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Monday, September 24, 2007

O, Tempora! The Times screws Dems over again.

Sunday's widely circulated Times Styles piece about presidential candidates' personal lives blamed the internet and indiscreet candidates for the proliferation of supposedly "too-personal" anecdotes. It noticeably and completely ignored the mainstream media's primary role in this trend--not to mention that of special prosecutors. It just boggles my mind how much hemming and hawing had to be done--so much journalistic flip-flopping and so many pointed omissions that IMHO, the article as it is makes no fookin' sense (nor might I ad, does it give us any new 411).

Michael Powell writes that:
Too Much Information is a concept rarely honored in modern presidential politics. In a YouTube, cellphone photo, I’m-posting-it-on-the-Web world, no secret is safe, no taboo assumed, no limit observed.
Powell seems to have forgotten that his own newspaper (not to mention cable TV pundits) profiles the fashion decisions, family lives and the personal histories of candidates on a regular basis, playing to an audience that's far more established and influential than the YouTube/internet generation.
How American politics came to this pass has two answers. The short version starts with Jimmy Carter, who told Playboy magazine that that he had lusted in his heart after women. And it ends with Bill Clinton and the Starr report. President George W. Bush got the message; asked about his own past peccadilloes, he more or less said those were in the past.
Powell, while essentially praising Bush for stonewalling the press, de-emphasizes the fact that Bush was free to dismiss questions posed to him, while Clinton's hand was forced by the special prosecutor's office. By this logic any candidate who refuses to divulge personal information should be praised. But he reverses this assumption when discussing democratic candidate John Edwards.

The reporter begins by saying: “I hope this isn’t too personal.” That’s when Mr. Edwards’s inner siren should have started screaming. How, the writer asks, did you break her rib with a hug?
“Maybe it is a little personal,” Mr. Edwards says.

Here, Powell castiages John Edwards for not knowing what a reporter was going to ask beforehand, and then politely refusing to answer the question without making a big fuss over it. But in his fawning closing anecdote about Rudy Giuliani, Powell praises him for doing what amounts to the same thing as Edwards, but more rudely.

A young mother stood up and asked Mr. Giuliani about his three marriages and his frosty-to-nonexistent relationship with his two children. He fixed her with that stare.
“I love my family very very much and will do anything for them,” he said. “The best thing I can say is, kind of, ‘Leave my family alone, just like I’ll leave your family alone.’ ”
Don’t go there — what a candidate concept.

The twisted logic of this story, and its refusal to acknowledge how the Times staff and columnists like Maureen Dowd have contributed to the phenomenon of over-scrutinizing the candidates underscores how disingenuous the mainstream media can be when it comes to its own role in shaping political discourse. I mean, peoples, this is like the tenth Sunday styles article about how closeted Times reporters lust after manly manly men teh candidates. Can we get real for a second, Timesmen? Hello? Anyone?
Apparently not.


  1. yeah, that article was a muddled piece of double-standard bullshite. what else is new?

    and i'm very glad to see that fellow-ette's stepped-up workload hasn't prevented her from offering us readers the incisive critiques of culture and politics that we have grown so dependent on! what would we do without ye, f-e?

  2. The NYT's has long ago stopped reporting news. They are an agenda driven information booth for the extreme left. The Times favorite subject i dthe was crimes commited by Americans. A story that rarely ever makes it on any other news outlet but appears on the frontpage of NYT on a continous basis. If you want News, DO NOT READ THE TIMES, you will never get the whole story if you