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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Our broken media, Paul Ryan speech edition

Greg Sargent flags a TPM video compilation "in which news anchors just don’t seem all that bothered by Ryan’s dishonesty, or even try to explain away the importance or significance of it."

It’s probably not fair to say this is representative, but it’s pretty eye-opening stuff. You really have to love the tone of surprise some of these folks bring to the idea that Ryan just might have been less than truthful here and there. Haven’t they been paying attention to this campaign at all?

This sort of thing, by the way, is exactly what the Romney campaign is banking on: that influential reporters and news outlets will prove unable to keep up with the sheer scope and volume of falsehoods the campaign uncorks daily, or just won’t care enough to reckon with what’s actually going on here. Again, this is a test: what should media figures do when one campaign has decided that there is literally no set of boundaries it needs to follow when it comes to the veracity of the assertions that form the foundation of its whole argument?

This has something to do with something I myself flagged yesterday. In a post explaining why Republicans get away with racebaiting, Terrance Heath also explains the lengths media personalities will go to to seem "unbiased" -- short version, they pretend to be stupid. The context here is Chris Matthews taking down RNC Chairman Reince Priebus for the GOP's ongoing racist campaign.

Brezinski  sat right in the middle of the Matthews/Priebus showdown and excused Romneys' most recent bit of race-baiting. When Matthews asked why, other than birther-based race-baiting, Romney would have quipped about his birth certificate at a Michigan campaign stop, Brezinski  was quick to give Romney a pass by suggesting that maybe he's just an "awkward joker."

There ya go! See, nothing racist there at all. It's just that Mitt can't tell a joke to save his life.

She actually started making excuses for him. And the reason (at least, I think it's the reason -- I'm not a mindreader) is that she thinks it makes her look more levelheaded. She's the calm one. Matthews is spitting fire and Priebus is slinging BS, so the correct position must be someplace in the middle. Why must it be? Because balance, that's why. The rules of logic don't apply here -- in every dispute, both sides are just as wrong and just as right because that's the way you cover your ass from a partisan letter-writing campaign.

So Paul Ryan could've stood up there last night and accused Barack Obama of sneaking into houses and strangling infants in their sleep and the villagers wouldn't have blinked. "Well, that's certainly a serious charge," Talky McHead would've said. "We'll keep an eye on what the Obama campaign has to say about that one. Still, it  seems to be playing well with the base -- listen to that applause! Clearly, this was the sort of red meat speech they were dying to hear. Paul Ryan's really knocked one out of the park tonight."

Seriously, if you want to be stupid, watch TV. If you want to be informed, read.

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