Saturday, August 08, 2009

High Anxiety: Dog Day Journalism

by John Lombardi

A cool blast of air-conditioning, like walking into Bill Kilian's place 10 years ago, out of the stifling August shmutz of Germantown Avenue. That's what it felt like to read Len Lear's "Get Over It" Op Ed on the Huntingdon Valley swim club flap a couple of weeks ago, in the Local. And then Jim Foster's "Where's the money going?" blog lede in this space the other day. Two guys of a certain age, with common sense and libertarian leanings, commenting on the goop of PC non-think that's becoming characteristic of American journalism exchanges from the Times, to the networks, to PBS & NPR, to the Local and Northwest Notebook, too.

One guy here says we can't criticize the exaggerators going for a couple of lucrative lawsuits against the swim club because the children of Creative Steps, Inc., who happened to be black, were "irreparably scarred" by being asked to leave the pool -- even though they got a trip to Disneyworld, all kinds of apologies, goodies and worldwide publicity, as a result. So why not let 'em back in the water, after the club operators relented? The sweating kids would have probably jumped right in. It's hot. But the media event was paying off better.

Foster's point is that the Obama administration isn't starting WPA-style "job stimulus" operations in massive road repair, bridge and tunnel upgrades, inner city clearing and rebuilding, or National Park refurbishment -- as promised back in January -- but instead is just giving billions to bankers who caused the problems in the first place -- Reagan's old "trickle down" nonsense. And of course O did this without having established any oversight structure to prevent repeat greedhead depredations -- as FDR once had the strength & foresight to do. And which still causes hisses of "That man!" among senior Republicans, and the rich generally. Nobody wants to talk about this, though, in the spirit of giving the nation's first black president "a chance."

The deal is, you can't take care of organic problems with P.R. solutions. Life isn't a matter of sound-bytes, camera angles and breathless star talk on Meet the Nation and Charlie Rose, or The McNeil/Lehrer Snoozehour. Anyone who believes Henry Louis Gates wasn't at least partly to blame for his own arrest in Cambridge by Sgt. Steve Lowrey , should check out the endless, smug, star-crossed chit-chat among Gates and a group of mostly white academics in the recent PBS documentary on Abraham Lincoln's "racism" in the 1850s, and during the Civil War. While the professors dined in period taverns on the Southern battlefields of yore, dragging out their musings over pheasant and Cote' de Beaune, Gates held sway, lecturing with raised eyebrows & querulous looks about Lincoln's plans to repatriate millions of former slaves to Africa. . ,

Marcus Garvey and some others seemed to feel it wasn't a bad notion at several points in U. S. history, and Gates condescended to leave the question of Lincoln's prejudice open -- after all, millions of blacks stood along the railroad tracks after he was shot, and not to curse him as a racist. But Gatesy makes a good living at Harvard now, and making documentaries on African-American subjects like Phillis Wheatley, America's first black poetess, forced to endure the prejudice of the founding fathers, and uplifting stuff like "From Great Zimbabwe to Kilomatinde," which isn't too harsh about that paragon of humanism, Robert Mugabe.

But PC/PR rules. Internationally and nationally, we're supposed to buy that Bill Clinton somehow snatched two minor reporters for Al Gore's TV stations, without White House involvement (except for an "attaboy"), on a couple of days turnaround , from Kim Jung Il's dire North Korean clutches; that an old Bush plan to assassinate the leaders of Al Qaeda and the Taliban was heroically dismantled by old Clinton hand Leon Panetta (the CIA kill teams were never operational, and the news broke just in time to counteract GOP propaganda against Health Care reform). But given all the Clintonites in the White House now, what are we seeing? . . . A demonstration that Bill, Hill and O are Chill? That if Hill had won, we'd be getting the same inchworm consensus media strategy instead of real policy? . . . Boring scoops for the long, hot summer.

