Tag Archives: TPM

Russert Wake a Self-Referential Good Bye

I caught some of the Tim Russert Memorial on TV while on the stairmaster at the gym.  Never seen such self referential nostalgia before– the mainstream press bidding itself adieu.

On stage were Mike Barnacle, Brian Williams, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and while watching the touching remarks, i couldn’t help but notice folks also saying goodbye to an anachronistic brand of television news reporting that is network based, and centered around evening and sunday morning broadcasts, in other words, old school traditional network reporting.  not so much a good bye to the “old fashioned news reporter–think eric severeid and walter cronkite, who departed from the scene long ago, but a farewell to a genre that has focused too much on an anachronistic network based talking heads who followed the classic ‘good ole days,’ where never quite as good as that “greatest generation,” and whose days are now also numbered.

In the midst of this transformative election campaign, Russert’s passing, tragic to be sure, also marks this transformation in media.  from tv to internet, from 24/7 bottom down to everywhere and always bottom up.  It is a changing of the guard from the Russerts, Barnacles, Brokaws, Gibsons to a new guard of reporting represented by Rachel Maddow, Talking Points Memo, firedoglake and others who are combining inside access with citizen journalism and critical perspectives. The new media is also re-introducing the idea that that the media is not to be considered an elite insiders game, but rather that in a democracy, we all have a responsibility to stay abreast of events, report and analyze them.

This post modern public sphere bodes well for the new Obama era.  


McCain’s Myopic Military Experience is Disqualifier

In today’s TPM post, “More on McCain’s Myopia,” Josh Marshall raises the point that John McCain lacks the big thinking to be president. Marshall suggests McCain’s navy pilot experience does not avail itself to strategic thinking.  

I wholeheartedly agree, and would like to add some of McCain’s bio to the conversation.   As Marshall suggests, there is nothing about military experience the mitigates the capacity for strategic thinking. Yep. Marshall finds the source of McCain’s myopia in his military experience.  Again, I agree.  McCain was trained to see immediate tactical questions, not larger strategic visions. I would add the following: While McCain’s military service is certainly heroic for his sheer self-preservation, it provides little other training or experience that makes him qualified to be commander in chief. According to the historical record, nearly all of McCain’s combat duty was spent off the battlefield. Consider the following: McCain was assigned to the USS Forestall in December 1966. His combat duty commenced spring 1967 as part of “Operation Rolling Thunder.”  McCain later wrote that these missions were micromanaged and as such were virtually worthless.” In all candor, we thought our civilian commanders were complete idiots…”  My purpose here is to show McCain’s own assessment of the value of this experience.   He is likely to concede “Rolling thunder” was not something that would qualify him to be commander in chief. A short time later, July 29, 1967, McCain was almost killed in a friendly fire incident aboard the Forrestall.  A rocket fired and hit his plane; the resulting fire killed 134.  McCain escaped. Then, after 23 bombing missions, on October 26, 1967, his A-4E Skyhawk was shot down. McCain remained prisoner of war until March 1, 1973.  The question:  Exactly which part of this military experience renders John McCain, or anyone with similar experience, to pass the Commander in Chief threshold.  Hey, the guy walked through fire– literally– and far worse, but really, where is the credential, tactical, strategic or otherwise? see TPM:http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/184630.php