Monday, May 11, 2015

Sunday Morning Comin' Down

"Village of the Damned" Edition.

This Sunday "Meet the Press" returned enthusiastically to familiar flavor country "Good news for John McCain" territory in which a bold effort is made to spin the objectively repulsive record of some wealthy, clueless Republican candidate into populist gold because, well, that's what it says in the script here.

This week the "Meet the Candidate" hot oil massage was administered to Carly Fiorina -- who, in addition to being a failed Senate candidate, an adviser to other failed candidates and a failed CEO, my be the whisperiest of all the Republican candidates who are lining up to lose to Jebbie almost immediately out of the gate.

Being an American with internet access I know there are many names for the many ways in which one can use one's mouth to pleasure a lady, but being as how I am from a small cornfield in the Midwest and not familiar with Big City Ways, I did not realize one such method was called the "Republican Lady Being 'Interviewed' By Shuck Todd" technique.

Here is a typical Fiorina Answer to a typical Shuck Todd softball question:
Well, they did fire me. I've been very open about that. I was fired in a boardroom brawl. We had board members who were leaking information out of the boardroom. You know, the truth is this: it is a leader's job to challenge the status quo. And when you do, you make enemies.
See, she wasn't a bad CEO; she was just so fucking awesome that she made enemies among the lesser mortals who conspired to bring her down.

Very sad.

However her multi-million dollar please-go-away-now gift basket from HP probably made filing for unemployment slightly more bearable:
With Fiorina as chairman and CEO, Hewlett-Packard's value declined significantly and the technology giant endured massive layoffs. Fiorina led a largely unsuccessful merger with Compaq in 2002, going against the wishes of company founder Walter Hewlett. Asked by the board of directors to step down in 2005, Fiorina left with $21 million in cash, plus stock and pension benefits worth another $19 million. According to HP executive compensation rules, departing executives are entitled to no more than 2.99 times their base salary; anything more requires stockholder approval. Fiorina's parachute was more than that, so the stockholders filed a class action suit (a federal judge dismissed it in April 2008). Fiorina is now a Fox Business Network contributor and a top economic advisor to Republican presidential candidate John McCain.
I wonder how many millions of dollars each of the 30,000 poor souls she sacked collected as they cleaned out their desks and were escorted out of the  building?  I wonder how many of them were immediately hired to give terrible advice to John McCain and making the rounds of the Sunday Gasbag Cavalcade?  I wonder how many of them had enough scratch left over after groceries and rent (and enough wealthy, dimwit friends) to finance a hilarious fiasco of a run for the Senate?

Were I inclined to use potty language, I might say that Shuck Todd was tossing Carly a Mother's Day political pityfuck.

Now for anyone out there who just arrived from the 1970s and is flabbergasted that such tongue baths could possibly be considered news or even a  simulated news-like product, first, congratulations on missing disco, second, please don't ask how our Moon base and Mars colonies are working out and, third, you also missed that time Shuck Todd explained that he can't really ask guests (*cough*Republicans*cough*) any hard questions because then they won't come back to his tree fort and play Seven Minutes in Beltway Media Heaven with him.

After the 'interview', Michael Steele and Kathleen Parker stepped in to do what they do best: mop up any stray ideological fluids and change the sheets with big. 'ol smiles on their faces (h/t Heather from Crooks and Liars):

And then let's talk about Carly Fiorina here a minute. Michael Steele, you were chairman of the party, she was trying to become active, trying to become a player in politics and hasn't gotten there. This run for the presidency, should she be taken as a serious, top-tier candidate, or does this look more, some have accused her of being a sort of a vanity project..


Well, I was watching your interview with her, I think you've got to start to take her seriously. She has come off more and more as a credible candidate, as someone that people at least want to listen to within the party. She's getting a lot of traction, a lot of buzz, if you will, from some of the grassroots folks...

But for me the real highlight of the whole Sunday freak-show was driving by the dull and melancholy wreck of what once was "This Week...with David Brinkley" and slowing down long enough to watch the ghouls and grave robbers who occupy the ruins ritually unfurling and saluting the huge, Both Siderist sigil of their tribe:
RADDATZ: And, you know, Greta, one of the things I was going to ask Alex Jones about this is, when you -- you heard General Chiarelli, you know the military installations across the country are raising their alert level. There seems to be an element of danger to this for the military if you start telling people they're about to take over.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Yes. And, you know, whatever happened to the telephone? Why in the world isn't Governor Abbott speaking with the Pentagon, the Pentagon speaking with the governor? I mean, how we let things deteriorate in this country that everyone goes to the Internet and get -- and goes basically wild?

