What's Crazy Is The Media

In discussing the stupid heckling incident by Republican representative Joe Wilson of President Obama, Glenn Greenwald discusses what is really crazy - the Media's insistence that questioning the President, ANY President, is crazy:

Eugene Robinson today absurdly calls the GOP's disrespectful behavior at Obama's speech "un-American." Right-wing contempt for Obama is often petty, deeply emotional and ugly -- just like right-wing leaders themselves. But the demand that the President be venerated and treated as royalty is far more "un-American" than disruptive transgressions of etiquette. Wilson's heckling was juvenile and dumb, but that's all it was. If only a fraction of the media dismay devoted to his two-second breach of "decorum" had been directed to, say, rampant presidential lawbreaking, or the implementation of a torture regime, or the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people in our various wars, we would be much better off.

Glenn goes on to discuss how Politico still thinks it is crazy to question the Bush Administration's statements in the runup to the Iraq Debacle. The reality is, as I have written for years now, the Media is absolutely incompetent on every level. It is not just partisan and biased, it simply fails at its basic mission of holding the government accountable. By now, this is a dog bites man story.

Speaking for me only

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    I am all for questioning (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 10:25:52 AM EST
    the president or anyone else.  that it seems to me is very different than screaming liar at him in the middle of a Joint address of congress.

    That you would think the two issues (none / 0) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 10:36:06 AM EST
    deserve to be in the same conversation is sad.

    I am confused (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 10:56:47 AM EST
    did the post not start with those two issues?

    It did indeed (none / 0) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 11:00:01 AM EST
    It posited that it was CRAZY to give them equal weight and that the Media was insane because it only cared about "civility" and did not care about the truth.



    good (none / 0) (#13)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 11:02:21 AM EST
    I thought I was agreeing.

    Your first comment (none / 0) (#17)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 11:11:18 AM EST
    certainly did not say that imo.

    I am often not succinct (none / 0) (#21)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 11:23:11 AM EST
    but thats what I meant.  the path we seem to be on makes me wonder how long it will be before we are treated to the soccer like brawl in one of the houses of congress that we are used to seeing from south korea and malaysia.

    Agree there on the (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by brodie on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 11:32:57 AM EST
    slippery slope argument.

    Look at how the RW organized town halls this summer went from vocal disrupters to people showing up outside armed to the teeth.

    The verbally and physically violent RW that seems to have become an important part of the Repub Pty is an alarming phenomene libs should not lightly dismiss with a shrug.

    Punish and deter I say, even on this relatively trivial instance.  It would probably help timid Dems in Congress to finally work up the nerve to investigate and punish larger Repub misdeeds.  Gotta start somewhere ...


    no less a person than Pat Buchanan (none / 0) (#27)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 11:40:42 AM EST
    in no less a forum than WorldNutDaily (I wont link) makes some interesting points:

    Is America coming apart?

    We see it as Rep. Joe Wilson shouts, "You lie!" at the president during his address to a joint session of Congress.

    "You Lie!" Get the bumper sticker that immortalizes American opposition to Obama

    We seem not only to disagree with each other more than ever, but to have come almost to detest one another. Politically, culturally, racially, we seem ever ready to go for each others' throats.

    One half of America sees abortion as the annual slaughter of a million unborn. The other half regards the right-to-life movement as tyrannical and sexist.

    Proponents of gay marriage see its adversaries as homophobic bigots. Opponents see its champions as seeking to elevate unnatural and immoral relationships to the sacred state of traditional marriage.

    The question invites itself. In what sense are we one nation and one people anymore?

    Pat Buchanan thinks this is new? (none / 0) (#46)
    by Spamlet on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 01:03:43 PM EST
    the isues are not new (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 01:33:39 PM EST
    I think the level of vitriol and open hatred are new.

    I don't think (none / 0) (#55)
    by Spamlet on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 01:50:57 PM EST
    the Civil War--or, as the vanquished side would call it, the War of Northern Aggression--ever ended, really. The vanquished side nurses grievances akin to those of Germany after the Treaty of Versailles.

    i've been thinking the same thing (none / 0) (#24)
    by Dadler on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 11:29:50 AM EST
    perhaps they would all pummel each other into smithereens and we could really start anew.

    if only.  



