Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Funday: Truth In Media

As we've hit the end of the week, and as it's been another week of politics where we often look at the stories that make headlines and think, "What the hell," we've decided that today going to contrast the latest story about how evil the media can be, with some good news about the the media. After all - it's Friday!

First, the bad news. This is what NOT to do, if you're involved with the media.

In case you missed it, the media exploded yesterday in a flurry of massive SuperPac money numbers and political cowardice, when the New York Times announced the latest story of the right-wing corporatists attempting to buy this year's election.

Apparently, notorious conservative political media hack Fred Davis - the same guy who came up with the 'Demon Sheep' ad in California, and the "I'm Not A Witch" ad for Republican Christine O'Donnell in Delaware - tried to cook up a brand new stew of poisonous lies and smears from a leftover four-year old smear campaign against President Obama.

Davis apparently presented his storyboard to Joe Ricketts, the wealthy Republican Omaha-based billionaire, whose money bought Deb Fischer her spot as the GOP nominee in this year's U.S. Senate race in Nebraska. Davis sold the idea to Ricketts, promising Ricketts could "do exactly what John McCain would not let us do." According to legitimate sources, Ricketts was set to spend $10 million on this zombie smear campaign against Obama - that has absolutely nothing to do with the issues most voters care about in this year's Presidential election.

The media firestorm was already brewing Thursday morning as we published the day's edition, and by the time we had lunch, Mitt Romney and his campaign had already distanced themselves - albeit in a stumbling way - from Ricketts and the right-wing PR media group pushing the trash and lies.

Instead of admitting the proposal was not a politically wise move, Davis' so-called public relations firm's first instinct appears to have been to defend their actions, claiming that if Sen. John McCain had ran the same smear ad four years ago, he'd have defeated then Sen. Obama.

That was all an example of what NOT to do. Here's the right thing to do.

After the PR firm mentioned him, Senator John McCain quickly came out and proved the media hacks wrong. McCain said he was proud of his actions in 2008 - for not running the proposed trashy smear ad against Obama - and McCain agreed with Mitt Romney in condemning the proposed ad, and indeed any kind of trashy Super PAC propaganda that uses personal attacks instead of focusing on real issues. Romney's camp also reiterated - a bit more professionally - their desire to stay away from personal attacks during the campaign.

That action - shunning the propaganda and lies, even just a little - is what makes this a good moment in the media today. Because of Mitt's decision -  and the following terrified retreat by other sleazy media hacks from this trashy ad - we all may experience slightly less offensive political propaganda on our TVs and radios, at least in the short term.

There are those who think Romney just decided to lean the way the political wind was already blowing at gale force on Thursday - and looking at some of Mitt's previous comments, that may indeed be the case.

Even if it is, the key fact is that Mitt Romney did choose to push away the disgusting, hate-filled, personal attack plan with Joe Ricketts' name on it, and Joe Ricketts' SuperPAC money behind it. What's more, because of Mr. Romney's choice, the Ricketts' family businesses may actually be suffering some financial repercussions for their attempt to use our media as a platform for Father Joe's hate speech. The hatemongers were spurned so badly, even Ricketts has now repudiated the plan that still carries his name on it.

All of which proves, if more candidates would stand up against the hate ads, the hate ads would likely disappear from our media, at least for a little while.

For us, this little blow up means maybe we can actually watch - and enjoy - some TV this weekend. And that's some good news indeed.

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