Jul 23, 2022Liked by James Fallows

The media obsesses over Biden because of his age and too often portrays him as feeble. They didn’t cover Trump that way despite the fact that he is clearly far less healthy or mentally fit than Biden. Once again they have chosen a preferred narrative frame — this time it’s Biden is slipping mentally and physically — and skew their reporting to promote that narrative. This is the same media that chose to ignore Reagan’s clearly weakening mental state and still usually doesn’t admit he was suffering from Alzheimer’s during his last years in office. He got so bad his staff seriously considered invoking the 25th amendment.


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Jul 22, 2022·edited Jul 22, 2022Liked by James Fallows

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”

― Henry James

Thanks for another great article! I join everyone, I am sure, in wishing you and yours the best possible outcome and health! Our medicine is very advanced so we have to be grateful for the many things we have in our time, that are new inventions of genius.

The article is part Joseph Heller and part pure Douglas Adams, c'est tres amusant! :)

"The White House press corps has lost its mind, or at least its perspective."

"Today offered a classic illustration—if you can stand to watch it, which I recommend that you don’t."

There used to be a phrase, "dumbing down."

Maybe we are all tumbling down, or some of us are, because of the swamp pit that we were in during the trumpster era. Dumbing down without being aware of it, and sinking so low in standards.

Journalists such as the one quoted in the article need to be aware of the easy trap of the dumbing down phenomenon, and avoid it.

I attended a lefty panel with some journalists in Boston one time, and a Time Magazine reporter was asked who her audience was, when she wrote her stories.

" I was on an airplane trip, and the gentleman in the next seat struck up a conversation. I explained I was a journalist covering the Middle East. 'Oh, you mean like Ohio?' said the seat neighbor. "

" That's who I write for."

" We call it Cuisinart Journalism. "

Playing to the lowest common denominator, like in the world of Time Magazine or CNN, is a slippery slide into the empty-headed wrongness that we now call trumpworld. Misleading the masses.

Maybe we can start a movement to educate the masses, who desperately need what we used to call Civics Affairs Class. How Government works. What is the role of the citizen in "self-interest rightly understood," the description that French author deToqueville used in the 1800's to describe America's unique, self-governing style.

Douglas Adams:

“The [Hitchhiker's] Guide says there is an art to flying," said Ford [Prefect], "or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.” Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

“A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that. ' ”

“A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.”

“Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?”

― Douglas Adams, Life, the Universe and Everything

“The major problem—one of the major problems, for there are several—one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them.

To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it.

To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.”

― Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

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Jul 22, 2022Liked by James Fallows

And now we know why Jim doesn't get invited to sit on the panels on the "news" shows.

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The press isn't likely to "get a grip" when there is so much profit in grandstanding and theatrics.

Journalism professors used to grade assignments on the basis of objectivity and adherence to provable fact; perhaps they still do. But everyone "in the business" knows that success (meaning higher profits, of course) lies in the exact sort of questions referred to in this post. Once some genius realized the news department could be a source of profit instead of "overhead," the downhill slide began. And I'm afraid it won't end until there is no longer the possibility of publishing content without the express approval of the powers that be.

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I have a question for you, Jim, that is rarely asked in this context: Who, in your opinion, is more "responsible" for the atrocious work product of so many (but not all) of the members of the White House press corps: the reporters or their bosses? Put differently, for things to change for the better, who needs to lead the way? I suppose I could include the consumers of their work product, too, but that's a big ask when there is so much else to do on any given day. The journalists are supposed to be the pros, right?

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It means that the White House press corps and political media are reminding us again that the overwhelming majority of them fit an unfortunate description, though not in the way he intended it, from someone whose presidency they made possible: They are the enemies of the people.

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The press has been a monumental failure on so many fronts (see: bothsiderism) for so long, this does not surprise me. It disgusts me... but it doesn't surprise me. Where are the "adults in the room" for the Washington Press Corps? Where's Walter Cronkite to tell them to get a f-ing grip? (I added "f-ing" to your headline because I'm pissed.)

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