    Personally, I would like to (none / 0) (#30)
    by MO Blue on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 11:49:36 AM EST
    have weekly question and answer sessions like the English do. If we aren't getting good legislation from our politicians, we at least deserve good entertainment.

    I'm thinking it could become the (none / 0) (#37)
    by MO Blue on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 12:29:07 PM EST
    new reality show. Would have many of the same aspects IMO. Think about it. Millions would be glued to the TV and exposed to the political issues of the day.  

    The Brit system also (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by brodie on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 01:01:02 PM EST
    allows for something a little closer to actual debate than what we see in our Congress, namely blowhard congresscritters droning on and on one after the other, with no opportunity (unless by special "colloquy" arrangement) for immediate rebuttal.  

    The Brits also know how to use the physical setting to its maximum advantage to enhance the drama of political battle -- a narrow, confined space for several hundred with the two leading actors just a few feet away from each other in the middle of the stage.  MPs forced to squeeze in elbow to elbow, with SRO conditions (by design) when all members show up.

    Churchill had the right idea when he designed the new parliament.  He must have learned some things -- mostly about what not to do -- from visiting our cavernous congressional chambers.


    Completely disagree (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by samtaylor2 on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 10:33:30 AM EST
    Good manners and rules of decorum are very important.  

    Good priorities there (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 10:35:28 AM EST
    Let's worry about civility but not worry about the truth.

    That's what you are completely disagreeing with BTW. Glenn's point is THE TRUTH and holding the government accountable is much more important than civility.

    You "completely disagree" with that.

    Amazing confession.


    certainly truth is more important (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 11:54:42 AM EST
    but I think the point we are tying to make is that screaming insults at the president in a formal setting or (eventually) having a soccer brawl on the floor of the senate is not the way we would like to see the truth espoused.

    yes we all laughed at the guy who tossed a shoe at Bush.  but that was Iraq.  this is the USA.  we like to think of ourselves as better than that.

    thats all.


    Well (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 12:56:04 PM EST
    To restate the obvious, the REAL problem is not peoplde being mean to the President, it is the Media not holding the President to account.

    I do not know how many times I need to write the same thing to impart what I am saying.

    Truly amazing.


    I think the two could be related (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 01:32:09 PM EST
    the more crazy the assaults on the president the more they can justify keeping everyone at a distance and the more they can get away with pretty much anything.

    I feel as if (none / 0) (#7)
    by Steve M on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 10:40:43 AM EST
    you are using "very" in an absolute rather than a relative sense.

    My goodness (none / 0) (#9)
    by Upstart Crow on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 10:50:21 AM EST
    I was a Vietnam protester, and nobody talked about good manners and decorum back then. Isn't this the same generation of people?

    Why are people like Eugene Robinson suddenly crooking their little fingers over their teacups?


    Nope. Actually, there was a (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by oldpro on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 11:47:11 AM EST
    concerted effort to get civility and good behavior into many of the marches and demonstrations, knowing that moms, dads and grandparents were watching on TV...and their support would be needed to end the war.

    The 'civility' mainstreamers were always outnumbered by the flowerchildren/hippies and the radical activists but they were active and they were visible...even in Gene McCarthy's campaign where thousands of kids went "Clean for Gene!"


    indeed (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 11:49:55 AM EST
    and more to the point we were protesting what we believed was an illegal war.  not the expansion of health care or the fact that the president is not a citizen.

    No one I know cared whether (none / 0) (#36)
    by oldpro on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 12:07:28 PM EST
    the Vietnam War was legal or illegal.  It was a nighmare...and unending quagmire and the draft was the problem for keeping it going.

    The draft is what sparked the growing anti-war movement...not our misbehavior in Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam.  If there had been no draft, we might still be there!  With troops, I mean...


    And specifically (5.00 / 2) (#47)
    by Spamlet on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 01:06:36 PM EST
    The draft is what sparked the growing anti-war movement

    the threatened draft of upper-middle-class white boys.


