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Exclusive interview exclusively here!

Hey folks!  It’s time for another Chávezian Airspace exclusive: I’ve landed an interview with the whole entire American mass media!  Here it is in real blog time.


Chávezian Airspace: Good morning, American mass media!  Thanks for visiting my humble blog.

American Mass Media: Our pleasure to be here.

CA: I have to ask one thing at the outset—people say you’re huge and bloated, but you look quite trim in person.  Have you lost weight?

AMM: Why, thank you!  Yes, yes we have.  Like a lot of people, we’ve been cutting back in hard times, getting leaner ...

CA: But we hope not meaner!

AMM: Ha ha!  Yes, we still do the heartwarming inspirational piece now and then.  But we’ve gotten rid of a lot of investigative journalists and boring “international” correspondents, so you could say we’ve lost a lot of the “baby fat” of the industry.

CA: Well, whatever you’ve been doing, you look great.  To get serious for a moment, can you explain what’s going on with this crazy health care debate?

AMM: It is crazy, isn’t it?  So many people saying so many things, and so many issues to keep track of!  It kind of makes our heads spin.

CA: Uh, I was hoping you had some insight into why it’s gotten so crazy.  I mean, now we’ve got people showing up with firearms to Presidential town halls and people screaming “Heil Hitler” at Jews and ...

AMM: Yeah, isn’t that great?  Ratings are through the roof!  You can really feel the excitement.

CA: Pardon me?  People are threatening violence because a Democratic administration might be considering public health insurance?  That’s not exciting, that’s lunacy.  Why doesn’t anybody explain the “public option” to these nutcases?

AMM: With all due respect, Michael, that’s not really our job. 

CA: ...

AMM: No, really.  We’re not in the business of pushing some President’s agenda, unless it’s a war.  We’re in the business of reporting what people say.  And if some people say that Obama’s plan will feed your grandma to the wood chipper, and some people happen to disagree with that, then it’s our responsibility to report both sides fairly.  That’s all part of democratic debate, and we’re proud to play our part!

CA: So, so you’re actually saying it’s your job to report complete falsehoods without challenging them?

AMM: That’s basic journalistic ethics, yes.  Besides, even if it was our job to choose sides, which it isn’t, we’re just not well equipped to handle this kind of thing.  Health care involves very serious policy issues and complicated stuff about money, and everyone knows math is hard and policy is boring.  So we try to concentrate on what we do best.

CA: Which is?

AMM: Determining who won the week!  This week, we think it’s Chuck Grassley.  The big loser?  Anthony Weiner—or is it “whiner”?  That’s a joke.  Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!  But if you’re looking at the long term, then the person who definitely won the month is Sarah Palin, whose “death panels” remarks were a real game changer that really forced the Obama people to play defense.  That totally changed the game.

CA: You know, you’re reporting on serious national issues as if this were some kind of sport.  It’s all horse-race fun and games for you, isn’t it?

AMM: A horse race!  We didn’t even think of that.  We love a horse race.  We can see Kent Conrad in kelly green and gold, with Dick Armey closing on him in black and silver....

CA: Stop it!  Stop it right now!  You’re completely insane, you people. It’s infuriating even trying to talk to you.

AMM: Oh, calm down.  Here, have a Mad Bitch beer.  We hear that Hillary loves this stuff.

CA: See, that’s exactly what I’m talking about.  You really don’t have a single meaningful thing to say.  Not a single damn thing.

AMM: Well, that’s the kind of complaint we tend to get from the left of the left, so we’re not surprised that you feel this way.  The point remains, however, that conservative critics of the Democrats’ health care plans have good reason to worry.  Under the Obama plan, life-and-death decisions could be made by government bureaucrats trying to pull the plug on someone with an “advance directive,” all because of some “quality of life” consideration.  Even the phrase “advance directive” is scary!  It’s directive, and what’s more, it’s directive in advance.  That sounds very much like a death panel to us!

CA: Oh.  My.  God.  Didn’t you people learn anything from the Terri Schiavo case?

AMM: I’m sorry?

CA: Terri Schiavo.  You don’t remember Terri Schiavo?

AMM: She’s one of the desperate housewives?

CA: No, you numbskulls, Terri Schiavo was at the heart of a debate over the maintenance or withdrawal of health care for people with no reasonable hope of improvement.  She died four years ago after nearly a decade of legal wrangling between her birth family and her husband.  And believe it or not, most sane people would like to have some degree of self-determination when it comes to difficult end-of-life matters, so that they don’t wind up in a nasty tug-of-war between family members—or don’t wind up having their lives “sustained” for as long as some zealot demands.  That’s why it makes sense to encourage discussions about advance directives—so people can make their wishes clear to their own goddamn physicians.  I even wrote about advance directives back then, when the Schiavo mess was turning into a complete media circus…

AMM: Oh, yes, the Schiavo circus!  We remember that circus.  All the clowns came!  It was so much fun—we love clowns.  You could really feel the excitement!

CA: OK, this is a difficult decision, but ... it looks like you’re totally and completely brain-dead with no reasonable hope of improvement.  I think I’m going to have to convene a death panel after all.  I’ll be right back with our determination.

