Jack Shafer Hates America

Quite simply, he hates America:

I wonder whether the media grievers gave a moment of thought to how this Russert torrent they produced played with viewers and readers. Did the grievers really think Russert was so important, so vital to the nation’s course, and such an elevated human being that he deserved hour upon hour of tribute? I wonder whether any of the responsible journalists paused to think, Hey, this is really weird. We’re using our unchecked editorial power to soak the nation with our tears about our friend, and that’s unseemly!

On days like this, I, too, hate the press.

For those of you wondering where the title of this post comes from, see here.

*** Update ***

Debra Saunders also hates America.






35 replies
  1. 1
    Ugh says:

    I agree. It was ridiculous.

  2. 2
    Church Lady says:

    It gets worse. Tomorrow afternoon, MSNBC will be live broadcasting his funeral. More media naval gazing.

  3. 3
    Bobzim says:

    It seems to me that all of the NBC/MSNBC critics are overlooking the real problem that is the fascist, home-invading bastards holding the gun to their head and making ’em watch it.

  4. 4
    Seitz says:

    I agree. It was ridiculous.

    I think the reason it was so overblown is because it was so sudden. If Walter Cronkite died tomorrow, there would be tributes, but not the full blown coverage primarily because everyone has already said goodbye to him (hell, I thought he was already dead). Russert went so suddenly that this is everyones’ (in the press) chance to say goodbye and do all the lifetime achievement crap that they would have done upon his retirement. It’s not that he’s so much more worthy, but that they didn’t get a chance to tell him goodbye.

    I stayed away because I didn’t love the guy and it was all a bit much, but I was at my parents’ house this weekend, and they were big Russert fans, so I held my tongue.

  5. 5
    cbear says:

    reposted–

    From Roger Ailes (the good one):

    “And When They Rolled Away The Stone, Tim Was Gone”

  6. 6
    Joe Beese says:

    Do people still watch television news?

    Other than live video of speeches, is there a single thing they do better in the way of news than the Internet does?

  7. 7
    Brachiator says:

    On days like this, I, too, hate the press.

    I barely know who Jack Shafer is. I will make a note, though, to officially not give a shit when he dies. Apparently, he would want it that way.

    I have a digital coverter for my TV, so I get NBC channels 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, and 4.4. Most of the additional channels are devoted to weather, infomercials, re-runs of marginal NBC programs, filler and a news feed that had some of the Russert death coverage. Similar stuff on the other digital channels.

    This means that even with the supposedly ridiculous coverage of Russert’s death, 90% of TV was devoted to the same crap as always. No major or even minor news story lacked coverage.

    TV journalists get to celebrate their own in a way that no other profession can. Big deal.

    I didn’t see Russert canonized, but I did learn that a number of his colleagues respected him and were inspired by him. Not even Shafer’s screed contradicts this. No one seriously tried to put a halo on him or suggest that he was faultless as a journalist. His colleagues were too professional as journalists to do this.

    What we are left with is the sour nonsense of the professional cynic, who always finds a reason to pretend to feel superior to gratuitous displays of sentiment.

  8. 8
    wasabi gasp says:

    Randy Quaid is a shoo-in for lead role in The Passion of the Russert.

  9. 9
    Davebo says:

    I barely know who Jack Shafer is. I will make a note, though, to officially not give a shit when he dies.

    Well duh, that’s because you’ll have no idea he had died.

  10. 10
    Jeff says:

    No major or even minor news story lacked coverage.

    Like Kusinich calling for impeachment? Or the umpteenth effort to let the White House off the hook for illegal taps?

  11. 11
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    I’m just cynical enough at this point to believe that some of these people are mourning so ostentatiously in part to communicate how important they, as MSM figures, are. I never saw the same reaction for the stringers who got their asses shot off while covering a story in West Bumfuckistan.

  12. 12

    It is sad that Russert died an untimely death. I feel bad for his friends and family. Barnicle and Brokaw seem to have taken it pretty hard.

    Anyone who wishes to mock the dead, or those grieving for their loss, I have this guy for you.

    Pierced!
    2008 Darwin Award Nominee
    Confirmed True by Darwin

    (January 2008, Pennsylvania) A 23-year-old man with various body piercings wondered what it would feel like to connect his workplace test equipment to his chest piercings. Several co-workers tried to convince him that it was a bad idea to wire himself up to the electronic control tester, but he ignored their pleas.

    He proceeded to connect two alligator clips to his piercings and hit the test button…

    When the police and rescue personnel arrived, his co-workers were still trying to revive him with CPR and rescue breathing. They were not successful.

    My point is that I don’t care how much, or how little the media covers Russert. I have me some technology. Its called a remote control. AND my TV has an off switch.

    I prefer to consume most of my media through the intertrons where we can openly and frequently mock the media and those who comment on that same media (AND are aware of all internet traditions!).

    Russert was loved and respected by many. Unless, and until, a wave of humanity picks up his coffin and passes him around like a bunch of morons in a mosh pit and his body falls out in full view of cameras, I’ll just stay on the channel with the gorgeous looking French journalist “brushing up” on my French.

  13. 13
    Jorge says:

    It is also easy TV to produce…

    So, you get to eulogize your buddy while saving thousands upon thousands on satellite shots, freelancers, etc.

  14. 14
    Ted says:

    I think we need a trollop update.

  15. 15
    Fern says:

    Other than live video of speeches, is there a single thing they do better in the way of news than the Internet does?

    Well, I don’t personally know of any non-MSM on-line news sources that can sustain a network of foreign correspondents. Just for starters.

  16. 16
    Should Know Better says:

    There’s a decent column about this in the SFGate today too.

  17. 17
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    Well, I don’t personally know of any non-MSM on-line news sources that can sustain a network of foreign correspondents.

