Thursday, June 17, 2004

With all due respect, dear readers

I gotta drop a little BS bomb here -

This explanation of Senator Vasconcellos thinking the "Daily Show" wanted to discuss changes in election law - implying a serious news story is BULLSHIT. There. I said it. And I'm not sorry.

The gist of the story is that the Sacramento County elections official featured in a recent TDS piece on the Senator's ridiculous proposal to fractionally award votes to minors was "hoodwinked" because she's never heard of TDS.

Okay - perhaps I will let her go and feel a little bad - though she should realize the show's primary goal was to make the Senator look stupid, not her.

For the Senator to claim any kind of "Whoops, you got me" on what happened is absolutely, without a doubt, one of the dumbest kinds of denials ever. To be fair, the article doesn't get too in-depth on Vasco's reaction to the bit. But, people, really. This is the Capitol we're talking about. It's staffed by people between the ages of 18 and 35 or so - with some fringe on either end. These people watch the Daily Show. They talk about it. They laugh about it. They would recognize Rob Cordrry in the halls - in fact THEY DID becaue I got emails about it from sources who shall remain nameless.

Both officials have staff. All staff have computers. Most ever computer has internet access. Those with internet access have Google. Those with Google can google THE DAILY SHOW and find out rather quickly what they are dealing with.

I have no sympathy with these people. Maybe when they make fun of that 90+ year old southerner who always runs for president it's a little unfair. But any one with the kind of job, staff, resources, and we would hope, COMMON SENSE of the Sac County official and State Senator . . . . for them, I shed no tears.

On the plus side - the article does point out the sizable role shows like TDS and SNL play in the national political discourse, for better or for worse (and I'd say for better because I value comedy like that).

And speaking of comedy, Jill LaVine says in the article that she realizes "politics can be a joke, but elections shouldn't be."

And she's totally right. Which is why TDS was focusing on the bill to begin with.

And where the article gets it wrong is when it describes the show as "all about bumbling public officials." It's not. Are they there, yes. But the point of TDS is NOT to turn people off from the process - it's to get them to tune in. The show says "look folks, this is who you got, and these are some of the goofy decisions they are making," but never that I have seen has the show said, implicitly or explicitly, "so you better stop voting because they are all morons." It's not about that.

Senator Vasconcellos had a great goal - get people hooked into the process earlier. But his means for achieving that goal were stupid. Just dumb. You can't give people a fraction of a vote. It doesn't work that way. It was an idiotic idea that deserved a good fun-poking. Maybe someone out there has a better idea and this gets them to volunteer it. Or maybe not.

At any rate - I apologize for the rant. No, no I don't. Because this is what bothers me about political journalism. It's never the whole story. So much nuance is left behind. Or basic facts like - I would bet a SIZABLE sum of money that I could tell you exactly what at least one member of Senator Vasconcellos's staff is doing at 11pm everynight. . . . .

Phew. There, I'm done.

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