Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hagel, Chuck That Is

They look like they're related. I also thought, in the bit of "hearing reparte" which I actually bothered to listen to a couple of weeks back, that Chuck was more philosophical in his answers than his inquisitors might have wished. I was further disappointed with the media "take" on that--they saw Mr. Hagel as being weak, when he was in fact being thoughtful and nuanced. But if we don't want our statesmen to be thoughtful and nuanced, we're basically insane. We undertook a whole war on the grounds that "he shot at my Dad."

Anyways, driving home yesterday, NPR announced that "Obama's controversial appointee to head the Defense Department, Chuck Hagel, was confirmed." This is why I have my doubts about sending more money to public radio. It's not that I want NPR to be liberal. I just want them to resist being played. Mr. Hagel was never "controversial." He was a somewhat moderate Republican Senator from Nebraska. And he was unwilling to simply lie when the party line demanded. (In this he parted company with General Powell.) This fact about Mr. Hagel was obvious, it was on the record, it was never in doubt.

Nevertheless, NPR allowed the Republican kabuki dance around Mr. Hagel to actually cause them to mischaracterize the former Senator from Nebraska. Why not just call him a decorated Vietnam veteran, or the former Republican Senator? Now, because of a bit of transparent political theatre, Mr. Hagel is "controversial." And this reframing of the new Secretary was perhaps the only purpose of the kabuki, and in this it succeeded. McCain and Graham said, "let us play NPR, and verily it came to pass."

This is of course what Fox News and frequently all the other network news programs participate in daily. They build frames and shape the public's limited understanding of what's going on. It is disgraceful that NPR, as well, joins in this activity. How hard is it to gain enough perspective to see through ploys as obvious as the Hagel hearings. This art is what it means to be a professional journalist. You'd think even Cokie Roberts would have sent out a memo to the news room on this one.


Meanwhile, on the tattered home front, our fresh new hard right Governor, Frack You McCrory, was appearing on Fox and announcing that Mr. Obama had merely given him a "political speech" when he audienced with the President to discuss off-shore drilling off our Outer Banks. There's no doubt that our Mr. McCrory has big plans, looking out to 2016. The GOP has a shiny moderate candidate already: Mr. Christie. Who do they have on the hard right? All the obvious choices are tarnished and, frankly, ridiculous as serious challengers to Mrs. Clinton. McCrory's a fresh face. He was mayor of a sorta big city. He worked for Duke Power, which means he's an Energy insider, just like George W. Bush. He's protestant and Southern and white. And my guess is, North Carolina is going to be mighty tired of him in four years, after he's sold out our wonderful coastal fishery to big oil, and endangered our Piedmont ground water sources with a fracking boom. There's also no doubt that the GOP is flat out owned by the Energy Sector. I mean, if ever one doubted this after the Cheerleader chanted "Drill, Baby, Drill" across our teevees throughout the fall of '08.

Just sayin', of course.

Thursday Update: Here's a link to our current legislative doings on the subject of fracking:

Here's the salient quote, oddly buried some grafs down by the news organization that brought first North Carolina and then the world the Right Honorable Jesse Helms:

Other changes in the bill include removing the state geologist and water and air experts from the state Mining and Energy Commission, allowing drillers to inject production waste fluids back into the ground, repealing the law requiring "land men" to register with the state and streamlining the permitting process to a single permit, removing checkpoints at which DENR could look for problems.

Reminds me of Lee's description of the Confederate Congress in 1864. Somebody should send our GOPers a rail car of boiled peanuts.

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