Multiple Enthusiasms

Infinite jest. Excellent fancy. Flashes of merriment.

The continuing nadir of journalistic quality

I found the image below when I started up Firefox to see the front-page MSNBC article on Ralph Nader’s declaration of his third run at presidential candidacy.


It irritated me for myriad reasons. The first came prompted from my years as a writer and editor; such a typo is just sloppy, and I think it says one of two things- either the journalist in question has such an extreme bias against Democrats that he or she felt the need to repeat the information twice, or that much of the article is simply cut-and-pasted from another source. The latter might well be the case; the bulk of the article probably came from a release from the Associated Press or somesuch, and it was just plopped in.

Which does, in fact, little to comfort me.

Someone somewhere wrote it. And two me, the repeated text is a direct swipe. I suppose I ultimately categorize as a Democrat; so far, this cycle, I favor an Obama/Edwards ticket (I’d’ve loved the reverse). But I have similar feelings for McCain as for Clinton; neither strikes me as a terrifying choice, and both strike me as adequate. In ’04, I cast for Kerry/Edwards.

I’m a little ashamed to admit I didn’t vote in ’00. I’m from Jersey, so I don’t think it made much of a difference either way.

But here’s the thing; I don’t know if Nader cost Gore the election in ’00. It’s entirely possible, I suppose. But you know what? I don’t think Gore would have handled the ’00-’04 well, either. I can’t imagine Gore having been president on 9/11. Perhaps it would have bucked him up and forced him to grow a backbone, but Gore always struck me as the most milquetoast of politicians. The only thing I knew about Dan Quayle as VP was that he couldn’t spell ‘potato,’ but I was, like, eight at the time; I knew less about Gore, and I was in college when he was VP, studying political science at one point, even.

It’s nice Gore won both the Oscar and the Peace prize for his environmental work, but I don’t recall much initiative toward the environment he took during his ’92-’00 terms. The current movement toward green (and that’s the environmental one, not Nader’s political party) is too little, too late, and I’m probably one of the few people with a scientific background who doesn’t believe in global warming, because what we’re facing is something a helluva lot bigger than that, and it’s called climate change (the change has been exacerbated and speeded by global warming, but global warming is just the start).

People blame Bush for not becoming involved enough in the environment and the Kyoto treaty, but the thing about the weather is that it didn’t just change. I remember being scared about holes in the ozone as early as 4th grade, which I think would’ve been around the mid-80s.

I don’t claim Nader’s candidacy siphoned votes away from Gore; if people were going to vote for him, they would have. If Gore had demonstrated more effectively he was a better candidate, people would have voted for him.

My feeling is that ’00 never should have been a Bush/Gore election in the first place. Bush smeared McCain six ways to Sunday, and before then, McCain had the better numbers. And if I could’ve chosen leadership in retrospect post-9/11, I’d want McCain in the role.

Nader can run. It won’t matter. To believe that McCain and Clinton are different candidates simply because one’s blue and the other’s red is folly. Obama is charismatic enough it’s not going to matter who he runs against if he wins the nom; he’ll win or lose depending on his campaign, not on his opponents.


  1. Wow. That typo is scandalous. I actually see typos like that all the time while browsing Yahoo and MSNBC news articles. It’s rather alarming, isn’t it?

    As an experienced journalist, I understand the pressure to post the latest breaking news stories out there as quickly as possible, but really – what’s another thirty seconds for a quick spell-check?

    In addition, I believe that no matter how good a point a writer makes in an article, said point will be completely overshadowed and disregarded if it’s relayed via poor and/or sloppy writing. Case and point: I was so up in arms about the Nader writer’s typo, I didn’t bother focusing on anything else he/she had to say.

    P.S. I hypothesize that Obama is going to be our next President. Hilary’s numbers have been dismal as of late (not to mention she’s been losing her most supportive demographics), and I don’t think the American public is going to vote for another Republican. Furthermore, Obama has charisma (as you mentioned) and communication skills that Hilary just doesn’t have, and I think there’s a lot to be said for that.

  2. The first thing I heard when I woke up today was that Nader was running, and I believe my exact reaction was, “Oh, for fuck’s sake.”

    Which is how I feel about the media, too.

    I am so over their treatment of this election, and I am so over all the crap that’s being spewed here, there, and everywhere. It’s time to actually talk about issues that matter–not whether or not some politician used someone else’s words (what politician DOESN’T?).



  3. First of all, welcome back!! It is a wonderful thing, to see you writing and posting blogs again! What you posted above, is a MAJOR typo…I wonder who proofreads those before they go to press? That sure is a sloppy error though. It isn’t like a small missing comma, or one letter missed–it’s a whole repeated paragraph! Most scandalous!! LOL

    As for the whole political arena, I have to admit that over the years, I have come to literally dread presidential election years. The whole spin-doctoring movement, the slinging of insults and digging up and tossing dirt…it is just plain tiresome.

    I don’t believe that Nader cost Gore the election. I believe that the people who actually got out and voted, voted for their candidate of choice. To say that Nader cost Gore the election, makes the assumption that Gore would have had those votes that Nader gained, which is a major assumption on anyones part. Just because a person happened to vote for one candidate, doesn’t mean that their “default” vote, had that candidate not been included, would have gone to any other particular person. What was Nader then? The lesser of all the other evils? Not neccessarily. Maybe if Nader had not been running, that person might not have voted at all. You cannot assume anything. Personally, I believe Gore lost the election because it came down to his showing as VP in the prior administration. Many did not find his presence strong enough to represent our country as President. That whole election year was really just a lot of poor choices offered overall, in my opinion. Bush did step up well for the 9/11 crises though.

    For this year, it is hard to say. Obama is very charismatic. Hillary, she is a mixed ticket. Many want to see a female president. Many respect her as a strong woman…but I feel that people look to the spouses too. They hold influence…and some people do not want a repeat “Clinton” administration either. If the vote is for change, which I feel it will come down to be, then I expect to see entirely different faces on the front running…Obama and McCain.
    No matter who wins in the end, there will always be things that we disagree with–I wouldn’t wish the job of President on my worst enemy…you just can’t win or make everyone happy, no matter what you do. Kudos to any of them for risking to try.

    Once again, welcome back! I have always enjoyed reading your thought-provoking commentaries.

  4. @Kristen: I know, right? I thought it was crazy. I had to do a screencap just in case they caught it and edited it.

    @JustMe: Thanks for the welcome, and I totally agree that it can get tiresome. Myself, I’ve instituted a solely active approach; I don’t watch television, rarely go to movies, and don’t read the newspaper. Everything I find out, I generally have to actively seek out (this Nader story being an exception, of course, as MSNBC is my homepage. That may soon change, though).

  5. The line came from the AP, you’re right. I saw it in a couple of other places, including an AP article in the Wall Street Journal, and an op-ed piece.

    One thing that might have happened, however, is the writer of the MSNBC article had posted it in one place, and instead of cut-and-paste, copied-and-pasted into a different place and forgot to delete the original placement. I’ve seen that happen frequently, as I am sure you have.

    I take solace in numbers I gleaned from the Wall Street Journal:

    2000 election: Nader took 2.7% of the vote
    2004 election: Nader took 0.3% of the vote
    2008 election: Nader will take less than 0.1% of the vote

    The Democrats have nothing to worry about. People are really sick of Nader.

    There’s this, too:

    Nader ran on the Green Party ticket in 2000 and 2004. Someone else is running no the Green Party ticket this election. He has to do this on his own. Between getting enough signatures and footing the bill himself, he’s not going to be on many states’ ballots in November.

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