Sunday, November 07, 2010

Jerry Brown elected California Governor, heads of pundits and reporters begin to explode

One thing I admit I am going to enjoy during Jerry Brown's Governorship is watching the heads of reporters and pundits explode trying to figure out what to make of him. Voters don't have that much trouble. But this Los Angeles Times piece is fairly typical: Cathleen Decker, Brown's history, personality lead to victory Los Angeles Times 11/03/2010.


The imagination of our press at work: a three-decades-old lame-ass nickname is about as good as most of them can do to comprehend a real Democratic politician like Jerry

The standard press script for Brown is that he's "quirky"; actually he's a Jesuit seminarian who went into politics. This article is also typical in focusing on the horse-race sports coverage and theater-criticism hot air ("authenticity"). From this piece, you would never know he took popular stands like promoting green jobs and defending immigrants' rights. The "authenticity" part is cute. A computer-generated character would have had more "authenticity" than eMeg Whitman, a complete empty suit.

In fairness to Decker, Jerry's campaign manager Steve Glazer has been using the "authenticity" line with the press, and after all, our star reporters are there to perform stenography.

It's going to be fascinating, if not exactly entertaining, to see how the press will flounder around for the next four years trying to find a suitable "script" for their coverage of Gov. Jerry Brown. Already a meme is well under way that Brown won for all kinds of reasons except for one of the most painfully obvious: he ran as an unapologetic Democrat!


How frozen in stone are the favorite scripts of our sad excuse for a press corps? This report had to work the "Gov. Moonbeam" thing in somehow. Voters Give Brown Return Trip As Governor KCRA.com 11/02/2010:

Democrat Jerry Brown has capped a political journey in California that began the year man landed on the moon, defying an era of term limits to return to the office he held 28 years ago.
It was the late Chicago columnist Mike Royko (1932-1997) who is credited with the "Gov. Moonbeam" label. This report by Zach Christman of NBC Chicago, Royko's Love/Hate Relationship With 'Gov. Moonbeam' 03/7/2010, is very telling:

Royko had a well-known distaste for California and its politics -- once calling it "the world's largest outdoor mental asylum," according to the Times, but he eventually grew to respect Brown and his politics. It happened in 1980, while Brown was making a bid for his party's presidential nomination. After his speech at the Democratic National Convention, Royko wrote, "the more I see of Brown, the more I am convinced that he has been the only Democrat in this year’s politics who understands what this country will be up against."

Royko went on to regret the Governor Moonbeam nickname he gave Brown, declaring it "idiodic" and begging people to stop using it. That never happened, but Brown doesn't seem to mind. He's embraced it, giving it yet another meaning -- this one all his own.

Being called Governor Moonbeam means he's "creative and not hidebound to the status quo," Brown said after recent Republican references to the nickname. "Moonbeam also stands for not being the insider ... but standing apart and marching to my own drummer. And I've done that."
Back in the days when pundits and columnists were actual journalists, the famous Mike Royko regretted coming up with that nickname, "declaring it 'idiodic' and begging people to stop using it". But today's Pod Pundits, star reporters and those who aspire to join their ranks, the fact that it's an idiotic thing is a recommendation to keep using it. Such is the state of mainstream journalism in the US.

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