Friday, February 8

Ans: Not Enough Sand

NICE to see that Olbermann could get around to covering the David Shuster story.  It'd be nicer if, after two such "controversies" involving MSNBC "talent" in as many months, the token liberal on the Network That Used To Bring You Imus, the Network That Paid Tim Russert and Brian Williams to Think Up Those Questions, could have assigned the story a number, and talked about it, instead of slipping it in sideways and giving Shuster a big sloppy one before adding that We, of course, moderately deplore what he said. And what would have been really nice is if the Shuster story hadn't come four minutes after a third-hand retake on Bill Clinton's remarks of two weeks ago.

I have a few questions.

• What's it take to get fired from MSNBC? Calling a sponsor a nappy-headed pimp?

• How does "pimped out" come to be part of David Shuster's on-air vocabulary, anyway, and please, don't tell me it's because Atrios and Jane Hamsher think it's perfectly ordinary. There's language, and there's public language, and there's the public language of journalism, actual or mock. David Shuster is not Dale Earnhart Junior uncorking a "Shit!" on his team radio, forgetting that he's also on the air. He's a guy hosting a putative show about politics. Would it be excusable if he'd said John McCain "gave Bush a blowjob"? I believe that "temporary" would have been left off the press release about his suspension.

• No, it ain't hypocritical, motherfucker. I have no problem with rough talk, obviously, but then I'm not getting paid and I have zero responsibility to the public. NBC does, and it and the other nets have gone far too long without being held accountable. Though that language would be inappropriate aimed at anyone--even someone charged with promotion of prostitution--the fact that it was aimed at Senator Clinton and her daughter is absolutely part of the issue.   Because they made it so.

• And what about the fact that Shuster was entirely full of shit? Bill Press was right there saying, "The Bush Twins campaigned, too," which shouldn't even be necessary, and Shuster still couldn't keep his foot off the gas. It's stupid shit, and it wouldn't have been said about any media darling.


John deVille said...

"How does "pimped out" come to be part of David Shuster's on-air vocabulary?"

As a confessed MSNBC addict, I think I've got yer answer: It's the Animal House ethos spearheaded by Matthews and Scarborough (and formerly the guy who never graduated college, the I-man). Tweety and Joe never pass up a chance to leer, crush a beer can on their heads, or anything else that gets a cheap laugh from the Tri-Delts on the set or giggle via satellite.

Willie Geist got in on the act yesterday morning, overtly ogling at Jackie Meretsky, clad in a tight, low cut blouse, while Mika (aka Blowsie) giggled the faint protestations of the one who has clearly had too much to drink because that's the only way she can screw.

In other words, you want cred in the MSNBC crazy house, at least the part dominated by Tweety and Joe, you've got to be an misogynistic ass. Disparaging Hillary is a short jump shot, but going for the kid gets bonus points.

Unfortunately for Shuster, who is a decent reporter in my opinion, his otherwise pointless and stupid comment was noticed by Dean Wormer and not just Bluto and Otter.

Julia said...

He's saying that he said it because it bugged him that the press office wouldn't let the press talk to her (although after the childhood she had, I'd be amazed if that wasn't one of the conditions of her campaigning. I can't imagine the press are her favorite people, particularly the press from NBC).

Whatevs. My problem with the grossly unprofessional and childish way the press is behaving in this race has to do with the fact that they're - deliberately - making it pathetically obvious who they support and who they want defeated, and apparently they've decided that their jobs no longer require them to give fair news coverage or the level of civility you'd give to the kid at McDonalds if you didn't want spit in your burger to candidates they don't personally Like.

Because it didn't occur to anybody on that set to tell him he was out of line. Because he can't see any reason it's inappropriate to use a word which denies agency to the grown woman who doesn't want to speak to the press and reduces her to something you can stick your dick in for money because he doesn't like the way her mother's staff talks to him.

Because nobody in MSNBC management insisted he apologize until the Clinton campaign threatened them. Because their marquee "journalists" pride themselves loudly on their blue collar authenticity and working class values and they nod and wink at behavior that would get them sent home with their teeth in a bag if they used it on the street in The Neighborhood they haven't set foot in for fifty years.

Because the whole thing took place on Tucker fucking one man wingnut welfare satellite office Carlson's latest televised outpost and it's abundantly clear that he knows daddy's political connections are going to keep him on TV no matter what he does (and it's not as if he needs the money if they don't) so he can run the place like a frat house.

Because casual misogyny isn't really bad if you're talking about Hillary, because she's kind of a cunt, right?

Because the Right Reverend fucking Tim Russert used his time cuddled in Jack Welch's scrotal sack wisely and Wields Great Power, the aura of which extends its rosy glow over his wife's cackling screeds about what awful white trash, er, otherly blue collar the Clintons are, and they don't, you know, Count, those people, at least not to the point where they're allowed to do anything we don't like.

Because I guess nobody reads Orwell any more and they didn't do the exercise where you draw up a mental image of your metaphor.

