You mean there's an enormous disconnect between what Beltway media elites claim is newsworthy and what news consumers are actually interested in? Shocking, we know.
And it's not like we didn't see this one coming, amidst the orgy of Palin coverage last week:
I'll bet five bucks that when the Pew Research numbers come out this week we'll see a massive disconnect in terms of the amount of time journalists dedicated (i.e. wasted) to the Palin story, and the microscopic percentage of news consumers who listed the Palin book launch as the story they paid the most attention to last week. Instead, once again it will be the economy or health care that top the list because (surprise!) that's what matters to people. Beltway parlor games, and especially pointless ones involving Palin, are of no interest to most news consumers.
Well, the Pew numbers are out and exactly 2 percent of Americans pointed to Palin's book release as the story they followed most closely last week. Yet on cable TV last week, the Palin story devoured 14 percent of the entire news hole.
And oh yeah, a majority of Americans agreed they were hearing "too much" about Palin. So I guess instead of more than 1,700 "Palin" mentions on network and cable news last week, a mere 200-300 would have sufficed.
This one's just strange: Newsbusters' Carolyn Plocher is upset that network morning shows have offered tips on how to avoid excessive Thanksgiving calorie consumption:
In the past week, from Nov. 18-24, five network stories have bashed traditional Thanksgiving food because it's not "healthy." With the nation in a recession and the unemployment rate above 10 percent, the media want Americans to worry about their waistlines too. Each of the networks offered tips on how to avoid the "most gut-busting holiday of the year," as Harry Smith of CBS's "Early Show" put it Nov. 19.
What a bunch of monsters!
Seriously, this is the right-wing media critique: Whining about the Early Show offering advice on how to avoid over-eating at Thanksgiving.
From Fox Nation on November 25:
According to its website, the 9/11 Never Forget Coalition "formed to fight the decision of President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to try the 9/11 co-conspirators in New York City's federal court, effectively giving war criminals the same rights as American citizens while endangering the safety of all New Yorkers."
John Solomon has only been gone for a couple of weeks, and already The Washington Times has reverted to its old ways -- the scare quotes are back.
A Times editorial today states: "It's a dark scandal in American politics that so many Catholic politicians promote abortion and same-sex 'marriage.' " And in an op-ed in yesterday's Times, Binyamin L. Jolkovsky wrote that Carrie Prejean's "fame, or infamy, skyrocketed after she honestly answered a question about gay 'marriage' during an internationally televised beauty pageant."
The Times reportedly banned the practice of using "scare quotes" around "gay marriage" shortly after Solomon's hiring as executive editor. In a February 25, 2008, memo, copy desk chief Patrick Tuohy reportedly stated that "[t]he quotation marks will come off gay marriage (preferred over homosexual marriage)." TPM's Ben Frumin reported this month that Solomon left the paper on November 6. It didn't take long for this modest improvement during his tenure to fall by the wayside after his departure.
One wonders what other back-sliding we'll see at the Times. Will it return to warning its readers about the "gay agenda" and its "assault upon traditional norms and values"? Will the Times once again treat its readers to laughable references to "gay caballeros" and the "lavender lobby" that presumably represents them?
That, of course, would depend in part on whether the Times stays in operation at all, a prospect that remains in question.
As noted below, Michelle Malkin is demanding lots of retractions in the wake of the police finding that the federal census worker who was found dead in Kentucky two months ago actually hanged himself. Malkin wants everyone on the "Left," to apologize for ever suggesting right-wing activists, or the culture of anti-government hate they created, might have been responsible for the death.
But oops, the blame game runs both ways. And if Malkin's suddenly the new apology chief in town, than I anxiously await her demands that right-wing blogger Dan Riehl offer up his sincere apology in light of the fact that back in September, Riehl (with zero proof) floated the hateful claim that the maybe the Kentucky census worker was killed because he was a pedophile. (Stay classy Dan.)
Worse, get a load of Riehl's reaction to the latest police news from Kentucky about the suicide:
Update: Michelle Malkin recounts the smears that came our way from the "reality-based" lunatics on the Left- including randy Andy Sullivan!
Do you see the twisted genius of how the right-wing blogosphere functions? In September, a fact-free name-caller like Dan Riehl wrote up a post where he was simply "speculating" that the dead census worker was kinda/probably a "child predator." Alleged proof? Riehl stressed that the dead man "certainly did gravitate towards children." Whatever that means.
But now when local police announce the death was a suicide with possible insurance money implications, Riehl, who smeared the dead man far worse than anyone else, demands that "lunatics" on the left be held accountable for their "smears."
UPDATED: Uh-oh, more housecleaning for Malkin. Also back in September, at the right-wing online fever swamp WND, Roger Hedgecock claimed the dead census worker "was yet another victim of illegal drug operations on national forest land, and possibly also a victim of our still open border with Mexico."
Good luck getting Hedgecock to now cough up an I'm-sorry, Michelle.
A misleading Washington Times headline suggesting that the White House had "not invited" Republicans to its first state dinner now reads: "Top Republican lawmakers not attending State Dinner." From the Times:
Because it's not like Malkin has any kind of track record herself when it comes to owning up to the many, many fact-free (and often mean-spirited) conspiracies that she's pushed as fact. And she has even less experience apologizing for said dead-enders. So I must say it seems a bit odd that Malkin now rushes to the front of the line, waving her hands and yelling about how anybody on the left who speculated that right-wing activists had anything to do with the death the Kentucky census worker needs to set the record straight. (Police now say the death was a suicide, staged to look like a murder.)
