Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Feeding the Frenzy

I saw a documentary a couple of weeks ago on wild cats that said most of them, particularly the big ones such as lions and tigers, communicate in large part with the scent of their urine. Now, evolution has allowed humans to come up with much more sophisticated (not to mention sanitary) means of transferring information between one another, though after watching clips of the press conferences presided over by presidential mouthpiece Scott McClellen in the wake of the vice president’s hunting accident, I can’t help but feel that the content of much of our contemporary communications has not changed much from the days when we were stalking the prairies in search of arthritic antelope. Indeed, had I found myself in the Press Secretary’s shoes, I wonder if I would have been able to repress my primordial urges and tell the media pool exactly what I think of them in a way not often seen outside of your baser internet pornography sites.

While listening to some of the comments from Mainstream Media journalists, the coverage of the Cheney shooting seems less about confronting the practices of a secretive administration and more about avenging elitist egos injured by losing a major scoop to a hayseed local paper on the Texan Gulf Coast far off of the national media’s radar. With their arrogant sense of self importance found suddenly in tatters, they seem to be lashing out to try to punish the White House for its impudence and refuse to let the story go. Even when the story first broke, I am pretty sure most of the US thought it little more than an amusing anecdote and did not believe the event would result in anything more than some remedial hunter safety courses for the vice president. Had things turned out worse for Mr. Whittington, and they certainly could have, the situation would almost surely have been different. Unfortunately for the parasitic press corps however, Mr. Whittington is going to be just fine so essentially, the story is turning out to be a dud, good for little more than a guilty chuckle for those of us who were not shot by Dick Cheney.

It’s far past time for the press to move on. We know that the vice president shot a man while hunting and we know that, since he was using a firearm and ammunition that was not likely to kill anyone unless the barrel was inserted deep inside of Mr. Whittington’s left nostril at the time the vice president pulled the trigger, we know that the victim is going to be all right. We know that the established press feels slighted because they were denied their scoop and frankly, we now know that there are really no more juicy developments that will emerge from this despite the traditional media’s manic attempts to make us believe that there is.

It seems to me that the press is now falling into the same trap the Democratic Party has fallen into. Blinded by hatred for the administration, they seem to have embarked upon a quest to find the all encompassing scandal that will bring President Bush off of his dais in disgrace, which Quailgate most certainly is not. The press is making mountains out of molehills, which erodes their credibility among the American mainstream. In the meantime, they miss prime opportunities to cover real issues and bring the public’s attention to real policy weaknesses. I have written before that a strong and credible opposition to the ruling party is crucial to a healthy democracy to keep the electoral victors from becoming victims of their own excesses. The same goes for the press, who I believe to be on the verge of being marginalized to the point of irrelevance like the Democratic Party has. Unfortunately, their arrogance is leading them headlong towards this end.

While the White House press corps was gnashing its teeth in ire over being sidelined last week over the Cheney shooting incident, the news emerged that the responsibility for running the day-to-day operations of American ports was being sold to a state-run company of the United Arab Emirates, a nation from a part of the world that is not known for having the security of the United States high on the list of its priorities. This bears some looking into and though this news is over a week old, it is just now starting to get some attention. On the surface it sounds fairly ominous so the press could really have a field day with it and bring some extra attention to a transaction that could probably use it. To be fair though, there aren’t any American companies that do this type of work that I know of and the UAE is actually fairly pro-American, providing no more anti-American zealots to the world scene than Massachusetts does. Still, there are anomalies that beg higher scrutiny. The UAE has the dubious honor of having given us Marwan al-Shehhi, the man who piloted United Airlines Flight 175 into the south tower of the World Trade Center on September 11th and provided the plot some critical financial support through its banking institutions. The US however has recently given the UAE Michael Jackson, so we can almost call it even.

In short, the American public needs information, not incitement and the press could go a long way in providing us with some meaningful reporting on something other than the vice president’s sub-standard hunting skills.


Blogger Solo said...

Your writing style is deceptive, JEP. You lull us into into thinking we're in for another one of your exaggerated, tongue in cheek politi-humor rants and then BAM!--you blindside us with a salient topic and valid viewpoint. Why, oh why do you insist on such machinations???

I'm just a little confused at your conclusion; in one breath you state that the press is on one big quail hunt because of their immense hatred of the current administration, and in the other you assert that they're blindly ignoring the more present peril of Islamic Port Authority, which is arguably a greater threat! I would pose that, perhaps, unbeknownst to most of us, the press is simply being used as a tool of the current administration to direct the public's gaze away from that which could actually be deemed a credible threat. Hint: buckshot most certainly is not!

Let's just play the odds game for a minute here; old man gets splayed in the face with pellets, vs a middle eastern Sovereignty is taking over the ports of our great nation; what would you bet on, JEP?

Having said that, I appreciate your candor and opinions! My musings mean nothing consequential. :)

11:05 PM  
Blogger JEP said...

I can see why you got confused, Solo. That’s the drawback to trying to create a writing style that places the first priority on humor instead of the point being made be the statement. What can result is a lot of semi-amusing literary drivel where the meat of the article is lost in the dressing of the writing (if I haven’t forgot to put the point in altogether).

Basically, what I was trying to say is that the mainstream press appears to be taking on its job with a predisposed agenda, hell bent upon disgracing the current administration. Of course, media outlets such as Fox News and conservative talk radio, also work with an obvious agenda but plays the yin to the MSM’s yang. In this mix, real objective reporting gets lost in hyperbole and getting the information I need to form a rational opinion on any issue becomes much much harder than it should be. When a big issue breaks, I hear about it first on the Mainstream Media. I then go to CNN for their take. Then I go to Fox News for theirs. Then I catch the BBC for an outside opinion. Then I research the fine points on the internet. After all that, I hope to be informed enough to be able to take a stand on the issue one way or another. It’s a small wonder that Americans are so embarrassingly ignorant of events outside of their immediate locales. It’s too much work. You have to be a news junkie to have even the slightest idea what is going on around us.

Now, I stand by comment that many (if not most) members of the mainstream press are consumed by trying to undermine the current administration. This agenda has become such a distraction that they have developed a sort of tunnel vision that has robbed them of their ability to report objectively and, in fact, completely miss relevant news events even if they would help them discredit the administration they hate so much, such as the UAE takeover of US port operations.

Personally, I haven’t been able to research this particular issue enough to form a solid opinion, though I tried to start last week when the story first broke. Unfortunately, the sources I usually depend on for table scraps of data were too busy trying to formulate conspiracy theories on an irrelevant hunting accident to research any real news.

Now, alluding to your last statement Solo, I don’t think the shooting and the port deal was connected at all (I’m not much of a conspiracy theorist) but I have to admit that there has to be another angle to this port thing that we’re not getting yet. Politically, it’s a no brainer, the voting public will never buy this no matter how beneficial or secure it is, so I’m left to wonder why the president would dig his heels in so hard in support of it. Is it a way to show the Arabs he will work to benefit those that support his initiatives on terrorism? Is it domestic politics, a way to goad the Dems into opposing something based solely on the nationality of company? There is an angle here somewhere, I just haven’t figured it out yet.

9:40 AM  
Blogger Solo said...

JEP, your comments are almost as long as your posts. No fair.

10:45 PM  

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