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The Weblog at The View from the Core - Wednesday, April 28, 2004

"I Don't Accept That"

Neither do I, Mr. President.

Thanks to Margaret for calling my attention to this interesting piece by Jay Rosen at Press Think, Apr. 25 (quoted ellipsis in original):

.... Auletta was the right choice, anyway. Others have done the complaining. He's done the reporting on the subject, pushing further into the mind of the White House than anyone else. To me, and to most journalists, this gives him unique authority to speak. A good radio show is about that. Auletta, for example, can describe Bush at a barbeque for the press in August, where a reporter says to the president: is it really true you don't read us, don't even watch the news? Bush confirms it.
And the reporter then said: Well, how do you then know, Mr. President, what the public is thinking? And Bush, without missing a beat said: You're making a powerful assumption, young man. You're assuming that you represent the public. I don't accept that.
Which is a powerful statement. And if Bush believes it (a possibility not to be dismissed) then we must credit the president with an original idea, or the germ of one. Bush's people have developed it into a thesis, which they explained to Auletta, who told it to co-host Brooke Gladstone:
That's his attitude. And when you ask the Bush people to explain that attitude, what they say is: We don't accept that you have a check and balance function. We think that you are in the game of "Gotcha." Oh, you're interested in headlines, and you're interested in conflict. You're not interested in having a serious discussion... and exploring things.
Further data point: The Bush Thesis. If Auletta's reporting is on, then Bush and his advisors have their own press think, which they are trying out as policy. Reporters do not represent the interests of a broader public. They aren't a pipeline to the people, because people see through the game of Gotcha. The press has forfeited, if it ever had, its quasi-official role in the checks and balances of government. Here the Bush Thesis is bold. It says: there is no such role — official or otherwise....

Let's talk straight, Faithful Reader. Journalism is politics by another name. The idea that "the press" represents "the people" is, and always was, smoke & mirrors. The press isn't objective; the press was never objective. The press, in its various manifestations, represents only those people who happen to agree with it.

And you know what? That's fine. Honestly.

The real problem has been two-fold: (1) as the 20th century progressed, mainstream media started to pretend that its various organs (newspapers, TV, news wires, et al.) were objective conveyors of news, when they were (and still are) partisan filters of news; (2) mainstream media — the media that most readily reaches the mass of the people — became almost wholly dominated by liberal/leftist partisans.

That's why it's been so important that conservative media have sprung up over the past 15 years or so: talk radio, FNC, WaTi, WND, etc. Are they partisan filters of news? Sure. But they provide — and, because they do so, it's become almost a by-word of derision in mainstream media — they provide balance. If you follow a story in mainstream media and in conservative media, you'd often be tempted to think they're covering two different stories, the facts presented are so different and their presentation so different.

That's how it's ought to be in a free society.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Wed. 04/28/04 08:36:30 PM
Categorized as Media & Most Notable.


John Kerry Really Is In Really Big Trouble

Democrats in Self-Destruct Mode CCLXXX

Right-wing extremist publication, assuredly taking orders from Karl Rove, slams the presidential candidate again.

Now it's James Ridgeway at... Village Voice!

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With the air gushing out of John Kerry's balloon, it may be only a matter of time until political insiders in Washington face the dread reality that the junior senator from Massachusetts doesn't have what it takes to win and has got to go. As arrogant and out of it as the Democratic political establishment is, even these pols know the party's got to have someone to run against George Bush. They can't exactly expect the president to self-destruct into thin air.

With growing issues over his wealth (which makes fellow plutocrat Bush seem a charity case by comparison), the miasma over his medals and ribbons (or ribbons and medals), his uninspiring record in the Senate (yes war, no war), and wishy-washy efforts to mimic Bill Clinton's triangulation gimmickry (the protractor factor), Kerry sinks day by day. The pros all know that the candidate who starts each morning by having to explain himself is a goner.

What to do? Look for the Dem biggies, whoever they are these days, to sit down with the rich and arrogant presumptive nominee and try to persuade him to take a hike. Then they can return to business as usual resurrecting John Edwards, who is still hanging around, or staging an open convention in Boston, or both.

If things proceed as they are, the dim-bulb Dem leaders are going to be very sorry they screwed Howard Dean.

