As a country, we owe a pretty sizable debt of gratitude to Matt Taibbi for his reporting on Wall Street over the past few years. Still, it's nice to see him return to straightforward politics once in a while, mostly because the insulting farce that is political punditry right now is so ripe for ridicule and comeuppance.
Today over at his Rolling Stone blog he tackles the current round of apoplectic fits being experienced by the media at the prospect of an Elizabeth Warren/Hillary Clinton showdown. And he spells out what Beltway coverage is really all about these days.
"The presidential election, after all, is just an enormously lucrative reality show for the commercial media, and no reality show flies if you can't identify the characters and their roles in a 30-second commercial – the hysterical pageant mom, the duck-call patriarch, the ambition-mad Kardashian mom raising her kids by text, in the recovery room after her latest neck tuck.
It's the same here. Political writers over the decades have developed a whole specialized vocabulary to quickly contextualize politicians in sound-bite form. Ideological geography is just left-right, a single horizontal line apparently representing our whole universe of beliefs, but people buy it. Then, in a nod to sports coverage, we shorthand the political standings by talking about 'presumptive frontrunners,' 'fringe candidates' and 'insurgents.'"
Keep reminding yourself that it's only 2013. There's three more years of this shit.