Wednesday, April 30, 2008

NYT and Washington Post Coverage of the Food Crisis

Amid an avalanche of shallow, despicable media coverage of Miley Cyrus, Rev. Wright, and Senator Obama's bowling scores and flag pin, it is also necessary to applaud the very good reporting being done in the NYT and the Washington Post regarding the mounting food crisis.

Both papers have been running their own series on the topic, and I heartedly encourage any and all to give both a careful read. The papers deserve a lot of credit for providing some very important and informative work, especially in light of the media meltdown occuring around them.

Wanker of the Day: Brian Williams

NBC Nightly "News" Anchor and blogger.

It's hard to know where to start. He disses Elizabeth Edwards and her more than valid complaint about the media, particularly its television and cable "news" wing, but without once referring to the substance of her op-ed. Instead, Williams does a little bait and switch by pivoting quickly away from Edwards' article to an ignorant, mocking critique of two puff pieces in the NYT's Styles and Travel sections. Williams, seemingly ignorant of his own profession's momentous slide in viewership, also snidely flips off the NYT for its modestly declining readership, in yet another shallow attempt to play hide the salami.

As if this wasn't bizarre enough, Williams then launches a glowing tribute to one Peggy Noonan, former speech writer and propagandist for Ronald Reagan, appraising as a "sparkling piece of journalism" another in a long list of trite, vapid whines about culture, "patriotism", flag pins, the candidates, and airports, and how Obama should shed tears of praise and adoration in response to the exploits of the infamous Nazi sympathizer Henry Ford.

Meanwhile, absent in any of this is a reference, comment, analysis, or explanation of his network's (along with CBS and ABC) use of Pentagon approved and orchestrated ex-retired-super-double-secret-probation military generals to propagandize the war effort leading up to and after the invasion of Iraq, reported on two weeks ago by the NYT, the same paper Williams was attempting to defame.

Finally, Williams deigns to return to his blog and the hundreds of blistering reader posts holding him accountable and arrogantly defends himself and the generals as not possibly having the gaul to do the very ignorant and deceitful things that bad old NYT reported they had.

But the Greenwald piece is at least a jewel.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Lord help us if there were actually issues at stake in this election

Then things would really get ugly.


Isn't it a relief, by the way, for the MSM to have a presidential campaign in which no issues are actually discussed? This Wright-stuff is amazing to me. It's all the MSM seems to care about. Even coverage of McCain is now about his attitude toward an unhinged black pastor from Chicago. Hey: it beats discussing war, debt, the economy, torture, and terrorism. Because it enables America to return to the classic boomer racial-cultural wars that are all the MSM truly knows how to cover. There's nothing to be done right now but to duck and cover. And emerge when actual questions of actual salience emerge.

I was thinking about this sort of thing when I started to thumb through Bad Money. In the book's Preface, Philips takes note of the varying economic crises and "bubbles" that have surfaced in the last few years and plaintatively calls for the 2008 candidates to at least address these things. Barring rioting in the streets, and maybe not even then, this isn't likely to happen.

For one, the freak show coverage of campaigns by the television and cable "news" stations necessitates against addressing such substance. Second, the candidates themselves are too risk averse to chance the fall-out inherent in saying anything remotely controversial that could alienate this or that key interest group, or provide campaign fodder for the opposition. Third, I seriously doubt whether any the candidates really understand the basics of the issues at stake, much less what might be reasonable policy solutions to them.

Meanwhile, as Rev. Wright returns to the center of attention today, the price of oil has reached $120/gallon.

Wankers of the Day

The Washington Post editorial page:

IN THE PAST few weeks, Cuban President Raúl Castro has introduced a handful of micro-reforms to the oppressive and bankrupt regime left behind by his brother. Cubans are now officially allowed to buy cellphones, computers and microwave ovens; state workers may get deeds to apartments they have been renting for decades; and farmers may be able to sell part of what they grow at market prices. The measures won't have much impact (though they have evidently annoyed the officially retired Fidel Castro): The vast majority of Cubans can't afford to buy electronic goods, and the agricultural reforms fall short of steps taken years ago by North Korea.

The new leader's moves have nevertheless touched off a flurry of excitement and speculation among Cuba-watchers in the United States and Europe, some of whom have taken to comparing the 76-year-old Raúl Castro to Mikhail Gorbachev. European apologists for the Castro dictatorship, led by the Spanish government, are clamoring for the European Union to restore normal diplomatic ties with Havana; Democrats such as Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (Conn.) have renewed their calls for a lifting of the U.S. trade embargo, even as they campaign against free trade with democratic Colombia.

The Post opinion-shapers are trying to equate the restoration of normal diplomatic ties with Cuba with opposition to a free trade deal with a "democratic" Columbia. Obviously this is a ridiculous non-sequitur and the Post's editorialists think we're all idiots. It's another shining day in our nation's capital.

Elite Anxiety

Headlines of the day:

Democrats Registering In Record Numbers


Supreme Court upholds photo ID law for voters in Indiana

Anybody see a connection between these two developments?

I can't wait for the return of the Poll Tax and the Literacy Test.

But, remember, it's the Democrats, who generally oppose voting restrictions such as "Photo ID laws", and the Liberals, who universally oppose these restrictions, who are the "elitists".