I rented this documentary called Street Fight about the race for mayor of newark in 2002. Its about an outsider running for office in an inner city controlled by a political machine. The challenger was a black, ex-football star, harvard lawyer and democratic councilman and he was running against a black democratic 16 year mayoral incumbent and concurrent state legislator. The film was good even though i knew who won before i watched it.
There are a bunch of funny/depressing political moments which have a way of really agitating me. One scene has the challenger being harassed by low income housing security police and eventually the police brass show up. Another scene on election day shows homeless people from philadelphia being bussed up and paid cash to become volunteer supporters. Some of the worst scenes are the ones of the supporters of the challenger - people who simply wear hats or display signs -- undergoing machine pressure: local business people are harassed by city inspectors, police and other civil servants are reassigned or demoted, the documentary maker is constantly being manhandled for filming the mayor at a press event.
The part that set me off on this post concerns the media coverage of the mayors tactics. Instead of being at all serious about covering these crimes, the media basically gloss over any mayoral malfeasance and make it all the challengers fault. Maybe they do this because they believe that the challenger as the mayors' ads state is a gay, white, republican wimp. Whatever their reason is, the storyline is its a tough fight and the mayor, James "the real deal" Sharpe, has street smarts.
It reminded me of a radio call I heard about the Swiftboat ads from 2004. Kerry wouldn't respond because these ads were made by despicable, discredited people and the ads were all lies. But the ads kept playing over and over again and eventually they convinced people -- who these people are i don't want to know -- but they convinced somebody that GW was a better soldier than Kerry. The overall media message was that these ads while despicable were cutting edge and innovative. They were a brilliant and innovative move by rove and his team.
So this guy called into air america and made this analogy about the media coverage.
Two guys agree to a knife fight in front of the press. When they both show up one guy takes out a gun and shoots the other guy. Everyone who watches stands around and says things like the "wow, that guys smart, he used a gun."