Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Words mean things

A man on a horse...

Whoever thought the last elections would usher in a new era of civility, politeness and generally cordial relations ‘tween one and all was sadly mistaken.

We haven’t even completed our first year of Hope (fulfillment) & Change (can you spare some?) and we’re at each others throats like the next election is tomorrow. We can be comforted knowing that Americans have always gone toe-to-toe with each other over political, cultural and other subject matter – great and small. It’s just that today’s 24/7 news cycle, the speed and immediacy of the Internet, talk radio, cable TV and a host of other venues make the discourse seem louder/ruder than ever.

Over the course of the last week, we’ve seen the relationship between the White House and Fox News go from worse to “down the rabbit hole.”

Do the hustle...

Meanwhile, conservative talker Rush Limbaugh continues to – depending on your political views – lick his wounds from the NFL’s cold shoulder/make hay out of being pushed aside because of pressures exerted by people like the race-hustling Reverends Jesse Jackson, Jr. and Al Sharpton. Sure, he doesn’t have a minority ownership in the St. Louis Rams to brag about (like anyone would, anyway), but he has a whole new platform to stand on…and a new megaphone to yell with. He’s not just someone who can talk about “how the Left silences its critics,” he’s someone who stands as an example of it. No one thinks Rush is poor (or middle class…or even wealthy…he’s uber rich), but in getting swept aside by a government-like entity (the NFL) for expressing his views – and being slandered along the way with accusations of non-existent racist remarks – he’s become a symbol for many an aggrieved.

Feeling the heat for being called out for the false accusations of racism, numerous news outlets have either given half-hearted corrections (no apologies) or even taken to a renewed pursuit of Limbaugh. Earlier, a reporter who has been staking out the Limbaugh beat for CNN engaged a psychologist in attempt to gauge the talk show host’s “state of mind.” Needless to say, it wasn’t a favorable assessment. Limbaugh’s response? He “called Costello[the reporter] his ‘stalker’ before suggesting she ‘go sit on a fire hydrant and improve your day’.”

Shhhh, be vewy qwiet. It's Fox season...

Add words: If you’ve been watching what’s come out of the White House lately, you’ve got to wonder: who is the enemy…Iran or Fox News? Did the White House actually urge other networks to disregard Fox News? Interestingly, those rallying first – and loudest – to the Fox journos’ aid…have been other news people.

Add Fox dust-up: Perhaps the best push on this came from from ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper. Here’s the transcript from his ABC News blog, Power Punch:

From this morning’s gaggle in White House press secretary Robert Gibbs’ office:

Tapper: It’s escaped none of our notice that the White House has decided in the last few weeks to declare one of our sister organizations “not a news organization” and to tell the rest of us not to treat them like a news organization. Can you explain why it’s appropriate for the White House to decide that a news organization is not one –


Gibbs: Jake, we render, we render an opinion based on some of their coverage and the fairness that, the fairness of that coverage.

Tapper: But that’s a pretty sweeping declaration that they are “not a news organization.” How are they any different from, say –

Gibbs: ABC -

Tapper: ABC. MSNBC. Univision. I mean how are they any different?

Gibbs: You and I should watch sometime around 9 o’clock tonight. Or 5 o’clock this afternoon.

Tapper: I’m not talking about their opinion programming or issues you have with certain reports. I’m talking about saying thousands of individuals who work for a media organization, do not work for a “news organization” -- why is that appropriate for the White House to say?

Gibbs: That’s our opinion.

Last add Fox vs. White House add: Ruth Marcus at the Washington Post puts it this way: ”There’s only one thing dumber than picking a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel — picking a fight with people who don’t even have to buy ink.”

Hello to my friend, Anita!...

Speaking of White House words: Megan McCardle over at “Radical Chic,” gives her view on White House Communications Director Anita Dunn’s ridiculous statement about Mao Tse-Tung being a philosophical touchstone: “I thought that this must be some kind of grotesque conservative exaggeration, but no, White House Communications Director Anita Dunn really did tell a graduating high school class to emulate Mao Tse-Tung's bold and imaginative attitude during his takeover of China. Most of us look at the tens of millions who died and maybe think twice about trying to imitate the late Chairman, but hey, think different!”

He's gaffetastic!

It's always nice to close with a Joe Biden gaffe: from “The Gaffe-inator”– “The U.S. is in a depression. The U.S. is in a depression.” (I'll bet the prez was thrilled with that revelation.)

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