Give Me Symbolism, Damn It! The New “Drama-News” Business

People are getting very frustrated with the oil spill that continues to gush into the gulf. It sickens me and its unbelievable to me that they ever let oil rigs off-shore – especially if they didn’t have a tested plan to fix a problem like this. Rachel Maddow had a great review of news footage from years past. This isn’t new, they have never had any good plans to fix this type of problem. It is posted below, watch it if you want some context to the situation. Of course the media never seems to give any context, they treat everything as a new phenomenon, they re-invent the wheel repeatedly.

I’ve heard both James Carville and Harry Shearer screaming and attacking the president, both Louisiana natives who are especially upset that this mess hasn’t been fixed yet. They have every right to feel that way. But I think they are both letting their emotions overwhelm them and have slipped into irrationality. Their anger is misdirected, very much like someone who is helpless and has to lash out at someone. I think they have chosen the wrong people, to even imagine that the President doesn’t take this seriously is just fucking stupid. Both Shearer and Carville are screaming for symbolism, they admitted it in their rants. They want style over substance, damn it. I want visuals, photo ops…maybe President Obama should move the Oval office to Louisiana until this problem is fixed….what, 20 fucking years from now? It’s not like there is anything else the president has to worry about, and I think Barack Obama got his undergraduate degree in petroleum engineering, right?

These cries for a superhuman response, they want Obama to swoop in and fix the problem like magic, are very irrational and like a said, very much a scream for help from someone who feels they have no control, no options. The response from Carville and Shearer and I would add Howard Fineman, is really kind of childish. This situation isn’t cut and dry, there isn’t a magic answer that just isn’t getting done. The experts in this area HAVE been assembled in Houston for many weeks, a combination of experts tapped by the administration, BP experts and experts from other oil companies too. They are weighing all the science, testing, experimenting and they are working with urgency, we may not have a live feed of their work, but it is happening.

The American media and the public in general are very much like a recovering alcoholic (and there sure are plenty of actual alcoholics and recovering alcoholics in our country). They want to blame someone, they want to take their rage out on someone. There is no acceptance of the problem – someone must be blamed, blood must be let. And I think that anger should be directed towards these big oil (and other) companies. It should be channeled into electing democrats who support putting controls on big businesses like the oil industry, the health care industry and all the other profit driven industries who really put the bottom line ahead of worker safety, public safety and the environment. That anger should become a movement to solve problems and prevent future problems that result from the greed of these ivory tower fuckers.

Directing it at a president who really is trying to change direction and fix some of these systemic problems is stupid, in the face of the most partisan resistance in the history of our country combined with a few loud voices on the left who are sore losers.  How fucking stupid is it to weaken the person in the drivers seat, an administration that has the chance to make real change with a senate and house that is the most favorable we Democrats are going to get, possibly ever.  What sense does it make to shift the anger from the real culprits, BP, Cheney and the whole culture of the Bush Whitehouse that did EVERYTHING it could to help business get away everything they wanted. The regulators took 8 years off…..and the bastards and bitches got paid for it too. They went in every day to their offices and didn’t do a goddamn thing. In fact, they reversed a whole lot of regulations, didn’t enforce them and in fact changed regulations to actually help them fuck us some more.

Political folks like Howard Fineman, who I respect a lot, are trying to turn this into a political issue for the president…their frustration always turns to the political blame game. Instead of doing good journalism, examining how we got to this point, what happened in the last 10 years plus that allowed this to happen with no contingency plans. They should go out and do their damn jobs and find out why this happened so that it may not happen again. Some certainly are, go Rachel Maddow. Rachel is one of the only journalists out their that really digs deep, she has an awesome staff of researchers and she’s no slouch either.

Now Keith Olbermann has bought into the Drama-news themes, he loves his dramatic over-the-top comments where he laces it with emotion, anger, outrage and really is usually dead on. But couching it in the drama turns it into a spectacle which then clouds his actual points, he becomes the story instead of the facts. I miss the days when journalists saw their role as presenting hard facts and evidence, reliable information, confirmed information, instead of the crap that passes for journalism today. Fucking tweats by celebrities and politicians become news, pure opinion, no fact checking and even when there is fact checking done, they still present it as just another side of the issue. Journalism has become laughable for the most part.

