Media melodrama: Push this back

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah “Caribou Barbie” Palin continues her reign of stupidity in American culture by her remarks over the weekend that the president’s health care reform would result in “death panels” to decide who lives or dies.

The ex-leader and failed Republican vice presidential candidate later backed off and asked for “restraint,” perhaps because folks in her own party were calling her contentions “nuts.”

Perhaps what is worse than the moronic expressions and downright silliness coming from those who are basically shills for big corporations who oppose health reform is that national media coverage of it all has received so much play.

If it could be proven that the anger we see each day on TV at townhalls is genuine as opposed to manufactured, or Astroturf, then the overwhelming media coverage would be warranted. But I think enough doubt and enough evidence has been raised that these shouting matches that pass for civic discourse is largely a tactic by big business and the Republican establishment to scare and whip opposition for health reform into a frenzy.

It would seem after being used to gain public support for an unnecessary war in Iraq that the media would get it.

So much of what one sees today in, at least the national media, is political conflict. That seems all that matters to news producers and editors in these national newsrooms. It is like Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz observed in a WP online chat yesterday when he said that the media likes to “keep stirring the pot and reducing everything to melodrama.”

Is the media in such coverage these days reflecting what the public wants to hear or are they molding the message to keep stirring the pot and turning the news into soap opera fodder?

That’s what it all seems like sometimes to me and I wish the media would stop it. And stop it right now! Cover the news, damn it. If I want soap operas I will watch “One Life to Live” or read about the Palin family.

And while you are at it, will you all in the national media and on cable channels quit using the gratuitous use of the word “pushback.” Yes, it is a real word and in most cases the meaning is being used somewhat in a correct fashion. But it is a buzzword and buzzwords get old in a hurry, especially if they aren’t funny.

What goes well with a fine Alaskan whine?

One would think for all the tough talk that some of this nation’s Republican leaders can blow out their wazoos that they would have skin like their mascot elephant’s.

That doesn’t seem to be the case though.

I saw the oversensitivity of George W. Bush in person and on television many a time, especially when I covered his Texas gubernatorial press conferences.

Ultra-conservative pundit and de facto GOP leader Rush Limbaugh has made his whole radio persona based on his inability to take criticism.

And it seems that since the time she was nominated as Republican vice presidential candidate up until the present, Gov. Sarah Palin has become that quintessential Alaskan whine.

At every step Palin — whose PR built her as a rough-and-tumble jock, hockey mom and wilderness outdoorswoman — has found a target for blame when her situation went awry. Primarily her target has been the media although she has found others on which she could play the victim such as the spat between her and David Letterman over a crude joke the latter made and later apologized.

Now that Palin is leaving office, she has threatned several blogs as well as MSNBC and The Washington Post with defamation lawsuits over the possibililty her resignation might have been connected to ethics investigations. I thought Conservatives were against frivilous litigation.

Even with Palin leaving office it would seem her victory in specious defamation suits would be highly unlikely even though it could prove expensive for plaintiffs, at least in the beginning.

One has to believe that some of those ultra-conservative Republicans who talk tough and feel the solution to any problem is dissolving taxes and government while unleashing nuclear bombs on our real or perceived enemies suffer from a bad case of the “Can Dish It Out But Can’t Take Its.”

Of course, I’m no political consultant or expert. I’m just a guy articulating my opinion out loud, and mostly to myself. But if I had any advice for some of the Sarah Palins in the world who feel blaming others increases their own stature, it would be this: Please don’t utter any lines urging others to buck up and take personal responsibility.  We are used to hypocrisy in government, especially by your ilk, but sometimes you can only take too much of a good thing so far.