At last! Some spine!

I'm glad to see that the once-timid media are finally showing real spine, and they are daring to demand answers to tough questions about pressing issues.

At least, the most important pressing issues.

Like whether the president smokes:

"You just think it's neat to ask me about my smoking," he told the reporter, before conceding that he has "fallen off the wagon sometimes."

"Am I a daily, a constant smoker? No," he said. "I don't do it in front of my kids. i don't do it in front of my family."

Obama said he was "95% cured" and compared himself to a recovering alcoholic.

"Once you've gone down this path, it's something you continually struggle with," he said.

The line has to be drawn somewhere, and I am so delighted that they've laid down the law. And think how patient they have been! The president may have been given a pass on Iranian revolution, gay marriage, DOMA, and socialized health care, but this is where it counts.

After all, cigarettes are one of the greatest evils of Western Civilization. Obama might get a break on everything else, but smoking? On some issues, even the pliant media has to uphold society's moral standards.

I feel so much safer now.

MORE: Glenn Reynolds (in an update reading "From journalism to 'gerbilism?'") links this piece on media "gerbilism" which decries the fawning coverage, and says,

The press corps needs to get a backbone when it comes to covering Obama, and quick.
Well, they might be into gerbilism, but there are some things scientists can't get even a gerbil to do, and countenancing smoking is apparently one of them.

What I want to know is what's up with "gerbilism" these days? Have they defined gerbilism down? As a commenter Silvergoat noted,

Actually, given the MSM close attachment to the posterior of the president, the next step of gerbilism is altogether predictable.
Which begs the question of what is gerbilism. In the piece Glenn links, K. Daniel Glover cites a definition given by Doug Bates at a commencement address to graduating journalism students:
Lately, I've been thinking about that long-ago school paper, and I've decided "gerbilism" is a pretty good word for what's been going on in the news media these days. Gerbilism is an apt term for something that's soft and warm and cuddly, safe and timid, with no sharp teeth and no bite whatsoever. Gerbilism, I've decided, is partly responsible for a lot of our nation's problems today.
Mr. Bates concluded his speech by urging the graduating class of journalists to "please join the fight to keep shallow, fluffy worthless gerbilism from further weakening American democracy."

OK, I agree with Bates' central point, but should he have chosen a different word? Or is he deliberately injecting a subtext?

I hate to quibble (and I also hate to accuse a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist of a coverup) but I think it's obvious that Mr. Bates is omitting a well known, darker definition of gerbilism. A definition known all too well to college students, expounded upon in graphic-enough-while-still-being-work-safe terms here:

We're all crammed in a shithole by a higher being, who is neither benevolent or malevolent, and cares not for us. He hedonistically puts us where we find ourselves for his own sense of experimentation and enjoyment. The sum of our experiences is but insignificant fecal matter that accumulates on our fur during our arduous journey.
We are the gerbil. Infinitessimally small in the colon we are enveloped by. I am not commenting on the beastlike nature of man. We are in our own, separate assholes, yet, since all assholes are similar, we can relate to the pathos of other gerbils in our very same predicament.
crammed in a shithole by a higher being? Is that where this epidemic of brown-nosed journalism is headed?

Why does it have to be incumbent on lowly bloggers like me to keep supplying the missing subtext?

I'm all for journalists showing some spine, but honest, I wasn't thinking about below the spine.

posted by Eric on 06.24.09 at 11:00 AM


You know, if they would just nip thier "host" a couple of times, they'll find themselves back in fresh air before they know it.

Phelps   ·  June 24, 2009 1:29 PM

You know, if they would just nip thier "host" a couple of times, they'll find themselves back in fresh air before they know it.

Phelps   ·  June 24, 2009 1:31 PM

The President should stop being apologetic about it. The war on tobacco has always been nothing more than a war on liberty itself, but he's too foolish to see that and instead embraces his tormentors' bankrupt political philosophy.

He should tell everyone who disapproves to go to hell. Fully one third of the population would cheer.

Anonymous   ·  June 25, 2009 7:50 AM

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