Part 3—Your side can’t explain and has failed: Can we talk?
The mainstream press corps simply [HEART] the sexy-time Herman Cain sex chase.
We know, we know: Sexual harassment is not about sex! Except it is—for the mainstream press! Just consider the way this sexy-time tale has played in the New York Times.
This morning, Cain sits at the top of the Times front page. But then, Cain has sat at the top of page one for three consecutive days now! These sexy-time, three-part headlines have all appeared at the top of the Times front page this week. We’re looking at our hard-copy newspapers as we type them up:
Tuesday, November 1:Long lists of reporters’ names adorn these thrilling sexy-time tales. The Times has pulled out all the stops to get you the full information. Compare this to the lazy, desultory attempts which were made to explain the Cain/Perry tax proposals and you see the way the balance of interest swings toward sexy-time tales.
CAIN CONFRONTS CLAIM FROM 90s OF HARASSMENT
HE DENIES WRONGDOING
New Media Whirlwind Becomes Exercise in Damage Control
Wednesday, November 2:
CAIN ACCUSER GOT A YEAR’S SALARY IN SEVERANCE PAY
CHARGE OF HARASSMENT
Candidate Played Down Outlay by Restaurent Group He Led
Thursday, November 3:
CAIN SAYS PERRY IS ORCHESTRATING SMEAR CAMPAIGN
ACCUSES AIDE OF LEAKS
Denial by G.O.P. Rival—Third Harassment Case Is Reported
(Sorry: Toward important news stories in which the press corps addresses key issues involving the rights of women!)
The post-journalistic cabal called the press corps adores these sexy-time tales. Last night, on our liberal cable channel, Lawrence O’Donnell spent the vast majority of his hour chasing this sexy-time tale all around. Earlier, Chris Matthews devoted about one-third of his program—the first one-third—to this same sexy-time topic, even though he burned two later segments trying to sell his new book.
“The third woman. Let’s play Hardball,” Matthews said as he started his program. Just so you can enjoy a good laugh, this is what this big nut said as he introduced his first guests:
MATTHEWS (11/2/11): We’ll get to the latest with the allegations against Herman Cain, but we start with this big foreign policy blunder this week.Too funny! Chris “started with this big foreign policy blunder”—until the lure of "a graphic depiction" made him forget what he said! For the record, no one has spent more time tugging his dinghy while limning such sexy-time tales than this big socio has. And no, we haven’t done any deletions in that transcript. To watch that comical Hardball opening, go ahead—just click here.
Howard Fineman is Huffington Post’s editorial director and David Corn is the Washington Post (sic) bureau chief for Mother Jones. Both are MSNBC political analysts.
We’ve got to get to this new development here tonight, Howard. How do we weigh the fact this third woman—and now we’re getting to me a graphic depiction, at least, of what one woman is saying. “He offered—he asked me to go to the company apartment.” I’ll read, it’s on the— NBC News hasn’t independently confirmed these allegations, but let me read what the Associated Press is reporting late this afternoon...
Fineman and Corn knerw they mustn't laugh at the funny thing Matthews had said. For the record, Matthews harassed (liberal) women all through the Clinton-Gore years (and beyond), although the “liberal world” never complained. Now, he’s appalled by such conduct!
The mainstream press and our own cable channel are in love with these sexy-time tales. They devote big time and big reportorial effort to running down every detail. But when it comes to the biggest policy issues—the topics which define the shape of American life—a very different culture obtains within this small, stupid mafia. Just look what happened when the Washington Post ran that top-of-the-front-page report in this Sunday’s paper (click here).
Lori Montgomery did it again—she pushed the standard disinformation about Social Security’s impending failure. Let’s be fair: Some of her report was even accurate, or at least it was technically accurate—but all of her report was grossly misleading. Needless to say, Montgomery’s piece rated three headlines, just like Cain’s sexy-time tales:
Sunday, October 30:Montgomery’s report got a very big spread. The report itself ran almost 2500 words. Inside the paper, it was accompanied by a large, sprawling graphic.
