The End Of The Halperin/Drudge Era

Matt Yglesias seems to be missing this important development. He writes:

Naturally, it got its Drudge link. All for a story about nothing. [Mike] Allen’s response is, I think, the most infuriating. Everyone knows that Mike Allen is an important political reporter. His morning “Playbook,” in particular, helps set the agenda for the whole next day of moronic political buzz. When he writes up a stupid story, he’s not passively predicting that people will be buzzing about it, he’s helping to make it happen. In this case, it didn’t work. Today’s cable news has, overwhelmingly, been about an actual policy question—Obama’s housing plan. And good for cable. But no thanks to Mike Allen.

(Emphasis supplied.) I wrote about this last year, but I get the impression that those still in the Beltway (Yglesias lives in DC) are slow to get it. The Media simply is less important now and getting even less important by the day. Results matter now, not Media talk.

Speaking for me only

< Why Obama Is Right (And Feingold Is Wrong) On Afghanistan | Late Night: Meatloaf >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Well, speaking from inside that (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Feb 18, 2009 at 06:52:40 PM EST
    notorious Beltway, I sure hope you are right.  I'd like nothing more.

    But you should give us a bit of a break, as I think many of us were completely stunned that the media machine - aka spin - completely took over this town for a number of years and to add insult to injury when we ventured beyond the boundaries of the Beltway we were "treated" to many "average Americans" parroting what was clearly spin.

    I had a guy in a tiny town in Alabama state unequivicoally to me that the father and son who strayed into the Captiol Building's airspace should have been shot down "as an example".  He then refered to September 11th as if he had a freakin' clue about what that day was really like for those of us who experienced it.

    I lost it.  I told him that he had no right to pretend to understand; that people like me hold democracy in higher regard than Fox News drivel; and that the last thing we want in this country is innocent civilians shot down out of the sky to set freakin' examples.  He was parroting a very powerful right wing media at that time.  My mistake in the early 2000's was believing that the people outside the Beltway wouldn't buy what the media was selling.  I was so very, very wrong in making that assumption.  I was also fool enough to think that some of the old guard on the Hill would not cave to the media and public pressure to throw the democracy out the window.  Two strikes for me!

    I disagree (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by cotton candy on Wed Feb 18, 2009 at 07:06:19 PM EST
    The Media simply is less important now and getting even less important by the day.

    No, I think that certain types of media are becoming less important with the rise of new media(i.e. blogs like this one) and the decline of traditional media outlets that used to set the political agenda. We don't have to listen to these blowhards as our only source of news now and that is the most positive thing to come out of the end of Drudge who should have never ruled anyone's world to begin with.

    I can't top Yglesias's commenter #8 (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by ruffian on Wed Feb 18, 2009 at 08:47:08 PM EST

    " Everyone knows that Mike Allen is an important political reporter." My god, have more terrifying words ever been written?


    Two points.... (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by NYShooter on Wed Feb 18, 2009 at 10:13:31 PM EST
    I attended my newspaper's (circ.@25,000) editorial advisory board meeting today:

    1.The overwhelming majority view of all the bailouts was negative. e.g. "People who bought houses they couldn't afford shouldn't be bailed out." "Greedy bankers who caused all this while enriching themselves shouldn't be bailed out." "Unless we let the markets work this all out, we're only postponing the inevitable." They also felt the auto industry should be allowed to go bankrupt for the same reasons. (They, obviously held, they felt, secure jobs.) When I pointed out that most defaulting homeowners became that way due to loss of jobs, health insurance, and lenders' chicanery.If we let the banks and autos go bankrupt, much as we hate their managements,the entire economy could implode and tens of millions would become unemployed........crickets.

    2.Rush Limbaugh earns every penny of his $300,000,000. He, and his ilk, can reliably deliver 40+million angry, low information, low intellect, blindly loyal voters to the Republican cause.

    3.(I know I said only 2) They are deathly afraid of The Fairness Doctrine being resurrected.

    Good for you for (none / 0) (#18)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Feb 18, 2009 at 11:39:07 PM EST
    going to the meeting and at least trying.

    Problem is, it's soooo much easier to be angry about stuff than to actually dig in and find out the details.  That's what the right wing has always been so adept at exploiting.


    Thanks, but (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by NYShooter on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 12:24:12 AM EST
    I'm actually a member of the board.

    The area is thoroughly "Red," however our representatives are more frequently "Blue" these days.

