Thursday, October 21, 2004

The Scum Also Rises 

I gotta say, the unmitigated contempt for John Kerry displayed by the press is alarming. I mean, I have no problem with destructive cynicism or even a healthy amount of contempt for the democratic process, but these guys don't really bother to disguise their hatred of the man they're supposed to be covering according to their own made-up and increasingly useless rules of "objectivity."

Check it and see.

Is their job too hard? Is Mr. Kerry not nice enough to them?

No, he's simply not treating them with the respect that their lofty positions and important roles deserve.

Now to my mind, the best piece of campaign journalism ever produced is Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72, which has enough contempt and derision to overpower even the jadedest of jaded journos, but Hunter Thompson's bile comes from righteous anger at a country's principles twisted beyond recognition, and a moral code ignored. The man didn't defame Humbert H. Humphrey because HHH wasn't friendly enough to him on the bus, he did it because the guy was a fucking establishment-friendly Chicago '68-enabling hawk, a "treacherous, gutless old ward-heeler who should be put in a goddamn bottle and sent out with the Japanese current." Thompson savaged politicians when they betrayed ideals, not when they didn't invite him to a photo-op.

If there was some substance to the pissed-off adolescent bitch-fest of the Pool Report, some inkling that the anger was directed towards the stage-managed big money-controlled jokes we call the campaigns instead of priviliged cool-kid bullshit, then I wouldn't mind the disgust or the snark. If their published pieces actually reflected their insider knowledge of how useless and meaningless the whole affair has become, they would have a leg to stand on. But these people are about 50-60% of what's wrong with the system they deplore, so they get no sympathy from me.
"Guys write down what a candidate says and report it when they know damn well he's lying," [Thompson] told Newsweek's Thomas M. Defrank, "Half the conversation on a press bus is about who lied to whom today, but nobody ever prints the fact that they're goddamn liars."
Newsweek, '72

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