Monday, February 13, 2012

If It's Sunday, It's Beltway Media Madhouse

David Gregory, the good, the bad and the ugly: He can't help being a white guy in a lineup of whitey males. He still towers above his, um, competition. And, pleasant surprise, David put in a good word for working women, against the 'feminazi' stereotype put forth by the Right and used as a 'dog whistle' by all GOP candidates, particularly pace presser Rick Santorum, closing fast on Mittens around the turn. In the Santorum interview, David stopped playing it close to the vest and mentioned the positive experience of working women in his own family:
"I want to show something that you wrote in your book "It Takes a Family." "The radical feminists," you wrote, "succeeded in undermining the traditional family and convincing women that professional accomplishments are the key to happiness." Now, Senator, everything I've learned about feminism from my working mother, my working sister and my working wife is that it's about respecting the choice of working or not working, not somehow the choice of working undermining the, the traditional family."
Whether or not they'd put him up to it, it was a nice touch by Gregory putting Santorum on the defensive, even though the candidate sounded more reasonable on MTP, as the presumptive front-runner, than he has on the campaign trail:
FMR. SEN. SANTORUM: And, and I stand by what I said. And with respect to the, to the issue of women in the military, you know, I understand that women in the military right now do serve in very hazardous positions and are, in fact, subject to — and we've seen a lot of injury, even serving, serving in front line positions. What I was referring to is women in infantry, in combat in the front lines.

MR. GREGORY: Mm-hmm.
Really? Here's what Rick Santorum said at CPAC about women in combat, and not a word of it uttered on MTP:
Asked by CNN's John King if the move, "perhaps opening the door to a broader role for women in combat," was an idea he'd support as president, Santorum responded:

"I want to create every opportunity for women to be able to serve this country, and they do so in an amazing and wonderful way and they're a great addition — and they have been for a long time — to the armed services of our country."

Then came the big "but."

"But I do have concerns about women in front-line combat, I think that could be a very compromising situation, where people naturally may do things that may not be in the interest of the mission, because of other types of emotions that are involved," Santorum continued. "It already happens, of course, with the camaraderie of men in combat, but I think it would be even more unique if women were in combat, and I think that's probably not in the best interest of men, women or the mission."
Here's how Santorum spun his backward, reactionary attitude toward women in combat on MTP, with Gregory's full acquiescence:
FMR. SEN. SANTORUM: Well, there are obviously different physical requirements. I mean, you go to the — to any of the academies, there are different requirements, physical requirements for men and women. Why? Because there are physiological differences between men and women.

MR. GREGORY: Mm-hmm.

FMR. SEN. SANTORUM: And that's, that's one of the things that we have to consider in, in deploying them in an infantry position out there on the front line. And I don't — you know, I don't know of any, you know, any real discussion candidly that's talking about doing that."
That's actually not true. Former Senator Santorum, as usual for members of the facts-challenged party, is misinformed. According to several reports, "The Pentagon is going to try to get the services to implement what they're calling gender-neutral qualifications. In other words, gender ideally wouldn't be a factor in whether someone gets a certain job in the military." Literally, the same day Rick Santorum was casting aspersions on women in combat roles, the military announced the relaxing of some restrictions on women serving in combat roles.

But you wouldn't know it, watching Rick Santorum on MTP. And how many times do I have to keep repeating the same refrain. David mentioned in passing, non-specifically, Rick Santorum's outrageous remark about "emotions" getting in the way of women serving in combat. The damning CPAC video was never shown. But it should have been. Rick Santorum was allowed to slide.
"MR. GREGORY: Mm-hmm."

This guy, Santorum (Google him), is so primitive in his thinking, values and attitudes, he reminds me of one of the "drudges" the British aristocracy disparages in my favorite novela, Masterpiece Classic's Downton Abbey. I mean really, Rick Santorum is at least 100 years behind the times, before the outbreak of World War I. Richie Cunningham? Please. Richie was much too avant garde for the likes of Santorum.

