Monday, June 14, 2010

Politics, Journalism and Theater

The same people who brought us the fake "documentary" used to dismantle ACORN have succeeded in once again making someone look stupid.

 Thanks to the foolish response of a Democratic congressman (if the video hasn't been edited improperly, that is), Andrew Breitbart's little band of provocateurs look like victims. I won't argue the politics here and only hope that the congressman in question takes a serious look at his own actions.

But there are several weirdnesses here at the intersection of politics, activism and journalism. It would appear that Breitbart's crew takes on the image of journalism--approaching a political figure on the street and asking only slightly loaded questions (less loaded than, say, some of Bill O'Reilly's ambush squad) while playing by a very different set of rules that only they know.

 But they refuse to identify themselves and they refuse to add context. They simply walk up, call out a question, and, when asked, will say no more than they're working on "a project."  That's bound to irritate people. If someone did the same thing to me, I'm not sure how friendly I'd be, either. If someone waves a microphone in your face and demands an answer, it's sort of nice to know who you're talking to. Or at least who they represent.  (I'm not defending the congressman, who foolishly responded by grabbing the guy's arm and not letting go. At one point, it almost looks as if he's going to put the guy in a headlock.)  But the truly weird part is that the guy's face is blocked out by the video editing, as if he were a young child being taken away from an abusive parent.

What? So what are you guys? Do you think you're entitled to the protections of the First Amendment? ( I do.) Do you think a congressman walking on the sidewalk should answer any and all questions whenever you demand it?  (Maybe, may be not.)  And do you think you should identify yourselves? (Yes). Sorry, felt the urge to answer all the questions for you.

This won't be the last. Theater is now part of our political/journalism nexus and it will only get worse.

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