Thursday, October 13, 2005

Richard Cohen: High Priest of Punk Punditry

Richard Cohen's crying towel of column, calling for Special Counsel Fitzgerald to close up shop and flee from Shadizar on the Potomac, has caused an angry buzz in the blogosphere. Steve Gilliard has an excellent take down.

The column's nauseating substance, by turns bathetic and pathetic, have been thoroughly parsed by both Atrios and Kos as well as others. I can only add this observation:

The truly sordid character of Cohen's argument is revealed by its literal bottom line. Such investigations should stop because they make his job harder. No one is talking to Cohen and it's all Fitgerald's fault. If Fitzgerald would just stop investigating petty criminality in the White House, then perhaps people would start returning Richard's calls. The DC press corps could get back to doing its job and the world would once again rotate on its proper axis.

Considering the performance of that press corp not only over the last four years but for eight years prior; that job seems to be acting as a drain pipe through which the power elite release a golden shower of propaganda points onto the unsuspecting heads of the American public. Cohen's part has been to breathe mild criticisms into that same pipe, providing a muted counterpoint to the tinkling cascade. That's his job.

It really is about the freedom of the press. The freedom of exorbitantly over paid scribblers to act as publicists for the pirates populating the centers of government under the pretense of journalism. The heady fumes that fill the air in Washington can go to the heads of such folk. They develope delusions of grandeur. One such delusion is confusing the ease with which they draw their paychecks with the national interest.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Endgame for Karl Rove?

It begins to look like it may be. Check out Larry O'Donnell's latest at Huffington Post.

Bill O'Reilly and the Media Whorehouse

David Kline over at has posted an account of being blind sided by Bill O'Reilly in a classic bait and switch. This prompted a spate of acerbic criticism. In the pile on, some fundamentals about the corporate media were overlooked:

Missing from this criticism is a recognition that O'Reilly is hardly unique. He is only a particularly blatant practitioner in a media where such tactics are SOP.

Any commercial broadcast program has an agenda. It may be ratings based, it may involve political favor trading, it may even, though rarely, reflect a commitment to the subject matter beyond mere exploitation. What is certain is that the programmer's agenda will come first and your's a distant second or third if that. As they control the microphone, it is an inherently unequal relationship.

O'Reilly is only remarkable in the nakedness with which he uses his advantage. His bully boy persona is part and parcel of his own marketing strategy. As is his pretense at not having such a strategy. Just a gutsy, straight shooting, no spin kinda guy is our Bill.

The only way to make any headway in this stagnant soup of hype and opportunism is to understand up front that you're participating in an electronic dog and pony show. You either figure out a way to make your own meme harmonize with whatever the existing agenda is, or you challenge it outright. The latter is difficult, calling for exhaustive preparation and planning. In the case of prerecorded programs, it is a practical impossibility. The most intelligent and trenchant commentator can be made to appear a buffoon through editing that de-contextualizes their statements.

Read Kline's whole thing.