Democracy Soup

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John Harwood promotes ‘can’t do’ MSM attitude on health care reform to be the Media Putz

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Originally published on on December 24, 2009

John Harwood

John Harwood thinks liberals are on hallucinogenic drugs, but if his distorted perception had any resemblance in reality, in this health care debate, liberals wouldn’t be able to afford those hallucinogenic drugs.

“So much of the commentary that I’ve heard has been really idiotic,” Harwood said on MSNBC. “Liberals who want universal health care ought to be thanking Harry Reid for getting this done rather than talking about what’s inadequate in the bill. I’m not saying the bill is a good bill. But if you’re a liberal and you want universal coverage in this country, and think that you can do better, that Harry Reid can do better than he’s done, or that the White House can do better, they ought to lay off the hallucinogenic drugs because we’ve had a vivid demonstration of the limits of political possibilities on this issue.”

Harwood became a human pretzel in this exchange: he maintains that the bill isn’t good, yet goes off strongly against those who don’t like the bill. How liberals should get on their knees to thank Reid for putting together an underwhelming bill. Isn’t the spirit of protest what America is supposed to be about?

Then there is the corporate media mentality that says liberals couldn’t have come up with a better bill, as if Harwood would have any idea what liberals are capable of doing.

But what makes Harwood’s tone stand out yet blend in with the rest of the MSM stems from one thing we have learned from the MSM in 2009: Right-wing teabaggers are people whose opinions, no matter how misguided, ill-informed, racist, or violence-oriented they are, have great significance. But those who speak up wanting a stronger legislation that hasn’t been polluted by health insurance interests are “idiotic” and on “hallucinogenic drugs.”

Harwood isn’t one of those pretty TV people. Yes, Harwood appears on CNBC and other news shows. But Harwood is a reporter for The New York Times, and his father was a reporter for The Washington Post.

So Harwood, as an established player in the MSM game, knows the rules: “Don’t rock the boat.”

Harwood falls into line with the MSM position by pounding the point home about limits to progress, how there’s only so much anybody can do in politics, portraying Reid’s efforts as being a “vivid demonstration of the limits of political possibilities on this issue.”

“Why try harder to have a good health care reform bill when an adequate bill is the best that can possible be done” is the spirit of the MSM as captured by Harwood’s rant.

Given his laudy position, Harwood doesn’t feel like he can rant against the health insurance companies that pressured politicians or the politicians themselves. But Harwood knows the MSM will let him off free if he goes after “liberals” and his 40-year-old misperceptions of “hallucinogenic drugs” that would fit in well in “Reefer Madness.”

Harwood’s reference to hallucinogenic drugs might speak more to his character than we realize. Hallucinogenic drugs are designed to alter consciousness and consciousness involves “attitudes, beliefs, and sensitivities held by or considered characteristic of an individual or group.” Given that the vast majority of Americans are in favor of a public option, and the Senate bill — that Harwood thinks is the best we can do — doesn’t have a public option, Harwood and the MSM must be on hallucinogenic drugs 24/7.

By protecting the corporate interests and denouncing any legitimate criticism from the left wing, John Harwood wins this week’s Media Putz award.


Written by democracysoup

December 24, 2009 at 6:00 am

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