Im VERY interested in what other thoughtful, passionate posters have to add to the discussion on the theme of my title. (Not trolls or those who are naive about how corrupted our media is) Below is an excellent post from Maura Va, a Dean supporter, which stoked this diary.
Maura's post had the effect of steering me away from my recently boiling anger at the media to mull over something else (Note: This in no way changes my alarm, anger, disgust and growing desire to organize a protest over ANTIdean media/media in general We are on very corrupt and dangerous ground when the 4th Estate begins meddling on the level of SCOTUS in determining who our leaders will be.)
My Dean Support in a Nutshell: After scrutinizing all the candidates, I became a strong Dean supporter. Although warm, it took me a long time to firmly jump in his camp.
Although leaning toward Dean for months, I didnt really go fully for him until about 6 weeks ago, so I do appreciate vantage points from a longer and greater commitment to Dean and to presidential campaigns/races. A negative observation of some Deaniacs had me thinking that they were too defensive and unable to accept/synthesize criticism. I got this impression when I first checked out the DFA blog, after his weak performance on Russert.
That said, I understand and support a firey defense, and realize that early, hardcore Deaniacs were the ones breaking ground and taking the hardest and often most outrageous hits; I DEFEND passionately, too, and we must not stop! But reflection of real weak spots must occur and get aired where it counts. So, Im not dumping on Deaniacs (or Dean 'supporters', to sound more "Dean-idential") at all. Au contraire, I have tremendous admiration, affection and gratitude for what they have accomplished and for their continuing efforts. (The strong ones, not the Kucinich-to-Edwards sort :-)
The following are excerpts from her post and my responses, which I hope will stimulate further discussion on this theme:
Maura SAID: "Blaming the media is not going to get us ANYWHERE."
The fact is, the media helped to pump up Howard Dean to where he was. I am a strong Dean supporter and am still working for him (now) but Trippi and Dean FED the media this garbage.
I think the press deserves to be discredited much more than you are doing here -- its like when they promoted the war, along with Bush. However, going more toward your angle, its also true that our weak (!!!Democratic!!!) opposition party did virtually NOTHING to put forth the counter argument on this and much else. They timidly hid behind the curtains and let Bush put on the show, This is akin to your very effective criticisms of the Dean Team (Trippi, et al). I think most of your points are excellent and come from a place I respect. So, here I will criticize Dean and Team Dean.
My sense of Dean: Although far from perfect, he is a great leader for our times, except, he is not really a great Politician with great Political instincts and `tricks'. This is the paradox. We need a smart, ethical leader with good instincts on major issues, which is why I support Dean, but this basically means we need a non politician to be a politician. How do we solve this problem?
By trying to remake Dean into someone he isnt, make him into the same thing that has been turning us off? That will only turn us off and those we want to attract to Dean, who wont fall for the phoniness. Phonies like Edwards do phony well, Dean doesnt and shouldnt. But he seems to SERIOUSLY need someone by his side to fill in those artful blanks for him and strengthen his performance so his true strengths can be made more viable, politically. And he needs to project greater flexibility on some issues, without deviating from the core of his stance and principles.
Having said that, I'll continue ...
Maura SAID:"Dean didn't have to give the type of speech he gave last night. Politics 101 would tell him and the campaign manager that the WORLD was watching and was looking for a gracious concession and hopeful message."
And the media didnt have to so grossly misrepresent it and oversaturate the airwaves with it. We must start holding them accountable. Im recalling this, for example: All-Jacko coverage, featuring his car on the freeway and his plane on the tarmac, on a day when we had the Miami trade protests, recent Turkey bombings aftermath, the Bush protest/effigy toppling in London during his visit and the medicare bill being passed. This was was a disgrace. BUT when the MEDIA in effect, initiates a coup to blatantly and arrogantly select our candidate, like the SCOTUS did our POTUS, it goes beyond disgraceful to deeply troubling in that it is extremely corrosive to our already-corrupted democratic process.
Maura SAID"Trippi didn't have to fall so much in love with himself and the blog and the $100 revolution (every $16 of which he so nicely pockets) that every time he got on TV and was asked about Howard Dean the only answer he gave was about "us", the "movement", the grassroots, our amazing orange hatted fabulousness. Voters don't give a SHIT about the campaign. They elect a candidate, not his followers. Trippi's consulting firm didn't have to produce such mediocre ads."
Props to you here. As someone who has been involved up close, you have articulated well what I, a more outside supporter, have perceived. Perhaps a new pilot needs to get behind the wheel, without ejecting Trippi. Your post has given a light bulb to something I was sensing about Team Dean. "Jedi Joe" Trippi has been continuing to promote the part of Dean's candidacy that reflects well on Trippi's strengths, to the detriment of DEAN's viability. Too often I did not hear Dean's message/response, either thru Dean's spokespeople (including Trippi) or thru Dean, when it was really needed. The people power cannot be expected to hold up the entire campaign. Joe has been flailing and failing us here. He didnt effectively respond on TV, etc, with a message on the issues to counter the neg spin and promote the meat and potatoes of why Dean is the right choice. Dean is THE Leading MAN in this show, not Trippi, and the movement IS a part of that show, but not in the way Trippi has been using it -- ineffectively, which actually has been weakening its power and its performance.
Those around Dean have to help compensate for his weaknesses and work on strengthening them, as well as promote his natural gifts. Dean is my #1, but he is not great at responding when put on the hotseat in a debate or interview forum. Therefore, any holes left unpatched, any questions left dangerously dangling, must be addressed adequately thru the media. And he must be coached a lot more to learn how to spar more effectively, although he will probably never be A-1 in this regard. He also must be more flexible in nipping and tucking certain positons, as in the middle class tax cut or saying he will look into cutting defense waste, rather than these absolutist NO's. (His absolutist NO was much more logical in his first position on the death penalty, in my opinion, which he articulated so well. Unfortunately, he chose to nip and tuck there, but I dont want to get into my issues problems with Dean here. I support him much MORE than the others and this is not the time to go down those roads.)
He has flailed somewhat and his team has failed him a LOT and changes really MUST be made. So, thank you for Maura, for giving such a constructive and articulate take on this very important issue, which has helped me to continue focus on developing and refining my view of the larger picture here.
I want to emphasize this again: I still seriously ASK if it isnt time for a MASS Protest against the MEDIA. Reagarding the 4th Estate, NO ONE is guarding our henhouse but the FOXES (No pun intended. Fox sucks, but it has LOTs of partners in crime.) Big, BIG problem here.
Still FIRMLY and PASSIONATELY in the DEAN CAMP, and looking to STRENGTHEN it!