“If you want to be angry about something, get pissed at a media culture that goes beserk about bonuses one week and forgets all about them the next. And be worried, quite worried, about a society for whom anger is a form of entertainment.”
– Joe Klein in his latest column
Here’s the thing, we’re all guilty of a bit of populist rage from time to time, but we’re the bloggers. Anger is what drives most of us. Maybe not those necessarily in the moderate blogosphere, but I don’t think it’s any surprise why people started blogging in the first place.
But since when was the media driving that rage instead of the other way around? It seems like more and more we’re seeing a shift from responsible reporting to barking pundits. Am I alone in feeling this way?
Klein with more…
There is a real crisis out there. It has existed for a while. It has been spreading slowly as factory after factory has shut down, as the gap between rich and poor ballooned, as the rich found ways to get richer betting on exotic financial instruments with all the economic substance of a roulette wheel, as the middle class found it harder to pay for college, for health care, for gasoline.
But most of the anger we see and hear comes from people who are paid to be angry, on cue, on cable television–as opposed to people with actual grievacnes. Suddenly, the White House press corps goes barking mad over the AIG Bonuses. It is said that the bonuses are an aspect of the bust that the “public” can understand; in truth, the bonuses are an aspect of the bust that reporters can understand. Suddenly, the Obama Administration has a “crisis.” The President has to go on television and act as if he’s angry, even though he knows these bonuses are the tiniest outcropping of outrageousness. (I mean, AIG insured mortgage-backed instruments that any qualified CPA could have seen were as solid as a soap bubble and thereby came close to bringing down the world’s financial system–that’s outrageous.)
As I said before, if this is truly how the media continues to act, we’re screwed. Because if this is what they think is responsible journalism, all the oxygen will be sucked out of the debate when something stupid like the AIG bonuses comes up. That will be the focal point instead of the actual problem at hand.