May 23, 2008

Entering the Gag Me Political Season

I know it's boring. I know it's been done a thousand times before. I know complaining about the MSM is like complaining about the weather. But indulge this Rantasaurus Rex post if you will.

First, the power of the mainstream media is a wonder to behold; I see a bit of it in the reactions I get from Catholics and ex-Catholics concerning the Pope.

For example, whenever there's some egregious headline that twists Benedict's words I hear questioners accepting it at face value asking, "I heard the Pope said everyone who isn't Catholic is going to hell..." or "I hear the Church got seven new deadly sins and that now not recycling is like murder."

No wonder the view of these folks who don't read any Catholic media had a view of the Pope that was greatly distorted.

I could tell just how distorted by how amazed they were by the papal visit. With beaming faces I heard, "wow, the Pope had a great trip!"

I was frankly surprised by their reactions; I found the trip pretty much in line with what the Holy Father had been saying all along. It occurred to me that we Catlick bloggers already knew Benedict but most Catholics didn't. You can bet no one was reading his encyclicals. (I'd be surprised if 2% of American Catholics had read either one.) The public gets their papal news from the Associated Press.

Fortunately the Pope got good press while in America, probably in part because he didn't emphasize disciplinary measures. But I can't help wondering if the surprised reactions were along the lines of: because the MSM gave positive press coverage to the Pope, then it was a successful visit.

If so, it's amazing that the hermenuetic of suspicion applies to our Pope rather than the media. The Pope was guilty until proven innocent.

* * *

I see that the MSM has officially kicked off their Obama for President general election campaign and so we've entered the "Full Gag Zone" when it comes to things political.

The fun part - the contested Democratic primaries - is over.

The gag me's are coming fast & furious. Five minutes of watching MSNBC's "Morning Joe" almost leads one quickly to the puke point.

For example, the banner below the screen is "McCain's Pastor Problem" and the conversation refers to something Hagee said. To equate Hagee with Rev. Wright in terms of the relationship they had with the candidate is simply mind-boggling. I've heard the media doesn't do nuance well, but this is ridiculous.

The next most amazing thing was when the commentators on the show marvelled at how adult and politically fresh Barack Obama was in magnanimously brushing off McCain's Hagee problem and switched to a clip in which Obama said it was wrong for McCain "to attribute every single thing my pastor said to me". Is this the new, fresh politics? I could've missed something huge, but that's one whopper of a misattribution since McCain never said he attributed what Wright said to Obama, let alone "every single thing". You can't make it up; it's like what a seven-year old telling on his brother and embroidering what his brother did to fantastical proportions.

The longer this campaign goes on the more I wonder: what is new and fresh about Obama besides his age? He sounds almost as insincere as any other politician and his policy positions are so old that they could've been handed down from 1972 and you wouldn't know a difference.

Polls have shown that young people are increasingly pro-life, but then why is his supposed "fresh face" completely under the thumb of the pro-abortion lobby?

The MSM loves Obama just like they once loved "the Hamlet of New York" - Mario Cuomo. Obama is Cuomo without the Hamlet part. Both are far left politically, both give off the sensation of warmth and goodness, and both give great speeches. That is the criteria for MSM-love: liberalness combined with articulateness (because media folks are articulate and worship themselves. A current New Yorker piece on Katie Couric mentioned that that "media people’s favorite subject [is] media people." The inarticulate Bush never had a chance.)

I miss the primaries already.

Still, now that my rant is over, I must recall and believe what Archbishop Nguyen van Thuan said in his book "Testimony of Hope", which is that love is even more powerful than the media. So I must pray for all of those whom I think are leading the country and our civilization astray and try to love them. I'm not sure if this post is too helpful in that regard but to ignore the media is like ignoring an 800-lb gorilla in your backyard.

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