August 11, 2008

The Tattlesnake – Double-Take On the News Edition

You Could Get Whiplash

“Somewhere between the stained blue dress and the vice president shooting a guy in the face, between swift boat lies and ‘war on terra’ alibis, the absurd became the ordinary, facts became optional and satire became superfluous.”
– Leonard Pitts Jr., “When Hysteria and Satire Meet,” The Miami Herald, July 17, 2008.

McCain the Antichrist?Huhhhh? I’m not a big fan of Johnny MacFlipFlop, but the Antichrist in the flesh? Whoa! I smell Rove: This is perhaps the only way the GOP will get far-right Christians to vote for McNasty – by convincing fringe Christopublicans his election will hasten the End Times and bring on the Rapture. Oh, brother. Or maybe Obama is the Antichrist, as Time Magazine postulates the McCain camp is trying to depict him, and the Fundies will vote for BHO to bring about Armageddon. Or maybe they’ll vote against the Antichrist, depending on which one it really is – if you’re a wingnut who believes in a Republican Country Club Jay-zus backed by his Invisible Omnipotent Dad, you certainly have a lot of figurin’ to do this election – and these are Godly folk who taint fond o’ that thinkin’ stuff much. What to do, what to do…who’s got the snakes this week?

– The Big Media Fatuous Fathead of the Week Award: It’s a squeaker, but the prize goes to Amy Chozick of Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal for devoting over a thousand words to speculating whether Obama is ‘too thin and fit’ to be president. Chozick was apparently casting about for a novel way to dump on Obama, no doubt hoping to score some brownie points with Big Bossman Rupe, and hit upon this novel theme, as noted by Media Matters on August 8th:

“[I]n a nation in which 66% of the voting-age population is overweight and 32% is obese, could Sen. Obama’s skinniness be a liability? Despite his visits to waffle houses, ice-cream parlors and greasy-spoon diners around the country, his slim physique just might have some Americans wondering whether he is truly like them.”
– Amy Chozick, “Too Fit To Be President?” WSJ, Aug. 1, 2008.

In her piece, Chozick also dragged this morsel out for perusal: “During a July family appearance on ‘Access Hollywood,’ Sen. Obama’s 7-year-old daughter, Sasha, revealed that her dad doesn’t like ice cream or sweets. ‘Everybody should like ice cream,’ she said.”

Sweet Jesus, Amy’s got the kid working against Obama, courtesy of none other than that reputable news source ‘Access Hollywood.’

She also digs up that dog-eared ‘arugula’ nonsense, quoting Obama in Iowa in 2007 saying, “‘Anybody gone into a Whole Foods lately and seen what they charge for arugula?’ The upscale supermarket specializing in organic food doesn’t have a single store in Iowa.”

In fact, Amy, Iowa farmers grow arugula, many of the chain grocery stores there stock it, and, while there may be no Whole Foods stores per se, there are natural food stores across the state, from Winterset to Waterloo. Oh, and since Obama handily won the Iowa caucuses, the comment apparently did him no harm with the voters.

Chozick’s problem here was that she apparently cooked up her silly-ass hypothesis before she had any actual fact to back it up. So, what did this perspicacious ‘journalist’ do then? Drop the whole idiotic idea because there was nothing to it, you say? Keep dreaming – this is Murdoch’s World where they create the news, not report on it. Chozick, naturally, started a message board on Yahoo where she asked the burning question: “Does anyone out there think Barack Obama is too thin to be president? Anyone having a hard time relating to him and his ‘no excess body fat’? Please let me know. Thanks!” After a few posts rightly dismissing her question as ludicrous, she finally got someone with the comely screen name ‘onlinebeerbellygirl’ to agree with her bizarre premise: “Yes I think He is to skinny to be President. … I won’t vote for any beanpole guy.”

But the story doesn’t end there. Apparently ‘onlinebeerbellygirl’ does not exist elsewhere in cyberspace, which leads skeptics to wonder if Chozick simply planted the comment herself to reinforce the half-witted hypothesis of her column. It was bad enough that WSJ was forced to issue a partial correction for Amy’s idiocy: “This article about Barack Obama’s weight included a quote from a Yahoo bulletin board that was posted in response to a question from a Journal reporter who initiated the discussion. The article should have disclosed that the reporter used the bulletin board to elicit the comment, ‘I won’t vote for any beanpole guy.’”

Uh, perhaps the WSJ editors, once they stopped laughing, should have sent Amy to the corner with a dunce cap instead of publishing this tripe, although I can imagine how hard that would be with those News Corp. microchips in your brain.

Close runner-up is NBC’s David Gregory for desperately attempting to tie Obama to John Edwards’ recent revelations that he had an affair a couple of years ago. To whit:

“Welcome to Race for the White House on a busy Friday. I’m David Gregory — happy to have you here. It’s your stop for the fast pace, the bottom line, and every point of view in the room. Tonight, more on Edwards and the fallout from his admission today about a sexual affair: Is this another skeleton in the Democratic closet that Barack Obama must struggle to overcome? Will Edwards appear at the Democratic convention? All of that ahead.”
– David Gregory on MSNBC, as quoted by Media Matters, Aug. 8, 2008.

“Another skeleton in the Democratic closet that Barack Obama must struggle to overcome”? Gee, Dave, that’s not too loaded — why not tell your audience exactly what other skeletons you’re referring to, like a good reporter would, instead of leaving it to their imaginations? Oh, I forgot, you were part of the White House Press Corps – go fetch your biscuit, boy.

As Jamison Foser of Media Matters writes of Obama:

“Too popular. Too well-educated. Too fit. Too presidential. The guy doesn’t stand a chance. No wonder media coverage of poll results that show Obama beating McCain makes it sound like McCain is winning.”
– Jamison Foser, Media Matters, Aug. 8, 2008.

Except McCain isn’t winning, not in any major poll and not in state-by-state electoral vote breakdowns — the votes that really count — and I don’t think any of this guff is helping the GOP one bit.

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