Sunday, June 28, 2009

Editorial: Save us from the panty sniffers

"Has anyone ever been so disingenuous? As we've noted in the past, Dear Rachel always has to pretend that she's embarrassed by the 'explicit' stuff -- the stuff she loves to pimp you.
What a consummate phony! In April, she spent more than a week insulting average people with her moronic dick jokes. Night after night, she found ways to pretend that she was embarrassed by all that too. [. . .] If we might add what is merely obvious: That's your Rhodes Scholar on Starr!," offered Bob Somerby last Thursday at The Daily Howler.

In the section we're quoting, he's examining the dreadful Rachel Maddow but he has time for the other MSNBC no-stars and more. And "That's your Rhodes Scholar on Starr!" is not only funny, it's accurate. Our primary issue is Iraq and, week after week, we see it fall further off the radar. Sometimes a story dominating the news cycle is actually worthwhile and we wish Iraq were in the mix but we're not shaking our heads and wondering, "Who the hell considers this news?"

Lately, we've been doing just that and a huge number of these 'news' stories are nothing but, to steal from Somerby, "panty sniffers." So, for example, a US Senator had an affair and it was 'news'. A US governor had an affair and it was 'news.' Endlessly. Both were Republicans, by the way, and that may explain the fixation. We know the name of the senator due to his time in the Senate. The governor? Nope. Does that give you an idea of how quickly we turn the page or the channel when that crap starts getting pimped as news?

When people obsess over the sex others are having, it honestly appalls us. We have to wonder if their own sex lives are so non-existant or awful that they only excitement they get is from being voyers? We also have to wonder if they're embracing some sort of 'Moral' Majority group-think? Breaking the law is news. A consensual affair, even when one is cheating, really isn't news.

Among the outlets flooding the zone last week with the sex garbage was The New York Times. Apparently the old grey lady needs to finger herself in public from time to time.

June 18th, US Ambassador to Iraq Chris Hill gave his first press conference in the United States and no one bothered to ask him about breaking his promise to immediately, within 24 hours of being confirmed, be on a plane to Iraq. Maybe they were too busy laughing at him?

"I think if you look at overall levels of violence in Iraq," he declared, "you’ll see an overall trending downward."

Are you laughing yet? In the last eight days, the violence hasn't stopped in Iraq. Bombings in Kirkuk and Baghdad alone have resulted in over 150 deaths.

You might say, "Well Hill couldn't have known that." If you're saying that, note this sentence, also from Hill's response, "So when you see the aggregate numbers put together by the U.S. military, you see there is an overall trending down."

If you're not laughing, you probably spent too much time sniffing panties in recent weeks. Hill's 'aggregate numbers' were in the press cycle briefly. June, the military was insisting, was actually less than May and April. Of course those numbers were released before the half-way mark for the month of June. Yeah, the military tried to pimp "lower violence" based on incomplete data and, yeah, a lot of press outlets ran with it.

Enough that Hill could reference that laughable data and not have anyone at the press conference call him out on it.

What should have bothered Americans was Hill's refusal to discuss "contingency plans" for Iraq should the (partial) pull-back from cities (June 30th) result in increased violence. "Well, again," he repeated, "I don’t want to discuss contingency plans." Why not?

And why aren't these contingency plans known to the American public?

Chris Hill

Very little about Iraq gets revealed to the American public. For example, no US outlet reported last week on the non-development regarding the de-de-Baathification process (but Arab media did report on it). Anthony Shadid's "In Iraq, a Different Struggle for Power" (Washington Post) last week, was an article worthy of praise and those are fewer and fewer. It was also a brave report though many may not have grapsed that because they're unaware of Nouri al-Maliki's continued assault on the press (including lawsuits over bad press).

You may not know any of those Iraq-related stories. You might, however, know all the details of two affairs. Unless you're one of the two having the affair or the spouse of the cheater, then you've just defined yourself as a panty sniffer and not a news hound.
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