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I disagree with James Wolcott’s main thesis here that the media is “wired” towards Republican power. The Washington media is wired for power alone (and perhaps a tinge of celebrity). It makes little difference who’s wielding it. Witness the Obama campaign coverage.
If the Democrats hold power long enough, they’ll bask in the media glow just as the Bushies did for so long. How else will reporters win their coveted access?
That said, Wolcott’s piece is a great read and he gets a lot right.
Watching ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, for instance, is like receiving an engraved invitation to apoplexy. When the panel that Stephanopoulos conducts after his “Newsmakers” interviews includes Sam Donaldson, George Will, and Cokie Roberts, longtime observers of Roman folly, it is like being swallowed by an hourglass; they saw away at the same old creaky strophes of received wisdom as if nothing short of divine revelation could awaken a new thought, eject the dust bunnies from their brains…To delve into the editorial pages of The Washington Post is to crack open an even creakier sarcophagus, where the dead paw of consensus maintains a semblance of order, continuity, prudence.
And the conclusion:
So we’ve gone from “Who won the week?,” a favorite question on the Sunday-morning chat shows, to “Who won the afternoon?,” time and thought processes being diced into shorter and shorter segments until we reach the 140-character capsule of Twitter, the social-networking micro-platform which Washington movers have taken to with a bang because their thumbs and narcissism don’t get near enough exercise. Howard Kurtz, media columnist for the Washington Post, relayed Meet the Press host David Gregory’s pre-show preparation: “Guests should arrive anytime now. This is a good time for me to go thru my q’s one last time. Maybe a bagel b4 air.” Yes, by all means, go for the bagel, and may its voyage through the digestive tract be a propitious one. As the traditional news business collapses around them like glacier walls, Beltway illuminati are executing tighter and tighter spirals of self-referentiality as they pursue the tweet smell of success.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”