RICH TUCKER GETS THE FJM TREATMENT

Posted in Rants on August 14th, 2009 by Ed

Boy, our media have done such a fine job of reporting the news that matters over the last few years. I think it's safe to say that the contemporary media is simply the best it has ever been. You know what we could use? A paean to the ratings-driven, completely unaccountable, hyperpluralist clusterfuck that is today's media, preferably with noble language about the valuable role of the "citizen journalist!" But who would be brave enough to write such a piece, to cheer when others boo or demand Coke when everyone else is drinking Pepsi? Three words: Rich Fucking Tucker. Finally America has a journalist brave enough to talk about just how amazing the American media are today. God bless you, Rich. "We'd Rather Not Have Fewer Sources" may be exactly what this nation needs to regain its trust in the media. Or it might be a radioactive dog link of a column which will make us all dumber for having read it. But come on, what are the odds of that? It's on TownHall for chrissakes!

Did the following quote appear in The Onion, or a major American newspaper: “An intense period of corporate consolidation over the past 25 years, aided and abetted by deregulation by the Federal Communications Commission, has reduced to a mere handful the sources from which most Americans get their news”?

Well, since it's not even remotely funny, not satirical, and appears to be a mere statement of fact I'm gonna go with major American newspaper. This question was too easy, Rich. Here is my impression of a Rich Tucker-style pop quiz question:

"Did the following quote appear in a Hallmark card for a child's birthday or Mein Kampf? 'I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.'"

Take your time, Rich.

It may read like a parody,

It doesn't.

"May" is a great word, isn't it, Rich? It allows us to say all kinds of things that aren't remotely true! Like, this may be a well-written column.

but those words were actually written by celebrated reporter Dan Rather on the op-ed page of the Aug. 9 Washington Post.

See what Rich did there? It's about Dan Rather and the word "Rather" is incorporated into the title of the piece!!!! Take that, Alexander Pope!

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, as the saying goes, but not his own facts.

This sounds like something a person would say to introduce a column decrying the fact that people now have dozens of ideologically discrete sources giving them news filtered in a way that flatters their personal biases. That's what this is, right Rich?

Oh…

And the fact is that Americans enjoy more sources of information today than ever — and we’ll enjoy even more in the weeks, months and years ahead.

No, Americans enjoy more "media outlets" repeating the same information in different ways, information which almost inevitably originates from real reporters working for one of the dinosaur major broadsheets or one of the big TV networks.

Now excuse me for a moment while I take a big mouthful of hot tea…

Consider YouTube, the non-partisan source of unfiltered information.

*spit take*

Wha-wha-whaaaaaaaat? YouTube? YouTube? YouTube is a sign of progress, Rich? Eight billion terabytes of Fall Out Boy videos, skate bails, people's cats, and millions of jackasses flapping their Bugles-stained lips into webcams? It certainly is "unfiltered," Rich, which by definition means that almost all of it is utterly worthless shit.

It makes videos of almost everything available to almost everybody,

That's the calling card of a useful and high-quality source of information: quantity. Rich, have you seen those Pizza Hut commercials that promise "over three pounds" of pasta per order? That should make little red flags shoot up, flags indicating that if a food item's selling point is its sheer bulk, it probably tastes like Roy Cohn's asshole. These same flags should be present when revelling in the fact that YouTube promises us billions of videos from and to anyone with an internet connection.

creating idiotic Internet sensations such as the “don’t taze me, bro” guy. But it’s also a powerful political force.

Actually, that was somewhat newsworthy. Not his catchphrase, but the issue of what is and isn't over the line in terms of both behavior at public political events and police use of force to maintain order. Good thing neither of those issues are relevant anymore.

Just ask former Sen. George Allen of Virginia, whose re-election campaign (and, indeed, entire political career) unraveled when he was taped referring to a supporter of his opponent as “macaca.” Allen joked, “Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia!” But he could have said, welcome to the future, when every slip-up will be available on the Web within minutes.

The reason this became a story is that someone recorded it, not that it was loaded on YouTube. The Webb campaign had this in every major news outlet's inbox an hour after it happened. You suck at picking examples, Rich.

It’s also worth pointing out that the mainstream media had little interest in the town hall meetings our elected representatives were holding this month until videos of energized protesters started popping up on YouTube.

Really? Uh, I guess I'll take your word for it on the timing. But you're right about the media taking an interest once they realized what a human zoo these things are. Screaming, illiterate idiots are ratings gold!

Now, such meetings are being covered live by CNN. That’s real progress.

If a horrible stand-up comic accidentally shits himself on stage and the audience bursts out laughing, are his skills progressing?

Dan Rather clearly pines for the world of 1974, when he was a White House correspondent and Americans really did have to get their news from a “handful” of sources. Back then there were only three networks, and they faithfully followed the lead of The New York Times when deciding which stories to cover and which to ignore.

It really sucked when we had to have discussions based on a shared conception of the facts. Thank god the media are now diverse enough to offer several different sets of "facts" so that we all just yell past one another! I don't know how people lived in an era in which there was no TV news network to reinforce our preconceived ideas.

That made folks like Rather rich and powerful.

