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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The New York Times Loves a Good Catfight

Oh, readers, were I a better correspondent, I would devote a section every day to detailing the ridculousness that is the paper of record's attempt at this thing called "teh blogging." But I'm not that kind of correspondent (yet). So instead, I bring you my usual half-explained rant about something the Grey Lady has done that's pissed me off. Today, they take a headline from Drudge about how Michelle Obama said something that could be construed as hating on Hillary Clinton, as Wonkette says, if you're drunk. I'm going to now close-read/debunk several parts of this blog-post:

"If you can’t run your own house, you can’t run the White House.” The words are from Michelle Obama, wife of Barack. Will they ignite this campaign’s version of a “baking cookies” or “never had a real job” moment?

I don't know, how about igniting a "shut the hell up and report the news" moment? Does the Times ever stop to consider how sexist and ridiculous all this scrutinizing of the potential first ladies' comments vis-a-vis each other are? I mean, it's one thing to report on something like this with a healthy dose of skepticism. It's another to lap it up like a cat laps up milk. Later, the author says:

Here’s a choice: You can take a look at the transcript Sargent provides at the above link and decide for yourself, or you can let bloggers decide for you.

The Times decides to do the latter, of course. But look through the comments. They are truly angry--not at Michelle, but at the way the Times has chosen to report this. A sampling:

1-That the NYT only covers this stupid non-controversy reaffirms my decision to obtain news and information from outside the traditional media that seemingly cannot sit still through a five minute speech.

2-Why is the media wasting our time trying to drum up a “cat” fight between Mrs. Obama and Ms. Clinton? These are the ridiculous exploits that derail critical, serious focus on important issues, such as war, taxes, global warming, poverty and a dozen other real and pressing world problems. Give us a break….!

3-All of these comments are spot-on. Please give us substance and leave the fluff for the lesser media outlets.

4-Why is this blog, under the auspices of “the paper of record,” further propagating this ridiculous story? Read the transcript–she was clearly talking about her own family. It’s so annoying that the media turns to Drudge to pick up stories that don’t mean anything. Is this what I get for spending my money on Times Select? Garbage.

5-Tempest in a teapot indeed….please, please, please, my beloved NY Times, give us substantive reporting on the issues and the philosophical and moral choices we have,

6-If we’re going to assume that Michelle Obama “meant” some kind of dig when she made the comment, “If you can’t run your own house, you can’t run the White House,” why isn’t it just as easy to imagine that it was a dig at all the Republican candidates who are into their 2nd, 3rd, etc., marriage? Why is everyone assuming that, if it was anything at all, it was a dig at Hillary??? We need to start focusing on the issues, people, and stop analyzing the minutia for potentially scandalous tidbits.

Yada, yada, yada you get the point. People are mad. Folded in with this parade of complaints are are a smattering of sexist, racist "Michelle Obama has a big fat mouth" snipes as well as plenty of "ever think this was a dig at Giuliani?" comments. The former are assholes, the latter are correct-- for the Times to assume that one woman's critique must be squarely directed at another and make a catfight out of a molehill is completely absurd and thoughtless. And beyond that, the whole "Michelle Obama has a big mouth thing" is complete BS-- an unsubstantiated piece of paranoia which the Times has fed into again and again. This happens every time a first-lady-to-be is revealed to have a brain, and it pisses me off. This was irresponsible reporting.

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