My beloved colleagues in Teh Media sure get on my last damn nerve. Most of the time it’s just from sloppy work or jumping on whatever bandwagon is rolling by at the time, something along the lines of a pet peeve. Like when my Twitter list of political reporters blows up with some hashtag meme instead of actual reporting. Today it’s #Obamacareinthreewords, launched by that icon of credibility, Rep. Darrell Issa. It’s the second time around for that one — Rep. Kevin McCarthy launched it the first time last June.
(@WhiteHouse even got in on it, tweeting “It’s.The.Law.” Republicans responded with “arrogance of power” and “Yep, admin still going the intimidation route.”)
But more often than not, it’s for a much more serious transgression of general journalism goodness, like perverting the concept of “fair and balanced” either by saying you are when you are actually the furthest thing from it or pretending that it means taking one from column A and one from column B and pronouncing that you’ve covered the issue.
Yeah, that pretty much means I’m annoyed all the time, since the latter has become the default setting for much of Teh Media and the former is Faux News itself. In fact, I’ve learned to let that one go for the most part except for the occasional outburst of “OMFG WTF is wrong with these people!”
Misusing words is another thing that gets my goat. Like saying “injured” when you mean “wounded” or vice versa. Or adding “-gate” onto the end of every controversy and/or calling it a “scandal.”
Yeah, I really hate that one. This week, while mercifully short on -gates, has been full of scandal. Benghazi. The IRS. The AP. All dutifully labeled scandals by the not-so-loyal opposition and repeated ad nauseum by a national media that hasn’t had an original thought since 1972.
Let’s be clear. These aren’t scandals. They’re controversies, but scandal plays much better in the hinterlands than a run-of-the-mill controversy. And here’s the real kicker about it all: Not a damn thing happened in any of those controversies that hasn’t happened in other administrations and, in fact, isn’t pretty much standard operating procedure once you get to the level of high and mighty.
The IRS targeted people who want to abolish the IRS? Shocking, like getting pulled over more after U put on the F*** the Police bumpersticker
— Bill Maher (@billmaher) May 16, 2013
Now, that’s not a fancy way of saying “both sides do it,” which is another common trap Teh Media fall into whenever it needs to avoid doing its actual job. And besides, that trope is only used when right-wing nutjobs and “respectable” conservatives alike do really ugly stuff like send out racist images of a presidential candidate during an election and my colleagues have to dig really hard to find the one lunatic lefty who hangs Sarah Palin in effigy.
No, the bureaucratic spin of Benghazi, close scrutiny of organizations seeking tax-exempt status and seizing phone records of journalists are just what we get when my colleagues are more concerned about #Obamacareinthreewords than in the truth. And when my beloved colleagues can’t be bothered to seek the truth in any situation, they leave it to one “side” or the other in a ridiculously dualistic polity to do even more spinning, close scrutiny and spying, which they dutifully report as is.
(I’m well aware that I’m generalizing here. I know many good journalists — but I’m sorry to have to report that they’re getting fewer and farther between these days.)
Hence, Darrell “I want seven hearings a week, times 40 weeks” Issa gets to put on a big show during a week when other “scandals” are erupting, and my lovely, charming colleagues can regale us with unoriginal tales of Obama’s “terrible horrible no good very bad week” (Alexandra beat you to it, Jake) before the week is even up.
Why, it’s almost as if the not-so-loyal opposition didn’t say right up front back in 2008 they intended to do everything they could to spoil this presidency.
And that’s another thing that annoys me — a complete lack of institutional memory. Selective amnesia maybe?
That’s how it happens that all three of these “scandals” have now been tied to … get ready for it … Obamacare. Know what they most popular three words have been? Some version of “Internal Revenue Service.” From Rand Paul using his father’s debunked claims that the IRS will dig into your personal medical records because it’s been tasked with enforcing the law to Michele Bachmann’s lumping them all together right before telling reporters that residents of her district, which much be as crazy as she is, ask her every single day “Michele, what in the world are you all waiting for in Congress? Why aren’t you impeaching the president? He’s been making unconstitutional actions since he came into office.”
Yeah, well. I guess that’s just where you go when you’re about to vote for the 37th time since March 23, 2010, to repeal Obamacare. Just what we need. A repeat of 1998.
The only scandal here is that we’ve let this go on so long.
- Scandal Unfolds image licenced through iStockPhoto.
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