Sunday, August 13, 2006

JS Editorial Board: "Enhancing" Discourse

This editorial today from the Journal Sentinel is the typical, tired old stuff you generally see from editorial boards. Campaigns are too negative, "moderate" people who don't really stand for anything are somehow smarter than everyone else, and if you discuss something in a coffee house, it is likely four times more insightful than if you said it anywhere else.

The editorial bemoans "negative" campaigning (how dare Republicans point out that Jim Doyle is critical of Wal-Mart at the same time he accepts a $1,000 contribution from their political action committee!), and says that people are "fed up" with all the partisan bickering. So fed up, in fact, that more and more people vote in each successive election. In fact, much of the "negative" points the campaigns make are points originally reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel themselves. Certainly nobody has their finger on the pulse of regular Milwaukeeans like the Journal Sentinel editorial board.

Incidentally, while the Journal Sentinel wrings its hands about negative campaigning, "the public" is out fathering illegitimate children and shooting each other - things that actually contribute to the degradation of our culture. I'm still waiting for a murder case where the gunman admits he was driven to violence by a Jim Doyle press release on stem cell research.

They also suggest a "middle ground" on abortion, but concede that they don't know what it is. How I feel for all those poor people who have to be subjected to an actual debate on a controversial issue. Here's my suggestion for a middle ground - pro-lifers will stop pointing out that abortion kills a living being when abortionists stop performing them. There - truce!

Their evidence that campaigning has gotten too negative? An off-color comment made off the air during an Attorney General's debate. If Paul Bucher hadn"t mentioned it, nobody would ever have known it happened, since it occurred during a commercial break. Do they really think there were ever "good old days" when candidates always liked each other? Oh, and they haven't been shy about reporting on that exchange, which runs counter to their assertion that the public's fragile psyche must be shielded from such untoward behavior.

So after I read their little high-minded pitch on how political debate "coarsens" society, I read down to the advertising directly below the editorial. The ads read, in this order:

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Now the Journal Sentinel knows what they are talking about in coffee shops - your grumpy wiener. My special thanks to the Journal Sentinel for contributing advertising for sham diet pills to the public debate in the name of some quick cash.

So, obviously, when political candidates try to make their case to voters to earn their vote, it "coarsens" society. But when some disreputable hair plug company or "" wants to make their pitch and pay the Journal Sentinel to do it, suddenly it becomes a vital display of speech.

Oh, and here's my super secret free tip that absolutely drives the women wild. Get a JOB.

UPDATE: It looks like Xoff and I came to much the same conclusion. He says:
The news media has given up its responsibility to dig into issues and present the facts. Their main function these days seems to be "He said, he said" reporting, where the back-and-forth is dutifully reported, but no effort is made to find out who's right. That kind of coverage, of course, encourages the inflammatory statements and news releases.

That, in turn, gives the editorial writers something to complain about.
Well said. Isn't it ironic that the one thing that can bring the left and the right together is ridiculing an editorial that says the left and the right can come together?