Tag Archives: journalism

Things I Learned From the RNC


Best meme since Hillary’s.

1. Paul Ryan is adorable, but a liar.

2. Mitt Romney is still incredibly uninteresting. Also a liar.

3. Lying has now become an acceptable means of political communications. Not fudging, but outright lying.

Seriously?

Now I’ve had some problems with Romney and his crew from the get-go. When I worked as a journalist, we had cable news running non-stop in the office. I could often be heard screaming things at the TV like “Obamacare is the SAME THING AS ROMNEYCARE! Ugh!” “That’s not what you said yesterday, dude. Seriously?” “Just release your tax returns already!” and “What happened to the ‘moderate progressive’ Republican governor who allowed gay marriage? I might have voted for him!”

Needless to say, we stopped watching cable news all the time in the office after a while.

But Mitt got the vote by being less crazy and more handsome than Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich or Herman Cain. Fine. Like we didn’t all see that one coming. When he chose Paul Ryan as his running mate, I felt like maybe I should start hoarding birth control, but it was an overall solid choice. Ok, fine.

But then his campaign started going from ‘maybe people won’t notice I changed my mind’ to straight up ‘people will believe anything I say because they hate Obama.’

Now, after watching the RNC, my problem with Romney and his crew can be summed up in a single sentence spoken by campaign staffer Neil Newhouse: “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.”

Uh, what? Now, there are some things people called lies, especially in Ryan’s speech, that you could fudge. The closing of the Janesville plant? Eh, maybe you could technically, sort of, possibly blame that on Obama if you tried really hard. The rest?

Let’s just say even Fox News called him out on it.

The man now running for President of these United States is no better. According to PolitiFact.com, 70% of the statements made by Romney surrounding issues ranging from Obama’s policies to job rates are somewhere between a half-truth and a complete flat-out “pants on fire” lie.

He mostly avoided lies in favor of out of context exaggerations during his acceptance speech, but still couldn’t manage to just stick to the truth.

As much as I’d like to be calm about this, here’s my reaction:

HOW IN THE HELL ARE WE SUPPOSED TO TRUST YOU TO RUN A COUNTRY WHEN YOU CAN’T STOP LYING ABOUT HOW OTHER PEOPLE RUN THE COUNTRY?

(Now, I’m not saying that Obama and Biden didn’t do some exaggerating of their own during their DNC speeches. Certainly they did. But quoting a disputed study is, in my eyes, different than completely fabricating your speech.)

But you say, what does the Republican ticket get out of lying so much? Why would you do that when you’re trying to win a country’s trust?

As I see it, there are a few options.

1. They know people will believe anything if you say it enough.

I could give numerous examples of this fact, but here’s a few. There were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Obamacare has made taxpayers pay for other people’s birth control. Things that are purple taste like grape. (The correct answers are: nope, isn’t happening and purple is a color, not a flavor. Duh.)

So maybe they’re hoping if they lie enough, people will vote for them based on false beliefs. An understandable but terrible way to run a campaign.

It’s a meme sort of day.

2. Republicans are determined to make Obama a one-term president, but since he organized the killing of Bin Laden, gave kids and broke college grads health care and helped fix the auto industry, they don’t have a good reason for people to vote Republican. Especially when their candidate won’t release his tax returns, insults foreign leaders across the globe and seems to be totally out of touch with the average American.

Really all I can say to this one is that when even your own party leaders can’t seem to get behind someone, maybe you should have floated some better candidates. Even all the RNC endorsements were fairly lukewarm. I mean, after sweeping the House and Senate in 2010, you’d think there would have been someone, anyone, better out there than those who showed up for the primary race.

However, since you are stuck with Romney you could, you know, maybe have Mittens introduce his own plans? Say how he’s going to do better in concrete terms? Explain what he would have done differently (other than not make Romneycare available to the entire country)?

Stop lying to win (see #1) and instead get your candidate under control. We only have 50-some days left until the election. Get your act together.

