Stop The Presses

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Memo to Kyra Phillips,

This week's theme? Journalism! Cable news, college newspapers, local radio. Most of it sucks, some of it doesn't. It's how we're informed, and how we're misinformed. The only real upside to modern journalism is that when you have that many microphones with that many dipshits on both ends of them, it's inevitable that we will record IDIOTS SAYING THE DAMNDEST THINGS!

"Richard Cohen was not the most appropriate guest to have on, but it is a decision that we made and the result of that is our continued discussion today. That is what journalism is all about, and we will continue to do our best to discuss gay and lesbian issues in a fair way on this program. I wish that all of you knew my heart, and as a journalist with a long track record of covering gay and lesbian issues, I wish that those of you who sent me vicious e-mails watched my newscast more often, because if they did, my guess is, they would not have been so quick to send such hateful messages. - Kyra Phillips, explaining her decision to have gay conversion nutjob Richard Cohen on her show to discuss the repeal of an old California law seeking to cure gayness.

Fuck your heart. Fuck it right in one of the ventricles. I don't care how long a track record you have of "covering" gay and lesbian issues. Rush Limbaugh has a long track record of covering gay and lesbian issues. And the fact that you think you were trying to be fair by having discredited crazy people on your show to balance out the reasonable and sane people is consistent with everything that's wrong with your brand of journalism and the networks that perpetuate it.

Also, NUT UP. Getting angry and vicious e-mails is not a particularly egregious punishment for journalistic fuckuppery. You still get to go on the television every day and tell people things and make gobs of money and rub elbows with the politically-connected. Complaining because people sent you mean words when you did something mind-bogglingly stupid will earn you no sympathy.

"The young college student hopefully will find a career other than journalism. I would ask that he release the unedited tape of our conversation. I believe that what people do as individuals in their private lives is their business, but I do not believe we should change the traditional definition of marriage... I had a candid and frank conversation with the group about health care, education, the economy and national security while the young journalism student, instead, chose to focus on the issue of same-sex marriage and grossly distort my views. - Mike Huckabee, being a disingenuous douchebag. Which I know is redundant.

Me, I think they should give the young college student Kyra Phillips' job. He may not have a long track record covering gay and lesbian issues, but he knows damn well that when he has Mike Huckabee on tape saying "Children are not puppies. This is not a time to see if we can experiment and find out, how does this work?” about gay adoption, that's both a reprehensible thing to say and something he should be focusing on. And he didn't bother to have someone defending Huckabee out of "fairness".

Note, by the way, that Huckabee doesn't actually claim he didn't say those things, or deny equating gay marriage to incestuous marriage and legalized drug abuse. He just said a lot of people share those views, so they must not be wrong or weird. Which is both not an actual argument and not the point. Maybe Huckabee can be Palin's running mate in 2012.

"Dave I think that’s a legitimate claim if the programs aren’t improving people’s lives or getting them into a life of productivity. It’s just like, we could say I think it’s slavery to give your kid an allowance unless you say you gotta take the trash out, you gotta keep your room clean. Parents usually don’t give their kids an allowance without saying you have to do something." - Former congressman J.C. Watts, on a radio show after one of the right-wing's endless conventions.

This is only tangentially about journalistic failure, because I have no way of knowing for sure that "Dave" did not follow this quote by asking Watts what the everloving fuck was wrong with him. But I bet he didn't. I bet he let this ludicrous statement go completely unchallenged, because that's how these interviews work.

But look at what Watts did here. He justified calling social programs "the new slavery" by comparing it to giving a kid an allowance without making him do chores. So in Watts analogy, someone is getting money for doing no work. And with many social programs, people get money for doing no work.

That's not slavery. That's the exact fucking OPPOSITE OF SLAVERY. You can argue the merits of the social safety net. You can even argue about the dependency factor in the system, although truth be told, doing so makes you sound like a bit of a dickhead. But you can't call it slavery, because slavery is forcing people to work and not giving them any money. Everybody knows that, and anybody who lets shit like that go unchallenged isn't doing their job.