Sunday, April 27, 2008

All Too Easy
I think someone on the New York Times editorial staff has a wicked sense of humor. Today they featured a guest op-ed by Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former presidential candidate John Edwards, right alongside Maureen Dowd's latest excretion. A representative sampling follows.

Edwards: Bowling 1, Health Care 0

The problem today unfortunately is that voters who take their responsibility to be informed seriously enough to search out information about the candidates are finding it harder and harder to do so, particularly if they do not have access to the Internet.

Did you, for example, ever know a single fact about Joe Biden’s health care plan? Anything at all? But let me guess, you know Barack Obama’s bowling score. We are choosing a president, the next leader of the free world. We are not buying soap, and we are not choosing a court clerk with primarily administrative duties.
...
The decision was probably made by the same people who decided that Fred Thompson was a serious candidate. Articles purporting to be news spent thousands upon thousands of words contemplating whether he would enter the race, to the point that before he even entered, he was running second in the national polls for the Republican nomination. Second place! And he had not done or said anything that would allow anyone to conclude he was a serious candidate. A major weekly news magazine put Mr. Thompson on its cover, asking — honestly! — whether the absence of a serious campaign and commitment to raising money or getting his policies out was itself a strategy.

I’m not the only one who noticed this shallow news coverage. A report by the Project for Excellence in Journalism and the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy found that during the early months of the 2008 presidential campaign, 63 percent of the campaign stories focused on political strategy while only 15 percent discussed the candidates’ ideas and proposals.

Watching the campaign unfold, I saw how the press gravitated toward a narrative template for the campaign, searching out characters as if for a novel: on one side, a self-described 9/11 hero with a colorful personal life, a former senator who had played a president in the movies, a genuine war hero with a stunning wife and an intriguing temperament, and a handsome governor with a beautiful family and a high school sweetheart as his bride. And on the other side, a senator who had been first lady, a young African-American senator with an Ivy League diploma, a Hispanic governor with a self-deprecating sense of humor and even a former senator from the South standing loyally beside his ill wife. Issues that could make a difference in the lives of Americans didn’t fit into the narrative template and, therefore, took a back seat to these superficialities.


And now, for the defense... here's MoDo.

Hillary grows more and more glowy as Obama grows more and more wan.

Is she draining him of his precious bodily fluids? Leeching his magic? Siphoning off his aura?

It used to be that he was incandescent and she was merely inveterate. Now she’s bristling with life force, and he looks like he wants to run away somewhere for three months by himself and smoke.

Hillary is not getting much sleep or exercise, and doesn’t, like the ascetic Obama, abstain from junk food and coffee and get up at dawn to work out on the road. She’s still a long shot and she’s 14 years older than her rival.

Yet she’s the one who is more energetic and focused and beaming, and he’s the one who seems uneven and gauzy, often fatigued and unable to disguise being fed up with the slog. Even his speeches don’t have the same pizazz.
...
The Nixonian Hillary has a ravenous hunger that Obama lacks. Literally — at a birthday party in Philly for her photographer, she was devouring the chips and dip with two hands — and viscerally.

At Joe’s Junction gas station in Indianapolis, Obama did his best to shoo away the pesky elitist label. Accused by an Indianapolis reporter of looking like a GQ cover, he said he has only four pairs of shoes and buys “five of the same suit and then I patch them up and wear them repeatedly.” But his campaign refused to reveal the brand, presumably because it’s not J. C. Penney.

I know it's not the job of the opinion page to present candidates' proposals and policy views in their full detail. But what they can do--remember, these are supposed to be the best writers, not the best reporters (though most of them did start as reporters)--is to write about those positions in a way that makes them come alive for readers, and to call for a higher level of discourse in coverage overall. Remember that in the 2000 election cycle, when a little more analysis of the differences between Al Gore and George Bush might have been useful, MoDo was writing about Gore's sighs and sartorial choices, and Bush's ease and grace. Heaven forfend she ever learn or improve.

