Lawrence O’Donnell’s Fight Challenge Belongs in a Time Capsule

With such a glaring lack of integrity that we witness from the news outlets each and every day, it’s sometimes hard to hold out hope that things will ever change for the better. The national polls continue to reveal that the media is no longer trusted by a strong majority of Americans, yet we rarely witness any significant effort from the media establishment to clean up their act. Surely, there have to be influential people within the profession who both recognize the seriousness of the problem, and are willing to help fix it. There have to be people who believe that restoring public trust is important.

After all, one could argue that there is no more significant role in a free, democratic society than that of the media. They’re the ones who we rely on to keep us informed, and help us make decisions that effect not only ourselves and our families, but also our country. Being a member of the media should be something to be proud of. Speaking ‘truth to power’ should be a noble cause.

Yet, we don’t find a lot evidence to suggest that the mainstream news media outlets in this country value their responsibility the way they should. Biases that used to come in the form of selective reporting and subtle commentary under the guise of hard news have morphed into blatant, ideological advocacy.

I’m optimistic though. Whether it happens through attrition of the establishment media players, or perhaps some come to God recognition of the core of their failings, I have to believe that some semblance of media integrity will one day be restored in this country.

If that time ever comes, perhaps decades from now, I’d love to see the expressions on the faces of young journalism students whose professors open the old media archives to reveal to them just how crazy things got back at the turn of the century. The overt partisanship, the blatant double-standards, the glaring omissions of important news stories… I think they’ll one day be looked at as an eerie spectacle, similar to how today’s generation views the old, black and white public service films that taught people to duck and cover in the event of a nuclear explosion.

One of the videos I’d love for those students to watch is Lawrence O’Donnell’s recent fight challenge toward Tagg Romney, son of Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney. I think it sums up the media’s era of insanity quite well. We’ve become used to stinging criticism and the occasional unhinged rant on cable news, but I can’t remember ever seeing a member of the news media so obsessed with defending a politician that they actually wanted to throw down fisticuffs with someone who spoke negatively of them.

The debacle was nothing short of bizarre, with O’Donnell verbally taunting Tagg while putting forth his best effort to promote a childish tough-guy persona, complete with silly hand gestures. I must admit that I laughed at its absurdity, but there’s nothing funny about a grown man, billed as a media professional, behaving this way.

The kicker was the reason for O’Donnell’s apparent outrage. He took exception to tongue-in-cheek comments Tagg Romney made on a local radio station when asked how he feels when he hears President Obama essentially call his father a liar.

“You know… Jump out of your seat and you want to rush down to the debate stage and take a swing at him,” he replied with a laugh. “But you know you can’t do that because, well, first because there’s a lot of Secret Service between you and him, but also because this is the nature of the process.”

Yes, that is what brought O’Donnell out swinging.

Now, I realize that O’Donnell is a commentator and not a news reporter. He’s not necessarily bound by the same set of journalistic ethics that we expect from those merely conveying the news. However, his name is a marquee brand of a national news organization. He represents a large cable news network. For such a person to actually go as far as to challenge a presidential candidate’s son to a fist-fight, on a nationally broadcast program, is nothing short of appalling.

Yet, the display really didn’t receive all that much attention. That’s disturbing in itself, because it shows a media tolerance for internal behavior resembling that of a mental breakdown. The news media standards are so incredibly low right now that this type of thing is actually deemed acceptable. Just a few years ago, even when George W. Bush was the president, and reactionary derangement of his presidency ran rampant, something like this would have been grounds for firing. Today, it’s just dismissed as passionate punditry.

It’s examples like this that demonstrate a disturbing lack of news media self-awareness in the year 2012. Though more and more insiders are slowly speaking out about the problem of media debasement, it’s clear we’ve got a ways to go.

I hope I’m right, in that this era will be looked back on with shame and mockery by future generations of journalists. Of course, the truly scary thought is that I’m wrong.

They Have to Decide if They Want to be Liberal — or Unhinged

For a while now I have been worrying about liberals.  Not all of them, of course, just most of them; especially the supposedly smart elite ones.

Some of the things they’ve been saying are more than a little screwy.  So I thought maybe they were going mad.  Now I have second thoughts.  Unfortunately they’re the same as my first thoughts.  Now I’m convinced they’ve lost their minds.

