Monday, September 26, 2016

Tonight's Debate Pre-Reading - Al Gore, Take 2?

Here are two reads to get in before tonight's half- presidential debate (you know which half is presidential).  As usual, these are excerpts; we urge you to read the entire pieces.

First, Marty Kaplan on one obvious reason the amoral media has it in the bag for neo- fascist demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump:
Even if Clinton wipes the floor with Trump, the media’s inherent bias is for suspense. The media business model requires capturing and keeping the audience’s attention, so corporations can sell our eyeballs to advertisers. It doesn’t matter how the debates go, or what the polls say; the press will portray the final stretch of this horserace as neck and neck, a photo finish, you won’t want to miss this, stay tuned.
Second, Charles Pierce reminds us of the behavior of the "elite liberal media" during the Bush- Gore race and the various debates featuring Vice President Gore:
At a debate in New Hampshire against Bill Bradley, who opposed him in the Democratic primaries that year, to my everlasting astonishment, the assembled scribes actually booed one of Gore's answers. (Don't come at me. You know you did.) I was struck by this because that behavior would get you kicked out of every press box in the major leagues. I once was severely reprimanded at Fenway for the offense of laughing too loudly at the Cleveland Indians. 
This behavior continued throughout the campaign, and the Times coverage was right there in the heart of it. From beat reporter Kit Seelye all the way up to the peak of Bandini Mountain where can be found the castle of Lady Dowd, the Times enslaved itself to a narrative by which Gore was too smart, too snotty, and too…something to be president. If you were not following the redoubtable Bob Somerby at his Daily Howler blog in real time, then this 2007 Vanity Fair postmortem by Evgenia Peretz is as good a precis as there is.
Eight years ago, in the bastions of the "liberal media" that were supposed to love Gore —The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, CNN—he was variously described as "repellent," "delusional," a vote-rigger," a man who "lies like a rug," "Pinocchio." Eric Pooley, who covered him for Time magazine, says, "He brought out the creative-writing student in so many reporters.… Everybody kind of let loose on the guy."  [snip]
Building on the narrative established by the Love Story and Internet episodes, Seelye, her critics charge, repeatedly tinged what should have been straight reporting with attitude or hints at Gore's insincerity. Describing a stump speech in Tennessee, she wrote, "He also made an appeal based on what he described as his hard work for the state—as if a debt were owed in return for years of service." Writing how he encouraged an audience to get out and vote at the primary, she said, "Vice President Al Gore may have questioned the effects of the internal combustion engine, but not when it comes to transportation to the polls. Today he exhorted a union audience in Knoxville, Iowa, to pile into vans—not cars, but gas-guzzling vans—and haul friends to the Iowa caucuses on January 24." She would not just say that he was simply fund-raising. "Vice President Al Gore was back to business as usual today—trolling for money," she wrote. In another piece, he was "ever on the prowl for money." 
Or, as Brian Beutler summarized the effect of the puerile, amoral media's coverage of that fateful election:
You'll be o.k. if you always keep in mind that the media is not a disinterested broker of the truth. Caveat emptor!

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