On Objectivity, or How the Times Reinforces Even the Most Laughable Stereotypes at the Worst Possible Moment

23Sep08

In which The Gay Recluse is momentarily exasperated.

Heigh everyone! Check out these side-by-side ledes as they appeared on the New York Times home page this morning:

John McCain
A Scrappy Style

Senator McCain honed his debate skills both in and out of politics.

versus

Barack Obama
An Uneven Record

Senator Obama has shown that his strengths may also pose vulnerabilities.

Seriously, why is McCain “scrappy” — generally a positive trait — and Obama “vulnerable”? Here’s a proposal: political journalists should as a matter of course always disclose who they voted for in the last three elections. [Hey, we’ll start: 1996 (Clinton), 2000 (Gore), 2004 (Kerry).]

Incredibly, it gets even worse in the actual articles. Check this out from Seelye:

Senator John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, heads into the first debate on Friday with a track record as a scrappy combatant and the instincts of a fighter pilot, prepared to take out his opponent and willing to take risks to do so.

Translation: OMG, I love McCain! He’s sooo dreamy and heroic!

This from Broder:

Mr. Obama has a tendency to overintellectualize and to lecture, befitting his training as a lawyer and law professor. He exudes disdain for the quips and sound bites that some deride as trivializing political debates but that have become a central part of scoring them. He tends to the earnest and humorless when audiences seem to crave passion and personality. He frequently rises above the mire of political combat when the battle calls for engagement.

Translation: Obama is an intellectual elitist.

If we wake up on November 4 to a McCain victory and ask ourselves “how did this happen?” we won’t have to look very far for the answers.

 



2 Responses to “On Objectivity, or How the Times Reinforces Even the Most Laughable Stereotypes at the Worst Possible Moment”

  1. 1 c.

    “He tends to the earnest and humorless when audiences seem to crave passion and personality. He frequently rises above the mire of political combat when the battle calls for engagement.”

    Maybe this critique simply represents the new, American ethos: intelligence, gravitas, and dignity in the face of crisis and provocation are passé. Paris Hilton and Sarah Palin are in. After Rome, the Dark Ages.

  2. Hey C — sadly, I have to agree with you on all counts.


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