Friday, September 25, 2009

DAILY BEAST's fawning Michelle Malkin profile: How the MSM plays enabler to right-wing vitriol

On Tuesday, Tina Brown's DAILY BEAST ran a profile by editor at large Lloyd Grove of right-wing scream queen Michelle Malkin entitled "Michelle Malkin Has Feelings, Too." My own feelings toward Malkin are pretty well documented (they range from fascinated disgust to appalled horror, in case you're wondering). Well, the inimitable Sree Srinivasan shared the profile around seeking reactions, and I thought I'd post mine below.

Two words: I'm horrified. Grove's wet-kiss profile soft-pedals Malkin's hyperbolic excesses and arrant trade in outright, malignant falsehoods using cutesy terms like "bomb-thrower," "provocateur," and "controversialist" (rather than harder, truer ones, like xenophobe, hypocrite and cynical self-promoter). A typical quote from the profile:

The last thing you’d expect Michelle Malkin to be is charming, funny, or vulnerable.

So who is this softspoken, self-deprecating woman talking to me on the phone? “I’m a human being,” Malkin says from her home in tranquil Colorado Springs (tranquil, except for the shrieking of Air Force jets—“the sound of freedom,” Malkin says), far, far away from the media-political complex. “I mean, every once in a while it might get under my skin. But I can't stop ad hominem attacks against me.” 

(Note: The piece also makes a bizarre, context-free and off-putting reference to Malkin's complexion, calling her "pretty and dark-skinned"—which surely would never have gotten through editorial in a more respectable venue.)

But the gushing praise Grove heaps on is icing on the cake. The fundamental issue is that this kind of piece was assigned and published to begin with—one that validates her as a legitimate, if "provocative" and "controversial" authority, without offering a single syllable of counterpoint to legitimate critics of her and her work, speaking from either a journalistic or an ideological perspective.

The sad thing is, the mainstream media--I guess you can barely call Daily Beast that--does this all the time.

How often have the likes of Limbaugh, Coulter, and most recently Glenn Beck graced the cover of Time and Newsweek, despite the fact that they profit from the ejaculation of a steady stream of demonstrably false and societally corrosive statements? Can you think of a single pundit from the left that gets that kind of rockstar treatment? Michael Moore, you say? 

Well, it should be noted that Moore is a filmmaker, while Limbaugh, Coulter, Beck and Malkin have become famous solely for their venting of toxic gases. In fact, you could say the same for all of the high-profile public voices on the progressive front—they each have day jobs that in some way rationalize their presence in the media. Meanwhile, the only excuse for the media's celebratory treatment of the Limbacoubeckins of this world seems to be that much misused red herring of journalism, "critical balance." Which invariably translates into "offsetting" the media's perceived liberal slant by showcasing bottom-of-the-barrel commentistas like Malkin. 

And even though their profiles slap them with coy negatives, they also fawningly marvel at their power and influence, while glossing over how they obtained that power and influence--by degrading our political discourse, demonizing minorities, gays and lesbians, women and the poor, and practicing a kind of hack-and-slash attack commentary that is designed to provoke paranoia and violent reaction

The consequence of mainstream media's wholly unethical complicity? Right-wing pundits know that they don't have to be legitimate journalists, or even fair but partisan opinionators...they can grub around in the lowest common denominator, knowing that as long as they're successful in suckering enough of the publiccredible, mainstream journalists will always be around to tongue-clean their reputations and turn them into bankable celebrities.

Posted via email from Originalspin

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