    The American media, other than than McClatchy, has largely dispensed with foreign correspondents. They instead piggyback on the work of correspondents working for BBC and other overseas media outlets. They don’t even bother to hire Arabic speakers to read the news in the Arab language publications in the region.

  18. 18
    Fern says:

    The American media, other than than McClatchy, has largely dispensed with foreign correspondents.

    It is true that I very seldom hear/watch US-based news – I’m kind of spoiled here in Canada with the CBC, which still does have some excellent people out in the field.

  19. 19
    Blue Raven says:

    Debra Saunders also hates America.

    Ah, she’s having one of her “a broken clock is right twice a day” moments, I see. As a subscriber to the SF Chronicle, I have decided she is a rough and unkempt patch of pseudo-conservative crabgrass on the editorial section’s lawn.

  20. 20
    w vincentz says:

    Yeah, yeah, yeah…Russert’s demise was way way overdone.
    Seems that Brittany is behaving, and Paris is nowhere to be found, and Anna Nicole is buried, and Natalie Hollaway has been shark food for a while. Good distractions are just that. GOOD DISTRACTIONS!

    Well, the good news…Jose’s find, the baby Jesus that I mentioned in the June 13 thread, the one that’s a miraculous gift from Mother Mary, is still available.
    The price has been reduced. Jose will accept any reasonable offer. It’s still in my freezer, and since it’s now solid, it doesn’t stink so much any more. If the “buyer” decides to thaw it out, it will probably stink again, but it should be expected. It’s just “horseshit” that looks like baby Jesus, afterall.

  21. 21
    JL says:

    4001 soldiers died in combat and they collectively did not receive as much mention as Russert’s untimely, although sad, death did.

  22. 22
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Randy Quaid is a shoo-in for lead role in The Passion of the Russert.

    Larry Drake as Russert sneaking an office donut in “The Last Temptation of Russert”.

  23. 23

    That’s some good hatin’ there, Jack.

  24. 24
    anna says:

    While sad that Russert died so young, I can’t help but remember when grief was more or less a private thing. Grieving was done with family and friends, not put on display for the world to see. After that first evening, it became like an orgy… an orgy of grief, and the same things were said over and over again until they became trite. It was very undignified, and Russert would probably have been appalled.

  25. 25
    w vincentz says:

    Is anyone marketing the little “Saint Tim” medallions that can be hung rom microphones just like the Saint Anthony ones that my friend has hanging from his rearview mirror?
    I’d sure like to buy one, even if it’s made out of aluminium
    rather than tin.

  26. 26
    mark says:

    They don’t even bother to hire Arabic speakers to read the news in the Arab language publications in the region.

    I believe you, Dennis, but I’m wondering how you know this. Just curious. In any case, this is unforgivable … surely there are starving graduate students out there who would do this for the cost of an anchorman’s haircut.

  27. 27
    Xenos says:

    One measure of how appropriate this is would to consider what the deceased would have thought about it. Since he is widely praised as a human, non-egocentric guy, I suspect Russert would have been mortified by all of this coverage.

  28. 28
    skippy says:

    the overblown coverage of russert’s death has become such a joke in the skippy household that today, while flipping the channels, i landed on msnbc which showed the live viewing of russert in his coffin.

    i refused to comment, but my feelings were so aparent on my facial experession that mrs. skippy broke up into gales of laughter.

    i mean, really, come on…a televised viewing of the corpse??? for a newsman???

    that’s beyond bad taste.

  29. 29
    phoebes in santa fe says:

    Xenos said:

    “One measure of how appropriate this is would to consider what the deceased would have thought about it. Since he is widely praised as a human, non-egocentric guy, I suspect Russert would have been mortified by all of this coverage”

    He hit it out of the ballpark with his post.

  30. 30
    DaveInOz says:

    His death was a tragic loss. But I’ve been confused by all of the recent eulogies to him about how he was an interrogator more than an interviewer on MTP. It doesn’t match with the story that stuck in my mind from during Libby’s trial.

  31. 31
    gypsy howell says:

    Is it safe to criticize his work now?

    I can’t speak to Russert the man (I’m sure he was a wonderful father, husband, friend, yadda yadda yadda) but as a political journalist, he sucked wind, best summed up by his own words “I wish someone had picked up the phone and called me.”

  32. 32
    gypsy howell says:

    It was very undignified, and Russert would probably have been appalled.

    Unlikely.

  33. 33
    The Thinking Man's Mel Torme says:

    I can’t help but remember when grief was more or less a private thing. Grieving was done with family and friends, not put on display for the world to see.

    I expect to see Tweety throw himself on the casket, wailing loudly. Which will, natch, be included in his “Press the Meat” audition reel.

    The overuse of the adjective “tragic” in this case has grown to epic proportions, as has the insistence he was a “young” man. Sorry, 58 is not young. Younger than one of his affluence (and thus access to health care) expects to die from natural causes, yes, but probably within the standard deviation of a natural lifespan.

  34. 34
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    I believe you, Dennis, but I’m wondering how you know this. Just curious. In any case, this is unforgivable … surely there are starving graduate students out there who would do this for the cost of an anchorman’s haircut.

    If they have any Arab speakers they don’t use them. I have yet to see any American media outlet directly quote an Arabic-only source. if you want that then you must go to Juan Cole, or Abu Aardvark,both of whom speak the language. During the Iraqi government’s recent operations against Basra, Cole had some great pieces translated from the work of Iraqi bloggers who were on-scene. Considering that the MSM doesn’t have the same security requirements that the government agencies do it shouldn’t be difficult for them to hire Arabic speakers.

  35. 35
    kchiker says:

    Here I got all excited…but then I read more closely and realized you were linking to Debra Saunders and not Jennifer Saunders….

Comments are closed.