Monday, September 8, 2008

Hering's not dumb, but he must think his readers are

No, really, I don't think he's dumb. Of course, that makes this bit a little harder to explain:

After Sarah Palin spoke to the Republican convention last week, the Obama supporters criticized her. That’s fine, but why take umbrage at the wrong remark?

“Governor Palin’s statement last night dismissing the work of community organizers suggests that her idea of democracy does not include participation from ordinary citizens,” huffed the deputy director of Americans United for Change. “Governor Palin professes to be working for Americans, but apparently she does not want those Americans to get in her way or give her advice.”

That’s neither what Palin said nor what she wants. What she said was: “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.”

And she said that only because her opponents have belittled her as a nobody on the grounds that the highest public office she held before becoming Alaska’s governor was mayor of small town.


That's not what Palin meant at all, and everyone in the audience and watching it on TV knew it (the laughter and shouting that followed the statement is a pretty good sign). Palin was denigrating community organizers, pure and simple. To pretend otherwise is to treat one's readers as idiots. I'd even go so far as to suggest it's a borderline lie.

Also, this is kind of strange:

All of us have responsibilities, and if we don’t meet them day after day, we are likely to be shown the door. That’s not necessarily the case with community organizers. But it’s definitely so with people in elective office, even that of mayor in a small town.


Yeah? Really? I would humbly suggest that Hering has no idea what the fuck he's talking about. Employees can be fired at any time (Oregon is both an at-will state and many community organizers are not unionized); elections occur periodically, usually at two- or four-year intervals, with recalls being difficult and rare. Does he offer any evidence that community organizers don't have responsibilities, or that elected officials that perform poorly consistently fail to be re-elected? No.

[As an aside, I wonder if one of the reasons journalists look at me askance when I go after Hering is that tradition dictates that editorials are not required to show evidence for the claims they make. If true, that's a tradition that needs to change.]

Hering:

So what do community organizers do anyway, besides organize communities?


That's like asking what newspaper editors do besides edit newspapers. It can be read as trashing the job: "Oh, that's it? All you do is edit the newspaper/organize the community?" Like either is that simple.

Then Hering says:

Organizing is a wonderful skill, and nobody has reason to look down on it.


Really? Not even the opposing party's candidates for President and the hack newspaper editor that supports them? Yeah? Then why did you all just denigrate them? Why did Palin continue to denigrate organizers after the convention?

Hering has no idea what he's talking about - as usual. I do wish someone above his head at Lee would notice that they've got an editor whose editorials lack evidence of any kind of research or effort. I mean, I pen gibberish and post it online all the time, but no one pays me for it. Hering's got, you know, responsibilities. And readers. You would think that accountability would be in there too, but apparently not.

This is a much more plausible explanation for the denigration of community organizers, at least to me.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

The more the elite media try to tear down Palin the more she becomes a household name. The last time I check she is not running for President.

Dennis said...

No, she's running as the VP of a candidate who's 72 and has had multiple bouts with cancer. The guy's got something like a 15% chance of dying in next eight years (based on his age), even without the stress of being President.

I'm not approving or disapproving of her media treatment as a whole, nor commenting how much it's helping/hurting her, but paying a lot of attention to her makes a lot of sense given both that she's running with McCain and that she's a relatively unknown. Why wouldn't someone want to know as much as possible about a VP candidate?

Anonymous said...

Thank you anonymous at 7:34am.. the more the elite media trys to tear down Palin the more she is loved.

Obama said "you can put lipsticks on a pig, in the end it is still a pig", people can see thru the comment regardless of how you the elite media try to paraphrase it.

007 said...

both Anons. YOU ARE either missing or evading the point. Sarah Palin is a heart beat away from the presidency and we know almost nothing about here. She has not spoken anything but pre-written packaged speeches read off a teleprompter.
WE, the People have a right to know about both persons on the ticket. As much as i would like for that simply to mean policy, Both Republicans and Democrats are attempting to make the character of each ticket appealing, which means journalists by the very nature of their job are required to reseach Sarah Palin and present their findings. If they happen to find she is a lying, hypocrite, who's qualifications for the job are in question, that is the news.
ALSO, please define "elite media" cause im not sure what you mean.

007 said...

both Anons. YOU ARE either missing or evading the point. Sarah Palin is a heart beat away from the presidency and we know almost nothing about here. She has not spoken anything but pre-written packaged speeches read off a teleprompter.
WE, the People have a right to know about both persons on the ticket. As much as i would like for that simply to mean policy, Both Republicans and Democrats are attempting to make the character of each ticket appealing, which means journalists by the very nature of their job are required to reseach Sarah Palin and present their findings. If they happen to find she is a lying, hypocrite, who's qualifications for the job are in question, that is the news.
ALSO, please define "elite media" cause im not sure what you mean.

 
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