What's this thing about? The big thing. The thing that's happening in a few months or so. The thing with all those well-dressed people talking at each other. You know...
What's it about?
Let's do a little experiment. Let's assume I've been a very busy guy for the past decade or so. Maybe I'd been piling on school work, or working a couple of jobs starting in the late nineties and ending yesterday. Or maybe I'd been homeless and I just back on my feet, so I bought a computer and a TV on the way home. Or maybe I'd been in space for fifteen years, and I returned early this morning wondering what happened to gas prices, and why Chris Elliot wasn't a bigger star by now. Or maybe I was just lazy, or wasn't paying attention. Whatever. The point is I missed a lot. But I know an election's coming up, so I want to turn to the Media. You're not part of the government, and you're not entertainment. You'll help me figure out what's going on, right? Both candidates have nice, comforting and impressive websites, but I can't exactly trust those sites, can I? If I was running for president and someone asked me who the best man for the job was, I'd say me, and I'd talk about how qualified I was all over my big website, even if I pretty clearly wasn't. I have no reason to assume the candidates wouldn't do the same.
Let's get some truth on, Media!
Okay, his CNN bio page leaves much to be desired, but CNN's provided a bunch of relevant videos. I'm going to check out his Energy Plan video, because gas prices are much higher than they used to be, and I'd rather they weren't. I click on it.
Remember, this is a video allegedly devoted to John McCain's energy plan, in the section dedicated to all things John McCain, which is within a page dedicated to all things political, on the website for CNN. By all rights, if I want to hear about John McCain's energy plan, this is the place to go.
Let's do a play by play of the video:
-It's a series of clips that starts with a vague, one or two sentence summation of one of McCain's energy plans from a few years ago under narration. I don't realize it at the time, but this is the closest I'll come to finding out about McCain's energy policy on CNN.com.
-Next, we get a different, contrasting McCain energy plan under more narration that doesn't tell me anything about this new and different plan apart from the fact that it is both new and different.
-The narrator describes the energy situation as "tricky." No further information.
-9/11 is mentioned.
-I close the video, assuming I clicked on the wrong one in the first place, and again click on "John McCain's Energy Plan."
-9/11. I hold out hope that somehow McCain has invented a type of car that runs on 9/11. (This does not happen.)
-Next, we awkwardly segue to a discussion of the practices that worked and those that didn't work in the 2004 election. Even though we have two different candidates and live in a completely different political climate right now, it is for some reason appropriate to talk about John Kerry's failed campaign. In the only video on CNN's website dedicated to detailing McCain's energy strategy.
-Narrator talks more about 9/11. John McCain thinks Obama doesn't get 9/11, while Obama holds firmly on his "Yea I totally do" platform. The video is officially more about 9/11 than anything else.
-The narrator sums up the video (about an energy plan) with, and this is a direct quote, "His best shot at winning the White House is running a race combining national security and experience, one that hammers away at Obama for not being able to lead in a post 9/11 world."
High School students out there: The next time you have to write an essay about the energy crisis, include that exact line above in your concluding paragraph. And then let me know if you just failed the class or if you were classified as legally retarded. I won't know what to call CNN until you get back to me, so step to it.
Okay, onto Barack's page and his video for energy. It's called "Obama hits McCain on Energy."
-"We're investing in the next generation of automobiles." That's nice. Kind of reminds me of 'The power is yours,' or 'Trust the Force.' Very hopeful if, perhaps, empty.
-Next, Obama points out something Bush's energy department said about some other energy plan, (not his, though). Seems kind of unrelated, but whatever.
-Obama criticizes this aforementioned plan, saying "What they don't tell you," is that it won't have a positive impact on gas prices until 2030. Obama is outraged. Still not totally sure why he's talking about this plan. I want to hear about his. It's so easy to look impressive when you're criticizing a clearly flawed plan that no one is going to defend.
"What am I actually saying?"
Plus, why is it just a video of Obama talking? All I hear from him speeches, albeit, terrific speeches, that inspire hope, though not much confidence. I can get these videos on his website. Shouldn't CNN be saying "Theoretically, this plan works" or "Based on our research, this plan will fail"? Or maybe even "He barely even discussed a plan?" Something? How come on McCain's video, CNN narrates and comments on what he's saying but they just kind of let Barack go?
You're CNN. You are CNN. You're not some hilariously absurd website that can get away with posting tasteless articles asking to see the potential Vice President naked. You're CNN. You have a responsibility.
Let's see what other respectable forces in the media have to say. Time.Time Magazine has an article about McCain. It was in the top ten of digg yesterday, in fact. It's all about what a negative ad campaign McCain's running.
"The good news is that the vile times may be ending...but these dreadful times must not be forgotten."
Okay... That sounds, very scary, or whatever. Is... is he qualified to be the next president of the United States? Why don't you have any articles on that? Isn't that kind of more important than the ads?
