Tuesday, January 24, 2006


After reading dozens of libs denouncing Chris Matthews for ostensibly comparing Osama bin Laden to Michael Moore, I'm left wondering what kind of media they truly think we have. Yoking the Enemy Of The Moment to whatever dissident or muckraker is making the most noise (or has made a significant cultural/political dent) is part of the program. Been going on for decades, and not all of those smeared have had the wealth and media power of Michael Moore, whom I suspect, given his response to Matthews, is scarcely shaken by it. Indeed, any publicity is good publicity, as a PR pro like Moore clearly appreciates.

Besides, who really cares what Chris Matthews says? The majority of the country doesn't watch him, and even among those who for some strange reason look to cable news nets for information, his ratings are not all that impressive. But if you live on a steady diet of Crooks and Liars and Media Matters, as well as some of the bigger lib blogs, then hacks like Matthews are huge stars, their nightly utterances ringing loudly from coast to coast. And when Matthews says what he did about Moore, ZAPPO, a fresh blog site pops up to counter him and tries to shame him into apologizing to Moore and retracting his slander.

All good fun as far as it goes, like letting people line up and throw rotten fruit at a cardboard cut-out. Channels some hostility and makes you feel a bit better. But even if Matthews were to flog himself with razor wire while standing in a bucket of bullshit, begging Moore and outraged online libs for forgiveness, the media structure that makes him inevitable remains, and there are plenty more mouthpieces who'll say, and have said, pretty much anything to get attention and thus an extra ratings point.

The Bash Chris Matthews campaign buys into and extends the politics of personality and celebrity, and diverts attention away from the real issue, which of course is the corporate stranglehold on the "public" airwaves. The beauty of the Web is that average citizens can be seen and heard in a way unthinkable less than a generation ago, and the instant, uncensored connection between people who've never met ensures that ideas and calls to action are spread to areas where door-to-door canvassers could never reach with any regularity. So why waste time demanding that Matthews say he's sorry? There are much more urgent problems to address and larger themes to take apart, as I'm sure many of you are aware. What Chris Matthews thinks of Michael Moore is meaningless, as is all this online "talking back."