PRETENDERS: A second report on those Iowa chops!

THURSDAY, AUGUST 20, 2015

Part 4—While skipping large matters of substance:
On Tuesday night, the PBS NewsHour was “back on the pork chops again.” Judy Woodruff closed the show with some fun from the Iowa fair:
WOODRUFF (8/18/15): Finally tonight, our “NewsHour Shares” of the day. Something that caught our eye which might be of interest to you too.

Our senior politics producer, Bob Kovach, has been in Iowa to cover the presidential candidates. But he noticed a much more popular item at the Iowa State Fair—the state’s iconic pork chop.

He sent us this video postcard of the chefs behind the grill and the people who line up to partake.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We’re cooking the Iowa Chop here. We rack up about 45 or 50 on each rack, and can turn them all at one time.

The Iowa Chop is what we serve the most of, a little over 12,000 Iowa Chops during the fair probably. And grab it by the bone, just like you do the stick, and eat it right off the bone. No sauce on these. These are great without the sauce.

When we get them all there, we will pull them off, and they go into warming ovens, where we hold them before they go on in the serving line.

It’s gas-fired. There’s four different burners in there to keep the heat spread. And that always becomes a challenge of an evening is when do you stop cooking and to make sure you have enough to make 9 o’clock and—which is time that we close, but you not have a bunch left over at that point in time.

UNIDENTIFED MAN: This is wonderful! This Iowa Chop, that’s what it’s really all about. This is why I come to the fair. There—this, and the pork chop on a stick!

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Oh, it’s one of the greatest things at the fair, actually! I just sink my teeth into a mouthwatering pork chop that was just so beautiful. Oh, yes! Just having an Iowa pork chop is just one of the greatest things when you come to the fair. It’s a good meal to eat.

WOODRUFF: A culinary delight.
No harm was done by this minor piffle at the end of Tuesday’s show, except to Iowa livestock. But it made us think of a slightly peculiar remark by Woodruff—a remark she made during Monday night’s trip to the fair.

Uh-oh! Over the weekend, Candidate Trump had released a major policy plan concerning immigration. The multifaceted plan contains a set of major proposals, some of which seem to contradict the candidate’s public statements.

(The plan calls for “mandatory return of all criminal aliens.” In public, Trump has been calling for the deportation of everyone who is in the country illegally.)

At any rate, Candidate Trump had issued a set of major policy proposals. On Monday evening, we were struck by the way the NewsHour reacted.

In its opening segment, Gwen Ifill was at the state fair, talking about butter and fun and, of course, those Iowa pork chops. Back in Washington, Woodruff started her panel discussion like this:
WOODRUFF (8/17/15): Well, as candidates walk the midway in Iowa—and we just watched it—we know they also are making some national moves.

Among them, Donald Trump released his first national policy paper yesterday, on immigration. It sounds like a perfect time for Politics Monday.

Joining us this week are Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report and reporter Tamara Keith of NPR.

So, go Gwen!

WALTER: Yes. So fun!
Maybe we were picking nits. But if Trump had released a policy plan, why was this a perfect time for Politics Monday?

Maybe we were picking nits! But Woodruff proceeded to discuss the possibility that Candidates Sanders and Trump were enjoying a political “summer romance.” After that bit of good solid fun, she offered a rather slender account of Trump’s policy proposals:
WOODRUFF: Well, one thing [Trump] is doing clearly to get himself taken more seriously is, he started to release a policy paper. He put one out over the weekend, yesterday on Meet the Press, on immigration. And let’s look at what the basic elements of it are:

He would force Mexicans to pay for a wall, a big—he says a huge wall at the border. There would be no more automatic birthright citizenship. There’s a big controversy about that, because there is language to that in the Constitution. And finally, he would step up the deportation of all undocumented residents, adults and children.

So, Tamara, you know, what is this—this is a pretty, this is the most conservative position, we think, for all the Republicans, 17 Republicans running. What does it mean? Is this—is it smart for him politically, and what does it mean for the other candidates he’s running against?
Entertainingly, Woodruff seemed to offer a (newly) stock joke about Trump’s use of the word “huge.” (Using Nexis, we find no record of Trump saying “huge wall,” although he may have done so.)

Woodruff then offered a slender account of the Trump proposals. She said his plan would affect birthright citizenship, without explaining what that is. She said he would “step up the deportation of all undocumented residents, adults and children.”

Woodruff then turned to the pundit Keith and asked if these proposals were “smart for him politically.” There was no attempt to report or analyze the substance of Trump's proposals.

The pundits went straight to the politics of the plan. On PBS, it was basically substance be damned!

The following night, we were served those Iowa pork chops again. By now, three nights have passed this week, and the NewsHour has made no attempt to discuss the substance of Trump’s proposals, some of which were missing from Woodruff’s summary, which was less than huge.

Will the NewsHour ever discuss the substance of Trump’s immigration proposals? Presumably, the famous program maybe possibly certainly will!

