Where is the mystery about Rahm stories? Mainstream media reporters hate hippie bloggers. Don’t know why. If I had to guess I would say that hippie bloggers make criticisms that cut deeper than the broad-brush personality-based drivel that right wingers typically serve up. A lot of managing editors (the guys who assign and approve stories, and who often lean Republican) want to be “more like FOX.” Bob Somerby has an Indiana Jones vault of evidence that most reporters arbitrarily split the difference between parties and cast around for excuses to punch hippies because it might blunt ‘liberal media’ criticisms (ha ha, I know, right). To some degree every case is a unique snowflake.
Newsroom staff don’t know much about policy and (like most people) almost nothing about Senate procedure but they can do personality and horserace in their sleep, and “access” is practically a currency in their world. No, scratch that last part. In DC ‘access’ is not practically a currency. It determines your status in the cocktail party hierarchy. It gives you job security. Getting a cold call from someone at Rahm’s level is like a researcher publishing in Science or Nature. After that you’re a made man. Compared with the agony of reporting health care minutiae compounded with Senate rules that even most Senators can’t reliably explain, this Rahm crap is a delicious chocolate sundae that makes you skinnier and whitens your teeth. It hardly seems like a disincentive that it also pisses off Media Matters and gives Somerby the fits.
And yet all the hippie punching in the world will never keep them from being seen as ‘The Liberal Media’. Of course, that only means they haven’t done enough hippie punching to sit at the Cool Conservative Kids’ lunchtable.
The MSM is like a gaggle of high school girls. They’re much more inclined to discuss the latest personality-based drama than discuss actual substance. “Access” is somewhat equivalent to “popularity” in high school – it’s a currency.
Given that most of the hair models that are excuses for MSM newsreaders these days are relatively attractive, they were probably also higher up on the food chain in high school. They know how to work the popularity game. They’re just doing what they know how to do.
I don’t think it has a single thing to do with hippie punching. I think it has everything to do with the media trying to poke until they find discord in the White House ranks so they can play that to the Republican benefit. It’s more media manufactured controversy and the added benefit is that they can further divide Democrats (weakening them), AND they get to pick apart the one guy who has shit on every single House member with a D behind his/her name.
The hippies are a fucking afterthought. It’s endlessly annoying that everyone thinks that this MUST be about them. It’s not about you. It’s not about hippies. It’s about building a narrative to harm Democrats. That’s what it’s ALWAYS about.
Except that it doesn’t matter whether who they punch or not are actual hippies. What matters is painting them as hippies so you have an excuse to punch them and garner cred with the Kool Kids. I don’t think you could make an argument that most of the people that get Punched like this are genuine, long bearded, patchouli-scented Hippies. That doesn’t matter, as long as you can paint them as some kind of far left un-serious miscreant and, by extension, paint their whole ideology as un-serious.
Add to the fact that the ” news readers” majored in Communications in
college, because they found the History and Political Science courses waaaaay too hard, and the circle (jerk) is complete.
I think Steve Clemons was successful in pushing this story after Luce, Gelb, and Hamsher got the ball rolling because Clemons actually made an MSNBC appearance to push a blog spot he wrote and every new story produces a new blog post by him. It would not be the first time a blog produced a news story, and since this one is so juicy…….
Clemons even has his little “Circle of Concern about Rahm..” that includes these people. His words, not mine. The purpose of the “circle” is to get Rahm fired.
This could be internal WH strife, but stuff like this is not helping.
Just Some Fuckhead
Tim, I think there’s also the income/class gap at work here. These media types nowadays don’t live in the same financial universe as the rest of us. They don’t have the same outlook, priorities or need to better the human condition. They’ve made it, the system worked for them, ergo the system works.
It’s basically a “team chemistry” or locker-room story. Is the team doing worse than expected? Maybe it’s because someone’s pouting in the locker room. Maybe the team brought in too many personalities, or too few personalities, or too many young guys who haven’t been there before.
Sportswriters like those stories because they have access to the locker room, and we don’t. Thus it validates their existence.
Sadly, it’s all readily transferable to politics.
Since when is the Huffington Post and TNR “mainstream media”?
@Just Some Fuckhead:
In other words, they’re in the Washington Bubble.
I love this blog. It makes every day sunnier and every flower more fragrant.
