A reason to write a nice letter

The blog County Fair within the website Media Matters has been busily documenting the wretched, sorry spectacle over the last few weeks of the traditional media panting, slavering, grasping and lusting to write the next "Whitewater" story or to kick off the next "Monica Lewinsky" scandal. America apparently has a bunch of middle-school-age adolescents in charge of much of the traditional media.

The good news is that we saw some pushback on MSNBC Live on 11 December.

...anchor Tamron Hall forcefully challenged Republican strategist and TheHill.com blogger Doug Heye's characterization of President-elect Barack Obama as a "good friend" of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's (D).

Now obviously, if Obama and Blagojevich were "good friends," it would be entirely appropriate for the strategist's/blogger's report to go unchallenged. It would be entirely appropriate for the MSNBC person to smile and say "Thank you for appearing with us" and to then go on to the next topic. But because Ms. Hall found Mr. Heye's description to be off the mark, she DID HER JOB as a newsperson and challenged him.

This is the kind of thing that active and alert citizens should notice and encourage. Any time that a traditional media outlet goes beyond merely ignoring a bad story and instead challenges the spreader of lies, we should let the station know that their action is noted and appreciated.

Write to:

Mr. Phil Griffin,
Senior Vice President, News
NBC Television Network
30 Rockefeller Plz
New York, NY 10112

Steve Capus,
President, NBC News

30 Rockefeller Plz
3rd Fl
New York, NY 10112
(212) 664-4444

You can only send an email to Mr. Capus, but Mr. Griffin will take both emails and paper letters and MSNBC as a whole will take emails, paper letters and phone calls.

How should we as citizens deal with the notion, sincerely held by many people, that the best way to deal with a silly, trivial media obsessed with gossip and personalities, is to ignore them? As Republicans have ceaselessly pointed out since 9-11, we live in a dangerous world. As the writer, lawyer and activist Mike Hersh points out, President Clinton's anti-terrorist efforts ran into continual Republican roadblocks.

President Clinton also ordered a "terrorism threat assessment of every federal facility in the country," which had "already begun" when, in February 1995, the Clinton Administration introduced a counter-terrorism bill in the Senate (S. 390) and the House of Representatives (H.R. 896). Note: this was before the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building Oklahoma City bombing on April 19 that year.


Unfortunately, Republicans sabotaged Clinton's efforts to keep us safe. If in force before April 19, 1995 federal officials might have detected and prevented the Murrah Building plot.

Why didn't people notice and complain about this obstuctionism? Well, a silly, trivia-obsessed media is a dangerous distraction that allows i
mportant work to be put aside in favor of hysterical scandal-mongering and baseless impeachments. It's very much in our self-interest as American citizens to nip this ridiculous stuff in the bud and to stop it before it gets too far.

What is the extent of the current problem? Eric Boehlert points out that;

As much as I hate coming to the defense of "conservative pundits," they're hardly the only ones making the "tainted" claim, despite the fact Obama was "exonerated" on the tapes. It's pretty much the entire Beltway press corps that's been playing up that angle.

Crooks & Liars observes that "taint" seems to be the "Word of the Day." Two Democratic politicians, both from Illinois and one is supposedly "tainted" by the scandals of the other. But gee, it's funny that George W. Bush and Tom DeLay were two Republican politicians from Texas and somehow, for some strange, amazing, inexplicable reason, Bush was never "tainted" by the scandals of DeLay. Funny how that works!

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