Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I give up

I really do. I know that in today's political world spin trumps truth, I really do, so I shouldn't be shocked when I see it happen. But it still pisses me off.

Comedy is cruel.

Years ago I wrote in this space that the only voices on the left that were really critical of Bush were comedians, because comedians are seen as un-threatening and thus could get away with speaking truth to power. Not any more. Now the candidates do guest spots on Saturday Night Live and get interviewed by John Stewart and Stephen Colbert (but not Bill Maher). Comedy is now part of the game. And comedians now get to be attacked by the rabid Republican spin machine just like reporters are.

Carly Fiorina, McCain surrogate and former chairperson of Hewlet Packard, told reporters that Tina Fey's spot-on impression of Sarah Palin, which opened Saturday Night Live this weekend, was "sexist." The worst part of this is not that Tina Fey is one of the stronger feminist voices in the media today, but that Fiornia didn't level the same criticism at Amy Poeler's performance as Hillary Clinton, who was being portrayed as a power-mad harpy, in the same skit.

It can be viewed at the SNL page. (at the moment it's the lead item on NBC's home page. I guess they are enjoying the publicity from the flap).

Admittedly, SNL opened themselves up to such criticism. The whole skit was about sexism. It delivered unflattering portrayals of both women drawing upon their public persona. In the skit , Clinton and Palin are delivering a joint speech to denounce sexism in political coverage. At one point Clinton says that she and Palin have their differences: Clinton says she disagrees with the Bush Doctrine and Palin says "I don't know what that means." Fiorina (who started the whole viagra/birth control flap in July), said this was sexist because it suggested that next to Hillary's competence Palin lacked substance. To quote a great philosopher and SNL vetran: WELL EWXCUUUUUUUUUUSE MEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!! Palin showed quite clearly that she didn't know what the Bush Doctrine was when asked about it by Charlie Gibson. Now to point that out is somehow sexist.

And speaking of Charlie Gibson the attacks against him have been withering. Apparently, asking valid questions of a candidate for Vice Preisdent, following them up with equally valid questions, and trying to get her to answer in something other than canned sound-bites--in other words, doing the job of the press--is sexist and disrespectful. He's actually received death threats over his interview with Palin. Meanwhile, McCain's campaign manager has said that Palin will only conduct interviews when the press shows her the proper "deference." I take that to mean she'll talk to reporters so long as they don't ask her any questions. I'm sorry, but the press's job is *not* to show deference. Their job is to probe and challenge. Everybody was all teary-eyed when Tim Russert died this summer, but if Tim Russert were still alive he would likely shred Sarah Palin--not because he is a democrat but because she clearly doesn't know about foreign policy (as I said yesterday, that doens't matter to the people who vote for her, but it does matter to some of us).
Even with Tom Brokaw hosting it, until she goes on Meet the Press she is not a serious candidate, and I predict that she won't be seen on Meet the Press unless they win. She just doesn't answer questions (neither at the moment does McCain).

This all proves once again that the Republicans are not interested in truth or in debate on the issues. They only want to bully the media and shout down any criticism of their candidates. Look: if Charlie Gibson can't ask a valid question of a candidate for national office without being bullied and threatened, and if the people actually buy this swampland about poor Sarah being the one who is getting bullied, then we might as well admit that Democracy doesn't work and pack it all in.

These people do not deserve your votes.

3 Comments:

Blogger Hanna said...

It's sad to see how women are simply flocking to Palin. I mean, she's not even going to be president! That's like voting for the plague because you will get candy if you do. Sure, you get a nice treat, BUT YOU WILL END UP WITH THE PLAGUE AND PROBABLY DIE!

6:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to hear some strong discussion about the good and bad points of the wealth distribution philosopies of the competing candidates: progressive taxation/regulation vs. small government/free market. I think that neither approach can be sustained over a long period. Eventually, wages/benefits sink production, or wealth is concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. Both have a strong risk of corrupion: misuse of public $$ vs. the abuses of "white-collar crime" and unfettered speculation. Does anybody talk about these things, or are they lap-dancing their way to the White House.

7:41 AM  
Blogger MAC said...

Conventional wisdom (which is usually neither conventional nor wise) says that a debate about the issues favors Obama. In light of that I would like to say that it is McCain whho is ducking a debate on the economy and wealth distribution. But to be honest both sides are talking right now in sound-bites more than anything else. Obama gave a more clear explanation of his economic policy in his acceptance speech then McCain has given of his, but there has been no head to head debate on the issue. We'll see how it is tackled in the faux-debates coming up (presidential debates aren't usually real debates, they are more like extended interviews).

9:40 AM  

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