Time for a Different Kind of “Game Change”

by A. Jay Adler on March 12, 2012
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Sometimes, often, watching the Sunday Morning news programs  (like any other of their kind) can cause near combustion in one’s cranium. The sheer hackneyed handicapping of “the game,” the crony punditry and homogenized thinking are mental toxins. Here is George Stephanopoulos leading and permitting this palaverous exchange about HBO’s film version of Game Change. Keep in mind that Nicole “true enough to make me squirm” Wallace could not bring herself, in the end, to vote for her own candidate because of her understanding – better than that of anyone but Steve Schmidt – of what Sarah Palin was.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, the Palin campaign didn’t like it. How true to life?

WALLACE: Well, true enough to make me squirm. But, you know, look, this isn’t a movie about campaign staff, and this isn’t even really a movie about McCain and Palin. This is a movie about the vast gray area in which 99 percent of our politics actually takes place. And I think that what gets boiled down or sometimes the fights or the instant analysis or the black and white, who’s up and who’s down.

But the truth is — and I think everyone around this table has had some experience in their political careers — where you’re just feeling your way through a very gray area and you’re doing your best. And this campaign was certainly one of those instances for me.

STEPHANOPOULOS: No question. And, you know, there has been a bit of a backlash, Mary, but there are a lot of points in that movie that’s very sympathetic to Sarah Palin.

MATALIN: Mark Halperin, who’s the co-author of the book, but — came down to teach James’ class in Tulane and said it was not in total, but large sympathetic. The movie is not that. A lifelong Democrat called me and said “Game Change” is a channel change for me. So it’s not RJ Cutler, Pennebaker, “The War Room” or “A Perfect Candidate.” It’s just a fictional movie. And to that end, it’s meaningless, other than I like your hair in the movie, Nicolle.

(LAUGHTER)

STEPHANOPOULOS: We’re going to — that’s all we have time for. Thanks a lot, guys. We’ll be right back.

Now, Wallace, with Mary Matalin, is back to being a political hack – defined by just the kind of disingenuous nonsense Wallace uttered above – so even her own crucible of conscience gets run through the grinder that turns prime rib into a turkey dog. And Stephanopoulis allows it.

this isn’t even really a movie about McCain and Palin. This is a movie about the vast gray area in which 99 percent of our politics actually takes place.

….

But the truth is — and I think everyone around this table has had some experience in their political careers — where you’re just feeling your way through a very gray area and you’re doing your best. And this campaign was certainly one of those instances for me.

It is a movie about McCain and Palin. Everyone was not doing their best – the McCain campaign did its worst, or close enough. Sarah Palin, candidate for a Jay Leno “Jay Walking” skit, was a toxic mix of egocentric arrogance and ignorance so great as to lack even the self-awareness to recognize her own absurd unsuitability for the job she was offered.  Her selection as a major party candidate for Vice President is very arguably the single most irresponsible act ever committed by a President or candidate for President of the United States. But Stephanopoulos continues,

And, you know, there has been a bit of a backlash, Mary, but there are a lot of points in that movie that’s very sympathetic to Sarah Palin.

This gives Matalan the opportunity to dismiss a historic truth with this:

It’s just a fictional movie. And to that end, it’s meaningless, other than I like your hair in the movie, Nicolle.

Fade to commercial break with laughter, with no questioning of what is fictional or why as a matter of social and political history there should be any sympathy for Sarah Palin. Is this that empty, uncritical notion of  journalistic objectivity that provides equal time to fact and its falsification?

What a waste of air time these shows have become.
AJA

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2 comments

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

ann sutherland March 12, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Thanks for the debriefing. Definitely disingenuous chatty parley going on at This Week. I’d like to chime in on your observation on the “uncritical notion of journalistic objectivity that provides equal time to fact and its falsification?” While I am glad there is certainly an array of means to express subjective-based news information in this country (almost overwhelming if you own cable) This Week and it’s panel is typical vacant, corporate news schmoozing. The let’s-try-and-get-along- round-table- for ratings format is quite common, and so for that, I haven’t expected a truly decent critical objective Q&A from regular corporate television broadcasting networks or cable. What I do want and should be available to find are many programs that use a more ‘objective’ format which provide that actual “equal time to fact and its falsification.” I’d like to stand up for programming that exists like this, that many people forget about or are ignorant of. I find that Newshour PBS delivers an ‘objective’ yet critical Q&A format with multi-perspectives. I also find NPR to be another mostly non-biased format that does the same. Most people I talk to about this are confused when I say that I find it crucial to have such formats in the age of “I’m sorry, I don’t know what you are talking about; I get my facts from only my political news source.” As we know, both politically biased, subjective news formats and objective news formats/sources can be bad apples. You have mentioned This Week with George Stephanopoulos as a bad example of the supposed objective format, and we do not need to look much further than Fox “news” for the subjective and biased format. There is nothing more subjective than that piece-of-crap ‘news’ network.

I feel that too often the general population isn’t being educated enough in the way that is also very important for news dissemination. We should have more places where one can go to be free of instant bias– left or right. Places where general news information is delivered, and then a few guests debate their “sides” of the issues and the audience s forced to see those different sides, angles. Don’t get me wrong here, I love reading and seeing other peoples opinions and editorials and I fill my mind up with that on twitter, fb and so on, but I also need a format that allows me to be able to think for myself and come up with my own interpretation on what the most truth is; piecemeal. Yes, I feel that even if it is my side (the left) I need to look outside of that here and there. If we think about it, ever since Fox “news” came about, what conservative feels they need to find any other news source, especially when they won’t go to MSNBC? Yes, fractured subjective news has it’s pros, but obviously it has it’s cons too. ;(

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A. Jay Adler March 13, 2012 at 12:53 am

Ann, I quite agree with what you say, so let me be clear that the sentence you quote was not meant to endorse partisan advocacy, however reasonably offered – and most is not – as the reportorial ideal. But I opposed fact to falsification, specifically, on purpose. While even the latter may be news that requires, by that virtue alone, reporting on, “reporting” is not identical to representing as equal. While many divergent opinions on many matters present reasoned and reasonable alternatives in analysis, there are, indeed, matters of fact in the world, already established truths,and previously disproved claims. It is not the task of objective reporting – it is not objective – to ignore established knowledge; it is not partisan subjectivity to identify falsity or to expose manifest unreason.

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