The old adage goes that even a broken clock is right twice a day, and the same can be said for Sarah Palin, who, in her frantic efforts to escape the hounding of the press, actually got it right when she snarled her disdain for the "lamestream media."
The blind feeding frenzy that ensued over Mitt Romney's "47 percent" remark is the latest example of the lamestream media at its worst. Looking honestly at what Romney said and the context in which he said it, a reasonably intelligent person recognizes that he was merely being the practical salesman. He had analyzed his market and identified the niche audience he needed to persuade to win the election -- the undecided voter. It would have been absurd for him to throw his money away at people who historically will not, under any circumstances, respond to his message. And the current, close race has proven him right. With neither candidate running away with the race, the presidential election will come down to that narrow group of undecided voters.
But the lamestream media, of course, relentlessly regurgitated Romney's "offensive" sound bite to feed the flames of public outrage. They called upon every possible political analyst with a personal agenda, and all the groups Romney dismissed as unreachable (which they are) to predictably react with moral outrage. It generated ratings, it pumped up circulation. It was the Jerry Springer mentality of political reporting.
The incident reached such dizzying heights of absurdity that, half-way through it, the news became about the media's reaction to the news, rather than the news itself. This is why, because of the lamestream media, politicians are forced to employ -- especially at the national level -- a gang of speechwriters, strategists, researchers, fashion consultants, and personal advisors to tell them how they should look, what they should say, and how they should say it. They need to rehearse their presentations with the same precision as any Broadway show preparing for opening night. And they better nail it, or else. A thousand eager reporters stand poised to snatch the slightest slip of the tongue and spin it into a monumental scandal.
It's All Happening at the Zoo
Reporters delude themselves, in general, in the belief that journalism was founded upon a desire to present the truth to the world. When one strips away all the high-flying and self-serving moralistic arguments, the real drive to report the news is the fundamental human desire to gossip about one's neighbors. Yes, of course, some have elevated this gossip to high art, and some of the best journalists have given their lives to uncovering truths that have had an enormous, positive influence upon our lives. They have exposed evils, uncovered tragedies, sparked revolutions, and dethroned tyrants. But it's still gossip.
And the American media seems hell-bent on ensuring it remains so. When a scandal breaks, reporters' tongues start wagging, and they can be just as malicious, petty and destructive in talking about people as the nosy next door neighbor.