Eric Alterman in his Nation column this week sighs over the stupidity rampant among high-power journalists–he names Meet the Press‘s David Gregory, for one–that makes them bend over backwards to be “balanced” in their coverage of left and right. It’s a “balance” that actually lends undue gravity to right-wing idiocy. Recently, Alterman says, Gregory equated the left’s alarm over Rick Perry’s secessionist noises with the right’s over “socialist” health care reform as examples of what Gregory implied was understandable outrage over the other side’s extremism. As Alterman puts it, “To treat the potential destruction of the United States via the secession of its second most populous state and the provision of affordable healthcare to its citizens with privately provided health insurance as somehow morally and intellectually equivalent—well, ‘stupidity’ is actually too kind a word.” I couldn’t agree more.
And yet, I was reminded while reading Alterman’s essay of an idea that began to make tremendous sense to me a few weeks ago when the president delivered his jobs speech to the joint session–or actually just after, when the pundits immediately agreed that, no matter how powerful Obama’s words were, they were almost certainly all wasted, if action and not just reelection really was what was motivating him. Continue reading