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Sunday, February 27, 2005

Sire, the Bloggers are Storming the Gannongates!

Well, we’re back to my weekly review of the Los Angeles Time’s Opinion Section. Check out the inaugural edition last week in which I took an opinion writer to task for suggesting that Condoleezza Rice might deserve a Nobel Peace Prize (WTF?!?).

This Sunday I noticed the panel discussion had a couple interesting cartoons (The Bloogeyman loves cartoons since he doesn’t have to read much!), one of which talked about bloggers (!) and another which obliquely referred to Gannongate (!). Those are a couple things I didn’t expect to see any mention of in the main-stream-media, even in a notoriously “liberal” rag such as the LA Times.

I’ve reproduced a couple of the cartoons below for your enjoyment:

Let’s take a look at the first one…my heart went all atwitter when I saw that one. I imagined myself leading the charge, setting up the siege engines as we bloggers get ready to storm the castle of the main-stream media. I love the snooty king, dismissing the bloggers as if they still control the news flow. I mean, really, has any important news been broken by the mainstream media lately? Between Seymour Hersh and Atrios they’ve covered just about anything worth hearing about. Yeah, I guess if I want to get the “scoop” on the Michael Jackson trial I’ll know where to go, but if you’re serious about news you’re going to want to hang around bloggers. Yeah, we’re just that cool!

How about the White House Press Corps? Mr. Rogers really nails it with that one – it’s kind of funny how in the mad rush of bloggers that have elbowed their way into the Gannongate story (yes, that includes the Bloogeyman, check out my Gannongate series), few people have stepped back from the fray and said “Wait a minute, you know, just exposing one reporter who actually is a whore doesn’t change the fact that most other reporters are sluts”. Yes, most other White House press reporters are just plain-jane sluts. At least Gannon had the nerve to charge for it – the others basically tow the line for free. Sure, they get their six-figure salaries and get to go to White House Christmas parties, but basically they’re all sluts – they get some perks from time to time but they like putting out for free.

As for the last cartoon, titled ‘News’, the Bloogeyman looked at it and went “Hmmmm”. Now the Bloogeyman didn’t go “Hmmmm” because the cartoon launched a philosophically complex internal dialogue on freedom of speech and the eternal human struggle – the Bloogeyman went “Hmmmm” because he actually was a little confused by the cartoon. Now, most people will never admit to ‘not getting’ a political cartoon.

Let’s say your spouse, girlfriend, significant other, or friend is perusing the Opinion section with you one Sunday morning and shows you a cartoon:

“Hey, look at this”, they’ll say as they hand the cartoon over to you, “What do you think?”

Now, you look at the cartoon and think, as I did on this one, “OKaaaaay, let’s see – I see a guy walking down the street and looking at a newspaper dispenser with bars on it with a guy trying to get out…” And you say, “Boy, that’s a good one!”

“Do you think it’s true?”

“Yeah…sure…um, it sure says something about the plight of today’s media”

“You don’t think it talks about the current state of the news-consuming public?”

“Uh…yeah, that too…”

That’s about the situation I found myself in when I looked at it. Sure, it seems to make sense from a cartoon-perspective: you’ve got the ‘regular guy’ on the street, you’ve got some institution (this one is labeled ‘News’), and you’ve got bars signifying that something is being restricted. But, when you look closely you realize that you can’t quite put it all together (maybe it’s just the Bloogeyman, he’s not too smart). I see a guy walking past the “News” caged up – is the News trying to get out but the dumb American public won’t pay a quarter to let it out? Or, is there some big story that the News won’t let out? Or, is it decrying the new restrictions placed on the fourth institution vis-à-vis the Justice Department’s investigation of reporters' sources? Or maybe the lamp post is a critical component to this whole thing and the Bloogeyman is just too dumb to figure it out.

Funny how reading the Sunday Opinion can start out as a relaxing past-time but can quickly make you question your intelligence over something as simple as a cartoon…