Barack Obama performs masterfully for the purposes of the national media.
The Other McCain speaks for the rest of us in the too-frequently-nauseated portion of the Nation after days of emotionalism, bloviating nonsense, and crass exploitation of the Newtown murders by the lamebrain media.
Special coverage of Our Nation’s Tragedy will continue, right after these advertisements for laxatives and car insurance.”
Networks pay millions of dollars a year for the services of news anchors who can pretend that what they’re doing is anything other than a carnival sideshow to sell the advertiser’s product. News for People Who Can’t Be Bothered to Read — these lucrative televised spectacles inspire less cynical scoffing than they deserve. Nothing like a national tragedy to boost ratings, after all, and you know full well that the correspondent now peering grimly into the camera will be chuckling merrily with his colleagues as soon as the Breaking News Update is over. And why shouldn’t he chuckle? He’s getting paid handsomely to report this tragedy, and charges his travel expenses on the company AmEx card.
People who say they hate “the media” usually mean they hate TV news, a hatred shared by those of us whose medium is the written word. ...
TV sucks, it is by its very nature an anti-intellectual enterprise, anathemic to rational discourse.
My problem is that watching this stuff — or at least having the TV in the room tuned to cable news while I’m typing, so that the chatter goes on, even though I seldom actually watch it — is more or less a professional obligation. Every blogger is a media critic of sorts, although in the hyperpartisanship of the Obama Age, liberal bloggers only criticize Fox News, whereas we conservatives are expected to aim at Liberal Bias.
News flash: Fox News sucks, too.
Even without liberal bias, TV news sucks. For a couple hours today, I suffered through Fox News Channel’s lachrymose coverage of Our Nation’s Tragedy, until the goopy emotionalism became too much and I switched the channel over to MSNBC — I Watch, So You Don’t Have To™ — because I’ve met Bill Hemmer, I like Bill Hemmer, and I didn’t enjoy my embarrassment at Bill Hemmer’s participation in this Plastic Grief Festival.
Change the channel and hate those MSNBC guys. It just feels better to hate them than to wriggle with psychic discomfort watching Fox.
TV is very much about emotion, and the show-biz aspect requires that the performers attempt to exemplify the appropriate mood, conveying by their expressions and posture and tone of voice how we’re supposed to feel about what is being reported. When they’re reporting mass murder, the anchors and correspondents and commentators are required to convey compassion as if they’ve got a monopoly on caring.
This display of empathy is annoying to any reasonably intelligent viewer, who understands that he is watching a performance, and that the people putting on this show are doing so because they are paid for it.
Chuck Todd and Chris Jansing don’t care more about shooting victims than you do. They’re just getting paid to act like they care more than you do. This is show business, after all.
Today is Tuesday, and the great minds that offer several times an hour solutions to all our country’s problems have yet to inform those of us in the viewing audience why Adam Lanza wanted to take out his personal aggressions on first-grade school children.
The media pretends to offer rational commentary, but what it really delivers is uncritical popular culture at the lowest common denominator level. News readers command high salaries, and obviously think that they deservedly occupy prominent positions of grave responsibility, but they get their jobs on the basis of having an agreeable voice, a symmetrical face, or a becoming chin. They are typically embarrassingly ill-informed and their customary perspective on behavior and emotional display is objectionable and vulgar in the extreme.
As liberal politicians and the mainstream media try to use the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut to prove the need for more gun laws, World Net Daily notes that Connecticut already had gun control laws.
The state of Connecticut already has certain gun-control laws in place, at least three of which the shooter broke, as he could have only obtained the weapons through illegal means.
According to news reports, Adam Lanza, 20, shot his mother Nancy Lanza dead at their family home before driving to the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, where he gunned down more than two dozen people, 20 of them children, and then killed himself.
The Associated Press reports Lanza brought three guns into the school: a Glock pistol, a Sig Sauer pistol and Bushmaster rifle, which the New York Post further reports was a semi-automatic “assault rifle” chambered for a .223 caliber round, matching casings found at the crime scene.