    Our editor, whenever we have unfamiliar guests come in, introduces me, only half jokingly, as "our resident malcontent."

    Occasionally I'll reply, "They've never gotten over my betrayal.....I have a diploma."



    Oh, my! (none / 0) (#20)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 12:53:38 AM EST
    Whew.  Don't know I'd have the stomach for doing that.  I applaud you for it, though.

    I'm with you on a couple of points. I KNOW about (none / 0) (#22)
    by DeborahNC on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 01:44:41 AM EST
    RED, and a "malcontent" is probably one of the nicer things I've been called by my some of my fellow North Carolinians.

    , I do think that the mainstream media outlets continue to wield tremendous power for several reasons that we probably all would acknowledge. If for no other reason, they are able to reach larger segments of the population.

    As several commenters have already noted, once a message is broadcast and repeated ad infinitum by news personnel or so-called pundits, that meme often takes hold in the minds of many Americans, and once it's entrenched, it's hard to dispute.

    For instance, I was looking at the Congress.org website, and regrettably decided to view the comments to Kay Hagan, one of our senators, from some North Carolinians. Here is a verbatim example of the types of messages she receives.


    Here's one more (only partial).

    "Subject: Spendulis Package-- And the Democrats want to call the Republicans organized criminals? This pork filled Spendulis package is the biggest piece of garbage the corrupt Democrats have shoved down the throats of Americans! Democrats are bringing about the end of the Free Republic of the United States of America! ..."

    Those words sound as if they came from Glenn Beck or one of his "colleagues." My point is that certain messages from Fox, CNN, etc. resonate with people, and they repeat them as if they were facts. In that sense, yes, the MSM has a strong influence on Americans.

    On the other hand, I have witnessed a shift in the the conventional media's programming and format that appears to be a direct result of the presence of news alternatives on the internet, i.e., blogs. Some in the press and broadcast media have been forced to admit that their news coverage has been influenced by the reporting and opinions presented on blog sites. For instance, bloggers are regularly featured on shows like Tweety's.

    So, in that way, the increasing presence of blogs, with their accompanying reportage and opinions of domestic and world events, has shaped the conventional media's reporting. And, I think that blogs will increasingly affect the way we receive our news and feel optimistic that the power of the MSM will be somewhat diminished. But, let's face it, they have large companies with megabucks supporting them, so it won't be easy.


    Well, they are getting part of their wishes (none / 0) (#25)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 07:53:09 AM EST
    "People who bought houses they couldn't afford shouldn't be bailed out."

    From everything said on the various news/talk shows yesterday, and still today, the only Main St assistance will be given to those who are still employed and current on their mortgage payments. The adjustment is a simple refi to a lower interest/payment. The banks are having to be incentivized into even talking to Main St residents with a $1000 bonus for each mortgage they rewrite.

    Others have said the dollars allocated are not enough to do much for more than a few hundred thousand people...not the 3-9 million being sold in speeches.

    The speech, though, is really spot on.


    Argument Deets (none / 0) (#26)
    by Samuel on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 08:58:02 AM EST
    "When I pointed out that most defaulting homeowners became that way due to loss of jobs, health insurance, and lenders' chicanery.If we let the banks and autos go bankrupt, much as we hate their managements,the entire economy could implode and tens of millions would become unemployed........crickets."

    So how do we restructure the economy without letting these assets get bid down?  I don't get what you think will change to make currently unprofitable businesses profitable.  If our automakers have illustrated they are not profitable over and over wouldn't it make more sense to allow new management to buy out their capitol at low prices?  Or at least for them to realize they need to make big changes because the government will let them fail - like a capitalist rather than socialist/fascist (who can tell) country.

    I don't know exactly why you got "crickets" but unless they changed their minds they probably just didn't want to make the effort to explain their view point - maybe laziness on their part.


    You missed my point (none / 0) (#30)
    by NYShooter on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 01:09:14 PM EST
    I'm not an economist, and I have no idea how to restructure the economy.

    The point I was making is that the Republicans also have no clue, yet they remain solidly unified by doing what they always do, and do best; find a scapegoat, never mind how irrelevant or false, and blame the problem on them. E.g. "welfare queen, Willie Horton, Liberals, Socialism."

    If you read Christine Pelosi's comments regarding the HBO, McCain/Palin campaign special she produced, you will see perfect examples of what I'm talking about. When she asked some enthusiastic supporters at a rally, "what holds you people so together, so unified?" They answered, "We all hate the same things." When presented with undisputable facts, negating some Republican/Limbaugh distortions, they take refuge in the comment, "it's a lie."

