The more I see and hear of the thin-skinned, cherry-picking, rumour-mongering rich kids and faux bourgeoisie who inhabit the political tranche of the Fourth Estate in America these days, the more I begin to worship at the altar of the BBC, which is troubling for me.
If public figures are going to increasingly put themselves within cyber arm’s reach of the public they purport to serve, people whose reading or viewing habits effectively pay these icons’ over-inflated salaries, then said talking heads need to learn the art of civil debate and how to accept disagreement gracefully and listen to another point of view, especially if that point of view has something valid to contribute to the discussion.
Last night on Twitter, Keith Olbermann got into a one-sided slanging match with a former fan, whose handle was “stormymalone.”
“Stormy” politely objected to the content of Olbermann’s latest “Special Comment,” based entirely on the rumour-mongering of arguably the laziest so-called journalist ever to cover the White House beat, Sam Stein. Stein is a suckling of Arianna Huffington, who’s being guided by arch-hack Howard Fineman in the art of shady, anonymous sources who always purport to know the way the object of their hatchetry thinks.
Olbermann based his comment on Stein’s rumour-mongering that maybe the President was angling to raise the age limit on Medicare to 67. The content of Olbermann’s latest “schooling of the President” (because that’s what these effete, white, affluent and privately-educated Progressives have to do to a black President, dontcha know?) was to remind him that liberals care about the poor, the indigent, the weak, the elderly and the disabled – implying that the President doesn’t. Olbermann also issued a less-than-veiled threat not to vote for Obama in 2012, if he even thought about cutting either Social Security or Medicare – which is rich, since Olbermann has never voted. The only assumption to be gleaned from that piece of overt hostage-taking is a nudge-nudge-wink-wink implication that, although Keith doesn’t vote, his threat is implicitly a clarion call for his sheeple to sulk out the vote in 2012.
And that would work out so well for all of us, wouldn’t it? Sulk out the vote for hissy fit then let the sort of roosters in the henhouse that will do real and lasting damage. Kinda like cutting one’s nose off to spite one’s face, isn’t it?
Anyway, “stormymalone” twittered her point, politely, to Olbermann:-
@keitholbermann Disenchanted w/ special comment tonight. Silly. Lots more liberal dems want Obama than don’t. Good night & good luck #sadabout 7 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone
@keitholbermann The world didn’t end when SS age was raised from 65. So when I’m 66+ it will be there. I still plan to work to 70 at least. about 7 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone
@keitholbermann Slams President for raising Medicare age from 65 to 67 yet 50% of youngish kids now will be 100+ yrs. That’s progress.
And Keith’s reply?
@StormyMalone in short, you’re fine, so screw everybody else. Hate to break it to you: you are not a liberal @StormyMalone Jesus, you really are nuts
Nice, eh? Not.
I know Twitter only allows for a 140-character response, but this doesn’t even denote actual character within the specified limit. This is the response of a creep, an overgrown adolescent who isn’t receiving the adulation and compliments on his cleverness he feels are his just reward and so he belittles his critic. She’s not even a critic, she’s a fan who watches his show and who happens to disagree with his point of view. Within the specified limit, “stormymalone” managed to get her point across succinctly, concisely and politely; and for that, she receives snark, ad hominem and invective from a high-profiled public figure.
Olbermann’s not the only one to treat his public thus. Joan Walsh famously tells anyone with a differing viewpoint that they’re “mental,” that they “need help” and that it “sucks to be you.” The celebrity talking heads issuing these verbal sideswipes aren’t recalcitrant adolescents, they’re a fiftysomething man and woman, multimillionaires who are fortunate enough to be given a public pulpit from which to expound on the frustrating weaknesses which they perceive this singular President to possess. Never mind that neither Olbermann nor Walsh has ever had any real connect professionally with government, elected officials or the manner in which politics functions in this country. Never mind, that one doesn’t vote and has never been able to commit himself enough to vote (albeit, he can seek to influence others’ votes). Never mind, the other is an unreconstructed PUMA who has difficulty accepting a black man at the helm as much as the other does as well.
Never mind that these people mouth platitudes regarding the poor, the working class, the Middle Class, the indigent, the troops, the disabled, the immigrants and cuddly animals. These are people who write cheques from the sanctity of their minimalist living rooms, for the benefit of the needy or the disabled, and the only working class people they know are the ones to whom they pay minimum wage to clean their less-than-fragrant bogs.
They are liberal voices, dammit, and their point of view is the accepted one! The populace will obey!
