Thursday, May 16, 2013

Missing The Target Entirely

In a week filled with fake scandals and hyperventilating politicians, we've often found it good practice over the years to step away during the worst of the media frenzy to see what effect the actions of those in the media, like us, are having on "regular" Americans - and what stories we and others in the media are missing.

What the media at large is missing is a lot.

The budget cuts from sequestration keep rolling on, with states cutting back both efforts to prepare for wildfire season, and for flood warning systems across the U.S. Older Americans are still suffering too, as the hits to programs like Meals on Wheels keep coming. Even the IRS is getting hit with a five day shutdown in the middle of their current mess - though you're unlikely to hear most of our colleagues even mention one of these stories.

E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post seems just as frustrated as we are about all of the clearly important issues being buried under the rubric of the "scandal" narrative.

The fact is, right now, many of the "villagers" of the DC media elite are no better than the politicians they consistently denounce, on either side of the aisle - effectively killing those they're supposed to protect, while entirely missing their target.

Take the self-aggrandizing team of Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei at Politico, for example.

The two men wrote a piece for Politico on Wednesday, denouncing President Obama, and falsely claiming that the entire DC media corps was "turning on President Obama."

As Greg Sargent - definitely not a hack - points out at The Plum Line, the VandeAllen piece makes abundantly clear how out of touch and self-obsessed folks like Allen and VandeHei really are. Obviously, VandeHei and Allen must have forgotten about Fox News, blogs like RedState, right-wing talk radio, and notorious right-wing rags like the Washington Times, which all are part of that Washington media corps. None of those media organizations ever turned toward President Obama in the first place - so how could they be "turning on President Obama" now?

The bigger point, though, is that the kind of professional navel-gazing Allen and VandeHei engaged in tends to lose the real news in the fake, and turns potential news media consumers into people who've tuned out the entire media industry.

Real stories like the unprecedented rise in sexual assaults in the U.S. military, or the firing of acting IRS Commissioner Steve Miller by President Obama last night get lost in the narrative of "scandal" and the petty politics of revenge.

If the source you turn to for news didn't also point out the growing number of fast food worker strikes across America - including the one in Wisconsin yesterday - or the win against austerity that opened schools back up in Saginaw, Michigan on Wednesday, or all the other stories we've mentioned here today, you might want to reconsider your support of those "news sources."

If they can't even hit what they claim to be aiming at, what kind of mess are they really creating?