Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
If we learned anything this week, it is that the corporate media is completely useless. It no longer serves its traditional role as "gatekeeper" of what is deemed newsworthy.
Case in point, TeaNN (formerly known as CNN) contributor and Democratic strategist Hillary Rosen appeared on TeaNN's Anderson Cooper 360 and said that "Ann Romney had not worked a day in her life" (she meant to say Ann Romney had never been employed a day in her her life). A faux pas that the Romney campaign and RNC jumped on in an attempt to revive the culture warriors' "mommy wars" from a couple of decades ago. I expect the Romney campaign and the RNC to manufacture controversy, it is what they do.
But what was entirely unacceptable is how the supposedly professional corporate media villagers pounced on this manufactured controversy like a hungry lion on a fresh kill. Media villagers were visibly salivating over this manufactured controversy. It exposed the media villagers for what they are: provocateurs of manufactured controversy with which to fill hours of air time with endless talk.
All of the corporate media engaged in this fake controversy, but the worst offender by far was TeaNN. This was their paid contributor who made a mistake and was criticized immediately for it. TeaNN gas bag Wolf Blitzer got all high and mighty on his Situation Room with Ms. Rosen and she apologized to Ann Romney. Rosen apologizes for Ann Romney comments.
Then TeaNN gas bag John King had the Obama campaign's David Axelrod on for an interview during his segment, and tried to infer that this CNN contributor works for the Obama campaign. David Axelrod To CNN’s John King: Hilary Rosen Is Your Employee, Not Ours - Mediaite:
Chief Obama strategist David Axelrod spoke with CNN’s John King Thursday and distanced the campaign from Hilary Rosen‘s controversial comments that Ann Romney had not worked a day in her life. “She actually is your employee, not ours,” Axelrod told King. “She works for CNN. I think CNN would not allow her to be an operative for our campaign.”
King asked Axelrod why Rosen’s comments were such a big deal that Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and multiple other campaign operatives had to condemn it.
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“I think we have an obligation in politics and public life, when someone, even friends, say things that are inappropriate to say so. In certain ways, when your friends say it, there is more of an obligation to do so. I think that’s true on both sides. I’ve been disappointed on the other side of the aisle just recently when Governor Romney and others were not willing to stand up and denounce speech they felt that most people would call inappropriate. I thought we had an obligation to speak and speak very, very quickly to make clear that this didn’t reflect our point of view and that we thought Hilary should apologize. She did do that. The other thing that we should clear up is that she actually is your employee, not ours. She works for CNN. I think CNN would not allow her to be an operative for our campaign. She is not. She never has been. She is a supporter of the President. The Romney campaign has throughout the day portrayed her as an advisor to the president. That’s simply not true.”
As Greg Sargent writes at the Plum Line, The Hilary Rosen “controversy” is absurd:
The Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee are attacking President Obama over the fact that Dem strategist and CNN contributor Hilary Rosen said that Ann Romney “hasn’t worked a day in her life.”
Romney campaign officials are claiming that an “Obama adviser” has demeaned stay at home moms, and they — along with the Republican National Committee — are also tying Rosen to the Democratic National Committee.
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[T]he real question is: Does Rosen work for the Obama campaign or the Democratic National Committee, or not?
The answer is, “not.”
A spokesperson for CNN tells me that contributors are not allowed to function as paid advisers to any campaigns or party committees. The CNN spokesperson emails:
Hilary Rosen, like all CNN contributors, is not a paid advisor to any political party or presidential campaign.
Some on the right are pointing out that Anita Dunn, another official at Hilary Rosen’s firm, SKD Knickerbocker, is an adviser to the DNC. And that’s true. But SKD also confirms that Rosen is not an adviser to the DNC or the Obama campaign. That’s two parties confirming this: CNN, and Rosen’s firm.
Now, presumably some on the right will argue that Rosen may be an unpaid adviser to Obama and/or Dems. But that doesn’t even appear to be the case, and at any rate, anyone being honest about this will tell you that in this town, the category of “unpaid adviser” is borderline meaningless.
Besides, do the Romney people or the RNC really want to lower the bar that far?
This is "Six degrees of Kevin Bacon" kind of stuff. Apparently if any Democrat anywhere says something, then because they are a Democrat it is attributable to President Obama. This is "Obama Derangement Syndrome" taken to extremes.
Steve Benen sees the media villagers desperately seeking their "false equivalency" again. Taking the false-equivalence fallacy to the extreme:
One of my colleagues here at The Rachel Maddow Show reminded me this afternoon of comments President Obama made to the Associated Press last week about the false-equivalence fallacy. Obama said, "I think that there is often times the impulse to suggest that if the two parties are disagreeing, then they're equally at fault and the truth lies somewhere in the middle, and an equivalence is presented -- which reinforces I think people's cynicism about Washington generally."
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What much of the political world seems to be saying today is that the "war on women" now has two competing counterweights.
On the one hand, we have a party that has pushed for restricting contraception; cutting off Planned Parenthood; state-mandated, medically-unnecessary transvaginal ultrasounds; forcing physicians to lie to patients about abortion and breast cancer; abortion taxes; abortion waiting periods; trap laws at abortion clinics, forcing women to tell their employers why they want birth control, opposition to prenatal care, and measures that make it harder for women to fight pay discrimination.
On the other hand, we have a media pundit with no connection to her party's presidential campaign who said something about Mitt Romney's wife professional background.
Don't you see? Both sides clearly have a problem here. Republicans were losing the "war on women," but not anymore.
Let's pause to appreciate the differences between policy and politics. A public policy offensive involving women's health, waged at the local, state, and federal level is a serious development, worthy of scrutiny. It affects people in direct and personal ways.
This is not to say rhetoric is irrelevant -- I'd be the first to argue that Rush Limbaugh's multi-day tirades targeting Sandra Fluke mattered -- but to obscure the differences a national policy initiative and a 30-second soundbite on CNN, which the pundit has since apologized for, is take the false-equivalence fallacy to depths that simply aren't healthy for our public discourse.
UPDATE: James Downie at The Washington Post on Romney vs. Rosen:
To tie so many talking heads who appear on cable every day to either campaign is a preposterous exercise, and a standard neither side of the political debate should want. If the Obama camp is responsible for Rosen, is Romney responsible for GOP Rep. Allen West’s outrageous accusation that 80 Democrats are communists? Is he responsible for Sherriff Joe Arapaio (Romney’s ’08 Arizona campaign chairman) and his birther conspiracy theories? Absolutely not. If that were the standard, the campaign would just be day after day of candidates disavowing random pundits and supporters’ comments. That Republicans feel they have to stoop to this suggests a real desperation. Let’s not let this become the new normal.