News Roundup for 8/26/11

Smashed typewriter
Our political press

-Headline of the Day-
"Why Political Coverage is Broken"

If you've read more than one post I've written, you probably get the impression that I'm of the opinion that our news media sucks. But there's a reason for that; our news media sucks.

Press critic Jay Rosen has a good idea as to why: reporters try to pretend they have the inside scoop all the time, by pretending they're actually part of the stories they're covering.

And you've seen this yourself; reporters spend one hell of a lot more time talking about campaigning than they do about issues. And if the subject isn't elections, they spend more time on the palace intrigue of getting legislation passed than they do on what the legislation actually does. And then, after the bill passes or doesn't pass, the first question they ask isn't, "What does this mean for Americans?" No, it's, "What does this mean for Democrats/Republicans/President Obama?"

Result, straight up suckage on a massive scale and glossing over the important meat to concentrate on the minor details.

But that's not the big problem. By pretending to be political insiders, reporters fool news consumers into theink they're insiders too -- to become "cognoscenti of their own bamboozlement," which is the most awesome phrase I've read all day. In other words, it makes it awfully easy for politicians to play the media by pretending to provide the "inside scoop." As a result, the media basically reports on what amounts to advertising, not substance. And then reporters go off and report what's the message and how the message is being put out and what the message means to whom and who's polling the message... Who should really even give a fuck? What's in the damned bill or what does the candidate stand for!?!

"In campaign coverage, nothing is more common than a good lesson in candidate strategy: how Mitt Romney plans to capture the nomination by skipping the Iowa caucuses," Rosen says. "That's what fascinates the pros, the insiders. But think about it for moment: should we give our votes to the candidate with the best strategy for capturing our votes?"

Because you should, that's why. Now shut up and eat your fluff. You're a super-savvy political insider now! (PressThink)

-Fashion forward-
Moammar Q or K or G or whatever was always a leader in dictatorial fashions. What's he wearing these days?

Click to embiggen

Best I've seen him looking in years. (TruthDig)

-Bonus HotD-
"International Law Expert Chuck Norris Is (Shockingly) Wrong About UN Arms Treaty."

You know, if wingnuts stopped freaking out about things that aren't actually happening, they'd find themselves with one helluva lot of time on their hands. (Talking Points Memo)

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