David Gregory's show suffers from a chronic, seemingly deliberate effort to select the most benign and least controversial sound bites to fake 'ambush' the guests, since they said it and can't pretend otherwise or that it isn't coming. It happens so often on the Republican side, that their pretending YouTube doesn't exist is a running joke. And we're left wondering whether the questions are pre-screened, because none of these people dare show their faces on Rachel, and very few on Big Eddie or Lawrence. Whether it's at the producer level, or Gregory himself, MTP's  benign vanilla soundbites, like its faces, are a perennial problem that reflects poorly on David's professional integrity.

It happened again. On contraception, the most damning video was not shown, in which Rick Santorum discusses the "dangers of contraception in America" and "the whole sexual libertine idea" that "many in the Christian faith will say, contraception, it's OK. Well, it's not OK." (See 'Contraception in America: ...' post below and TRMS video.) Millions of non-political female MTP viewers probably never saw this video or heard Rick Santorum's explanation. Don't you think they should, Mr. Gregory?

And while we're on the topic of Rachel Maddow, on a point of personal privilege for liberals and progressives, let me mention why the Beltway Media (which includes MTP) is held in such contempt by the Left. Of three instances I recall Rachel cracking the glass ceiling for truly progressive panelists, twice she was paired with arch-conservative CNN personality Alex Castellanos. This trash talking right wing Cuban-American is a GOP operative, a political hack incapable of making an objective factual argument. Also there, a boring technocratic Latino Dem to cover that segment of the 'base'. Another time, Rachel was matched against Tea Party leader Dick Armey, who is a hyper partisan wingnut of the creepy-repulsive Cal Thomas variety. And he was equally as rude to Rachel as Castellanos and Thomas.

What's going on here, David? You think liberals and progressives are so stupid that your roundtable guest list for a Rachel appearance (essentially representing the progressive POV) must include low-level wingnuts and political hacks on the other side? ('Far this' v. 'far that' — is that how you Beltway Media idiots think?) Has it ever occurred to you, Mr. Gregory, how insulting and offensive it is to liberals and progressives that we scarcely get to see Rachel in an MTP panel opposite normal people capable of making cogent arguments (no offense to the bland politico)? How about fellow conservative journalists like, for instance, a Peggy Noonan, Kathleen Parker, or Andrew Sullivan. I realize Rachel may be too smart for regular MTP panelists, but it would seem the anchor of MSNBC's election coverage has already earned the right to be treated with respect.

Not that they're anything to call home about.

E. J. Dionne joined the Mark Shields school of clueless generational Catholic males with these statements about the contraception dustup: "I think that as long as this was a religious liberty argument, the church and its allies, the bishops and their allies, were — had a very good chance of winning the argument, and in effect I think they did. There are some conservatives in the church who seem to now want to move it to a contraception argument and the Obama administration would love that." ... And: "The president should have seen this coming a long time before he did. And I still think the administration has to look back and say, how did it lose track of that Obama who was so open on religious questions in 2006 and in the 2009 Notre Dame speech... and was very sophisticated. They got to find that guy again."

With all due respect, E. J., you, Mark, Chris and Peggy need to look beyond your conservative circle of elitist D.C. Catholics. (A) This fight is perceived as one over contraception; (B) The politics work just fine for the President; don't forget E. J., this comes on the heels of the Komen Foundation FAIL, not to speak of recent child abuse scandals, so the Bishops aren't much more popular than Congress; (C) For tactical reasons stated here before, the President did see this fight coming, and welcomed it.

Then E. J., the Old School Catholic who didn't know about Richie Cunningham, redeemed himself with this out-of-the-parker:
"MR. DIONNE: We agreed there was overreach on this contraception rule. [Let's just agree to disagree on this one, E. J.] But I know the left. The left is not to the left of where it was, number one. [Are you listening, Chris?] Number two, Barack Obama is a moderate progressive with the emphasis on moderate. Most socialists are insulted when Barack Obama is called a socialist. It's absurd that this man is a socialist. And I think most of the country...

