EVERYBODY LOVES A CHARADE: Dowd and Bruni kick it off!

MONDAY, APRIL 20, 2015

Let the charade begin:
With Hillary Clinton’s official announcement, the official charade began.

For the next nineteen months, the national press corps will pretend to report and analyze the 2016 White House campaign. All this week, we’ll discuss basic aspects of this quadrennial festival of faux.

Yesterday’s columns by Bruni and Dowd gave the charade its ceremonial start. For today, though, as we make our way back to our sprawling campus, let’s limit ourselves to a brief discussion of the way Jeb Bush is allegedly being covered.

Last Friday night, Brooke Gladstone interviewed New York magazine’s Jaime Fuller on the long-running NPR program, On the Media.

Gladstone is an upper-end press-watcher. On her NPR program, Gladstone and her various guests discuss the way the press corps conducts its business. This gives NPR listeners the sense that very bright people are keeping an eye on the conduct of this guild.

Last Friday, Gladstone started with the kind of framework which says “smart” to such listeners. Fuller took it from there, making a claim which struck us as somewhat odd:
GLADSTONE (4/17/15): As candidates emerge fresh and sleek from their campaign caves, the naming has already begun. It’s an ancient tradition, dating back as least as far as Homer. And our heroes may contain multitudes, but we make do with shorthand:

Achilles the lion-hearted, Athena the tireless one, man-slaughtering Hector. Or, more appropriate to the current moment, Thersites of the endless speech.

New York magazine’s Jaime Fuller has been cataloging the epithets journalists are coining to encapsulate our current crop of presidential aspirants. She started by noticing that Jeb Bush has been dubbed an introvert.

FULLER: I’m like, “Hah! This is a kind of strange word to be applying to someone who wants to be president.” I went to Nexis, I typed in “Jeb Bush and introvert.” Lo and behold, there were at least ten instances in the past decade when he’s been called that. And interestingly enough, Jeb Bush was the first one to do it. So we are all doing his bidding when we call him an introvert.

GLADSTONE: [Chuckles] And why do you think that is? Is it because “introvert” suggests sincerity and smarts?

FULLER: I think so...
To hear the whole segment, click here.

According to Fuller, there have been “at least ten instances in the past decade” when someone in the press corps has called Jeb Bush an “introvert.” It was Bush who first described himself that way, she said.

We were puzzled by this remark. Given the sweep of the national press, ten such instances in a decade would hardly qualify as a notable trend. But so what? Gladstone was buying! Soon, she was saying this:
GLADSTONE: So “introvert” was picked by Jeb himself and then picked up by the rest of us. What about Rand Paul?
Has the corps stampeded off to call Jeb Bush an introvert? Are they doing this because “introvert” suggests sincerity and smarts?

By the end of the week, we’ll show you what we found when we ran that same Nexis search. For today, we’ll refer you to this piece from February, in which Fuller presented six examples of this alleged trend.

Back to our basic point:

With yesterday’s columns by Bruni and Dowd, a 19-month charade has officially started. Starting tomorrow, we’ll be discussing this pseudo-journalistic manifestation all week.

We found Gladstone and Fuller a bit underwhelming. It will take a lot of pushback in the next nineteen months to stop the journalistic disaster which is already underway.

On the brighter side, it’s beginning to seem that New York Times readers have finally seen enough. Yesterday, they were pushing back fairly hard against those sad, silly columns. And at Salon, a bright young kid has complained of the vast dumbness too!

Within the realm of the national press, everybody loves a charade. The familiar clowning will constitute a world without end unless we the people reject it.

Tomorrow: Frank Bruni says he’s “already confused.” Everyone loves a charade!

35 comments:

  1. As far as HRC's Brooklyn campaign HQ, better a hip location than a hip dislocation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. cicero you were missed during the discussion of the Geer slaying last week.

      Since Howler didn't cover it until months after the Washington Post did I figured one of his faithful readers had to have alerted him to it. Then I followed the link and found you all over the Post's comment box. Sad you didn't share your wisdom with us here.

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    2. cicero repeating all the right-wing's ideas we'll be hearing from now until the election.

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    3. That's what he/she/it gets paid for.

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    4. Are hip dislocation jokes compensation enough for being a limp dick?

      Delete
  2. Dowd in the headline, indicating she's back in Howlerland fighting Wicked Witch. And Bruni too.

    Alas, our Bob, what a tease. Nothing until tomorrow. He promises.

    But even that may have to wait for other promises made and forgotten:

    "MARCH 21, 2015

    It happens every fourth spring: On Monday, we’ll start our “spring training” preview of the coverage of the 2016 campaign."

    "MARCH 21, 2015....

    Good lord! Two weeks ago, the analysts thought that our past efforts with Patrick Healy were producing those good results. He discussed Clinton coverage, past and future, in a piece in the New York Times.

