Journalists still perplexed by popular music

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

What is it about reporters that makes them so obsessed with politicians' iPods, and whether they're telling the truth about liking more than one musician? First, Slate's Jacob Weisberg made the improbable suggestion that Hillary Clinton was insincere in saying she liked the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and Aretha Franklin. Then, Politico's Glenn Thrush followed up on this line of reporting a few years later by purporting to fact-check Clinton's professed fondness for the Beatles and the Stones.

Now comes the Los Angeles Times' Mark Milian:

So if Obama doesn't know how to use Apple's portable music player -- a product hailed for its ease-of-use, even for a Harvard Law graduate -- was the preelection Rolling Stone magazine article about what's on his iPod a farce?
Come to think of it, his picks did seem a little too varied, uncontroversial and universally respectable to be the real deal. Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, Sheryl Crow and Ludacris? Give me a break.

What, exactly, is so hard to believe about having Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, Sheryl Crow and Ludacris on an iPod? Songs by all four artists can be found on my iPod.

The assumption by Weisberg, Thrush and Milian that everyone has narrow musical tastes is obnoxious -- and suggests that the three of them don't really like music. In my experience, people who do really like music tend to have diverse tastes -- and don't tend to see an iPod containing Dylan, Davis & Crow as a particularly eclectic collection. It also reveals a fundamental lack of understanding of one of the key the benefits of MP3 players like iPods -- they make it easy to own and access a "varied" music library.

But most of all it's a nasty little effort to portray Obama, like Clinton before him, as a phony, no matter how thin the evidence.

Los Angeles Times
Jacob Weisberg, Glenn Thrush, Mark Milian
Politico, Slate
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.