A new year of abject media failure has begun, so it's time once again to review some basic, media vocabulary.
This week: The Gingrich Rules:
Why cover The Gingrich Rules this week?Once upon a time in sport of professional basketball, there existed a thing called "The Jordan Rules". It was a special strategy developed by Chuck Daly of the Detroit Pistons to cope with one person -- Michael Jordan. To smother him, double-team him every time he touched the ball and play him as "physical" as possible (short of actually decking him) every minute he was on the floor.In the game of professional punditry there also clearly exists a special set of rules designed with one person on mind. Or, rather, one sort of person: Conservatism's parade of bomb-throwing, hate-mongering, race-baiting bottom feeders. That breed which makes their daily bread from grifting the Pig People by generating an endless flood of books, magazine articles, broadcasts, speeches and videos all telling the GOP base over and over again that them their bigotries are noble and their paranoia is patriotic.Of course, part of the downside of wallowing in the wingnut sewer and trafficking in slander and lies is that, sooner or later, you become a toxic mess. Your stink becomes unacceptable to the general public, which s where the Sunday morning talk shows -- the Mouse Circus -- comes in. Because despite having long ago devolved into a sinkhole of Beltway centrist twaddle, it is still viewed by altogether too many people as a bastion of Very Serious people -- it's the strip-mall of political opinion where casual shoppers go to feel smart and validated.And so a bargain is struck; the bottom feeders deliver a temporary hike in the only thing these show's owners really care about -- audience share -- and, in exchange for being teevee friendly and keeping the worst of their batshit crazy on a leash for a few minutes, their Mouse Circus deburrs the bottom feeders' public image, replates and burnishes their credibility and temporarily transfuses them with Seriousness, which can then be redeemed at ten times its face value back among the Pig People.And in the key to that bargain we find "The Gingrich Rules" -- an agreement that the moderator will never, ever ask the bomb-throwing, hate-mongering, race-baiting goon sitting directly across from them a single question about their bomb-throwing, hate-mongering or race-baiting activities. Instead they will be represented to the public merely as a Conservative commentator or talk radio host or pundit who, at worst, might be known for some "controversial" opinions, which the moderator will never bothers to explicate (from me in 2010):Since the beginning of recorded time, Newt Gingrich has been a real curve-breaking innovator in Republican lying, adultery, hypocrisy, racism and demagogy.He also hasn't held a single elected office since "Ally McBeal" was on the air.In case you are just skimming past en route to Alpha Centauri and have no idea about who or what a "Newt Gingrich" is, he is a multiply-humiliated Republican personality who gloms onto whatever wingnut conspiracy theory or demagogic lunacy Fox News is peddling this week and lends it a portion of his ever-diminishing credibility.He then collects money for rolling in his own shit until the results get too horrifying for even the clowns who run the American news media to ignore.Then he goes in the Villager penalty box for awhile, until the clowns who run the American news media wear the corners off of their short list of Conservative and "moderate" ass-lickers and apple polishers, and need someone to come on to add a little "fizz" to their stupefyingly turgid and deeply dishonest puppet show.Then the clowns who run the American news media draw straws to see who gets to let "Nazi" Newt out of the penalty box this time.And then the Circle of Corporate Media Fake Journalism Life is Complete...
Because guess who ol' Bob Scheiffer decided to invited over to his this week?
To talk about
Because who better?
Yes America's very own, "Arouser of those who form civilization, Organizer of the pro-civilization activists and Leader (possibly) of the civilizing forces" was inexplicably offered yet another chair in front of yet another camera from which to unfurl yet another few yards Republican horseshit.
First, Newt leaped at the chance to hang the blame for Murrica's racial divide around the neck of the Uppity Negro President and his Uppity Negro Attorney General (points off, Newt, for not hitting the klanfecta by tossing in an obligatory "Al Sharpton" ):
(h/t Heather at Crooks and Liars)
SCHIEFFER: Well, are you somehow saying that this is the fault of Barack Obama?GINGRICH: I'm saying that the president spends a lot of his time using language which is divisive, automatically jumps to conclusions about things he doesn't know. I'm saying the attorney general clearly has given speeches that are divisive. And I'm just suggesting to you this is a tragic lost opportunity. You would think that six years into the first African- American president, there would be a sense in the community of us coming closer together. That hasn't happened.
And because the nice men from the Bureau of Journalistic Integrity still hadn't shown up to lift his ticket, ol' Bob decided to extend Newt's bar tab far enough to permit him add his own, steaming loaf to the pile of GOP "But what about
Benghaaaaazi Reverend Wright?!?!" bullshit was the house special this week, served everywhere with the all the grim, robotic, repetitiousness of an automat dispensing stale cheese sammiches:
At the other end of the moral evolutionary scale from Gingrich, pious tributes to the late, great Mario Cuomo were to be found hither and thither at the Mouse Circus.
CHUCK TODD: Cuomo was the poet laureate of American liberalism in the '80s, where he famously once said, "Politicians campaign in poetry, but govern in prose." In his three terms as governor, he balanced budgets, reduced taxes, and stood strong against the death penalty when it was not very popular to do so. But for some, Cuomo will likely be remembered most for what he didn't do. He twice didn't run for president, despite being at the top of many Democrats' wish list.Proving once again that almost the only Liberals who are permitted anywhere near the Sunday Gasbag Conclave are those who are safely dead.