Political Theater

Media Horrified By Mirror

On "fake" fly-by-night news sites as campaign tools: The NRCC's single-page sites are designed to appear to be a local news portal, with logos like "North County Update" or "Central Valley Update." The articles begin in the impartial voice of a political fact-checking site, hoping to lure in readers. "We'll take a look at her record and let you decide," starts one. Then they gradually morph into more biting language. At the very bottom, in a box, is the disclaimer that the NRCC paid for the site.

A perfect plan! And unassailable within its horrible context: The intent is to mislead, obviously, but that is true of literally every [...]


The Middle West Is Not The Middle East And Other Failures of Story Happening Right Now

Political protests are hardly occasions for subtlety, but even so, the overblown analogies to the Middle East in Wisconsin are rather difficult to take. Scott Walker is the "Mubarak of the Midwest"— or, to more Biblically minded commentators, a "Pharoah." Similarly, the protesters are the people who have finally risen up to bring a "Tunisia Moment" to America. Paul Krugman has fallen for it too, terming Paul Ryan's comparison of Cairo and Madison "unintentionally apt." No list of pizza donations goes by without mention that some benefactors are Egyptian. Even the protesters themselves have picked up on it, suggesting Walker become President of [...]


Jon Stewart, Stop Hurting America!

Such a lather people are in, because Rick Perry was cheered at the Republican debate last week for executing 234 death row prisoners in Texas. Actually, Perry didn't even have a chance to repond to the question, posed by Brian Williams, before the audience started applauding. The transcript goes like this:

Williams: Governor Perry, a question about Texas. Your state has executed 234 death row inmates, more than any other governor in modern times. Have you…

(APPLAUSE) [also one person whistling]

Have you struggled to sleep at night with the idea that any one of those might have been innocent?

Well, of course not, Brian. What a question. Rick [...]


Palins And Bachmanns And A Huckabee: At the Iowa Straw Poll

When word went up in the press filing center Friday that Sarah Palin had rolled onto the grounds of the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines—unannounced, of course—a group of reporters, chasing a rumor about her location, immediately scampered off, weaving through the swine and cattle barns, dodging stony-faced teenage farmers and piles of pig shit. When we found her, near a row of massive steer, the scrum was already enormous.

As she posed for pictures with fairgoers, Palin insisted to the dozens of reporters jockeying for position around her that she was not there to steal the spotlight—nevermind the fact that she had arrived on the same day that [...]