Seven Days Make One Weak

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Taibbi on the MSM problem, puzzles, the Rolling Stones, and seed catalogues

Matt Taibbi nails another media analysis.

He points out that increasing numbers of Americans don’t trust the media and think it’s understandable.

There are at least three reasons.

One, the media is ridiculously partisan.

John Heileman at MSNBC compared Biden’s speech to Abe Lincoln’s second inaugural, and suggested that the sight of “the Clintons, the Bushes, and the Obamas” gathered for the event was like “the Marvel superheroes all back in one place” (this was not the first post-election Avengers comparison to be heard on cable). Rachel Maddow talked about going through “half a box of Kleenex” as she watched the proceedings. Chris Wallace on Fox said Biden’s lumbering speech was “the best inaugural address I ever heard,” John Kennedy’s “Ask Not” speech included. The joyful tone was set the night before by CNN’s David Challen, who said lights along the Washington Mall were like “extensions of Joe Biden’s arms embracing America.”

Two, the media has been partisan for a long time, but over the past ten years, Taibbi points out, the mainstream press has become Pravda for the Democratic Party (my analogy, not Taibbi’s). But unlike the editors at Pravda, the MSM editors admit and defend it, saying it’s their job to stomp out dissident views.

If anything, Sullivan said, the press should stand even taller in its opposition to red-state lie merchants like Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, “without fearing that they’d be called partisan.”

Karen Attiah, the Post’s global opinions editor, took the same approach. She wrote that Trump had been caused in part by the media’s penchant for “balance” and “presenting both sides.” Going forward, it will therefore be necessary to work even harder avoid missteps like Politico’s much-criticized decision to publish Ben Shapiro, which Attiah decried as a decision defended with the “rusty armor of both-sidesism.”

Three (and this is where Taibbi really shines, pointing out something that doesn’t occur to readers): The MSM is no longer consistent.

Repeatedly (repeatedly! . . . Taibbi provides a series of examples), the MSM presents a dire threat story and hypes it beyond all reason. Then the danger never materializes. And the MSM simply drops the story and moves on to the next dire threat story.

There’s never follow-up. “Was that threat real but deterred? Was it overblown? What happened to all of those warnings?”

That’s a huge problem.

Like the wider Trump-Russia story itself, which magically vanished from coverage before both the 2018 and 2020 election seasons, audiences were asked for a time to care about certain things as if their lives depended on it, then just as quickly asked to forget the issues ever came up. And they wonder why people feel manipulated?


Puzzling

I enjoyed jigsaw puzzles as a kid, but by the time I got to college, they had become relics in my closet.

I’m “toying” with the idea of getting them out again, perhaps starting with the really pretty Bob Ross puzzle collection.

Jigsaw puzzles are excellent ways to relax. I enjoy an active life. To the ideal me, all forms of work are kinds of play. Though I frequently lose sight of this ideal, I normally do a good job of keeping it in front of me.

But still, at times you simply need to unplug altogether, and not just with a lot of alcohol (my preferred way of unplugging) or TV. Jigsaw puzzles, in their absolute pointlessness, seem like a good option. Among other benefits, they’re known to reduce stress.

They’re also known to prevent cognitive decline. Although I hope I’m at least 30 years away from this risk (none of my parents or grandparents suffered any cognitive decline prior to age 80), on some days, I feel like I’m “losin’ it.”

And finally, they’re well-suited for reading books . . . Well, listening to them, anyway. You can build puzzles and listen to audiobooks at the same time. There are also nine other things you can to while listening to an audiobook, which you can find at this nifty Medium.com article.

The writer, incidentally, doesn’t list gardening. It’s an unfortunate omission. I’d say 75% of gardening chores are well-suited to audiobooks.


Archangel Radio

I’ll be on Archangel Radio Monday morning, shortly after 8:00 AM. It’s an EWTN affiliate out of Mobile, Alabama. I’ll be on the “LA Catholic Morning” show.

“LA” stands for “lower Alabama.” I’ve heard Mitch Pacwa make the joke a few times. I guess I didn’t appreciate that it’s a widespread term in the Cotton State.


Listening: Rolling Stones, “Brand New Car.” I grew up with the firm conviction that the Stones peaked with their Some Girls (1978) album, then went into a free-fall drop with their studio albums. I never bought or downloaded another Stones album or song after their excellent Tattoo You (1981) album. I recently ran across their song, “Brand New Car,” on Voodoo Lounge (1994) and really enjoyed it. The lyrics are a bit corny, but for some reason, I’m really diggin’ this non-vintage Jagger.

Reading: Seed catalogues. I heard from a client that seed companies are already running out of seeds and supplies, so I went home and put together my 2021 seed order from Johnny’s . . . and got shut out of about 1/3rd of my selections. I normally don’t start going through seed catalogues (something I really enjoy) until February or March, but not this year.

Wearing: Aculief. My recurring battles with migraines has returned, probably due to the stress (cue the jigsaw puzzles) of trying to get caught up at the office after the COVID mess. I read good things about the Aculief and started wearing it whenever I felt a migraine starting. I think it’s working, so much so that I ordered three for employees at my office.

As always, thanks for reading.