Wednesday, January 16, 2008

More on CNN's "reality TV" stars, election coverage...

God I love making fun of CNN. They're so... so... awful.

Articles for this week's 'toon:
  • If you watched even a few minutes of election coverage last week, chances are you felt like me... that if they talked about Hillary's "meltdown" or uttered the phrase "change agent" one more time, it would take all your strength not to put a freakin' axe through the TV. Even more, the mainstream media seems to have no problem reporting on the phenomenon that is their own hysteria (and the public backlash taking the form of votes that contradict the pundits' predictions), and then going right back to the business of acting all hysterical-like.

    Danny Schechter on what he calls "electotainment:"
    [Americans are] tired of self-promotional media exploitation and anchor-pimping/corporate news brand-building with staged events that do little to engage us with real choices and issues, but instead provide on-air “talent” with another chance to show how much smarter they are than everyone else.
    I would argue that their real obsession is with showing just how much access they have, how "plugged-in" they are. See John King below.

  • So the leader of the self-proclaimed (REPEATEDLY) "best political team on television" is, of course, he of well-groomed facial hair... the one they call "Wolf" (I've read in various places that his real first name is "Leslie"... none of them are very reliable sources, but it's enough for me to make a joke about it). Matthew Yglesias argues, with good cause, that "Blitzer doesn't care about informing the public about the issues -- he actually objects when candidates try to explain their views on broad immigration policy issues -- he's just interested in trying to embarrass the candidates."

    Glenn Greenwald has been arguing lately that the media, and CNN in particular, are absolutely in love with John McCain. Here is Greenwald (in a different post) making his case:
    [I'm focusing] on the fact that the traveling press corps endlessly imposes its own narrative on the election, thereby completely excluding from all coverage plainly credible candidates they dislike (such as Edwards) while breathlessly touting the prospects of the candidates of whom they are enamored.
    Apparently, John King took exception to Greenwald's criticism of him in one of these recent posts, and pitched a fit in an e-mailed response. As Greenwald points out, King's defense is a pretty common one from the mainstream media, pointing to criticism from the right as evidence of just how "balanced" they are, and implicitly boasting about how important they are. I remember reading similar reasoning in an interview with Aaron Brown, just before he was shitcanned for being unwatchable. Of course, none of that has anything to do with their real job as journalists... seeking the truth.

    Case-in-point: the infamous "diamonds or pearls" debate question. Jamison Foser points out that while media outlets like CNN have found time in the debates to ask about the candidates' Halloween costumes and Dennis Kucinich's UFO sighting, there has been a dearth of questions on issues that are actually important. There has been basically none on probably the most vital issue we face today, global warming.

  • And then, of course, there's the rabble that has no place being within 10 miles of "serious journalism"... your Kristols, Roves, Becks, and Matthewses. I could not believe my freakin' eyes the other day when I turned on CNN and saw none other than Ralph Reed. Are you serious?? Wasn't it just a few months ago that his high-placed role in Jack Abramoff's sleaze ring was revealed? Not even a period of exile so he can be "rehabilitated" from the scandals that (should have) left him completely discredited?

    People like John King may like to pretend they are serious journalists, but as long as they share the desk with people like Ralph Reed, it's all just one big "reality" show.

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