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World's Laziest Journalist

October 3, 2005

By Bob Patterson

 

There was a time, many moons ago, when all this columnist's complaints about the methodology of upper management would be dismissed by my supervisor with the rejoinder: "There you go again, thinking logically."

 

Lately, when assessing current Quality of Punditry Quotient (QPQ), it seems that many of the liberal media should keep his rejoinder in mind when they attempt to solve the World's Woes with a new bumper sticker slogan.

 

The conservative talk show hosts, it seems, already know that when assessing politics one should keep in mind the "rules of order" drawn up by the residents ad hoc advisory committee at the local lunatic asylum. 

 

If columnists would only recall the old beatnik expression "crazy, man, crazy" things will make more sense.

 

Last week the conservative talks shows were urging America to dismiss the indictment of Tom DeLay as the whimsical expression of the preferences of "an unabashed partisan zealot."  It was, the Rush Battalion alleged, a gross miscarriage of justice and waste of taxpayers funds.  (Reminiscent of the big bucks spent to embarrass OJ Simpson.)  For conservative talk show hosts, District Attorney logic only makes sense when a sensational murder case ends with the death penalty being administered (usually in Texas).

 

Recently a goofy picture of George W. Bush has made the rounds on the Internet and it was usually accompanied with some snide remarks about "what's in this guy's drink?" 

 

The "Dave Clark Five Intelligence Test" would, if one were permitted to administer it to the President, establish once and for all if the guy earned his college degree or had (as some of the tinfoil helmet brigade allege) some proxies take his final exams.  It's a simple test.  You ask just one question: "How many members of the Dave Clark Five (the once famous now fading British Invasion Band) can you name?"  Many folks will ponder the question and admit failure - "None!"  Pundits should not ever trust anyone who can't name at least one member of the group that made Glad All Over, a bit hit.  The smart ones, will, even if the test subject has never heard one of their songs, be able to come up with the name for one of the boys in the band.  Hint: his initials were D.C.  Only a real smart-ass (hi, mom!) will furnish the questioner with the names: Dave Clark, Denis Payton, Rick Huxley, Lenny Davidson, and Mike Smith - as the line-up most often listed. 

 

Last week, the New York Times made their opinion columns part of a premium package that required a subscription fee.  In one of her first columns written for that audience, Maureen Dowd's headline was "Dancing in the Dark."  Was it an apt metaphor for her former online audience?  Dunno, because you couldn't tell from just the headline alone.

 

Recently the staff of the Columbia Journalism Review's website have been chiding the Mainstream Media for their continuing abysmal performance.  When some commentators started to reevaluate the recent unsubstantiated stories about egregious conduct in New Orleans immediately following hurricane Katrina, the CJR staff was on the topic immediately. 

 

We've sent a story suggestion to them.  Logically, shouldn't the CJR squad respond enthusiastically when someone suggests that they have their fact-checkers follow any connection between Prescott Bush, Dresser Industries, and Halliburton?  The MSM seems fixated on the relationship between Dick Cheney and Halliburton.  Wouldn't it be a hoot, if there was a much stronger connection between Halliburton and the Bush clan, that was being totally ignored?

 

Wouldn't you think that after several recent instances when the MSM had to play catch-up with the blogs, it would be cool if the CJR crew could do the homework for someone like (for instance) the New York Times and then present it as a "If we could do this story, why can't you?" type of article?  If the CJR Daily mission statement is to goad the MSM into a better performance record, wouldn't dropping a scoop in their laps, be a noteworthy way to prod the Times and other members of the MSM into action?  Who will goad the goaders?  It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it.

 

This columnist has long maintained that there is a fundamental difference between being very lazy and not doing a job at all.  The two are as different as getting unemployment checks and not qualifying to collect.

 

If the aforementioned web site won't take our suggestion, maybe we could plant an item about our quest at LA Observed, the web site for Southern California media insiders?

