Read This Now

by matttbastard

Over at Global Comment, Sarah Jaffe, in a devastatingly on-target critique, utterly eviscerates yesterday’s head-pattingly patronizing L.A. Times article/future-bird-cage-liner (where the credentials of Dr. Jill Biden were examined [and dismissed] in a manner that was maddeningly glib, highly gendered–and entirely sexist).

Jaffe’s point about the underlying (and intersecting) double standards at play is especially sharp:

I have to wonder, if we were discussing a male academic who taught at a prestigious Ivy League university, the reporter would feel the need to spend the entire piece debating whether he deserved the prefix “Dr.”

The article’s dismissive tone is symptomatic of the way the media treats women, particularly accomplished women in the public eye. Jill Biden has several advanced degrees, and yet chooses to teach in a community college, helping students who often cannot afford to attend school full-time. This is worthy of respect, not a quibble over whether she deserves the title as much as someone who stitches up wounds, treats skin conditions, or performs nose jobs.

Highly recommended reading–the whole damn thing, goddammit.

Go.

Update 02/04: The Women’s Media Center has reposted Jaffe’s article in its entirety.  Check it out, and show some love.

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GOP Dominates Stimulus Debate 2:1 on Cable News: Think Progress

by matttbastard

Oh, that liberal media!

Yes, kids, this really is what they call “balance” in corporate media newspeak. We should all be thankful that cable news programming directors are encouraging such a stimulating (snerk) debate as the president attempts to unshit the bed that (too many years) of GOP rule and freemarket orthodoxy has left soiled beyond recognition.

As Digby put it, “If I didn’t follow politics closely, I would think these people [Republicans] are the ones who won the election.”

x-posted @ Rebel Left

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Like I.F. Stone, Only, um, Not.

by matttbastard

If there’s one thing the corporate media marketplace needs, it’s more lazy, arm-chair psychoanalytic trolling masquerading as muckraking (snicker) via the conflict-starved (and unrelentingly trivial) beltway press corps, especially from our friends at the new Capitol Hill Blue, aka Politico:

President Obama made a surprise visit to the White House press corps Thursday night, but got agitated when he was faced with a substantive question.

Asked how he could reconcile a strict ban on lobbyists in his administration with a Deputy Defense Secretary nominee who lobbied for Raytheon, Obama interrupted with a knowing smile on his face.

“Ahh, see,” he said, “I came down here to visit. See this is what happens. I can’t end up visiting with you guys and shaking hands if I’m going to get grilled every time I come down here.”

Pressed further by the Politico reporter about his Pentagon nominee, William J. Lynn III, Obama turned more serious, putting his hand on the reporter’s shoulder and staring him in the eye.

“Alright, come on” he said, with obvious irritation in his voice. “We will be having a press conference at which time you can feel free to [ask] questions. Right now, I just wanted to say hello and introduce myself to you guys – that’s all I was trying to do.”

The president was quickly saved by a cameraman in the room who called out: “I’d like to say it one more time: ‘Mr. President.’

Yes, thank heavens the Angry Black President was “saved” by another member of his loyal base!!!1 the SCLM (said cameraman has “obviously” been gulping gallons of the Hope and Change Kool-Aid).  Why, he might have been driven to tears by the Murrow-like dedication to the craft of journamalism [sic] on display.  Or, conversely, pulled out his gat and popped a cap in Jonathan Martin’s punk ass–just ask Jeff Zeleny (who is lucky to be alive!) about the smoldering wrath of Barack Hoo-saayn Obama.

Seriously–check out the full 05:17 clip of Obama’s meet ‘n’ greet, and judge for yourself, since Politco, for *ahem* whatever reason, instead chose (until 12:40 PM EST, at least) to embed a 30-second clip entirely unrelated to their breathless lede:

Oh my–03:21 is when the action goes down. Just look at the Negro-in-Chief as he barely restrains himself from goin’ South Side on poor Martin, the Only Real Journalist in the room (he said with a knowing smile and a flash of “obvious” irritation.)

As Wonkette’s Jim Newell puts it in a devestating post (unfortunately marred by a residually Gawker-like self-aware-and-“ironically”-sexist headline and the gratuitous use of a term highly derogatory to people with disabilities–yes, yes, I’m a humourless PC killjoy. Bite me):

Do Jonathan Martin and Carrie Budoff Brown, the co-authors of this whiny, vapid bullshit, think that anyone else cares how hard they have to work to get information? Why do we even link to this vulgar asshole of a publication anymore, now that the election’s over? We’re keeping people like Roger Simon and Mike Allen and Jonathan Martin employed by doing this! Enough.