I heard Chris Matthews, another liberal journalist who loves him some drama say something like “Will president Obama be a casualty of the oil spill?” or something like that. So let me get this right, a British corporation who was very cozy with Cheney (Haliburton built the damn thing, right) and the Mineral Management Service basically was out to lunch, smoking crystal meth during the Bush years, seriously and a few individuals at BP fucked up and then covered it up  – now how does that equate to the president being a casualty? How are they going to make the connection? When the book is written on this disaster, I know that it will show that the Obama administration did all that they could considering they haven’t set up the Department of Miracles yet. I’m sure the Republicans will support a new government agency to solve all public and private problems, become experts on every technology and industry in the country from coal mines to oil wells to auto manufacturers (Toyota reference) to the chemical industry…etc.  Maybe it should be called The Department of Symbolism, because so much of what people are screaming for is just a good mother-fucking photo-op. They just want to FEEL like the president is doing something, they want comfort, they want a shoulder to cry on.

The last thing I will rant on is the call for the federal government to take over the problem. What everyone is saying is that if that happens, they own the problem in many ways including being accountable for paying out to the the people effected by it. It lets BP off the hook to some extent and shifts it to the American taxpayers. Hmmmm, that sounds like a great idea, turn it over to the non-experts who Republicans continuously claim can’t do anything right and then send the bill to the American people, another great fucking idea.


12 thoughts on “Give Me Symbolism, Damn It! The New “Drama-News” Business

  1. Fantastic rant, Jim! Yes, BP Oil from the start has been giving out false information to keep the Feds at bay. They’re the culprits here. I heard one of the talking heads saying it was the Obama Admin that gave the permit to BP to create this oil rig. Ummmm, so that means Obama is responsible for BP cutting corners and then blowing themselves up resulting in the biggest environmental disaster in the 21st Century? Seriously? Man I hate the stupid!

  2. What tune would you guys be singing if there was a Republican in office right now?


  3. We would also be saying, “I bet the republican in the White House is enjoying BP’s desecration of the Gulf because they’re all like the Enron boys!”.

  4. How do you feel about the huge campaign contributions that BP gave Obama Kay?

    And just like a Progressive you try to turn a subject into personal jabs. The true sign of someone who is scared of a civil debate.

  5. Also….this president is frightened to give a press conference during prime time. Just look how long it took him to give the one today, and when it came to real questions all he could do was pass the buck to his administration. Lame!

  6. You have got to be kidding.Obama got 900,000 from BP employees, not BP oil. Look at how much was given to the republicans. Not a good argument.And he gave a very good presser today. He doesn’t have go go the the press everytime he does something. He isn’t Bush.

  7. I’ve stayed away from commenting for weeks because some of the people I depend on the most for rational thought had jumped off the high board with the “Obama needs to do more” stuff. What would happen if Obama takes over this mess, without any of the technology, know-how or equipment and BP gives it over to him – let’s it really become his problem? When this shit goes on twice as long while the government tries to figure everything out, how loud will the voices on the left become then? What secret do people think Obama and BP are holding onto just so they can wreck the environment and many peoples’ lives for the next generation? Which solution are they holding in that special place until just the right moment and then they’ll spring it on us and become heroes? I heard a congressman last week that said there were over 20,000 workers involved in this whole debacle. Every scientist in the government, some of our smartest brains are working on this issue, but what do we hear constantly — BP is trying to save the well so they can save their oil so they can make more money, and Obama’s government isn’t doing enough (could they be in partnership with BP?). It’s really enough to make a person totally tune out to listening at all when the assumption always gets around to everybody is out to shaft us at every opportunity. I’m not naive. I know the greed that exists. Hell, if I ever had any doubt, Wall Street surely would have opened my eyes. But, good grief, millions of gallons of oil are polluting the Gulf and we can convince ourselves that the people that caused this disaster have little interest in fixing their mess. If for no other reason than the aesthetics of it, I have to believe that nobody at BP thinks this is a good thing, and they as much as anyone want this to just stop.