Because these people fucking suck.

So yeah, I bet it's really frustrating that someone who's actively involved in the campaign won't talk to the press if you want to be the guy who gets that story, although if he wanted to make a point about double standards he should have made it and he didn't.

The point he did make was that grownup Chelsea Clinton was a less appropriate part of her mother's campaign than the tabledancing Bush twins and he was clearly taken aback that his guest disagreed with him.

Which should give you some idea what the sentiment is in his professional circle. He just mentioned the elephant in the living room.

So anyway, that would be my guess.

doghouse riley said...

I love you, Julia, y'know.

It's Detroit, 1970; bloated automakers so used to making bloated cars that they're dismayed at the thought of having to change with the times--by legislative fiat or intelligent self-interest--so they pout like three-year-olds. No one made the nets turn news into entertainment. But now that the intertubes have proven what anyone with a three-digit IQ already knew, that there's more talent on your block than there is on a week of Imus, their natural instinct is to acquire, not innovate.

First, you get a nice piece of lawn, then you roll it every day for six hundred years! I don't watch much MSNBC, mostly Olbermann when he hasn't put me off my feed, and the way the reporters behave on that program--the "liberal" one--is just disgraceful. They're playing reporters on teevee. They let the NBC guys play it a little straighter, but everybody shapes the message to the show's schtick. You see Milbank or Fineman say things on that show they contradict on the Tweety hour, let alone in print the next day; even a guy like Wolff, whose sensibilities seem to match the show's, plays along. And, of course, on Scarborough or Tweety it's even worse; my brief encounters with them are convincing.

Bob Somerby has said it time and again: why would you talk to these people? Hillary Clinton takes these motherfuckers breakfast and gets slammed for it. I hope she 86s all debates with those people, period. And I wish Obama would join in, just like I wish to hell he'd acknowledge that the Press that fawns over him is a big fucking part of the partisanship which is making Baby Jesus cry. (Plus I'd start to believe he was serious.)

The great thing is that it hasn't worked its old magic. The bad thing is, of course, everything else. We've endured this forever, the script never changes, and they don't feel there's any reason to even pretend to be fair any more. I swear that if "President McCain" meant that as of next January everyone working in broadcast or cable news, and the Nagouneys and Seelyes and Finemans of print, would disappear into the service industry, to be replaced by genuine, objective reporting and reasonable, fair airing of opinion, I'd pull that level in a heartbeat.

Anonymous said...

I have no magnificent obscene outrage to add to the above of Julia's. But your nostalgia for how it used to be pre-Ronnie's-Deregulation calls to mind a re-broadcast that somebody ran a year or 2 ago, of a documentary about the Normandy Invasion with Dwight Eisenhower and Walter Cronkite. I'm old enough to remember that liberals and Dems used to sneer volubly at Ike for being less than eloquent (Mad Magazine at the time said his speeches "read like unmade beds"!). But man, he sounded good. He and Cronkite together, were the voices of another universe of reason, intelligence, and honesty. Not to mention professional competence and pride in doing one's work properly...

I damn near wept watching it. How, how have we fallen so far, so fast in this regard?

Li'l Innocent

aimai said...

I just have to say that after my mad passion for Doghouse comes a truly mad, bad, and dangerous to know passion for julia's comment. Totally brilliant.


heydave said...

Wow, all the cool kids got here before me! But that's fine; I usually just spew my non sequiturs for my own amusement.

Off topic, would Mr. Doghouse be interested in sharing an expose of that darling Maverick McCain? Talk about media jargon, he's a maverick like my ass is the newest planet!
Yet I seem to have lost all my favorite web references that disposed of such nonsense, and would dearly like to see the arguments presented (and deflated) once again.

Thanks, in any case, for the rantings.

R. Porrofatto said...

Hear, hear Julia and our host! In the ancient era when I was young, the closest thing to hearing a TV broadcaster's opinion occurred just before sign-off at 3 A.M. when the local station would air an "editorial." With the exception of Murrow's documentaries I don't recall TV journalists doing much more than reading the news. Chet & David didn't have their own talk shows, and some TV reporters were actually good reporters. Then, for ratings reasons I guess, suddenly in the late 60's there was Howard K. Smith et al fulminating against antiwar hippies and pimping the Vietnam war for Nixon, with "COMMENTARY" super'd under their spewing heads. I think it was then that the networks discovered that controversy (or more accurately, pandering to prevailing prejudices and ignorance) was a ratings draw, and thus the embryos of our own Tucker Carlsons were implanted in the uterine wall of the nightly news profit center. The print media followed suit, and it's been downhill ever since.

Candy said...

I'm thinking of a scene from the movie Sid and Nancy, where Nancy's dominatrix friend Linda has a guy strung up naked in her apartment. She's flogging away, all dressed up in her leather gear, and she's saying, "You've been a naughty, naughty news reader!"

Love to see Tweety and Timmeh et al get a whooping like that, only not enjoying it.