Yes.  Enough.

Bonus: For shits and giggles, check out the hilariously aggreived comments from feets-stampin’, librul-meeedia-hatin’ conservatives, demonstratively corresponding from the wilderness.  Us progressi-commies should take up a collection to start up an inflatable donut cushion fund for our distinguished friends on the right side of the intertoobz (oh, and make sure to throw one in for Martin, too).

"gurgle, gurgle, puke, puke, vomit, vomit, barf, barf." Wingnut wisdom at its finest.

Must be highly uncomfortable being perpetually butt-hurt.

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Dear Politico

Is it really a ‘slam’ if the new administration (new administration!) has simply offered an honest account of how the previous administration (previous administration!) conducted itself during Katrina?

Ok, given your status as “ground zero for inside-the-beltway conventional wisdom,” as Howard Weaver put it, I suppose a superficial, conflict-pimping relay of the new approach towards NOLA being proposed by the Obama team is to be expected (to say nothing of the subsequent frothing gumbo of fauxtrage bubbling in the lunatic wing of the blogosphere).  Still, one would hope that one of the greatest disasters  in the history of the union to ever hit the US would warrant a more responsible treatment from the Fourth Estate, regardless of how much time has passed.

Yeah, I know — the pony is already in the mail.

With that said, I must admit that this kind of strained attempt to gin up a transition mini-scandal is a welcome change from the Whitewater 2.0 bollocks y’all tried hitching to the already-antiquated Blagobamarahmbogate nontroversy. If there’s one thing Washington definitely needs, it’s yet another beltway media outlet trying to carve a market niche as a (slightly) less-specious Capitol Hill Blue. Please, keep up the, um, good work.

wishing you hope in this era of commodified ‘change’,

matttbastard

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In the Kitchen with Ron and Co.

by matttbastard

Shorter Associated Press: “‘The world’ = an Italian op-ed scribe, some guy in France, an Egyptian civil servant, and Hugo Chavez.”

*blink*

Y’know, one would think a purportedly reputable, mainstream news organization would tap into ye olde expense account and commission an opinion poll to, y’know, semi-accurately measure global opinion. Kinda like these outlets did, in order to gauge the domestic mood prior to Obama’s inauguration, instead of simply splicing together a handful of anecdotes.  But that’s precisely the sort of unnecessary clutter that Ron Fournier’s revoultionary “make shit up” policy swiftly cuts through, like a freshly-sharpened bowie knife slicing a thick hunk of canned ham.

It's evolution, baby!

Mmmm, canned ham.  Followed by donuts and coffee for dessert. Now that’s a surefire recipe for success.

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Mike Barnicle and Mika Brzezinski: Bloggers != Journalists!!!1one

by matttbastard

Transcript:

BARNICLE: [S]omeone ought to tell governor Palin that there’s a distinction between blogging and what she refers to as journalism. Blogging –

MIKA: Is not journalism!

BARNICLE: I would say 95%; maybe 99% of blogging is basically therapy for the blogger.

MIKA: And it’s anonymous, isn’t it?

BARNICLE: Yeah. You know.

One wonders who serial plagiarist Real Journalist™ Mike Barnicle stole his warmed-over “bloggerz r teh sux0rz” critique from.

Yawn.

Keep the band playing while the Titanic sinks, folks.

PS: ‘pseudonymous‘, not ‘anonymous’. FFS.

h/t Matthew Yglesias, by way of Extreme Mortman.

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Dear Associated Press

by matttbastard

1992 called–it wants its appalling lack of journalistic ethics and standards back.

No, seriously–you keep making shit up, with no apparent interest in sifting through unfounded allegations and baseless conjecture to find a nugget of fact. Hint: continually filing meat-free stories with breathless headlines like “Senate-for-sale case threatens new chief of staff” is a good way to brand yourselves as the Fox Newswire. Not to say that you’ve collectively lowered yourselves to the histrionic level of Professional Obama Haters (yet); but the desperate Blagobamarahmbogate obsession is getting a bit pathetic.

