on his show, he made up for it being right wing for much the rest of the week.

  16. Comment says

    It’s interesting and telling that many on the right regard Dana Priests expose as liberal – Since most of the right now are Mike Barone types and so military service is sort of an abstract meme, rather than an experienced family reality. It’s part of their fantasy life/

  17. Comment says

    Pastor Meachem is still writing about Churchill – hoping for some reflected glory.
    Politico, IMO – often floats right wing memes – Sort of like Tweety. They are always of the rightist narrative sort – not really policy wise. Mayve a bit of that – But mainly Politic has that perpetually frightened-looking Mike Allen who serves as a buliten board for Cheney and his ilk. Etc

  18. Comment says

    Palin may have actually written that op-ed or at least worked on it – It’s in her voice. It has that dingy tone.

    We are happy to see Sarah be a Birther and Climater..

  19. says

    Just so you know, there seems to be a formatting error for this post on google reader. On there, it appeared that the last three paragraphs of the quotation from Ponnuru were your own writing.

    I was quite shocked, and was relieved when I saw it wasn’t you.

    On a side note, you might be amused to know that up here in Canada, where people don’t read the Washington Post, people believe it to be a liberal paper. I think they’re remembering Watergate, or maybe they just assume it is leftist because right-wingers denounce it now and again.

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