By Chez Pazienza: A little inside baseball here: Cranking out four pieces a week for this site isn’t easy. Writing takes enough time as it is, but it’s coming up with a topic almost every weekday that really makes me crazy. Especially on Fridays — Fridays are the worst because I’m typically burned out by the end of the week.
This is why I’m thanking the blogging gods for CNN’s Jim Acosta right now. He did me a very thoughtful solid by dropping a giant-ass topic right into my lap when I needed it most. And all he had to do was make an unbelievably fucking stupid comment about Mitt Romney’s unbelievably fucking stupid comment.
By now you probably know that at a campaign rally this afternoon in Michigan, Mitt Romney decided to drop all pretense and just wade neck-deep into the racist birther pool by saying about himself and his home state, “I love being home, in this place where Ann and I were raised… No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised.” In the past, he’s gleefully bent over and accepted the shriveled, flaccid “endorsement” of the nation’s most prominent birther, pretend mogul and reality TV super-douche Donald Trump, and of course the Republican National Convention is rolling out the red carpet for senile old man Joe Arpaio, the endlessly corrupt sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, who’s spent the past couple of years trying to prove that Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States — mostly to deflect attention away from the fact that the Justice Department is about to kick his ass back to the stone age from whence he came. But Romney himself going full-on conspiracy theorist by making a desperate crack about his birth certificate is new and, admittedly, mildly shocking territory.
The Romney camp says the comment was a joke, but that’s of course bullshit. It wasn’t a joke at all — it was an applause line. And applause it got — along with cheers from the assuredly entirely white crowd. Romney threw out that bit of red meat to once again call attention to Barack Obama’s “otherness” and the insanity it’s plunged this country into because a vocal segment of the population hasn’t been able to deal with it and began demanding “their country” back about two hours after Obama was sworn in. He did it, whether consciously or somewhat subconsciously, to get a cheap response by playing on the crowd’s various resentments, some of which are undoubtedly racial. What’s more, as Tommy Christopher over at Mediaite sagely notes, the line coming from Romney is even worse than that kind of thing coming from a truly racist Tea Partying hick, because Romney knows the president was born in the United States, therefore he’s simply pandering by essentially saying, “Even though Obama was born here, he still has to face questions about where he’s from — you won’t get that with me because I’m white and therefore everybody knows where I’m from.”
But while Romney’s comment was a little surprising, even for someone as pathetic and as willing to double-down on all manner of mendacious horseshit in an effort to reach the White House as he is, Jim Acosta’s response to the comment was flat-out unreal. Within minutes, Acosta, who’s “embedded” with the Romney camp and is part of the Worst Political Team on Television, fired off a tweet that read: “My read: Romney shows he can take the dog on roof stuff and dish it back.” Really? That’s “your read” — that Mitt Romney can return fire on his political opponents bringing up a 100% true story from his past by making a crack that references something that’s just as thoroughly not true? That’s what you got out of that? In that case, you’re a hack, Acosta, who shouldn’t be reporting on the student council race at Millard Fillmore Middle School, much less a presidential campaign.
Acosta’s really dumb tweet, which amounts to advocacy for the guy he’s likely been saddled with for months, shows the dangers of sticking one person with one campaign and leaving him or her there for almost the length of the contest. What happens is the correspondent turns into either a grade-A ass-kisser, given that there’s sometimes no way around becoming chummy with the people you see day-in-day-out, or, if the camp is purposely unresponsive to the wants and needs of the journalists covering it, he or she becomes a victim of Stockholm Syndrome. Either way, it taints the coverage — and it’s bad not only for journalism but for the country.
We know why Romney said what he said — what he hoped to gain by it.
I have no clue why Acosta would say what he said. I happen to believe that there’s nothing wrong with a journalist offering his or her opinion, since those opinions are often pretty well-informed. But if you’re going to do it you have to make sure it takes into consideration the larger picture and isn’t just a sloppy backseat blowjob to the guy you’re forced to live with 24/7. Otherwise, best to just keep your big mouth shut.
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.