Taiwanese animation, Christine O'Donnell, U.S. media, and an old joke.

Taiwanese animation, Christine O'Donnell, U.S. media, and an old joke.


As noted here before, Taiwanese animation is the future of news. This week, Republican Senate hopeful Christine O’Donnell gets the animation treatment and is explained to the domestic China/Taiwan audience by the Taiwan NMA News Network:

In addition to the entertainment value, perhaps there is something we can learn about ourselves from these animated NMA episodes. We know NMA does not have a news staff on the ground. The animations are simply a humorous distillation of US media coverage on a particular story. To some extent, NMA is holding up a mirror to the US media, permitting us a peek at the perspective of an outsider digesting our media buffet. US stories selected by NMA for animation get the treatment because the stories have achieved some sort of critical mass in US coverage, and there is enough media grist for the animation mill.

This begs the question asked by Chris Cillizza: Why does Christine O’Donnell get so much coverage and attention from the media and Democrats?:

“Tonight’s Delaware Senate debate between marketing consultant Christine O’Donnell (R) and New Castle County Executive Chris Coons (D) will be carried live on CNN and co-moderated by the network’s lead anchor Wolf Blitzer. Judging from that treatment, a casual viewer might conclude that the race for Vice President Joe Biden’s old seat is among the most competitive in the country. That, of course, would be wrong. Way wrong…

it is important to keep O’Donnell in context. She is a decided long shot to even come close to being competitive in Delaware, and there are at least 15 Senate races that are closer, according to public polling, at the moment. Covering her is one thing. Covering her as though her race will decide the fate of the Senate is quite another.”

Christine O’Donnell is a clown of a Senate candidate who is going to lose by a large margin to a Democratic opponent in a Democratic state for the seat vacated by Democratic Vice President Joe Biden (to whom she already lost before). The Senate contest does not even make Nate Silver’s top 10 list of Senate Seats vulnerable to switching parties. Her debate performance was laughable and did not help.

We know why NMA selected her for this treatment. It is because watching our media, NMA determined she must be a big story. The real question – Why is she such a big story here? Why is she getting so much new and old media attention that she pops up on the NMA meme radarscope?

Dave Weigel takes a crack at explaining this phenomena:

“I noted in August that Democratic dreams of Tea Partiers handing them the election were overblown; that in a wave year, even deeply flawed candidates can win. Nothing’s happened to change my mind. Scan the House races and you’ll find dozens of cases where Republican candidates appear to have hobbled themselves — a sexual harassment case, on-the-record quotes about dismantling Social Security — but are in strong contention anyway. I think the fact that Paladino and Christine O’Donnell won their primaries the same day, the very last primary day of the cycle,* has revved up a flawed storyline about “crazy” Tea Partiers blowing the election. So the focus on Paladino and O’Donnell is completely out of whack. If the DCCC is a general on a battlefield, it is distracting attention from the army headed straight for it by pointing out that two of the new recruits are holding their crossbows wrong.”

Which reminds me of an old joke (modified to suit our purpose here):

A despondent Democrat was crawling about on the sidewalk under a lamppost at night.

A Police Officer came up to him and inquired, “What are you doing?”

The depressed Democrat replied, “I’m looking for my car keys of hope.”

The Officer looked around in the lamplight, then asked the Dem, “I don’t see any car keys. Are you sure you lost them here?”

The Democrat replied, “No, I lost them over there”, and pointed to an area of the sidewalk deep in shadow.

The policeman then asked, “Well, if you lost them over there, why are you looking over here?”

The despondent Democrat looked at him and said, “Because the light is better over here.”

x-posted from Divided We Stand United We Fall.

  • Tillyosu

    Christine O’Donnell is a clown of a Senate candidate

    I agree that O’Donnell is a clown. But really, is she any more of a clown than Joe Biden? And Delaware elected him to the Senate for four decades. Just sayin…

  • http://westanddivided.blogspot.com/ mw

    I’d like to agree with you, as no one more than me would like to see the the Senate returned to GOP control, divided government restored, and the flickering hope for fiscal sanity reignited.

    That said, even with all the gaffes, I have always had a lot of respect for Joe Biden’s foreign policy chops. Domestically, he is just as clueless as every other spend, borrow and tax liberal – but on foreign policy he is a voice of reason, and I’m glad he has Obama’s ear.

  • kranky kritter

    Right. Notice how much attention gets paid to O’Connell. To say nothing of Sara Palin. Both of these candidates are ideal proxies for conservatism as progressives wish to see it. The media’s role? Ratings are what motivate the media. They are attracted to the possibility that they can make any celebrity look really bad. Blood in the water. That’s not going to happen during a serious debate between two intelligent able candidates, is it? There are no big ratings numbers to be found covering someone like Chris Christie all the time.