Thanks but no thanks, Time. Let's head on over to the Brookings Institution for a change of scenery. They... Oh. They also have an article about dirty campaigning on both sides that was pretty popular yesterday. Okay. Okay, candidates are being unfair. They're deliberately taking quotes out of context. Should...should I just close my eyes and pretend that that hasn't been done in every election ever? Is it important right now to talk about how nasty the campaigning is? Really? How this year's ads "hit an all-time low"? That's what we should talk about?
It was said that if Jefferson was elected, prostitutes would start working out of churches and later if Cleveland was elected, they'd move into the White House. They said Jimmy Carter couldn't get the Pledge of Allegiance through Congress. Van Buren's opponents ran campaigns that he was illiterate. Clarence Darrow called Howard Taft, (the only person on the planet to serve as both President and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court), "a fat son of a bitch."
In fairness to Darrow...
I get that candidates are going to run slightly shady campaigns. I get that, because I'm not an idiot and that's just politics as usual. I can learn about the shadiness of their campaigns by watching their commercials. They're going to lie. It's your job to get the truth and to hold someone accountable when they lie, not just weakly point out 'Hey, that might possibly be construed as slightly perhaps being not so forward in the field of truth. Let's take a poll to see how the American people feel about possibly perhaps being lied to maybe.' Don't just point it out, do something about it.
Have you ever been fucked violently in the ear? And then your friend comes in and, instead of helping, starts telling you what the guy's balls look like? That's you. You're that friend.
I want you to protect me from getting fucked, and all you're saying is "Balls, balls balls."
"Looks like the left one's a little bit lower than the right, what do you think, Diane?"
"Oh, you're right! And it look, they were recently shaved. I bet that razor burn hurts."
"I bet you're right, Diane."
One more shot. Okay, I'll head on over to FoxNews. They've got to be trustworthy. They've got "News" right there in the title, so to suggest seriousness, and "Fox," so to suggest cleverness. Or perhaps that you can't trust them around chickens.
Hey, FoxNews.com has clips of Sean Hannity's interview with Sarah Palin. Sean says that it's an uncensored interview, with no questions off limits! Palin has been fairly reluctant to speak, and FoxNews offers a no-holds-barred interview? The Bloodsport of interviews? Hot damn, we're cooking with gas!
Let's see, on the subject of what's to be done about the Economy, Sarah Palin says "We've gotta cure this. By reform." Now, moving on to-
Wait. No. That can't be enough of an answer. That's way too obvious. Our current system led to the giant retarded Wall Street implosion, so of course the answer is reform. I mean, after the economic week we've had, if you asked me what I think we should do, with my absolutely nonexistent background in economics, all I'd be able to say would be "Hey, you know our old plan that ended up turning into a shit sandwich? Let's not keep doing that." Are you saying that's enough to satisfy you, Hannity? Can I be Vice President?
Who would say reform isn't the answer? I mean, when there's a problem, you fix it by doing things differently. Is anyone actually running on a platform of "These current practices are pretty clearly flawed and poisonous to America...but I'm gonna stick with them and see how this all plays out." No. Why is "By reform" a satisfactory answer for the question of how to heal the economy? That's the tip- No, that's not even the tip of the iceberg, that's the idea of the iceberg. That's iceberg as a concept. Why are you okay with that, Sean Hannity?
Ooh, do you know what other questions Hannity asks in this rare, no-topics-are-off-limits interview with the hitherto unknown woman who may well become our Vice President? Also on the topic of the current state of the economy, Hannity asks "Is what Barack Obama doing dangerous for America?"
That is the poison disguised as a question that he asked in this shitstorm disguised as an interview.
"Getting the nod was an experience?" Boy, that's some hard-hitting motherfucking shit, right there.
You can ask her anything. You're wearing a suit. You clearly think you're some kind of journalist. You've got a responsibility, Hannity, and all you're doing is a) lobbing softballs and b) letting your obvious bias show in an unfair, twisted question that no one else would even consider asking. No one, and now you've put the idea in people's heads.
Come on, Media. We're coming off some rough years as far as trust in our government goes. As a country, we're paying closer attention than ever. Do your job.
Tell me something useful.
I've already heard that Obama and Palin are both fairly inexperienced. And I've heard that McCain doesn't know how to use the internet. I've heard all the "pig in lipstick" and "I can see Russia from here" lines, because they've been repeatedly jammed down my throat over and over and over again. How could I miss them?
I don't need to hear again about who was a Community Organizer, and who thinks that "Community Organizer" is a laughable position. I'm not concerned with how many houses someone has. I dont need to be told that someone is a terrific speaker. I don't care how anyone feels about hockey, and I don't need to hear about what Priests a candidate may or may not have hung around at some point for some amount of time.
And if I hear "Hey, the bottom line is, she sold the plane" one more fucking time, I'm going to track down that plane, buy the shit out of it, and crash it directly into the White House, regardless of who's living there. Test me on this.
I feel like all we're getting are lies and lines, and no one's talking about the issues and no one's holding anyone accountable. Media, you're supposed to be on our side. Stop repeating the same sound bites over and over again. In the history of forever, has a President's ability to do his job been enhanced or impaired as a result of how they feel about moose-hunting? Then shut up about it.