Saturday, March 26, 2011

Wagman: McCaskill Voting To Protect Middle Class Is "Cultivating An Image"

Ed Martin is running for something, and that inevitably means that his buddy Jake Wagman at the Post-Dispatch will be publishing a string of nonstop attacks on Martin's opponents. This past week, Wagman has been stretching out the McCaskill-paying-her-taxes-late story with a eye for trivial details that was never applied to, for example, Roy Blunt. Today's hit piece was questioning whether Claire McCaskill's wealth would be a liability for her.

Here's the most absurd part:
That type of financial wherewithal is a stark contrast to the image McCaskill has cultivated in nearly three decades of politics in Missouri — where she has traveled the state in an RV and stumped with her mother — and in Washington, where she has fought to increase the minimum wage and railed against Wall Street bonuses.
Actually, voting for the minimum wage and railing against Wall Street bonuses are not "cultivating an image." They are standing up for members of the non-leisure class.

But this is exactly what's wrong with our modern media, and with Jake Wagman in particular. The media is supposed to inform the citizens about issues that matter. Of course, what really matters are the policies under discussion and the effects those policies would have on people's lives. But this is precisely what the modern media does not want to discuss, for a number of reasons. First of all, it's hard work to understand policy, and some reporters are stretched thin and others are busy watching the Cardinals. Second, describing policy opens them up to charges of "bias" from people who have an interest in distorting reality. Thus, today's media adopts the cowardly position of "Democrats say this, Republicans say that," on all policy issues, and then does "investigative reporting" on relatively trivial issues like whether McCaskill has money. When I say "relatively trivial," of course I realize that having a lot of money can affect someone's judgment; however, it's not nearly as important as the actual political positions a person takes. Senator McCaskill's track record has consistently been one of standing up for the middle-class (at least, relative to the current D.C environment).

So here we are, with a mainstream media that inevitably focuses on the trivial while leaving readers uninformed about the actual issues. And this plays right into the Republican Party's hands since, after all, an informed public would never tolerate Republican's nonstop pandering to corporate giants who screw consumers, screw taxpayers, and don't even live up to their own stated ideology of "loving free markets."

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