3. They’re trying to disenchant voters so much that independent and Democratic voters get fed up and stay home.

This one sounds silly, but I’m becoming more and more convinced as the weeks pass that this could have some truth to it. Look at it this way: In the age of the Internet, no politician can say a word that won’t be dissected by everyone with a computer. And as a young voter with a brain, I’m getting pretty sick of the way the political process works in this country. I may be a Policy Dork, but I’m not stupid. (Older voters seem to agree with me based on a series of loud lunchroom rants I’ve participated in over the last two months.)

There’s simply no trust left in the political process.

Will I vote on Nov. 6? Absolutely. Do I feel the voting booth urgently screaming my name as it did in 2008 and 2010? No, not really.

Credit to http://balooscartoonblog.blogspot.com for the comic 🙂

And if even a small percentage of the Independent and Democratic voters that are hard enough to get out the door feel that way too, well then, they might just stay home and let someone else take care of the problem.

Of course, they’re already taking care of this voting ‘problem’ with disenfranchising voter ID laws in various states, but I guess it can’t hurt to up their odds. Finally…

4. They actually believe what they’re telling people.

I don’t believe this one. Partially because it’s terrifying and partially because I believe a man smart enough to have off shore banking accounts is smart enough to know the difference between truth and fiction.

Ultimately, if I may issue a challenge to the Romney-Ryan ticket, one that I guarantee will go unanswered, here it is:

Please, prove me wrong on any of the reasons above.

Just once, I would like to see a completely honest speech. No skewed facts, no exaggerations and certainly no outright lies. Just once, let’s see a headline that says: “Everything in Romney/Ryan’s Speech Found to be Completely True.” Just once, show me you can actually be trusted to govern a country.

Because we’re too far along into the age of the Internet for you to do anything else.

Advertisements

On Journalistic Self-Censorship and Transparency


Originally I named this post “Journalist Self-Censorship, or Could You Please Pretend You Don’t Have An Opinion?” But I figured that was both too inflammatory and too long to tweet.

But that is essentially the problem I want to address in this post.

What journalists are not

Before we get any further down the controversial road of objectivity vs. transparency in the media, let me explain something that I’ve always taken for granted. Journalists are critical thinkers. We are trained to evaluate information and fit it into the context of the world at large. And since journalists aren’t zombies, we are probably going to have an opinion. It’s inevitable.

However, the whole idea of objectivity now seems to be that journalists have to pretend to not have opinions. I’ve heard of some journalists who literally do not vote, EVER, because they don’t want to seem biased in any way. Opinions are only for the op-ed pages.

However, call me wrong, but that doesn’t seem possible. Journalists are not zombie robots. They are people trained to analyze information, make quick decisions, ask the tough questions and inform their public. OF COURSE they’re going to have opinions. How could they not? Not only that, but your opinions inform, even subconsciously, how you view a story, what angle you pursue, who you interview, how many column inches you beg your editor to let you use.

So wouldn’t it maybe be better to let people know what side of the spectrum you’re on and go from there?

This issue became closer to my heart and experience over the last two years when Walker took office and the protests began around the Capitol. Now that I am no longer a journalist, I can freely admit this: I participated in the UW walkouts, leaving my Media Ethics class to march for my professors, TAs and friends in the teaching profession with the full support of my professor. I took my poor little 5 megapixel camera all over State Street and the Square. I filmed rallies, I tweeted from inside the Capitol building, I took innumerable photos that ended up on Flickr. Needless to say, I did not support Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposal.

Those photos, videos and opinions ended up on this blog. I didn’t write a lot about it, I was too upset and as I said in one post, “I can’t write about this with any objectivity, so I won’t.” Luckily, I got a journalism internship and a job working for a small print newspaper after graduation, even with those opinions out there for anyone to read.

I say luckily because others weren’t as the years wore on. One journalism student had their internship offer rescinded after admitting to signing the recall petition.