At this point, it seems that the primary source fuelling most of the recent unfounded allegations and baseless conjecture regarding Blagobamarahmbogate is–wait for it–the Associated Press. As Steve Benen said, “[a]s serious as Blagojevich’s problems are, it sounds like the Obama/transition team angle is a dud. There’s just nothing there.” So why, in the middle of the worst economic downturn since 19-fucking-29, do you insist on flailing and floundering with great speculative ado over, um, nothing?

Newsflash: there’s no clutter left to cut through, kids; you’ve totally eviscerated the biggest obstacle to successfully implementing Ron Fournier’s new mandate: your credibility.

in fairness and balance,

matttbastard

PS: George Stephanopolus would like to formally apologize for taking the wind out of your sails today. Not that this latest no-shit-revelation will be enough to stem the speculative bluster emanating from your Washington Bureau. But one can always hope you’ll now start charting a new course.

(I know, and a dapple-fucking-grey pony.)

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Dear Toronto Star

What will those crazy kooky kids think of next?  Smoking cigarettes? Having sex?

April Fool’s Day is just over 4 months away. I’ll charitably assume someone merely jumped the gun with this hyperventilating get-off-my-lawn pearl-clutcher about the “new culture of intoxication”, and isn’t sincerely peddling the notion that getting pissed at home prior to going out on the town is in anyway a ‘new phenomenon’. Still, just to be safe, I’d recommend ordering a Breathalyzer test and having security check his or her desk for funny smelling beverage containers–I mean, there has to be some explanation as to why anyone would purposely greenlight poorly-reasoned alarmist tripe like this.

Besottedly yours,

matttbastard

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Inverted Priorities and Blagojevich Coverage

by matttbastard

Apparently the general public isn’t as concerned about the faux-Blagobamagate taint as the MSM would love to believe:

Public ratings of Barack Obama are unscathed by the scandal swirling around Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich’s apparent effort to trade off his power to appoint Obama’s successor to the U.S. Senate, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

More than three-quarters of Americans approve of the way Obama is handling the presidential transition, up significantly from three weeks ago, and a slim majority in the new poll said the president-elect has already done enough to explain any connections his staff may have had with Blagojevich.

But, as Steve Benen notes, a new Rasmussen poll does seem to indicate that the constant bombardment of MSM innuendo and conjecture is beginning to make a dent in the public consciousness–either that, or the poor phrasing of the question affected the response:

Forty five percent (45%) of U.S. voters say it is likely President-elect Obama or one of his top campaign aides was involved in the unfolding Blagojevich scandal in Illinois, including 23% who say it is Very Likely.

Just 11% say it is not at all likely, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey taken Thursday and Friday nights.

The exact wording of the question was: “How likely is it that President-elect Obama or one of his top campaign aides was involved in the Blagojevich scandal?”

The problem, of course, is that “involved” is more than a little ambiguous. For that matter, asking about “Obama or one of his top campaign aides” opens the door awfully wide.

Indeed, while I suspect some news outlets will pounce on the Rasmussen results as evidence of public doubts about Obama, the exact same pollster, on the exact same day, found that Obama’s approval rating is still soaring, and one point shy of a post-election high.

In other words, looking at the Rasmussen numbers, Americans either a) believe the president-elect or his team were part of a major corruption scandal, but don’t care; or b) think Obama or his aides were “involved,” but not in a way that reflects badly on the president-elect or his team. My hunch is that it’s the latter.

Regardless, as Benen further observes, the Village appears bound and determined to ride their new (dead) pony into the ground, despite the lack of public concern:

Yglesias tuned into MSNBC this morning, and found a “lengthy discussion of Obama’s involvement in Blagojevich’s corruption.” It follows a week of inexplicable media reports about Obama’s non-existent role in the matter, reality notwithstanding.

Not surprising, if one uses the following agenda that Mark Halperin laid out yesterday as an outline of Village priorities:

1. Watch the Blagojevich affair. …

2. Watch Obama’s press conference to unveil his environmental and energy team. …

3. Watch the economy.

Yes, in that order.  Look, the Blago affair is the political equivalent of Britney Spear’s crotch, or Anna Nicole Smith’s corpse: a frivolous waste of journalistic resources that has stolen attention from an issue that the public overwhelmingly declared to be its number one priority on November 4th. This is exactly what Jamison Foser meant when he warned about the media distracting us from  “serious problems by overheated conjecture and baseless insinuation masquerading as journalism.”

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