Before we start … a warning:  You may think I made up some of the following examples.  You may think I’m just having some fun at the expense of libs.  Nope.  Everything is real.  You know the old saying (that I just made up):  Out of the mouths of liberals comes some pretty wacky stuff.

First, there’s Old Reliable, Chris Matthews, the man who never lets you down when it comes to giving liberals a bad name.  During the GOP National Convention he suggested that when Republicans link Barack Obama to Chicago politics – (wait for it!) — they’re being racist.

“They keep saying Chicago by the way, have you noticed?” Matthews said on MSNBC, also known as Obama Re-election headquarters.  “They keep saying Chicago.  That’s another thing that sends that message – this guy’s helping the poor people in the bad neighborhoods, screwing us in the ‘burbs.”

That’s when another liberal, journalist and author John Hielemann, chimed in with, “There’s a lot of black people in Chicago.”

Get it?  Every time Romney tries to tie Barack Obama to crummy, corrupt Chicago politics, what he’s really doing is appealing to white racist Republicans, the only kind of Republicans there are, in the worldview of many elite liberals.

But if that was a 9.5 on the nutty scale, Matthews MSNBC colleague Lawrence O’Donnell hit the jackpot with a perfect 10.

O’Donnell was on the convention floor, and informed by MSNBC host Martin Bashir that later that evening Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell would tell the delegates, “For four years, Barack Obama has been running from the nation’s problems. He hasn’t been working to earn reelection. He’s been working to earn a spot on the PGA tour.”

Here we have another ugly example of Republican racism, at least as far as Lawrence O’Donnell is concerned.  “We know exactly what he’s trying to do there,” he said.  “He’s trying to allied (sic) Tiger Woods, and surely the lifestyle of Tiger Woods, with Barack Obama. … These people reach for every single possible racial double entendre they can find in every one of these speeches.”

So if you say Barack Obama spends too much time on the golf course and not enough time trying to fix the nation’s problems, that’s the Republican not-so-subtle way of reminding everyone that a) Barack Obama is black – like Tiger Woods – and b) that he has the same “lifestyle” which almost certainly means that the president – like Tiger Woods – fools around with women who aren’t his wife.

Thank you, Lawrence, for that brilliant analysis.  I would have never thought of it.  And neither would anyone else on the entire planet – except for people suffering from CDS – Conservative Derangement Syndrome, a terrible disorder that strikes liberals young and old whenever they come into contact – even through the TV screen – with anyone to the right of Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

As Washington Post journalist Jennifer Rubin said on CNN: “MSNBC has to decide if it wants to be liberal or unhinged.”  I think we can agree that MSNBC has already made that decision.

And then there’s the hilarious “joke” from Yahoo! News Washington Bureau Chief David Chalian, who was caught on an open mic during’s Webcast during the GOP convention.  With a major storm heading for the Louisiana coast while Republicans were having a good time in Tampa, Chalian said Mitt Romney and his wife Ann were “Not concerned at all.  They’re happy to have a party with black people drowning.”

Before you could say “Mitt Romney used to be the Grand Wizard of the Michigan Ku Klux Klan” Chalian was fired.  But is that fair?  After all, he only said what so many other liberals in and out of the media say about Republicans — when chit-chatting among themselves.  Chalian’s crime was saying it out loud into an open microphone.  (He later apologized.)

And you remember Clint Eastwood’s routine with the empty chair.  Bet you didn’t know the lousy bigot was just one more old, white Republican male spewing racism on national television.

Someone called Mike Elk, who is described as a labor journalist, tweeted, “Eastwood chair rant was RACIST, white man putting dirty words into mouth of black man like a puppet.”

And a blog on the left-wing Think Progess Web site weighed in with this: “You can’t escape the racial subtext of what happened last night.  Eastwood scolded an (imaginary) black man for his perceived slights to the American way in front of an audience of millions, and a sea of mostly white faces laughed and egged him on.”

There’s another old saying (that I did not make up but wish I did): “The only people who see everything through a prism of race are skinheads and liberals.”

Dealing With All the Baloney

When you’re a conservative and you are doing your level best to deal with all the crapola spewed by the Left, you don’t really need a newfangled BS detector. You just need one of those large brooms the circus provides the poor guy who walks behind the elephants. In my case, of course, it’s a team of donkeys I’m trailing behind.

