April 17, 2008

A travesty


Luckily, someone who managed to control their disgust enough to write coherently expressed my views much better here.

(and HERE (shoddy, despicable), and HERE (embarrassing), and HERE (a "travesty" as well.)

I watched the rest of the debate, and though they managed to actually mention Iraq and some other important issues, Gibson also managed to positively obsess over an issue which I'm sure you and your friends discuss and complain about all the time. And of course, that would be capitol gains taxes on people making over $200,000 a year. (try to believe it.)

Soaring out of control gas and fuel prices? That was tossed in as an afterthought at the end during the lightning round.


Last night's ABC debate between Obama and Clinton was such an embarrassment on such a cosmic scale that I don't think I can write about it at the moment without running the risk of verbally pulling my hair out and beating my head against the wall.

Charlie Gibson is a pompous dufus, George Stephanopolis is a media hack, and they both seemed so lazy that they were capable of doing nothing but rehashing dubious crap put out by the Clinton campaign or the Republicans, and often both, Obama sometimes bloodless and his droning delivery appeared frighteningly reminiscent of Michael Dukakis at times, complete with the tiny nods of the head and the feeling that each sentence was a very painful birth. He seemed close to simply being speechless a few times.

Hillary Clinton is nothing short of detestable, and it's deeply sad to see just how ugly she's willing to be. It's not determination and grit and competitiveness. It's ugliness. There's no grace. No sign of class. No statesmanship. Just the same old ugly dishonest gutter politics that people flock to Obama to get away from.

A woman I greatly admired and respected and have long supported, Hillary's managed to bitterly disappoint me. I've even gotten angry the times that she's been unfairly attacked during this campaign. Yet every time I think she couldn't possible get more cynical and ugly, she does, and then some.

She's simply exhausted all the good will I had towards her, and it was considerable.

She brags about withstanding the loathsome and inexcusably slimy and dishonest Republican attacks of the past decades, then acts like she's been dying to try them out herself. And she looks and sounds utterly ridiculous doing so, perhaps because deep down she realizes just how low she's sinking.

During the debate her attempt to once again, for the 10,000th time, explain or dismiss the fact that she exaggerated the danger during a visit to Kosovo was painfully rambling and nearly incoherent. It was really painful to hear.

She, like many people put on the spot without a leg to stand on, just kept rambling and repeating herself until I was practically begging someone to get the hook. Her staff must have been nearly pulling their hair out. And when she tried to make light of it and pass it off as being due to lack of sleep (even though she'd repeated the tale several times at various times of day), it was simply pathetic.

The debate was not only painfully embarrassing from the candidates standpoint, but due to the fact that in perhaps the most crucial debate, prior to the most crucial primary state, in the most crucial primary campaign for perhaps the most crucial Presidential election in generations, that given that historic opportunity, Gibson and Snuffleupagus chose to spend a full FORTY-FIVE MINUTES or more on pure tabloid trivia, asking NOT ONE SINGLE SOLITARY QUESTION about ANY issue affecting anyone's life or well-being.

Not one. NO questions about the impending economic crisis. NO questions about Iraq or Iran, Afghanistan or Pakistan. No questions about global warming policy. No questions about torture policy. No questions about energy policies or where they stand or what they propose. No questions about trade policies, no question about how the already enormous gulf between rich and poor is getting wider at a faster and faster pace, not one single question regarding their proposals for addressing health care, an issue which affects literally every single person.

A FULL HOUR of globally televised debate, watched by tens of millions of people, with the supposed purpose to inform the electorate in order that they could more knowledgeably cast their votes, and these "top media personalities", (paid millions by the way) chose to spend a full hour endlessly rehashing stuff that amounted to the political equivalent of the National Enquirer... worse, actually.

Just like happened in the last debate.

Gibson obsessed on trying to suggest that Obama must have been lying when he said he didn't hear his pastor's offensive remarks that were broadcast every 3 seconds around the clock for weeks.

Obama explained, for about the 50th time, that he hadn't been in the church when those particular remarks, the ones broadcast in every conceivable way on TV and online, were made.

Well then, the suddenly moronic Gibson kept pressing, did you dis-invite Rev. Wright from your campaign announcement? You must have known he'd said them then.

Obama patiently explained once more that he'd been aware of some controversial things Wright had said which appeared in Rolling Stone, and that's why he suggested he not show up for the announcement.

Simple enough. But not simple enough for the preening Gibson. He just couldn't understand. Either an idiot or pretending to be, Gibson couldn't shake himself away from the Republican spin. Obama didn't invite Wright to Springfield for the announcement because of controversial things he'd said. So that must mean Obama was aware that Wright had said controversial things. Therefore when Obama said he hadn't been in church when Wright said those controversial things, then he must be ......LYING!!!!!!

And Gibson really thought he would nail Obama on this and make himself a hero.

