Chuck Todd made news on MSNBC when, in a discusion about the Affordable Care Act, he said it wasn't the job of the press to call out Republican lies. Or at least that's what it appeared he was saying. Talking Points Memo notes he's been walking that statement back since he started getting flak over it.
...Todd said that Republicans "have successfully messaged against it" but he disagrees with those who argue that the media should educate the public on the law. According to Todd, that's President Barack Obama's job.The technical term for this is "gaffe" - an act where a public personage of some kind accidentally utters a truth. Charles P. Pierce is overseas at the moment, but he's picked up on this.
"But more importantly, it would be stuff that Republicans have successfully messaged against it," Todd told Rendell. "They don't repeat the other stuff because they haven't even heard the Democratic message. What I always love is people say, 'Well, it's you folks' fault in the media.' No, it's the President of the United States' fault for not selling it."
Holy mother of mercy, is my man Chuck Todd really saying if a lie is unusually successful, it must eventually be accepted as something like the truth, and that the job of journalism is to stand by and let that happen? (Someone should write a book.) If he is actually saying that, then my man Chuck Todd should be fired because he doesn't know sweet fk-all about journalism, and because he apparently could be talked out of his MSNBC per diem for a bag of magic beans.Paul Krugman over at his NY Times blog does not reference Todd directly, but it certainly seems worth a comparison:
A decade ago, in the introduction to my collection The Great Unraveling, I argued that the modern Republican party was a “revolutionary power” in the sense once defined by, of all people, Henry Kissinger — a power that no longer accepted any of the norms of politics as usual, that was willing not just to take radical positions but to act in ways that undermined the whole system of governance people thought they understood.emphasis added
At the time, I got a lot of grief for being so “shrill”. The accepted thing was to criticize both sides equally, to balance each column saying mean things about Republicans with another attacking Democrats, to insist that any signs of a dysfunctional political system rested on equal degrees of intransigence on both sides.
Would it be too much of a stretch to wonder if Todd was going by a New Rule where 'balance' no longer applies - that the correct way to handle matters now is to ignore the fact that the modern G.O.P. is "nucking futs" while blaming the President for letting them get away with it?
What is my profession's primary contribution to the fact that this country is utterly fked?And Krugman's closer:
Right there, folks.
But the key point is that we are now in insane political terrain. Pundits dove into the Syria affair with an obvious sigh of relief — this sort of thing, with all the bloviation about presidential leadership and so on, was comfortable territory. But for America at least it was very much a side issue; the political confrontation, which now seems almost guaranteed to produce at least a few weeks of chaos, is the central thing.emphasis added
Looking at what's coming down the pike in Washington in the fight over the budget, the debt ceiling, and just about any other issue you can name, it will be interesting to see if the Chuck Todds in the media can do better than either Krugman or Pierce on this. The evidence to date is not encouraging.