While I didn’t have my offers of employment rescinded, an intrepid reader who stumbled upon my blog after Googling the new reporter brought it to the attention of my editor about a month after I landed my first real journalism job . While my editor, in the spirit of fairness, told me he couldn’t require me to take down posts written before I reported in any official capacity, he did ask if I could delete them. The recall election was heating up and I’d inevitably be covering it in some way within a month or two.

After a night or two of soul-searching, I agreed. I didn’t want to compromise my integrity in a new town where no one trusted the reporter who was only 3 months out of school and I wanted people to think I could listen to them and report fairly on both sides of the aisle.

But I have to admit that I almost didn’t. This blog was inactive at that point. The way I saw it, I shouldn’t have to sacrifice having beliefs to be able to do my job. But worry about the appearance of integrity won out.

I also didn’t sign the petition to recall Walker. In this case the law came down from the main office in Madison. Signing a petition would be sacrificing integrity. We agree to keep our personal opinions to ourselves when we take on the role of being journalists.

It killed me to not be able to participate. It took all my strength to not pull over and sign when I saw someone standing at the corner with a drive by petition signing booth. I seriously considered saying screw journalistic principles and doing it anyway. But I didn’t. I’m thankful as well, considering the investigation that went down later on within Lee.

But that was a major factor when deciding whether or not to leave my journalism position two months ago. I couldn’t bear to spend my entire life pretending I didn’t have opinions.

In my media ethics classes, we spent a lot of time debating objectivity vs. transparency. Objectivity is the idea that journalists are neutral. As I’ve established, I believe that’s totally impossible. Here’s where transparency comes into play: Instead of pretending to be objective, let readers know where you’re coming from, especially on political issues.

My coverage of the recall election and petition signing was possibly some of the least “biased” coverage I gave to any story while I worked as a reporter. Why? Because I knew my own limitations and biases and did my best to keep them out of the story. I believe every journalist does the same.

As Reuters columnist Jack Shafer said after Gannett reprimanded employees for signing the petition:

“So the ethical crime in Wisconsin wasn’t having political views, which the Gannett code allows. It wasn’t expressing those views in secret. It was expressing a weakened form of them in a way that could go public. As long as you conceal your views from the ethics cops, you’re safe….At the core of the current journalistic codes is the notion that judging journalism requires us to judge the conduct of the journalists producing it. Instead of suppressing the political lives of journalists, why not allow that which is now covert to become overt and give readers more information to assess coverage?”

If the Republicans tried to pass a bill saying the Earth is flat…


So I promised there would be a post here about, uh, five days ago?

I’m not even going to apologize this time. Y’all know it’s par for the course with this blog.

So I mentioned I would be going a little more in-depth about the idea of objectivity in journalism, or the idea that the media has to report ‘both’ sides of a story.

This idea has always bothered me. First off, there are almost never just two sides to any story. Sometimes there are 7 sides or 10 sides or maybe even just one. (Though if there’s just one, maybe you need a different angle. I’ve never had just one side to a story.)

In Episode Two of The Newsroom, they talk about making News 2.0. News that relies on facts, doesn’t try to sway you with an emotional plea and most importantly, presents the best form of every argument. All the sides of the story so to speak.

Will McAvoy uses the following example: “If the Republicans tried to pass a bill tomorrow saying the Earth is flat, the headline from the Times would be, ‘Republicans and Democrats can’t agree on the whether the Earth is flat.”

That’s completely true, but not the best form of the argument. In that context, the best form of the argument might be “Republicans reject current scientific knowledge” or “Bogus bill put forward to delay passage of the ACA.”

But let me give you my favorite real life example.

