17 October 2008

In. The. Tank.

Get Palin. Get the Plumber. Just get Obama the Presidency.

An understanding of what constitutes fair play had, within tolerable limits, quite wide common ground in the communities I grew up in. That includes the books, newspapers, magazines, television programs and radio broadcasts that have shaped my perceptions, as well as my homes, schools, teams and workplaces. I'm certainly not the first to say this, as a parent of teenagers or as an ageing adult, but I am still genuinely surprised I have to say it. This is no longer the case. "Fairness" has been captured by post-modernism to such an extent that it has become a casualty of the culture conflicts of contemporary society, the same way that "truth" has.

Just look at the media reporting of the Obama and Palin phenomena. Reporters and commentators (they are now the same thing) no longer feel the need to even be seen dealing fairly with the subjects of their news reports about unfolding political processes.

Check out this from a report in the Sydney Morning Herald on the last Presidential candidacy debate the other night from Fairfax correspondent, Anne Davis in Washington:
"McCain slips up on road to Whitehouse

....Senator Obama tried to rise above the fray, refusing to criticise the Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin's experience and even praising Senator McCain's stance on torture. But where Senator Obama was devastating was in repeatedly tying Senator McCain to Mr Bush's policies..."

Senator Obama may have refused to criticise Governor Palin's experience, but Anne Davis wasn't going to let the opportunity slip. But where Corespondent Davis is devastating is in repeatedly tying her commentary to the prevailing overarching media narrative: the Republican is unfair and partisan, the Democrat is fair and above politics.

This is unfair reporting for an Australian without a stake in their game in the US, but the journalistic standard in play here seems to be:

"Hey, truth is relative after all, so who's to say that the perspective of my story is unfair. I'm just reporting it as I see it, and what I see is that one candidate was noble and has got what it takes and the other is negative and unworthy, so that's how I'll report it."

Who are these folk kidding? It has become so obvious, even from this distance, that the media in this presidential campaign have abandoned all pretence of impartiality and fairness, that I am not the only one who thinks that this could create a major backlash electorally. This could be the best "get out the vote" incentive the Republicans could have conceived. Except that it will be an entirely inadvertent outcome of the media's overt push to install their favoured candidate in the Whitehouse. Ah the law of unintended consequences again. It will be a marvel to behold the media's incredulity if McCain does manage to sneak home under their very noses in November. And the latest tracking polls from Gallup suggest this remains a real possibility: Obama 49%, McCain 43% (and look at the traditional "likely voter" poll: it's within the error margin).

And this obsessive outbreak of media victimization of an Ohio plumber who dared to ask Senator Obama a question about tax, that the media itself couldn't ask, is more icing on this huge unpalatable pudding being cooked up by the media for our forced consumption, with the Governor of Alaska already baked inside. The cherry will come later with their retching it all back up if their amateurish concoction of bile bombs when finally consumed.

But so much more can happen in a week in politics online (see Mickey Kaus's "Feiler-faster thesis") that this could all still turn on a top in a trice.

Maybe truth and fairness have meaning and consequences after all. Ah, the joy of it all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

At this time, all good market capitalists should consult Herman Daly!