Lanza, therefore, if you count theft, murder and breaking and entering – since CBS New York now reports it likely Lanza broke into the school through a window to circumvent a locked-door and intercom security system – would have violated a half-dozen laws in his crime, including the following gun-control statutes:
First, Connecticut law requires a person be over 21 to possess a handgun. Lanza was 20.
Second, Connecticut requires a permit to carry a pistol on one’s person, a permit Lanza did not have.
Third, it is unlawful in Connecticut to possess a firearm on public or private elementary or secondary school property, a statute Lanza clearly ignored.
Fourth, with details on the Bushmaster rifle still sketchy, it’s possible Lanza may have violated a Connecticut law banning possession of “assault weapons.”
Of course, these laws were violated because Lanza did not own any of the firearms in question, but rather stole them, and he clearly had no regard for the law in committing his crime.
The Associated Press reports the weapons were registered to Lanza’s first victim, his own mother, according to a law enforcement official not authorized to discuss information with reporters and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Suw Charman-Anderson, in Forbes, notes a watershed moment in the world of books and readers. For the first time, a book self-published by its author has broken through traditional barriers and gained the attention of important establishment book reviews.
analyzes a dozen “great millennial dramas” that have forged a new golden age in TV: bold, innovative shows that have pushed the boundaries of storytelling, mixed high and low culture, and demonstrated that the small screen could be an ideal medium for writers and directors eager to create complex, challenging narratives with “moral shades of gray.”
But the New York Times’ Michiko Kakutani wasn’t the only mainstream book critic to write about Sepinwall’s book. USA Today carried an interview with Sepinwell at the end of November, Time published a review of its own, The Huffington Post carried a review, so did the New Yorker.
Sepinwall got the kind of coverage that most traditionally published authors can only dream of. To some extent, this might just be reviewers reviewing another reviewer, a little bit of moral support from your friends, except Sepinwall’s friends have very big megaphones. But at the same time, it illustrates that the idea of a division between ‘traditionally published’ and ‘self-published’ is becoming a ridiculous construct with no meaning whatsoever. ...
The reasons that self-published books don’t get reviewed boil down, I think, to the lack of infrastructure. A traditional publishing company can get to know different reviewers and send them the books that they think will go down best with that person. And the reviewer works on the assumption that what he or she is sent by the publisher has to be at least half-decent and thus worth opening. This whole process works because it’s mediated and because of the assumption that a third party stamp of approval for a book guarantees minimum levels of quality. ...
[R]eviewers depend on publishers acting as winnowers, sorting out the wheat from the chaff, and at least attempting to make sure that they are sent books they are actually interested in. It’s this weeding out process that’s missing in self-publishing.
This is bound to be only the first instance of what will before very long become normal.
Technology has made self publication and book distribution easy, inexpensive, and available to anyone.
Even successful and well-established popular authors like Barry Eisler as far back as 2011 have found the economics and creative control offered by self publishing to be irresistible. (Eisler was interviewed here about his at-the-time astonishing decision to dump his relatively prestigious print publisher and move off into the new frontier of electronic self publication.)
Yesterday, CBS News was the first of the Lamestream Media to break the deliberate establishment press boycott on pre-election coverage on the Benghazi debacle, actually publishing a leak from inside-government sources disadvantageous to the Obama Administration.
CBS News has learned that during the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi, the Obama Administration did not convene its top interagency counterterrorism resource: the Counterterrorism Security Group, (CSG).
“The CSG is the one group that’s supposed to know what resources every agency has. They know of multiple options and have the ability to coordinate counterterrorism assets across all the agencies,” a high-ranking government official told CBS News. “They were not allowed to do their job. They were not called upon.”
Today, Jake Tapper of ABC News commented venomously on the Administration’s stonewalling and endeavored to depict ABC as a vigorously investigating news organization.