Unlike Glenn Beck. He's poor and no one listens to him. He drives a 1982 Cadillac Cimmaron which is more Bond-O than metal. It has a coathanger for an antenna and a trash bag/duct tape rear window. It reeks of Arby's. He lives in a complex of refrigerator boxes behind a Build-a-Bear Workshop.

But it didn’t help anyone who wanted unbiased news.

Which is what we have today. Exactly. This is my point.

Today’s readers have thousands of sources to turn to

But they're all dog shit, Rich. If 1000 people took a dump in your mouth, would it be better than 3 people doing it? I mean, at least you'd be getting some variety so you could make an informed decision.

from talk radio to the Web to live coverage on three full-time news networks. We can watch President Obama stumble through a town hall meeting as it happens, instead of waiting for a friendly newspaper write-up the next day.

Yeah, he's really been struggling. Unscripted Bush was so much better. Also, there are no conservative newspapers. Never have been.

The old cowboy reporter also misleads when he writes that a desire for corporate profits, “has meant a reduction in news-gathering personnel, the shuttering of overseas bureaus and the near complete subordination of a public trust to the profit motive.”

Wait, is this actually a matter of dispute? This is just a basic fact. Every major newspaper has gutted its most expensive operations to save cash.

Well. Know who profited handsomely from journalism? Gunga Dan Rather. His final contract with CBS (signed in 2001) paid him $6 million per year.

And in an equally relevant point, my favorite New Kid was Donnie. Ah, the art of the non-sequitur.

Nothing wrong with making money; that’s what drives capitalism.

Right, and therefore it drives privately-held corporations which own our media. You're doing a bang-up job making your argument here, shooter.

But the truth is that there are at least a thousand people who could have sat in the anchor chair and read the CBS Evening News for far less than $6 million.

And tens of thousands of socially maladjusted College Republicans who could write horseshit like this for far less than the $79 and two discount coupons to Old Country Buffet that Rich Tucker gets.

Suppose Dan had been dedicated to journalism. He might have taken a salary of $500,000 (still putting him in the top 1 percent of all wage earners) and had CBS spend the other $5.5 million on reporters, producers and videographers. Assuming each would work for $50,000, that’s an additional 110 people who could have been deployed in the field every day, doing the sort of journalism Dan Rather purports to celebrate.

Suppose Rich Tucker was dedicated to writing. He might have taken the 45 minutes he used writing this to procure a copy of Son of Sniglets and plaigiarize it for this column, thus dramatically improving the quality of the final product.

Rather claims journalists have “little incentive to report without fear or favoritism on the same government one is trying to lobby.” Yet his solution to the supposed problem would be a presidential commission to make recommendations on “improving and stabilizing” the news business.

Agreed, that's a pretty lame solution. That invalidates the underlying soundness of his argument. Like, if a doctor tells you "This X-Ray reveals that your leg is broken; go home and rub Goober Grape on your thighs" it is safe to assume that your leg isn't broken. You're fine. Walk it off.

So a federal panel is going to tell journalists how to investigate the federal government? Seems like an odd approach.

True. Let's defend the status quo based on the weakness of the straw man alternative!

The truth is simple: As long as Barack Obama is in office, mainstream reporters will tread gently, because they generally like him and support his agenda.

Unlike the media in 2002 and 2003 which went fuckin' Wolverine on the Bush administration when it was pre-gaming the Iraq War. I mean, they tore him apart like they were a pack of dogs and he was wearing a blazer made of ham.

That’s why the story of the fired Americorps Inspector General hasn’t gotten much play.

Who? Is this from The Onion? That hasn't gotten much play because it's mind-numbingly irrelevant, champ.

Yet when it comes to Obama’s predecessor, there are no such kid gloves.

That much has been established.

That’s why we’ll still see front-page stories about the 2006 firing of some U.S. Attorneys (who always serve at the pleasure of the president and can be fired any time for any reason).

What was this column supposed to be about? You're not so good at staying on topic, are you? This reads like 1000 words of "And here's another thing I just thought of…" Maybe don't push the deadlines so hard, Rich.

Also, U.S. Attorneys are exempt from Federal employment laws. They have literally NO legal protection. If the President decides to fire all the Jews, he not only has the right to do so but he can call a bunch of his advisors into his office and say "Go through the list of U.S. Attorneys and get rid of all the heebs." That wouldn't be newsworthy and the fired Attorneys would have no legal recourse.

Dan Rather’s eager to drag everyone back to the Stone Age, when he was able to control the flow of information.

1973 (Rich's reference point at the beginning of the column) was the Stone Age? Ah, he means the figurative Stone Age, back before the media wised up and replaced vast amounts of actual reporting with "commentators" spraying half-assed opinions at the cameras.

News flash: There’s no going back.

Only one way to wrap up a journalistic tour-de-force like this column: with an infomercial grade platitude which summarizes not only the writer's laziness and lack of talent but also the total absence of a purpose to the piece. This had no point, went nowhere, and didn't take a particularly enjoyable route to get there. That is the classic Rich Tucker Experience: getting into a car to drive from Chicago to Milwaukee and arriving in El Paso 72 hours later in a horse-drawn carriage.

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