August 28. 2012 : Ann to the RNC Rescue as Isaac Bears Down, Brisbane Off Base

Ordinarily this space leaves politics to the pundits, pooh-bahs, and politicos paid to slog through the stuff . But RNC has too many good story-lines for us to ignore. One of the most carefully calibrated events in human history has seemingly left nothing to chance – except the uncontrollable weather. History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of man. (video, above)

Media specialists and learned commentators will burn midnight oil, weighing if Citizen Romney can act like a normal kind of guy. It falls to his loyal wife, perpetually perky Ann Romney, to paint a different picture of her stand-offish, snobbish hubby. Good luck Ann. Even if you hit the ball out of the park – and we won't be surprised when you do – your work will end up being undone by the candidate's anti-climactic appearance at the political snooze-fest. politico

Tropical Storm Isaac graduates to dangerous Hurricane Isaac, whose predicted track calls for it to bypass the 4,500 delegates and media (who number four times that amount) covering the spectacle, while bearing down, mercilessly, on New Orleans. usatoday

Citizen Romney's staged entrance is thus threatened with delay. Tensions simmer. Nytimes

The official coronation proceeds as Ron Paul's remaining delegates steam. Party rule changes to their candidate's detriment are muscled through over loud objections from the floor. The Pittsburgh born physician takes it in stride, saying “We’ll get into the tent, believe me. Because we will become the tent, eventually!” new yorker

NJ Gov. and Human Wall of Noise Chris Christie will attempt to rouse the faithful, in a 30 minute speech long on labels and short on anything that departs from RNC mantras expressing slavish devotion to “unfettered” and “free market” economics – in reality, tax-payer backed enterprise – and the cult of the individual, borrowed from favored philosophical antecedent Ayn Rand. Rand is the compelling, mega-selling Russian-American novelist (and pro-choice, gay rights supporting atheist), who is back in vogue, after years of being bashed from nearly all sides (she died in 1982).

Rand's more subtle points about personal responsibility - and moral consistency - have no place at RNC. In reality, the novelist appears a more likely ideological match to Ron Paul than Veep Pick. Interested readers – and there are tens of millions of them - are largely left to sort it out themselves, writer Michael Brenner offers an assist at huffpost

San Francisco Chronicle columnist Debra J. Saunders comes closest to the mark, critiquing NY Times contributor Paul Krugman's simplistic take : “Krugman conveniently overlooks Rand's many corporate villains and self-serving academics who cheerlead policies that ultimately bankrupt working families. Rand supports capitalists and capitalism. She extols the social benefits of success; ergo, her book is sinister.”

Occupiers and observers anticipating a big show-down in the streets of Tampa aren't going to see it. The lock-down is so encompassing that the delegates themselves can barely get around

Score one, sorta, for anti-occupy media pundits, as NY Times ombudsman Arthur Brisbane fires a parting shot at his former employer on his way out the door, labeling its recent journalism as “occupy cheerleading.”

While the observation sends some occupiers into peels of laughter, Brisbane presents no hard evidence. Which should matter to the person entrusted with the role of ombudsman. Establishment outlets, particularly the conservative blogosphere, swarm to pick the story up.

Oft-cited is NYT's allegedly uncritical coverage of an Occupy summer camp in Brooklyn, featured in a report on July 13th. Whether the camp itself merited coverage – it was at least partially set up by the real life figure who inspired the Spike Lee character "Radio Raheem" in Do the Right Thing – is one thing. But to cite this inclusion as evidence of pro-occupy bias at NY Times makes one outlet, and by extension, Brisbane, look stodgy and silly.

Brisbane accurately - and reasonably - states that NY Times, like all establishment media, grapples with the new, er, digital age :

I can see that as the digital transformation proceeds, as The Times disaggregates and as an empowered staff finds new ways to express itself, a kind of Times Nation has formed around the paper’s political-cultural worldview, an audience unbound by geography (as distinct from the old days of print) and one that self-selects in digital space.” NY Times

We'll second what he seems to be getting at : that journalistic standards shouldn't change with the medium.

But Brisbane's parting shot is a cop out. In essence, he blames the medium for NYT's inability to enforce its own journalistic standards. And, sadder and truer : he's out of sync with the audience he's supposed to advocate for, unable to connect with their concerns and issues. The bias he imagines may well come from reporters “getting too close to the Occupy story.” Our question : what exactly are they supposed to do?

Or : At what point should true journalism acknowledge its lack of “objectivity” in sticking to a “balanced” story put forth by parties wholly underwritten by corporate money?

Such is the tidal shift being undergone by media today. The story clearly changes when people are in the streets To accept as “news” the formulations of the powerful, as they fight to protect the status quo – not a stretch in Bloomy's case – would be irresponsible.

Brisbane's real gripe is that for once, to their credit, NYT reporters stepped into the street and did actual reporting. This is what he's calling “cause journalism.” Perhaps he prefers reporters to associate with the usual PR reps and high-ranking government officials. Establishment media is called that due to its restrictive ownership, the primacy of its advertisers, and the natural tendency of humans to adopt the perspectives of those they frequently associate with all amply documented elsewhere, as Brisbane is no doubt familiar with.

Submitted by M-Bed
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