    So, for you to present cognitive questions regarding our dilemma, when I'm discussing the political realities of same, is, like they say, discussing "apples and oranges."

    Of course "apples and oranges" is simply a more pleasant euphemism for the more apt, "thinking and non-thinking."


    I can sympathize... (none / 0) (#31)
    by Samuel on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 03:32:59 PM EST
    No one likes "knee jerk reactionaries".  For all I know they were spouting stuff they did not understand.  I see your point, my comment was out of line.

    But guess what - we get a "however" (sorry).  Just because these guys could not explain it - and maybe generally sucked as people - doesn't mean anything about the economic argument behind their statements.  

    Republican's have no clue - I agree for the vast/vast/vast majority.  Any of the clued in folks ditched during the last 8 years I would think (otherwise they can't be clued in right?).  Republican politicians put these arguments into the mouths of their reactionaries so that people that have some knowledge on issues are immediately ignored by intelligent progressives. The flip example is that their moron's would have ignored a valid argument from an intelligent person on Iraq because they would have been highly prejudiced of that person's type.

    Well when we look back on 2003 it seems that the fallacious argument was the one in favor of increasing gov spending and power.  If you ignore everything Left/Right and think State/People then you realize a 800billion "stimulus package" should be dealt with critically.  The historical evidence and the theoretical evidence - as in Iraq in it's own regards - is just not there.  Also - the presentation is just the same as it was with Iraq - rushed, alarmist.  

    Sorry for coming at you like a d. in the first post.


    Let your "d" (none / 0) (#32)
    by NYShooter on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 08:15:58 PM EST
    Be the worst assault I'm the victim of. lol.

    But, you make an interesting point. (Even though it took a little entrail poking to find it.)

    The main reason, I believe, why our system of governance doesn't work can best be explained by a simple, silly example: One group of legislators asks, "How many dollars will it take to do XYZ?" The other group answers, "yellow." The point being, using the stimulus package as an example, that the public wants an expert, mathematically defensible, empirically, and statistically  provable solution.  

    But, Obama wants to prove his post partisan unity shtick is a reality. The Dems want to show they're DOING something. The R's want to stop the D's from doing ANYTHING, and so on.

    Now, there are some very smart economists who, left alone, could probably fix the problem. I mean, F.D.R. didn't send a bunch of Senators and Congressmen to Germany to kill the Nazis; He sent his best Generals. So why do we send a bunch of Senators and Congressmen, who know absolutely nothing about economics, out to fix the economy?
    Unfortunately, at this very perilous time in our short history, we need a hero.

     Even  more unfortunately, we live in a time where "political hero" is a cruel oxymoron joke.


    Best economists to solve problems... (none / 0) (#33)
    by Samuel on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 08:52:31 AM EST
    Are you kidding me? (none / 0) (#34)
    by NYShooter on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 10:58:19 AM EST

    Scientific...., scientistic......, scientism

    You must have me confused with my brother, you know, the one with the scholastic scholarship to Harvard.
    Me, I could throw a baseball, and that was good enough for Syracuse.

    But thanks for the link; I promise to read it right after I finish translating the Talmud from the original Hebrew.

    But seriously, I will read it, and maybe after my migraine subsides, I'll get back to you with an opinion.


    Go Phils! (none / 0) (#35)
    by Samuel on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 11:15:10 AM EST
    What is amazing (5.00 / 0) (#23)
    by JThomas on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 02:29:59 AM EST
    is how BTD comments on mainstream media and how it is losing relevance and some folks can turn on a dime and comment on how they dislike the President, and do not trust him.

    BTD could comment on virtually any topic, and some folks here would bring the President into the thread...obsessed much?

    If the MSM ..... (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by trillian on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 07:27:03 AM EST
    ....really were as irrelevant as you say, Hillary Clinton would be president right now.

    Case closed.

    Not so sure, although I'm not (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Wed Feb 18, 2009 at 05:40:29 PM EST
    watching cable.  

    Today's cable news has, overwhelmingly, been about an actual policy question--Obama's housing plan.

    Seems to me that at least the on-line news sources are running with the housing plan, not the increase in troops to Afghanistan and that this was what the Obama PR department wanted to happen.  

    With every stupid story (none / 0) (#2)
    by Steve M on Wed Feb 18, 2009 at 05:56:03 PM EST
    they make themselves less relevant.