I think right now what you have is that the left is very happy he is raising the issue of economic inequality which Occupy Wall Street pushed him toward. A lot of the country agrees with him on that. And so actually I think the pressures to move further left, and there isn't that much of a left in America to begin with, are really minimized." [How about now, Chris — can you hear E. J. or are you going to continue leading an entire generation of idiot pundits astray, e.g., Jonathan Capehart, with some pablum about 'the 40-yard line'?]
 Peggy Noonan, a longtime GOP tool and card-carrying member of the Idiot Punditocracy, proved once again her total incapacity for growth with these pearls of IP 'wisdom':
MS. NOONAN: As a conservative, as I look at the administration, here's one thing that I think is kind of new the past few years. The leftist, if you will, part of the president's base seems to me to be, A, more leftist and, B, more powerful. When you have a White House, in the past month, E.J., that says, NARAL, National Abortion Rights Action League, and Planned Parenthood are here, the Catholic Church and I would argue the First Amendment are here, Who wins? NARAL and Planned Parenthood, that, to me, is the kind of politic calculation, just politics that is kind of mad, and that suggests a certain sort of, I hate to say extremism, but something rather extreme.
UN-EFFING-BELIEVABLE how TOTALLY CLUELESS this woman is. Keep in mind, it's people like Peggy Noonan, Kathleen Parker, and Bill-O The Clown, to name but a few, that Chris Matthews and David Gregory listen to as "reasonable" voices on the Right. To make matters worse, some probably go to church together. One thing about MTP, it's an invaluable window into the elitist attitudes, prejudices, stereotypes and 'values' of the Beltway Media/Idiot Punditocracy.

Last but definitely not least, is TEH STOOPID himself, Moron Joe:
MR. SCARBOROUGH: ...Andrew Sullivan claims that Barack Obama saw this coming all along and he was just setting his enemies up into a trap ... Which — no, well, but which means that he was trying to set Joe Biden up in a trap and John Kerry up in a trap.

The larger picture — one thing that Andrew Sullivan did say, since we just knocked him around, let's defend him. He did say you can't have it both ways. Barack Obama can't be Joseph Stalin and Jimmy Carter at the same time. Pick your poison. Is he an incompetent moderate, according to the right, or is he a dangerous ideologue? The fact of the matter is, look at his last State of the Union address. He is now in Clinton territory because he understands, like Bill Clinton, he got a lot of big things done on — from the left for the first year and a half, and he's going to spend the rest of his time, whether it's the next year or the next five years, compromising with the Republicans.
I knew there was a reason I'm fond of Andrew; either he reads this blog, or maybe it's that 'here comes the old Zeitgeist again', but definitely this falls into the 'You Read it Here First' category, as it's precisely the point I had made about the President.

Just listen to Moron Joe. This dude makes no sense whatsoever. First, accepting Andrew's premise, which I have, setting "Joe Biden up in a trap and John Kerry up in a trap" was not a bad thing to do, politically. They gave the President cover for taking a position popular with women and most liberals while getting behind the final "compromise" as one they could accept. I don't know about Kerry, but Joe Biden didn't seem to mind being 'set up in a trap' if in fact that's what it was. Then Moron Joe goes bizarro:
"Barack Obama can't be Joseph Stalin and Jimmy Carter at the same time. Pick your poison. Is he an incompetent moderate, according to the right, or is he a dangerous ideologue?"
WHAT?! Let's set aside the Stalin-Carter insanity. For all intents and purposes, the Right and the Republican Party have already settled on a strategy of demonizing President Obama in an effort to portray him as a "dangerous ideologue." The "incompetent moderate" isn't part of the GOP's calculus, however much Moron Joe may wish to push his own political agenda on the fake progressive channel.

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