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May 01, 2013

Margaret Carlson: Sarah Palin is Right About Washington's Narcissism

An ugly, grim spectacle occurred this weekend.

We call it the “nerd prom,” hoping that a dose of irony will inoculate us. But there’s no use denying it: The White House Correspondents’ Association’s annual dinner is a deeply narcissistic event.

I realize I’m jumping on the bandwagon late here -- and any bandwagon that carries both Tom Brokaw and Sarah Palin is by definition crowded. This year it got so full that the current officers of the association started to sound like Miss America wishing for world peace: All they wanted to do, they said, was raise money for scholarships for aspiring journalists.

An inordinate amount of time was spent congratulating themselves for having raised more than $100,000 for journalism students. The return on investment is laughable. The weekend costs media organizations millions of dollars.

Fine. Agreed. Now watch her defend the media, as usual.

...


The criticism that the dinner constitutes an exchange of favors between the political, celebrity and journalistic classes misses the point. The politicians see the dinner mostly as an obligation....

The better criticism of the dinner is financial, not political: While hundreds of our colleagues have lost their jobs and news budgets have been slashed, we are spending a king’s ransom to create the illusion that we are important.

This is SOP for someone working in the media. The deadly charge is that the event illustrates that the media has become too close to government, that they see themselves as part of a conspiracy against people outside of the media-government complex.

Carlson poo-poohs that with a wave of the hand -- she doesn't even explain why such criticism is misplaced, just that it is misplaced; you're just going to have to trust her on this -- and claims the major problem is that media companies are spending money on the party when they could be spending that money to hire back some of her friends who've been laid off.

The event is narcissistic, which, in a way, is a good thing. The entire media-government complex is narcissistic; this event brings their narcissism and comfy-cozy relationships with each other into stark relief. Were they to end this event, their narcissism would of course remain; they just wouldn't show it off at a high-profile event.

The event is a symptom, not the disease itself. Putting a band-aid on the symptom will not make the patient well.

The media's reaction to any and all criticism is to reflexively defend and claim they're doing everything right (except, Margaret Carlson will allow, perhaps they shouldn't be spending money on parties).

They never pause for even that tenth of a second of hesitation to ask themselves if perhaps the criticism has some merit.


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posted by Ace at 04:25 PM

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