Social Security adding billions to U.S. budget woes
‘CASH NEGATIVE’ MILESTONE CAME EARLY
Fearing backlash, parties reluctant to pursue fix
Montgomery’s report was grossly misleading. It worked off various misleading frameworks which have been completely standard over the past thirty years. There was nothing new about what she said. It has all been said many times in the past, confusing tens of millions of voters over the past several decades.
And how sad! When this standard disinformation piece led the front page of the Washington Post, your thoroughly hopelessly “liberal” team didn’t know how to discuss it!
Paul Krugman is, by far, our smartest, most important player. It isn’t Krugman’s “fault”—not at all—that the “liberal” world has never developed a way to discuss this particular topic. A sensible person can’t expect Krugman to solve every policy and/or rhetorical problem. In the past dozen years, Krugman has been our team’s most valuable journalistic player by a good strong country mile.
But here’s the way Krugman critiqued that piece. This critique, by our smartest, most valuable player, just massively/totally fails:
KRUGMAN (10/30/11): Social Security Bait And Switch, A Continuing SeriesThat explanation isn’t “wrong.” It’s something worse—it’s useless. You could never use that explanation to help average voterS understand what’s wrong with that Post report. It’s muddled, murky, wonky and geeky—unlike the carefully crafted talking-points which have produced the massive confusion upon which Montgomery drew.
Dean Baker is angry at the Washington Post for spreading disinformation about Social Security. He’s right, of course—and it’s shocking that a well-known fallacy is the subject of a “news analysis” that purports to inform readers.
You see, the WaPo makes a big deal of the fact that Social Security is currently taking in less in payroll taxes than it’s paying out in benefits. Yet this means nothing, except as a favorite point used to create confusion by those who want to kill the program.
I’ve written about this repeatedly in the past, but here it is again: Social Security is a program that is part of the federal budget, but is by law supported by a dedicated source of revenue. This means that there are two ways to look at the program’s finances: in legal terms, or as part of the broader budget picture.
In legal terms, the program is funded not just by today’s payroll taxes, but by accumulated past surpluses—the trust fund. If there’s a year when payroll receipts fall short of benefits, but there are still trillions of dollars in the trust fund, what happens is, precisely, nothing—the program has the funds it needs to operate, without need for any Congressional action.
Alternatively, you can think about Social Security as just part of the federal budget. But in that case, it’s just part of the federal budget; it doesn’t have either surpluses or deficits, no more than the defense budget.
Both views are valid, depending on what questions you’re trying to answer.
What you can’t do is insist that the trust fund is meaningless, because SS is just part of the budget, then claim that some crisis arises when receipts fall short of payments, because SS is a standalone program. Yet that’s exactly what the WaPo claims.
This is what you call negative journalistic value added.
As a way of informing regular voters, that explanation is a big gigantic fail.
This isn’t an indictment of Krugman; it isn’t his job to solve every problem faced by the liberal world. It is an indictment of that “liberal world” over the past thirty years. It’s an indictment of Dionne and Robinson and the people populating the “liberal journals.” It’s an indictment of Corn and Walsh and the rest of the clowns who kiss the keister of Matthews. It’s an indictment of the new Josh Marshal, who plays the fool and stuffs bucks in his pants. It’s an indictment of Chait and Ezra and the rest of the children who never get too far out of line in pursuit of good jobs at good wages.
It’s an indictment of the whole charade in which you’ve been told that you’re represented within the press. But more than anything else, it’s a failure. That post is an epic fail.
Thirty years into this nasty campaign, your side has wallowed hard this week, enjoying the fun of those sexy-time tales. The New York Times has spared no resources as it tries to run down the truth. But how amazing! After thirty years of disinformation concerning the Social Security program, Krugman’s hopelessly wonky post was the best your side could do. And it was a massive fail.
No, this isn’t Krugman’s fault. By light-years, he has been our most valuable journalistic player. But that post is a fruit of the culture of dumb—even though our self-impressed tribe is much too dumb to see it.
Tomorrow: The eds can’t imagine—again!