August 9, 2013
Scoops, Yucks, and Ratings
By Bob Patterson
Is it fair for a columnist to take some old criticism of Bush, change the name of the President and re-post it?
Getting a snapshot of the 2013 Zeitgeist
Living a week under the condition red alert was a flashback to the good old days when lefty pundits could criticize George W. Bush for his policies rather than having to exert some effort to defend President Obama for doing what Dubya did while he was in the White House. At least the week long condition red alert took the focus off the NSA's (alleged) unnecessary monitoring of various means of communication.
If Obama is busy doing the same thing George W. Bush did, how can the people who criticized Bush defend Obama? Likewise, how can the Republicans who defended Dubya attack Obama? Isn't there a kind of demon who suddenly becomes the exact opposite of what it was perceived to be?
Do the pundits who criticized the Bush plan to do some electronic snooping in the name of Homeland Security have any grounds for praising Obama for doing the same thing? Do the Republican propagandists have any logical way to denounce Obama for using the old Bush era "Red Alert" ruse to defuse the topic as a subject for a debate?
Journalism is (theoretically) supposed to fact check the politicians so that the citizens can make a well informed decision at the voting polls. Unfortunately, it is up to consumers of news media to do their own fact checking and now both parties seem to be willing accessories after the fact for the murder of quality journalism in the country that spawned Murrow's Boys.
Doesn't it make sense that a party of greedy capitalists, who endorsed the con man attitude of caveat emptor, would encourage journalism to morph from an obsession with truth into an endless source of doubletalk that bamboozles the rubes? We wonder what the Democrats' explanation could possibly be.
If a pundit with access to the Timer Travel Machine were to travel back to 2006 and announce that in 2013 a Democratic President would be wrestling with the tantalizing possibility of adding Syria to the list of American quagmires, such a hypothetical columnist would be hauled off and forced to endure a cooling off period of psychiatric evaluation.
On Thursday, August 08, 2013, Uncle Rushbo was kvetching about the fact that Obama's first nationally televised comments about the new Terrorists' Threat came on the Tonight Show.
Uncle Rushbo can't b*tch about Obama doing what Dubya used to do because that might prove to be inconvenient in 2016 when JEB is running as the Republican Party nominee for President, so he has to use attacks on the personal level to criticize the President. Hence he was saying the appearance on the Tonight Show diminished the Presidency.
Rush specifically mentioned that John F. Kennedy did not go on the Tonight Show, back when Jack Paar was the host, to tell the nation about his assessment of the Cuban Missile Crises. Limbaugh either chose to forget or didn't know that Fidel Castro did go on the Tonight Show, after deposing Fugencio Batista, to make overtures to Washington. Facts are just pesky details for "America's Anchorman."
Rush questioned Jay Lenno's credentials for being a Journalist rather than a stand up comic. Limbaugh said "I'm not being critical of Leno at all. And I was not at all surprised that Leno would ask better questions than the White House press corps does."
Quoting something that Chris Cillizza, wrote in the Washington Post, Limbaugh continued: "As we have written before in this space, the idea that a serious journalist can't have fun is not one that's broadly held by the people who, you know, consume our journalism. Leno's interview with Obama proves that the opposite is also true; that a 'fun' person can also be serious."
[Could the World's Laziest Journalist humbly suggest that when journalism takes a break from being oh-so-serious, it should be dubbed "Leprechaun Jorunalism"? ]
When it seemed like Limbaugh was going to address the issue of what makes a good journalist, he veered away from that interesting topic. (We could do an entire column on that topic.)
Bringing the focus of the rant back to himself Uncle Rushbo continued: " . . . I do something that you don't find elsewhere in the media. I combine the serious discussion of issues with irreverent satirical comedy, with credibility on both sides." Isn't the both sides contention often contradicted when Uncle Rushbo abruptly cuts off a liberal caller?
Was Uncle Rushbo intimating that Journalism should be one sided rants that can (as Fox has established in court) tell lies with a cogent punch line thrown in to prove that Conservatives have a sense of humor? Fox tried to establish a Jon Stewart type of late night comedy punditry amalgamation of entertainment but failed to achieve acceptable ratings. (John Douglas, a pioneer FBI profiler, has said that a frequent hallmark for serial killers is a strange sense of humor that many folks "don't get.") Would Uncle Rushbo maintain that he is a better journalist than Hunter S. Thompson was?