AMM: Happy happy clowns!

Posted by on 08/20 at 06:39 AM
  1. Your posts usually make me laugh. This one made me cry. Well, until the ending, which made me laugh.

    Posted by  on  08/20  at  07:56 AM
  2. You mean, let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it’s me, but I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I’m here to amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?

    Posted by  on  08/20  at  09:07 AM
  3. Sorry, it must be me. Sometimes your words make me laugh, but I’ll admit that reading comprehension isn’t my strong suit.

    Posted by  on  08/20  at  09:36 AM
  4. No worries, V. Ed.  We’re all goodfellas here.

    Posted by  on  08/20  at  09:55 AM
  5. Captcha: “Youre” a pistol, you’re really funny, Michael.  It’s a good story.  You’re a funny guy.

    What kills me at the moment is trying to figure out whether the whack jobs at the town hall meetings actually believe they are protesting in the same way that liberals protested W., or whether they are all in on the secret.  I just picture some organizer before they show up, trying to get everyone on message.  “Remember, if someone is Jewish, we need to mention Hitler.  When they try to discuss the public option: Hitler.  Advance directives?  Hitler, and ask them where Obama’s birth certificate is.”

    Posted by  on  08/20  at  10:16 AM
  6. Whew, that’s a relief. No offense intended, but I’d hate to only rely on the MSM for my entertainment. Try as they might, they’re really not that good at it.

    Posted by  on  08/20  at  10:16 AM
  7. And then again sometimes the media do their job - the LA Times for example had extensive and high-quality reporting on that temporary free clinic here, and its context etc.. At the same time, they pay Jonah Goldberg.

    Posted by  on  08/20  at  10:32 AM
  8. Venerable, just to check—I’ve never even seen the movie, but I know Michael was doing a bit by that short actor that was in all those recent-classic Mob movies, whatssisname . . . {googles} Joe Pesci (I can hear him now), and it was either Goodfellas or Casino or one of the others. If, in fact, you knew that and were quoting the movie back to him (like nashe), forgive me, I have no understanding of social interaction.

    Michael, you are filling in for Fafnir, here, I see. But you seem to be succumbing to the same bitterness and despair that’s overtaken Fafblog. Too bad that despair is almost entirely warranted. I almost want the dystopian future to arrive already, and spare us the pain of disappointed hopes for a sane country. Can we have another Giant Nuclear Fireball, please?

    Posted by  on  08/20  at  12:13 PM
  9. Oh . . . Goodfellas, duh. I thought you wrote “goofballs.”

    Just explaining things to myself, here, in the back of the class where we don’t quite follow along at the same speed.

    Posted by  on  08/20  at  12:15 PM
  10. Always with the Giant Nuclear Fireballs, you people.  I just knew if I gave you one, you’d be back asking for more in a couple of years.  I blame socialism.

    Posted by  on  08/20  at  12:27 PM
  11. Also, thanks for writing that “math is hard and policy is boring”. Instead of vice versa.

    Posted by  on  08/20  at  12:45 PM
  12. Um, excuse me.  Am I on the wrong blog?  I was told there’d be satire here.

    Posted by  on  08/20  at  12:49 PM
  13. If you really want to get depressed, read the comments to the NYT story on the humanitarian release of Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, the Libyan convicted (quite possibly wrongly) of the Lockerbie bombing. This is the NYT web community, home of liberals everywhere. Yuck.

    Posted by  on  08/20  at  12:57 PM
  14. Thanks for the clue, rm. In addition to reading comprehension problems, I often miss basic cultural allusions.

    Posted by  on  08/20  at  01:03 PM
  15. My parents had an old Chrysler when I was a kid that had death panels on it.  And suicide doors.  Plus, it smoked.  Kools.

    You know, when 4-6 corporations own 80% of the media outlets—well, that probably means that you’ll never have to wonder whether chalupas are only 89 cents for a limited time at Taco Bell.

    Posted by  on  08/20  at  02:10 PM
  16. The corporate boards of MSM (and pretty much all US corporations) are passionately afraid that the poor will have access to healthcare (and thus be able to live better and longer and demand more), and that the non-white majority will be able to determine, through actual elections, the outcomes of taxation and regulation of all things in the US. They rally their media forces, creating: lies, rumors, faux stories, astroturf campaigns, and more. This is intentional on the part of the leadership, whose actual goals and intents seem never to be the subject of discussion or investigation by any MSM whatsoever.

    So with apologies to John Edgar Widemon of Harper’s Magazine (who crafted a brilliant essay as the opening commentary for the August 2009 edition), i offer the following as an example of the greatest fear (and most potent motivator) of the wealthy, white elites in the US:

    ‘In post-race/capitalist America “white rich” people would disappear. That is, no group could assume as birthright and identity a privileged, supernaturally ordained superiority at the top of the hierarchies of all other groups (can you say American Exceptionalism or wealth is the only real power?), a supremacy that bestows upon their particular kind the right perpetually to rule and regulate the lives of all other people and species. This idea, this belief in the “heritage of great wealthy whiteness,” whether the belief is expressed in the terms of: income status, amassed total assets, color, ethnicity, nationality, gender, tribe, religion, etc., constitute the founding principle of elitism (particularly for rich white US citizens), its appeal and its discontents.’

