Thursday, June 21, 2007

Hillary and Press Bubble Froth

morning radio has Whoopie Goldberg talking with the "happy-voices" about the criteria to be President. I tune in as she was taking about Mayor-Mikey being short... And then went into a discussion about why height should be a criteria, why do tall people get a pass, and how some short people have been wonderful leaders (i.e. La Guardia) ... Then she went off into looks. She claimed that people wouldn't have sought out JFK for his looks (some thought him incredibly handsome). She admitted that Bubba was often sought for his physical appearance... Ultimately, she thought we should choose a President on "common sense"... "Smart is not enough. There are a lot of smart people" ... she said... But... Do they have any common sense?

Which set up the MSNBC feed from the Washington Post talking about The-MOST-CONTROLLED-WOMAN-ON-THE-PLANET's minders and controllers and protective warriors... (Praetorian Guard?)

Gatekeepers of Hillaryland
Candidate’s coterie from her White House days is back together

... when she agreed to become Hillary Clinton's chief of staff. The woman was quite prepared for all eyes to be on the biggest celebrity arriving in Congress, the first lady of the United States, who was expected to use her Senate seat as a springboard back into the White House.

But what caught Tamera Luzzatto unawares was the full force of the Hillary machine already in place and making decisions

All of a sudden, I had the equivalent of a board of trustees -- an infrastructure that was integral to how she did business," recalls Luzzatto, who continues as Clinton's top Senate aide. "They knew what made her tick, how she thought, how to present advice to her -- with everyone united in a determination to see her do well. It was certainly a new experience."

Fifteen years after Clinton first brought these women together at the White House, the "board of trustees" has officially reconvened to help map her unprecedented effort to follow in her husband's footsteps. They are acutely aware their work is making history. Once seen as a tight little sorority, today the group -- happily self-described as "Hillaryland"-- is at the center of a front-running presidential campaign. Never have so many women operated at such a high level in one campaign, working with a discipline and a loyalty and a legendary secrecy rarely seen at this level of American politics.

Older and tougher, they have formed a closely knit Praetorian Guard around Clinton that plots strategy, develops message and clamps down on leaks. But their extraordinary protectiveness also contributes to an ongoing perception of insularity around the candidate and the campaign.

The real question is "What does she wish to do?"... Why does she want to be President?

Her husband never answered that question. He admitted being in full-lust for the job since he met JFK in the early '60s... He had no goal for the nation. No plan, no agenda, triangulation-muddle the differences, but no achievements to accomplish... He was successful in that he achieved nothing.

With Bush I in full popularity mode following Gulf War I, nobody gave him much of a chance... It was a throw-away candidacy that would set the Democrats up for a shot in '96... Shock- Surprise- Amazement... he won. A combination of the fear of a recession that never was combined with an exceptionally aggressive and war-like campaign had turned the odds. The war-like, non-stop, campaign throughout the Clinton years brought about the re-election against a Republican throw-away candidate... The legacy we have from those years; 1) War-like hyper aggressive tactics work 2) Appearance IS reality spin and spin control. Just keep repeating the same message over and over again 3) Keep em divided and tired. 4) You really don't have to DO anything. Just perch at the top like a big bird on a small tree and good things will come to you... It is nice to be king. Too bad we are a democracy...

Hillary helped. How much of the aggressive, angry, take-no-prisoners approach to politics was hers and how much came from him... ? They keep writing books giving her credit... Whatever, it is the Clinton-ista mode of politics. Obama has already found out how the game is played...

Whoopie wants a President with "common sense".... I want to know why they want the job... I don't think Hillary is the one for either of us... I don't see how Hillary can separate herself from his legacy when she * DEPENDS * so heavily on him to get the votes and bring in the money...

We *WILL* get spin, constant war-room campaigning, aggressive attacks against any and all critics. In "Hillaryland" there is no room for America or America's needs... Its ALL ABOUT HILLARY ALL OF THE TIME.. Whats good for Hillary is so obviously good for America that it need not be debated, discussed or stated.


Drudge offers the headline that reporters are donating to Democrats vs Republicans 9 to 1... Then links to the MSNBC story:

Journalists dole out cash to politicians (quietly)

News organizations diverge on handling of political activism by staff identified 144 journalists who made political contributions from 2004 through the start of the 2008 campaign, according to the public records of the Federal Election Commission. Most of the newsroom checkbooks leaned to the left: 125 journalists gave to Democrats and liberal causes. Only 17 gave to Republicans. Two gave to both parties.

There's a longstanding tradition that journalists don't cheer in the press box. They have opinions, like anyone else, but they are expected to keep those opinions out of their work. Because appearing to be fair is part of being fair, most mainstream news organizations discourage marching for causes, displaying political bumper stickers or giving cash to candidates.

