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"Losing my faith in humanity ... one neocon at a time."

Monday, November 01, 2004

Political Thuggery in Vogue

posted by Jazz at 11/01/2004 04:46:00 PM

NOTE: YOU ARE VIEWING AN ARCHIVED POST AT RUNNING SCARED'S OLD BLOG. PLEASE VISIT THE NEW BLOG HERE.

Howell Raines has an incredible piece of commentary in the St. Petersburg Times on this election eve. He discusses "political thuggery" not in terms of partisans breaking windows, tearing up signs, or beating up dissenters, but instead looks at how political discourse between the parties and, as a subsequent effect, journalism's coverage of the dialogue, has deteriorated into a pathetic sludge. He offers well written comments on a number of areas, but there are two in particular which I'd like to quote.

First, he looks at journalism. The days of unbiased, respected journalism are numbered unless things change dramatically.

"JOURNALISM: Facts may not be entirely dead as shaping forces in American public life, but the vital signs are not good."

In its most triumphant period, the American press invented the postwar model of journalism that sought to be both fair and analytical and that was admired globally throughout the last half of the 20th century. Fox - and its enablers on the comedy news shows and among neoconservative intellectuals - have destroyed public trust in that traditional model.


Next, I would like to touch on his analysis of the evolution of the Bush family as a political powerhouse in a nation undergoing a theocratic highjacking.

THE BUSHES: My generation of political reporters bear some responsibility for this ethically bankrupt dynasty. We helped glorify big-city rogues like Richard Daley and urban icons like Rudy Giuliani as colorful character actors in the drama of democracy.

We treated George Wallace, Strom Thurmond, even Goldwater and Reagan as comic regional curiosities. We did not predict that their operatives - think of Lee Atwater as Exhibit A - would make their DNA the dominant strain in America's political gene pool.

Another reason that America's voters and journalists were lulled into underestimating the Bush threat was that it came from an unexpected source. We expected venality from buccaneers like the Kennedys or lurkers from the fringe like Nixon. Who could have guessed that such a proud, powerful know-nothing as George W. Bush would be a scion of the great Industrial Age fortunes and a graduate of our second oldest university?

This is an excellent piece, and well worth your time to read.