How searching will those discussions be? We can’t tell you that. But all across the mainstream press, a lot of pretending is involved in the campaign coverage of substantive policy matters. Consider an amusing moment from last week’s Politics Monday—the Politics Monday segment of Monday, August 10.

On this occasion, it fell to Ifill to say that it “sounds like a perfect time for Politics Monday.” This time, guest pundit Keith seemed to offer the stock joke about Candidate Trump saying “huge.”

So far, things were going smoothly. But uh-oh! As Keith continued, she gave voice to a somewhat amusing lament:
IFILL (8/10/17): Tamara, you were in New Hampshire with Hillary, covering Hillary Clinton today. Tell us a little bit about this whole idea, this broad idea of women’s issues...

KEITH: ...Donald Trump, over the weekend, said that he’s huge on women’s issues. It’s not entirely clear what that means. Trump, before he was pro-life, was pro-choice. And of course, that’s one of many issues where there are lots of substantive questions that could be asked of a candidate, but, typically, he spends a lot of time feuding instead.

IFILL: Has the Clinton campaign decided this is an opportunity for them?

KEITH: Oh, absolutely. Hillary Clinton was having a lot of fun in that media availability today, though—and you also got the sense that she would have been perfectly happy if someone, anyone, had asked her a detailed policy question about her college affordability plan, which is what she was there for.
Using Nexis, we find no sign that Trump actually said that he was “huge on women’s issues.” These days, though, every top pundit knows how to work in the stock jokes.

That said, alas! According to Keith, Candidate Clinton would have been happy if someone had asked her about her college affordability plan that day. Incomparably, we couldn’t help noting—Ifill proceeded to ask no questions about that plan as the discussion continued.

In the eight programs since that date, the PBS NewsHour hasn’t discussed that proposal by Clinton. We’ve enjoyed two reports about Iowa’s pork chops, none on Clinton’s proposal.

At some point, Clinton’s proposal may get discussed on the NewsHour. Ditto for Trump’s immigration proposals.

That said, should the NewsHour possibly cut some pork from its bloated diet of political speculation and good solid fun? Should its stalwarts possibly do a bit less joking?

Those are matters of judgment. But the press corps does a lot of pretending when it comes to discussions of matters of substance. That seems to be especially true when it comes to matters of substance which might affect corporate elites and the people who inhabit them.

Tomorrow, we’ll return to Candidate Trump’s immigration proposals as a way to consider that type of pretending. We’ll also lament an important discussion the New York Times couldn’t ignite.

Tomorrow: What the Sam Hill is e-verify? Also, mass incarceration

37 comments:

  1. Maybe we were picking nits. But isn't this the third report on the PBS Pork Chop Hour?

    No harm was done by this minor piffle in Thursday's post, except to relieve the Howler of the need to discuss other media outlet's coverage of the immigration plan and "emailgate."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joe Arpaio's conscienceAugust 20, 2015 at 12:10 PM

      Nevertheless, you can count on Dinky (aka David in Cal) and his mercenary sidekick cicero to chime in repeatedly with off-topic wingnut minutiae.

      Delete
    2. Shouldn't PBS be covering this too? Isn't that what their NewsHour shows are for?

      Delete
    3. Rely on the Howler for all your news about PBS coverage do you?

      Delete
    4. Parade of DouchebagsAugust 20, 2015 at 3:53 PM

      NewsHour fails.

      The BIGGER problem? That awful Somerby and his rube readers!

      Delete
    5. Well, the words of a wise man were on PBS that night. Perhaps they see the problem as equal.

      Two tribes diverged in a melting wood,
      And sorry we could not join both
      And be one tribal band, long we stood
      And looked at one as far as we could
      To where it danced with greed and sloth.

      Then joined the other to fight and dare,
      And having perhaps the better claim,
      Because it was for justice and fair,
      Though humanity in both was passing there
      Had rendered them really about the same,

      And both that morning equally lay
      In ideology as different as whites and blacks.
      Oh, we attacked the other fully in our day!
      Not knowing how way leads on to way,
      We knew that tribe was worthless hacks.

      We are now telling this with a sigh
      Somewhere ages and ages hence:
      Two tribes diverged in a wood, and we—
      We joined the one more liberally
      Alas immoral, dumb and full of indolence.

      Delete
    6. @ 4:45 PM,

      I take it then that, if asked, you're available for nippy affairs like inaugurations.

      Delete
  2. At Iowa’s State Fair, Candidates Brave Cholesterol and Hecklers

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/15/us/politics/candidates-crowd-iowa-fair-in-a-raucous-campaign.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Decades of Politicking by GOP and Democratic Hopefuls at Iowa State Fair

      http://www.wsj.com/articles/decades-of-politicking-by-gop-and-democratic-hopefuls-at-iowa-state-fair-1439494661

      Delete
    2. Dan Rather's GhostAugust 20, 2015 at 12:27 PM

      2016 candidates prepare for the soapbox at the Iowa State Fair

      http://www.cbsnews.com/news/2016-candidates-prepare-for-the-soapbox-at-the-iowa-state-fair/

      Delete
    3. Oh No! Even the Butter Cow Made BBC!

