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Lynn Sweet on MSNBC talking about Clinton and the "Tonya Harding" option

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What passes for political 'journalism' now is an incredibly biased, uninformed news anchor conducting an interview with real political reporters? Okay, that would be fine, I guess. But when the 'set-up' is so inflammatory, misleading, and so short of providing us a wholistic, contextual examination of the candidates--should it be called journalism?
I really admired Lynn Sweet's comment that the Democratic party is on the "...verge of a civil war..." right now. However, that assumes a lot of us still feel we have a dog in the fight. Personally, I'll vote for the candidate in the fall but spend my future efforts ensuring the instant runoff/second choice ballots so that maybe we'll get a green party growing risk free, as it were.
I don't think I'm alone in saying that I'll vote for Hilary or Barack, but don't wait for this Democrat/Green to kiss any boo-boos these two inflict upon each other.
This is disgusting.
And, I do think the Obama campaign operatives deserve most of the blame for this mess. Any time (and it's rare) that the media merely and FINALLY does its job of vetting at the national 'brickbat' (I don't like the image of knee-cap) level of politics--a vetting Barack never yet experiened, the Obama campaign BLAMES HILARY!
For instance, the Chicago media made a big show (and it really rattled Barack) of 'asking Rezko questions' but then failed to pursue this week an important question from the trial (and don't blame me, kids, McCain will be all over this with Kass and Limbaugh and O'Reilly) this week regarding the composition of a health care board that Sen. Obama SUPPOSEDLY helped build to Rezko specifications.
And the silence on it is deafening. A responsible media would have already checked it out (and found it bogus, no doubt), along with the earmarks from Barack AND Hilary. Neither candidates' earmarks have been explored and compared with campaign contribution patterns. Are the newsrooms of Chicago and New York empty? (Answer: yes. This is why John Edwards had my nod for having the ONLY media reform plank of any of the viable candidates in his platform.)
Still more deafening is the vaccuum created by Don Gonyea's NPR report yesterday "Obama Still Stumps on 2002 Anti-War Declaration" which showed two problems:
1. Nobody really heard of the speech at the time (so he can't say he's
'braver than Hilary re: the war') and
2. He was NOT as he said yet in the middle of a tough Senate campaign.
Listen and weep.
I almost did.
But now I'm just numb with tired anger about how Hilary AND Barack have not stopped the war in Iraq that's trashing our economy, how they haven't filibustered to make sure we don't have government spying on wee common folk, how they haven't at least voted to go on the record impeaching first Cheney and then Bush for the lies that got us into this war, for subverting our constitution and shaming us internationally with torture--the new 'f-word' in my book.
[I'm on the verge of thinking I want all the time and money I put into his career and Hilary's back. At least for the time being. Let them show me they can lead the party and the country out of this mess. Stop the attacks. He could be prez in 8 years. He'd be great then! There's still time for him to fold into veep under Hilary and, yes, William Jefferson Clinton's tutelage. Bill could find a way to get the world to forgive us and maybe some of our debt. Hilary and Bill could introduce him to the world's leaders and how to deal with them. They already know them and can converse with them about their country, their kids, etc.. That's a big deal. Yes, even in today's youth culture, experience matters. As it should. I remember when Bill Richardson was still saying that.]
But the saddest thing about all this is the media bias shown, particularly today, when the 'news cycle' dredged up yesterday's answer to a question, that, if she had left it unanswered, would have 'earned' her the label 'just another weak middle aged white woman' given the current state of demagogery that passes as campaigns and journalism.
[This reminds me of the Gary Larson cartoon with the devil prodding a guy standing in front of two doors 'damned if you do' and 'damned if you don't'. "C'mon, c'mon," the devil says, "it's one or the other!"]
Her comments were pretty mild and conciliatory about Wright. Was she supposed to do-- jump into Obama's boat (the Titanic, for many voters) on this issue? Did Obama show the same courtesy to John Edwards over the "$400 haircut" flap? "Hey, John don't worry about it. You should see what Michelle and I spend on grooming--and it's probably still less than any T.V. news guy or gal spends" No. He didn't. Nor should he have had to. [However, I still think both Hilary and Barack could have stood up for John when he was being ignored out of the three way race. But, then, maybe that's why I don't run any presidential campaigns.]
But I have covered pollitics. And I don't remember using such Batman-like language as "HIT!" "JAB!" "SWINGING" about such mild mannered answers to questions from an editorial board. And putting a graphic of Tonya Harding up next to Hilary? Isn't that kind of like that nasty Reese Witherspoon video on youtube earlier? Isn't that kind of similar to the "He's a muslim 'smear'" (And what's wrong with being a Muslim? Why protest quite so HARD?).
We have a saying, those of us who teach journalism to undergraduates---"show us, don't tell us." Look at the phrases the anchor used: "This comes as Clinton took her first swing at Obama's biggest scandal." "Hilary Clinton has come out swinging."
I don't remember seeing her wielding any bat.
Kneecaps are discussed like it's a Soprano's episode, or a visit to the Daley cabin.
And I'm left wondering if I should be surprised that the campus I teach at (WIU) is on 'lock down' from another threat of senseless violence.
Can't we all just get along indeed.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on March 26, 2008 9:49 AM.

Sweet: Obama posts income tax returns. LINK was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet: Clinton camp say Obama team making "personal attacks" against Clinton. MEMO is the next entry in this blog.

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