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  • Lance Mannion
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    Wallkill, NY 12589

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Thank you so much, Lance. You're doing a public service.

I know someone who works in the Washington press corps, and I am alarmed by his political naivete. He is naive, yet he mistakes his naivete for hard-boiled cynicism or maybe realism. Like other members of the DC press corps, he admires, and is amused by, what he deems to be effective politics, no matter how dishonest. The Swift Boat Liars succeeded, and therefore they are admirable. During the 2000 recount, Republican thugs brandished "Sore/Loserman" signs down here in Palm Beach County; my acquaintance thought those signs were funny and effective.

He doesn't distinguish between honest and dishonest political argument; between indictment and name-calling. If a given political gambit works, then he admires it. He thinks he's a hard-eyed pragmatist because of that. He doesn't see that he, too is being played for a fool. He doesn't recognize the danger of vicious lies in our political process. He doesn't believe that his role as a journalist is to police the liars, to distinguish truth from falsehood. He's being played for a sucker, and he doesn't see it and doesn't care to, and that's what makes him naive.


I can second Queequeq, albeit on a local level. Back in my own newspaperin' days, the one unforgivable newsroom vice was passion... outrage...taking the process seriously. OK, that's three vices, but they're interrelated. As this is the attitude on the local level, I'm not at all surprised the national news mafia share it. To some degree, this outlook governs why, say, concerns about voter fraud find no purchase in newsrooms. If a candidate wants it bad enough to cheat, he/she deserves it! Any shenanigans connected to the highest office in the land (to say nothing of lesser offices) are treated less seriously than a slugging outfielder caught corking his bat. Way less seriously.

[Digression: The Gore fiasco also had the virtue of fitting a narrative. The Dems don't want it enough; ergo, they are not real men, willing to dive to the floor after the loose ball (or insert your own sports reference).]

It's no original thought to say the national media's finest cover politics like a horse race or other sport. But, for whatever reason, it still shocks and angers me, even after all these years.


Over at "Raw Story" today, there was a wonderful little headline juxtaposition: "Buffet: Papers face long term challenges; founder: The people who run newspapers are 'screwed.' " And they deserve to be be. The Iraq Invasion has destroyed whatever credibility these commentators and their publications ever had, and they don't even see it yet. Thanks for the simple, step-by-step examination of Cindy Sheehan:honest and Swift Boat Campaign: liars, and how the chattering classes could care less about making the distinction.

Queequeg's comment above is quite perceptive. Since starting my photoblog in San Francisco a couple of years ago, I've gotten to know quite a few working and retired journalists, and it's been an amazing education. What always strikes me is how absurdly naive they are about their own effect, as expressed in "we're just completely nonpartisan journalists without an ax to grind" which even if it wasn't nonsense on its face, also flies in the face of economic reality. Their copy editors, photo editors, headline writers, and above all their owners make sure that whatever they write, it follows whatever happens to be the party line or they'll be relegated to page B-12 in a jiffy. The fact that right-wing Zionism has been the party flavor for some time in most major newspapers in this country is just starting to sink in for most people. And Lord, does it ever stink.

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