Esoteric Dissertations from a One-Track Mind

April 3, 2008

Greenwald is from Mars, Cox is from Venus?

Filed under: media, politics — Tags: , — codesmithy @ 6:39 am

Glenn Greenwald had some various items on media campaign coverage and issues related to his new book. The fascinating part to me was his acrimonious interview with Ana Marie Cox of Time Glenn linked to. Ana Marie Cox was virtually synonymous with the blog Wonkette before she moved to Time‘s Swampland. It is unclear to me whether or not that was a good career move. Regardless, she felt it was her role to defend McCain and her journalistic peer’s coverage of him.

The part of the interview that floored me was at 44:55 where Cox says, “Thank you telling me what’s important for me to do, Glenn? Umm… I appreciate that.” She was being sarcastic. The context was about the unconstructive discussions that take place in the Swampland comments. In this respect, Greenwald has been an instigator. He has incited online mobs with posts such as those attacking Joe Klein on FISA and Massimo Calabresi.

And while I really hate psycho-analyzing people at a distance, in this case you can just feel the resentment oozing from Cox. So, it is worth taking a moment to looking for some background and motivations. One, Cox desperately wants to be a pundit and to have access to the powerful as some of her peers do. It is a status symbol. It was a motivating factor from moving from Wonkette to Time. As she reveals in her article about appearing on the Don Imus’ show, “I did the show almost solely to earn my media-elite merit badge.” Two, she does have a superiority complex that is apparent from the beginning of the interview. Cox is from Time. Greenwald is from Salon. She gets invited to McCain’s BBQ. Glenn doesn’t. One can see Cox fume while Greenwald explains the most sensible way to deal angry commenters, is played out with her sarcastic reply and then explains how she had already thought of all the points that Greenwald raised.

So, the question is: what did Cox want out of the interview? At the end of the day, it is apparent that she wants her job to be more fun. She doesn’t want to censor herself. She wants access to the powerful. She doesn’t want to worry about noisy commenters coming along and spewing vitriol all over her work. She wants to be respected by her peers.

It is therefore clear that her overall goal is to get Greenwald to empathize and sympathize with the establishment elite to get him to tone down his criticism. Her justification is that the biases that Greenwald complains about don’t really exist. She knows because she is one of them, and Glenn isn’t. This is based on the same revelatory garbage and fact-free analysis that is endemic in the establishment media.

This isn’t gender politics, but Cox does employ them. The husband references, the meandering discussion of topics with counterproductive admonishments when solutions are proposed; these are gender plays. However, the tactics she employs and the interests she represents are separable issues. McCain is getting a free pass from the press. Anyone interested in discontinuing the ruinous polices of George W. Bush had best wake up to this fact. McCain is not a centerist. He is not a maverick. He is for more war, making the tax-cuts permanent, openly panders to the religious-right and is completely enveloped in corporate interests. Rachel Maddow does a good job setting Joe Scarborough straight. Unless you want at least four more years of Bush’s disastrous policies, then McCain is not your candidate. However, don’t expect the mainstream media to highlight these issues. Like always, dissent will be present, but largely ignored. I can see the recriminating headlines now. Why did the press fail to inform the public of McCain’s intention to continue George W. Bush’s most extreme, reactionary, and unpopular policies? The reasons will be complex, but the failure will be simple. It will be because we, the people, failed to effectively challenge them to do anything differently.



  1. After the gaffs about Iran training Al Queda, it is apparent that McCain is either a doddering old man, or he is as cynically uninformed as the incumbent President. Watching him manipulate the press makes me think that the the latter explains McCain’s behavior.

    Comment by Carson Park Ranger — April 5, 2008 @ 1:25 am

  2. McCain doesn’t manipulate the media as much as the media allows itself to be manipulated by McCain. The argument is complicated, but the basic crux of the issue is that the press in many ways sees itself as maintainers of the status quo. The dispassionate observers. They are actually very poor at dealing with people who lie to them, especially those they need access to, to get their stories. You just make various ambiguous statements and let the media fill in all the pieces about what you must have meant.

    Comment by codesmithy — April 5, 2008 @ 10:00 am

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