Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

some perspective

On the New Yorker cover, which I do think is stupid and in terrible taste. Ambinder (who I read precisely because he both is part of the media decision-making circle and yet has some perspective for a DC insider) says:

Fake Crisis v. Real Crisis

14 Jul 2008 03:11 pm

So the New Yorker is headquartered in Conde Nast's Times Square palace. A few blocks away are the sturdy skycrapers housing Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers. And other banks that are going bust.

The financial system continues to unravel, rapidly for itself but slowly for our news cycle, which I guess confuses everybody.

And we're in a tizzy over a magazine cover?

I think this is spot on analysis. As usual. I guess I read Ambinder because for a political journalist, he seems more willing than most to draw aside the curtains and to talk about how the sausage of media-constructed stories are made:

Outrage is often phony; major campaigns contrive their outrage precisely for effect. (When I ask about these contrivances, I am told that they are "part of the game.") But outrage is often phony even if it seems real. Phony outrage is outrage for the sake of feeling outraged; it's a comfortable outrage, an outrage that serves to reinforce feelings of solidarity and get rid of feelings of dissonance. Outrage is a covering emotion, like its close cousin, self-righteousness. We love to be offended. We love to feel affronted.

Everyone is so outraged, outraged, outraged all the time that we're defining outrage down. If our outrage meter hits 10 at every conceivable sleight or remark, then when something really outrageous happens -- something truly morally despicable or cowardly takes place -- we're numb. Outrage moves votes and changes opinion. But if everything's outrageous, then nothing is.

And that's outrageous.
Astute and apt.


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