    Well, some senators (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by brodie on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 01:15:09 PM EST
    began to be concerned about the war's legality starting end-65 and 66 when they saw LBJ quietly massively escalating the conflict.  They wanted to pass a res undoing the Tonkin Gulf Res, but worried Dem leadership batted it down.

    As for further attempts to hold the president accountable, there was an attempt by courageous senators to question LBJ's War with the Fulbright Senate Foreign Relations hearings in 1966 -- which was carried live by the networks and garnered a great many new antiwar proponents among the masses, people who were just learning to think carefully about our involvement over there.  Not enough however to create an antiwar majority in the public or Congress -- yet.


    very true (none / 0) (#40)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 12:51:01 PM EST
    on questioning the Bush administration (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 11:05:13 AM EST
    Morning Joe this morning had Joe Klein (loser) who happened to be cogent this morning and was trying to make the point that the questioning of Bush was based in fact and based on the looney thing he and his administration did while the Obama stuff has just been crazy.

    morning joe was having none of it.  it explained to Klein that his opinion was simply based on his partisan opinion and there was really no difference.

    so there you  have it.

    I'll take your word for it (none / 0) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 11:10:29 AM EST
    I am not well versed in the issue Joe Wilson called Obama a "liar" about.

    it was healthcare for illegals (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 11:17:34 AM EST
    but the morning joe conversation, I think I was really not paying that much attention, was about a broader climate of hostility toward Obama as compared to the hostility that was directed at Bush.

    conservatives seem to actually believe that questioning Obamas citizenship religion and national allegiance is the same as questioning why Bush lied through his teeth to get us into an illegal war.  or at least they say they do.


    actually (none / 0) (#20)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 11:20:05 AM EST
    calling them "conservatives" was probably not accurate.

    but whatever those who seem to be running the opposition party are, that seems to be what the believe.  or say they do.


    Please don't confuse (2.00 / 0) (#57)
    by Slado on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 03:09:18 PM EST
    all criticism of Obama as "conservative"

    Some is looney...birthers

    Some is radical...Palin

    Some is hyper partisan...Wilson

    And some is honest criticism...Obama is a partisan president (just like they all are) and the media gives him passes on some things because they are in love with him and have been since the democratic primary.

    Remember when the beginning of the criticism of Bush first started much of it was dismissed by the right and the media as partisan craziness.   It slowly built on itself and the facts caught up to the few early progressives that made substantial and logical arguments against his policies (this was hard to find in all the noise but it was there).

    The same is happening now.  Kind of a 12 steps of political criticism...denial..you know the rest.

    For people like Klein to not see the similarities shows his bias.   For Joe to quickly dismiss him and not accept that fact that much of the current criticism is weak and partisan is equally silly.

    Simply put Obama has some serious weaknesses form the left and right and lumping all criticism together misses the truth.


    What's hilarious, in a bitterly ironic (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Anne on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 11:12:40 AM EST
    kind of way, is that the media would rather make Joe Wilson go sit in the corner for his fourth-degree etiquette violation than they would consider their own first-degree failure to question and examine and encourage a truly open and transparent and accountable environment in this government of ours.

    I understand that there is a code within the Congress that frowns on these behavioral transgressions, but the media have no standing to report on it, or clutch their pearls over it - not when they have applied themselves to stifling every effort to expose and hold accountable the actions and policies of the previous and the current administrations.

    Maybe it's really time to storm the barricades, stop trying to be so polite and registering our objections in the acceptable ways dictated by the establishment; at worst, the media might all collapse with terminal cases of the vapors at the horror of democracy in action.  I'm kinda likin' that possibility.

    Past time to "storm the barricades," (none / 0) (#34)
    by oldpro on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 11:58:32 AM EST
    I'd say.

    Even that can be a very civil exercise in protest but there is no evidence I know of that 'the progressive leadership' of so-called progressive/liberal organizations are mobilizing for anything but petitions!

    Oh, yeah...that'll work.

    Where are the rebels in 'the movement?'  Why aren't they staging sit-ins in bluedog offices?


    I do love (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by Spamlet on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 01:08:45 PM EST
    the expression "veal-pen progressives."

