The Third Shift

  1. Via Hullabaloo, we learn David Frum said something amazing on Morning Joe and neither Scarborough nor Chuck Todd nor David Gregory dared acknowledge it. It comes about four minutes in:

    Since the loss of the election, we have heard an enormous amount of discussion from Republicans on television and newspaper columns about immigration as an issue…but all of us who are allowed to participate in this conversation, we all have health insurance. And the fact that millions of Americans don’t have health insurance, they don’t get to be on television. And it is maybe a symptom of a broader problem, not just the Republican problem, that the economic anxieties of so many Americans are just not part of the national discussion at all. I mean, we have not yet emerged from the greatest national catastrophe, the greatest economic catastrophe since the Great Depression. And what are we talking about? The deficit and the debt. And these are important problems, but they’re a lot easier to worry about if you are wealthier than you were in 2008, which most of the people on television now are again, if you are securely employed, which most of the people on television now are. But that’s not true for 80% of America. And the Republican Party, the opposition party, needed to find some way to give voice to real urgent economic concerns held by middle class Americans. Latinos, yes, but Americans of all ethnicities.

    The debt is a real problem for the country, but right now, it’s secondary. We adopt the Charlie Pierce approach to the American economy: Eff The Debt. People Got No Jobs. People Got No Money.

    Of course, had Romney won, we’d probably be right back in “deficits don’t matter” territory. But it’s telling that everyone ignored what David Frum said about it.  A Canadian conservative and former GW Bush speechwriter — the one who coined “axis of evil” — is calling out the cupidity and narrow parameters of the national political press, and they don’t dare acknowledge it. 

    Conservatives get worked up about media bias — supposedly “liberal” media bias. Well, part of this is true — there is a media bias, but it’s a class bias. The political media in America, in terms of income and status, is much closer to the people it covers than the people it is supposed to inform, and this frames what the acceptable discourse on the multitude of political chatfests is.

    Thus, we are hearing about the debt, deficit, and fiscal cliff as if it is Apocalypse Now for the U.S. and it means we have to cut social services for people who are already suffering — because everyone must suffer more.

    Why Did Mitt Romney Lose The Presidency? (by Mark Stothard)

  2. ☛ Lame Fareed Zakaria defenses show confused, debased state of journalism -

    The Baltimore Sun’s David Zurawik takes down both Fareed Zakaria’s plagiarism and the lame excuses David Frum puts forth for him — Frum implied it’s not a regular practice to cite where you got a quote from if you didn’t get it yourself, when the opposite is true and should be heeded at all times.

    (via @maura)

    EDIT: Here’s one of the few times comments are valuable, as it turns out Zurawik’s “ethics” may be selective. He apparently pilloried public radio host Lisa Simeone, who was fired from her opera show when NPR (who merely distributed and did not employ Simeone) fired her for attending an Occupy rally.

    Here’s Simeone’s comment:

    Lisa Simeone at 6:28 AM August 13, 2012

    David Zurawik makes much of his integrity and “ethics.” Yet he doesn’t seem to see a conflict of interest in the fact that journalists take payola from the corporations they report on.

    He sided with NPR while they blacklisted me last year over my political activities, even though I wasn’t an NPR employee, wasn’t paid by NPR, and didn’t even cover politics.

    Yet he uttered not a peep about the fact that NPR’s Scott Simon writes pro-war op-eds and then goes on to “report” on those wars; that Cokie Roberts (and other NPR reporters) accept enormous speaking fees from corporations, to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars a pop; that Mara Liasson flaks for Fox News while still “reporting” for NPR. And now we learn that Adam Davidson of NPR’s Planet Money is also apparently taking payola from the corporations he purports to cover. 

    (Oh, and never mind that Tavis Smiley, Cornel West, and Garrison Keillor, all on major public radio shows, openly advocate for political candidates.)

    Yet is Mr. Zurawik bothered about any of these conflicts of interest?

    It must be nice to have such convenient “ethics.”

    Judge for yourself.