Wednesday, July 18, 2007

morning MSM rant

Maybe I’m just cranky today, but I find myself exasperated with everything, EVERYTHING, I see on the news. I didn’t seek out MSNBC’s headlines this morning—they were thrust on me as I logged out of my hotmail account ( but they are so typical of all headlines everywhere I don’t know if it is fair to pick on MSNBC)-- And it’s like a car wreck; I can’t look away. This is a long diary, and I have no great pearls of wisdom to wrap it up at the end; I am just ranting as I read.

Let’s start here:

Hummer owner gets angry message

Now as much as Hummers make me roll my eyes, I really wonder if the idiots who vandalized this Hummer thought they were striking a great blow for the forces of environmentalism by this rather cowardly act of vandalism. In most cases I think that vandalism as political speech is just stupid—it is more likely to lose you supporters than gain them—and doing it masked?? If you believe in the cause so strongly, why hide?

Oh right, because bashing in someone’s car isn’t seen as political speech; it’s seen as a property crime.

But this whole article is slaying me. Why?

one man bought a flashy gray Hummer that was too massive to fit in his garage

ok, there’s the strong hint that your car is way too effing big

It lasted five days on the street before two masked men took a bat to every window, a knife to each 38-inch tire and scratched into the body: "FOR THE ENVIRON."

And this helped the environment how? As a political strategy, getting people to do what you want (in this case, not drive Hummers) out of fear might be effective in the short run. But it is also historically the weapon of those on the wrong side. Think of racial violence over the last 400 years for examples.

Now I was on the point of agreeing with this neighbor

"They've got everything at their disposal in this city to make a statement in a legal way," Fremaux said of the bat-wielding men who struck out at the Hummer.

Until she said this

"I consider this a hate crime."

When will people quit trivializing the idea of hate crime? People who own Hummers are not a historically oppressed group. Nobody is going to deny you your right to vote, or rape your wife, or sell you into slavery, because you have a Hummer. No one has been lynched, or chained to a car and dragged to death, or beaten to near death and tied up in a field like a scarecrow, because they own a Hummer. It's like the old puzzles: Which one of these crimes is not like these other crimes?

Now, back to our Hummer owner,

Gareth Groves, 32, who lives with his mother in a three-story home in the 3400 block of Brandywine Street NW in American University Park.

Several things here. First, what idiot reporter decided to give the guy’s exact address? Second, the part about living with his mother gets me. Can’t make assumptions—she could be staying with him because her health is so bad or something. But a little voice inside me is suggesting that he lives with his mother so he can afford to pay for a Hummer, which is ironic since one reason he bought the Hummer is that

he is starting a company, Washington Sports Marketing, that is "image-based."

Dude, you are 32 and you live with your mother. The Hummer isn’t going to make up for what that does to your image.

Now, I got really irked when I saw this headline
Dow Jones board signs off on sale
Which popped up after I signed out of my hotmail just now--irked because I knew the punchline, but it’s not in the headline. When I clicked on it, the whole headline came up and read

Dow Jones board signs off on sale to Murdoch

If you ask me, since Murdoch is now trying to buy the company that controls the Wall Street Journal and the Dow Industrial Average, among other things, and since his media empire is a propaganda tool posing as a legitimate news organization, his name should be a bit more prominent in that headline.

(For some reason, I keep picturing the Star Wars opening crawls when I see this headline. Just my inner geek, I guess.)

This also killed me
Why all the Murdoch bashing? Get over it!
but for a reason I didn’t expect. Well, ok, the part where he trivializes serious, legitimate concerns with this purchase by invoking old school vampire flicks is standard fare these days; these guys can reheat these clichés in their sleep. But that part aside, I thought this would be a Murdoch apologist claiming that Murdoch is fair and balanced and whatnot, but instead the article is more of a "So what? Who cares?" about media consolidation.

So what??? So What????
Murdoch controls enough media now

He can reach something like ¾ of the world’s population with this network. It is time for us to say "Enough already."
The US media system was set up with the idea that for a democracy to function, people need access to multiple media outlets. Letting one voice control so many outlets is dangerous for democracy. Partisan media is fine, as long as 1) it admits to being partisan, and 2) it is not the only game in town. Murdoch’s empire metaphorically spits on the Founders’ dream of an informed public.

And by the way, is it me, or does everyone else cringe when they see the phrase "Get over it"? these days? It has become the winger’s usual signoff for "How dare you protest our illegal/unethical/democracy-killing actions?" Voter fraud and stolen elections—"Get over it!" Endless war—"Get over it!" Executive incompetence—"Get over it!"

While I have been typing this, I see that the headline about the plane crash in Brazil has soared to the top of the list, predictably, since there’s now a picture of flaming wreckage attached to it. God, Some days I really despise the mainstream media.

Finally, the story I went online to catch up on

Senate nears end to all-night Iraq debate
(UPDATE: this link no longer goes to the earlier story)
Not much to see here except for the return of the grade-school playground taunt as political strategy

Added Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., of his Democratic colleagues: "I bet I can stay up longer than they can."

And one WTF moment:

With a half-dozen spectators watching from the gallery

Shit, I figured it would be mobbed! Wish I had known, I would have tried to get in to watch. Richmond is only 100 miles from DC. It would’ve been a good thing to show some support...
But that's it; there's just not much meat in the story, and I am ging to kos to find out what really went on. I don't know why I have wasted so much time on MSNBC anyway.

As I start to click off I see one more cringe-worthy headline

Edwards ad touts him as a tough guy

So far he’s my favorite candidate, with Obama up there too, but does ugh, what a headline. And so typical, focusing on the horserace, not the horse.

It ends because I have to get ready for a meeting. So as I said up top, no real overarching point here. It’s just good once in a blue moon to know other people feel my pain.


Blogger Steven said...

Hey Kathy,

I agree with you. Those vandals are idiots who are only adding fuel to the right wing blowhards who try to dismiss environmental activism.

Well, I don't think I entirely agree on the whole "hate crime" thing. I believe that fool's statement just illustrates the utter uselessness of such a term. I am loath to agree with right wingers on anything. I don't, however, much like the classification of hate crimes. It's illegal to beat someone with a hammer. I don't see how we can make it somehow more illegal to do that if the person's ethnic identity is one that has been "historically oppressed." Honestly, I believe hate crimes are racist against those who are not seen as part of some "historically oppressed" group. I mean, there is this mentality that if an African American or some other protected group is beaten horribly, an extra crime is involved. Meanwhile, if I get beaten horribly, there is no such extra crime classification. That is racist against me.

I do have a bias here, in that I am completely against any form of preferential treatment or classification based on ethnicity or gender. I just, personally, don't believe any racial wounds will ever heal until we can treat each other equally as people. For instance, most of us who are caucasian have had nothing to do with past treatment of minority groups. I see no point in holding people today accountable for the actions of their ancestors. After all, isn't that fundamentally against what the founders of the U.S. wanted? They envisioned a nation in which we are judged by our own character, independent of what the previous generations did or did not do. Special laws for special groups are antithetical to that principle.

Just a thought.

10:01 AM  

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