    Immobilized. Well, that explains it. (none / 0) (#60)
    by oldpro on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 11:09:35 PM EST
    Agree with GG that Robinson (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by brodie on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 11:24:01 AM EST
    was wrong with his use of that loaded phrase, but I don't think Glenn credits ER enough for how sensitive Robinson might be on the issue of rude and disruptive behavior shown towards this particular president and what the motivation might be.

    And how with this gang of extremist Rethugs, enablers of the violent town hall gatherings this summer, things could potentially get really ugly in the future if no punishment is forthcoming from our timid Dem leadership.  With no deterrence historically against Repubs in other areas of governance, we've seen how things can escalate and undermine democracy.

    Now in terms of presidential appearances before Congress, I'm all in favor of switching to the more robust and full-throated Brit system.  Shouting at and booing the Pres, with a referee on hand to keep things from getting out of hand and going on past tea time.  Plenty of well-trained security of course to keep an eye on the many crazy RWers, some of whom might be considering acting out violently, as they are inclined to do.  

    Once a week Questions for the President sessions in Congress, too.

    I tend to think it's not too great a stretch to imagine that had we had such an vigorous system of give-and-take and at least semi-accountability between Congress and the President in recent times, there might have been a war or two we could have avoided.

    ITA (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Spamlet on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 01:15:30 PM EST
    Once a week Questions for the President sessions in Congres

    That might also tend to remind everyone that the president is the head of the executive branch of government, not King of the U.S.A.


    Deans of the J Schools... (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by jerry on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 12:35:54 PM EST
    I'd like to think that in my field, engineering, if there was such a long run of incompetent failures of buildings, bridges, software, control systems, etc., that the "Deans of Engineering", whether that was Deans of the Engineering Departments, famous Engineers, or the biggest engineering companies would be talking about the systemic reasons for the failures and what it meant either as errors in theory or practice.

    I see none of that from the Deans of Journalism.

    I do see what you see, lots of lazy, incompetent journalists....

    Columbia Journalism Review (none / 0) (#49)
    by Spamlet on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 01:11:39 PM EST
    has long been offering rather cogent analysis of the news media's systemic failure.

    There are the deans of journalism schools, and then there are the so-called Deans of Journalism, such as David Broder.


    The deans of the journalism (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 01:42:31 PM EST
    schools don't even see to it that their graduates have a basic command of the English language.  No hope from them.

    Is this in response to me (none / 0) (#56)
    by Spamlet on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 01:53:48 PM EST
    or jerry? If to me, should I take your comment personally? ;-)

    Heh (none / 0) (#59)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 10:43:31 PM EST
    No, not meant personally.  Are you a J-school grad?

    As a copy editor, the language handicap displayed in most newspapers and particularly on TV makes me crazy!


    Yes, I am (none / 0) (#61)
    by Spamlet on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 11:45:11 PM EST
    Have worked as a copy editor, too, so I know what you mean. Most of the time it's painful to read a restaurant menu, let alone a newspaper.

    Where newspapers are concerned, the Bean Counters That Be often have the attitude that copy editing, or at least copy editors, can be dispensed with. The copy editors who are spared can end up with way too much to do. In print and online contexts, there's also the issue of late corrections and rewrites sometimes being routed right past copy editors and rushed straight into print or onto the paper's website, with the results you've noted.


    How sad (none / 0) (#1)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 10:23:20 AM EST
    is this? IMO, Joe Wilson is an idiot and that should have been the end of the story. Maybe now that the GOP is getting a "taste of their own medicine" they will see the error of their ways. Nah, not in a million years but what to do about this?

    I'm kinda jealous... (none / 0) (#6)
    by kdog on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 10:40:38 AM EST
    of how other legislatures roll around the world...much more confrontational and no one is hesitant to yell "bullsh*t" when they smell it. Sh*t sometimes they even throw down...I thinks its kinda healthy.

    I'm more upset that Obama didn't confront Wilson right then and there and debate it out...the outburst doesn't really bother me...when a legislator hears a lie from the pres or fellow legislator, isn't it their duty to call it out?  And if the one yelling "liar" is lying, the accused has a duty to call him/her out...and have it out.