    We’ll look at that piece next week."

    "MARCH 21, 2015....

    Starting Monday, we'll discuss how liberals and Democrats should deal with the upcoming mess. For now, a quick bit of perspective:

    Sixteen years ago, the Boston Globe did snarky reporting of this type about Candidate Gore."

    Gack! One post, three promises. None delivered.

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    Replies
    1. That headline grabs the eye with its familiar name-calling.

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    2. The Times just ran some letters from teachers about testing.

      That alone should get a couple of posts from TDH before he gets to the campaign coverage. It is more important and many readers come here just for that.

      Delete
  3. Warning to casual readers of this blog: These comments are unmoderated. They are infested by one or more trolls who routinely attack the blog author in a variety of ways, rarely substantive. Such attacks are not an indicator of the level of interest of other readers, the validity of the content posted nor of the esteem in which the blog author is held by others.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The last three posts have to be the tops since my casual reading of this blog began.

      I must admit I didn't see any troll infestation but I was put off by the person who claimed to like Gail Collins.

      Delete
    2. If you look around and you can't tell who the troll at the table is, it is probably you.

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    3. @ 4:23 it must be tough on you when you dine alone.

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    4. It's an old poker joke that went right over your head.

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    5. I agree. Except for the post about our schools not doing anything right.

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  4. I think it's more interesting to search the Boston Globe from a few months ago and learn that Jeb Bush has a history of selling drugs.

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    1. @11:16

      Being a pusher should make JB a shoo-in for the liberal vote.

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    2. Being a prick should compensate you for not having any personal friends with whom to share tearing wings off of flies.

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    3. "Being a pusher should make JB a shoo-in for the liberal vote."
      It worked on the Reagan Democrats.

      Delete
  5. If it confuses Bruni so much when a politician uses a phrase that acknowledges the disproportionate power of the wealthy and connected vs the "ordinary" he probably shouldn't be writing about politics.

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    Replies
    1. To me "groveling, garnished with guacamole" sounds a lot of Bob Somerby. In literary, not literal, language.

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  6. This is media criticism? Jeez. Somerby needs to grow a pair. Like Susie Madrak.

    http://crooksandliars.com/2015/04/how-corporate-media-plans-cash-clinton

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    Replies
    1. I like that she took on Amy Chozik directly. Somerby should try that more often.

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    2. It is unfortunate that Rachel Maddow got to the "Clinton Cash" story before The Howler, particularly the issue of mainstream media involvement with this attack on Hillary Clinton.

      Is Somerby going to have to pick between the One True Channel and goofy leftist blogs on the one hand and the hated Times and WaPo on the other?

      Delete
    3. "Somerby should try that more often."

      Even once would be "more often".

      Delete
    4. I followed the link to Crooks and Liars. Interesting place. The coverage of the Palin Baby Hoax had interesting insight on our captured pres corps. And it got more comments than the Howler gets in a week.

      http://crooksandliars.com/2015/04/seven-years-why-sarah-palin-birth-hoax

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    5. Since you all agree Somerby is deficient, why do you have to keep harping on it and annoying those of us who like the guy? Go comment at those other blogs you like better and leave this one alone.

      Delete
    6. Somerby does fine generating his own memes.

      @ 10:32may find this useful:

      https://imgflip.com/memegenerator/7343489/Leave-Britney-Alone

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    7. Anonymous @10:40, you may think making fun of Anonymous @ 10:32 is funny, but a more reasonable approach would be to point out that #Bob Somerby could broaden interest in his blog and pick some new and interesting topics from other blogs.

      Like look at this idiotic piece trying to make Chris Matthews into some sort of hero. Somerby could focus on fools on the pseudo-left who do not realize what Matthews own history is and maybe then they would think twice.

      http://crooksandliars.com/2015/04/chris-matthews-takes-ron-christie-woodshed

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  7. Suppose you had the power to choose the next President. What characteristics would you look for? I would look for:
    -- Integrity
    -- Public spiritedness (someone who'd use the power for the good of the country, not for him/herself or his/her party.
    -- Intelligence
    -- Relevant experience
    -- Good judgment
    -- History of success in related jobs
    -- Military expertise (President is the Commander in Chief)
    -- Expertise in economics, science, foreign affairs
    -- Management skills
    -- Policies one approves of
    -- Likely appointees one approves of.

    Unfortunately, discussion of whether Jeb Bush is an "introvert" don't help voters understand characteristics that actually matter in a President.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rick "Yoda" ScottApril 20, 2015 at 9:40 PM

      It's absolutely terrible that they accuse Jeb of being an introvert. What's next: that he enjoys going to movies by himself?

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    2. LBJ swam nude in the White House pool.

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    3. Men always swam naked at the YMCA in that time period so that is less eccentric than it seems.

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    4. LBJ did it at the White House because he wanted people to leave him alone.

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