    Intelligent conservatives repeatedly making good serious points about government overspending are inconvenient, so why look at them? As long as you can pretend that O’Donnell and Palin are the important representative faces of conservatism, no adjustments to preconceived notions need to be made. And that’s a shame for all of us.

    Joe Klein is certainly right that there is an anti-elite know-nothingism to some of the support that has coalesced around the Tea Party. As he says, it’s ignorance as authenticity.

    But it’s a big mistake to pretend that’s all there is to it. America has plenty of intelligent, moderate, independent citizens who can see both sides of the story and know that both parties are full of sh!t at least half the time. On the issue of the economy and gov’t spending, many of these people don’t think the stimulus worked and believe that current levels of deficit spending are unsustainable and threaten the country’s future.

    Even if they think it’s an oversimplification to complain about that overspending, they are of a mind to vote against apologists for it. They understand that the voters must send the message that it has to end.

  • Tillyosu

    I’m not so sure about that. After all, he said that Petraeus was “dead, flat wrong” about the troop surge and instead proposed dividing Iraq into three separate ethnic regions. Ya, I wonder how that would’ve turned out…

  • http://westanddivided.blogspot.com/ mw

    @ Tillysou,
    You’ve got me on that one. I may have overlooked that position, because I agreed with it at the time. I also opposed the surge, thinking it was a lost cause. I was wrong and so was Biden – the surge created the space that is giving the Iraq government an opportunity to succeed.

    That said, I still think the jury is out on the Iraq nation building experiment. That is one fragile government – observe that the long standing impasse over forming a government since the election is about to be resolved by a Al-Maliki / Al-Sadr alliance! Recall that the al-Maliki used the US surge support to help crush Al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army in Southern Iraq.

    I thought al-Sadr was finished as a major political force, but now I’m beginning to think that this three year old prediction may yet prove to be accurate.

    And if that happens – Biden may also prove to be correct about a three state solution.

  • Tillyosu

    Joe Klein is certainly right that there is an anti-elite know-nothingism to some of the support that has coalesced around the Tea Party. As he says, it’s ignorance as authenticity.

    You know, I don’t think that the Tea Party embraces anti-elite candidates, who didn’t go to Yale or other elite universities, because they exalt ignorance or something like that. I think that many tea party folks are simply offended by the view that many elites have of them as being dimwitted or ignorant, and they don’t feel that elites “get” them or can appreciate their values.

    So when a candidate comes along and says “I didn’t go to Yale,” they’re not saying “I’m ignorant, just like you” (interesting that Klein, as an elite, makes that assumption), they’re saying “I don’t look down on you, I think your concerns are justified, and I take them seriously.”

    It’s totally understandable that when the group as a whole is constantly criticized as being ignorant, and swindled by corporate or Republican interests, they resolve to elect candidates who are just like them to show the elites that they’re not, actually, holding all the cards.

  • http://westanddivided.blogspot.com/ mw

    “Both of these candidates are ideal proxies for conservatism as progressives wish to see it.” kk

    Exactly. Also interesting – Until O’Donnell became the poster child for crazy conservatives, it was Sharron Angle. Progressives were practically giddy – laughing, dancing and crowing about how happy they were to have her as Harry Reid’s opponent in Nevada. We don’t hear so much about Angle in that context anymore, and she does not get as much media attention as O’Donnell even though that race is far more important than Delaware. Even though there was a debate last night. Could it be that it just not as much fun when it becomes obvious that Reid is going to lose to her anyway? Or perhaps it is just too obvious that Reid is the face of “overspending apologists.”

  • Tillyosu


    Oh I agree that the Iraq situation is totally fragile, and could fall apart at any moment. And while Sadr’s continued political power is certainly troubling, I’m encouraged that he seems to be participating in the political process in a non violent way.

    That said, I have always believed, and continue to believe, that the greatest long term threat to radical Islam in the region is a stable, prosperous, and democratic Iraq. IF the experiment works (yes, that is a big IF), it won’t be long before citizens in Iran and Saudi Arabia begin to look to their prosperous neighbors and demand reforms in their own countries, and many years from now Bush’s approach to the region will be vindicated.

  • Chris

    “by the view that many elites have of them as being dimwitted or ignorant,”

    if the shoe fits.

  • http://westanddivided.blogspot.com/ mw

    So how do you like those spiffy patent leather arrogant condescending shoes Chris?

    Because I must say, you look marvelous in them.

  • Tillyosu


    Actually, Chris, people who identify themselves as Tea Partiers tend to be better educated than the public in general.

    Betcha didn’t know that did ya? Now do me a favor and define ignorance…

  • Tillyosu

    I’ve found a couple of great videos explaining Tea Party conservatism and it’s mistrust of elites. I would suggest watching both.