November 05, 2007

Sometimes it just pays to know when to quit. Towards the end of an otherwise unremarkable critique of last week's media-mauling of the former First Lady, Digby emits this shriek:
Grab the Maalox kids because I can feel it in my gut. The bad breath and the sleepy eyes and the bedhead are all around us. Come 2009, if a Democrat wins the presidency, the Village press will finally wake up from its 8 year somnambulent drool and rediscover its "conscience" and its "professionalism." The Republicans will only have to breathe their character assassination lightly into the ether --- the Village gossips will do the rest. And if this new president resists in any way, a primal scream will build until he or she is forced to appoint a special counsel to investigate the "cover up" and grovel repeatedly in forced acts of contrition in response to manufactured GOP hissy fits and media hysteria. We're going forward into the past (and judging from the haircut nonsense we've already seen, it isn't confined to Clinton.)

Reforming politics isn't enough. Reforming the media is just as important. The current administration is so power mad, morally bankrupt and inept that their natural heir is a barking madman. (And some excellent reporting has been done to expose them.) But the Village kewl kidz and the queen bees who set the political agenda and dominate the coverage have never found any of that interesting or worthwhile. They care about their silly little shorthand parlor games that they think reveal politicians' "character." And their judgment of character is about as useful to the average voter as Brittney and K-Fed's.

They are a huge problem and I can't see how this country can pull out of this spiral until this is dealt with.
"Dealt with?" What did you have in mind, madam, waterboarding Maureen Dowd? Sending David Broder to Gitmo? Having a free press means taking the superficial with the substantive, the accurate with the inaccurate, and sometimes, even political figures we like are subject to scrutiny. Even unfair (and dishonest) scrutiny. It's called the First Amendment.

A veiled threat about "dealing with" heretical journalists has more than the whiff of fascism about it. If the Digby's of the world see elections as the first step towards the Great Day of Reckoning with the Evil Forces who have been in our way, perhaps they deserve to be marginalized. The hard work and heavy lifting involved in actually getting progressive policies enacted for the first time in forty years will require courting and compromising with said Evil Forces, due to the rather cumbersome structure of our government, and rhetoric about "reforming the media" is simply not high on our agenda.

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