We wonder what percentage of the audience for Uncle Rushbo, Hanity, and O'Reilly go to the bother of doing any fact checking about what they have heard. How many ditto heads have read the book "Out Foxed," let alone make the effort to see the movie of the same name?
In 2006, to the best of our ability to discern, no American journalist had bothered to fact check what had been said at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial nor had any of the modern day versions of Murrow's Boys bothered to ask a participant of the WWII War Crimes Trails if they saw any evidence to indicate that George W. Bush may have (inadvertently) been seen in a harsh light if the standards of conduct applied retroactively to the Germans were used to evaluate the legality of Bush's war policies.
The challenge facing Republican strategy policy makers in 2006 was to find a way to get the Democrats to slowly accept and implement the Bush program without it seeming to be a sell-out of the Trojan horse school of clever political maneuvers.
Obviously any pundit who pointed out existence of such a deception would be denounced as a raving lunatic from the most recent graduating class in the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory training class for new employees.
According to Uncle Rushbo, President Obama, who was highly visible in the "hands on" mode of being the Commander-in-Chief when Osama bin Laden was being snuffed, went into stealth mode of operation on the night that the raid on the Americans in Benghazi was happening. Are the conservatives hinting that this could be Monica 2.0? Are the liberal pundits faking a lack of comprehension? "What, me worry?"
Attack the man, because the liberals can't attack Obama for continuing the Bush agenda. If they did, that might be inconvenient when JEB get the nomination in 2016.
Are Americans supposed to believe a short radio segment riddled with unfacts and bumper sticker slogans rather than assiduously working their way through a complex and scholarly rebuttal? If that's an accurate assessment how long will it be before they start thinking that they are oh-so-clever when they ask the question: "Sock it to me?"?
Uncle Rushbo gets very upset when lefty pundits use personal attacks on him, yet he has no qualms about attacking the President and charging him with demeaning the Presidency by talking to Jay Lenno.
When Uncle Rushbo is attacked personally, he usually responds with a counterattack that brings the lefty a fulfillment of Andy Warhol's promise. Should an obscure online pundit who wrote about a chance encounter with a War Crimes Trials expert and an earlier analysis of the American lead prosecutor's opening statement at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial launch a vitriolic personal attack against Uncle Rushbo in the hopes of getting a tsunami of negative publicity for his efforts?
As the summer of 2013 peaks, attempts to provide rational discourse for political issues is about as difficult an assignment as it would be to get a rabid Dodgers fan to go see the Giants host a three game home series with their arch-rival and convincing this fellow to "root for the home team."
It ain't gonna happen.
That, in turn, may explain why Jay Lenno and John Stewart are becoming more important to politicians than interviews on the network news programs.
When a hallmark Bush gambit becomes part of Obama's repetoir of ploys, some pundits may realize that the situation is similar to that moment when the home team's fans head for the parking lot in the 7th inning. At that point some mildly amusing (forget about perceptive and cogent) punditry has been put out of read.
[Note from the photo editor: A file shot of a man using an 8 X 10 camera seemed to illustrate our topic of looking for the Zeitgeist for this week. Quality Journalism has become a thing of the past, as have view cameras. Both are missed by aficionados.]
Ned Kelly said it best: "Such is life."
Now the disk jockey will play the Speedies song "Let me take your Photo," the Who's "Pictures of Lily," and Paul Simon's "Kodachrome." We have to go see if we can buy a West Coast Eagles t-shirt. Have a "your mother wears combat boots" type week.
Authors Website: marijuana-news.org/smokesignals
BP graduated from college in the mid sixties (at the bottom of the class?) He told his draft board that Vietnam could be won without his participation. He is still appologizing for that mistake. He received his fist photo lesson from a future Pulitzer Prize winner. (Eddie Adams in the AP lunch room told him to get rid of the everready case for his new Nikon F). A Pulitzer Prize winning reporter broke BP in on the police beat for a small daily in Pa. By 1975, Paul Newman had asked for Bob's Autograph.