But he was too damn stupid to realize that the two events were completely separate. Obama was aware of some controversial things which were published in Rolling Stone, which is why he suggested Wright not attend his announcement. Simple.

Obama also stated that he hadn't been in church to hear the more infamous remarks, the ones in the short little video clips that were shown hundreds of thousands of times. Also true.

But to Gibson, this didn't go along with the right wing spin, so he pretended that it didn't make sense.

Like right wingers, Gibson was trying mightily to suggest that if Obama knew of any statements that were controversial enough to not invite Wright to the announcement, then.... that must mean that Obama was aware of every single solitary word that Wright had EVER said from the pulpit in the span of 30 years.

Yet the oh-so-wise and weighty Charles Gibson was completely and willingly hung up on this bit of illogical clap-trap. But hey, ANYTHING for a chance to make a candidate look bad. That's their prime goal, NOT finding out the truth or questioning the candidates on where they stand or what they proposed to do about important issues which affect all Americans and indeed the entire world.

Nope. A story has been done to death, picked apart and investigated more than how 9-11 was allowed to happen, a story to which Obama has explained himself at least a dozen times. Let's just lead an endless fishing expedition. Who knows? Maybe Obama will lose his mind, and fall down and roll on the floor and confess that, yes, he should have stormed out and denounced his long-time pastor because he's EVIL EVIL EVIL for ever saying that the United States has ever done anything wrong, and that it's true, true, TRUE, he's a "secret Muslim" and he hates America and he hates white people and every lunatic charge put out against him by the right is TRUE, TRUE, TRUE so he's quitting the race.

I guess that's why Gibson and the rest feel compelled to do this crap. Why else in your right mind, as a reporter moderating this crucial debate, would you spend more than a minute and a half on this? What's the point?
insisted on pretending he didn't understand Obama's explanation, injecting the matter again later when he thought he had a chance at a "gotcha", you knew he'd said some controversial things then, but you didn't do anything to condemn him, seeming not to be able to comprehend anything more complicated than 1 plus 1 equals 2.

It's the same idiocy all over again. Obama denounces the remarks of Wright. That's not good enough. He denounces AND renounces, if that'll make them happy. Nope, not good enough. He should have stood up and stomped out of the church, they demand. Never mind that he wasn't IN the church at the time, he still should have gotten up and left.

And apparently, they absolutely DEMAND that he should have gotten up and quit his long-time church and dropped his spiritual advisor like a hot rock the moment he heard that Wright had said anything the LEAST bit controversial. Then of course they would have ripped him for being so blatantly political that he'd stab a friend in the back simply for his own cynical political gain. You know they would have.

The press again functions as nothing but some sort of Orwellian police squad out to enforce what's acceptable and not acceptable to discuss or do or sound like or look like in a campaign.

You MUST condemn and rail against, no matter how phony it sounds or how wrong it may be, anyone who dares to question the actions of this government. You MUST be a mindless patriot and do little more than spout meaningless gibberish about how much you love and cherish the country, the flag, the heroes, the this and the that and toss in the words "freedom" "liberty" "cherished beliefs" "honor", and all the rest. (If you need an example, listen to any McCain speech. Then try to figure out what he just said. Lots of code words to anesthetize the rubes, no substance whatsoever.)

And if you don't. The press and the right will spend hours trying to convince people that there's some serious problem with you.

There is a really weird insistence from the elite press and others that candidates behave in almost a robotic way, and not stray from the nice, simple, story-line that they seem to demand.

I was so embarrassed for the candidates that I literally could not bring myself to even LOOK at the screen as they spoke. It was THAT bad.

And when after a solid hour of this utter bullshit, they then played a video question from some rube questioning whether Obama had any respect for the flag or whether he loved his country because he does not wear a flag lapel pin every waking moment.

I then had to witness, in the year 2008, the front-running presidential candidate Barack Obama stand there before the world, accused by implication of not caring about the country he's running to become the leader of. And yes, major national journalists and one of the three major networks treated this as if it was a serious and legitimate question.

It was as if the viewer had crossed over into the twilight zone. I literally couldn't believe what I was witnessing.

This actually happened.

A presidential candidate, based on nothing other than the manufactured and utterly false right wing "issue" based on whether Obama wears a cheap piece of jewelry on his lapel, forced to, with a straight face, stand there and explain at length that, yes, he loves America.

And though it was incredibly stupid and bizarre that the question was even allowed, in light of how many REAL questions there must have been, I couldn't help but wonder what the hell Obama was thinking in actually taking the bait and answering such a demeaning and insulting question seriously to begin with.

This sort of thing is not going to stop if the candidates continue to treat it as if it's perfectly legitimate.

After that, I simply couldn't bear to keep watching.

I have it recorded. Maybe I'll try again when I have the stomach.