      Presidential contenders appear at Iowa state fair

      http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-33950846

      Delete
    4. NY Times Iowa coverage not panned by the Howler

      http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2015/08/14/us/looking-for-votes-at-the-iowa-state-fair/s/IOWA-slide-BLDC.html

      Delete
  3. Policy discussion destined to be covered at the Howler?

    A Beating in Boston, Said to Be Inspired by Donald Trump’s Immigrant Comments

    http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2015/08/20/

    ReplyDelete
  4. Daily Kos scribe Caucasian Shaun King poses as black man and becomes leader in "Black Lives Matter" organization.

    http://www.tmz.com/2015/08/19/black-lives-matter-shaun-king-white-oprah-winfrey-rachel-dolezal/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Proving the second commenter correct in just 20 minutes!

      Delete
    2. @12:32

      Joe Arpaio's conscience must be channeling Shaun King as both have assumed the identity of someone they would rather be.

      Delete
    3. Potes stultus est sicut stultus facit.

      Cerebrum minor quam penis.

      You do belong here, that's for sure.

      Delete
    4. Cicero thinks Somerby welcomes the kind of garbage he posts here. Somerby exercises benign neglect of his comments by failing to moderate and only filtering spam. As a consequence we have to wade through a sewer of garbage emitted by Cicero, DA in CA, KZ, and anonymous trolls (mostly KZ). Indifference is not approval, Cicero. You are chalking up debits in heaven because God surely does not approve of the way you are wasting your life, even if Somerby tolerates it.

      Delete
    5. @ 1:33

      non sequitur

      FTFY - 1/16 of a peso.

      Delete
    6. @1:25

      Any news item that focuses on venal liberals is considered garbage by Howler libs. Not surprising. But what is this obsession with debits and credit?

      Delete
    7. It does indeed follow FTFY guy. At least IMHO.

      Fellers like cicero who think with their dick consider it a win when their little friend is judged bigger than their brain. And since cicero, like Somerby, frequently measures with a rough rule of thumb, who knows how to quantify, much less compare its short term gains against its once subpar standard.

      Delete
    8. @ 1:40

      "Any Newsbuster item that focuses on Hillary Clinton is eagerly gobbled up and regurgitated by cicero. Not surprising. Neither is cicero's obsession with getting paid for his/her/its trolling non-wingnut blogs."

      FTFY - chump change for a chump

      Delete
  5. There was once a time when serious proposals were made.

    http://www.nbcnews.com/video/meet-the-press/43800142#43800142

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Proposals are now made as fodder for the Jumbotron at sporting events.

      Delete
    2. No, they are not. Not every candidate is Trump.

      These proposals are the basis for deciding who to vote for.

      When Obama ran against Clinton, Obama said things like social security needed fixing, schools needed reform and support for parent choice of charter schools, and he adopted the financial advice of people like Larry Summers. He took no stand of funding for the space program, science research, or the privacy threats posed by NSA, said nothing about net neutrality. That gave voters a clear choice between him and Hillary Clinton, but only if they took the time to compare their policy statements.

      No one who read those statements should have been surprised by anything Obama did or didn't do, because his actions have been consistent with those policy statements (except for ending the wars quickly and closing Gitmo).

      In the next primary, people should go to the candidate websites and actually read those policy statements, so they know what the people they plan to vote for are promising to do. Shrugging and saying cynically that it is all a circus so why bother is exactly what Cicero and whoever he works for wants you to do.

      This is not a game. Climate change is a real issue and something needs to be done about it right now. Who will do it? Income inequality is a growing problem for everyone but the 1%. Who is going to help? Like it or not, we are part of a global economy and an interconnected world. If the rest of the world suffers, can we stay prosperous? Who understands that?

      You are damned right that this is serious and we should all be taking it seriously. It would be nice if the press did its job and kept us all informed. Somerby should be making noise about this situation. In the meantime, do your homework.

      Delete
    3. Clintonistas. Always fighting the last war while learning no lessons from it.

      Delete
    4. @ 1:20

      Your natural candidate for POTUS must be Martin O'Malley considering he imagines global warming is responsible for the existence of ISIS.

      http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/248640-martin-omalley-links-isis-to-climate-change

      Delete
    5. "Your artificial paymaster for your paid trolling must be Media Research Center considering all your bullet points are straight out of the Newsbusters yellow sheet."

      FTFY - keep the change

      Delete
  6. Do you think Bob has returned his tote bag to PBS in protest?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Another excuse bites the dust:

    Exclusive: Dozens of Clinton emails were classified from the start, U.S. rules suggest

    Never mind...

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/08/21/us-usa-election-clinton-emails-idUSKCN0QQ0BW20150821

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So this TOP SECRET classified super secret information is being leaked by who to Reuters?

      Never mind.......

      Delete
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