Media Analysis: The “Tweety Effect” Runs Rampant
Mika Brzezinski: Do you think…that there was a turn at the last minute for some voters, given the really sharp twist in the media in terms of how they went negative…
Chris Matthews: It’s not in the polling. I’m just saying, it’s not in the polling data.
Brzezinski: I know, that’s my point. Because people went to the polls throughout the day, and maybe changed their minds, and maybe were turned off by by what they saw. By these nasty headlines.
Matthews: Well, I don’t know if they all read the NYPost.
Brzezinski: In taking after her for crying.
Matthews: I think the Hillary appeal has always been about the mix of toughness and sympathy. Let’s not forget, and I’ll be brutal, the reason she’s a US Senator, the reason she’s a candidate for President, the reason she may be a front runner, is that her husband messed around.
Brzezinski: Yeah, but…
Matthews: That’s how she got to be a Senator from New York. We keep forgetting it. She didn’t win it on her merit, she won because everybody felt, "My God, this woman stood up under humiliation," right? That’s what happened. That’s how it happened. In 1998, she went to NY and campaigned for Chuck Schumer as almost like the grieving widow of absurdity, and she did it so well and courageously. But it was about the humilation of Bill Clinton.
Brzezinski: Um…NO, okay? Well, you could take it a step back, and say that SHE put Bill Clinton where he is and then he messed around and she was humiliated and people felt sorry for her. And she does have more to her than being a victim. She does have more to her. [Mika smacks him on the arm.]
Matthews: Ow. I agree. You hit me? Hit him. [pointing to Scarborough, who cannot get to the commercial break fast enough...] (emphasis mine)
What is wrong with Chris Matthews? With all of these media people? I mean that, in all honesty, what in the hell is wrong with them? Their personal loathing of Hillary Clinton shone through in every sniggering, overwrought report this week. Their building up of Barack Obama is only their prelude and set-up for the frenzied clawing and shredding of him that is to come. And they have well and truly written off coverage of either John Edwards or Bill Richardson solely based on their current fundraising numbers, and never mind that, as of yesterday, there had been two — count them, only TWO — Democratic contests.
None of it has anything to do with substance. It’s as if a pack of hyenas were crossbred with the characters in Mean Girls and then sent out to play at journalism.
Maureen Dowd’s column this morning reads like J.J. Hunsecker in drag, although it’s not exactly a shock given that its Dowd we are talking about, is it? Rachel Maddow let Matthews have it last night (C&L has the clip.) as a proxy stand-in for all the media idiocy. And Pam Spaulding nails it, calling it "’The Tweety Effect,’ where the misogyny of a talking head in the MSM so enrages a demographic that they go out and vote in a manner that will put egg on the face of the talking head."
In Bob Herbert’s column yesterday, he made the point that the American electorate is pissed, paying attention and hungering for authenticity:
If there is a theme running through the nominating process of both parties, it’s the idea that voters are fed up with the con, with the phony, plastic, programmed politicians who are obsessed with power and contemptuous of the real concerns of ordinary men and women….
Something is stirring all right. Voters are paying attention. Young people are coming into the process. The electorate is fed up and ready to invoke the prerogatives of citizenship to hold the leadership to higher standards.
Herbert was talking about the electorate’s hunger for better political candidates, but this just as easily could have been written about the fatuous media and their self-constructed ratings ravings. You know what one reason for such large crowds at political events this year could be? Because folks in Iowa and New Hampshire knew better than to trust the media to report the events accurately — that they wanted to see things live for themselves instead of having to wade through all the personal bias and spin from the talking heads.
America is sick of bullshit this year. From politicans. And especially from pundits.
(The DiVinyls sum up Dowd’s column perfectly today…so this one goes out to you, Queen Bee Maureen.)