Arianna Huffington seems to be becoming an MSNBC regular and MSNBC seems to have cast anything like reliable reporting to the winds.
Yesterday afternoon Barack Obama said just what he intended to do on health care and Roger Simon of Politico, a few minutes later, on Hardball, suggested that the President needed to do just these things. Such ignorance is pathetic. I didn’t tune in to see if it was repeated on a successive tape of the “show”. Simon also left out a whole list of other things Obama said. Obama is an inconvenience to the media. He says what he thinks. They could not report as they do if they listened.
Now it seems Ed Schultz, who is apparently miffed at being called an over-reactor, features as an apparent ally — Arianna Huffington. I think she and a number of MSNBC regulars, including the usually sensible Joan Walsh, are infected wth a virus I cannot identify. Well, maybe I can. Maybe is the virus that made it impossible for limousine liberals to escape the noose prepared for them by the likes of Dick Nixon.
I mean folk who operate not out of real need or self-interest but out of altruism, sometimes accompanied by preening self-regard. Their posture, depending on their wealth and celebrity, is what may have inspired Bob Dylan to speak of the executioner’s hand as “well-hidden”. Though in recent years the need to hide malevolence seems to have diminished.
Now Joan and Arianna and Ed Schultz would not execute anyone on death row, but they darn sure do not recognize the power of their words when dealing with one Barack Obama, who happens to be the President of the United States.
I honestly believe it is because they have no real interest in whether he succeeds or not, regardless of the sympathetic look in their TV eyes when they enunciate his shortcomings. If they were interested, they would start looking at the actual things he has said and done and at the language of what has been produced on the health care front, instead of pontificating on the President’s problems as though he was just a bystander buffeted by friend and foe.
Jack Kennedy was given a massive honeymoon by the media, even when he was doing things that turned out to be terrible. Now Arianna and Joan and Ed and Chris, and the whole sorry family of talking heads on MSNBC’s PM lineup, with the sometime exception of Rachel Maddow, feel they can beat up on President Obama while decrying the racism that others are showing. Ouch!
If Arianna has legitimate reasons to conclude that the President has mismanaged, she has not offered a proper brief. In fact, I think it is more a matter of whether she has mismanaged.
Someone commented here that HuffPo is tabloid journalism and I am reluctantly forced to agree. Even tabloids come up with an occasional gem. So does HuffPo.
But, over all, it really does participate in the pall of mediocrity that lies over our national life today.
Huffington Post is set up to favor celebrities and close out bloggers whose points of view are iconoclastic or at odds with conventional wisdom. Fortunately, there are efforts underway to provide an alternative that will hopefully carry on a tradition of fair journalism and a clear division between reporting and opinion.
Obama has been more than open and fair to Huffington Post. I am not suggesting that Arianna thank him. But I find it a tacky pursuit to become a talking head on MSNBC at a time when that channel is systematically throwing away the standards set by at least some of its past luminaries. Its sad ratings compared to FOX represent a compelling reason for new management.
It is bad enough to have no public intellectuals without having an increasingly mindless commentariat.