News Intervention

I know it’s fallen out of vogue now that most of the cabinet is seated, but I still keep hearing this “Team of Rivals” nonsense from elements in the MSM, most recently from Andrea Mitchell of NBC.

I find the whole conversation misleading. The implication that President Obama is somehow surrounding himself with people that hold views contrary to his is disingenuous. While the President’s selections may be from a larger, more diverse pool than previous administrations, the notion that a President would surround himself with cabinet members whose positions contradict the President’s in the departments they are tasked with administering is reaching. Certainly, his appointments have been less partisan from a strict interpretation of partisanship than other modern administrations, but it’s hardly the case that he’s put an isolationist at the State Department, or a global warming denier at the EPA. He’s put people in places where their strengths suit them, based on his belief in their ability to carry out his agenda.

Did the President have a long and contentious primary fight with Sec. State Clinton? You betcha, but that hardly makes them rivals some 7 months after the fact. Truth of the matter is, Clinton campaigned for Obama in the general, as did her husband. They are seeking a common goal, and just like Democrats always seem to do, they fight during the primary and get it together in the general or they don’t win. So while at one point they were competing for the same job, they are now working for the same ends. The rivalry ended when the campaign ended (actually a little after that, but you get my point). Why is that so hard for the media to get?

I’ve long been a critic of the “conventional wisdom” spouting chattering class that seems to dominate national politics, but seriously, the past four weeks has been just plain nutty. Everything they sell on the TV screen is skewed in some way to somehow support some flimsy talking points. Reality is ignored for fanciful declarations of something or the other that somehow challenged their limited belief system or self-interest. More stuff has “died”, been put “on the ropes”, or somehow “not all that it should be and isn’t that a shame” in the past four weeks than the first 7 years of the Bush Administration.

It’s been four weeks, give it some time people!

So yeah, I’m sick of all the crap. I’m sick of the distortions, I sick of the wealthy chatty Cathy’s and their idle declarations.

Maybe I just consume too much news and it’s all me, or maybe I’m losing patience with a national media that is so blind to it’s own dysfunction that it can’t see its running itself into the ground, and multiplying it’s irrelevance. Maybe the national media needs an intervention (or I need one for my news addiction).

The point is, when people are presented on television as experts, it should be known what they are experts in. Most fall into the category of “blind guessers” or “sameness peddlers” or worse, “outright distortion dealers”. The line between “News” and “hyperbole” has been crossed in a lot of ways, on both sides, to be honest, and I fear that actual “News” will be the one that suffers the most.

0 thoughts

  1. Steve, you’re asking the punditry to act against their own best self-interests. The 23-month Presidential campaign was like manna from heaven to the ad reps for CNN, MSNBC, Fox News (and their online properties.) It was like an endless marathon of the West Wing that kept re-writing itself every day, an epic battle of outsized personalities and continual set changes and tearful speeches and crushing defeats and blah blah blah. The simple act of appearing in front of a TV and “commenting” on the action was all that was needed to secure ratings (and therefore, revenue, gold.)

    In so many ways, the talking heads are no different from the legions of Obama volunteers who JUST DON’T WANT THE CAMPAIGN TO END. They thrive on the drama, the action, the intrigue, and above all, the money. Governing is a lot more boring than campaigning, everybody knows that, or at least they used to.

    But the media can’t allow themselves to accept the idea that reporting on governing has to be more boring than reporting on campaigning; they made too much money, built brands too powerful (“The best political team on TV,” ad nauseum), to resist the Pavlovian impulse to equate politics with drama with ratings share with money.

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