Well, it turns out that the omniscient Mr Olbermann, who reckoned that “stormymalone” was just some selfish shit out to score some late night points against a big name on Twitter – you know, some pleb who needed taking down – was actually responding to someone who had a very real and very vested interest in any changes to come in Social Security and Medicare.
“Stormymalone” is, in fact, an elderly disabled woman, a Democrat in red Indiana, a constituent of Mitch Daniels, who plans to work until she’s 70, if she’s able. The real time benefit of the twittersphere is that it enable you to watch so-called icons reveal their rancid feet of clay, but at the same time, it’s sad in that you get to see so many ordinary people’s expectations of these people vanish into the smoke and mirrors behind which their idols hide.
“Stormymalone’s” palpably disappointed reply to Keith’s snark:-
@KeithOlbermann That was a bit harsh, no? I’m on disability and still work like crazy even though I feel like crap. Not noble, just real. about 7 hours ago via Twitter for iPhonein reply to KeithOlbermann
@KeithOlbermann Seriously, I can understand the error because you are so much younger than I and I only know because I had to decide this yr about 7 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone in reply to KeithOlbermann
@KeithOlbermann You mean for SS? My birthday is 2/28/45 and my SS age is 66 which I just reached in Feb. about 7 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone in reply to KeithOlbermann
Seems Professional Left can’t reconcile they voted in 2008 for POTUS Obama and not Dictator Obama. Move to Cuba, guys. No need to write… about 7 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone
@BlueTrooth @keitholbermann pontificated to me in a tweet saying I’m not a liberal. 100% Pro choice, pro gov, pro Obama. Guess I’m an R! about 7 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone in reply to BlueTrooth
Here is Olbermann, perched high and alone in his ivory tower someplace in the oh-so-fashionable upper West Side of New York City, issuing threats to a President he’s already branded a “quisling” and a “Nazi appeaser”, bullying out a woman who was born in 1945, someone who is disabled and who is still working and making her own contribution to society and who plans on working until she’s 70. She’s someone who’s been there, done that, read the book, seen the movie and bought the teeshirt. KO’s salary in one week is probably more than she’d see in a year, and he treats this person as if she’s something he scrapes off the bottom of his shoe.
You know, living in Britain, we’ve all been transfixed here at the rate the media of Rupert Murdoch has come tumbling down to the ground, several year after the BBC, itself, was found to be – in certain respects - less than clean. Watching antics like this, from people who are supposed to be professional, only reinforces my view that the United States has become a oligarchy where the minds of willfully lazy and intellectually bereft people, both on the Right and on the Left, allow themselves to be led by the short and curlies into a welter of deliberate misinformation, by a media with its own sinister agenda.
So much is levelled on this President that people believe he has to do everything - execute, legislate, adjudicate. Even the Congress, both houses, act like the ubiquitous spoiled brat, stamping their feet and insisting that Daddy pay attention, that Daddy take an interest; and when Daddy does, they sulk some more, because in paying attention, Daddy has to remind the rest that they’re nothing but a gaggle of snivelling crybabies, looking after their own corporate preserve.
And so the media propagate the myth of the Magic Negro, if only to show that there is no such thing, and they unwittingly collude with the Dark Side conservatives, the arch-Rightwing activists, they purport to hate so much. They enable them, and by urging their sheeple to withold the vote for a Democratic President who’s achieved more legislatively than any Democratic incumbent in the past 50 years, they play an enormous part in taking this country back to the cultural dark ages.
But that’s OK, as long as Keith or Joan or Katrina or Ed still get their airtime and their points across. That’s OK, as long as there are people out there who’ll repeat their talking points and defend any criticism of Keith or Joan or Katrina or Ed as if they were deeply personal friends or family members, taking any disagreement as a personal insult. In the world of their warped loyalties, Barack Obama is the traitor, and these designer-clad, misanthropic twitterphiles are the only thing standing between us and any Armageddon they’d have us believe our President would inflict upon us.
That’s OK, because “stormymalone” inadvertantly revealed Keith to be the proverbial disrobed Emperor. These sadsacks want to be loved, adored and accepted; and any criticism of the viewpoint they’re trying to push regarding this devilish, uppity black President, means we like the black buy best, or as “stormymalone” opines, sadly cognizant:-
@JesusOfSuburia Wonder if Obama blocks people who disagree with him? KO will block me too. Our sin? We love Obama more than Keith.
And in the words of a real newsman and journalist, folks, that’s the way it is.