So there’s this thing called global warming. We’ve all heard of it by now. We jokingly blamed the weather on it until it became pretty clear it actually was messing with our rainfall. Then we shook our fists at it. But most scientists, including some who were disbelievers before, are now certain that it exists and that humans are impacting the Earth at an alarming rate. The U.S. Global Change Research Program, part of the National Science and Technology Council, has stated that “The global warming observed over the past 50 years is due primarily to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases.” The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations group that defines the scientific agreement across nations, said in it’s 2007 report that humans are most likely to have caused the global warming that has occurred over the last 50 years. In science speak, “most likely” means an over 90 percent chance. It’s the closest you’re going to get to a definite yes from almost any scientist worth his salt, let alone an entire panel.

And yet, because some people don’t want to believe that we could possibly be having this impact on our planet – and that our industry might have to change – they try to debunk climate science in any way possible. And because the journalistic norm is for everyone to have a voice, these people get so much attention from the media that the general public thinks the debunkers are a credible source. Even back in 2004 researchers recognized media bias as a serious problem in the fight against global warming.

In the conclusion of a report from the University of California – Santa Cruz’s Environmental Studies Department, two researchers named Boykoff and Boykoff stated the following:

“In the end, adherence to the norm of balanced reporting leads to informationally biased coverage of global warming. This bias, hidden behind the veil of journalistic balance, creates both discursive and real political space for the US government to shirk responsibility and delay action regarding global warming.”

It also found that major news outlets, such as the New York Times, The Washington Post, the L.A. Times and others, have contributed to a lack of knowledge by the general public of what scientists think about global warming and what should be done about it by “adherence to journalistic norms, and more specifically to the journalistic norm of balance.”

Basically, there aren’t two sides to this story. There is global warming and there are people who want to pretend it doesn’t exist because global warming might mess with their profits.

Now, thankfully, I went to a college that factored ethics very highly into my education and we were taught that giving balance to a story shouldn’t be as important as telling the truth. But the truth doesn’t sell papers and the truth doesn’t get funding. “Balance” does.

So, in the case of global warming, the correct headline might be “Companies create propaganda campaign to cast doubt on global warming.”

But no one is reporting that.

And that is reason #1 why I had a problem with working as a journalist.

Next time, I’ll discuss another aspect to the bias-balance debate, one that also became very close to my heart over the last year: personal politics and objectivity.

I’ll leave you with this wonderful clip of Will McAvoy discussing what is best and worst about America to warm your heart. I know it had me cheering by the end.

6 qualities required to be a journalist


Editor’s note: I started this post on my birthday, a little over a month ago. Apparently drinking mojitos alone on your birthday while you’re sick means you’ll feverishly start blog posts and then totally forget they exist. Oops. I have been thinking about this post for a while though and apparently was pretty far along, so I’m going to finish it up. With some editing for drunken stupor.

So I’ve been thinking a lot the last few weeks. I’ve been wearing several different hats at the JT, and it’s made me think about the qualities needed to be a journalist, no matter what kind. So here’s my list, composed in my head over days of stories. (I may add to this post or create a new one when I come up with more.)

1. Curiosity: You must always be thinking, “Why?”
Why do you have to bore 1 1/2 inches into that tree to treat it? Can the people still live in the house after the fire? Why did that alderman vote that way in that controversial ordinance? What signs mean you have a ghost in your house? (Yes seriously, I did a story on a ghost hunting group this summer.)

2. Persistence: You have to always be ready to call back.
So, so, so many times this summer  I’ve waited for a call back from someone, only to call them an hour later and have them be free and willing to talk. People, myself included, aren’t good at returning messages. But if you call them while they’re slogging through their afternoon work email, they’ll be happy enough to take a break and talk to you about something they actually care about.

3. Personality: Connect with your sources.
People, especially in smaller towns, love to have their name in the paper. Despite dropping circulation, the paper is still  the first way people get their news, be it the print or online edition. And if you chat them up first, they won’t mind telling you intrusive details like their age and occupation. Honestly, they’ll feel flattered by the attention. But in return you have to really listen. You have to take notes on what they say, get them to tell you what they were thinking and feeling, and then come back to the office and synthesize it into a 12 inch article. If you do it right, people will email you to thank you. If you do it wrong, your editor is bound to know. So make sure to connect.