In the place of a detailed description from the Obama administration about what happened more than six weeks ago comes the drip-drip-drip of stories about the failures of the Obama administration to provide those Americans on the ground in Libya with all the security assets they needed.
Hurricane Sandy’s arrival on the East Coast was a godsend for the establishment media and Barack Obama, filling up the front page columns and dominating TV news coverage for several crucial days just a week before the election. But the hurricane is now over, there are still four days to go, and the Benghazi story continues, bit by bit, to leak out.
Candy Crowley alone selected the questions for the debate. Candy Crowley interrupted Romney repeatedly, and awarded Barack Obama an extra 4 minutes of speaking time. And, finally, Candy Crowley came running to Barack Obama’s assistance at the very moment when the challenger had him nailed dead to rights.
I thought that Romney did well enough anyway. My prediction was that Republicans would say Romney won, and democrats would say Obama won, but Romney had some good moments and that was all he needed.
Candy Crowley didn’t do a terrible job as moderator – although she tilted the questions and answers in Barry’s favor a bit too obviously, gave him 10% more time for responses, and frequently cut off Romney as he was making substantive points. But because she kept Carrie Fisher (dressed as “Slave Leia”) chained to her side throughout the debate, we’re willing to forgive her.
In countless areas of life, we are urged to bow to the better-informed consensus of the highly-educated community of fashion elite. After all, unlike you bitterly-clinging rubes and bumpkins out there, these people attended elite schools. They know better. Take Andrea Mitchell, for instance, she graduated from U of P. And as Glenn Reynolds gleefully notes, she recently identified herself as being one of The ‘Elite, Smart People.’
The Pew poll is devastating, just devastating. Before the debate, Obama had a 51 – 43 lead; now, Romney has a 49 – 45 lead. That’s a simply unprecedented reversal for a candidate in October. Before Obama had leads on every policy issue and personal characteristic; now Romney leads in almost all of them. Obama’s performance gave Romney a 12 point swing! I repeat: a 12 point swing.
Romney’s favorables are above Obama’s now. Yes, you read that right. Romney’s favorables are higher than Obama’s right now. That gender gap that was Obama’s firewall? Over in one night:
Currently, women are evenly divided (47% Obama, 47% Romney). Last month, Obama led Romney by 18 points (56% to 38%) among women likely voters.
Seriously: has that kind of swing ever happened this late in a campaign? Has any candidate lost 18 points among women voters in one night ever? And we are told that when Obama left the stage that night, he was feeling good. That’s terrifying. On every single issue, Obama has instantly plummeted into near-oblivion. He still has some personal advantages over Romney – even though they are all much diminished. Obama still has an edge on Medicare, scores much higher on relating to ordinary people, is ahead on foreign policy, and on being moderate, consistent and honest (only 14 percent of swing voters believe Romney is honest). But on the core issues of the economy and the deficit, Romney is now kicking the president’s ass.
Rick Wilson looks at what’s been going on recently in the campaign.
The trick the Obama campaign has executed beautifully this month is to demoralize and dismay the GOP base. A combination of a very, very, very heavy TV buy in swing states (pay attention, because this is a rabbit they can’t pull out every week), a fierce assault on Romney at every turn (abetted by a cooperative press that loves the taste of blood) and a series of public polls that have played into a self-reinforcing narrative that Obama is inevitable.
The trick is a good one, and to judge from the wailing and lamentations on our side, it’s been working.
But it’s just a trick.
Let’s pull back the curtain, shall we?
The polling-validity battle has gone on for weeks now, and I’ll skip recounting the arguments on both sides. Yes, they’re playing 2008+ model games. No, it isn’t a just a conspiracy by the liberal media. Yes, the race is closer than the public polls show – on either side. The poll coverage looks the way it does because the media monster is always hungry, confirmation bias is like slipping into a warm bath and the herd runs the same direction, despite the facts.