    Today, Chris Matthews, in his most high drama behavior, is having a fit about bringing in the tankers to remove the oil. He was talking to a professor from a university in Louisiana. That guy explained to Chris just how big a supertanker is and that once you put it somewhere, that’s where it remains. These things aren’t little dingys that can be moved around at will. The guy also brought up the fact that in most areas the oil is basically on the surface. Those supertankers would be basically useless for cleaning up, so this narrative should just go the fuck away. This getting a case of the vapors that the media is projecting would be hilarious if so much of the public didn’t have complete faith that they are telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

    O/T: I saw an interview with Jonathan Alter on his new book and one of the stories he relates is how everybody wanted Obama to drop healthcare and he was the ONLY one, including all of his top advisors, that was determined to see it through. The narrative we got though from the left (especially) and the right was that Obama didn’t fight hard enough and that healthcare would fail specifically because Obama had no fight. Lo and behold, healthcare passes. Again, it’s enough to make a girl scream.

  8. thanks Staci, I share your feelings. I thought his news conference was great, he did a very good job of answering all the criticism and ignorance.

    On Obama taking over this mess, experts say that if he does, then BP is off the hook for some of it. IT becomes the taxpayers problem. So can you imagine if Obama had taken it over from day one what the assholes would be saying…he’s nationalizing the oil industry, he’s a socialist, what does he know about the oil industry???? Why is he bailing out big oil. The “left” critics of course would just carp at the details, it wouldn’t really matter what he did, they would find something to bitch about.

    I saw Jonathon Alter on a few shows too and heard that same story. It says to me that Obama isn’t political like everyone around him, he really does want to get shit done. I don’t think he is really that concerned about the politics of things, he believes that if he solves some issues that are plaguing us the politics will come along.

    I was talking to one of my co-workers today about how just last december and into January people were saying health care was dead, Obama’s presidency is a failure, he took on too big of issues…you heard it too. Check out these paragraphs from a Steve Benen piece about how President Obama’s first 16 months in office rank up there with FDR.

    “First came a stimulus bill that, while aimed mainly at ending a deep recession, also set out to remake the nation’s educational system and vastly expand scientific research. Then President Obama signed a health care bill that was the biggest expansion of the safety net in 40 years. And now Congress is in the final stages of a bill that would tighten Wall Street’s rules and probably shrink its profit margins. […]

    [T]he turnabout since Jan. 20 — the first anniversary of Mr. Obama’s inauguration and the day after Scott Brown, a Republican, won a Senate seat in liberal Massachusetts — has been remarkable. Then, commentators pronounced the Obama presidency nearly dead. Today, he looks more like a liberal answer to Ronald Reagan.”

  9. All politicians get money from corporations, it’s about the only way to get elected. And who cares what company a person works and who they donated to, what do they all imagine is happening, a member of congress is taking bribes from employees of BP or Health Insurance companies and is going to change his stance on some issue. It’s portrayed as this nefarious deal, ooouuuuuu, oil employees gave money to a politician. I feel the same way when liberals accuse Republicans of being bought and sold by lobbyists…but of course THEY ARE. :) But seriously, until we go to a publicly financed and controlled election, money is going to be the king of all in both parties.

    As far as the press conferences go, President Obama has been more accessible than any president in my memory. He’s going places, doing things, giving speeches, doing joint press conferences with foreign leaders, town halls, hecklers, he’s out there. But of course the whiny ass white house press corp thinks they are due a formal press conference where they can grandstand and throw polls in his face. Fuck the press, my disgust for them just keeps growing. You may have noticed in my rants…. :)

  10. Okay, I’m really living in some parallel universe now. On Morning Joe today, David Gregory actually made some relevant points on the comparison between this oil spill and Katrina. I’ve looked for a clip and cannot locate one. Damn! I rarely agree with Gregory, but this was a fantastic POV. To sum it up, he said that Katrina was a finite storm and that the federal government had all the resources and technology and would rightly be responsible for the management and cleanup. With this oil spill, it’s BP with the technology and equipment, so it only makes sense for them to be over the process of getting this thing stopped. He also pointed out that there is absolutely nothing Obama could have accomplished by being on site everyday ala Guilliani and the 9/11 response.

    Secondly, there was another guest that pointed out that what changed the general election primary around for Obama was when he was the only one that remained calm during the financial meltdown and EVERYBODY thought this was a fantastic trait for a president to have. Now, not so much. Remember how the left was so proud of their guy for not getting all riled up and keeping his cool and actually handling stuff vs talking about handling stuff? When did that become a liability? Now we want him to stomp his feet and rail at the heavens so we can feeeeeeel that he really cares. Sheesh!

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