August 18, 2008

"I couldn't believe that people would really believe that Muskie was eating Ibogaine."

"I never said he was. I said there was a rumor in Milwaukee that he was. Which was true. And I started the rumor in Milwaukee." Said Hunter S. Thompson.

Scroll to 1:35 in this trailer from the movie "Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson":



That sprang to mind when I read this comment, from Simon, on the first post of the day:
Ann said...

"Thanks to Andrea Mitchell for revealing that the campaign is prompting the press to take that line."

That's a positive way to think about Mitchell's role. Being a cynic, though, I can't help but think that another way one could think about it is as lamppost journalism. Mitchell is presumably an Obama supporter, and this rumor would be a useful way to limit McCain's victory last night and grab back the headlines. No one was talking about this before Mitchell brought it up, and if Mitchell wants to maintain the veneer of journalistic neutrality, she can't raise the suggestion herself. Ah, but she can raise it herself if she can claim to be simply reporting what the Obama campaign is saying.

24 comments:

Randy said...

I don't know who Mitchell supports for President but I do recall her being one of the more vocal critics of the stage management involved in Obama's recent overseas tour.

Stupe said...

There's a difference between a rumor and a false assumption.

Simon said...

Randy, if you walked into an overwhelmingly unionized factory and engaged a worker in small talk about a local sports team and other wholly non-political topics, do you think it would be a safe bet that you were talking to a union member? Certainly it's possible that by sheer luck of the draw, you were talking to one of the workers who isn't in the union. But the numbers suggest that it's a safe bet that you were, even if they didn't so indicate during your conversation.

Middle Class Guy said...

Just some quotes from Hunter S. Thompson:

So much for Objective Journalism. Don't bother to look for it here — not under any byline of mine; or anyone else I can think of. With the possible exception of things like box scores, race results, and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as Objective Journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms.

The TV business is uglier than most things. It is normally perceived as some kind of cruel and shallow money trench through the heart of the journalism industry, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs, for no good reason.

It's a strange world. Some people get rich and others eat shit and die.

gophermomeh said...

Isn't that the same as what happened to the "who played the race card, first" storyline. It rumor, innuendo and Rovian coming from a different direction.

Randy said...

Simon, I agree that if I one walks into a unionized factory, the odds of speaking to a non-union employee are tiny. That doesn't strike me as a particularly good example, though, as poll after poll over the years has shown that very high percentages of union members regularly vote against the dictates of their leaders.

In the case of the press, however, I think you will agree that individual political contributions and personal endorsements indicate an overwhelming preference for Democrats.

Simon said...

Randy said...
"In the case of the press, ... I think you will agree that individual political contributions and personal endorsements indicate an overwhelming preference for Democrats."

Yes. That was the point that I was getting at. Poll after poll has found that journalists overwhelmingly skew to the Democratic side of the aisle. To be a Republican in the media is a rare, rare thing. I took your comment above as questioning the assumption that Mitchell supports Obama, and although I don't have a quote from Mitchell wherein she outs herself, her occupation and its demographics are a prima facie case for the proposition that she does.

By the way, Scott Ott came to the same conclusion that I did, although I didn't read it until after my comment this morning.

Randy said...

In that case, Simon, what to make of the fact that Mitchell is married to Alan Greenspan?

Simon said...

Randy,
You think that spouses necessarily share political views?

Simon said...

Or, for that matter, even if they agree on politics, they may disagree on strategy - several conservatives believe that their causes will benefit from Obama winning, and some liberals believe that their causes will benefit from McCain winning.

AllenS said...

Mary Mattalin is married to James Carvill. Go figure.

Original Mike said...

I don't know who Mitchell supports for President ...

Don't watch Michell much, do you Randy?

Randy said...

You think that spouses necessarily share political views?
No Simon, I don't.
several conservatives believe that their causes will benefit from Obama winning, and some liberals believe that their causes will benefit from McCain winning.
I've heard mention of that, too.

Mary Mattalin is married to James Carvill. Go figure.
They deserve each other.

Don't watch Michell much, do you Randy?
No. I doubt if I've seen Mitchell reporting a story since the turn of the century. Unless it is inflicted upon me in an airport or waiting room, I tend to avoid network news. Very little of what is reported is timely, newsworthy or accurate.

Simon said...

Randy said...
"No Simon, I don't [think that spouses necessarily share political views]."

Then what to make of your question pondering "what to make of the fact that Mitchell is married to Alan Greenspan?" The question presupposes that if Greenspan isn't an Obama supporter, that tells us something about Mitchell's views.

Randy said...

Simon, I just wondered what you made of the fact that Mitchell was married to a high profile Republican. If Mitchell is just another Obama supporter, what do you make of her failure to follow the protocal on Hardball and criticize of Obama while he was in Iraq?

Simon said...

Randy - that's the whole ball game in lamppost journalism. Journalists want to maintain the fiction that they are neutral and unbiased. That requires them to forego making direct criticisms of the candidates, and to do it indirectly by carefully selecting quotes, stories and angles that they can speak through while remaining ostensibly neutral.

reader_iam said...

Greenspan is a small-gov't libertarian. That basically leaves him in the wilderness, these days.

From Inwood said...

Andrea Mitchell should know that Obama is omniscient & thus knew McCain's answers before McCain even uttered them, so McCain needed to cheat & hear Obama's answers through his upper Left molar (or which ever side he hears better from) to even things up! Notice the swollen face? Hmmmm? Key Twighlight Zone Music, please.... :-)

Hey, Trooper Y, I assume you've read where Bobby Thompson supposedly knew what the pitch was gonna be when he hit his historic Home Run, & thus cheated &, QED, the HR was tainted. But he still had to hit it. So Obama knew what some of the questions were gonna be & hit foul balls Sat nite.

Conclusion: Obama is a foul ball.

reader_iam said...

And he's on record saying things that more than indicate he approves more of Bill Clinton's approaches than George W. Bush's.

reader_iam said...

I think that, in overall effect anyway, both Mitchell and Greenspan tend more centrist, in today's landscape.

FWIATW.

From Inwood said...

Let me see, J-School 101:

NBC could not or would not report on Edwards’ inamorata because, ya see, it has standards re reporting rumors & innuendo, but it must report on rumors & innuendo when it would hurt McCain, like this ‘cheating & the January report on McCain’s alleged liaison with a lobbyist last century.

Fen said...

Wasn't Andrea Mitchell also the one who floated Obama's defense re cancelling a visit to the troops?

PatCA said...

"McCain cheated!"

Crybabies.

blake said...

As I said, it's not a controversy, it's foreshadowing.