    I think Obama handled it correctly, (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by KeysDan on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 10:53:29 AM EST
    he would have only embellished the newest celebrity Joe, first Joe the Plumber, and now Joe the Liar.  Anyway, looks like Joe is having his way with the Democrats; it is being reported that Baucus and Conrad are tightening the screws on their legislation by requiring proof of citizenship for participation in their proposed insurance exchanges.

    What else is new (none / 0) (#15)
    by MO Blue on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 11:10:27 AM EST
    The Dems keep changing the bills to meet Republican demands and the Republicans keep saying we still aren't going to vote for it. What else do you have to offer?

    I'm not so sure... (none / 0) (#23)
    by kdog on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 11:29:23 AM EST
    if Obama can do anything he can yap, he shoulda mopped the floor with Wilson, it would have taken all of 2 minutes of his speech.

    He could have simply said a) no Joe, you're the liar sir, we wanna keep the undocumented away from healthcare just as much as you...or my perference b) come to think of it Joe, we're already paying for the healthcare of the undocumented via the emergency room, maybe we should let 'em in on some insurance to save the taxpayer money.  Ya like saving the taxpayer money dontcha Joe?


    Well (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 11:40:13 AM EST
    Obama can yap but he cant really do it well off the cuff. he's better off saying nothing in this case than doing what you're talking about. It's just not in his skill set.

    Again I'm not sure... (none / 0) (#28)
    by kdog on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 11:43:03 AM EST
    now Wilson is a hero...when somebody calls you a liar to your face, ya gotta respond in some way, shape, or form...anything but let it slide because then it becomes the story, and the truth...right or wrong.

    Well (1.00 / 1) (#58)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 04:35:04 PM EST
    I can understand what you are saying but if talking is going to make it worse then you're better off not saying anything. In other times when presented with this situation, Obama has botched it. He's very thin skinned and it shows and he becomes whiny and defensive so he really did the best thing for him in these circumstances.

    a hero to whom? (none / 0) (#41)
    by Steve M on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 12:51:13 PM EST
    to the minority of the country that already despised Obama?  Big deal, so they have a hero.

    Yes, and I do see mandated a Baucus/Conrad (none / 0) (#32)
    by KeysDan on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 11:53:53 AM EST
    emergency room refusal amendment in our future, just as soon as some winger talk show host or wacko Congressperson complains about all that taxpayer blood being transfused into suspected illegals. Maybe, Mark Foley will pick up on this oversight--the newest radio host broadcasting from the Palm Beaches with the unfortunate name of "What's Inside Mark Foley's Mind." However, we may get the Chamber of Commerce to oppose such an idea (a sure slam dunk) when travel agents express concern for their foreign tourists;)

    Oh,oh. Get ready for the news of a Baucus/Conrad (none / 0) (#39)
    by MO Blue on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 12:43:01 PM EST
    mandate as early as tomorrow.

    Tea Party oganizer Mark Williamson was on CNN discussing that very issue. C&L


    Oh my goodness. (none / 0) (#45)
    by KeysDan on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 01:02:56 PM EST
    How do I remove the snark designation?  

    The MSM have become... (none / 0) (#8)
    by Dadler on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 10:42:43 AM EST
    ...the millionaire's club, just like the enterainers/pols they cover.  and they have too much invested in the status quo.  hell, the ARE the status quo as much as the entertainers/pols they drone on meaninglessly about, when not droning on about themselves.

    The real issue with the media (none / 0) (#43)
    by Slado on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 12:58:52 PM EST
    is they get way to caught up in the narrative that they create before the story happens or fully develops and then they take way too long to adjust to the obvious facts.

    I say this as blandly as possible as not to assign partisanship.

    Take you're favorite partisan example and it easily fits into this model.  

    It's like college football polls.  Once the ranking is set it's hard to move it even with losses and ugly wins.   The little guys have to go above and beyond to move up and the big guys stay highly ranked only because the pollsters don't like to change their pre-season rankings (based on assumptions) for fear it will make them look less knowledgeable.

    This happens constantly in our media.  The opinion pieces are written, the narrative set and then the talking heads waste countless breath fitting the actual consequences into the narrative meanwhile ignoring the facts or real story because to report  it means changing their minds or admitting they don't really know what they're talking about most of the time.

    It's frustrating.