    Two small questions:  So we have Made Men and Goodfellas in the last couple of daze, does this portend a trend towards a specific type of organizing against the MSM???
    Will a GNF be one of the many death-panel options under the new fascist Nazi socialist communist Maoist anarchist regime????

    Posted by  on  08/20  at  03:24 PM
  17. Also, thanks for writing that “math is hard and policy is boring”. Instead of vice versa.

    Policy is boring and math is hard.

    Take that, Professor h.!

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to continue drinking myself to death.

    Posted by  on  08/20  at  03:46 PM
  18. My favorite part is the “...” Such brilliant use of internet convention.  We heart it.

    Posted by bitchphd  on  08/20  at  06:20 PM
  19. Without the AMM, how would 39% of the people know that government should stay out of Medicare? http://publicpolicypolling.blogspot.com/2009/08/obama-national-approval-steady.html

    What’s next, I ask you? Government takeover of the means of sending letters? Socialized letter delivery, that’s what it would be!

    Captcha, and I wish I were clever enough to make this up: “europe”

    Posted by John Protevi  on  08/20  at  07:29 PM
  20. I too liked the “...”, but I didn’t know it was an internet convention.  I’ve seen it in comix though.

    Posted by Dave Maier  on  08/20  at  09:45 PM
  21. The “...” is a staple of David Foster Wallace’s writing. Or do I mean linchpin? Maybe grommet?

    Posted by Amanda French  on  08/20  at  11:37 PM
  22. ...

    Posted by  on  08/20  at  11:59 PM
  23. Okay! . . . my three dots! have people ever reproached me for them! they’ve slobbered on about my three dots! . . . ‘Ah, his three dots! . . . Ah, his three dots! . . . He can’t finish his sentences!

    Posted by  on  08/21  at  12:35 AM
  24. Submitted without further comment:

    1) “Nuclear option” spotted several times in the media recently referring to the possibility of using “reconciliation” to pass healthcare reform.

    2) Terror alerts for political gain now in the “old news, everyone who matters *really* knew it all along, after all we’re not Beltway insiders for nothing” phase*. See also “memos, Downing Street”.

    Posted by  on  08/21  at  12:46 AM
  25. Submitted without further comment:

    Oh, come on, comment further.  You know you want to.  ‘Cause I certainly will.

    (1) Silly Stormcrow, budget reconciliation is only legitimate when it’s used to pass a Republican President’s tax cuts for the rich.

    (2) . . .

    (2a) Okay, okay, I’ve got something.  The media will indeed dismiss Ridge’s tell-all with a yawn, and the current administration will decline to prosecute the terrorists who used false panic to bully the American electorate into submission, since it doesn’t rise to the level of illegal domestic surveillance or torture.  On the other hand, it might do further damage to the public’s opinion of the Republican brand, and the Republican Party obviously needs to lose even more.

    (2b) Yeah, that’s not much comfort, is it?  And I don’t drink alcohol, either; drinking myself to death with tea is going to take a while.

    The “...” is a staple of David Foster Wallace’s writing. Or do I mean linchpin? Maybe grommet?

    Wallace’s Grommet?

    Posted by  on  08/21  at  08:48 AM
  26. Nice, mds. smile Sounds like the title of an essay for the AMM publication The New Republic.

    Posted by Amanda French  on  08/21  at  10:05 AM
  27. Michael, you are filling in for Fafnir, here, I see.

    As Dr. B. has known for many years, I am Fafnir.

    Actually, being mistakenly identified as Fafnir (however briefly and/or delusionally) remains the single highest blog compliment I have ever received.

    Posted by  on  08/21  at  12:21 PM
  28. Sez you!

    Posted by Hattie  on  08/22  at  12:44 AM
  29. @ JP Stormcrow (#24): Actually, the term “nuclear option” was coined by Republican Senator Trent Lott back in 2005, when he threatened to ban filibusters on judicial nominations.

    (Although I also found sources that said Democrats coined the term in response to Lott’s threat.)

    Either way, I would love for Senate Democrats to ban filibusters altogether and pass health care reform.  (I suppose I might later regret this if the Republicans ever got back in power.)

    Posted by  on  08/22  at  02:27 AM
  30. I’m late to the party, but damn! that was beautiful.

    It’s everything Bob Somerby wishes he had written, ever.

    But he won’t, Oscar, he won’t.

    Posted by  on  08/25  at  01:29 AM
  31. Wow. How hilaaarious and brilliant - taking easy shots at a hardworking, dying industry. What insight.

    Posted by  on  08/25  at  01:07 PM
  32. Cable and network TV are dying?  Oh noes!  Soon all we’ll have is Twitter.

    Posted by Michael  on  08/25  at  03:19 PM
  33. I agree. Math is hard.

    Posted by  on  08/26  at  03:10 PM





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