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The Daily Banter Mail Bag!!! Fact-Checking Both Sides! The Election 2012 Movie! Punk Rock Frenchmen!


Welcome to this week's edition of The Daily Banter Mailbag! Today, Bob, Ben and Chez discuss the press and fake balance, the potential of an Election 2012 movie, and a bizarre marital situation.

The questions:

Why is the media trying so hard to find errors in the Dems' speeches (President Clinton's, for one)? Even if I'm predisposed to take the side of the Dems, the facts they quibble over are pretty much the truth -- unlike the Republican's "facts."

Ben: Agreed Bob - Democrats do generally stick to facts and the only reason the media is going for them is out of the very weird belief that they need to be even handed in their treatment of both sides. The truth is that the Republicans just make stuff up and hope that by repeating it, enough people will swallow it. And to a large extent it works. It's pretty pathetic that the media is so scared of the right that they insist on treating both sides as having equally legitimate arguments. They don't. As I've stated many times over - one side is grounded in reality, and the other exists in a fantasy land where 2+2 = whatever the hell they want it to be.

Chez: The short answer is that political journalists are essentially wimps. Bob and I have been over this quite a bit, but we were both pretty sure of what was coming when the press uncharacteristically ripped Paul Ryan's mendacity to shreds last week: It would have to at least appear to be looking for the same kind of lies from the Democrats and if they found any stretching of the truth it would almost certainly be inflated by the media into a bigger deal that it actually is. The reason for this is the press's ongoing need to present the illusion of objectivity, which in the minds of most newspeople these days means not an adherence to the facts, which is true fairness, but a willingness to consider both sides' arguments and points equally, even if one side is bullshitting its ass off. This is where we are these days -- although it's been interesting watching the media look for the kinds of gargantuan lies told last week by the GOP and not finding any of consequence among the Democrats.

Bob: The Romney campaign has constructed a strategy around hundreds of lies regarding the president's record, consequently the press is caught in a tight spot. Even though the Romney lies are fast and thick and daily, the press is incapable of calling out the Romney team in a lopsided way. And if it does, the right-wing hammer will fall. Without going into the history of the "liberal media bias" meme, the end result has been a news media that's been badgered into submission by the far-right. As a result, news outlets have to seek artificial balance or else be further derided by the Republican base. And so the press digs for an even number of "lies" on both sides even when they don't exist -- they do this instead of living up their responsibility as the only industry named in the Constitution and taking their lumps for accurate, and therefore sometimes unpopular, reporting.

If this presidential election was made into a movie, what movie would it resemble? Would it even get green lit?

Bob: I assure you, the Insufferable Mark Halperin is probably already working on it. It'll be called GAME CHANGE II: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO. Mitt Romney travels to the planet Earth in a Borg cube to study humans and, weirdly, Dutch Apple Pie. Upon arriving, he's recruited by the Republicans to defeat Barack Obama because what's more opposite to the president than a white, wealthy, Mormon space alien?

Ben: Great question Nadine. This election would probably most closely resemble Friday the 13th. Romney is the soulless killer who refuses to die, while Obama is the victim who we all know will escape at the end but insists on making things incredibly difficult for himself in the meantime.

Chez: Well, the Republican primary definitely would've been a reboot of Tod Browning's "Freaks" -- or maybe something directed by Ed Wood, the kind of thing that's dripping with sincerity and a sense of importance but in reality is absolute crap that's completely lacking in self-awareness. Once we got into the general election, I'd have to go with "Trainspotting," not for any reason related to the candidates but because if I were still doing heroin, I'd need a lot of it to make it through the campaign.

I am newly separated from my husband of 13 years. We have a clueless 10 year old daughter. We are still living together, very amicably. I found a punkrock Frenchman. He is lovely. Hubby knows all of it. So does said Frenchman. Question: Do you think it is possible to be mature enough to keep our family intact and have a side-piece? Is this shit gonna blow up in my face?

Chez: First of all, congrats on calling your child clueless. We need more parents willing to put those little know-it-alls in their place. You can collect your "Parent of the Year" plaque down at the asbestos factory where your ten-year-old is currently working. Now then, as to your problem. No, your family won't be mature enough. It's going to rip all of you apart -- well, except for the guy you're fooling around with on the side because it's a well-known medical fact that the French have no heart. Pulling off the kind of thing you're talking about sounds great on paper, certainly when you're planning it out in your head because you want what you want and you'll rationalize anything and fool yourself into thinking all will go swimmingly because you so badly think you need it to. Bottom line, though: human emotions, which are rarely easy to predict, will always enter into it. The man you're separated from will realize it's killing him; your child will have to grapple with something mentally and emotionally that she's nowhere near ready to and that you can't explain to her satisfaction; the French guy will likely become overly possessive and unwilling to consider the situation you're in and the compromises you have to make on occasion because the French are pricks. It's a losing proposition. But I have a feeling you're already so happy with the scenario you've constructed in your mind -- the little idyllic fantasy of everybody being really easy-going about the whole thing -- that it won't make a bit of difference if somebody tells you you've just armed a time bomb.

Bob: I would absolutely choose one or the other rather than trying to carry on two relationships. One relationship is hard enough -- but two is ridiculous, especially when they're your husband/"clueless daughter" versus a "punk rock frenchman" (???). If you're separated from your husband and the marriage is beyond repair, then keep going. Rip the band-aid off and go. If not, try to work it out and drop the "punk rock Frenchman" (I seriously don't even know what that means). Same-house separations hardly ever work so you're probably going to have to make a choice of direction here rather than lingering in this phantom zone between marriage and divorce.

Ben: Er...yes? I mean no....Your reverse Mormon set up sounds a little weird. Where do you live? Los Angeles I'm guessing.


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