Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Paleomedia Continuing Slide Toward Irrelevance

One of the most irritating attributes of contemporary political journalism is the obsession with covering tactics. It’s never the what, it’s the how. In the case of Obama, it’s the “how he’s going to do something magical everywhere!”

Especially when it’s coming from Obama’s lap dogs at the Associated Press. Article here. Excerpts and commentary below.

President Barack Obama, increasingly impatient with Senate negotiations over health care, is weighing a plan to offer more details of his goals for overhauling the nation's health system, the White House said Tuesday.


This is bizarre. Had the Senate negotiations gone smoothly, would Obama have failed to announce detailed goals? If so, that is a hell of a way to govern. In reality, Obama knew nothing about healthcare, so he hoped congress would be able to do something. No dice. Now he is in the unfortunate (if you’re him) position of having to actually understand the issue.

The president is considering a speech in the next week or so in which he would be "more prescriptive" about what he feels Congress must include in a bill,


Sure beats meandering about the vagaries of the issue, sharing an absurd hypothetical about tonsil thieving doctors, and concluding with a racially-tinged summary judgment on a random police dispute. Obama already wasted an hour of our time demonstrating his ignorance on health care. Now he wants a mulligan?

The speech might occur before the Sept. 15 deadline that was given to Senate negotiators to seek a bipartisan bill,


Really? You mean Obama will comment on his intentions prior to a congressional decision? As opposed the sometime after the issue has been decided? That’s some heavy duty reporting , AP.

Some Obama allies, watching his approval ratings tumble in polls along with support for a health care overhaul, have urged the president to take a more hands-on approach.


More hands-on than what? It sounds like he’s doing the same thing that he did in July. That aside, what kind of reporting is this? “Some Obama allies” urged something? Good grief, I could have written that, and I have no access whatsoever. What is the point of this piece, aside from disseminating talking points?

Axelrod indicated that Obama would not offer new proposals


So there is no news hook. Great.

"The ideas are all there on the table," Axelrod said. "Now we are in a new phase and it's time to pull the strands of these together."


And, in a fierce rebuttal, some Republican spokesperson said “some things have happened. We are going to take action and do things and stuff like that, probably.” Granted, it’s hard to ask a follow up when you are copying and pasting from a press release.

He said there is serious discussion in the White House of Obama "giving a speech that lays out in specific [sic] way what he thinks"

The White House is essentially conceding that all of Obama’s speeches to date have been fluff. Also, note to AP, you are allowed to correct grammatical errors in quotations, so long as you maintain the general intent of same. I mean, you have a whole style book named after you. Use it.

Axelrod said it was possible that the new speech could occur before a planned Sept. 15 Obama address on health care in Pittsburgh.

This is redundant on a couple of levels. First of all, it repeats information from an earlier paragraph. Second, the possible/could combination hedges rather gratuitously. But you’re the legitimate journalist.

Axelrod condemned recent comments by two chief Senate Republican negotiators

Neither surprising nor relevant here.

Charles Grassley of Iowa and Mike Enzi of Wyoming — who have sharply criticized key elements of Democrats' health care plans even as they insisted that a workable bipartisan plan was possible.

So, the fact that the opposition party notes its, um, opposition to key features of a bill, but is also willing to consider a compromise is somehow extraordinary? Isn’t rejecting portions of a particular plan the first step toward forging a bi-partisan plan, almost by definition?

Their remarks, Axelrod said, "were not exactly consistent with good-faith negotiations."


So, the author of this piece concludes with a quote about “good faith”. The article begins as an announcement of the fact that Obama may well offer specifics on his plan. It ends with a random assertion of bad-faith on the part of two senators.

This is not a news article. It is a cheap, shill-worthy atrocity against journalistic integrity.

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