@Joe Vegas: I was thinking as much. Of course, the HuffPo is really just a “liberal” version of the Politico. Which is to say it’s ten parts gossip, one part politics. Tabloid news.
And Arianna needs to keep getting those invitations to the Sunday Morning Talk Shows, so she’s got to keep playing the Washington game.
I don’t think it’s as simple as the criticism from the left being more cutting. While that’s generally true, I think the rage of MSM reporters at liberals is generated by, as has been widely noted, their fear of conservative criticism, which they felt they could easily swat away by being tougher on the left. Now that the left is fighting back, they feel besieged from all sides and since conservatives hold the whip hand, they are lashing out the easier target.
I used to work in a television newsroom, and long ago lost any illusion that reporters are motivated by a concern for the truth. They are motivated by a concern for their placement in the newscast and the amount of air time they get.
What does a Chief of Staff even do?
Seems to me the root of O’s probs are turncoat Dems and obstinate Repubs. Mostly the former. Dont understand how Rahm matters.
Rahm says ‘Fuck’. No previous chief of staff ever used foul language, therefore Rahm must be destroyed.
jake the snake
As a “Communications Major” I would tend to resent that.
However, that was back in the dark ages, pre Watergate, when journalism was a respectable profession, not not a destination for failed media star wannabees.
@Punchy: His job is to help the president, frame the agenda to the media, and look asshole-ish. At least that’s what NBC told me this morning.
I think it’s really all about the media. They seem to think they are the story, with their endless jockeying for “gets” and gossip to whisper about while at cocktail parties.
Did they get enough recognition for breaking a story or creating a gotcha moment? Are their peers RTing their tweets? Did their latest interview go viral? Those are the things that matter, it seems.
It’s not about we the people. It’s not about the story. It’s not about left or right, Republican or Democrat, unless pushing one or the other serves some other purpose. It’s about them.
Bill E Pilgrim
I do hope people realize that “hippie punching” is a satirical term used by bloggers who don’t see themselves as actual hippies much at all.
People aren’t complaining about being punched, they’re complaining about being mischarecterized by people who do so to advance their
streetK Street cred, as it were.
I think Washington DC is just a very bizarre place. This massive minority population and its main newspaper is full of the worst litany of Neocons and other assorted extreme right wingers and ex-Bush staffers imaginable.
If someone like Josh Marshall is thought of as a “hippie” by people in DC, then DC is just a very, very weird and out of touch environment.
@Bill E Pilgrim:
The WaPo Hippie Punches itself. Freakin’ Fred Hiatt is seen as a lefty ideologue by his own colleagues.
That alone should be indicative of how the DC culture is.
I don’t really give a crap about Rahm Emanuel.
It seems as though a lot of the “left” who have been attacking him are using him as an excuse for their lack of paying attention to what Obama was actually saying during the campaign in 2008. They’ve convinced themselves that Obama would have instantly turned everything around by pure force of will, and executive fiat, but he’s been hypnotized by that evil svengali, Rahm.
Off thread note…
I just followed the linked advertisement on the right for the web comic The Dreamer.
Absolutely beautifully rendered comic with gorgeous detail wrt Revolutionary War period clothing, weapons and accoutrements.
Fun teenage romance, but not difficult for guys to enjoy either, I would think. You can assure your advertisers that your blog brings them business! I am a new fan of this one!
Back to your regularly scheduled Raumpocalypse thread…
The best way I can put it: DC is an insular club with rules of decorum with the haves trying to preserve their station in Beltway society. Conservatism is an insular club with rules of decorum with the haves trying to preserve their station in society.
It’s not hard to figure out why DC is wired for conservatism.
Bill E Pilgrim
@Kryptik: It’s one of the great straw men of all time, with all of the truly extreme right wingers writing columns you can still see screamers in the comments sections complaining that it’s the liberal media.
And just when you think even they must have noticed how far off the rails to the right they’ve slid, Hiatt or the ombudsman write a column about how they’ve made an editorial decision to finally include more conservative opinion.
Access is the missing key in all of this. How silly of me.
Reporters see a White House in trouble. Reporters (at the behest of their sources or not) seek to preserve their sources at all costs. If Rahm were to be chiseled loose from this White House, some would lose a most valuable source and some would get a good source placed in a most valuable position. Politicians take the opportunity to get their side of the story in first (thank you, Lindsey Graham, for whom Rahm was probably no more than a court-appointed attorney in the Obama White House), especially if it fits the narrative that the reporter wants to use to protect their source.
