Monday, August 11, 2008

How the Cokie Crumbles

I'm sort of amazed I haven't ranted about Cokie Roberts in the 4 years I've been blogging for in many ways she's the perfect smarmy symbol of all that's wrong with the Washington press corps--totally insular, completely involved in perpetuating the myth of its own savvy insider know-how, ridiculously wrong about 89% of what they say. That she gets trotted out regularly on NPR is exhibit 1 that NPR isn't liberal in the slightest.

So now we get this, if you missed it. It seems Roberts thinks Obama picked the wrong place to vacation this week. According to TPM:

On ABC's This Week [she] added that Hawaii was not an appropriate destination: too foreign and too exotic. "I know Hawaii is a state, but ..." Roberts declared, while insisting Obama vacation in some place like Myrtle Beach, S.C.

That's one wonderful construction, " I know _____ (noun) is _____ (part of a larger noun it's really part of), but _____ (eyeroll that means we all know better no matter how true silly words are)." Sort of like, "I know Cokie Roberts is a senior news analyst, but..." After all, what better place for the first African-American candidate for President to vacation than the state that still displays the honorable ole Rebel Flag in front of its state house. I hope I'm not stretching my neck out to say that there's no better place for him to do some relaxing.

Roberts didn't think her claim was a mistake, of course. Instead she repeated and deepened it, as she'd heard it before and now it most likely seemed to be received wisdom. Here's her exchange on NPR:

RENEE MONTAGNE: Now Obama is spending the week on vacation in Hawaii, he's taking a vacation, he says, because it's good for his family, but is it a good point in the presidential campaign?

COKIE ROBERTS: It's a little rough to be doing it at this point, although I think he's feeling somewhat secure, but Hawaii is also a somewhat odd place to be doing it. I know that he is from Hawaii, he grew up there, his grandmother lives there, but he has made such a point about how he is from Kansas, you know, the boy from Kansas and Kenya, and it makes him seem a little bit more exotic than perhaps he would want to come across as at this stage in the presidential campaign.

Nice job, getting "the boy," "Kenya," and "exotic" all within 16 words of each other.

Look can we discuss the candidates' positions on things and not what we learn from their breakfast choice or favorite iPod download (oh, sorry Senator McCain, I realize an iPod is too 21st century for you to understand). As this "insight" gets offered and then repeated by a so-called "expert," we've got McCain going all apoplectic about Russia and Georgia, probably because it seems like something he can relate to--the big bad USSR pushing its neighbors around. Let's talk about that. And how the US of A would never push its neighbors around--it goes halfway around the globe to do that.

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Blogger Mike said...

All she missed was the ubiquitous "Hussein" when she said his name.

4:09 AM  
Blogger Smitty said...

Argh. Mike beat me to the punch.

totally insular, completely involved in perpetuating the myth of its own savvy insider know-how, ridiculously wrong about 89% of what they say

That is my #1 problem with pundits. A whole industry built on erroneous conjecture, able to explain away its glaring errors to a public that 1) largely isn't listening anyway; and 2) will repeat it if they do hear it.

Here's the conspiracy theory in my head: the "MSM" and others see that Hillary will beat McCain in her sleep. She beats him with other people doing her speaking for her, moving her arms like a marienette. So they do their best to uphold Obama as the Second Coming and push his nomination through. Now they spend all their time questioning Obama on every little thing he does. "Obama brushed his teeth 30 minutes early today. Is that going to hurt his chances in November?" "Obama grabbed that guys elbow when he shook his hand. Is that too familiar of a gesture and is that going to hurt his chances in November."

Pretty soon, he is questioned so much about whether every little move was the right or wisest move, and the public (whom I still largely believe should not be allowed "a voice") begins to shift away from him. McCain wins, because that's that the complicit MSM wanted all along. And all they had to do to do it was get rid of Hillary.

6:43 AM  
Anonymous Freealonzo said...

I love the Myrtle Beach example as a place where "normal" people vacation. Fortunately Cokie too savvy to say The Hamptons or Martha's Vineyard

10:58 AM  
Blogger Generik said...

Where does Cokie vacation, I wonder?

10:32 AM  
Blogger Marty said...

I do like the image of Obama posterizing pipsqueak warmonger Lindsey Graham in beach volleyball, Myrtle Beach or Waikiki, smoking or non-smoking, peaches or pineapples. Cokie's, from Lousiana, is both Wellesley and HORspawn, and is married to another pundit. I think it would be impossible for her to be, well, rational? (A recent non-partisan media study showed the media, contrary to all the lovefest accusations, was harder on Obama.)

12:38 PM  

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