Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Hangover blogging

Well, mild hangover. Actually I think it's more insufficient sleep. In any case, I believe I am coherent enough to comment.

What impresses me the most, and lets some optimism for the longer term get its nose under my tent, is that most voters repudiated the Thousand Year Reich even though the corporate media hasn't changed a bit. They still believe that balance means giving equal credence to truth and falsehood, they still go howling off in a pack after trivia, they cling fiercely to their manufactured political narratives and stereotypes, they are incapable of self-reflection and impervious to criticism, and they live in the same bubble of power, wealth and status as the political and economic elites who they write about. Cokie's lacerating pain last night was obvious, and disturbing.

But like the citizens of the Soviet Union, Americans no longer take our Pravdas at face value. It does have something to do with the new media created by your Internets, not because people get their basic information from sources outside of the corporate media but because bloggers and web projects like Media Matters have created some new accountability and broken down some of those rigid frames. It also has to do with the ineluctable force of reality. No matter what kind of balance ABC News tries to enforce between Dick Cheney's fantasies and the reality of Iraq, people know when there's a funeral in their town for a 19 year old Marine and they know what their cousin in the National Guard tells them when he finally makes it home. Whatever they may think about the right to life, they know when they don't have it because they don't have any health insurance. Whatever the business pages trumpet about the "record high"* in the Dow and low unemployment, they know when they're having a hard time putting food on their families. However much credibility the networks extend to extremists and liars like James Dobson and the Vulgar Pigboy, those guys are self-evidently repulsive. And in spite of the bizarre enthusiasm of the hand picked crowds, it's pretty obvious that George W. Bush is a halfwit.

As the newspapers continue to lose circulation and the TV news loses eyeballs, maybe they'll start to think about this: people may actually pay attention to them again if they try telling the truth.

*That was probably the most absurd spasm of pack journalism of the entire year. Stock market indices are supposed to set "record highs" every day. That's why people invest in the stock market: on the assumption that it will go up, and they'll earn a return on their investment. Actually, thanks to inflation, the Dow hasn't even come close to its highest ever value, and it's only a very small segment of the stock market anyway. The vast majority of stocks are worth less than they were in 2000, even in nominal dollars. But it would be too complicated for them to explain that.

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