Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hey, kids! Let's put on a controversy!

Today's manu- factured contro- versy
on Planet Fox: the LAT's craven double-standard cover-up of the Smoking Toast!
John McCain says he's sure The Los Angeles Times would be quick to produce a tape that purported to show him or his running mate at a neo-Nazi event, so he can't understand why it won't show Barack Obama in the company of a former PLO mouthpiece.
John McCain slammed The Los Angeles Times Wednesday for refusing to release a videotape that the newspaper's editors say shows Barack Obama praising a Chicago professor who served as a spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organization when it was a U.S.-designated terror group.
Speaking to two Florida radio stations, the Republican presidential candidate suggested a double standard in reporting by the newspaper and said if he were hanging out with neo-Nazis he'd bet the tape would be made public.
"Apparently this is a tape with a dinner that Mr. Ayers, the former, and now still, unrepentant terrorist, who was at, and also the, one of the leading spokespersons for the PLO. Now, why that should not be made public is beyond me," McCain told La Kalle radio.
Well, a couple of points about that:
1) The paper says it got the tape on condition that it not release the tape. Sen. McCain probably hasn't taken a journalism ethics course, but his running mate seems proud of hers, so ... governor, would you lean over and whisper gently in his ear? Something like "the prima facie duty of fidelity requires the paper to keep its promise"? Or were you at the beach the day we covered that?
2) Fox is only able to fabricate this controversy in the first place because of the Times's report on the tape, which appeared six months ago. So it seems a little ungrateful -- or just a genuinely Bizarro World reading of "we report, you decide" -- to append a reefer like "Tell the L.A. Times What You Think."
3) Especially since the day's Third Most Important Shock Horror Controversy -- that'll be "Furor over Palin effigy" -- is primarily drawn from yet another LAT report?*
None of which -- not the McCain campaign's inability to understand a basic ethical duty like promise-keeping, not Fox's unwillingness to recognize a slightly more complicated one like gratitude, not the spectacle of a candidate running on his international expertise and yet being unable to tell the PLO from the neo-Nazis -- gets to the substance of the matter, which is: What substance? What is it that "Americans need to know"? Put another way, what is it Americans need to know now that the in-the-tank communist Los Angeles Times didn't tell them in April?
If you go to the trouble of reading** the article, you get a fairly clear idea of how genuinely constricted American political discourse about the Middle East is, particularly when it comes to Israeli-Palestinian issues.*** The far-out activist fringe is -- like, having dinner with Edward Said.**** (Imagine if a Democratic president were to actually suggest something radical -- maybe linking loan guarantees to settlement expansion, as Bush the elder did.) But it certainly adds to one of the takeaway impressions of this campaign: The people who mutter about a media cover-up are people who can't be bothered to read. Their hope is that no one else can, either.
Those who want to something nice in the fight against made-up controversies and the bottom-feeding hacks who spread them can find contact data for the LA Times at Fox. If you like, drop the Times a note and let 'em know you appreciate it when somebody stands up to the hoodlums.
*To Fox's credit, it's fairly careful to attribute the quotes it copies. But attribution isn't the same thing as reporting.
** Don't tell me you were absent the day we did that part too, governor.
*** If Gov. Palin would like to see some socialism, maybe she could visit a kibbutz? There's a friendly one near Bet Shemesh that has some genuinely hard-core bluegrass fans.
**** Wanna take bets on tomorrow's lead story at Fox?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is this an issue now? The LAT story was published six months ago.

5:55 PM, October 29, 2008  
Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

It's an issue now because it's all McCain's got left, and he hopes there won't be enough time for people to realize that the man is born-in-the-USA citizen and a highly respected historian, and that McCain was chairman of a group that gave his group truckloads of money...

6:33 PM, October 29, 2008  
Blogger fev said...

Or, put another way, because it's been six months since the Evil Mainstream Media reported it, you can say 'the people still don't know enough' and hope to not get called on it within the next six days.

Mainly, I think, because this one echoes off the 'dangerously unprepared' ad that repeats the grotesquely distorted bit about Iran being 'tiny.'

7:35 PM, October 29, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, yes. My question was more for these people:

Manufactured outrage is a real spectacle.

9:46 AM, October 31, 2008  
Blogger fev said...

Gawd. I had not seen that. What clueless morons emerge from beneath the rocks these days ...

11:26 AM, October 31, 2008  

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