Saturday, March 21, 2009


From Hullabaloo courtesy of Eschaton, blogger Digby opines on one crusading reporter's reaction to former California Congressman Gary Condit's recent exoneration of his former intern and lover's 2001 murder:

The man is gulty of having an affair, which destroyed his life, and which had nothing whatsoever to do with the disappearance and murder of Chandra Levy. Gary Condit didn't even break any laws. But DePaulo still insists that he is some sort of sociopath --- and excuses her own disgusting behavior by comparing his "crime" to homicide saying he deserved the twisted obsession in which she and her cohorts drowned themselves that horrid summer. (But then that particular illness had been prevalent in Washington for some years at that point, hadn't it?)

I submit that she is the one with the problem, a big one. And it's a problem that renders her incapable of being a reliable journalist. If she cannot see that wrongly accusing someone of being a murderer requires a serious reevaluation of where she went wrong and a sincere apology for doing it, then she can't be trusted. She obviously has no ethical compass.

This horrible little screed is the most vivid example of everything that's wrong with American journalism I've seen in quite some time --- the adolescent shallowness, the shrill sanctimony, the arrogance with which they wield their power, the sheer immorality of wrongly accusing someone of a heinous crime and feeling absolutely no remorse.

More here.

Yes, well, arrogance and stupidity often walk hand in hand, especially for bigtime journalists, as comedian Jon Stewart continually observes. But what's really disturbing here is the corporate news media's tendency to pander to America's lust for vengeance. CNN's former prosecutor and professional cunt Nancy Grace is an obvious example, as was all the media cheerleading for the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, but this shit is all over the journalistic landscape: cute little Ashleigh Banfield is currently advocating hard prison time for teens who send or forward naughty pics of themselves through cyberspace. Creepy.

Really, what's most disturbing of all, however, is that Americans are in love with revenge, and that sacrificial scapegoats sate this hunger well. I mean, this is a cultural strain that goes all the way back to the Salem witch trials. You'd think that a nation as sophisticated and advanced as ours would have long ago come to the realization that vengeance is utterly useless, counterproductive even. Revenge doesn't do anything good at all: it doesn't make the streets safer; it doesn't reduce crime; it doesn't reverse the effects of crime; it doesn't bring back murdered loved ones; it doesn't make anyone rest easier at night. It does nothing but perpetuate anger and hatred. Crime, too, for that matter.

So if vengeance is so counterproductive, why do we love it so much? Answer: "'Vengeance is mine,' thus sayeth the Lord." Christianity, which oozes from the pores of all Westerners, whether they're Christians or not, especially Americans, is all about revenge. The entire system of thought is based on revenge: indeed, Hell is the ultimate manifestation of God's vengeance. That's what the universe is about, avoiding or receiving God's vengeance. And such theology is deeply embedded in Western thought. Americans love seeing bad things happen to people we hate, and Americans hate lots of people.

I'd like to blame this on the fundamentalists, who are particularly bloodthirsty, but the notion of revenge is so widespread, so popular, it just wouldn't be fair--besides, some fundamentalists are starting too see writing on the wall that says their era is kaput, and I have no doubt that American Vengeance will be with us for many years to come. No, vengeance, as a philosophy of right and wrong, is extraordinarily secular at this point. And it's just awful.

As the Klingons say, "vengeance is a dish best served cold." Or not at all.