The San Francisco Bay area's prolonged Indian summer and other more important items seems to be coming to an end this weekend. If the rains had arrived on schedule and been relentless in their assault on the area, it would be much easier to tear one's self away from the sunset viewing parties on the veranda and crank out columns by the dozen. The rains arrived last night and this morning we found out just what the country that produced the Volkischer Beobachter, Der Angriff, and Der Stá»rmer newspapers thinks of American Journalism's recent track record. Will American media ever note that Der Spiegel made reference to "America's Hitler"? It seems like it's time to get ready for a big winter storm and to write a pre-Thanksgiving column.
Earlier in the week, we have felt mildly inclined to write a column pointing out that the hippies who were against the war in Vietnam and invented the cultural Sixties phenomenon known as free beaches, now seem to have become liberal radio personalities who are reluctant to get the full body scan. Isn't it a bit of an oxymoron to note that the generation that invented the drink called the "Sip and go naked," now seem to be reluctant to let airport security determine if they are circumcised or not. Go figure.
A week or so ago, while we were flipping through a copy of The Rebel by Albert Camus (to refresh our impressions of that candidate for being the book that could be called The Existentialist's Bible) we paused to reread some underlined passages in the section concerned with the Marquis de Sade. When Camus specifically mentions Sade's Society of the Friends of Crime, we immediately sensed that a potential political punditry column with many more recent contemporary references was possible.
Camus writes: "He (Sade) declares himself ostensibly in favor of the government and its laws, which he meanwhile has every intention of violating. It is the same impulse that makes the lowest form of criminal vote for conservative candidates." (Note for skeptical teabaggers: that's on page 47 of the Vintage Books paperback edition of The Rebel.) Tell me that passage doesn't remind you of Dick Cheney and his Bush family accomplice (Doesn't Unca Dick deserve a Presidential Library?) Dubya?
According to Camus, disciples of Sade "will not try to live again in the world of affection and compromise." Is there any Faux News shill who would seriously contend that Republicans should offer Obama affection and compromise? (Ibid page 45)
When we read the Sade quote: "I abhor nature . . . I should like to upset its plans, to thwart its progress, to halt the stars . . . and I cannot succeed in doing so." Our reaction was: How about writing a column asserting that the Marquis de Sade had a modern day proxy who used lies and deceit to approve of and urge the acceleration of global warming and thus achieve de Sade's goal?
Didn't Shakespeare say that the teabaggers could recite from memory extensive passages from the Marquis de Sade to promote any possible philosophy? Or is it Mein Kampf they often quote at length?
Speaking of Marquis de Sade, did a prominent Republican just publicly boast about violating the Logan act? Mike Malloy used that bit of family values irony on his radio program recently to make that very assertion, so why bother writing a column about something folks already know?
Should we do a column that asks the Columbia Review of Journalism this question: "Which group is more skeptical of their news media; the Germans in 1943 or Americans today?"
Wouldn't it be kinda sad if Rupert spent all that money and created a paradox whereby Americans wouldn't believe that anything his lackeys asserted was something "they could take to the bank"? We could use the headline: "Has American Journalism gone into foreclosure?" Think of his fair and balanced cable network as being Murdock's Marauders morphing into a broadcast version of the old Volkischer Beobachter.
What has happened to traditional American Journalism values? In the days of old, one of America's top city editors, Charles E. Chapin, said: "I used to fire the boys for being late, or making up bum lies, or falling down on a story. But I never fired a man for being drunk or getting in a personal jam." (As quoted in Robert H. Giles Newsroom Management R. J. Berg & Company, Inc. Hardback page 121)
Here's a question for the New York Times' Public Editor, Arthur Brisbane: "What would it look like outside the USA, if in the near future all paid journalist had to avoid any media appearances as a "lefty" on a debate style program to provide "balance" and the only Leftist representatives available for use on Fox was a blogger who bragged about being the World's Laziest Journalist?" Wouldn't the American charade of having a free press look kinda hollow and anemic? If conservatives buy up all the media and don't let their staff speak with a lefty viewpoint, this extreme scenario could happen.
Between the time we wrote a rough draft of this column and the morning of Friday, November 19, 2010. we found online an archived example of what American Journalism looks like to reporters in another country.
Note for Mr. Brisbane and Mike Hoyt and the editors at the Columbia Review of Journalism: The German newsmagazine Der Spiegel backs me up on my assessment that American Journalism is in piss-poor condition and is held in poor esteem. For an online version (in the English language) of one of their stories they make reference to "America's Hitler" and for the teaser state: "the US press failed the First Amendment." We may be a bit too liberal for Berkeley and not be a credible source for criticism of American Journalism, but we think that Der Spiegel's journalism credentials are formidable. We'd love to see a response posted in the comments section.
Here is the link to that story: