Friday, October 22, 2021

Everybody Knows Where The Booze Is


Il Douche has been out of office for barely nine months and is still snarling and snapping at the knees and elbows of American politics. And over these last nine months his Republican Party has only gotten exponentially more dangerously insane. But despite the fact that all the warning lights are still flashing red, the American political media has collectively decided to slouch right back to their pre-Trump, Dems in Disarray!/Both Sides Do It factory default settings.

Here's a thing:  The Imaginary Woke Freakout continues among the petty privileged:

Here's another thing:  Turns out maybe Adam Kinzinger was not the Hero of the Resistance your Never Trump allies were looking for.

Here's another, 'nother thing Chuck Toddism is forever

Chuck Todd Blames Biden For Not Fixing Everything In 9 Months

Chuck Todd fully embraced Republican misinformation and glossed over the realities of the pandemic while faulting Biden for not returning everything back to normal already.

Here's the bad news:  the American media will never get better.  Never.  It will just keep getting worse.  

But why is that?  Why is it so bad everywhere, from the national media to your local, dying paper and/or Sinclair outlet?  How is it that this vast, shambolic, humiliating, and very public failure of our Fourth Estate -- a failure that is dragging out democracy down with it -- just goes on and on getting worse and worse?

Because there are no equally powerful countervailing institutions out there in the world in charge of pushing back against it or in any way holding it accountable.  Instead of operating as a vital civic institution the media is basically Facebook's older, stupider cousin, without Facebook's malevolent, precision-guided algorithms designed to prolong "engagement" and keep your eyes on its ads, but with the same "Sponsors Uber Alles" ethos informing every decision.  

And the reason nothing can stop it is because, other than catching the occasional fine for saying "fuck" on broadcast teevee, there are no consequences for pumping the public's skulls full of toxic garbage.  

To paraphrase Sean Connery from The Untouchables, "Everybody knows why the media is broken. The problem isn't figuring it out, the problem is who wants to cross Phil Griffin and Jeff Zucker and the Sulzberger family and Comcast and on and on and on.

The corruption is the institution and the institution is so ubiquitous and powerful that there is barely any "outside" left from which the find foothold enough to effectively stop the downhill slide.

You will never hear the inside dope -- the gory details of how and why the media is everywhere top-heavy with hacks and mopes and frauds -- because no insider with deep knowledge of the hows and the whys is every going to rat them out.  There will never be a Joe Valachi of the media, exposing how the business really works to the entire country.


 There will never be a Frank Calabrese Jr. of the media, breaking the back of the Outfit by spilling the details of widespread, baked-in media depravity.


Ronan Farrow came the closest to bringing to the public's attention to something going on inside the media that was monstrous, widely known inside the industry and being kept from the public by the industry, and he should get all the awards.  But as important and transformative as his reporting was, it could not fix the fundamental brokenness of the media.

Because nothing can fix it.

Because unlike the long war between the mob and the FBI, there is no institution beyond the reach of the media that has the clout to pressure anyone in the media who has fought and clawed to get where they are to torch their career by spilling the beans. 

 To paraphrase Jim Gordon in "Batman Begins", in an industry this bent, who is there to rat to anyway? 

Over the decades, law enforcement has been able to put serious dents in organized crime because of the crime stuff.  Loan sharking is a crime.  Extortion is a crime.  Dealing heroin is a crime.  And as a general rule the public is willing to spend a lot of money -- albeit sometimes stupidly and with awful side effects -- to fight crime.

But it is not a crime for con men and demagogues to dress up as journalists and pundits and straight up lie to the public, all day every day.  It is not a crime to work year after year destroy our vital institutions by erosion.  It is not a crime to whip the mob into a frenzy and turn them loose on our democracy.  

In fact, it's not only legal to do all of these things, but insanely profitable.

Because instead of being constrained by the rule of law, the media has traditionally operated by peer-norms and in-house cultures, all of which have long since been mowed down by the ruthless laws of the capitalist marketplace.  Virtually anything goes as long as it sells, and on the Right, telling the tens of millions bigots and imbeciles that they're actually patriots and geniuses -- heroes, who are all that stands between Freedumb!!! and a vast socialist conspiracy to seize their guns and toss them into transgendered CRT re-education camps -- sells like lemonade in Hell.

And forget the "respectable" press.  They're as relentlessly profit-driven as everyone else, and to them those tens of millions of deranged bigots and imbeciles on the Right (and their friends an relatives) are just current or potential customers.  And the impulse not to piss off  a mob of chumps with abundant free time, ample disposable income and poor impulse control, combined with their ossified culture of Olympian above-it-all Both Siderism means that no matter how many buildings the Right burns down, the "respectable" press will always leaven that news with their certainty that some Liberal somewhere , real or not, has probably (or will probably) do something just as bad.  

To fix what's fundamentally broken in the media would require changing human nature and the dynamics of the capitalist marketplace.

And that bus ain't showing up anytime soon.

Burn The Lifeboats


bill said...

One glaring under-sight Sir

"without Facebook's malevolent, precision-guide algorithms designed to prolong "engagement" and keep your eyes on its ads..."

al·go·rithm -noun-
a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.

Then you state Media's algorithm?
"In fact, it's not only legal to do all of these things, but insanely profitable."

Content is driven by profit. Like most else in Opposite World, backwards from logic and past practice. Well & truly fucked we are.

Robt said...

Everyone knows what the present, past and future is.

Except for those complicated definitions.

Their is the past that requires investigations and public floggings, even public executions. Which belongs to Democrats.
Benghazi past required all efforts. JTC's emails of the past needed to be publicly scrutinized and put out of context.
The past of when and where Obama was born needed to be sought out. And why he was born to be inserted into America to later become the president to end America.

Then their is the past of the republicans. Which shall never be sullied nor tainted or dishonored by review.
From a torture memo created by some low level Adm staffer to extorting a foreign century or inciting and organizing a insurrection to remain in power .

Send the Cyber Ninjas out to investigate the election past of a loser president.
McConnell wants demands we look into the future. His future of Biden's present.

Neo Tuxedo said...

Oh, that bus'll come one day. Maybe, as the Brits say, there'll be three showing up at once. The problem, of course, is that when they come, they'll come with no brakes, and all three of them will be driven by simultaneous iterations of Mrs. Bedonebyasyoudid.

Mark Lungo said...

So there's no hope and there's nothing we can do? Excuse me if I have trouble accepting that.

SteveSteve said...

You are absolutely correct. We say the Republicans are stupid, but one thing they have right is that they despise the MSM, criticize it relentlessly and then ignore it. The sooner that Democrats do this, the better off we will all be. The MSM is gone, gone, gone and beyond repair.

driftglass said...

There's plenty to be hopeful about. AND the media -- which is not reality -- is irreversibly fucked.

Both of these things can be true at the same time.

Addison said...

I simply want to cry.

Chip Daniels said...

The essence of authoritarianism is constant, ever present fear and rage. The essence of profitable journalism is...fear and rage, e.g., "If it bleeds it leads."

Journalism is inherently friendly towards illiberalism.

John said...

What you say is true, but, at this late date in my life, I am now convinced that we can never trust human institutions, that is, governing structures created by people that transcend any one individual, to resist corruption. In my life, I have been repeatedly disappointed to discover that institutions with lofty honorable goals and ambitions often have their own version of corruption.

I'm not saying we should give up. We have to struggle to keep institutions accountable. But I don't think we should be too downcast when we fail at that task. To do so is to misunderstand the situation we're in. We just need to keep struggling despite disappointment.

Sadly, democracy is an ongoing, constant struggle. And we have made progress. Things have been worse. Far worse. Up till the reforms of the Progressive Era, the U.S. was pretty much run by a bunch of shameless rich assholes. And slavery. That's gone in theory at any rate, with few modern defenders. Racism persists, but I think we may be making some slow progress.

Kelly in Texas said...

It appears CNN noticed the issue of "bothsiderism" and here's a link to their video of the outrage;

The "both sides" problem with American news coverage (CNN)

Professional Left Podcast #627

“You can complain about the incivility of politics, but you can't stop the escalation of conflict in the middle. You have to kill it a...