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Politics: Enough with the 'lamestream media' nonsense

May 19, 2011 |  1:25 pm

Arnold There's been a lot of ink spilled this week about Arnold Schwarzenegger. Not surprisingly, most of it hasn't been kind.

In The Times alone, you've found these headlines: 

"Arnold Schwarzenegger's lies have a familiar ring," Steve Lopez column.

"Arnold Schwarzenegger was unfaithful to Californians," George Skelton, Capitol Journal column.

"Arnold Schwarzenegger's failings," Times' editorial.

And even when he's been cut some slack, it's not exactly a compliment:

"Schwarzenegger mistress not named here, a rarity in media,"  Times media critic James Rainey.

There's really not much left to be said about our ex-governor. 

Palin But there's another element to this story. I'll call it the "Sarah Palin-Newt Gingrich lamestream media gambit."

On The Times' Politics Now blog, Michael A. Memoli reported Thursday:

Newt Gingrich's misstep this week was actually a double fault in Sarah Palin's eyes. Not only did he attack his own party's proposal to reshape Medicare, but he did so by appearing on the oh-so-dreaded "lamestream media."

Palin offered her diagnosis on a pair of Fox cable shows Wednesday and used Gingrich's latest woes as an example of why Republican presidential hopefuls should avoid the traditional media.

"There's got to be the preparation on all the candidates' parts for those gotchas. That's what the lamestream media is known for nowadays is the gotcha trip-up questions," she told Sean Hannity on his Fox News Channel show Wednesday.

So what, you say? Standard operating procedure for Palin and for others on Fox? Perhaps.   

But here's where it ties in with the Schwarzenegger story. 

By regularly demonizing major, reputable media outlets, some political leaders have taken us to a very dark place, a place where people don't believe anyone: not the media, not the government, not elected officials. And that's a bad place to be.

You'll recall that before the 2003 California election to recall Gov. Gray Davis that The Times famously reported on Schwarzenegger's womanizing, which media critic Rainey recounted recently in "On the Media: Schwarzenegger-Shriver split recalls earlier news reports":

The initial front page story and subsequent follow-ups seemed inherently newsworthy -- describing a public figure wielding his abundant power to abuse subordinates. Many Times readers were happy to see these secrets revealed.

But a lot of others reacted with a fury. Some accused the paper of a politically motivated attack, meant to hurt Schwarzenegger and prop up the struggling Davis. They complained with particular vehemence about the timing of the story, published five days before the recall vote. At least 10,000 subscribers canceled the paper, according to executives who were with the paper at the time.

Wonder what those 10,000 ex-subscribers are thinking now?  Do they feel a bit foolish?

Probably not. And that's the real problem, because that's what this "lamestream media" nonsense has done: Too many people see political motives in everything; too many people believe anything but the truth.

Someone should remind Palin and her ilk of what Thomas Jefferson said, that given a choice between government without newspapers and newspapers without a government, he'd choose the latter.

RELATED:

Sarah Palin: Newt Gingrich fell into 'lamestream media' trap

Schwarzenegger's 'incident' and the course of California history

-- Paul Whitefield

Photos, from top: Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger; Sarah Palin on Sean Hannity's Fox News show.    Credits: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times; Fox News

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