Locally, we have Minibrain Keintz in for Foghorn Sullivan as Op Ed commentator this week, admitting how bad the CHCA financial picture is -- a 50 year-old weekly yielding a few thou profit, and calling that an upturn; a cockadoodle rooster scream because the Hitchcock gang has finally got a stranglehold on Local spending through Hochy, and a slightly more scary one because Quita's $40,000 annual grant only has a year to go . . . Let's see: strange speculations as to why the "editor" allegedly remarked before going on vacation that his Deputy News guy might be looking around; that either Walter or Hochy mentioned another "belt-tightening" was likely at the paper soon, because of an unexpected $20,000 loss in revenue (unconfirmed); that Lou "Ratso" Aiello was behind a push for Marie Lachat to head the Aesthetics Committee, a quid pro quo involving his little home repair business -- the "Chestnut Hill Way" of doing things.

And that numerous readers of the Local and the blog loved Lear's blasts in "Get Over It!". But were too chicken to say so.

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Blogger Ed Feldman said...

John I love you, but Creative Steps making money from this incident is a clear indication that they are fully assimilated into the whites mans' world of litigation as retaliation. When black people marched and sang "We Shall..." white people all thought, "How charming and ineffectual". When they rioted and burnt down their own neighborhoods, white people all thought, "How stupid". When they fought force with force, white people said "open fire". When they formed political organizations, white people said, "commies".-Insert ACORN coverage here-
In the movie, Trading Places, filmed here in Philadelphia, Eddie Murphy, after learning the white mans' ways, gets his retaliation in similar fashion. " The best way to hurt rich people is to turn them into poor people.' Creative steps has taken the white mans' ways and hurt these people the only way they can in the white mans world. I hope they wind up owning the pool. Ed The Jew Lawyer Feldman

Sun Aug 09, 11:39:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous J.L. said...

Always good to get journalism tips from top pros in the field, Ed. But like Obama's presidency seems to be proving, becoming "fully assimilated" into the "white man's world" just creates more "white men", don't it?

Sun Aug 09, 12:29:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Ed Feldman said...

You won't catch me defending the policies of a Clinton-Like Corporatist like Barry, John. He realizes that he'll still be a young man when he leaves office and will need to rely on the same people for his future earnings that gave the Reagans' their house and that fly Bill around in splendor.
Will Bill get an Executive Producer credit on the Hostage Deal Movie? Will Barry? I smell Ari Emanuel.
And what IS the more fitting occupation for the son of a terrorist? Hollywood Agent or White House Chief of Staff?

Sun Aug 09, 02:23:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Lombardi said...

Glad to hear it, buddy. I was afraid from your Lear lathering that you'd taken the position that some can be criticized, and others can't. And you've hit it exactly on Emanuel: something Joe McGinnis got down cold with "The Selling of the President", and R. Redford followed with "The Candidate" -- remember when the homie asks him during his ghetto visit: "Whut I want to know is whut you think of my DOG?!"
But we ought to cede the floor to NN's other commentators, right?

Sun Aug 09, 04:21:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Ed Feldman said...

For a Better Way-Bill McKay

Sun Aug 09, 06:20:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Ed Feldman said...

And two more things on the Valley Club scrum.
1. Irony Department. The first entity to offer the ousted campers a replacement pool was Girard College. As a Philadelphian of a certain age, I remember well a court action brought by the NAACP in the sixties to overturn Stephen Girards' Will, which stipulated admission to "orphan white boys". The case took years to win.
2. For a real story, trace the opening of all suburban swim clubs, including Valleys', that opened within a mile or so of the city limits, all within a year or so of the city pools becoming integrated in 1953. Call the piece Location, location location-or timing is Everything.

Sun Aug 09, 06:33:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous J.L. said...

One last thing, for anybody still reading: check "Punked by Obama" by Frank Rich in Sunday's NYT op ed section. He gives names, chapters & verse on how Obamarama actually works.

Sun Aug 09, 07:09:00 PM EDT  

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