It's enough to make you wonder if the Times has the wrong choice of these two women as their regular columnist.

53 comments:

hereticalpolemicist said...

Good one!!

The reporters are getting more like the clowns that run on the field or court during athletic events. It's about being seen or acknowledged as part of the spectacle, rather thn the discreet fly on the wall that takes in the scene to report back the knitty gritty to the rest of the swarm.

We don't need reporters to be ex-officiao campaign staff in their commentary, we need more Jonathan Swift or Defoe prose of the absurdities of the positions taken. As long as they talk about the political choreography that is tangent to the isssue and background that formthe issues there is little other cont4ext from which the casual observer can or may make a judgement.

Contributions accepted at www.paypal.com account, Pr_Arjuna@yahoo.com

David said...

Whoa.

hereticalpolemicist said...

And THIS post may compleet the "Triumvirate Curse of Threes"!!

Pres. Carter and Rev. Wright represent an inconvenient political reality and truth that the status quo will CRUCIFY any who challenges their authority. It is interesting in this Easter-Passover season that the words and deeds of these two "cultural heretics" have been dragged into the forum for the inquisitory mandarins of cultural rectitude to lash them both severely, along with anyone else associated with them. (Ahh, Simon of Galillee, where art thou?)

For Carter, the Hamas legitimacy for Palestinian expression, and, for Wright, the victims who've been the collateral damage of US Govt benign or malignant neglect are denied a robust advocacy due to the culture that is suppressed by these mandarin-oligarchs. Pres. Carter's trip and advocacy for LISTENING to the grievances and proposals of those, who'd otherwise would use violence as their political expression, is denounced by the mandarins who do nothing more than give lip-service sympathy to the plight of the civilians population, a lip-srvice as meaningless and hollow as their political posturing for the plight of the people of Darfur.

Rev. Wright's bombasity in the tradition of the social gospel that echoes Jesus' driving the coin collectors and hawkers from out of the temple continues the ecclesiastical debate of whether subservience to authority (Rome) espoused by St Paul excludes the rebuking of secular authority that a prophet Samuel would have rained down on King Saul. Is there a devotion to principle that trumps nationalism and parochial provincialism? Even Jesus rebuked the pharissees and sadduccees as HE rebuked the cities and towns of Judah and Israel for their abuse of the poor and the weak.

Because the main stream "bleeds it leads" media has not done an investigation of the spread of AIDS or the distribution of cocaine and crack during the Iran-Contra administration of St Ronnie Reagan with his ex-CIA chief Veep, George H. W. Bush, as tooo conspiratorial and irresponsible a topic, the questions go begging "how was it, beyond the easy reductionist blaming personal irresponsibility, that such an esoteric virus and non-native plant product were able to have such widely insidious distributive spread in the black and minority communities?"

No such questions or insinuations are allowed. Cultural suppression for political expediency and the narrative of historical stereotypes and myths must be maintained. Jimmy Carter and Jeremiah Wright are secularly god-damned for their political and cultural heresies.

Let the mobs howl in the forum for these two criminals of the "state of suppressed questions" be condemned and rhetorically crucified and their legacy be in the pauper's graves of infamy and disgrace. But those with eyes to see and ears to hear know for themselves despite the Orwellian dissemblings of those who'd allow the inequity and injustice go unquestioned for any open serious discussion and debate.

Gratuities accepted at www.paypal.com account, Pr_Arjuna@yahoo.com

Chris said...

wtf

David said...

Chris, maybe it's PtK?

Nah, not enough hipster jargon...

The Navigator said...

And you thought I wrote long-winded comments.

