The American public must be the most be most polite of all bodies politic. It accepts insult of profound and disturbing depth with equanimity, and does not respond with anger or resentment, but turns the other cheek. It forgives those who treat it with contempt, be they the politicians themselves or the media who pimp for them.
Yesterday, for example, in its lead editorial, the New York Times foisted with a sublime nonchalance an argument of such tissue-thin substance that even the most callous liar would blush to speak it, which is that the Republican Party really doesn’t want to nominate Mitt Romney:
The crowd at the Republican National Convention this week will faithfully support Mr. Romney’s nomination, but its heart will be closest to the younger man with the more radical ideas standing at his side.
An average person might wonder “Well, then, why don’t they nominate Ryan?” Beats us. We’re not clever enough to parse this subtlety. But if the electorate can be persuaded that the Romney nomination is simply a clever GOP subterfuge to place Ryan in the driver’s seat, well, then, maybe they’ll vote for the other guy. I do not think that Mr. Romney is aware that the Republican leadership has him playing the role of a Ryan stooge in mind, but then, he has neither the information resources nor the acuteness of perception the Times editors enjoy. Will Times readers object to this naked attempt to impose fantasies on them? Most will not; those who might have long since left the room and turned to other news sources.
On the politician side, even more impressive was the recent interview conducted by Anderson Cooper with Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, they Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Cooper is hardly a right-winger, but he is to be credited for his refusal to accept W-S’s outre insistence that Romney favors banning abortion for rape victims and mothers with life-threatening medical issues. W-S shouts down Cooper’s repeated attempts to correct the record with admirable intensity, evoking (in my mind, at least), a kind of bizarre Barbra Streisand impression of Joan of Arc.
Cooper’s reaction to this hilariously screechy performance is a great moment for journalism, where a reporter whose sympathies lie with one side stands up against someone similarly-aligned, but whose nonsense level has breached the levee of credulity. One wonders if there are conservative journalists who would have the courage to perform similarly when confronted with an equally irrational screed from the right. We have yet to see one.
Yet in all this, a breath of fresh air. Meet Andrea Seabrook, our hero. Ms. Seabrook just resigned from NPR, basically because she is tired of being an enabler for just the sorts of people who think that politics is a form of high school football, where you root for your side and call the other team names. According to democraticundergound.com:
NPR’s Congressional reporter of a decade, Andrea Seabrook, got tired of repeating politicians’ lies every day so she resigned.
“I realized that there is a part of covering Congress, if you’re doing daily coverage, that is actually sort of colluding with the politicians themselves because so much of what I was doing was actually recording and playing what they say or repeating what they say.We need to stop coddling lawmakers, stop buying their red team, blue team narrative and ask harder questions of them.”
To be fair, Ms. Seabrook does not plan to leave the profession, but has founded a blog called DecodeDC, “a blog and podcast where she plans to do reporting that, ‘will decipher Washington’s Byzantine language and procedure, sweeping away what doesn’t matter so you can focus on what does.’ ”
Well, whatever Ms. Seabrook’s intentions, we here at The Daily Cannibal fervently hope this becomes a trend. The more journalists who leave the media establishment with promises to provide more objective, less rah-rah reporting, the better. Now, what alternative employment can we offer politicians who would like to do the same?