In which a Politico writer removes all doubt
Some mornings I wish I could set up a tylenol drip in my cubicle. That can’t be too hard, right? I count numerous doctors amongst my friends and family, surely one of them can hook me up?
I genuinely can’t bring myself to write an introductory paragraph to this piece in my usual style, because thinking about it for too long is going cause some very important blood vessels in my dome-piece to suddenly give way, so I’ll get right to it. Today, a Politico assistant editor named Erika Lovley asked a question so stupid I’m mildly surprised it didn’t rip a hole in reality:
Political comedian Stephen Colbert speculated Monday night that he might attempt to buy Jim DeMint’s soon-vacant Senate seat with untraceable money left over in his super PAC, which contained almost a million dollars when he shut it down last month.
Although there’s a Public Policy Polling survey showing Colbert would be the top choice of South Carolina voters for DeMint’s spot, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has made it pretty clear Colbert is not on her short list.
Is Colbert doing any service to voters, given the unlikelihood of him ever serving in office? Or is his comedic meddling in serious political issues becoming an annoyance?
Just to be clear, what Colbert is doing with his satirical bid for SC’s senate seat is giving citizens a much-needed lesson in the shadowy nature of campaign finance, and the extent to which quid pro quo affects decisions that really ought to be made by voters. (see also Blagojevich, Rod)
I know what the typical defense is in cases like this one: “She’s trying to start a conversation and drive traffic to her site, that’s how they make money, you can’t blame them for wanting to stay in business.” And that might be a reasonable defense, with two caveats. A) it assumes that there are actually two sides to the argument (there aren’t), and B) it assumes that journalists like Ms. Lovley are doing their jobs, speaking truth to power, keeping the citizenry informed and politicians on the up-and-up (not even close). Our sorry excuse for a fourth estate is increasingly toothless, unable to ask hard questions for fear of losing access. In an age where a news veteran like Tom Brokaw can’t bring himself to call a lie a lie, Ms. Lovley is essentially asking “Shouldn’t Colbert just shut up and join the rest of us kowtowing sycophants with j-school degrees and a congenital lack of spine?”
The day that you wake up and say “Today I am going to Do Journalism by questioning the work of a man with the moxie to lambaste a sitting president to his face in a room full of people” is probably the day you need to think about a new career.