4. Composure: You WILL do awkward things in the name of a story, get used to it.
Last week, a woman died in a car crash in Sturtevant, a suburb-ish area absorbed into Racine. My first day as cops reporter was filled with calling every single Stewart in the local area to ask if they were related to her. Then the city clerk. My fellow reporter Stephanie called the local councilman to see if he knew. Ultimately, no one had any idea who she was, but let me tell you, I have had to do far less awkward things than call up random households and say, “Hi, is this the Stewart residence? Yes, my name is Alicia, I’m calling from the Journal Times. Are you related to Judy Stewart? No? Thanks much.” But you do it anyway.

5. Meticulousness: The Devil is in the details
This seems totally self-explanatory, (how can you be a good journalist if you’re not detail oriented and vaguely OCD, right?) but it’s not. I’ve partnered with some journalists in college that were possibly the least organized people I know, and it showed in their work, their grades, and I imagine in their later job search. You have to know more about your story than you put into it. Not just most of the time, but ALL the time. You have to dig. Why this? Who’s that? Why was he there? How do you feel about him being there? How will this affect that random thing over there? This goes back to #1, but holds a different side. Don’t just ask why, make sure you have ALL the why.
Also. make sure you don’t lose your pen. Having like 10 in your purse is a good start.

6. Patience: Or how you will work the weirdest hours of your life in this job
Here’s the thing no one tells you in college about being a journalist. (Or maybe someone did and I just forgot about it in my enthusiasm to write things for money.) You will work the most whack hours ever. Some days you’ll come in at 7:30 and be out by 3:00. Some days you’ll come in at noon and leave at 9. Some days, and these are the worst, you will come in at 9 a.m. and work till 9 p.m. You will likely be expected to write an article at the end of this 12 hour day. Probably more like two or three. It doesn’t matter that the last thing you ate was a bagel around 3 p.m. That’s just how it works. If you want a 9-5, do something else.

Alright, there you have it. After months of consideration, here’s my list. It may update or change the further I get into this job, but the key principles stand.

P.S. I have an awesome job as a real reporter for the Reedsburg Times-Press now! Yay, I have a big girl job! You can find all my articles online, published every Wednesday and Saturday at http://www.wiscnews.com/reedsburgtimespress/. Yeah, that’s what’s up.

 

Teh Commerz Clawz: Swift and Co v. US


Welcome to the third installment of Teh Commerz Clawz, where I explain the precedent to the state’s challenge to the health care bill in super simple speak. Also with lolcats. And today, lolcows.

cow picture

Mooovin on...to the stockyardz. Thanks to futurity.org for the pic.

Today’s episode deals with cows. Lotz and lotz and lotz of cows. And some railroads too. And some people. But mostly, a lot of cows, where they go, and why teh federal government had a beef with monopolies.

So when we left yesterday, we’d determined from Gibbons and E.C. Knight that there are limits to what the national government can control through teh Commerz Clawz. For example, manufacturing is not commerce, and so is regulated through state “police powers” instead. (BTW, if this police powerz thing has you a bit confused, it does everyone. There’s really no hard and fast line for what’s a state and what’s a federal police power. Don’t sweat it.)

Swift and Co. v. US also concerns monopolies, just like yesterday. In this one however, instead of nummy shoogar, we haz stockyards in Chicago wreaking havoc. (Though, come on, what else can you expect from good old Illinois, right Mr. Blagojevich?) Basically, the way the meat industry worked, and still kinda does, went something like this. Farmers raise cows. Farmers bring and sell cows to stockyards. Companies would purchase the cows from the stockyards, slaughter them, and then sell the meat to local stores in the area. Pretty simple, and everyone makes money right?

Theodore Roosevelt cartoon

Teddy Roosevelt was so awesome he killed trust bears all by himzelf! Also, old cartoons rock.