And it's a lot because our leaders are not showing a whole lot of leadership and giving instruction to the American people. This was -- you know, when I was on the air, I got a million e-mails about this like that Texas was somehow under siege or something. It was pretty crazy.

But the problem is I do fault our leaders. They're supposed to lead. They could have just picked up the phone and they could have headed this one off at the pass a long time ago, but they don't.

RADDATZ: Which leaders are you talking about?

VAN SUSTEREN: I'm talking about leaders, I'm talking about the Democrats, the Republicans, the governors, and the Pentagon, the president and the Hill. You know, all -- many of these problems that we have, a lot of it (ph), is because nobody is talking to anybody.

RADDATZ: Well, they tried -- you saw in the piece, they tried to shut this down.

VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, this was long after -- long after we were deep into it. I mean, that's the problem. Often, many of these problems, they don't start talking until we're deep into. They don't try to head things off at the pass. Our leaders don't talk to each other enough. And so, of course, the citizens have wild imaginations as a consequence.

RADDATZ: Jamelle?

JAMELLE BOUIE, SLATE: You know, I think this could be stopped by more talking, too. But judging by the kind of reaction people had, in Texas (ph), President Obama explained that this was not a takeover of Texas, do you think that some of these ordinary citizens would say oh, yes, we're going to trust Obama?

VAN SUSTEREN: I don't think this started now. I don't think this started now. I think that this great distrust -- part of what Rich was talking about which is healthy for the country, but a lot of this has been going on for quite some time and it's because there hasn't -- you know, this has been going on decades, there has been a declining amount of our leaders talking to each other and communicating effectively with the American people.

RADDATZ: Jamelle?

BOUIE: I both agree and I just think that this kind of paranoia and conspiracy-mongering would have happened kind of regardless of any of that. I mean, these -- a lot of these are folks who just have this inherit distrust of the federal government and of President Obama in particular.

So, I'm just not sure how much you could have done to preempt or preclude in that kind of reaction.

RADDATZ: And, Rich, are we going to see more of this? I think we're going to see more distrust as the election ramps up.

LOWRY: Well, we've always seen distrust and it's on both sides. You know, both sides --

IFILL: But also the military?

BOUIE: I don't see liberals worried about military takeovers.

LOWRY: Well, you look at the left. They have the anti-vaccers. They have unscientific fears about nuclear power and GMO foods. During the Bush administration, you actually had a prominent liberal write a book about how Bush was preparing for a fascist takeover of this country.

So, there's a distrust of government on both sides. It just takes different forms.

IFILL: I agree with him on that.
"Both Sides" is the domain which David Brooks helped to build and over which he now presides.  Which is why I write about him.


"Both Sides" is the One Ring which enslaves the bearers of all of the lesser rings of media power.

"Both Sides" is what all damned media souls must now chant, or be cast into an even deeper Hell with no fringe benefits and a terrible retirement plan. 

Both Sides.
Both Sides.
Both Sides.


Immediately after hitting "publish" an Alert Reader ("thanks, i.r.!") sent me this post from The Washington Monthly which was too apt not slot in at the end of my who-the-hell-knows-how-many-thousandth post on the absurdity and indestructibility of the media's Fake Centrist narrative:
While I noted the false media narrative of GOP moderation as a contributing factor to the results of the 2014 elections, I didn’t regard it as that decisive a factor, and I don’t know that Hacker and Pierson do, either. But over time, the refusal of the MSM to understand or accept the phenomenon of asymmetric polarization that Hacker and Pierson brilliantly described in their 2006 book Off Center has certainly been important, if only as an indication a lot of people just aren’t doing their jobs very well because they are missing the dominant political story of our era...
For the record, here is a random sampler of some of my thoughts on this very subject over the years:

From me in 2007:
...the most important story of our generation 
From me in 2007:
As I have said before, it’s a helluva story.
The most important story of our generation.
Too bad we no longer have a free and fearless press interested in reporting it
From me in 2010:
Sunday Morning Comin' Down -- “The Most Important Yet Underreported Story of the Decade” edition.

