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In another classic example of the wanker's prose, Jonah Goldberg has penned a column for the Los Angeles Times that proves he can't tell reality from satire.

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The column begins with a quotation from Saturday Night Live's news spoof about the the recent news conference held by FEMA wherein they planted agency stooges who pretended to be reporters asking real questions. Any ethical journalist would be appalled at such a fraudulent tactic designed exclusively to deceive. But Goldberg, of course, is not an ethical journalist. He actually dismisses the deceit by saying that...

"There's no such thing as fake questions, after all, only fake answers."

What the HELL does that mean? If there are no fake questions then there are no fake answers either. There may be false answers or lies, misrepresentations, obfuscations, or diversions. But all of those are as real as 90% of the answers that come out of the present White House.

If anything, Goldberg has it bass ackwards. There are indeed fake questions. They come from people who are fake reporters or reporters who have surrendered their independence to powerful figures in government. For examples of fake questions see Armstrong Williams or Jeff Gannon.

Goldberg goes on to excuse FEMA's deception by asserting that all of the media is guilty of the sort "foolishness" FEMA was caught committing. I can't really argue with the notion that the media is rampantly foolish, but Goldberg supports his claim, not by citing instances of media failures, but by citing comedy shows that mock the media. He points to Stephen Colbert, and Jon Stewart as evidence that the media is fake. Somehow it has escaped him that Colbert and Stewart are comedians and not journalists. The fact that they are more informative, relevant, and honest than most news enterprises is just a coincidence that delivers a sad commentary on the state of the news media.

Ultimately, in a fit of classic dementia, Goldberg declares that Murphy Brown is to blame for the problem of parsing fact from fiction. That's right, the same sitcom character that vexed Dan Quail. Goldberg says the show is...

"...about a fictional TV newswoman who talked about real newsmakers as if they were characters on her sitcom. When Brown had a baby out of wedlock, Vice President Dan Quayle criticized the writers of the show. Liberals then reacted as though Quayle had insulted a real person."

Not exactly, Jonah. It was Quail who insulted a fictional character as if it was real. Liberals just laughed at him for doing so. (By the way, he was also insulting every real, unmarried woman who chose to carry a baby to term). And now we laugh at you for ascribing all the flaws of modern journalism to the same figment of a TV scripter's imagination.

It is Goldberg, however, who is the joke. His attempt to compare the inexcusable dishonesty of the FEMA event with the antics of comedy programs would be hilarious if it weren't so depressing. Whatever his opinion of political satirists, he ought to be able to tell the difference between them and government agencies whose mission is to protect real people from real disasters.

Originally posted to KingOneEye on Wed Nov 07, 2007 at 06:27 PM PST.

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