Saturday, July 21, 2007
Marc Ambinder at the Atlantic defends the Edwards haircut story and condemns the undue coverage of Romney's make-up thusly:
The centerpiece of Edwards's campaign is his anti-poverty efforts; he presents himself as a dedicated messenger for the cause, and he likes expensive haircuts, bought a gimungous house, etc. etc. His credibility as a messenger comes into question when he spends money ostentatiously. (The haircut was inadvertently billed to the campaign, a spokesman later said).
There is a difference in the political reality: fairly or unfairly, a healthy chunk of the national political press corps doesn't like John Edwards.
Fairly or unfairly, there's also a difference in narrative timing: when the first quarter ended, the press was trying to bury Edwards. It's not so much interested in burying Romney right now -- many reporters think he's the Republican frontrunner.
I honestly don't quite know what to say. Plenty of effort has already been expended reminding people that you don't have to be poor to advocate for the poor --- and that historically some of the most ardent advocates were quite wealthy. The press corps really needs to examine whether they truly believe that the rich are required to be selfish jackasses who care about nothing but the stock market and tax cuts and only poor people can care about poverty. Perhaps that's a country they want to live in, but most of the rest of us aren't so keen on it.
But that's not the part of this post that's startling. Ambinder says right out that "fairly or unfairly" the press can't stand John Edwards and so they are going to bury him. This is, of course, not unprecedented since we saw what they did to Al Gore for the same reason. The matter-of-factness of his statement still made my head spin a little, but I appreciate the candor. At least we now know what we are dealing with. (And there is no question about whether it's fair. It most certainly isn't.)
Now, I am not especially surprised that the press corps doesn't like John Edwards. Many of these people probably didn't like guys like him in high school either and one thing we know about the political press corps is that they have never matured beyond the 11th grade. (See: chilean bass stupidity.) But I have to ask, once again, just who in the hell these people think they are and why they think they are allowed to pick our candidates for us based upon their own "feelings" about them? I don't recall electing them to anything. (But, hey, maybe we should just poll the kewl kidz and find out which candidate they "like, totally, like" and we can cancel the election and save a lot of time and money.)
This is exactly this kind of thing that makes people like me laugh when I get lectured by professional journalists about "objectivity" and "ethics." At least I put my political biases up front. These phonies hide behind a veil of journalistic conventions so they can exercise their psychologically stunted desire to stick it to the BMOC, or the dork or whoever these catty little gossips want to skewer for their own pleasure that day. Please, please, no more hand-wringing sanctimony from reporters about the undisciplined, unethical blogosphere. Their glass houses are lying in shards all around their feet.
Each time they've pulled this puerile nonsense in the last few years, it's resulted in a mess that's going to take even more years to unravel. And they learned nothing, apparently, since they are doing exactly the same thing in this election. If the press really wants to know why they are held in lower esteem than hitmen and health insurance claims adjusters, this is it.