Thursday, April 17, 2008

Why We Boo

[Cross-posted at Firedoglake.]

It’s been building over the past couple of months, as we waded through endless cable talk shows about Obama’s "pastor problem" and his "bitter" remarks and Hillary’s Kosovo claims. Gradually, it’s become clear to just about everyone that the American media aren’t informing them or helping to sort through difficult issues in the course of this presidential campaign, and are instead focusing on the trivial, the silly, the truly insignificant, as though these kinds of effluvia constitute the reasons why we vote.

And we’ve had enough.

This trivialization of American political discourse reached a real nadir last night with ABC’s handling of the Democratic presidential debate. The gossipy, absurd nature of the questions in the first hour were so obvious that the audience reacted loudly — not to the candidates themselves, but to the questioners.

That booing you heard last night, ABC? It was for you.

Bad enough that the questions were trivial — even more notable was that it seemed as though they had been concocted by right-wing talk-show hosts, since they all were built out of right-wing talking points. And well, whaddya know?
Hannity asked George what kinds of questions they’ll be asking at the debate tomorrow and they discussed a few things. When Hannity asked about the first question below about Ayers and whether George had plans to ask such a question, George replied, "Well, I’m taking notes now Sean." It did actually sound like he was pausing to take notes.
There’s no small irony in Sean Hannity demanding to know about Obama’s supposed unsavory connections to people who once were radical terrorists. Sean Hannity, the onetime friend of Hal Turner.

Turner, you’ll recall, has made something of an ugly name for himself in recent years with his frequent calls for the assassination of various figures, including judges overseeing the cases of white supremacists and various members of Congress. Max Blumenthal has all the details. And of course, it’s always fun to watch Hannity lie and scramble for cover whenever Turner’s name gets brought up on his show.

But Hannity is only one of many serial prevaricators working the dark mines of TV broadcasting these days. Indeed, it’s become clear that they’re all just one big circle-jerk, handling tips from one another and passing them along like they were nectar from heaven itself.

The rest of us, however, have a decidedly different view of the proceedings. And until it improves, we’re going to keep booing.

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