It is sad. It's pathetic. It's tragic, and it's shameful.

But most of all, it's simply embarrassing. The way we go about choosing a president is so warped and twisted beyond anything rational or serious.

People from other countries must watch and think, "Wow. That country is doomed."

If I didn't know better, I'd think the media and the corporations which own them actually WANT people to remain ignorant, ignore the important issues, and fight amongst themselves over utterly ridiculous and trivial tabloid issues instead.


NOTE: It's now been revealed that George Stephanopolis was interviewed by a right wing AM radio hack in N.Y. as well as by fair and balanced blowhard Shawn Hannity who both demanded that he ask Obama about some obscure guy who once hosted a fund-raiser for Obama's senate campaign and once served on the board of a charity with him who happened to have been a member of the Weather Underground student group FOURTY years ago.

George obediently did their bidding last night and wasted all our time on this ridiculous attempt at guilt by barely any association, thus confirming my observation that the first hour was spent entirely on Republican attacks, with the flimsy defense from both the moderators AND Clinton that this is what the Republicans are going to say, so we might as well spent a full half of the last debate of the campaign on right wing attacks on Obama.


At 4/17/2008 11:56 AM, Blogger tiz said...

Any respect I had for Gibson is long gone after this one. Last night he "dumbed down" the discourse with respect to news more than anything I've ever seen out of Katie Couric, yet she gets slapped with that label. I think a good new rule would be to let NPR run every debate and rotate which channels get to air them, at least with the dems.

And I'm sure the Obama campaign consented to this - but why in the HELL did Bill Clinton's former communications director/advisor get to run some of the debate? Couldn't they find anyone else? I find it hard to believe that he doesn't have some preference (one way or another).

Question that I think set the tone, to Obama: Do you think Reverend Wright loves America more than you? The fact that Barack didn't tell them both to piss off shows he's a more patient guy than I am.

At 4/17/2008 12:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Do you think Reverend Wright loves America as much as you do?" and "But you do believe he's (Wright) as patriotic as you are?" by George Stephanopoulos.

Two of the worst debate questions ever asked in the worst debate ever held.

Lapel pins? Really?

At 4/17/2008 4:10 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

It was a performance by Gibson and Snuffleupagus that should have embarrassed even a high school reporter.

George actually sat there and demanded that they both "pledge" to never raise taxes on anyone who made less than $200,000.

What in the hell was the purpose of THAT?

I'll tell you. These phony tax "pledges" have been a favorite tactic of folks like Grover Norquist and other far-right ideologues for decades, and Stephanopolis was eager to use it himself.

Is it the place for a journalist to extract BS tax "pledges"????!!

Ask Bush Sr. about those.

Then he insisted on interupting Obama about 5 times in trying to suggest that any part of any policy which might serve to actually increase revenue was a tax.

Seriously, this sort of thing concerns almost no one but right wing anti-tax zealots, yet George acted like it was his duty to act this way.

It was clear that somewhere along the line, ABC, Gibson and Georgy came to the mindset that Obama has somehow been let off too easy (again right wing spin) and so they were really going to throw the kitchen sink at him. And they also decided that in leiu of good journalism, that parroting right wing spin and attacks would suffice to get approval from their right wing corporate bosses (the millions they're paid is worth some brown-nosing) as well as protection from accusations that they were too easy on him.

The fact that it was revealed that Stephanopolis had asked Obama about this Weather Underground guy because Shawn Hannity insisted that he do so is all the proof you need.

Think any of these bozos asked questions from say, Michael Moore, Phil Donahue, Kucinich or anyone else remotely left during the Republican debates? (I can't even think of a liberal counterpart to Hannity on air, because there aren't any.)

I've heard others suggest that maybe candidates should simply refuse to engage in these so-called "debates" anymore unless the moderators could be someone more likely to take the job seriously.

At 4/19/2008 6:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The left insists that the media is not bias. ABC hires George Snephanopolis?

Could you imagine the outrage if any TV station hired Karl Rove for such a position?

Clearly, George was performing a payback to Hillary...

At 4/20/2008 3:38 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon 6:50.

You're not really up on things, are you.

Rove IS a paid "analyst" for Fox news and other media outlets, as has been Newt Gingrich, Dick Armey, Joe Scarborough, G. Gordon Liddy, Oliver North, dozens of far-right attorneys and writers and any number of other right wing politicians. The list is endless.

Your arguement is silly, considering the number of right wing figures on the air compared with the relative handful of any supposed "liberals".

Beyond that, Stephanopolis is hardly a Clinton loyalist, and threw Clinton under the bus nearly instantly as soon as he got out of the administration to cash in by becoming a media figure.

Anyone accusing Stephanopolis of being a Clinton loyalist must be unfamiliar with his behavior and statements from immediately after his resignation to the present.


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