And the beat goes on.
ETA: For my money, the TNR article (except for the odd muscle worship part) was the most even-handed one so far.
@Bill E Pilgrim:
It’d be funny if it wasn’t so sad how influential this thought is.
I can’t honestly think of one time in recent years any news outlet, perhaps MAYBE MSNBC, saying ‘You know, we haven’t been representing left-wing and/or liberal thought very well lately, we should fix this’. And MSNBC probably cared more about the ratings Olbermann and Maddow drew in than their actual positions.
Honestly, I think a subconscious part of it is that the beltway MSM thinks that Obama is just a puppet and Rahm is pulling the strings. So the reasoning for the Rahm obsession both among the media and among the firebaggers is that it fits with their preconceived notions that “Obama is weak” and thus is controlled by the people who in fact work for him.
It all comes from their premises, which are faulty.
This is the last time I’ll post this, I promise. But in re-reading “Brave New World” last week, and reading about Huxley in general, this quote floored me:
Bill E Pilgrim
The whole “Rahm is an attack dog” is the Beltway media obsession. The controversy in the real world has nothing to do with that, it’s that progressives are all pissed off because of the courting of conservatives like Lieberman and Snowe, and others think that Rahm Emanuel and Obama are just being realistic.
Whatever opinion you may have on either side of that debate, “he’s tough” is a red herring, it’s Beltway drama queen nonsense.
@Just Some Fuckhead:
Yes. When your club is just as exclusive as Congress, everyone can just kiss your ass. Rarely do you find a humble millionaire, let alone a hard-working professional journalist.
Right. Things like closing Gitmo and re-establishing the rule of law. I must have not heard that. Neither really are in Congress’ purview. Both are vitally important. Obama caved on both, after publicly agreeing to them and lost to literally the stupidest fucking arguments I’ve ever heard — that it’s too dangerous to prosecute terrorists.
But keep thinking that “the left” wasn’t listening.
The class interests of the media industry, as per their ownership and corporate structure, do indeed filter down through hiring and management, and therefore truly liberal (god forbid left) arguments, truth-exposure, and points of view somehow become culturally distasteful.
You don’t need marching orders when you hire people who inherently prefer what you want anyway.
By the way, I think that a great deal of the focus on Rahm was the over-promotion and self-promotion of Rahm in the first place.
I’m trying to figure out what Rahm-ophelia and Rahm-ophobia has to do with hippie punching.
Seriously, when your blogging gets to the point of internal references where a month off makes a regular visitor into an alien in need of an interpretor, it’s time to start using full sentences again.
THIS. A thousand times this.
In order to succeed in the mainstream media, you must successfully navigate the corporate politics of your organization. The end result: the people who rise to the top are the people who are the most willing to bend and shape their views, ethics, beliefs, etc. to the prevailing winds created by the collective farts of upper management.
People who stir up trouble never make it to the top, because they stir up trouble.
Blogs aren’t perfect, but they operate more like a meritocracy. This is not to say they are purely a meritocracy, since there are some popular blogs out there that are popular more for lefty jingoism than analysis (*cough* Kos *cough*) or for the promise of celebrity tits next to the hard-hitting, 3rd grade English stylings of one of the Baldwins (*cough* Huffington Post *cough*), but all in all, those at the top are at the top because they are smart, not because they are best at kissing ass.
@media browski: Hey, at least our internal code makes sense once decoded. Try that with the right.
I love this post. Mostly because it takes the greatest strength of a popular blog like Kos (mainly the fact that it’s got over 100k regular users) and makes it a weakness (because some of that 100k got screws loose).
For myself, this blog won’t go over the top until it gets the like of a Mario George Nitrini posting regularly.
@El Cid: I agree, which I why I find this post so frustrating. Is Timf mad about hippie-punching? About the media and the left’s mutual (if opposite) obsession with Rahm? What do these things have to do with one another besides that hippies think Rahm uses them for punching bags?
I’m at a loss.
@media browski: I just re-read TimF’s post to make sure I didn’t gloss over some kind of self-referential blogspeak and I have to ask what exactly you are confused about?
ETA – media types have a bias, they crave access, and they are lazy.
Rahm, and stories from/about Rahm, fill all these categories.
