Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 1, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

THE LATEST IDIOTIC RECALL GOSSIP....Sorry, but I got distracted by the picture of President Bush and Barney while I was over at Drudge. The story I really meant to link was this one:

ABC NEWS has spiked an interview with a close associate of Arnold Schwarzenegger who went on camera and accused the California gubernatorial candidate of making racist comments back in the 1970s, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

...."If you gave these blacks a country to run, they would run it down the tubes," Schwarzenegger allegedly said.

The interview was taped and set for airing but was spiked, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

Hurrah for the liberal media! They had the sense to spike this nonsense, saving it for the likes of Matt Drudge and the massed ranks of the blogosphere.

I know the recall is a circus and all, but I'm completely worn out by this obviously invented nonsense and after a mere four weeks! In fact, I'd like to propose a new rule for political campaigns, sort of a Geneva Convention of politics: anything that happened more than 20 years ago or before the age of 25 is off limits. That goes double for anything that happened while someone was a university student.

This would hardly put a cap on personal attacks. For example, it wouldn't put Arnold's (alleged) philandering off limits, or W's drunk driving citation, or Clinton's blow jobs. But it would spare us the idiocy of discussing Clinton's Oxford days, W's national guard record, Arnold's bodybuilding exploits, or Cruz Bustamante's MEChA connections.

Despite the blog triumphalism I mentioned yesterday, the fact is that the blogosphere has focused like a laser on precisely the things that don't matter in the recall race: decades-old Oui interviews and silly insinuations that MEChA wants to overthrow the white race in California. Why? Because even more than the mainstream media it so likes to denigrate, the blogosphere focuses on accessible and titillating trivia instead of insisting that the candidates address important issues.

There are two significant initiatives on the ballot in October and a whole slew of genuinely important issues for the candidates to address: workers compensation, balancing the budget, the flimsiness of our tax structure, etc. etc. If California-oriented blogs really wanted to make a difference, they'd be banging on the professional media to spend more time on this stuff, instead of carping at them because they're ignoring whichever piece of trashy innuendo they think has the best chance of derailing their least favored candidate.

I think it's time for the blogosphere to consider the beam in its own eye before we hear any more about the utter uselessness of the traditional media. Barroom gossip on a national basis is hardly the foundation of a coming global media revolution, is it?

UPDATE: I note that Robert Tagorda has some similar thoughts. It's a start.

Kevin Drum 3:46 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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