Monday, August 16, 2010

Unilateral Race To The Bottom

It's the kind of day here where you feel like you're stuck in a Dali painting: so muggy that your clothes practically drip off you. Paper flops over in your hand, the ink smearing down the page like tears. The air is thick with the musty closeness of someone with bad breath and worse body odor; each movement makes refreshes your agony.
Against this backdrop, you ponder the idiocy of people. You're wearing a suit to work at a job that makes some rich guy richer, the same jackass who's denied raises company wide for two years and cut bonuses for three. How dumb is that that you'd let yourself be this uncomfortable for him? Over there is a guy who's sipping a hot Starbucks...something...can't really call it coffee, because Starbucks sells a coffee experience, but no coffee. At least not coffee discernible by anyone who appreciates good coffee. It's more like vinegar strained through a hoop of magnesium. 
Over there is a woman who's carting a backpack big enough to contain her entire life's history, souvenirs included, straining against the straps to keep her balance. 
And then, there's the right wing. A President clearly states that the Constitution applies to all Americans equally, and the right wing has turned it into a referendum on Obama's endorsement of a Islamic "mosque" (more like a YMCA). 
I expect them to do this. After all, they've hammered away at the falsehood of Obama's Muslim identity since the election, hammering at the lie until it's become nailed into the American psyche like a railroad spike. Even people who don't believe it, fortunately most of us, refer to it regularly in jest, at least. That it's such a universal joke tells me we ought to take it more seriously and start defending it more vigourously. 
What is unexpected has been the subliminal effect it's had on people who don't believe it, but report it anyway: the mainstream media. There's an undertone, a twinge of anti-Islam sentiment in the telling of the tale of the "mosque" (more like a YMCA).
It's one thing to cheerlead a nation involved in a war. You want your country to win, but the truth must be told. So maybe you fudge a few details, saving them for the book you write later on. That's almost (and I stress almost) understandable for a journalist.
It's quite another thing to pass on the lies told by one side without context, without rebuttal, without analysis. If commonsense tells you something is nonsense, then report it as such. Stop enabling the opinions of others to enter the public dialogue. Start reporting the facts, not the "factsheet". 
So many of the undercurrent of lies told about Obama have infused the reporting of news that it's sickening to an aware person. Obama has made more than enough mistakes on his own, and indeed, I'd rather read criticisms of him on that basis than the false "American Idle"-- pun intended-- nonsense of his birth certificate (which is a shading of the "anchor baby" controversy), or his Muslim heritage, or his "vacationing at times of crisis". 
The Republican party is trying to start a race to the bottom of the cesspool we're all drowning in already. It would be nice if the MSM didn't have its scuba tanks on already. The idiocy, indeed.