More after the jump
The Daily Show, the Blue Dress, and frustration
One of the things I'm glad that I simply can't do out here in St. Etienne is watch American TV news. These pundits seem to take delight in their ability to be asinine; hell, it's probably half the reason that they were hired in the first place.
Several months ago I posted about how annoyed I was becoming by this presidential primary, but it wasn't that it had gone on too long. I think a long presidential primary season can be educational and it could do wonders in a nation with an otherwise short attention span. That's if, of course, we played it right, were able to engage in the discussion in a substantive manner, and kept enough distance from either of the candidates to maintain a little perspective.
But that's not what we Americans deserve, apparently. Obama was right to criticize the way race gets talked about in the media, as a spectacle because having a substantive discussion of race might offend someone, might challenge white privilege, or, worse, challenge the economic privilege of the people who own these media outlets.
It's not just race. A few Hillary supporters have made a good point criticizing this headline on ABC's news blog:
Schedules Reviewed by ABC Show Hillary May Have Been in the White House When the Fateful Act Was Committed
It's funny/sad because the folks at ABC pored themselves over around 17,000 pages of her schedule that was just released in order to come to that stunning revelation. (And let's be clear that this isn't because of an abundance of investigation.)
Andy Towle asks if that Clinton/Lewinsky/dress article was just there to "humiliate" Clinton, but I think it's really just the media's profound vapidity rearing its head again. It sees sleaziness as real news, it has some vague idea that sex sells and is therefore the only thing that sells, in any form, and thinks that people care more about the stained blue dress of over ten years ago than it does about anything else.
He was the president! And he had sex! And nothing's happened since then!
(BTW, Bob Geiger has a great parody of this whole thing with "What Did Clinton Cat Socks Know and When Did He Know It?")
The biggest problem isn't necessarily this story or the way the media talks about race or their misogyny or any of these items in particular. It's the fact that these people think that this is good journalism notice the way that the Clinton/dress article cites "Brian Ross and the ABC News Investigative Unit" in the byline.
Really. It really took an investigative unit to put this out?
There is actually high hope for America for wanting to start addressing these issues maturely. We see it in the rise of the blogosphere, extraordinarily quickly over the last decade, because people just can't trust these folks to talk about issues that affect people. We see it in the fact that Obama's message of ending this way of thinking about politics has grabbed the nation's attention and has propelled him to victory in many states over the inevitable candidate.
This John Stewart clip from when he was on Crossfire seems appropriate (remember before they focus-grouped Tucker Carlson's bow tie out?):
Well, four years later and they still haven't stopped hurting America. But at least Tucker Carlson no longer has a show.