Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Yes, They're All Stupid.

With Veterans' Day behind us, half of Congress still not back to DC, and less than three weeks until the holiday season gets underway, many of our colleagues in the national political media seem to be desperately searching for a single major news narrative right now.

Some have decided to follow the complete abuse of journalistic integrity shown by Lara Logan and the producers at CBS' '60 Minutes.' Other members of the political media have focused on the ongoing GOP civil war - specifically, the contrasts between recently re-elected New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former half-term Alaska Governor and Tea Party darling Sarah Palin. Still other colleagues are concentrating on the latest bizzare ridiculousness from the right wing, like conservative economists comparing babies to Porsches, and the continuing apoplectic right-wing reaction to same sex marriage.

The simple refusal to face facts and reality from far too many people who should know better keeps reminding us of that late-night speculation game "Stupid or Evil?"

The fact is, whether it's some crazy right-wing nut insisting religious marriage is being destroyed by same-sex marriage - which is the exact opposite of what the facts say - or whether it's a long-trusted media organization blowing their credibility on trying to attract the wingnuts, we keep having to confirm that yes, humans really can be that stupid.

Take the team at CBS '60 minutes.'

Many in the media - including us - often think '60 Minutes' does a solid job of investigating tough issues. That said, Logan and the CBS team blew this story badly, in a desperate and ham-handed appeal to extremist conservatives. What's worse, CBS appears to be handling this situation badly, almost as bad as when they fired legendary journalist Dan Rather for exposing the uncomfortable fact that former President George W. Bush technically went AWOL while serving in the Texas Air National Guard. That kind of conduct at a venerable organization like CBS is just plain stupid.

Speaking of stupid, Sarah Palin has been trolling the media again, in advance of her new 'war on Christmas' book. This has set up a perfect comparison between Palin, the has-been/never-was icon of the extremist right and Gov. Chris Christie, the only major Republican winner in last week's elections.

Christie, while exposing the stupidity of the Sunday shows this past weekend, didn't exactly display brilliance himself, ducking a key immigration question, and simultaneously trashing political advisors to Mitt Romney that Christie himself used during his re-election campaign.

Don't think the stupid just belongs on the political right either. Noam Schieber, a talented writer at The New Republic, has revved up the idiotic speculation that there's a divide between Hillary Clinton Democrats and Elizabeth Warren Democrats. While we regularly link to Noam's work, the fact is, any idea there's a spilt on the left that even is a shadow reflection of the chasm dividing the right at this point in time is just plain silly.

The fact is, both America's political machines and our media machines are designed to handle only one thing well: The insane pace of a national election cycle, an action that only happens every four years. Truly important topics like how seventy-five percent of Americans are in favor of raising the minimum wage, or how Wall Street is finally concerned with inequality? Those don't get nearly the discussion they should.

If our politicians and political media are as bored as they seem, maybe those topics would be a good place for them to focus instead.