Wednesday, July 28, 2004

PunditWatch: Day 3 of the Democratic Convention

The best speeches of the day were given by Al Sharpton (no accurate transcript yet), and John Edwards (Official transcript). Al Sharpton galvanized the crowd by deviating from his prepared speech: "We never got the 40 acres they [the Republicans] promised. And we never got the mule. So we all decided we would just ride this donkey as far as it would go instead" or words to that effect. By deviating from a more cautious script edited and approved by the ever-prudent party higher-ups, Sharpton was able to really touch the delegate's hearts, at the risk of offending centrist Republicans that the Democrats would like to bring on board.

But let's get back to the pundits, who were the real stars of our day 1 (link) and day 2 (link) coverage here. The two main PBS pundits (both the conservative Brooks and liberal Shields, who have decided to be critical of the convention for criticism's sake) immediately bemoaned Edwards' speech as "not good", code for saying it was terrible by their standards. Edwards was used to speaking to a crowd of tens or hundreds, where he would make eye contact and carefully tailor his deliver to really impact them; in this huge convention hall, there were just too many people, and he wasn't able to do that, resulting in a too-fast delivery of what could have been an excellent speech. The PBS historians corrected them, saying it was a very good speech by convention standards. Whereupon the pundits reversed themselves, saying they were so used to watching Edwards stump on the campaing trail that they had dismissed the speech as bad because it wasn't up to Edwards' usual spectacular standards, "but maybe his B game is pretty good as well." Someone seeing Edwards for the first time might well think it was a very good speech if they had not, unlike those two network pundits, previously seen Edwards speak.

Yeah. Whatever. Well, what really interested me were the AM talk radio pundits. I was driving in my car, trying to get convention coverage just as Al Sharpton was speaking, and decided I'd try the AM dial.

Wow. I didn't exactly get convention coverage. I got Toyko Rose, or maybe the Nazi propaganda channel, instead. Now this blog is biased, if you haven't noticed. (We're anti-Bush.) I wouldn't say I'm especially partisan because I have supported Republicans on occasion publically (although not in the short lifespan of this blog). I'm very partisan right because I feel Bush is totally unqualified, and, as I said yesterday, the Republicans (and network pundits) deserve extreme criticism for allowing him to biased. That might partisan slant. But it's not propaganda. Propaganda is where you deliberately manipulate facts and so over-spin the message that it no longer bears any resemblance to reality.

These guys (several stations) knew they were broadcasting to California because they mentioned the state many times. (I.e., it wasn't a national feed.) California, even including some liberal Republican parts of the state, is serious Kerry country because our state, for the most part, hasn't done too well under Bush (and because we are socially liberal and only economically conservative).

Supposedly, AM talk radio is conservative because it is listened to mainly by people driving in their cars. But, you'd think you could find a liberal AM talk radio broadcaster out here in socially liberal California. You'd think there would be a market, you know. Nope. Apparently, Californians (the largest car market in the country) don't drive cars, because we only listen to conservative AM talk radio.

Of course what has really happened is a few large media giants have purchased all the AM radio stations and fired all of the liberal commentators (and there were some very profitable liberal commentators, mind you). They have done this, apparently, because they believe that by keeping the Bushies in office the FCC regulations on media concentration will be further repealed, and they can buy up even more stations, and then make bigger profits by cutting costs by filling all of these additional stations with the same (conservative?) content. Yeah, they may be in trouble if the Democrats regain the White House, so I don't blame them for putting together Toyko Rose.

Ok, I was listening to Toyko Rose's coverage of Al Sharpton, which immediately reminded listeners that the Republicans had abolished slavery. (I think this was Al Sharpton's point: The Republicans didn't keep their main promises after Reconstruction, so now they were voting Democrat to see "how far they could get.")

Yes, well, if Abe Lincoln were the Republican nominee, I'd vote Republican this election. The thing is, Abe Lincoln isn't the Republican nominee.

The Republicans not only brought you Abe Lincoln, they brought you Nixon, too, although they rarely mention him. (Tokyo Rose did not.)

The Republican nominee this time around is Nixon II (with many former Nixon appointees, including the exact same Secretary of Defense, the exact same disrespect for Congress, and the same notions of a secretive, imperial Presidency really accountable to no one.)

And the Toyko Rose(s) (plural --- I was switching stations) droned on. Bush can't possibly win because a defeat for a sitting president (under unlikely conditions A, B,and C) has never happened before. (Yes, and we've likely never had a sitting president who was so unqualified before, either, let alone someone so unqualified be nominated by a major party before as happened in 2000.) And the American people don't like Kerry or Edwards. (Oh have you looked at the polls, oh Mr. omniscient corporate lackey talk radio announcer? Last I checked it was a dead heat, or a slight Kerry advantage. By your standards they must not like your boy Bush much either.)

The Toyko Roses, besides often being inaccurate or irrelevant with their facts, is completely out of touch even with the more conservative parts of Southern California (and the stations all described Southern California as their intented audience, so these weren't national feeds). At some point the audience is going to realize that and will start turning off these channels.

And that's got to be bad business.

Tomorrow: coverage and criticism of the corporate pundit's reaction to Kerry's acceptance speech.