Puffy McMoonface and the Deferential Press

Just like your kids or your feckless spouse, it’s funny how the media ignores what they don’t want to hear and gloms onto what they do want to hear. So when little Scottie McClellan, banished from the “Bubble” and with time on his hands in Texas to discover the remnants of his vestigial conscience, suddenly spews forth a goodly amount of that novelty called “truth,” the media has a field day with anything he says that makes Bush and his administration look bad. That’s good, that’s safe, now that W. is hovering below 30% approval in the polls (25% in California as of yesterday!) Kicking someone when they’re down – that, they can manage!

But you’d never know, from most TV, radio, and mainstream press outlets, that he also wrote: “If anything, the national press corps was probably too deferential to the White House and to the administration in regard to the most important decision facing the nation during my years in Washington, the choice over whether to go to war in Iraq. . . . The collapse of the administration’s rationales for war, which became apparent months after our invasion, should never have come as such a surprise. . . . In this case, the ‘liberal media’ didn’t live up to its reputation. If it had, the country would have been better served.” Now, that’s dirty pool, and we’re just going to ignore it!

The fact is, the mainstream media’s bland acceptance and parroting of almost all government claims back when Bush was popular, make them complicit in both the disastrous invasion of Iraq (pulled off while 70% of Americans still believed Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11) and 2004’s breathtakingly incomprehensible Renewal of the Nightmare. Look at Puffy up above, thinking “You saps, you stenographers, you’re just going to write down anything I say, aren’t you? Can’t you see I’m lying? CHALLENGE me, damn you!!”

Similarly we’ve seen nothing on TV, and read nothing in most other papers, on the magnificently well-documented New York Times article detailing the Pentagon and U.S. media’s joint use of pre-programmed “military analysts” who posed as objective experts while touting the Government line and also having extensive business interests in promoting those views. Total media blackout; click on these Glennzilla links for more detail on this.

It all puts me in mind of Colbert’s 2006 performance at the National Press Corps dinner, one of the high points of this miserable (so far) millenium. After a few minutes of the expected roasting of the administration and other powerful political figures (the only one of whom showed any mirth was the totally-comfortable-in-his-evil-skin Justice Scalia), he turned his well-trained guns on the audience, the unsuspecting Washington Press Corps. And won the undying admiration of us netroots while garnering reviews in the press that he was “not funny, just mean.” Click on the video above whether you missed that or just miss it (attack on the press begins at around 6 minutes) and relish how – when his jokes are met with icy silences – he sadistically lets those silences fester for excruciating periods, as no other standup comic would dare to do. It was Andy Kaufman channeling Chomsky. Money quote:

Here’s how it works: the president makes decisions. He’s the Decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put ’em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know – fiction!

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official political troubadour of Anaheim and most other OC towns. Regularly makes solo performances, sometimes with his savage-jazz band The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.