Friday, May 16, 2008

Silly American news! What are you thinking?

Chuck D, the legendary lyricist and front man for the greatest rap group of all time, Public Enemy, once said that rap music was "CNN for black people". And at the time, he was right. The only way the black people of say, South Central L.A., could learn about what was happening in their neighbourhoods was to listen to rap music. CNN didn't (and of course still doesn't) report on that stuff. And rap music provided not only the news but a commentary on the situation as well. Times have changed, at least a little. I was watching CNN yesterday and I realized that what is happening now is that CNN has become rap music for white people. The ridiculously-named Wolf Blitzer and his equally-hilariously-named program, The Situation Room, were on. Wolf Blitzer? Isn't that the white-news-guy equivalent of naming yourself Pimp C or Flava Fresh Dogg or some such thing? And The Situation Room? The white-news-guy equivalent of Da Lench Mob, or G-Unit? I think so. Then there's the CNN scrolling graphics and punchy headlines and flashy imaging. How very rap-video. And how very exciting. It makes me smile.

This made me cringe. I picked up a copy of Newsweek, and I started reading through. There were several columnists talking about Barack Obama, and how he has lost his way during his campaign a little, and appears to be elitist, and should have done this or that differently. And the very first article in the section was a column with advice to Obama, on how to fix his campaign heding into the general election. And it was written by...are you ready for this? Karl Rove! Karl Rove, who in this column is advising Obama to back off on the attack stuff he's been doing? What attack stuff, you say? Yes, hmmm. But how can anyone take this seriously? Karl Rove. Karl, "swift boat" Rove, telling a Democrat, any Democrat, but especially a very left-leaning one, to lay off on the attack ads. Now, Rove has become something of a media omnipresence since leaving Bush's inner sanctum, appearing regularly as an analyst on that bastion of Fair And Balanced, Fox News, and contributing columns to Newsweek. But how can that magazine, in good conscience, even print this? How can you maintain the appearance of real journalism when you're allowing something like this to appear in your magazine? Or is that just America?

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