Palin, Trump And The Media’s “Balloon Boy Syndrome”
I started writing this post about a week ago, having no idea that the two subjects of the post, dumb and dumber, would meet up and chow on some pizza. If you added up their IQ’s, you still wouldn’t reach 100. I imagine there was a lot of grunting and pointing going on at this meeting of the stupids.
Cable news and even broadcast news have become vehicles for con artists, egomaniacs and narcissists to make lots of money. There are way too many examples of this in the last few years, but I will just pick a few to focus on. The most recent and blatant example is Donald Trump. He used the guise of “possibly” running for president to promote his NBC show “Celebrity Apprentice”. It was so over the top and obvious, that some in the media even said they knew he was just trying to get publicity and then they would “roll tape” or say “we’ll talk to the Donald right after the break.” So even after admitting that they were being used, they just kept doing it. There were a few days on MSNBC where he was camped out in their studio and they put him on every half hour to spew his bullshit, mostly unchallenged. And he always dropped in several mentions of his TV show, without fail. I watched as MSNBC anchors just sat there speechless as he vomited out his racist, elitist bullshit and in my opinion, did great harm to our society. They helped to perpetuate the underlying racism behind his birth certificate claims and towards the end of his media blitz, the President’s educational accomplishments. That all came to a halt with the complete shellacking of Donald Trump at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner. And then the next day, the killing of Osama bin Laden.
I called for a boycott of NBC until they fire him. I am still not watching that network until his ass is gone. It doesn’t look like it will be anytime soon, so NBC can count on one less viewer and one less consumer buying their advertisers products. I will not watch that network until he is off the air, period. I have also switched over to CNN as my daytime news network. Fuck MSNBC during the day, they simply take the latest meme from the “Morning Meme Generator with Joe” and repeat it on the half hour and then bring on Jane Hamsher or some other firebagger to beat up on the President and ignore his latest accomplishments. They usually have a Republican there to beat up on the president too, their idea of being bi-partisan. I do still watch Lawrence O’Donnell, Rachel Maddow and sometimes Ed Schultz. What else is there for a liberal to watch these days, until I get my cable network off the ground. (Only half joking)
The other example of the cable networks being willing vehicles for con artists is Sarah Palin. She has a documentary coming out and is on a bus tour. She has a fire in her belly, you know. I take Prilosec for mine. But once again, she is teasing the media into thinking she is running for president, when almost everyone says they know she will not. But that isn’t any reason to not pretend like she is and give her all the oxygen in the room. Who gives a shit about Joplin MO, or the radiation in Japan that has dropped off the radar, or the other communities torn apart by tornadoes or flooding. Instead, they are pimping for Sarah Palin and putting money directly into her greedy little, crib-noted hands. They are completely unabashed in giving her all the time she wants. And I’m not just talking about Fox News, this is all the cable networks, broadcast networks and the freakin internet too. I personally have grown tired of laughing at her half-witted sayings and screeching voice.
Mark my words, the next few weeks will be the Sarah Palin chronicles on cable news, they will have well paid reporters following her around, clinging to every word and tweet she spews, speculating about her run for president, blah, blah, fucking blah. And there is no way in hell she is running for president, that’s way too much work. Shit, she couldn’t handle being the governor of Alaska and cashed in while the getting was good.
I’ve been calling this phenomenon the “Balloon Boy Syndrome”, in honor of Richard and Mayumi Heene, the reality show folks who missed the limelight of being reality stars and had to jump up and down to get people to pay attention to them. This syndrome is very contagious, as soon as one network goes with a story, the others follow right along. Long gone are the days of checking sources or confirming stories, that’s for wimps. Run with it, what the hell, they can always spend 20 seconds saying they were wrong, after having beat the dead horse into the ground or followed the empty balloon half way across the country. They wait for the next ding and head off like salivating dogs to the next media created 15 minute fame whore.
The effect of the “Balloon Boy Syndrome” is that it just encourages others to do the same. At one point, I referred to the Republican primary as simply auditions for Fox News. Just today, I saw that Gov. Rick Scott of Florida and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas are both toying with the idea of throwing their hats in the ring. Who can blame them, all they have to do is say a few crazy things, watch the media descend upon them, they get built up, form a PAC, raise a bunch of money, write a book and collect the loot. And these cable outlets and news organizations just play right along with it, no shame, no apologies and no honor obviously. Is it any wonder the media ranks below child molesters in polls. (That may be a slight exaggeration, but who’s going to check on it?)