Thursday, January 21, 2010

Great moments in the history of American journalism

File this one under “one stop shopping” or “posts that write themselves” because on the very same page of yesterday’s fish wrap we had our "Exhibit A” in Eugene Robinson’s “Column Left” piece and "Exhibit B” in David Brook’s, ahem, “Column Right” piece.

First, Robinson in the Washington Post:

The health care reform legislation that the administration and Congress have worked so hard to achieve is ending up being perceived as “the best we could hope for.” The Senate bill is in many ways a breakthrough, especially in covering 31 million uninsured Americans and ensuring that no one can be denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions. But progressives had to give up the idea of a public insurance option, and organized labor had to compromise on taxing “Cadillac” health plans. When all is said and done, these activist constituencies may applaud the final result, but they won’t be jumping for joy.

(italics, ours)

That’s an interesting application of “compromise”. However, Robinson is the one with the paying gig so giving him the benefit of the doubt, if he meant compromise in the context that the unions accepted Obamacare in return for not paying the 40% excise tax that every other swinging dick possessing a “Cadillac” health plan will be required, then yes, the unions did indeed compromise.

Oh for cryin’ out loud. Who is Robinson trying to fool? Spinning for your position on policy is one thing but Robinson eschews flirtation and fast tracks to full blown intercourse with intellectual dishonesty with that statement.

One gets the sense that the apologist brigade has run out of steam and is just mailing it in at this point.


On to our old friend David Brooks…

Poor ol’ David Brooks, the token on the NYT Op-Ed columnist line-up. For the past 6-7 months he’s been stumbling around in the wilderness fashioning rationalizations for his vote for and now continued support of President Obama. It’s really been quite sad to witness a respected journalist carry-on like this and not have the brass to come out and say, “Hey, I effed-up. My bad. The guy has been a disaster thus far”. No such as Brooks continues to twist himself into some embarrassingly tortured logic with respect to Obama’s first-year performance.

When the Pilgrims left Britain to come to America, they left behind that metaphor as well. For these settlers, and the immigrants who have come since, the American nation is not a body with the government as the brain. Instead, America has been defined by its vast landscape and the sprawling energy of its entrepreneurs, scientists and community-builders.

In times of crisis, Americans rally around their government, but most of the time they have treated it as a supporting actor in national life. Americans are an unusual people, with less deference to central authority and an unparalleled faith in themselves. They seem to want a government that is helpful but not imperious, strong but subordinate.

Over the years, American voters have reacted against any party that threatens that basic sense of proportion. They have reacted against a liberalism that sought an enlarged and corrosive government and a conservatism that threatened to dismantle the government’s supportive role.


OK. So far so good. A little American exceptionalism-lite.

But here’s where he completely weirds-out:

A year ago, the country rallied behind a new president who promised to end the pendulumlike swings, who seemed likely to restore equilibrium with his moderate temper and pragmatic mind.

In many ways, Barack Obama has lived up to his promise. He has created a thoughtful, pragmatic administration marked by a culture of honest and vigorous debate. When Obama makes a decision, you can be sure that he has heard and accounted for every opposing argument. If he senses an important viewpoint is not represented at a meeting, he will stop the proceedings and demand that it gets included.

If the evidence leads him in directions he finds uncomfortable, he will still follow the evidence. He is beholden to no ideological camp, and there is no group in his political base that he has not angered at some point in his first year.

(jaw hits floor)


It’s like Brooks fell into a 15 month coma and when he came to and was ordered to assess the President one year in, he panicked and for research material grabbed whatever was setting on the bed stand which happened to be Obama campaign flyers circa October ’08.

How one can write that after witnessing the countless backroom deals, bribes and strongarming in which this administration has engaged without any regard for transparency or accountability defies logic.

If and when the NYT begins charging for online content as they have threatened to do, they may want to keep in mind that a large portion of their subscribers may be doing so only to keep tabs on what a train wreck their Op-ed staff has become. And that’s a charm that only lasts for so long.

1 comment:

Igor said...

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No birth certificate

Can not stop smoking

Difficulty telling the truth.

Narcissistic personality disorder.

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