Don't get me wrong. I'm all for holding people accountable, and the blogosphere only functions properly when bloggers have to answer for their work. But the sad truth is, over on the far-right side of the Internet, any notion of accountability seems to have been tossed out the window. It is utterly ignored. Like, as a rule.
For example, just last week I highlighted how popular right-wing blogger Gateway Pundit manufactured an Obama quote which the blogger then used to mock the president. After I, and scores of his commenters, politely pointed out that Gateway Pundit had, y'know, manufactured a quote, what was the blogger's response? Nothing. The post wasn't updated, the fake quote wasn't taken down, and of course no apology was offered up.
Accountability, at least within the right-wing blogosphere, is for suckers. So again, it's a bit odd for Malkin to come running out onto her porch and start demanding that any liberal bloggers who might have gotten the Kentucky story wrong, or even raised questions about the case, start writing up their corrections.
Hey I know, maybe as a sign of good will, and an indication that she really takes accountability seriously, Malkin will finally come clean about the bogus tale she eagerly spread in September about how a staggering 2 million anti-Obama protesters had gathered in Washington, D.C..
Because oops, she was only off by 1.9 million.
UPDATED: The Brad Blog, a target of Malkin's ticket-writing campaign, explains why he's not going to honor her request:
We're more than happy, even eager, to offer corrections and, as needed (and it's only been needed once) retractions to anything that we get wrong here. While we appreciate Malkin's desperation to find someone out there who screws up so spectacularly as she does on such a regular basis
such hilarious failures have damned near become her meat and potatoes at this point
this story hardly appears to be the one on which she should, pardon the tasteless pun, hang her hate hat.
Leave it to Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter to equate the denial of civil rights to the civil rights movement. There they were on The O'Reilly Factor last night, discussing the "call of Christian conscience" known as the Manhattan Declaration, which O'Reilly described as "a document that encourages religious Americans to fight back, and in some cases even break the law." Coulter explained:
COULTER: The civil disobedience parts of it are pretty narrow. It's for saying that we won't participate as doctors, nurses, hospitals, in euthanasia, in abortion. Churches won't participate in same-sex marriage or -- or in denouncing, condemning homosexuality in the practice of their faith.
And just like that, Coulter put organized efforts to deny civil rights to gays and lesbians on par with black civil rights pioneers who used civil disobedience to expand their rights. The "civil disobedience" of churches that "won't participate in same-sex marriage" becomes elevated to a perch next to activists who refused to adhere to Jim Crow's separate-but-equal charade. Of course the distinction here is that Jim Crow laws were very real, and very brutally enforced. Coulter offers no evidence of a single church that would be required to bless or in any way recognize a single gay marriage.
Think about it for a moment. Coulter and her enabler O'Reilly would have you believe that in a nation where 78 percent of the citizens are Christians, it is Christians who need to engage in acts of civil disobedience for protection from laws passed by overwhelmingly Christian lawmakers. At what point does the notion of civil disobedience get turned on its head?
But the discussion masks a more sinister element of the manifesto: its effort to smear gay couples, since "the assumption that the legal status of one set of marriage relationships affects no other would not only argue for same-sex partnerships; it could be asserted with equal validity for polyamorous partnerships, polygamous households, even adult brothers, sisters, or brothers and sisters living in incestuous relationships."
At that point, can state-sanctioned marriage to goats and dolphins be far behind?
Eighty advertisers have reportedly dropped their ads from Glenn Beck's Fox News program since he called President Obama a "racist" who has a "deep-seated hatred of white people." Here are his November 24 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
It is truly amazing that Time allowed Mark Halperin to publish the following caption and image on his blog, The Page -- no matter how briefly (the site has since pulled it down):
Maybe Halperin thought it was really clever to echo a scene from a late-90s romantic comedy, but it isn't. The image and all that it suggests -- yes, her hair is supposed to be held up by semen -- isn't supported by any facts provided by Halperin in his post. The page to which he links doesn't have anything to do with semen, romantic comedies, or hair gel. In fact, it's a statement from Sen. Mary Landrieu's (D-LA) Communications Director "on motion to proceed timing" on the Senate's health care reform bill.
In other words, it's part of a broader, sexist right-wing narrative that the U.S. Senator from Louisiana is, as Glenn Beck put it yesterday, "a high-class prostitute" engaged in "hookin'" -- all because she lobbied Senate leadership for expanded Medicaid funding for Louisiana in the Senate health care bill in what was characterized by the media as an exchange for her "yea" vote to proceed with floor debate on the bill.
Not to be left out, Rush Limbaugh got in on the action yesterday too, declaring that Landrieu "may be the most expensive prostitute in the history of prostitution."
These types of backwards, sexist remarks are what we have come to expect from Beck or Limbaugh, but this is truly a new low for Halperin, and, by association, for Time. As my colleague Julie Millican pointed out last week, the other weekly news magazine -- Newsweek -- has a sexism problem that it needs to address concerning another female politician.
So let this serve as a word of warning to those media figures like Halperin who like to think of themselves as separate and apart from -- perhaps I should say above? -- right-wing bloviators and pot-stirrers like Beck and Limbaugh: When you engage in baseless, sexist smears of women politicians, you are no different than the side-show commentators. Maybe you're worse -- at least they don't purport to be journalists.