Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Media Injustice

I've been following the MSM and blogosphere coverage of the Annie Le murder. If you haven't been, the short story is that Annie Le, a Yale University grad student went from missing to dead over the course of a few days. They found her body in the wall of the University lab she'd been working in on the day she was supposed to get married. In a word: Awful. But there's something else that's awful that isn't getting any media coverage that I've come across.

Anyone remember Richard Jewell? He was the 1996 Summer Olympic Games security officer who's name and photo were dragged through the mud by the media before he was convicted of having anything to do with the bombing. As far as I know, Jewell unsuccessfully sued for slander, libel and defamation. The courts ruled that Jewell had to prove actual malice on the part of the media defendants which, naturally, he was unable to do. So you have a man who had to suffer the scarlet letter consequence of being convicted of a crime on TV and the national newspapers but had no recourse.

Now I don't know whether the Yale lab tech who was picked up last night killed Annie Le. For the purposes of this blog post it doesn't really matter. What matters is that by this morning I had seen his name and likeness sprawled all over the MSM -- BEFORE the AP released a statement saying that the suspect has now been released and the police no longer believe he's their man.

Talk about civil injustice. Where are his rights? Do suspects in high profile cases have any? What are they entitled to? Glenn Greenwald...Andrew Sullivan? Anyone?

I hear crickets chirping.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Frame Game

Nevermind that Medicare will be bankrupt in a decade. Nevermind that more than 60% of personal bankruptcies in America are a result of unaffordable medical expenses for people who actually HAVE decent coverage. Nevermind our appalling rates of infant mortality.

These Progressive arguments are plainly ineffective when you are dealing with a sizable portion of the population who thrive on fear and hatred. They want Obama to fail, at any cost.
We finally have an intelligent person in the White House yet he's been unable to separate himself from special interest groups or prove to his base that he's going to deliver on his campaign promises and implement REAL change. Sadly, as of this posting Obama's base has done little to stand down the belligerent, inflammatory, wildly misinformed crowds that heckle our Congressional leaders. We hurl snark at them in Facebook groups and chortle in tweets at how ignorant their assertions are.

But, riddle me this: If they are so ridiculous why are they winning? They have succeeded in making any true health care reform unlikely and unless Obama can pull his shit together last minute and somehow pen a speech to end all speeches come next week - he's going down with the rest of the Dems.

The Framing is the Name of the Game.

Despite all of his genius rhetorical skills Obama exhibited during the election -- as well as having what appeared to be a politically-savvy team behind him to rebuke the feeble attempts of the smarmy GOP to re-ignite their flailing party -- this administration has failed to bring about any significant change in the first, arguably most important, few months of being at the mantle. This is when the so-called political capital is at its height and it could be squandered in a month's time.

The Right has been able to create a solid front and frame their protests to smack down any facts before they take flight. Sure, we've been solid at condescending. Remember those Teabaggers?! What a bunch of asshats from West Bumblefuck!

But hear this -- we are the foolish. The joke is on us.

They clamored for media attention. They played into America's fascination with train wrecks. And people took note. Americans who don't know that their own beloved free insurance is federally operated flocked to town halls to demand that the government stay away from our health care. This is who we are dealing with.

Obama and his crew used numbers and statistics to appeal to Americans. But Americans don't give a flying fuck about statistics. They want grizzly photos. This is why so many good Christians send money to those poor African children Sally Struthers hawks on informercials. The pictures! The flies swarming their cherub faces.
They want sappy stories thrown in their faces about how their neighbors are going broke because they can't pay their medical bills. They want feverish hyperbole about how our sub par health care makes us a laughing stock in other countries.

Watered down. Trigger. These are not terms we want to hear at this late stage of the game. We want it all and we want it framed in a way that magnifies the importance of getting this bill perfected NOW. Enough of the kowtowing to those in office who clearly don't want to negotiate. Enough of the town hall meetings that have only emboldened the berserkers.

All eyes on next Wednesday. Obama, may the force be with you.