Scenes to Remember: You Stop That Lying, Sarah
Since we are almost finally ready to Barack’n roll, as my daughter says, election 2008 will of course soon become a series of memories for us, and it’s very important some events do not get lost on the national consciousness as the election whooshes by. One of the most notable evolutions of election 2008 for me was when Sarah Palin rolled out a succession of whopper lies, “journalists” tenuously called her on it, ‘n then she kept right on lying anyway.
Originally my idea for this post was grade the media for election 2008, but in fairness I can’t, for I don’t watch television “news” or political programming. For reasons that immediately will become obvious I consider it to be an sinisterly subtle medium of very dangerous obfuscation and propaganda, the exposure of the human mind to it never to be taken lightly.
I suppose more than a few readers find that statement amusing, it’s cool, a quick defense of the matter is that as we look around the unholy ruins of what used to be our economy and country our great modern American Executive President is a shameful, totally useless dickless pencilneck his own Party is hiding before the election and who of course got us into this unholy mess. Television politics and journalism delivered George Bush to the country and no one is laughing now. 1
Further complicating matters are the relatively new arrivals of Olbermann and Maddow, who are obviously providing balance to the situation; not enough to effect the overall joke of the evening news and political shows, but a beginning of balance nonetheless. Plus the little fact the blogosphere and the country desperately needs reporters and journalists, there are some very good ones scattered out there, some on my hero list.
So no, I don’t feel qualified to judge our distressingly symbiotic cousins with the D they deserve (feel free to leave a grade in the comments, don’t mind me) but my snotty, sneering condescension is richly earned by one election 2008 media evolution alone: the lying of Sarah Palin.
Immediately after her coronation of hockey pucks Ms. Palin immediately set out on the campaign trail and launched a series of whoppers about the bridge to nowhere. Huffily indignant, the media called her on it and Sarah Palin didn’t give a whit, she still went right on out there and lied her ass off, “journalists” be damned.
To this day she’s still doing it on whatever subject the campaign thrusts at her every day, one of the notable latest lies is Palin’s insistence the Alaska Troopergate scandal cleared her of any unethical activity, it’s flatly false, the media say so and she keeps right on doing it.
I don’t need to watch television “journalism” after seeing this media evolution to utterly know that if a candidate for Vice-President of the United States feels no compunction at all to continually, blatantly lie the “journalism” profession has lost control over its core primary mission: deliver truth to the American public. As I’ve said many times, if you want to get lied to, watch your television.
Still, our salaried cousins in the pixels and screens continue to try, which is no small thing, and my tiny perspective on the scene is not the final say in the matter. I see from reading Atrios, Digby and Boehlert that, all’n all, given the whole election enchilada, our little journalism darlings have not performed so badly this cycle. Likely because Republicans are so virulently loathed by the public right now, yes, but still, I would have to reluctantly agree, not so bad, sort of.
 To watch television journalism is to instantly and tragically accept the framing and agenda of the presentation of facts as the corporate journalist gels it, which in the American corporate model is not, obviously, dedicated to the truth or anything close to what an average citizen would consider “best for the country.” Corporate American journalism coddles and enables wealthy elites, the conclusion is irrefutable.
Furthermore, the blithe acceptance of imagery on the human consciousness by average television journalism viewers is simply astounding. Truth is very rarely fully exposed in just the act of seeing imagery (facts are, yes), and the ability of the human eye and mind to fool itself is legendary. Imagery, as well all painfully know, is also a brutally effective lever to manipulate humans. Often these mechanisms on the mind are very subtle and poorly understood.