Thursday, February 22, 2007

turds in place of a rose

at 86 years of age, helen thomas is a living legend. bane of presidents and other fools, she has been in the front row of the white house briefing room since kennedy's presidency. with the redesign of the media room, it appears that helen is going to lose her seat to cable. considering what passes for journalism these days, i suppose it's only fitting that the front row adds some fluffers and light weights to the ranks. gannon is gone but he's not forgotten.

fox and cnn are campaigning to move up front, feeling that the extra leg room will burnish their prestige. after all, ad sales indicate that they have what has come to represent gravitas, revenue. under a regime that has pounded words like tradition and values into a meaningless paste, you can't be too surprised. helen thomas has been in the front row not simply because of seniority but because of merit. the deference and respect she is accorded by her peers and by successive administrations has been well earned. she isn't just the beloved senior scribe, she's the last true voice of the fourth estate in the room.

helen thomas has never shied away from asking the difficult questions and pursuing press secretaries for answers. in a time of war, with an administration mired in corruption, profiteering, war crimes and torture while staging a full scale assault on the constitution, her leadership is more important than ever. she is the last wolf in room full of sheep. in a recent press event, tony snow and a few others of the self-congratulatory set whined about the bloggers, those wannabe pretenders. david gregory, he of the occasional spine, and a few others puffed up their chests to demean emerging media. as i'm sure the old farts of the news rooms sneared at radio and then at television.

what they are failing to grasp is that, like helen thomas, the blogs are willing to ask the more challenging questions and fight for answers. sure, the blogosphere is a partisan pit of delusions, agendas and basement dwellers but i defy the traditional media to best the coverage that the plame, libby, shooter affair has received at firedog lake. hell, during the libby trial the firedogs were in the courthouse with full accreditation, live blogging the proceedings. they have become a principal source for the very same mainstream media that poo-poos the blogs.

granted, few blogs have the skills and expertise amassed at firedog lake. but then, how many papers, beyond the big nationals, can arrange full-time analysis by a team of former prosecutors, defense attorneys, psychologists and lay experts? to be sure, blogs are generally partisan. two words: fox news. at a recent press event starring president swagger britches, the white house press played patty cake until one brave soul asked a legitimate question and followed up. he was given the bush treatment, mockery and snot. how did the noble beltway fawns react? they chuckled along with his imperial shrubness. the questions died of neglect. the modern press, exposed as access whoring shills by the testimony of russert in the libby trial, have betrayed the example of courage set by helen thomas. they have failed their profession and most notably their public duty, to demand answers from the political establishment.


my output will be limited over the next week as i have picked up a gig scripting a music video. more on that later.


Ti-Guy said...

The change I'd like to see in the Washington press corps is in dress code. They should all be forced to wear big powdered wigs to complement the fawning and fopping and groveling. That would get me to pay attention.

Lindsay Stewart said...

ti i'll give you the elizabethan look on mondays, wednesdays and thursdays. tuesdays i'm thinking leather bar. with special guest, geraldo rivera and his real moustache. we'll call it reach around tuesday. that's when the press all, um, pat each other on the to speak. and of course friday is garbage day, when all those pesky stories get dropped, like the proverbial kids at the pool. so friday is obviously clad in golf attire , ski apparel or expedition wear with pith helmet and mosqutoe netting.

now the press corps aren't just stenographers. no. sometimes that have to ask what to write down. when that happens, there are three options. if the questioner throws butterflies at tony fox, he or she has to don the bo peep bonnet. but when someone decides to grow hind legs and do their job, they get to wear the pirate tricorn hat and brandish a real cutlass. if the questions are pointed, persistent and awaken the somnolents, the pirate becomes a gladiator, with spear and net.

in keeping with the solemnity and dignity of the room, tony snow will continue to sport his doobie brothers concert t-shirts, tucked into no-name blue jeans and a nasa approved adult diaper.

of course there are occasions when the decider in chief shall deign to babble at the gaggle. during these visits members of the press will array themselves in gorilla suits, as per protocol.

Rev.Paperboy said...

Hell, at 40 I may not quite qualify as an "old fart" but I am in a newsroom and I still sneer at Teevee Nooze -- watch FOX or CNN for more than 30 minutes and give me one, just one, reason not to sneer at it.