Anonymous said...

zolpidem without prescription ambien cr free trial - ambien cr normal dosage

Anonymous said...

viagra online without prescription buy viagra online new zealand - viagra buy online no prescription

Anonymous said...

buy soma soma 84 amplifier - buy soma watson brand com

Anonymous said...

buy generic soma online coupons soma intimates - drug interactions tramadol and soma

Anonymous said...

buy soma online soma grand parking - buy generic soma online

Anonymous said...

buy soma online soma cost - soma san diego interpol

Anonymous said...

buy soma online soma employee discount - buy soma online fedex

Anonymous said...

buy soma online pass drug test soma - soma zero offset

Anonymous said...

buy soma buy aura soma bottles - much do soma cost

Anonymous said...

buy soma where to buy soma online - soma intimates sale

Anonymous said...

buy soma soma generic fedex no prescription - soma zangiband

Anonymous said...

online soma soma quad gate - soma 0 copay

Anonymous said...

soma online soma 350 mg good - soma enterprises+order book

Anonymous said...

http://site.ru - [url=http://site.ru]site[/url] site
site

Anonymous said...

buy soma soma the muscle relaxant - generic soma good

Anonymous said...

generic soma medication soma 250 mg - protege bras soma

Anonymous said...

cialis online how to order cialis online no prescription - cialis jelly sachet

Anonymous said...

buy cialis online cialis black review - buy cialis online australia

Anonymous said...

buy cialis generic cialis new zealand - cialis 30 oral suspension

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol online tramadol hcl 50 mg reviews - tramadol high dosage

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol cheap no prescription is tramadol generic for ultram - tramadol withdrawal pregnancy

Anonymous said...

generic xanax xanax dosage long - xanax bars to buy

Anonymous said...

xanax alprazolam xanax dosage 039 - does ordering xanax online work

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol is it legal to get tramadol online - tramadol withdrawal paws

Anonymous said...

xanax online xanax with no prescription needed - 4mg yellow xanax bars

Anonymous said...

can you buy xanax online percocet xanax high - xanax generic names

Anonymous said...

order carisoprodol online can you buy carisoprodol online - carisoprodol 350 high

Anonymous said...

carisoprodol 350 mg erowid carisoprodol 350 mg - carisoprodol reviews

Anonymous said...

xanax online xanax dosage for adults - xanax 1mg blue

Anonymous said...

carisoprodol 350 mg soma carisoprodol muscle relaxer - carisoprodol 350 mg images

Anonymous said...

buy carisoprodol carisoprodol soma watson - soma carisoprodol wiki

Anonymous said...

cialis online generic cialis is it legal - cheap cialis generic us

Anonymous said...

xanax online buy xanax online now - xanax cheap online no prescription

Anonymous said...

cialis no prescription overnight cialis online overnight - daily dose cialis side effects

Anonymous said...

learn how to buy tramdadol where to buy tramadol online safely - buy tramadol online us

Anonymous said...

klonopin medication klonopin side effects and withdrawal - 2mg klonopin compared 2 mg xanax

Anonymous said...

buy klonopin online buy klonopin online with mastercard - 2mg klonopin xanax

Anonymous said...

klonopin buy what is klonopin withdrawal like - pics of 2mg klonopin

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol online tramadol 50 mg is equal to - tramadol hcl 100

Anonymous said...

buy klonopin online klonopin overdose signs - klonopin dosage bipolar

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol online tramadol addiction withdrawal symptoms - buy tramadol online from usa

Anonymous said...

http://landvoicelearning.com/#21906 tramadol no prescription usa - buy tramadol without a script

Anonymous said...

http://www.integrativeonc.org/adminsio/buyklonopinonline/#buy how many .5 klonopin to overdose - klonopin dosage length

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol india tramadol 50mg n024 - buy tramadol online us pharmacy

Anonymous said...

carisoprodol 350 mg somacid 350 mg carisoprodol - carisoprodol online no prescription

Anonymous said...

http://southcarolinaaccidentattorney.com/#24975 carisoprodol alcohol - carisoprodol schedule

Anonymous said...

carisoprodol 350 mg carisoprodol 350 mg listaflex - carisoprodol 350 mg and xanax