Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pitbulls x Pigs + Lipstick = Negative News Cycle

Over at Salon, Glenn Greenwald's column takes a moment to chastise both the McCain campaign, and more pointedly, the MSM--even naming names--for giving legs to the laughable non-story and fabricated gaffe in which Obama calls Sarah Palin a "pig." Or, y'know, doesn't.

In fact, Sen. Obama was just employing a trite turn of phrase--the one where you put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig, but not literally or facetiously or in a sexist manner. The same addage, as Greenwald and infinite internet commenters have pointed out, that McCain has used in the past. And about Hillary! Gasp.

But as the story gained traction, Democrats assumed the fetal position, feeling as defeatist and self-loathing as ever, accepting that the Right is just plain better at politics and conceding another battle of words, another news cycle and hey, maybe just another election. RIP Al Gore.

A McCain advisor said himself, “This election is not about issues. This election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates.” But from where do we draw these composite views? It's the media, stupid.

Tom Tomorrow is painfully accurate in his recent cartoon, also linked to by Greenwald:
Though sometimes enough is enough, and a few in the MSM begin to speak up. Shafer and Dowd reached back for a little something extra in their lists of potential hardballs for Charlie Gibson to throw Gov. Palin's way including the "honest trick question" How are you like Hillary Clinton? "Me?" she might've squeaked to buy some time. "I'm a mavrick [sic], Charlie!"

But while Gibson was no cakewalk, it's a little bit hard to reckon with the fact that the women of The View had the real chops last week in their grilling of McCain. Still, the chorus of questions builds to a crescendo and McCain is back at the bottom of the dog pile. Echo chamber, tipping scales, snowball effect, and so on.

It all makes me wonder whether it is truly a fit of conscience that puts the press back on their A-game or whether it's a far more self-serving pattern of Build 'Em Up, Knock 'Em Down, Repeat, giving each horse in this race alternating crowbar blows to the leg in hopes of a photo finish.


M. Dery said...

Excellent use of links to sharpen the snark-monkey tone---and I mean that as a compliment---of your post. Awesome. Love the "Mavrick" link. Well-argued, with plenty of supporting evidence, although I would like to have seen a quote from a media critic or editorialist, echoing you concluding point (which is a thought-provoking one.) Still, pithy, funny, smart.

Keith said...

I have to say, this whole Lipstick on a Pig thing was incredibly stupid and I was annoyed by it. Though, I don't buy that Obama wasn't making some sort of snide reference to Palin (ex 1: he cues a pause after saying it and the crowd laughs and laughs, ex 2: her acceptance speech will probably go down as the most memorable speech by a republican in 20 years, and he goes and uses a now well-heard joke because of it...he's just too smart and scripted for that), the McCain camp needs to stop crying foul every 5 seconds about Palin's treatment. I do think she's been treated horrendously, but causing issues about the non-important stuff overshadows the real, sexist, terrible stuff.

Overall, I dont know if I agree with you (in fact, I dont). But I thought this was well-argued and developed nicely (it rolls along quite well). I especially liked your use of the cartoon, which added to the post's pithiness.