Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday Morning Comin' Down

"What Is Dead May Never Die" Edition.

For sheer yardage gained in the direction opposite of reality on a single play, I've got to give it to Howard Kurtz of Fox News this week.

As you may know, Mistah Kurtz's career as a third rate purveyor of media insider gossip was in ashes, until Roger Ailes came to his rescue and added Kiurtz to his vast stable of street-corner dung-hustlers.

Usually Mistah Kurtz's soap whittlings are too trivial to mention, but this Sunday he really elevated the ambient level of completely fucking surreal at Fox by conducting a puppet show with a couple of other Fox News nobodies about what a God Damn Crying Shame it was that "the media" had lost so much credibility with Real Murricans since the Age of Cronkite.

According to Mr. Ailes' script as it was recited by these persons, the main reasons Real Murricans don't trust the media are, in no particular order...
Chelsea Clinton!

No one in "the media" is ever held accountable for anything!


Did I mention no one in the media who lies or fucks up is ever held to account for it?

And, of course -- Liberal.  Media.  Bias.
Also too, "Frank Luntz asked a focus group..." and, when all else fails, Both Sides.

As the scattered members of the Lost Tribe of Gilliard will recall, for most of this career Mistah Kurtz was just one more Republican shill embedded in the Mainstream Media, using his position to flak for horrible people with bad ideas and cover their escape route with a thick schmear of "fairness" concern trolling.
Which is why Hunter Thompson was a hero. He was honest to a fault and mean to a fault. In a world where journalism has become about asking questions politely and fiction about settling grudges with parents and schoolmates, he was about something far more important.

Blogs follow in the tradition of outlaw journalism, but without the flourishes he liked. It's not about just being outrageous, most of the bloggers are little different than their peers in newspapers, clean living young men and women. They don't get drunk and naked for fun, they pay their bills, stay faithful and maybe have a beer too many. However, it is the spirit of what Thompson meant, to be outside the laws of journalism, not the rules, but the laws. The laws of not offending advertisers and friendly pols. The laws of family friendly copy. Those laws. Not the rules about honesty and decency.

When Howard Kurtz whines about "fairness", someone needs to tell him the truth. "Mistah Kurtz, we are not fair. We are honest." Bush uses fairness like a Samurai uses a katana, to slice and dice and win. Fairness will no more stop Bush than a bazooka could stop a Tiger tank (couldn't come close). It is honesty which will stop him. People have to tell the truth. Kurtz and his fellows are people to be derided and mocked, not argued with. To accord him respect and seriousness, in the job most journalists disdain like cops hate internal affairs, is to give him power that his peers would never. The next time he whines about fairness, laugh in his face, wave a shrunken head in front of him, show him a picture of King Leopold. Do anything you want to show him the contempt you hold him in. But his words are meaningless to the people who matter, our readers.
Which goes a long way towards explaining why the Daily Beast thought paying him a still-undisclosed-but-definitely-not-$600K!-sized pile of money to print his gooey mash notes was a good idea.

And why no one was terribly bothered by his second wife's very active, lucrative career as a Republican flak.
Yes, Howard Kurtz' current (second) wife is Sheri Annis, a professional Republican operative now working at (running?) an outfit called Fourth Estate Strategies. She's written for National Review, was a spokesperson for the Arnold Schwarzenegger, and helped run anti-affirmative action, anti-bilingual education, and anti-immigration campaigns.
And in the end, his tour of duty as a Respected Mainstream Journalist about whom no one bitched (except some grumpy Liberal bloggers) accomplished what it was intended to accomplish: it permitted Mistah Kurtz to cash in at Fox News mouthing the Ailes Party Line, immune to criticism that he's just another Fox News street-corner dung-hustler (except from some grumpy Liberal bloggers) , because after all, look at all my shiny Respected Mainstream Journalist street cred.

At that point I ran away from the teevee for awhile, returning later long enough hear a Fox!News!Alert!

So was it a missing blonde girl, Benghazi, or a Special Fox News panel speculating about which sort of depraved criminal Michael Brown would probably have grown up into anyway?

Turns out it was the middle one.

It seems a bunch of yahoos with guns calling themselves "Dawn of Libya" took some abandoned buildings away another bunch of yahoos with guns.  These buildings had been evacuated by American diplomatic personnel two months ago.  American diplomatic staff had left nothing of value or interest behind -- no files, no computer hard drives, no communicators.

But this rated a Fox!News!Alert! because it may "disturbingly echo" Benghazi...because remember! something something...four Americans killed!

Later, during the concluding ceremonies of the longest running funeral in Sunday Morning Gasbag history, NBC finally got enough of the David Gregory-smell out of the carpet and drapes 

to conduct a cheery "Meet The Moderator" segment in which we, the viewing public, were re-re-re-re-reintroduced to Shuck Todd.

Mr. Todd made it clear that he believes his primary function as the new captain of the S.S. Conventional Wisdom is to serve the public interest.

But of course as we exotic language experts know, when translated from Beltway Weaselspeak into English, "To Serve the Public Interest" does not mean what you think it means...


Kathleen said...

Thank you for this piece and the link to Gilliard, which I clicked. I forgot how powerful, insightful and original he was. And righteously angry. A lot of wisdom is packed in that compact piece. You represent him well, DG. I'm sure he's beaming down upon you and cheering you on. And Chuck Toad is an abomination. But you already knew this.

Monster from the Id said...

"The laws of not offending advertisers...

The beginning of the end of the media as a small-r republican, small-d democratic institution was the day when the average newspaper started earning more money from advertisers than from readers. The newspapers, and the other media which came later, naturally began to serve the interests of the people who paid them the greater amount of money.

Anonymous said...


Haven't posted in quite a long time, although I do look in on you regularly. Nice to see you getting some prime space on C&L from time to time.
I proudly count myself as a member(albeit a very minor one) of the Lost Tribe. Actually remember when he shoved you out to your own shebeen, as opposed to mucking around in his comments section.
I do miss Steve's writing but, for what it's worth, it has been a privilege to watch your writing grow and come into its own. Your passion and clarity have been a welcome tonic to the bland drivel shat out by the corporate media. I think Doktor Thompson would be proud.
I also proudly count myself as one of your original readers, and hope to someday be able to sit with you and raise a glass to HST.



Fritz Strand said...

Still waiting for you to use the last minute of 'Requiem for Methuselah' when Spock does the Republican mind meld on Kirk.

bowtiejack said...

"Your passion and clarity have been a welcome tonic to the bland drivel shat out by the corporate media."

Yeah, I would second that.

Kevin Wood said...

"However, it is the spirit of what Thompson meant, to be outside the laws of journalism, not the rules, but the laws. The laws of not offending advertisers and friendly pols. The laws of family friendly copy. Those laws. Not the rules about honesty and decency."

As Bob Dylan once wrote: "To live outside the law you must be honest"