Except Swift and Co. controlled about 60% of the fresh meat market, and they weren’t doing it honestly. They made agreements with other meat houses for what prices would be so there wasn’t any real competition, and thus set artificial prices for everything. The farmers made less money for their meat, which sucks considering the cows had to transported sometimes thousands of miles on railroads. The meat monopoly men manhandled the railroads into charging them artificially low rates for transporting these cows.

So nobody was making a bunch of money except for Swift and Co.

When the government found out about it, they were obviously very pissed off about it.

Fed govt: No! We haz tell u already! No monopolies. Ur buisness practises r bad! We sue u!
Swift: Iz not interstate commerz. Our stockyards r liek 3 miles frum our slaughterhauses and stuff. Plus, how were we spossed to kno? Teh Sherman Act iz too vague 4 anyone 2 use.

Now, when the Sherman Act went into effect, President Grover Cleveland and the Court that decided E.C. Knight believed that monopolies were part of progress, and so the Sherman Act was actually really vague. One of the main ideas behind laws is that if they’re too vague for people to know what they can or cannot do, or cover too much, then they’re no good and will be thrown out. So this was actually a great argument against the Sherman Act.  (This is why you can find so much porn on the Internet so easily. It’s so far been impossible for Congress to craft an easily implementable, concise law that isn’t so vague that it covers everything. More on that some other time.)

But in 1909, when this case was decided, Teddy Roosevelt and a more “liberal” court were in power, and people were starting to realize what a pain in the butt monopolies actually are. Case in point: Swift and Co.

But since most of their operations are only in a few states, would that make it interstate? Remember, in E.C. Knight, the Supreme Court didn’t let that one slide.

Justice Holmes had a ginormous moustache

Antique Kitteh has the day off. Love Baby Kitteh instead!

A new Supreme Court Kitteh shall explain:

“So, Swift saiz dat since all teh company commerz happens in teh same state, kinda, dat he iz not part of interstate commerz. BUT!

“In E.C. Knight we tellz u about teh concept of “direct” v. indirect effect on commerz. Manufacturing haz an indirect effect on commerz. But dis iz a diffurent storeh. Why? Cuz teh monopolies deal in buying and selling tings, and dat effect on commerz iz not “not accidental, secondary, or remote,” but iz very purposeful. Swift iz tryin 2 control prices by cheating ppl. Dis iz a verry direct effect.

When dey taeks da cows frum 1 state, and send dem somewhere else in a diffurent state, and da stockyardz iz inbetween, and dis happens all teh time, then it iz interstate commerce.

Teh Court iz going to taek this 1 step moar. They tink there iz a stream of commerz, and that tings affecting that stream can haz regulationz. “When this is a typical constantly recurring course, [like with the stockyards, Ali note] the current thus existing is a current of commerce among the states, and the purchase of the cattle is a part . . . of such commerce.””

So now we have this idea of a “stream of commerce.” When things go from one place to another, just because something happens in a state that stops the goods for a bit, doesn’t mean that part is out of the flow. It’s like a river. Everything from where that river starts to where it stops is part of the river. No quibbling allowed.

But then there are moar probz. What counts as the start of this stream? What if the stuff is only on the banks so to speak? When does it complete this trip?

All that and moar in Friday’s installment of Teh Commerz Clawz, when we learn about sick chickens and Teh Grate Depreshun. (Not to be confused with the current “Great Recession.” Ugh.)

Getcha Vote On!


I promise that this weekend will see a slew of commentary I’ve had building  through the second round of midterms, but let’s put it to a vote.

Would you like to hear about:
A) Walker’s high speed rail debacle,
B) Obama v. ? (Palin?) for 2012,
C) Whether MSNBC’s politicization is ultimately going to hurt them,
or
D) Why states can sue over the health care bill, and what the deal is with the Commerce Clause, the Taxing and Spending Clause and health care in the first place.

(Facebooking me, hitting me up on Twitter @acabercrombie, or commenting this post are all acceptable forms of voting.)