None of this would have happened if Hillary hadn’t had the election, which was rightfully hers, stolen. YOU BOUGHT IT,NOW ITS YOURS SUCKERS.
Bot Alert/ Obama speaking on HCR at 1:45 EST, Cspan 3.
This. Damn right, this.
Look, I had no bones to pick with Rahm and can see exactly why a pol would want him as his guy to get legislation through. Though I don’t think he’s much of a pit bull, he certainly has that reputation among his colleagues and the media (raging assholes swearing at me don’t scare me, but they sure do them). So I can understand the impulse to have him on the team.
However, looking deeper into Rahm’s resume, he really has not been all that effective at anything he’s set his hand. By all accounts, it has been his influence that got the president to back off some of his agenda early on. It’s been Rahm who has been a gaffe machine (instead of Biden, who everyone assumed would fill that role). And Rahm’s so-called vaunted success as head of the DCCC was and is simply fiction. Had the Dems chosen his blueprint instead of Dr. Dean’s in 2006 and 2008, it is entirely likely we would never have had majorities in either house because I simply don’t see how it happens without the 50 state strategy.
He’s not the devil to me, like he is to the Firebaggers. He’s just another pol who talks tough and claims to have a good game. And a lot of Dems, GOPers, and media have bought into that because they are frightened children, scared to take on the neighborhood bully. But I haven’t seen any evidence of his good game, continual bullying is always a sign of weakness, and this public pissing match just proves it to me.
not completely on topic, but this.
@Jay B.: Yeah, of course, Obama would have done all of that stuff, immediately, if it wasn’t for the evil svengali, Rahm Emanuel.
I’m in lust with the Cspan 3 host.
I have what is probably a stupid question. When Rahm finally resigns, who will author the following tweet:
I really think the “liberal media” cries have even affected us. The evidence mounts that to make it to the national media, you pretty much have to be a Republican or an idiot. But I repeat myself.
And then there was that whole thing about the Senate overwhelmingly cutting off funds to transport the prisoners. even St. Russell of Wisconsin voted for that, but we’ll just ignore that since it doesn’t fit into the Rahm-hating meme.
Oh I know you’re listening, I just have no idea to what…probably Jane Hamsher talking points.
There’s plenty of moronic analysis coming from the front-pagers (especially McJoan, BarbInMD and Kos himself lately) that you don’t need to hit the Wreck List.
Though it says a lot that Markos was fine with Hamsher gaming the Wreck list with crap diaries from her paid “organizers”.
Speaking of hippie punching, who said this:
“My goal is to get attacked. If they notice me enough to attack me I will declare victory.”
A) Rahm Emanuel
B) Mickey Kaus
C) Sarah Palin
D) Ann Althouse
@cincyanon: all of ’em?
OT, and forgive me if it’s already been posted. The blogger known as Jon Swift died suddenly. Going to miss him a lot. And now I’m off to cry for a bit.
ZOMG OBAMA IS SURROUNDED BY DOCTORS THE DEATH PANELS ARE HERE
Awww, I haz a sad.
Davis X. Machina
Sad news, one of the best. I feared the worst with his sudden sign-off last spring but this sounds unrelated. I’ve carried his bookmark for a year after his last post, making him the equal of billmon, norbizness, and a few others I still check daily hoping….hoping…..
@mr. whipple: I’m scared to ask.
@Libby: Just saw that on Twitter. How horrible! A true loss for the blogging community.
tim has it exactly right–as does Froomkin: Rahm is a typical washington personage: he’s a power broker and a self promoter. He rose very high in the Obama campaign on the strength of his self marketed “get tough” “infighter” persona and his personal ties with Obama. That’s so totally normal as to need no explanation. Now he’s peddling a version of his self importance and centrality to anyone in the nearby media. At the moment, we can take it for granted that Rahm sees some personal advantage to pointing the finger of blame at everyone, including Obama, in the administration. Why? Because Rahm thinks that there’s some blame to go around. That Obama’s team has failed to produce sufficient goodies for the dems. Rahm’s public stance is that things would have been better if Rahm had run things.
This has literally nothing to do with the small wing of the left that identifies with Hamsher, or the vocal anti rahm people, or shit left over from the campaign. This is a purely Rahm driven story. Its not because Rahm was more powerful, or popular, or interesting than previous C of S’s. And its not because the media is implicitly racist (which it is). There is always speculation about whose hand is really in which decision in Washington. Its an imperial city and this is a feature of imperial politics and political commentary.
