Politics is about disagreement. Sure, it's about settling disagreements, but it starts with diverging opinions and, when it works, ends with a direction.
Last night, President Barack Obama disagreed with the Supreme Court's recent (and horrible) decision on corporate propaganda. This decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission continued to drive through the heart of our democracy the conservative majority's stake of an axiom that corporate money equals free speech. Obama was pointed but polite:
Yet CNN, especially the useless Paul Steinhauser, is raising its eyebrows over Obama disagreeing with the Supremes right there in front of them. Cripes, fellows, go ahead and wet your pants if you're that timorous.
With all due deference to separation of powers, last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections.
I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests or, worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people. And I urge Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps correct some of these problems.
Then, just to be balanced, Steinhauser tut-tuts at Samuel Alito's reaction. Watch the video. All Alito does is mouth (no, not mouth off), "That's not true." CNN implies that Alito is not allowed to visibly disagree with the President.
That is not the country I live in. Honest, polite disagreement is not a threat. The pretense of unanimity is a threat. There's a big difference between SOTU and STFU.
Steinhauser even raises the spectre of Joe Wilson's notorious intemperate outburst. Ah, now we're getting to the truth. CNN thinks it knows how to cover the story so that it need never - ever - worry about distinguishing truth from fiction, right from wrong, or Constitutional from bullshit.
A story about etiquette requires no journalism, just a lot of spouting. Orrin Hatch of course obliges:
I think [Alito] showed quite a bit of judicial restraint.Of course, CNN let Hatch's testable assertion go unchallenged:
President Obama last night wildly mischaracterized the Supreme Court's decision.Our media are not interested in calling bullshit. They're interested in selling bullshit.