the babies on the bus go
whaa whaa whaa
whaa whaa whaa
whaa whaa whaa
the babies on the bus go
whaa whaa whaa
all through the town
What a weird couple of weeks it's been in the outlands of Wingnutia.
I enjoyed reading Erik Erickson's recent critique of conservative movement media and his offer to help redesign the wheels on the conservative movement par-tea bus.
"...we must, to a degree, reinvent the wheel on basic reporting." Says Erick.
And to illustrate his point he revisits The Great ObamaPhone Boon of 2012:
The “Obamaphone” is a great example of this. Conservatives laughed out loud at the video of the lady saying Barack Obama had given her a phone. Conservatives used it as an example of all that was wrong with the expansion of the welfare state under Barack Obama. What many conservatives missed was that the program was a pre-existing program. In fact, the “Obamaphone” idea goes back to the Reagan Administration, but the present program was implemented in 2008 when George W. Bush was President. Government funds are not even used directly.
Focus on the Obamaphone by conservatives missed a number of key points and, in not covering the basic facts, sent conservative activists down rabbit holes. It would have been helpful if conservative reporters spent more time laying out the basic who, what, where, when, why, and how of the issue before exploring the necessity of the program and the fact that there are Americans who credit Barack Obama with giving them that phone.
Conservatives went to the critique in some cases before fully understanding the program. This happens on both sides of the aisle, but conservatives have to be better informed and more versed in the facts because the media already leans left and gives more latitude to the left.
Aside from the usual conservative as victim of a left leaning media hem-n-haw Erickson is concerned that conservative media has a tendency to promulgate nonsense and play fast and loose with facts and reality. Shocking, I know. From death panel conspiracies to birth certificate snipe hunts and rambling incoherent treatises on everything from ACORN to the Weather Underground the movement conservative media has, according to Erickson, supplanted "the art of persuasion" with "anger and noise":
The [conservative] echo in the chamber has gotten so loud it is not well understood outside the echo chamber in the mainstream press and in the public. It translates only as anger and noise, neither of which are conducive to the art of persuasion.
Conservatives are trying so hard to highlight controversies, no matter how trivial, we have forgotten the basics of reporting:
Of course Erickson forgets that, in the case of conservative media, anger and noise is considered persuasive. Mutually conducive means to an end. To hell with "the art" part.
Erickson, being your basic lumpish conservative, then goes on to credit Rush Limbaugh, screechy Mark Levin and himself for "lamenting" conservative media not "more versed in the facts." Which would be a valid point if it weren't such a ridiculous assertion to suggest that Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin are practitioners of "the basics of reporting" instead of being highlighters for the very trivial talking points and fact challenged controveries Erickson wants you to believe he laments.
Just as troubling, there are some conservative reporters out there who aim for the basic facts, but get stuck on talking points. Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, myself, and others have been lamenting a lot of conservative reporters for this very reason.
Oh sure. Nobody peddled the Obamaphone foolishness as often as Limbaugh - and Levin - and Hannity. Not one of them made any effort to present "basic facts" to their listeners in that case. So much for baselines of integrity.Yet Erickson ignores this contradiction and credits a talking point ditto machine like Limbaugh for despairing of such tactics. (Project your own weakness on to your opponent). Limbaugh doesn't even believe a reporter needs access to government officials to report on what government officials are doing or saying. Limbaugh, during his February 19 radio show, complains about reporters for the political gossip outfit Politico who are complaining about not having enough resources and access to White House personnel:
How hard is it to write a story on Obama lying... ? How hard is it to do that? [...] Why do you need any resource other than a computer? What am I missing? Why is it so hard to question what the president says? You have a White House, you have a computer, you have a website, and you have a keyboard, and you write on there, and then it goes to your website, it goes out. What resource do you need beyond what you've got?
I don't have any access to Obama. I got zilch, zero, nada access to Obama. That hasn't stopped me.
We don't find it difficult to learn things that are true about Obama that you don't seem to be able to find, and we don't have any access.
Right, who needs all that "basics of reporting" stuff Erickson is croaking about when ya can just slump in your panic room swivel chair in Palm Beach and broadcast whatever gibberish happens to strike your fancy on any given air conditioned afternoon. Ya know, like when Obama said that Mitt Romney "doesn't care if a guy's wife dies of cancer,":
You [Politico reporters] don't seem curious to learn anything about this administration or Obama and his motives. He writes that Mitt Romney doesn't care if a guy's wife dies of cancer, and you go out and ask Romney, "Why do you not care if a guy's wife dies of cancer?" rather than investigate why the hell Obama would make such an outrageous claim. I don't know. We just don't see your job as that hard.
Of course Obama never said or wrote any such thing but that doesn't matter to Rush Limbaugh because Rush Limbaugh isn't a journalist or a reporter he's just a transmitter, a pitchman, for any assortment of smeary talking points and slippery stories spoon fed to him by a dead drunk slop shoot like Breitbart.com or Tucker Carlson's little online playpen the Daily Caller. Or FOX News. Or that bulwark of high nuttery World Net Daily. Among others.
To make matters even more ridiculous, only a day after Erickson hit the publish button on his complaint that conservatives should be more wary of runaway garbage trucks, he hopped right into the smelly hopper of the runaway garbage truck hauling the Bob Woodward threatened by Chicago thugs stories from one dump to another. Later in the day Erickson abandoned that unpleasant situation when everyone learned that ole Bob was practicing the art of swinging-the-lamp on that one.
So, pardon me if I'm a little unconvinced of Erickson's sincerity with respect to getting the stories true and down with the facts and onboard with the basic reporting stuff. Not when you are citing a couple of wingnut windup toys like Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin as examples of media integrity. Seems to me Erickson is simply delivering a pitch to some moneyed interest that might be interested in financing his movement conservative media talent search. He claims he wants to reinvent the wheel on basic reporting within the conservative media - well - I have a suggestion for him: try mounting round wheels on the wingnut bus. They work pretty good most of the time.
In other news:
Speaking of reinventing clunkers: The captain of the cruise ship Holy See has hoisted the absentee pennant and retired to his humble pilgrim stateroom to watch The Bells of St. Mary's on DVD and wait for the whole creaky leaky haunted slush-tub to go careening over the edge of the flat earth. Castel Gandolfo countryclub went into lockdown on Thursday evening which officially means that the Papal Beast will be lumbering around without a head, like some kind of horrible blind oaf in a pair of red slippers, for the next several days.
Maybe Rick Santorum will be selected as the new Pontiff Supreme. The first married Pope! And the first order of business under Pope Ricky (Simplicius I) would be to canonize José Antonio Primo de Rivera. And the next thing to do would be to issue some formal Papal proclamation sealed with a leaden bulla that would prohibit priests from owning dogs. Maybe appoint Antonin Scalia to the office of Chief Excorcist. Next, it's off to the Castel for some family R&R and a BBQ with the Knights of Malta - which will be billed to the taxpayers of Pennsylvania. Greetings from Vat City! Urbi et Orbi!
And there ya have it.