From me in 2011:
In fact, this fetish [for Fake Centrism] became so obsessive that, in the end, it became the great, tragic irony of David Broder's professional life. Because at last he simply could not bear to part with his fantasies about what he wished America to be and face the brutal realities of what America was actually becoming, David Broder -- this "Dean of the Washington press corps" -- totally missed out on covering the greatest story of his time; the utter collapse of the American news media and the mutation of the GOP from a political party into a dangerously fascistic cesspit of oligarchs, lunatics and rubes.

It was a story which his background and years of hard work had almost uniquely prepared him to cover, and one that was literally staring him in the face for much of the last 20 years.

And he completely fucking blew it.
From me in 2013:
This is by far the biggest, most important story in political journalism today.
It's too bad we don't have a press corps that has any interest in reporting it.


bowtiejack said...

""Both Sides" is what all damned media souls must now chant, or be cast into an even deeper Hell with no fringe benefits and a terrible retirement plan. "

The job of courtiers (which is what our modern day journalistas really are) is to sniff the winds and reinforce the dominant narrative their patrons want. It was ever thus.

Speaking of real journalists, which is more believable:
(1) the official version of taking Osama down with lots of Hollywood-ready CIA electronic courier tracking and SEAL team bravado with stealth helicopters, or
(2) the usual smarmy money deal laid out by Seymour Hersh with Pakistan giving him up for more of that sweet, sweet foreign aid.

Some years ago, I was friends with a former intelligence guy (grew up in China, son of missionaries, fluent Chinese, etc.) who said it was 99% bullshit. The great weapon America had, he said, was the money to buy anything they really wanted and the only intelligence task was to find the guy who wanted to sell. But god, that makes such a bummer of a movie.

No, I'm sure Zero Dark Thirty is the way it really happened.

Peter Janovsky said...

"IFILL: I agree with [Rich Lowry] on that." "Both siderism" endorsed by a paragon of the PBS Totebaggers. If you agree with the editor of the current editor of the leading intellectual white supremacist journal about anything you are on the wrong side of history. Does Gwen see starbursts when Rich Lowry is on with her?

I can't wait for her 2016 debate moderation.

Phoenix Woman said...

Except that doesn't explain the nationwide uproar in Pakistan over both the US' invading sovereign territory without permission (much less killing a man who was quite popular in many quarters and who the ISI had spent over eleven years protecting.

But hey, don't let that bit of fact stand in the way of your enjoyment of Hersh's story.

Kathleen O'Neill said...

I posted this comment on Bob Cesca's post about Alex Jones stiffing ABC at The Daily Banter:

I still expect Chuck Todd to interview Abbot to get "his side" then lambaste Obama for not communicating the truth about Jade Helm 15, citing it as Obama failing to lead yet again. Oh, and then blaming Obama for being a polarizing figure. Which Hilary Clinton will also be. Which leads to why do Democrats alienate white voters with polarizing figures. This crap writes itself. I'd love to start a betting pool on this.

Here's the link to Bob's piece. Quite a few commenters lament the state of the mainslime media as well:

bowtiejack said...

Peter Janovsky

Uh, Gwen's not into guys. Not that there's anything wrong wit that.

Phoenix Woman said...

Gwen's all about pulling up the ladder behind her. There's only so many spots open in the media for token nonwhites and nonmales, so she's going to protect her turf to the hilt from competition from other non whites and nonmales.

Phoenix Woman said...

By the wsy, it's been public knowledge since the aftermath of the raid that ISI knew where bin Laden was and was in fact protecting him. That's why the US didn't tell the Pakistani government what we were up to until after the fact, because Panetta et al knew from past experience that the Pakistanis would warn him and/or get him out of harm's way.

But of course it makes a nation sound wussy, treacherous, or both to be in Pakistan's position with regard to OBL's six-year residency in Pakistan. So a tale had to be crafted to make the ISI look like clever tradecrafters instead of corrupt Taliban- and Al-Qaeda-harboring creeps, and taking US officialdom down a peg or two.

Enter Seymour Hersh, who has no compunction about taking US officialdom down a peg or two - he's done it many times before, but in this world of increasingly right-wing media (at least in the US) has found it harder and harder to get published in the US. This frustration may very have have made him quite a useful tool for an ISI looking to spread a storyline that purported to show how clever the ISI is compared to the hamfisted Americans.