Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Britney, st. john, hil, and the last honest man

Matt Taibbi reports on some excellent work done by the good folk on Bernie Sanders’s staff.

On the same day that Britney was shaving her head, a guy I know who works in the office of Senator Bernie Sanders sent me an email. He was trying very hard to get news organizations interested in some research his office had done about George Bush's proposed 2008 budget,...

Sanders's office came up with some interesting numbers here. If the Estate Tax were to be repealed completely, the estimated savings to just one family -- the Walton family, the heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune -- would be about $32.7 billion dollars over the next ten years.

The proposed reductions to Medicaid over the same time frame? $28 billion.

Or how about this: if the Estate Tax goes, the heirs to the Mars candy corporation -- some of the world's evilest scumbags, incidentally, routinely ripped by human rights organizations for trafficking in child labor to work cocoa farms in places like Cote D'Ivoire -- if the estate tax goes, those assholes will receive about $11.7 billion in tax breaks. That's more than three times the amount Bush wants to cut from the VA budget ($3.4 billion) over the same time period.

Of course the fact that news organizations have no interest in reporting the most important news of our time is nothing new. The idealistic and just plain naive among us get confused because we continue to refer to them as “news organizations.” In easily observable reality, the real question is rather they are primarily entertainment organizations or ad delivery systems. Six of one, half dozen of the other. But news? Puh-leeze.

So it’s not their fault. They are what they are and the only question left to be answered is “how much?” Or more accurately, “how many?”

How many are watching? If more of us would watch them report on the looting of our country by the Walton’s, Cox’s, Nordstroms, Gallos and their political lackeys in all branches of government, then that’s what we’d see.

But are the lefty blogs that much better? Are they significantly less personality driven than the old-fashioned media? Is the constant hubbub about the various wankers and progressive heroes really that different than Britney and Anna Nichole?

I don’t know if Sanders’s office is trying to get the lefty blogs interested in that very well-presented research, but if they are, they’re not having much, if any, more success.

Some pundit or politician says or does something stupid or smart. That's news. If Joementum shaves his head and checks into rehab, that's big news. It doesn't have to matter a whit to those thousands whose health will suffer so the Waltons can have many more millions.

Yea, the daily adventures of Hil, the Joes, Obamas and Osamas, Britneys and Carols don't matter a whit, not much more anyway, but if their name recognition is big, they provide a spike in hits and a bump in click-through advertising.

We’re still not sure what we are, and we’re not yet asking “how much?” But “how many?” That resonates on the same frequency these days.