Traditionally, many news organizations have applied the rules to only political reporters and editors. The ethic was summed up by Abe Rosenthal, the former New York Times editor, who is reported to have said, "I don't care if you sleep with elephants as long as you don't cover the circus."

But with polls showing the public losing faith in the ability of journalists to give the news straight up, some major newspapers and TV networks are clamping down. They now prohibit all political activity — aside from voting — no matter whether the journalist covers baseball or proofreads the obituaries.

What changed? First came the conservative outcry labeling the mainstream media as carrying a liberal bias. The growth of talk radio and cable slugfests gave voice to that claim. The Iraq war fueled distrust of the press from both sides. Finally, it became easier for the blogging public to look up the donors.

The donors said they try to be fair in reporting and editing the news. One of the recurring themes in the responses is that it's better for journalists to be transparent about their beliefs, and that editors who insist on manufacturing an appearance of impartiality are being deceptive to a public that already knows journalists aren't without biases.

The openness didn't extend, however, to telling the public about the donations. Apparently none of the journalists disclosed the donations to readers, viewers or listeners. Few told their bosses, either.

Americans don't trust the news or newspeople as much as they used to. The crisis of faith is traced by the surveys of the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. More than seven in ten (72 percent) say news organizations tend to favor one side, the highest level of skepticism in the poll's 20-year history.

Full list of donor reporters here.

In a similar vein... "feral beasts" -?-

Tony Blair recently gave a speech at the headquarters of Reuters. The WSJ OpinionJournal reacts to discuss the media and their relationship to politicians. Most of what he says applies to the US media. But not all... Some of his suggestions are very un-American... read the speech
In America, presidents end speeches with, "God bless you." In the U.K. last week, Prime Minister Tony Blair ended a big speech with: "I know it will be rubbished in certain quarters." Rubbished it was.

Deep wells of energy are emptied daily in political or professional life now, says Mr. Blair, "coping with the media, its sheer scale, weight and constant hyperactivity. At points it literally overwhelms. Talk to senior people in virtually any walk of life today--business, military, public services, sport, even charities and voluntary organizations--and they will tell you the same." He says, "Any public service leader . . . will tell you not that they mind the criticism, but they have become totally demoralized by the completely unbalanced nature of it."

Mr. Blair's complaint about balance appears not to be about political bias, the normal media beef of American conservatives. Mr. Blair is a Laborite. Instead, Tony Blair seems to believe the media has become mostly melodrama: "Things, people, issues, stories, are all black and white. Life's usual grays are almost entirely absent. 'Some good, some bad'; 'some things going right, some going wrong.' These are concepts alien to much of today's reporting. It is a triumph or a disaster. A problem is a crisis. A setback is a policy in tatters."

He attributes this change to the decline of what we call "straight" reporting and the rise of analysis or commentary in news columns, which most newspaper people will acknowledge, arguing that readers get straight news today from the Web.

Let's assume that straight news has been commoditized and relegated to the two or three paragraphs people are willing to read on the Web. Perhaps in an updated version of "A Canticle for Leibowitz" some monastic order will emerge in the post-factual world to preserve facts-only reporting smuggled around by hand on mimeographed sheets of paper. And let's assume that what's left for newspapers to offer the dwindling brotherhood of "readers" is interpretation, analysis, spin or bias. At bottom, it's all going to be someone's opinion, so ultimately people may simply have to decide whose opinions they find congenial, reliable or thought-provoking.

Tony Blair's right about one thing: Times change. The jury is still out on whether our politics will be better or worse if no one can agree on what any given public problem is because no one knows what the basic facts are, beyond the words in a Web site's headline. Possibly we'll elect better presidents and politicians if we're thrown back on gut feeling and whatever our common sense can intuit from this weird new information ether. Let's just hope civil engineers don't start building suspension bridges on this basis.

The one point Mr. Blair made, which no pressie can refute, is that newspaper market share, both circulation and advertising, is in decline. Many in the press argue this is wholly the result of the Internet invader and has nothing to do with Mr. Blair's criticisms. Some may yet ride the belief that the state of American journalism is impeccable all the way to the basement.

Just give us some straight reporting... Transparency and straight reporting of the events and facts will do. We can spin ourselves. Straight reports, not opinions, views, analysis, reports-of-spin or reaction to it will do the job... In the "information age" the "information superhighway" doesn't have to become the only path to facts, events and straight news... We will even pay for it.

Is anybody listening?

1 comment:

Gail said...

I'm listening, and I agree. Straight reporting would be such a breath of fresh air. The Washington Post includes opinion pieces anywhere and everywhere - even on the front page. But worse are the hidden opinions (bias) in the supposedly just-the-facts articles.