Friday, October 29, 2010

Screw the Messenger

I haven't turned on the TV yet this morning or scanned the newspapers, but I'm going to make an assumption that I wish weren't true but I just know damn well is: Every major news outlet in the country is running with the Christine O'Donnell one-night-stand story.

Only they're not focusing on the supposed drunken and unsuccessful sex act, since that would be beneath them; instead they're pegging their coverage off of the controversy and outrage that Gawker has spawned by posting the allegation. In other words, they're pulling an end-run and doing a story based on a specious and prurient claim -- one paid for by a media outlet with zero journalistic standards -- while piously pretending that they're simply doing a story about the story. As if somehow when they ask the question "Did Gawker Go Too Far in Smearing Christine O'Donnell?" they're not wallowing in the same pig sty Nick Denton and Co. did by running with the damn thing in the first place.

The anonymous O'Donnell sex story -- something which would never in a million years have been touched by a reputable entity like NBC, CNN or the New York Times -- will now be on NBC and CNN and in the New York Times under the guise of the necessity of covering the piece's fallout. Once again, as if you can do the story without mentioning "the story."

Remember a couple of weeks back when I linked to a terrific David Carr column dissecting what I called "ethical rendition" on the part of the mainstream media? Well I have a feeling you're about to witness it in it's purest, most repugnant form.


Anonymous said...

The funniest shit I have read in quite a while is:

"reputable entity like NBC, CNN or the New York Times"

Have you WATCHED CNN lately? reputable entity does NOT belong in front of that! Last night on 360 they spent 40 minutes of the show on that Facebook rant which is a non issue as far as I'm concerned. The guy is an idiot but it is not worthy of 40 minutes of national news time. And I don't really see any difference between the bully they are ranting against and the bullying that CNN has done while Jon Klein was at the helm or the bullying Anderson does against his interview subject sometimes. Apparently 360 has Jon Klein's 'imprint' on it and it shows in the lack of ratings and the sucky content (and the miserable look on ac's face).

I wish they would just go back to doing the news and even occasionally include some international news which they never cover anymore.

Megan said...

It's not even a sex story. It is boring, insulting, and sexist.

And I say this as a person who would never, ever vote for a nitwit like O'Donnell. If Rove was more supportive of her, I'd suspect this was one of his dirty tricks to get people to vote for her out of sympathy.

Chez said...

Anon, "reputable" these days is all relative. Maybe I should've put the word "nominally" or "ostensibly" in front of it, but compared to Gawker -- especially considering what Denton's minions just did -- NBC looks like the fucking Jim Lehrer News Hour or Frontline

Alanna said...

It's pretty reprehensible. And it's not even news? Drunk woman almost has sex with man? That was my college career.

Capt Clown said...

Eh... YOU'RE managing to mention it by commenting on the coverage of the controversy.

Damn it... I'M covering it by commenting about your post about the coverage of the controversy!

Whatever you do, do NOT comment about my comment about your post about the coverage of the controversy.

I do not like green eggs and ham.

Chez said...

True. But you think this is a respectable news outlet?

Eric said...

True. But you think this is a respectable news outlet?

Careful with that. Just like the Great Rightward Migration has turned conservative centrists into "socialists," the drift of the mainstream media into batshit in(s)anity will one day make you the Walter Cronkite of the New World Order, Chez.

One day--it might be next year, or five years from now, or ten--you will turn on The Daily Show and Jon Stewart (or his replacement, if Stewart has migrated to MSNBC by then) will be interviewing some high school dropout from New Jersey whose claim to fame is that he has a reality show documenting his pregnancy with quintuplets who are already contracted to eventually compete against one another for a career as a professional pop singer, and you will know. Your time will have come. You will realize that Deus Ex Malcontent has become one of the most-revered news aggregators and opinion-setting blogs on the Internet. And on that evening, you will weep for your entire species, and the culture your daughter will be growing up in.

Thomas B said...

I don't think the whole brouhaha has anything to do with O'Donnell "jumping into bed naked with somebody" - that's not the story. Gawker was totally in the right to publish that because O'Donnell is running for the Senate, and this behaviour of hers is in direct opposition to her public persona. She would make it her duty to deny millions the right to do just that, if she could. So the story isn't "Isn't she a slut?". The story is, "Look at this fucking hypocrite - telling us not to have sexual or deviant thoughts when she's doing just that." Chez, I think your disapproval of Gawker's story is disingenuous. You know exactly what the story was supposed to be about - I think Gawker did a great thing, that the "reputable" news people are too pussy to get into. IE, report on hypocrisy, especially right-wing Christian sluts - er, I mean Senate candidates.

Eric said...

O'Donnell is running for the Senate, and this behaviour of hers is in direct opposition to her public persona.

It would be if anyone really gave her public persona that much credit. I liked Chez's comment somewhere around here about anybody as opposed to masturbation as O'Donnell has claimed to be is a "ticking sexual time bomb."

Indeed, I was under the impression that a big part of the reason everyone was laughing at her masturbation crusade in the first place was that it was self-evident she was a hypocrite, or insanely repressed, or both.

So I don't think the "this is relevant because she's a hypocrite" bit works for O'Donnell. Anyone who hadn't already concluded she had, as they say, "issues" probably isn't going to be shocked into voting against her now. As for everybody else who noticed the obvious, the story should take O'Donnell from the funny into the sad: this should have been her "I'm You" ad--that several years ago on a holiday where everybody uses disguises as an excuse or opportunity to cut loose a little, she was drunk and horny (and probably a little depressed), and she tried to hook up with somebody who turned out to be a total shit in the morning (and three years later). Ironically and sadly, it's the most humanizing thing to happen to her so far in the campaign; just a shame it had to be this.

Gawker had a right to publish it, it doesn't change the fact they acted like dicks in doing so, nor the fact the author of the piece is a douchebag.


Oh, and calling someone a "slut" because they attempted an ill-advised drunken hookup one Halloween? Niiiiiiiice. I guess I'm one of those aging, old-fashioned guys who thinks the sexual revolution was supposed to be at least partly about women being able to have sex without having to either get married or risk being labeled. When you get down to it, calling someone who has sex (or tries to) outside of the context of marriage a "slut" is really such a conservative Christian thing to do, don't'cha think?