As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

They're Not Covering The Same Convention

A lot of people have asked me, in media interviews and the like, what bloggers are covering in the convention that's different from what the traditional media is covering. After 2 1/2 days, I figured out the difference. Bloggers are, by and large, COVERING THE CONVENTION, whereas the traditional media is covering a fantasy world of their own making based on a group email written about a week ago signaling the storylines they are going to cover.

Hillary Clinton delivered a strong, gracious, professional speech that made the definitive case that Democrats must unite for the good of the country and support Barack Obama. It was incredibly received in the room and was an EXTENSION of the unity seen here in Denver.

That's the actual story. In the media, we have body language experts claiming that Hillary's heart wasn't in her words. We have deep cover McCain operative Ron Fournier wondering if Clinton meant the words that she said. We have Craig Crawford concern trolling that she wasn't "personal" enough about Obama. We have a great speech from Brian Schweitzer virtually ignored, and an even better speech from Dennis Kucinich completely ignored, except for the one line that the Obama campaign cut (of course, if you hear the speech you know that Dennis held nothing back). We have gasbags talking over all the speeches to the degree that they clearly have no idea what anyone said. There are stories in the media today about Clinton delegates leaving the city, which have no basis in fact.

In essence, we have a media narrative disconnected with reality to maybe the most shocking degree I've ever seen, though that could just be because I'm sitting here seeing the reality. Digby put this best:

I don't know who Dowd has been talking to, but there is likely a bit of Heisenberg principle involved when it comes to the delegates. Sure, I've seen a few examples of both Clinton and Obama diehards being obnoxious. But it has been very, very rare. Unlike Dowd, nobody recognizes me and I don't spend time hanging with professional political operatives with axes to grind. I walked miles in that Pepsi center and around downtown Denver yesterday, eavesdropping on conversations of ordinary attendees and her convention is not the convention of the rank and file.

For instance, I was riding on a tram yesterday with a delegate from the midwest who was festooned with Hillary buttons. I asked her if she was excited about the speech to come and if she expected it to be controversial. She said that she hoped Hillary felt free to bask in the glory a little bit but that she knew she would come through for Obama. I asked her if she was going to vote for her in the roll call and she said she was sent there by people who voted for Clinton and she wanted to cast that vote. But she also said that as soon as he was announced the winner she was going to take off all of her Hillary buttons and put on her new collection of Obama buttons, which she pulled out of her bag to show me. I asked if she would work to get him elected and she chuckled and said, "of course I will, I'm president of the Democratic Club!"

The media see people like her as exotic birds or amusing chimps playing in the trees and consider them decoration for the real event --- the careerist posturings and gossip of the elite insider class, which they present as what these rank and file delegates --- committed Democratic activists and grassroots workers --- think about all this. For them, this is really just one big Georgetown party, displaced from "their town" by necessity in order to keep the serfs happy. The only story that interests them is the story they tell each other about themselves.

Exactly. We were talking about this last night. The traditional media is a set of sportscasters who DON'T LIKE SPORTS. It's fascinating. They are contemptuous of policy, beyond the fact that they refuse to understand it, and so these little bits of spin machine operative talk gets magnified and everything goes back to their personal stories. You have to wonder why they participate in an industry they so clearly hate, but I think it had to do with some kind of "Great Man" theory. They imagine themselves to be standing astride some consequential moment in history, and that force gives them meaning. So the story becomes how THEY perceive what is being said instead of what is said. It becomes how events validate their preconceptions rather than the events themselves.

They are the most dangerous force in politics, thwarting progress at every single turn. I have nothing but absolute disgust in my heart for these puffed-up gasbags who actually believe their Heather-like takes on the narrow set of issues they care about actually matters.

It's shameful. 100% shameful.

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