Tuesday, June 7

Why journalism sucks in '96. (And '05.)

It's getting hotter, it's our burning love. And I just. Can't. Seem. To. Get. Enough. Of bullshit celebrity gossip!

Actually, this item, brought to my attention by the great Riley McCarthy, is pretty cool, and not just because it involves my future ex-wife Angelina Jolie (whose birthday, like mine, was celebrated this past Saturday, and that reminds me, none of you got me any of the gifts I'd asked for a few weeks ago, you dicks!). As much as I hate to sympathize too much with any Hollywood figure who complains about getting too much attention -- you became a superstar actor/actress and now people want to take your picture? The horror! -- I have to admit I was cheering Angelina on when she let loose with this:

Angelina Jolie went on the attack during a taped interview with US TV breakfast show host Ann Curry yesterday, when the Today presenter quizzed the actress about her romance with Brad Pitt. The movie star, who has since slapped a ban on reporters asking about the alleged love affair, was upset to see Curry had brought a copy of Us Weekly magazine, featuring her Kenyan beach stroll with Pitt and her son Maddox, to the interview. Curry waved the showbiz magazine in front of Jolie and sympathetically offered, "This is insane," which angered the actress. She spat back, "You bought it, you're holding it . . . The fact is it's part of your program. It's something that we're talking about still."

This kind of copout strategy is one of the reasons I'm so fuckin' sick to death of the media these days. A bullshit tabloid-sensational non-story will pop up, like the Jolie-Pitt relationship or the runaway bride or pretty much anything relating to Michael Jackson, and the mainstream media know it's bullshit and really not worth anyone's time, especially when people are getting blown up in Iraq and there's a potentially game-changing filibuster controversy here at home, but gosh darn it, they still get that little orgasmic ping every time someone says "Angelina Jolie" or "Michael Jackson's member," and relevance be damned, they still want to cover that non-story so bad! -- so they have to find a way to cover it without really covering it. So they whip out a copy of the Enquirer or People or Us or whichever pseudojournalistic rag has bothered to dive in head-first and cover the non-story already, they make it sound like only these pseudojournalists are covering the story, and then hold it up so they can shake their heads and say, "Tsk-tsk, doesn't this make you sick?" They're not covering the story, see, they're covering the fact that other people are covering it and how that heralds the decline of Western civilization!

Ann Curry, you seem like a nice gal and I've never had any beef with you before, but if that magazine photo of Angelina and Brad is so "insane," why would you hold it up on your national freakin' network TV show? Are you honestly dumb enough to believe you can still distance yourself from that tabloid rag when you've done something like that? This kind of copout attempt to have one's journalistically ethical cake and eat it too is bullshit whether it's NBC, Fox News or whoever, and while Angelina Jolie probably could have chosen better strategies than to get all loved up with a still-legally-married Brad Pitt if she didn't want her name in the papers, I still give her big ups for calling NBC on their bullshit effort to leap into the journalistic muck while simultaneously trying to act like they're above it.

Sometimes, of course, this cop-out goes in a different direction, as Digby at Hullabaloo pointed out a couple weeks ago. Remember the Downing Street Memo that surfaced last month, the one that laid out in no uncertain terms how nobody in either the American or British governments actually believed Iraq was a serious security threat but concocted some half-baked intelligence to support a war against them anyway? You don't? Don't feel bad -- that's probably because nobody in the so-called liberal media here in the U.S. has bothered to cover it, apparently not wanting to give up their warm, cozy naptime nook inside Dubya's rectum. Yet as Digby showed us, Fox News, rather than doing any investigative journalism into the memo itself, ran a story on how everybody was ignoring the story. Is this trip through the rabbit hole making you feel a little light-headed yet?

When I graduated from college, I was an actual journalist working for an actual newspaper, and in the six years since then, I've become what basically amounts to a PR person for a major institution here in Alabama. There used to be a time when I'd occasionally feel a little bit bad about that. But it didn't take long before I stopped caring after all, because PR people, love 'em or hate 'em, have a job assignment and they freaking do it. Journalists, on the other hand, have a job assignment -- reporting the truth and informing the public about the important events of the day -- and basically go into the office every day trying to figure out how not to do that. Look at how Ann Coulter Fan Club President-Elect John Cloud, in the course of his nine-page blowjob piece on Ann Coulter, shrugged and said he couldn't "find many outright Coulter errors" when a mountain of errors could've been found with a measly five minutes of Googling. See how the American media has looked the other way and whistled "Dixie" as the military confirmed that Korans were desecrated at Guantanamo Bay -- mere weeks after Newsweek was raked over Donald Rumsfeld's Weber grill for reporting virtually the same stuff, which was supposedly such a lie back when they said it.

