In the comments to my previous post, Anonymous takes issue with my criticism of the recently-passed Tim Russert. Presumably, Anonymous is uncomfortable with the propriety of criticizing the dead, since he or she offers no substantive response to my main point. As a top dog in the back-patting Washington media world, Russert was a defacto enabler of the worst and most criminal Administration in recent history. This point would be hard to deny even if Anonymous wanted to try.
Linda Hirshman has a good summary of Russert's legacy up on Alternet. Here's a snippet:
The Russert Test was a disaster because it rewarded people willing to lie unabashedly on TV. They lied because they could not truthfully defend their positions. But Russert's famed "gotcha" research couldn't catch them. Much has been said this eulogizing week about Russert's hard-working ways assembling the material in advance of the show. Old metal. When someone told a new lie on Meet the Press, such as when Dick Cheney flat-out denied he had ever said that intelligence confirmed the Al Qaeda/Iraq link, Meet the Press had no procedure for producing the contrary evidence. This would hardly have been difficult, given Google, an earpiece and a producer to do instant research. As it happened, NBC had the rebuttal to Cheney's lies in its own archives, but it remained for The Daily Show to do the research.
While I'm on the subject of the media, can you imagine the media brouhaha if Michelle Obama had a history as a drug addict who stole prescription pain killers from her own non-profit, medicines intended for poor people in Third World nations ?
One of the presumptive First Ladies is a former drug addict and thief, but it's not Obama. Cindy McCain's past isn't a secret -- she has discussed it on Dateline and Good Morning America -- but I still find it odd that Michelle's fist bump can dominate a slow news cycle while Cindy gets such softball treatment. Salon wrote about the whole sordid affair back in 1999, but almost everyone seems to have forgotten about it, or decided the McCains deserve a free pass on this one. The article is well worth a read, both for what it reveals about the powerful McCain spin machine and for its tale of a lonely, depressed woman trapped in a marriage of convenience.
The media has decided that candidate's spouses are fair game; let's see if we get any balance.