Our Media at Work

So, yesterday, I wrote a post about attending a Hillary Clinton event, in which I passingly mentioned that the guy who introduced her referred to her testicular fortitude.

This morning, Shaker Reb emailed me a link to MSNBC's coverage, in which that's the lead. In fact, you have to read seven paragraphs before you get to anything of substance at all about the event, which gets two paragraphs, before three more about her "referring in passing" to her interview with Bill O'Reilly.

Now, Clinton spent over an hour talking about and answering questions about policy in amazing detail—and, throughout, she spoke the language of the labor movement specifically and progressives generally; there was no rightwing framing, no triangulation. She was impressively blunt about the Republicans playing class warfare and about her determination to raise taxes on corporations and the rich, and she was much more explicitly anti-corporate in some of her statements than I expected. At one point, I leaned over to KenBlogz to whisper, "This woman is a communist!" All of which is arguably actual news, given her reputation. (Although I suppose it isn't news to the media which has been dutifully not reporting it.)

Yet MSNBC reports on "testicular fortitude" (sorry—who's playing the gender card?!) and her interview with Bill O'Reilly (you don't think that has anything to do with ginning up some of that outrage on display when she met with Scaife, do you?).


Is anyone surprised to hear I'm 99% certain the dude who filed this report was the one I mentioned reading The Drudge Report during her speech?

I'll tell you what—I was pretty goddamned jaded about the media before this election, but, between having been covered myself as part of the election early on, and attending campaign events and seeing how they're covered, I've uncovered a whole new layer of cynicism.

UPDATE: On the other end of the spectrum, however, there's Eric Boehlert, doing some real, old-fashioned journamalisming, on the subject I like to call "Take Your Boobs and Go Home." A quick excerpt:
Looking back through modern U.S. campaigns, there's simply no media model for so many members of the press to try to drive a competitive candidate from the field while the primary season is still unfolding.

...And the fact is, the media's get-out-now push is unparalleled. Strong second-place candidates such as Ronald Reagan (1976), Ted Kennedy, Gary Hart, Jesse Jackson, and Jerry Brown, all of whom campaigned through the entire primary season, and most of whom took their fights all the way to their party's nominating conventions, were never tagged by the press and told to go home.

"Clinton is being held to a different standard than virtually any other candidate in history," wrote Steven Stark in the Boston Phoenix. "When Clinton is simply doing what everyone else has always done, she's constantly attacked as an obsessed and crazed egomaniac, bent on self-aggrandizement at the expense of her party."

...No longer content to be observers of the campaign, journalists now see themselves as active players in the unfolding drama, and they show no hesitation trying to dictate the basics of the contest, like who should run and who should quit. It's as if journalists are auditioning for the role of the old party bosses.
Another must-read from one of the best dudez in the biz.

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