‘Scandal Mania 2013’ has jumped the shark

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

GlobeCoverYou know that "Scandal Mania 2013" has jumped the shark when the grocery store rag The Globe is featuring the GOP's "Scandal Mania 2013" this week.

This is the same disreputable rag that regularly runs stories about "Woman pregnant with alien baby," "Elvis is still alive!," and various and other sundry made-up bullshit.

Which is pretty much how the conservative media entertainment complex cult operates as well, with disreputable "news" sites like The Drudge Report, The Daily Caller, World Net Daily, Breitbart, NewsBusters, Townhall, Hot Air, and on and on.

This is how the right-wing noise machine gins up conspiracy theories, and the mainsteam media all too often feels compelled to report on them because of the "noise" on the right, which is entirely manufactured expressly for this purpose. It is media manipulation, the art of propaganda.

There may finally be some mainstream media pushback building to the conservative media entertainment complex cult's "Scandal Mania 2013." Greg Sargent reports in The Morning Plum: Is GOP hyping of scandals prompting a media backlash?:

The most important quote from the Sunday shows yesterday is this one on Meet the Press from
Rep. Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and
one of scandal-palooza’s most aggressive ringleaders on Capitol Hill:

“This pattern of deception administration wide is
starting to become concerning.  You know, when you look at the IRS and
you look at the Benghazi issue and you look at the AP issue, I think the
trouble here isn’t even the individual specific scandals, it’s this
broader notion that there’s a pattern of this activity.  I think that’s
what concerns people because what you don’t want to have happened is
Americans lose faith and trust in their institutions. That, I think, is
what’s at risk here and we better get this back in the box so Americans
can rest easy at night knowing we’re working for them and not against
them.”

This is a critical moment of candor. The most important thing here is
not the individual scandals; it’s the sense of a “pattern” of activity
that creates the risk (so worries Rogers, in a moment of fine concern
trolling) that Americans will lose “trust” in their “institutions.”
Those who remember the 1990s well (see Digby on this) will recall that this is a time tested tactic. The goal is to create an overarching atmosphere
of scandal, because this intensifies pressure on news orgs and
reporters to hype individual revelations within that framework with
little regard to the actual importance or significance of each new piece
of information
.

Perhaps I’m overly optimistic, but I have to say that I’m seeing the
stirrings of a media backlash to the GOP overhyping of all of these
scandals. Things seem significantly better than they were in the 1990s.

It’s true that some news orgs have been way too quick to inflate the
importance of this or that detail of what the White House knew and when
about the timing of the impending inspector general’s report on the IRS
scandal
. But we’re also seeing a very serious effort in many cases to
separate the scandal wheat from the chaff. The Washington Post has done great work detailing, contextualizing, and demythologizing what those emails concerning the Benghazi talking points really told us. The New York Times has done deeply reported, nuanced work on what really drove the IRS targeting of conservatives.

Meanwhile, some D.C. journos are now openly reacting badly to GOP scandal hyping. Remember that Daily Caller “scoop” reporting that the former IRS commissioner visited the White House 157 times? Garance Franke-Ruta’s debunking of the story prompted a surprisingly sharp discussion of it on Howard Kurtz’s Reliable Sources yesterday,
with the Post’s Dana Milbank ripping into it as ”shoddy reporting.”
[Someone inform Doug MacEachern at The Arizona Republic.] Meanwhile, House GOP investigations leader Darrell Issa is getting
pilloried by reporters for suggesting, with zero evidence, that Obama
administration officials coordinated IRS targeting of conservatives
.
CNN’s Candy Crowley insistently cornered Issa over the claim yesterday, and Ron Fournier (who has not refrained from slamming the White House) tore into Issa for resorting to “cherry picked evidence” and “weasel words.”

Also see today’s big Times overview of the House GOP prosecution of these scandals,
which is appropriately skeptical, flatly suggesting that Republicans
are allowing “investigatory zeal” to displace “serious legislating.”

Again: The goal of Issa and others here is to create an atmosphere
of scandal, with the deliberate aim of obscuring the importance of
the details of the actual scandals themselves (as Rep. Mike Rogers has
now helpfully revealed).
But there does seem to be a real media
effort underway in some quarters to point out that that the smoke coming
from the GOP smoke machine doesn’t mean there’s necessarily
any fire there. That’s a far sight better than the 1990s, when scores of
reporters would eagerly clamber aboard their shiny red fire truck to
chase even the thinnest wisp of smoke whenever Republicans told them to
.

Update: One more data point. On Morning Joe today, Chuck
Todd described Issa as a “guy who cries wolf,” noting that he had
promised huge scandal dividends from Benghazi but hadn’t delivered, and
that he is now making similar claims about the IRS scandal.

UPDATE: Check out Ryan Cooper's

The 11 Biggest Conservative Scandal Flops.

UPDATE: Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo wrote last week Why GOP scandal mongers can't have nice things:

"[A]s a group, the standards of most institutional right wing
journalism are just so appallingly bad that their stories simply aren't
credible…. [I]f you wonder why conservative scandal mongers can't have
nice things, look at the conservative media."

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