I never had a very high opinion of Rahm as a mover and a shaker–like geg upthread, el cid, and others I thought he was highly overrated as a political thinker and actor. I thought he’d have some utility as a hatchet man and appointment keeper to Obama but that this would be balanced by, or undercut by, his essentially conservative and anti progressive personal agenda. That seems to be born out by his self reported disputes with Obama and the more progressive members of Obama’s team. Again, this has nothing to do with “the base” and whether Obama could or could not have kept promises he did or did not make during the campaign. Rahm is asserting that Obama had choices to make along a continuum from more progressive to less. Rahm thought that going for the center/right compromise was always the right thing to do, Obama and others sometimes thought and acted differently. Rahm now blames Obama and the starry eyed leftists for failing to get things done. This isn’t Hamsher’s argument at all. I don’t see how she or her buddies get into this discussion. It begins and ends with Rahm’s delusions of grandeur and his willingness to backstab his president.
Rahm is a multi-multi millionair and it is clear by his actions and words, IMO, that his aspirations do not end with WH CoS.
Speaking of hippies, RIP Jon Swift: http://tomwatson.typepad.com/tom_watson/2010/03/a-death-in-the-blogging-family.html. Sadness.
I see Libby already got there. So, here’s a Jon Swift post pertinent to the topic at hand: http://jonswift.blogspot.com/2007/11/does-mark-halperin-have-what-it-takes.html
@Corner Stone: If memory serves, his main career ambition is, or at least used to be, to become Speaker of the House.
How that aligns with resigning his House seat, I don’t know. He more or less hand-picked his replacement, but I can’t imagine that he’d be naive enough to expect said replacement to just step aside whenever Rahm felt like reentering the House.
I’m sitting here crying for someone I never met. Jon Swift was an amazing blogger and a very kind man. He was very gracious with links and helping out little peeps like me. I wouldn’t even be B-list without his help early on. I’m much more upset than I would have expected.
Thinking about how to write his eulogy post, it occurs to me that he was the orginal Colbert. He was such a good satirist that many people didn’t realize he was joking.
@dmsilev: He’ll never be the first Jewish President by going back to the House. I smell a run at IL Governor.
licensed to kill time
I have not actually read Jon Swift….
I can’t go on. His book reviews were hysterically funny. RIP.
@Corner Stone: Given the recent record of governors here, and given the running catastrophe that is the state’s fiscal situation, only an idiot (or a Blago) would think to use IL-Gov as a stepping stone to the White House.
But I really can’t think of anyone less suited for the job of actually, you know, governing.
You left out a salient adjective there, “indicative of how sick, twisted, sad, puke-worthy the DC culture is.”
THIS. A BILLION TIMES THIS.
Well, I felt that it was already understood without being explicit, but yes. :P
They’ve gotten comprehensive healthcare reform farther along in the process than anyone…ever. I’m sure Rahm had a pretty big hand in that. He’s worked in 2 administrations and has been elected to congress. I think I read he made 18 million dollars in the private sector. You may not like the man, but to say he hasn’t accomplished anything is fucking weak.
Oh, well, then it’s a good thing Obama caved on Gitmo. And the DOJ? What’s your excuse for that travesty?
And you guys are incredibly hung up on Jane Hamsher. It blinkers you from the actual problems.
Comrade Sock Puppet of the Great Satan
“These media types nowadays don’t live in the same financial universe as the rest of us. They don’t have the same outlook, priorities or need to better the human condition. ”
I’d have the other opinion: given that old media (broadcast, dead-tree newspapers) is on the way out, you’ve got to think about what your Plan B is for earning a crust. There’s a lot more wingnut welfare than progressive gigs, so you don’t want to burn the bridge to the hard right – you never know when you might need that income stream or that Heritage fellowship.
Very sad about “Jon Swift” by the way. I’ll have to throw another Catholic kid on the barbeque in his honor.
Mainstream reporters hate hippie bloggers because they’re right 10 times more often than they are. Just like most people hate actual hippies because they’re always ahead of the curve. Who started the environmental movement? Hippies. Who was right about drug laws? Hippies. Who was right about Vietnam and Iraq? Hippies. It’s gotta get old being the purveyor of the conventional wisdom that so often gets things wrong.