Journalism is dead, and Mitt Romney is the beneficiary of its will
7:00 AM EST on December 21, 2011
As newspapers lay dying, they continue to maintain their superiority complex when it comes to the topic of the internet. Just mention the world wide web in the presence of a print journalist and you can count on a soapbox rant about how the anonymity afforded by the medium is ruining public discourse and how the ease of publication is watering down the collective intellectual capital of society.
It is a good thing that this state's largest print publication is around to set an example.
Patrick pointed out on Monday that The Oklahoman published their endorsement for President of the United States about eleven months prior to the election. They did it with an article that clearly communicated that it was the opinion of...well, every single person in the made up utopia of "Heartland." But at least we know that it was written by...nope, they didn't even give the author an anonymous handle like "Reaganisgod40." Personally, I have J. E. McReynolds in The Lost Ogle's office pool about the identity of the writer, but even if it seems obvious, no one associates their name with the loosely supported opinions.
This means the anti-Obama, slightly pro-Romney, diatribe can best be described as the prevailing wisdom of the entire brain trust of the most influential news organization in the 405. It was printed in the most heavily circulated edition of the organization's weekly distribution. So, one would expect that it would not read like an ill-informed message board posting.
After the jump, we test that theory.
1. The Intro
The writer is very congratulatory to the entire state for not voting to elect the current President, hilariously giving it up to the voters for rejecting the "rhetoric of hope and change." You don't see people getting a pat on the back for being cynical and hard headed everyday.
After buttering up the reader and firing them up for some Democrat-hating, the author delves into what bothers him about the Obama administration. Namely, "we stand and watch as our country plummets deeper into polarization." The concern is clearly heart felt since the title of the next section is "Stop the Inane Bashing," at which point the article instructs the reader to focus their outrage on one side of the political spectrum. This should never be confused with polarizing.
Back when Patrick and I were running a message board dedicated to the Oklahoma City Hornets, one of the common mistakes made was by people writing a position and then supporting it with something that completely contradicted their point. For instance, someone might write a post arguing about how the team needed to address their deficiency at three point shooting through the draft, then they would focus in on the player the team should select, an atrocious three point shooter. Of course, that should be expected from semi-ignorant, unprofessional writers who probably are not completely aware of the topic they pretended to know intimately. Luckily, The Oklahoman doesn't have to worry about such things.
"Instead of reforming the entitlement system, he would extend its size and reach with Obamacare"
This was one of the writer's arguments for voting out President Obama, and it has to be a strong case since this state (as a whole) sees healthcare reform as the worst thing since communism. The generic Okie definitely wants to get the implementer of the new system out of the office, and if the writer of this article gets his way, that man will be replaced by the system's architect.
While the healthcare reform that does such awful things like allow parents to keep their dependents on their plan until those children are able to get affordable insurance has been plastered with the name of the sitting President, that President was clear from the beginning where he got his ideas. He was copying the Massachusetts health care system. In this case, the Massachusetts system was implemented by a Republican governor. Some people might suggest this was actually a case of Obama reaching out to the other side for ideas, except that Massachusetts Republicans only exist in the fashion as Oklahoma Democrats. They aren't mythical, but they aren't real either.
In this case that non-Republican Republican governor was Mitt Romney who only opposses entitlement programs like Obamacare in that he created it to begin with.
3. "Romney is a self-made man. Obama is a government made man."
Anyone who has frequented internet message boards knows this trick. Regardless of how lacking in reality a statement is, typing it out makes it true to those who want to believe it. It's a stalwart of email forwards, as well. This statement, made by The Oklahoman's editorial board goes all-in on that strategy.
Let's just look at it. Barack Obama was born in 1961 as the son of an African immigrant. That father abandoned him shortly after birth and left him to be raised by a single (white) mother. The political climate at the time was not exactly open minded to interracial dating, so offspring of such relationships were what you might call social pariahs. Despite such hardships, he rose to President of the mother effing United States.
Meanwhile, Mitt Romney pulled himself up by his own bootstraps as the son of a wealthy business leader who had to make ends meet by being the governor of Michigan. With such obstacles in his way, it is a wonder that a white man growing up in that time could rise to prominence.
(Mrs. Matthews points out that this probably wasn't an argument made to be misleading. Instead, it was more likely casual racism by hinting that Obama benefited from affirmative action.)
4. Job creator
Buzz words are popular in just about every circle, sure. Here, The Oklahoman uses the most popular buzz word going despite it's complete factual inaccuracy. Here they are selling that Romney was a job creator:
"He has success in the private sector. Romney led Bain Capital from a staff of seven people...to 115 people."
Amazing, right? He put 115 people to work...putting other people out of work. To be fair, he did put a lot of people to work in other countries. Bain Capital is an investment firm that raids other corporations. In order to improve Bain's own investment, they take control of other companies, strip them of staff (through layoffs or outsourcing) then sell the companies for a profit.
5. Open Minded
If this website were The Daily Show, we would follow this upcoming quote with excerpts from every editorial The Oklahoman wrote during the 2004 General Election.
He's been criticized for changing his opinions through the years on some serious issues. But with years and life experience come wisdom, which can lead to a closer look and a change of opinion. Who among us has not evolved as a person as the years mount?
Blatant hypocrisy is luckily something that only affects the internet.
Look, I don't mind that the paper endorsed Mitt Romney. As far as Republicans go, he's my second favorite (after Jon Huntsman) of the field. I don't even mind that they pretend President Obama is some all powerful divisive force instead of a middle-of-the-road pragmatist who pisses off the liberals in his party. What bothers me is they are journalists--purveyors of the truth--and the entire article reads like idiotic rantings of ill informed internet trolls.