Just a couple weeks ago I wrote that Republicans are obsessed with Benghazi because they think it’s Obama’s Watergate, and now here comes proven dum-dum Darrell Issa going ahead and ruining everything by making it explicit. As I wrote before, Watergate was caused more by the media than anything else, by a generation of media folks who were happy to keep secrets for powerful people (which made them, in turn, more powerful themselves) and were happy not to tell the voters things that in their mind would unduly worry or hurt them. Bad as our present-day media can be, they’re nowhere near as arrogant and obsequious as in those days. Nowadays, nothing stays secret. The filter just doesn’t exist. Reporters write and file stories they have, because if they don’t, someone else will, and nowadays competition is much fiercer in every way.

The basic problem here is that, while there might be some more details to be uncovered that make the Obama Administration look bad, the wilder conspiracy theories are almost certainly untrue simply based on the fundamentals, and Issa is basically setting conservatives up for disappointment when Obama leaves the White House on schedule and free of legal complications, most likely with high approvals. Obviously anything is possible but the fundamentals of the situation make vast presidential conspiracies far less likely than in prior eras. For one thing, presidents are much more closely observed than?ever before. There are more?observers and more people willing to talk, even former cabinet officials. The rapidity of today’s news cycles and the new media types ensure that the competition is fiercer than ever before for juicy material. Given the approach of the pre-Watergate media, one can see how Nixon’s crazy schemes happened, why the public was initially sold on Vietnam, and so on. The scrutiny simply wasn’t there. Now it’s all there, all the time, excessively so, to our detriment. Republicans would do better to investigate the rule-making process in the executive agencies than to keep on this white whale, if they actually cared about stopping corruption. Would probably do more to make the president look bad too.

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  1. Metavirus says:

    on some things, i can at least conceptually understand why conservatives believe certain types of shit.

    hoard guns because obama’s legions of deputized acorn-associated black-panther revenge-seekers will soon be coming for them to exact reparations from whitey (which michele obama totally said)? well, at least there’s racism in there to attribute.

    with beghazi, i get the motivation behind the rabid, cynical nihilists in congress (naturally). but i seriously have difficulty when i try to get into the head of a recent redneck driving a truck in front of me with a bumpersticker that read “Benghazi: Worse Than Watergate”. other than a couple of truly loony conspiracy theories — such as obama withholding air strikes and nukes thereby leaving the thousands of hundreds of *4* embassy workers to die — the republican congressional inquisition hasn’t even been able to allege or insinuate anything approaching something with either or both of (a) a sliver of credibility, and/or (b) even a whiff of evil, criminal malfeasance. sure, the psychotic revanchist neo-confederates will believe anything that bolsters their case that obama is the demon love child of Commiezombies (Comzies?) Hitler and Stalin. but for literally anyone else, it’s just pure nonsense and insanity.

    in my top ten list of things about politics and the media that piss me off the most, somewhere at the top is the fact that republicans repeatedly get a pass (from the media and the electorate) for doing tons of insane, country-crushing shit. sure, democrats are stratospherically shitty at messaging and aggressively taking the fight to republicans and pounding them mercilessly for things like shutting down the government, filibusters and abject sociopathy on the social safety net and heath care, but i weep for our republic now that we’ve become so stupid and beaten down as to not notice or care when a group of people are running around the power station throwing molotov cocktails into the generators. i suppose part of it is like sarah palin at a debate, viz: everyone expects her to drool, mumble things and avoid pooping herself. So, similarly, people just expect republicans to do crazy shit AND expect democrats to just sit around taking it up the ass without complaint.

    Le sigh.

  2. Mark Schumaker says:

    You are forgetting that we no longer have a free press, but a corporate press. And they only cover what the corporation wants covered. If the corporation makes at least lip service to the Conservative nutcases it means controversy, and ratings. There is no Liberal media, there is no Conservative media, just corporate media with it’s own agenda. This then generates the free pass that you mention, and the gridlock that has settled in with our politics.

    • Lev says:

      I agree. Problem is that the major media outlets are owned by big entertainment megacorporations, who run it like entertainment. When you make a big investment in, say, a Captain America movie, you’re not going to want to alienate a huge chunk of your audience by, say, having Cap say that abortion is great. I get that. But trying to avoid ruffling any feathers with news orgs is pointless, if it doesn’t piss anyone off it’s probably not news worth following. Objectivity has nothing to do with hedging or not having an opinion, merely sticking to the facts. If there’s a factual case for dismissing a controversy then doing so could be constituted as objective.

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