Tuesday, September 28, 2004

The Big Lie

Readers were greeted today by the collective gnashing of teeth and beating of breasts by well-known voices of the national print media. Adam Nagourney cautioned that the debates may turn out to be judged more on fashion than on substance. David Broder waxed remorsefully over the fact that "a scurrilous and largely inaccurate attack on the Vietnam service of John Kerry " took the place of a discussion of the real issues. And over at Editor and Publisher, supposedly influential journalists piss and moan that the format of the debates is so scripted as to render them meaningless. Well, here is my question.

What fucking country have you guys been living in for, oh, say the last 25 years?

Every four years we go through the same song and dance and nothing ever changes. Remember Willie Horton? How about the secret hostage deal Reagan struck with the Iranians? Was anyone watching the debates in 2000 when Al Gore sighed defeat out the jaws of victory? The only thing different this time around is the transparency of the right wing's tactics.

Its one thing for the media to legitimately point out the flaws in our current state of politics and more importantly, be self-critical at a point in time when it matters (i.e. when public opinion is still being formed). But these jackasses facilitate the very situations they claim to abhor by "reporting the facts of both sides in a fair and balanced manner." No fact checking, no reporting designed to ensure meaningful debates. Just drunken, frenetic coverage of the horserace. And only when the mind of the public is made up, and we're past the point of no return, and most importantly, there is no risk of right-wing intimidation, they slowly regain their senses, shake off the hangover and say, "Man, I gotta stop having these hot PDX nights."