Yeah, yeah, I know Bob Somerby writes about the abject clowning of our press corps during the 2000 election every damn day, but this is still worth reading. Some highlights:
What a remarkable set of judgments! According to San Franciscoâ€™s largest paper, Bush was the â€œoverall victorâ€? because he didnâ€™t embarrass himself! According to the leading pundit in Philadelphiaâ€™s largest paper, Bush may have done better than Gore because he didnâ€™t mangle his sentences! [...] (New York Daily News columnist Michael) Kramer said that Bush was â€œthe winner,â€? offering this as part of his logic: â€œBush, although clearly less knowledgeable on most issuesâ€¦spoke in a soothing, conversational tone that helped answer lingering doubts about his ability to be president.â€? Was Bush being held to â€œa very low standard?â€? To Kramer, Bush countered doubts about his qualifications by speaking in a conversational tone! Bush had been â€œclearly less knowledgeableâ€?â€” but soothing! [...] Consider the lead editorial in the Charlotte Observer. â€œCertainly Mr. Gore dominated the event,â€? the paper wrote. â€œWhile the vice presidentâ€™s command of a wide range of issues was impressive, Mr. Bush at times seemed timid and unfocused, unable to pursue discussions of some issues beyond a couple of key points.â€? But so what? â€œExpectations for Mr. Bush were low from the outset,â€? the paper explained, â€œand to many viewers he exceeded them.â€?
The evidence that our entire press corps is run by self-impressed idiots is considerable. I’m not sure how to fix this. Maybe Bob will offer some suggestions if he ever stops ranting about the corps’ abject clowning in 2000 and writes more about the press corps today.