The new newspaper trend -- even extending to boring old AP -- of encouraging reporters to not merely report but opine in their "news" pieces reared its ugly head again this morning by way of a front page story in the Austin American-Statesman on Saturday's Netroots Nation events.
Patrick Beach, a feature writer at the paper who once described himself as a "raging moderate," repeatedly described the gathering in stereotypes that better fit the aging Old Left of years ago than the much younger Netroots of today. I mean, how many of you have ever read much of Chomsky or even know who Nanci Griffith is?
When Beach, at the start refers to the crowd as "marauding liberals" I know it's not to be taken literally. But then we get this:
--the audience nearly staged a "faint-in" when Gore appeared (note use of '60s term).
--Pelosi is so far left her title should include (D-Beijing)......of course, this would come as a surprise to many in the crowd who have criticized her timidity.
-- another aged cliche, "napalm in the morning," from "Apocalypse Now."
-- why do these Netrootss people think the Democrats can win in November? Of course, he does not mention that the Roots helped propel the Dems to a smashing victory in 2006. Instead, he refers to the fact that conservatives meeting elsewhere, in tiny numbers, in Austin -- with Michelle Malkin as guest! -- might have a lot to say about that.
-- the liberal blogosphere is "terrribly self-confirming" -- not like the mainstream media! -- but then he notes that at the conference they "critiqued themselves."
-- Paul Krugman, as if to "galvanize stereotypes," wore Birkenstocks -- but Beach throughout the article clearly needed no help in having his own stereotypes galvanized.
--Krugman complained that the media wasn't liberal enough. Beach: "Only in Austin."
-- It's shooting fish in a barrel "to paint liberals as overly intellectual types incapable of having fun unless reading Noam CHomsky counts, and its sure does for them." In fact, the convention was practically "party central," few attendees are "intellectuals," and only a tiny percentage, I would guess, are Chomsky lovers -- again, an outmoded stereotype.
-- Those who spoke out during the Pelosi/Gore confab were "shushed" as if they were at a Nanci Griffith concert. I can imagine most of the attendees reading this reference and asking, "Who???"
--one more reference to Liberals Don't Wanna "have fun." And so on.
A further note: Right across the front page of that paper is a story about Obama's trip. The headline: "Obama gets taste of world affairs in Afghanistan." Like a babe in the woods!
UPDATE: Beach is quoted (date unknown) at Wikipedia thusly: "A narrative does not depart from the cardinal rule: Make nothing up or you'll be out of here and working at the Sunglass Hut so fast it'll make your head spin around. A narrative is a journalistic form that has fallen into considerable disfavor in the wake of our craft's ceaseless, self-flagellating credibility crisis."
Greg Mitchell's new book is So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits -- and the President -- Failed on Iraq. He is editor of Editor & Publisher and spoke at a NN panel.