Wednesday, January 9
Campaign commentary? Sure, you want beige, cream, biscuit, pale, or sicklied o'er?
BROTHER, there ain't nothin' compares with the look of five or six pundits forced to bathe in their own excrement, not Duke losing in the semifinals, not the Yankees failing to make the playoffs. Nothin'. Tonight was the greatest political media spectacle since Judy Miller did the perp walk, and it was nearly as sweet as watching the This Week gang, and especially George Eff Will, trying to overcome thirty minutes of gag reflexes the week following their confident prediction that Bill Clinton would resign after the DNA ID, only to see his poll numbers skyrocket.
Of course the major difference between punditry and sports is that a massive humiliation in sports usually results in someone taking some sort of blame.
First off, let me say this: fuck Keith Olbermann, who opened his Monday night show with a ten-minute hit piece on Hillary Clinton that, had it come from Rush Limbaugh he would have skewered like a biopsied pilonidal cyst. He denounced her "Rovian" attack on fellow Democrats (namely, the guy whose coronation they'd been planning all weekend) when she dared to suggest she thought she was the best candidate to address a possible terror attack. And, of course, she cried.
Of course Olbermann's free to attack whomever he sees fit, and even be a dick about it, and we're free to remind everyone that this brave lecturer of the post-disaster George W. Bush was performing as a trained seal in the dark Spring of 2003, for the sake of taking over a cable news show. But please, can't we give Tom Brokaw something to do that involves fresh air and an undisclosed location? Brokaw always boxed three weight classifications lower than his competitors, and the fact that sitting him next to Brian Williams is the only way to give him any gravitas doesn't do either of them any good.
It was clear that the greatest portion of the shock! these people reported on all night was their own, especially in the way it took at least two hours for them to acknowledge that a) Senator Clinton had a lead that looked to be holding up and b) that by not getting blown out she had won big regardless. They kept holding onto the idea that it was "too close to call" while neglecting to add that that info was coming from their pollsters, and statewide exit polling, and not the stream of official results, and "to close to call" could be translated as "Obama loses". At some point Andrea Mitchell barged in--again, please, a one-way ticket for her and Alan? Somewhere, even if it's not prison?--to start speculating about how all the candidates would spin their results as a Win, thereby ignoring the fact that her own profession had been spinning longer and more furiously than any candidate would have dared.
Memo to Rachael Maddow: if--after all six courses of soufflé have been wiped off all the white European males at the big table--you decide to bring up how TPM was blaming Chris Matthews for stirring up a Hillary sympathy vote, either tell it straight or don't bring it up in the first place. No one used Matthews as "a metaphor" for anti-Hillary press coverage. Someone spoke explicitly of the sexist bullshit coming out of his mouth. Most of American can now connect to this internets thing and see for themselves, for one thing. For another, Matthews, and Olbermann, and Russert, and Williams are all guilty of being something a bit beyond metaphor bait.
Matthews, by the way, didn't even bother to deny he deserved to be treated as a metaphor for relentless anti-Clintonism; he just denied "having that sort of influence". Humility, thy name is Tweety.
And not on MSNBC (but I can't figure why), Sully brings up the Bradley Effect. The man who once said that by the time he'd reached political consciousness (in another country, mind you) civil rights was a dead issue and reverse discrimination was what animated him and his peers, now accuses (make that possibly accuses) New Hampshire Democrats of being closet racists, thus explaining why the Obama bandwagon he'd run to catch up with had a blow out. I think we can safely rule out New Hampshire voters getting their personal fill of Obamamania from reading your blog, Andy, but we can't really say the same for sure about those teevee guys and their sexist bullshit.
Now would be an excellent time for all the nets to step back, take a look at their coverage of the past week or two, and improve. And I mean that as a joke. Thing is, the punditocracy hasn't been wrong every single step of the campaign so far out of bad luck; they've been consistently wrong because, like the Bush administration, they're inveterate liars.
ADDENDUM: I realize it was a room full of campaign insiders, but the Obama pod people are starting to seriously creep me out. And when he said:
"We have been warned about offering false hope, but in America hope is never false," I was reminded of Mystery Men:
Mr. Furious: Okay. Am I the only one who finds these sayings just a bit formulaic? "If you wanna put something down, you gotta pick it up". "If you wanna go left, you gotta go right". It's...
Sphinx: Your temper is very quick, my friend. But until you learn to master your rage...
Mr. Furious: Your rage will become your master? That's what you were gonna say, right? Right?
Sphinx: Not necessarily.