 

If that doesn't work, perhaps, then, we should contact Nick Madigan, the Baltimore Sun's media reporter because he does the weekly commentary Minding the Media (which is available at the KCRW website for I-Pod downlaod).  Surely he should be able to provide us with information about how to contact some media biggie who'd like the story suggestion.

 

Bill O'Reilly said last week that the police officers, who didn't show up for work in New Orleans immediately after hurricane Katrina, could have called in to let them (the watch commander?) know, that that particular officer was not able to report for duty on that day.  Excuse me?  At the time, weren't communications in a shambles?  Wasn't phone service knocked out completely, and weren't short wave radio bands being commandeered by FEMA (and possibly an aircraft carrier in the Gulf of Mexico)?  You gotta love these conservatives who just assume that impossible conditions should be no impediment to anyone, because this is a country with a high regard for rugged individuals.  Conservatives never let reality stand in the way of their outrageous debating style.  It must be fun. They get paid atrocious sums of money to bulldoze their way over logical rebuttals.  Logic has been obsoleted.  Where can I get such a job?

 

Later in the week the master of the Will to Power (and Subverting Logic in the Process) style of journalism was saying that releasing more photos of prisoners being abused would fuel a dangerous situation.  He thinks things go wrong in every country and that it would be the photos themselves that exacerbate the situation and not the abuse per se.

 

That logic indicates that men who commit adultery aren't doing wrong unless their wives find out about it.  O'Reilly would probably get almost unanimous consent on that bit of rationalization from most of the men in the USA, eh?  Previously he has said "It's not a lie if you believe it."  [There is a bar in Santa Monica named "The Office" so that statements such as: "I'm in The Office, so you might as well have dinner," can truthfully be said.]

 

Several years ago there was a special phone booth in Marina del Rey, that would offer the caller a variety of background sound effects such as the typewriters clicking (we said it was quite a long time ago) or one of those air wrenches used by almost all tire shops.  "Sorry I'll be late.  You and the kids can eat now.  Save some for me, when I get home."  No lies there, just good old ingenuous deception via sound effects. 

 

Has Bushesque become an official word in Punditland?  Wouldn't that word delineate someone who proclaims an opponent's biggest strength as a major weakness?  For instance it would be as if some miscreant were to allege that the World's Laziest Journalist's columns stream-of-consciousness style were scattered and disoriented. Just as a six-foot, seven-foot, eight-foot cluster of bananas makes "a bunch," so different items can be a cohesive column.  That style worked well enough for Walter Winchell and Herb Caen, so why not use it online where a bored reader is only a quick click away from moving on to something else?

 

We had started last week intending to respond to a reader in Australia who was curious to know what kind of column an ordained minister in the Universal Life Church would write about the recent news that the United States Justice Department will give very intense attention to (and expend funds for) investigating pornography. 

 

In an era when the topic of the potential for terrorism has become a national obsession, thinking about extensive expensive operations to investigate dirty pictures only seems unreasonable to folks like our reader in Oz and/or our former supervisor.  To a minister, the thought of pouring over tons of evidence for such cases is daunting, but that task is something that must be endured for the good of the community.  Maybe we'll do a thorough stint of fact-finding and return to that topic in the near future?  Wouldn't interviewing Ginger Lynn be a fun facet of fact checking that topic? 

 

KXLU pundit Marvin E. Quasniki - who would bring up topics such as: "If Superman is bulletproof, how does the barber cut his hair?" - used to end his commentary with this signature sign-off: "If you untie my hands and feet; I promise to come back later."

 

Now, if the disk jockey will indulge us so that we won't have to break his arm, he will play a song written by Willie Nelson, and popularized by Patsy Cline titled Crazy and we will make an escape attempt.  Until next time, have a great week; go nuts!

 

 

 

Copyright (including logo) 2005 – Robert Patterson

Email the author at worldslaziestjournalist@yahoo.com































 
 
 
 

Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
 
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