Now on to the meat of this post.

I admit it, for someone who loves technology, I’m behind on the trends. I only recently got a LinkedIn, and am still not sure how to use it after college. Katy Culver forced me to use Twitter for the first time last spring. I stuck with LiveJournal long after many people made the switch to WordPress. While I understand Reddit, I have to admit it bores me just a bit. I was one of those people who held on to MySpace long after it went out of style.

But OH EM GEE, do I love my RSS feeds.

So here are a few recommendations for quick reads to keep up on the media and political worlds:

On the Hill blog. Their Morning Roundup of opinions from both sides of the divide are interesting both in what they actually say, and in what Capitol Hill is pushing each morning. In general the mix of Democratic and Republican articles is pretty even. For example, yesterday had a great blog from Michael Moore, who mentioned the obvious, that the Democrats have a bit of time left to push things through, and hey, maybe they should. Though they won’t. (We’ve all seen how well “jamming legislation down America’s throat” works.)

Media Decoder: New York Times. Very quick (two-to-three paragraph) updates on interesting media world happenings, like iTunes finally conquering the Beatles, the merger of NewsWeek and the Daily Beast, Keith Olbermann’s recent political contribution scandals (and why Fox didn’t make a big deal of this like I assumed they would), and the question many people have been asking, including senators: Why can’t Fox and MSNBC just go away? Is Cable News actually news anymore? And most importantly, why should we care?

Don’t forget to vote for Sunday!

And here’s a funny to send you on your way!

Wis. man accused of shooting TV over Palin dance

“We all just want a catfight.”


So this morning, for the sake of this blog and being better informed and all that good jazz, I once again attempted to watch the national morning news. I thought maybe, seeing as it’s been months since I watched anything other than Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, that maybe my memory deceived me. (For the record, CNN is boring, FOX News makes me sick to my stomach, and I pay enough for cable without shelling out extra for the BBC, so MSNBC seems my only option.)

I gave it a good effort. But 25 minutes was all I could handle before switching it off. Here’s why.

Meghan McCain, the marriage equality supporting member of the John McCain family (she posed for a  set of NoH8 ads earlier this year), recently released a book called “Dirty Sexy Politics.” DSP chronicles her thoughts on her father’s failed presidential bid in 2008, and does a decent bit of Palin bashing, according to MSNBC. In an article from 8/31/10, MSNBC states that Meghan called Palin a ticking time-bomb, waiting to explode the campaign.

However, she also said some pretty nice things about Palin, things about her and her family being “nice and down-to-Earth.”

Anyway, on The Today Show, Meghan said her first thoughts about Palin were “Who the hell is Sarah Palin?” Which, to be honest, was pretty much everyone’s first thought. Did you know who this Palin woman was? I sure didn’t. (You can watch clips and read about it in the Post here.)

So MSNBC, instead of taking that at face value, called in one of their various “political experts” (at the time of writing I can’t find her name, but I assume there will be a Youtube clip soon) and asked her what she thought of Meghan McCain talking about how she didn’t know Sarah Palin.

And the first words out of this expert’s mouth were “Well, we all just want a catfight. America loves catfights. We love seeing two well-dressed, beautiful women go at it on television.” She then went on to suggest McCain and Palin should wrestle in a hot tub, because America would love it.

Swear to God.

HOW IS THAT ANALYSIS? Oh, also, the book doesn’t have enough sex or dirt in it. (How dare a woman whose father works in politics not wreck his name and his campaign in the most revealing book ever?) But…the expert had only done a ‘Washington read,’ meaning all she’d done was skim various sections looking for proper names. So, we can’t really take her word on that either.

Thank you MSNBC for proving again why I don’t watch television news.

Oh, also, in a beautiful twist of fate, Snooki from Jersey Shore goes to court today after being charged with being too annoying for anyone to deal with anymore. No, really. Criminally annoying is a charge. Check it out here.