Monday, January 14, 2013

Media Malpractice: Politico edition

Under no circumstances should you click on this link to Politico's surrender to pure stenography. It burns the brain cells and it's a waste of precious time you'll never get back. The piece reads like it was delivered full written by the RNC.

Instead, read Steve Benen's takedown of the GOP talking points.
It's unfortunate that the Politico passes along so many of these Republican allegations without scrutiny, but it's worth noting, in case anyone's forgotten, that (a) trashing the full faith and credit of the United States would almost certainly produce catastrophic results; (b) Republicans would get the blame for hurting Americans on purpose; and (c) the $6 trillion in new debt is largely the result of Republican policies.
Steve also kindly provides the important quotes from this sorry excuse for actual journalism.
GOP officials said more than half of their members are prepared to allow default unless Obama agrees to dramatic cuts he has repeatedly said he opposes. Many more members, including some party leaders, are prepared to shut down the government to make their point. House Speaker John Boehner "may need a shutdown just to get it out of their system," said a top GOP leadership adviser. "We might need to do that for member-management purposes -- so they have an endgame and can show their constituents they're fighting."
Which is kind of like saying we need to let the frat boys get their binge drinking out of their system by giving them full run of the House, hand them the car keys and give them an unlimited line of credit at the liquor store. No where in the piece does Politico mention America is being held hostage in the back seat of the car and there's a damn good chance those drunken vandals will end up veering off the edge and leaving us all in a fiery wreck at the bottom of a cliff.

No, can't mention any highly likely consequences of GOP strategy, but please do carefully transcribe Boehner's lament.
Starting Monday, Boehner will huddle with his leadership team to discuss his preliminary thinking on a spending strategy. A source who attended meetings to prepare for those private talks said GOP leaders are authentically at a loss on how to control members who don't respond to the normal incentives of wanting to help party leaders or of avoiding situations -- like default -- that could be public relations nightmares.
We won't mention Boehner could pass a clean bi-partisan debt limit bill in a New York minute with Democratic votes. Apparently the Hastert Rule also requires media silence. Besides it doesn't mesh with the "both sides do it" model of "reporting." Outsourcing the rest of disgust to the eloquent verdict by Charlie Pierce.
The callous recklessness demonstrated in this piece is demonstrated merely as the pursuit of a tactical advantage, and its effects merely as the ongoing harshing of John Boehner's mellow. Detaching politics from the people — and, thereby, detaching political maneuvering from its real-world consequences — is the worst journalistic malpractice that can be committed in a self-governing republic and, in that, Politico is the Dalkon Shield of American journalism. A class-action suit by citizens wouldn't be out of place at this point.
Sign me up for that suit. And, despite this being a particularly loathsome bit of journalist negligence, we probably need to add more defendants than just Politico.

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