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Village! Voice!

How felicitous that he employs the word self-destruct. :-)

See also John Kerry Is In Really Big Trouble.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Wed. 04/28/04 05:24:11 PM
Categorized as Democrats in Self-Destruct Mode.


They Really Believe This Stuff

Democrats in Self-Destruct Mode CCLXXIX

Rich Tucker looks at two WaPo articles that ought to become classic examples of the quintessence of both Democrats in Self-Destruct Mode and Core's Law of Old Media. (Ellipsis in original.)

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This week the Washington Post is taking a look at supposed "typical" Republican and Democrat voters. Yesterday, we met the typical "red state" voter. He owns six guns. Drives a Chevy pickup. Drinks beer with his buddies at Hooters. Etc. Is there a stereotype we've missed?

Today comes our "typical" liberal family. This time, all stereotypes are out the window. OK, they live in San Francisco. But that's about it.

They're not gay. They have two children — also not gay. The parents are blue collar workers. They go to church each week. They've never been divorced.

This is the "typical" liberal? To pick out just one problem with this story, the "typical" regular churchgoer is overwhelmingly likely to support conservative candidates.

This seems like a whitewash. If the paper could find a "typical" red state voter who fit all the stereotypical traits, it ought to have been able to find a "typical" blue stater who did, as well. Maybe a limousine liberal from the Upper East Side ("How could George W. Bush have been elected? Nobody I know voted for him!") Or an anti-war activist who marches for every cause that comes down the pike (there must have been at least one such liberal here in D.C. for the pro-abortion rally this past weekend...)

Just an example of a big-media disconnect that sees liberals as normal people, and conservatives as some strange species from somewhere "out there."

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Alas, Faithful Reader, Tucker doesn't seem to quite understand that it couldn't get much better than that. :-)

P.S. Here is the WaPo series:

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Wed. 04/28/04 07:09:52 AM
Categorized as Democrats in Self-Destruct Mode & Media.


From Howard Kurtz to John Kerry: Helpful Advice

It's the Personality, Stupid.

A fierce new attack has been launched against John Kerry.
It has nothing to do with taxes, defense spending or gay marriage.
The charge is that Kerry leaves people cold.
Let's take a look at how this charge gained traction — to the point that several pieces have been written about the so-called likability factor (or lack-of-likability factor) in recent days.

First, there's obviously a few grains of truth here. Kerry can seem stiff and tends to orate when he speaks, often in convoluted Senate-speak. The man looks dour, like he's perpetually worried about global warming or something. In some of these articles, friends are quoted as saying that he's really a funny and terrific guy in private — the same sort of testimonials that were offered by pals of Al Gore.
Second, Republican flacks are peddling this line — Kerry is grating, he doesn't wear well, he looks French, he's not as natural as Bush, and besides, the senator and his wife are too rich to relate to ordinary folks. (That's the reason for the focus on Kerry's wealth — ironically, from people supporting the son of a president and grandson of a senator who summers in Kennebunkport).
Finally, though, I believe it has to do with the press. Reporters are writing these stories because they're not particularly fond of Kerry or, at a minimum, agree with the critique that he's an awkward pol. Kerry never had a particularly great relationship with much of the Boston press corps, and the same is proving true with the national media.
All this is more important than it may seem at first blush. Most people are not going to vote for a potential president unless they're comfortable with that person coming into their living rooms for the next four years. I happen to think this was an underrated factor in the Bush-Gore race.
It's surprising that, instead of dueling with Tim Russert, Kerry's handlers don't have him chatting up Barbara Walters or Oprah or posing with his family for People. Kerry himself says that folks don't know much about him. The effort to fill in the blanks involves more than just position papers and reminding people that he served in Vietnam. There's also the warmth factor.
This, at bottom, is what the Kerry medals flap is about. Not whether he tossed his ribbons but other soldiers' medals in a protest 33 years ago, but whether he is so calculating that he did it deliberately and isn't owning up to that. Kerry's notably testy interview with Charlie Gibson on "Good Morning America," replayed for much of the day, probably didn't help him....

I don't read Kurtz often enough to know if he has given helpful advice to the Bush campaign. Somehow, I rather think not.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Wed. 04/28/04 06:50:18 AM
Categorized as Media.


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