See? You just saw one of the wires that make the trick work.
The polling is presented superficially, with typically only the toplines and a degree of analysis that is facile at best. There’s no context, history or depth. I’ve covered this problem a bit here and here.
So the polls became part of the message of chest-beating triumphalism by Team Obama. The drumbeat of Obama’s glorious, inexorable ascension to another four years in the Oval Office is something Chicago feeds to the media, but doesn’t for a second believe themselves.
The entire purpose of the last two weeks on their side is to game early voting. That’s it. It’s not about the end game, but rather an attempt to roll up some numbers in key states before the debates start and the campaign joins in earnest. They’re desperate to have you demoralized, depressed and sitting home in your living room, grumbling at Fox instead of voting early.
The Democrats know very well this race will tighten even further toward the end, and that the Potemkin Village of polls showing Barack Obama with a double-digit lead is just that.
They know that all the balls Obama is juggling now are, statistically and politically, impossible keep airborne. They know the run of Obama-is-God stories will collide with reality, whether economic, diplomatic or political. They know that Romney’s spending is catching up, fast, and will peak in the last week of October in a furious orgy of television ads and a get-out-the-vote program like nothing the GOP has done before.
I can’t seem to find a very flattering photo of Clint Eastwood out there today for some reason, but there are sure a lot of photos making him look angry or confused.
It is always impressive to see just how thoroughly and competently the professional apparatchiks of the left-wing commentariat do a take-down on a genuinely threatening adversary. The same kind of pretentious culture mavens who will happily queue up for tickets to a six hour opera by Stockhausen, and who have no difficulty in parsing the subtle symbolism of the latest Abbas Kiarostami movie, we are being told today, were supposedly baffled by Clint Eastwood’s little skit.
Since last night, the anti-Eastwood quips have been flying like snowflakes in a blizzard of negative commentary. What you see going on, of course, is the customary effort of the establishment media to write history its own way.
Bias and political manipulation aside, today’s massive hit job on Eastwood, I thought, constituted a revealing commentary on the dimness and superficiality of the American elite and its culture. Most societies respect the elderly. One might suppose that elite members of a nation as highly educated and sophisticated as the United States would be perfectly well aware that most men of Clint Eastwood’s age are, in fact, already deceased. That very, very smart people would be conscious that a fellow 82 years of age (if lucky enough to be above ground) is usually bent, shriveled, wrinkled, bloated, palsied, confused and barely able to navigate. Clint Eastwood actually looked damned good. He was slender and still handsome and stood tall and straight.
With characteristic self-deprecating modesty, Clint Eastwood deliberately chose merely to ad lib an informal conversation with an imaginary Barack Obama. Eastwood’s performance was by intention spontaneous and un-professionally-polished. It could doubtless have been smoother and more crafted and artfully designed, but Clint Eastwood (being an ordinary American and a Republican) decided to just wing it and went with authenticity. Non-snobbish-members-of-the-leftwing-pseudo-intellectual-community-of-fashion naturally recognized that it was no easy thing for an 82-year-old guy to stand up that long, or to concentrate well enough to extemporize such a performance, and we all thought Eastwood did really well. He performed smoothly enough, and delivered several nifty and very telling lines with an impact that was highly effectively underlined by his obvious modesty and sincerity. We recognized, and admired, his disinclination toward indulging in insult and open animosity and could see that his criticism of President Obama was deliberately being understated. We liked Clint Eastwood’s performance very much, and thought it was fitting and a real indication of the rightness of our cause that a man like him was on our side.
I thought myself that it demonstrated beautifully the way the American left’s commentary emanates from Planet Asshole that, when an elderly celebrity is courageous enough to speak in public honestly, displaying openly some of the deficits of old age, the pseudo-intelligentsia scratches its head in confusion and demands aloud: “What’s wrong with that guy? Doesn’t he understand that you’re supposed to be completely smooth, polished, perfect, and… young?” There are no old men in the country of the left.