I’d hoped to save a mention of this drivel until tomorrow — a line at most — but I’m so infuriated and my mussels and spinach pasta lunch so unsatisfying that I must vent this diseased spleen. A readymade assembled with a caulking gun, Diet Sunkist, and remaindered copies of Richard Nixon’s In the Arena, “What America Needs Next: A Biden National Unity Cabinet” violates every canon of journalism and effective writing: from the headline to the commas, it contains not a single example of wit, perspicuity, or a pulse. Continue reading
I’ve been decrying reporters’ perfidious habit of assuming questions have “two sides.” A news outlet’s tendency to view dirty local drinking water, exaggerations of crowd sizes, withholding aid because a foreign country failed to do a president’s election year bidding, and viruses through the scrim of who’s up and down has bedeviled journalism for decades. The NYT story and headline (I won’t link) is only the latest and most chilling. And Jonathan Martin likely follows what his journalism professors taught him years ago.
(h/t Scott Lemieux)
Insensate to music whose demands on this listener went no further than guaranteeing deepening impatience in car service waiting areas, I’ve turned to Kenny Rogers in the last forty-eight hours with the fervor the late country idol channeled into his Dolly Parton duet. Spring in South Florida means watching scolds of jays compete with mockingbirds for telephone wire bragging rights; the chaos of trills and screeches interferes with my hamhanded attempt to record my first class lecture, but otherwise I’m grateful for the reminder that, as Sting once averred, there is a deeper world than this.
Confusing objectivity with fairness, political reporters have contributed unwittingly to the decay of their craft. Millions of Americans trust The Media less than a president who spits lies in two- and three-word sentences, then repeating them like Pete Shelley does his solo in Buzzcocks’ “Boredom.” I urge my young charges at the student newspapers to describe what their five senses tell them. They don’t need three sources to confirm a rose is pink, and if a member of student government confidently claims he saw snakes falling out of the ceiling it’s up to the reporter to explain snakes aren’t often found in the library. Continue reading
“It is truly a devastating sight to watch liberals who have winced for years at Donald Trump’s issues on wealth, race and women allow fear, propaganda and influence mercenaries to push them into supporting a man who has his own issues concerning wealth, women and race,” Charles M. Blow writes in a NYT column denouncing the Michael Bloomberg candidacy. Continue reading
A depraved toad, a loathsome creature who with Newt Gingrich is responsible for the tenor of political conversations since Poppy Bush sat in the Oval Office, Rush Limbaugh got diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. He called Barack Obama “Barack the Magic Negro.” To legalize gay marriage, he said, was akin to “normalizing” pedophilia. He implied Parkinson’s survivor Michael J. Fox got off meds for political purposes, which makes sense: he admitted he was an abuser of prescription drugs for political purposes.
For Limbaugh — I refuse to dignify him with the nickname — people didn’t exist except as targets or allies; if he had gay relatives or knew any sort of woman, his charlatanism looked more evil. More than Roy Cohn, he was a menace because he commanded millions of radio listeners and didn’t use innuendo. As a friend on a message board wrote, he was more of a nihilist than the punks could ever have been. When he dies, the non-conservative Beltway media will applaud him because it’s too cowardly too acknowledge the boot he pressed against their necks.
I don’t have a good feel for how many readers watch cable news. I peek at “Morning” Joe and “Mika”‘s children’s entertainment hour a couple times a week to learn which way the winds of conventional wisdom will blow (this Monday’s CW: Bernie Sanders will win, Chris Matthews will choke on the word “McGovern”). Saner people nursed post-Superbowl hangovers and discussed Jennifer Lopez-Shakira instead of worrying what thousands of white people in Iowa will do. Continue reading