MH: No. And it's another thing I get that I'm embarrassed about our profession for. She should be held more accountable for that. The "bridge to nowhere" thing is outrageous. And if you press them on that, they falter because they know they can't defend what they're saying. They're saying it on the stump, as a core part of their message. It's in their advertising. I'm not saying the press should be out to get John McCain and Sarah Palin. But if a core part of their message is something that every journalist...journalism organization in the country has looked at and says it's demonstrably false, again, we're not doing our jobs if we just treat this as one of many things that's happening.
AC: And yet, we're getting tons of e-mails from people saying that we're attacking Sarah Palin by looking at her record. So it's fascinating to see how polarized people are...
For the last two decades, the Republicans have sought to make the press irrelevant in political campaigns. First, they created the myth of the liberal media. Hammered that for so long that the media responded by setting the left boundary at The New Republic, and the boundary on the right at Michael Savage and Pat Buchanan. Hammered that message for so long that the Sunday gasbag shows responded by essentially eliminating liberal voices, putting Republican operatives up against "impartial journalists." At the same time, they got the message out to the dittoheads with constant repetition on the radio shows.
For the last eight years, the Bush administration has embarked on a concerted effort to remake reality as a political construct. The famous Suskind quote, where the official said that the Administration makes its own reality was no exaggeration. We're not just talking global warming or Iraq war propaganda. The goal was to eliminate facts from the political process.
This dovetails very nicely with the systematic denunciation of the media as a collective liberal operation. The Republicans have developed their own channels for delivering messages to their supporters, so that when they release their redefinitions of reality, it is immediately echoed in email and phone calls to the liberal media operatives,
Those supposed operatives then conclude that the country is "polarized" and that actually pointing out that one set of statements is true and the other set is false would be falling into a polarizing trap. So they effectively concede to the Republicans that reality is a matter of politics. Some of this (see atrios' wanker of the day) is that tired balance business that has been exploited for the last eight years, but more of it has to do with a complete folding of the tent of any kind of journalistic commitment to the truth.
On the teevee, anyway.
I see the print people are waking up, and discovering that maybe when McCain said all those opportunistic, pandering things, it was because he was a narcissistic opportunist panderer, and when he walked to the back of the bus to sneer at the voters, he was opportunistically pandering to the boys on the bus. They were played for saps.
In any case, now is the payoff. There is absolutely no way, in a political world where reality plays any role, that a Republican, especially another incoherent, bellicose neo-con committed to the preservation of oligopolies and unfunded big government could win a presidential race in the wake of a Republican record of disastrous failure--a failure reflected in a 20/80 right track/wrong track assessment.
But now, because there is no trusted third party to assess the accuracy of the claims of a candidate willing to lie, baldly, without compunction, there is actually some possibility that this could happen. These decades of Republican investment in Big Lies, in undermining media credibility, and in exploiting their inability to call a lie a lie is now paying off.
And now some of those columnists and reporters who enabled St. John McCain's position in American politics are now impotently waving their arms and shouting.