For instance, is every liberal born knowing how to chant inanities or is it something they have to master once they enter college or join a union? And are they totally unaware that once normal people hear chanting in the streets, they know they are in the presence of the great unwashed?

Like most thinking human beings, I was delighted when on June 5th, not only did Scott Walker win a landslide victory in Wisconsin, but the voters in such staunchly liberal California cities as San Diego and San Jose, voted to cut the pensions of public sector unions.

It was predictable that once the polls showed that Governor Walker was going to survive the recall that Obama wouldn’t set foot in Wisconsin. Instead, it was Bill Clinton who showed up to endorse Mayor Barrett, and once again Clinton proved to have no more influence with the voters than he has with Hillary. Clinton actually believes he has the power to persuade for no other reason than that he can attract those women in NYC who can always be found fluttering around rich old guys.

The irony of Clinton’s siding with Barrett and against Walker is that he was governor of Arkansas for 12 years, all of them during the 68 years that it’s been a right-to-work state. And yet, like an old firehouse dog responding in Pavlovian fashion to a fire alarm, there he was in Wisconsin doing the dirty work for the public sector unions.

Speaking of the recall in Wisconsin, I found it amusing that MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell said that the victor of the election was…(drumroll)…Barack Obama! That’s because the exit polls reported that 53% of the voters favored Obama, while only 42% endorsed Romney. Far be it from me to question MSNBC, but those very same exit polls indicated that the recall was a toss-up. And so it was until the votes were actually counted and Walker won 53% to 46%. Anyone who regards that as a toss-up would probably say that Custer and Sitting Bull fought to a draw at the Little Big Horn.

Only a dunce like O’Donnell would find solace in the Wisconsin election, one in which Walker actually increased his margin of victory over Barrett from their initial battle in 2010. It reminds me of the old joke in which a reporter buttonholes Abe’s wife and says, “Aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the show?”

Speaking of Clinton, though, reminds me that Henry Wolf, a guy out here in California, has sued BMW North America, claiming that a 4-hour ride on a ridge-like motorcycle seat has given him an erection lasting 20 months. Wolf is seeking compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, emotional distress and general damage.

In related news, Pfizer, the company that produces Viagra, is considering suing BMW North America for patent infringement, and Bill Clinton, 66, has indicated an interest in taking up motorcycle riding.

With the news that yet another electric car company, Fisker, is going to stop production of its electric cars, it occurs to me that green energy is a lot like the game of soccer. No matter how hard some interested parties push it, America’s not buying it. In just the same way that we prefer football, baseball, basketball, hockey, golf and, at least during Olympic Game years, even gymnastics and synchronized swimming, we dislike soccer. I’m not saying that nobody likes the silly game in which people pretend not to have arms and hands, and a 2-1 outcome has fans shaking their heads over the obvious lack of defense. I know that immigrants from Third World countries who grew up kicking a casaba melon around think it’s the cat’s pajamas. But most Americans prefer sports that don’t require using one’s own head as a bat.

As I was saying, it’s much the same with green energy. Although some people, especially those who have finagled a government loan to start a company, pretend to believe that wind and solar energy are an adequate substitute for fossil fuel, nobody else is buying the big lie. Something else they’re not buying, just in case you hadn’t noticed the scarcity of Volts on the open road, are electric cars.

Members of certain left-wing groups, people with way too much time on their hands, are complaining that the drone attacks targeting Islamic terrorists are also killing innocent civilians. I’m sure that when they voice their criticism of the only thing that Obama has done right, they feel they possess the deed to the moral high ground. But what they overlook is that there are no innocent bystanders hanging around with Islamic terrorists. If we get word that these creeps have started walking around with puppies or small children strapped to their chests, we can talk. Until then, I suggest these self-canonized saints go back to their regular job; namely, holding candlelight vigils for serial killers about to be executed.

In conclusion, let me say that Team Romney is starting to embarrass me. First they put out a press release in which they managed to misspell “America.” More recently, they changed Ronald Reagan into Ronald Regan. Perhaps instead of approaching them, offering to help write the candidate’s speeches, I should have suggested they employ me as their official spellchecker.

©2012 Burt Prelutsky.

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