Other than insurance companies, who happily take your money every month and spend the rest of their time trying to figure out how they can keep from giving that money back to you when you really need it, I can't think of a single industry that spends so much time and effort trying to avoid doing the job they promised us they would do. Sometimes even when they're covering a story, the mainstream media go out of their way to act like they're not covering it.

So anyway, Angelina, darling, I'm totally in your corner on this one. And if you'd just quit spending all your time with that Pitt character, we could sit down someplace quiet and have a nice long conversation about it.


Anonymous said...

Ahhh, yes. It was only a matter of time before you all broached the infamous Downing Street Memo. The reason no one is covering it is because the liberal media in the UK unsuccessfully attempted to unseat Blair with it. The new strategy here is to resurrect the Abu Grhaib and Gitmo issues. More leftist orgs can get involved in the action.

Question. How in the hell are you going to win in '06 and '08 with Dean at the helm and Hillary falling off the centrist wagon and spewing her partisan venom? Please, at least give us a reasonable option. We don't need more buffoons and hate mongers to choose from.

Anonymous said...

I can only say that I am glad Curry brought up the Pitt/Jolie romance. I was tired of my good name being drug thru the sad Pitt/Aniston divorce. While I feel bad for Miss Jolie, I confess it is a relief to have the heat taken off me for awhile.

This post has at least as much to do with reality as anything Morty wrote above by the way....

Anonymous said...

By the way Morty, Blair is labour party,,, that means liberal. So the attempted unseating was by the CONSERVATIVES. Just thought you might like that brought to your attention, in case you ever decide to get off the pipe and ground your opinions in something other than the oxyfied ravings of the right wing.

Anonymous said...

Doug, Take a breath. Glad your back. Interested in some travel stories beyond your luggage mishaps. Still have your game though weaving a Jolie/Media story into an Ann Coulter/Fox news/Bush Admin bash. Must be a little rusty though if you couldn't work Bill O. in here somewhere.

Bill, Britney? Angelina? Not Jennifer? The hearts you must be breaking or should be! If only you paid your fair share in taxes, we'd all love you.

Anonymous said...

...and Morty has been dying for one of you to bring up the "Downing Street Memo". Doug, are you getting soft and tossing out bones?

Anonymous said...

Steve, I can assure you I pay my fair share of taxes.

And you left off Jessica.

Astronaut Mike Dexter said...

You ungrateful fucks. Here I am, going off on this long ranty post about how bad the media -- the horrible godawful leftist liberal media! -- sucks, and you're still bitching about it!

I have concluded that there is just no pleasing the right wing. For a party that controls the White House, the Supreme Court, and both houses of Congress, y'all sure are some whiny sons of bitches.

Anonymous said...

Well, I for one wasn't bitching, merely showing admiration, and pointing out that you managed to trash the liberal media for not trashing the right with sufficient ardor.

Regardless, you are correct. We are ungrateful, whiny sons of bitch fucks, but you already knew that.

Anonymous said...

Doug...and Bill. I try not to be left or right but since I am a stark raving capitalist and you lefties embrace socialism, I tend to tilt to the right. That said, you are right, Doug. We are ungrateful. So let me right (no pun intended) that wrong and thank you for you refreshing criticism of pop journalism. I don't consider the Today crowd to be journalists. They are entertainers. Just like Dan Rather, Peter Jennings and Brian Williams.
I am still curious about what you lefties are going to do about the next elections. Are we going to be left with a choice between two boobs, again? Yes, just like the last few times. I fear the with Dean and Hillary your are going to repeat your mistakes of the past.

PS Bill, I know Blair labour. You missed the point.....again.

Anonymous said...

Deanism of the day:
"The republican party is the white christian party."
(Ken Mehlman, the RNC chairman, is Jewish)
How are you dems gonna win with this "wingnut?"

Anonymous said...

Bushism of the day

"Facts were being fixed around policy"

(There were no weapons of mass destruction)

How can you Repub's sleep at night with these liars in office?