    But I think the reality is that the tougher the times, the less interest people have in trivia.  I guess the media doesn't catch onto that.

    You mean you don't really care (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by oculus on Wed Feb 18, 2009 at 06:03:09 PM EST
    if that chimp was on zanax?

    I confess (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Steve M on Wed Feb 18, 2009 at 06:04:59 PM EST
    that there was plenty of discussion about the chimp around the water cooler today.  Some discussion about the chimp cartoon, too.  But about Obama's proclivity for flags, not so much.

    I am highly attuned to how many (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by oculus on Wed Feb 18, 2009 at 08:06:32 PM EST
    flags surround the President, depending on what issues he is talking about on a given day.  Flag pin is now a given.

    I will never forget (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by Steve M on Wed Feb 18, 2009 at 08:28:54 PM EST
    when Obama came out on the stage for that race speech, and there were enough flags to stimulate the Chinese economy for a decade.  You gotta love politics.

    Obama has turned flags (none / 0) (#16)
    by Faust on Wed Feb 18, 2009 at 11:15:49 PM EST
    Into a Warhol-esq soup can style painting.

    I kinda dig it.


    The polls moving in the opposite direction (none / 0) (#6)
    by magster on Wed Feb 18, 2009 at 06:33:45 PM EST
    of the conventional wisdom on opinions on Obama, congressional Dems, congressional Repubs, and the stimulus package seems to have gotten some attention this last week (eg: on Shuster's show).  It seems like maybe it's trendy for a news organization to show they are not like everybody else.  We'll see how long that lasts.

    Speaking of the Media (none / 0) (#9)
    by SOS on Wed Feb 18, 2009 at 07:43:36 PM EST
    how soon you think Oabama will be viewed by the media as inept and the "wrong man for the job"?

    He'll need to have his (none / 0) (#27)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 10:45:13 AM EST
    Katrina moment, first.

    It's a wee bit early (none / 0) (#17)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Feb 18, 2009 at 11:36:59 PM EST
    to announce the Obama adminstration is too chicken to admit the banks are insolvent. For one thing, we really don't know that they are, we can only suspect.  The interrelationships with other institutions and the complexities of the toxic assets on their books make that a calculation that simply cannot be made from the outside.

    That's why auditors are swarming over their books right now for the so-called "stress test."

    Secondly, the problems of the financial system are far, far too serious for the Obama administration to be jumping the gun and declaring them insolvent until they're dead certain of it, and it's frankly pretty idiotic to expect them to do it within less than a month of taking office.

    I expect and I hope for a careful and considered assessment and then appropriate aggressive action, not vice versa.

    I give them another few weeks.  If they're still muddling around and equivocating, I'll be happy to admit you were right and I was wrong.  But however timid Obama may be, neither Geithner nor Summers nor Bernanke are timid people, and I put more hope in them than I do him.

    Stress test = "hide the sausage" (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by reslez on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 01:33:05 AM EST
    100 auditors parceled among the 18 largest banks in the world is hardly a swarm. If you divide them out equally that's only 5 or 6 auditors per bank -- and these corporations have hundreds of ISVs and trillions in assets. If they sent 100 auditors per bank I might buy the argument, maybe.

    Moreover these auditors are banking regulators with little to no specialized knowledge of the exotic securities and derivative instruments that have caused these banks to implode. There is no way they'll be able to arrive at an honest valuation of these assets. No, they are going to get the numbers the banks give them and take the banks' word for it. If this were an honest audit you'd need 100 courageous, dedicated, experienced people digging through Citibank alone. It takes a special kind of person making $60k a year to stand up to a CEO making $25 million and tell him he's full of it. How many of those people do you think remain in Bush's Treasury Department? And there's no transparency of what kind "stress test" is being performed and no chance the results will be made public.

    In order to solve this crisis of banking confidence we need 100% accountability and 100% transparency. The audit will reach the conclusion the banks want it to reach. The "stress test" is a sham. And no, this isn't 11 dimensional chess. It's fear. Nobody wants to admit how bad the banks really are or how much it'll cost to fix. It's coming anyway.


    Just look at the polls (none / 0) (#29)
    by KoolJeffrey on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 11:52:51 AM EST
    A large majority supports the President. Don't forget that Mainstream Media is a business. They generate false controversy in a desperate attempt to boost ratings. Fortunately, people are tuning them out. The country has more important things to worry about than flag pins and partisan one-upsmanship.