There is NOTHING in the world more "troubling" than the USer "conventional wisdom" in the age of the 24-Hour news-cycloe and the perfection of the Big Lie. There's more wisdom in a bag of hammers.
Chris Matthews and His 'Hardball' Follies: Taking Us to New Depths of Dumbed-Down Politics
By Robert Parry, Consortium News. Posted January 20, 2010.
MSNBC's Chris Matthews personifies the puffed-up self-importance and total lack of self-awareness that has come to define America's media punditocracy.
This past week, grappling with the twin top stories of Haiti's earthquake tragedy and the Massachusetts Senate race, MSNBC's Chris Matthews personified the strange mix of puffed-up self-importance and total lack of self-awareness that has come to define America's media punditocracy.
During "Hardball" programs of recent days, Matthews has veered from pontificating about how the killer earthquake in Haiti might finally cause its people to get "serious" about their politics to explaining how Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley deserves to lose, in part, because she called ex-Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling "a Yankees fan."
Not only did Matthews's remarks about Haitian politics reflect a profound ignorance about that country and its history, but he seemed blissfully clueless about his own role as a purveyor of political trivia over substance in his dozen years as a TV talk-show host in the United States, as demonstrated in his poll-and-gaffe-obsessed coverage of the important Massachusetts Senate race.
Indeed, Matthews may be the archetype of what's wrong with the U.S. news media, a devotee of conventional wisdom who splashes in the shallowest baby pool of American politics while pretending to be the big boy who's diving into the deep end.
When the United States most needed courageous journalism in 2003, Matthews hailed the U.S. invasion of Iraq, declaring "we're all neocons now" and praising the manliness of President George W. Bush's flight-suited arrival on the USS Abraham Lincoln to celebrate "mission accomplished." ("Tweetie's" man-crush on Commander Cod-piece was too enthusiastic to have stopped at 'manly'--W)
And today, if Matthews's interest in political "hardball" were genuine - not just an excuse to position himself as a relentless front-runner - he might have used some of the hours devoted to the Haitian crisis to explain how real "hardball" politics works. He also might have discussed the true merits and demerits of Coakley and her Republican rival, state Sen. Scott Brown, not just the atmospherics of their campaigns.
Instead, regarding Haiti, Matthews detected a silver lining in the catastrophe that may have killed more than 100,000 people. He said the horrific event might finally cause the people there to cast off their supposedly frivolous attitude toward politics.
In a stunning display of racial and historical tone-deafness, Matthews compared Haiti's alleged political fun-and-games with those of Louisiana in its supposed tolerance of corrupt machine politicians who left New Orleans vulnerable to the ravages of Hurricane Katrina. Whether he intended it or not, there was the creepy implication that descendants of African slaves were at fault for their own suffering in both cases. (Oh, he meant it, right enough. He's "bourgeoisie" through and through--W)
While not quite as weird as the remarks by right-wing televangelist Pat Robertson - blaming the earthquake and other natural disasters that have hit Haiti on the Haitians supposedly striking a two-century-old deal with the devil to drive out their French slaveowners - Matthews's commentary may have been even more troubling since it reflected a more mainstream U.S. media viewpoint.
There is much, much more in Parry's piece to which you would be well-served by attending...