Thursday, May 15, 2008

Dewey Defeats Truman

If this article and accompanying video (via) weren’t on the Washington Post website, I’d think it was from The Daily Show: Dana Milbank intoning “It’s another exciting day on the Clinton campaign Death Watch” over the opening shot of a yawning bus driver, the “makeshift hackysack game … played with a crushed cigarette carton,” the airplane envy because Obama’s press plane is bigger than Clinton’s, Milbank trying to glare down an affable and very cute Mo Elleithee. “It’s been an entire week since Tim Russert declared the race over,” Milbank growls. “Yeah, y’know, a funny thing happens in these elections -- the voters get to decide,” Elleithee replies cheerfully. He’s right, too: it ain't over till the fat lady votes and the fat men make their backroom deals.

[P.S. May 10, 2016 - The video seems no longer to be available at the Post website, but I found a copy here.  Eight years later, Milbank is denouncing the sexism Clinton faces and is urging Bernie Sanders to bow out gracefully.  What a guy.]

Milbank’s column, built around the Monty Python “Dead Parrot” sketch, is more of the same, down to the bored, supercilious tone. The impression he tries to give of lofty above-it-allness doesn’t come off. Even to someone like me who doesn’t like Clinton, Milbank’s eagerness (which he shares with his colleagues) to show who’s in charge of the news, and the campaign, and the elections, is impossible to take seriously. This is a parody, isn’t it?

In fact, the story is really about the press corps, not Clinton or the campaign. How can anyone take the press seriously on this? First they were assuring us that Rudy Giulani was going to take the Republican nomination, now they’re fawning on McCain, and of course it’s the press that’s been trying to sabotage Obama with the Wright connection and other irrelevancies. And these are the elite, national media – the “mainstream media” as they were being called till recently, but even liberal bloggers seem to have abandoned that term. I don’t read the corporate media much, and when I do, I’m constantly amazed at how stupid and arrogant they are.