Within the past two weeks I’ve been flabbergasted by how pathetic our anointed sources of news have become and how pop culture and comedy shows have had to pick up the slack. You would think that you could turn to Time Magazine for incisive reporting and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart for a good laugh. But this my friends is bizarro world.
Time Covers Palin and Becomes Tiger Beat Magazine
Two weeks ago Sarah Palin appeared on the cover of Time. No problem there. Palin is everywhere lately, Twitter, Facebook, Fox, TLC, bookstores, Dancing with the Stars, you name it, you’ll find Sarah or some reminder of her staring at you. So it makes sense for Time to cover her. What didn’t make sense was that the author Jay Newton-Small seemed to be taking notes from Rich Lowry of The National Review. Puff piece does not do the article justice. The coverage of Palin was so light and fluffy, the words practically floated off the page. We learned, for example about Team Palin, lead by the First Dude, Todd. In a sidebar accompanying the article Newton-Small talks about Palin’s official photographer and writes that Sarah hates to have her picture taken. Are you friggin’ kidding me? This is the number one attention whore in the political universe and I am supposed to believe she hates to get her picture taken?
This is the best Newton-Small can muster in giving any critical assessment of Palin:
There is something unmistakably improvised about the way Palin operates. Eleventh-hour decisions mean that her team has had its share of missed flights, misspelled candidates’ names, appearances canceled at the last minute, endorsements in races attributed to the wrong state, to say nothing of made-up words like “refudiated.” Her endorsements often took recipients by surprise, and when she did campaign for a candidate, it was often so late that the local reporters didn’t even know she was in the state.
Improvised? How about disorganized, Ms. Newton-Small? So the most incisive criticism of Palin that Time could produce was that she is Lucy to Todd’s Ricky Ricardo. Pathetic. Especially in light of the more exhaustive article written in pop culture magazine Vanity Fair:
Warm and effusive in public, indifferent or angry in private: this is the pattern of Palin’s behavior toward the people who make her life possible. A onetime gubernatorial aide to Palin says, “The people who have worked for her—they’re broken, used, stepped on, down in the dust.” On the 2008 campaign trail, one close aide recalls, it was practically impossible to persuade Palin to take a moment to thank the kitchen workers at fund-raising dinners. During the campaign, Palin lashed out at the slightest provocation, sometimes screaming at staff members and throwing objects. Witnessing such behavior, one aide asked Todd Palin if it was typical of his wife. He answered, “You just got to let her go through it… Half the stuff that comes out of her mouth she doesn’t even mean.” When a campaign aide gingerly asked Todd whether Sarah should consider taking psychiatric medication to control her moods, Todd responded that she “just needed to run and work out more.” Her anger kept boiling over, however, and eventually the fits of rage came every day. Then, just as suddenly, her temper would be gone. Palin would apologize and promise to be nicer. Within hours, she would be screaming again. At the end of one long day, when Palin was mid-tirade, a campaign aide remembers thinking, “You were an angel all night. Now you’re a devil. Where did this come from?”
That was the “nice” excerpt from the article. Reports are that Palin was furious about the Vanity Fair piece. Could that have influenced Ms. Newton-Small? Was Time afraid they wouldn’t get access if they went too tough? One thing is for sure. Sarah Palin can no longer moan and groan about the “lame stream media” because in this Time cover story, the MSM treated her like a pop star.
I Thought This Was Supposed to be Funny
In his final broadcast of 2010, Jon Stewart jumped the shark on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show”. He decided quite deliberately to stop being funny. His topic was the Zadroga bill, legislation designed to fund medical care for gravely ill 9/11 first responders who have suffered with debilitating ailments for the past nine years since they spent time in the Ground Zero hell hole in New York City in September of 2001. After a scathing review of the media’s poor coverage of the bill and the GOP’s inaction on it, Stewart devoted a full second segment to interviewing four first responders.Vodpod videos no longer available.
It’s hard to watch this video and not be enraged at the Republicans who have made this a political football. Other than a bit of comedic sarcasm, Stewart does a straight interview with these guys, one of whom is from the NYPD and another from the FDNY. There’s no difference between these guys and our soldiers abroad. These guys risked life and limb to come to the aid of ordinary citizens under attack. The thanks they get is a Republican party that wants to play games. To his credit, Jon Stewart gives them a forum to voice their frustration.
This is what we have come to in the main stream media. For tough critiques of issues we now need to read Vanity Fair and watch Jon Stewart on Comedy Central while our trusted sources of news dick around.
Well I’m not alone in noting Jon Stewart’s coverage of the Zadroga bill. There is a journalist with Time who wrote an article, “Did Jon Stewart Turn the Tide on the 911 First Responders Bill?” Even though she makes a snarky comment about Stewart himself, she acknowledges he might have influenced better recent coverage of the issue. The author’s name: Jay Newton-Small.
Yeah Jay, as long as we have journalists like you writing fanzine articles, we need folks like Jon Stewart to do your real work for you.