Press corps fly-weights shift the blame!


Parker plays an old song: Mainstream scribes possess one great skill.

They’re highly skilled at blame-shifting. In this morning’s New York Times, Ashley Parker—she’s just 29—shows her mastery of the old practice:
PARKER (3/3/12): Mitt Romney is best known as a private equity specialist, but he is trying to transform himself into a primary care physician for an ailing nation.

“If I were a doctor and I saw somebody who was obviously suffering from some condition, I would want to do something to help,” Mr. Romney said, at a town hall-style meeting in Bexley, Ohio, this week. “Well, my experience is not in medicine. My experience is in business.”

His goal, he told the crowd, is “to use what I’ve learned to try and help.”

Convincing voters that he means it, however, may be Mr. Romney’s greatest challenge. He has been struggling with how to handle his immense wealth ever since he announced his candidacy in June. Even his most casual remarks—about the Cadillacs his wife owns, or how his six-figure speaking fees did not add up to much—are pounced on by Democrats and Republicans alike, and used to portray him as a millionaire titan who is out of touch with the concerns of average Americans.
Wonderful clownistry! Even Romney’s most casual remarks “are pounced on by Democrats and Republicans alike?” That’s true, of course. But before that pouncing occurs, Romney’s remarks are pounced upon by fly-weights like Parker herself!

A bit later on, Parker even cites Romney’s aides as they make this obvious observation:
PARKER: Mr. Romney’s aides reject the notion that his inadvertent comments underscoring his wealth are gaffes, and instead argue that the news media takes a few words and blows them out of proportion. But Mr. Romney acknowledged in a news conference on Tuesday that his tone-deaf remarks have stalled his campaign.
Really? “The news media” has been doing these things? What makes these aides think that?

It has ever been thus. During Campaign 2000, mainstream scribes would routinely attribute their own behavior to “late-night comedians.” Late-night jesters were constantly blamed for the press corps’ behavior toward Candidate Gore, although the blame was often shifted to “Gore’s Republican opponents.”

The fact that the press corps was staging a war against Gore never seemed to get mentioned!

“Even his most casual remarks are pounced on by Democrats and Republicans alike!” Parker trained under Maureen Dowd. This is how such life-forms act.

Policy postscript: What about Romney’s most ridiculous policy proposals? Darlings, please! At the New York Times, reporters don’t bother with that!


  1. Policy, shmolicy! Who cares if there's a phrase that can be exploited and twisted to the high heavens?

    Yeah, so Mittens will blow a gigantic hole through the deficit; yeah, he'll repeal our best chance at universalizing health care and lowering costs; yeah he'll give into to lunatics who want to launch yet more unpaid-for wars in the Middle East...yeah, yeah, yeah.

    But he says goofy things that rich people usually have the good sense to keep quiet about! Tee hee hee. Oh, and did you hear about that Irish-named dog he strapped to the roof of his....

  2. u may b projectingMarch 3, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    "Mainstream scribes possess one great skill. They’re highly skilled at blame-shifting." B. Somerby

    u may b projecting cuz i think thats what the purpose of your site is -- to shift blame away from somebody(s) or something by scapegoating some front line journalists who, no doubt, were also malefactors in the gore loss but likely not the most blame worthy elements involved... such as their bosses or their bosses bosses, the moneyed interests.

  3. If you've read anything on this site, you'll know that Somerby routinely lays the blame for the direction and tenor of our crappy news coverage on the big-money corporate elites that own and control the media (Jack Welch is frequently mentioned). The shenanigans the mainstream media engages in (especially the 2-year fatwa they ran against Gore in 1999-2000) are simply methods the "moneyed interests" employ to control the discussion in our public sphere and keep citizens disinformed.

    But it's not blame shifting to call out those in the media who perpetuate this nonsense, as they are defiling their own craft. There was a time when being a journalist at a major media organ meant something more than carrying water for wealthy, unscrupulous bastards and dumbing down the national discourse.

  4. u may b projectingMarch 5, 2012 at 10:59 AM

    i have noticed that he directs blame to welchs "shenanigans", more frequently than any of the other moneyed interests people, as far as ive seen. why is welch singled out from the other bosses at other networks? he does deserve some share of the blame but imo mr somerby may be engaged in a subtle scapegoating of americans who are of iriish-catholic ancestry by regularly singling out individuals who are of irish-catholic ancestry and occasionally even attributing their trespasses to their irish-catholic-ness (welch dowd mathews collins et al). they no doubt bear some burden of the blame on an absolute level, but somerby lays it on them very much out of proportion to their complicity on a relative basis.

    im not saying that mr somerby doesnt provide a service more generally. imo he does.

    what im curious about is what or who is he shifting the blame away from, and why.

    1. u may b projectingMarch 5, 2012 at 11:26 AM

      and whether or not he is an independent agent or in the service of others in this regard.

  5. u may b projecting, you're new around here it seems. I advise checking out the archives. (Oh, by the way, Somerby is of "iriish-catholic (sic) ancestry.)