Sunday, March 28, 2010

I call this meeting of the Capitol Press Corps to order

ML: Thanks everybody for coming. Say, can’t we get that spotlight better focused on me? Where’s my production crew? Dammit, if they lit me like this during one of my struts down the hallway in the Capitol, they’d be shooting TPT fundraisers for the rest of their lives!

Where were we? Oh, yeah; we’re here to condemn those journalistic pretenders at The Uptake. At the end of the meeting, we’ll vote to kick them off the island. Now we’ll have a discussion. Of course, I’ll go first.

[clearing her throat] The Uptake is a cancer that has infected — I say infected — the Capitol press room. That’s cancer with a “C” and that rhymes with “P” and that stands for press!

Why, The Uptake doesn’t really have any on screen talent. When people do appear on camera, they’re just volunteers: amateurs.

TVR1: Gosh, that’s right.

PR1: Well, to be fair, our paper doesn’t have any onscreen talent, either. There are a lot more print journalists than television types here.

ML: Be that as it may, television is the flagship of journalism, as you know, and I feel so, well, tainted by these people. Do you know they produce hours of video every week of committee hearings, speeches, and interviews? Well, they do.

PR1: Yes, and they covered the Franken/Coleman recount virtually beginning to end, day in and day out. They made the whole thing transparent, right down to the examination of individual contested ballots and the discussions about them. You surely didn’t do that.

ML: [her voice rising] But where’s the media filter, the context?

PR2: You can’t provide a filter and context if you never follow something in the first place, Mary.

TVR2: Aw come on, you guys. Nobody in broadcast media would do a play-by-play of paint drying.

PR2: Well, The Uptake did, and some of it was pretty damn compelling; I watched. It gave me some story ideas. [muttering under her breath] Which is more than I can say for ever watching TPT Confidential with Mary Lahammer.

ML: [glaring at PR2] The Uptake isn’t objective, either. It has a point of view.

PR1: In case you hadn’t noticed, every newspaper here has a point of view; it’s called the editorial department.

ML: Well, TPT doesn’t.

PR3: TPT is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation; it can’t have an editorial department, Mary. It would lose its tax-exempt status. Then there would be no more Sesame Street and the toddlers would be inconsolable.

ML: Really? I mean, I knew that!

PR3: The Uptake is more like the newspapers in that regard.

ML: The Uptake is not objective; you must admit that.

PR1: The question is: are they fair? Was Ed Murrow objective when he went after Joe McCarthy?  Or Upton Sinclair when he exposed the meat packing industry? Or Josh Marshall, who helped expose Congressman Duke Cunningham and the US Attorney firing scandal that touched pretty close to home? Or —

ML: Okay, that’s enough! I mean, we understand.

PR1: I come back to the question. Have you ever seen The Uptake being unfair to a politician or interviewee, by trying to trick them, for example?

ML: Well, they make Himself, Brian McClung, very uncomfortable at press conferences.

PR2: [muttering] Out of the mouths of babes. [full voice] If that’s unprofessional, I say we could use some more of it. Bringing truth to power is what we’re supposed to be about. Not stenography.

ML: I guess in the final analysis, we’re journalists and we have to protect our turf.

PR1: What is this, a guild hall? I doubt that the people who wrote the First Amendment had that in mind.

ML: Well, are we ready for a vote? All in favor —

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