I was in a cab earlier today and I heard a news report about the Pelosi jet story. It was a weird report. It went on for a while, making this out to be a big deal. Then at the very end, they brought some additional relevant information into play that made it clear this was much ado about nothing and then quoted Tony Snow pointing out that the whole thing was unfair. Then, in conclusion, was some crack about how it’s amazing what kind of nonsense can get people talking in Washington these days.
Well, yes it is amazing, but they missed the whole story. This stuff doesn’t just happen to get in the media because, well, DC is like that some weeks. These stories are ginned up in the conservative press in utter bad faith and then they bang away at them until the MSM starts reporting on them. Even if the reports finally conclude that there’s nothing there, net harm is done to the Democratic Party and to the cause of progressive politics in America. Even worse, the reports never note that this whole much ado but nothing was not, in fact, about nothing but rather about the repeated and successful efforts of the conservative media to control the debate and engage in character assassination against their political adversaries.
That’s why I don’t like to see these kind of fake controversies dismissed a “silly season”. The allegations are silly, but their existence is deadly serious. We’re seeing it with the Amanda Marcotte pseudo-controversy and now again with the Pelosi plane pseudo-controversy and we’re going to keep on seeing it until people demand that would-be serious reporters stop taking their cues from wingnut headquarters.