Thursday, September 1, 2016

Bothsides takes a stand

Pontius Pilate washes his hands, by the Master of Cappenberg, Liesborn Altarpiece, between 1500 and 1525, UK National Gallery.

So yesterday I was in a car (not driving) following an extraordinary and enjoyable rant from someone called Matthew Chapman, starting somewhere around here:

etc., when I caught wind of the presence of a somewhat famous person, ABC News analyst Matthew Dowd, former chief strategist for the Bush-Cheney ('04) campaign and now one of the high and mighty champions of Cokie's Village of the Totally Objective Media, taking personal offense at something Chapman was saying.

There's no reason to think he noticed any of the things I subsequently tweeted at him, in one of those helpless Twitter rages. It was hours after the original exchange, and he'd moved on to something else. But I think a selection of them reads like a kind of exchange anyway, and one in which Dowd really reveals a lot about who he is and how this stuff works:
That was just so remarkably false, you could see he hadn't actually read any of it, and was talking in fact about his own distorted understanding, in which of course whatever complaints Clinton voters make about the media must be the exact equivalent of the complaints Trump voters make, because "if both sides hate us we must be doing something right".

"By the way, little Mister Smartass, if you knew anything about me you'd know how totally unbiased I am." I.e., he got pissed off with his boss George W. Bush (probably for very good reasons, I should say, involving the Iraq War among other things) nine years ago and now hangs out with the kinder, gentler Democrat-haters who are also not totally comfortable with Republicans, like his constant tweep Ron Fournier.

Of course he's unbiased, as far as horserace preferences go, he doesn't think it especially matters who wins, because (a) they're all equally disappointing and (b) no one can ever do anything anyway, which suggests that they really don't do any genuine harm either, in spite of the Iraq War. He's as biased as hell, in fact, on behalf of the Bad Media and their business model, which builds compulsively watchable/clickable dramatic content out of false equivalency—we don't know who's better, we're in desperate suspense!—so that false equivalence is what he lives on, and he cherishes it like he cherishes the Bread and Wine of the Eucharist.

Which is pretty much as far as it went, for my participation.

And his. But I thought it was fascinating to watch him washing his hands in public—"I have nothing to do with it!"—like that.

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