Tuesday, March 09, 2010

I Usually Decry Infotainment and all Related Things, as Shit.

And this article describes how half-term Ex Governor Palin is blazing new and unsettling trails in that direction.

Is Palin a Candidate, Pundit or Celebrity?

In One Week, Former Alaska Governor Appears on Leno and News Spreads of Second Book and TV Series


A little politics, a little journalism, and a whole lot of celebrity, all in a week's work. (Her foray to an Oscar gift suite made news, too.) But toward what end? A 2012 presidential bid? A daily talk show? An Oprah-like dominance of the pop culture sphere? Everybody's dying to know Palin's plans, and that makes her celebrity all the more potent.

But beyond that, many see her as just the most prominent example of a phenomenon that is larger than even her: the gradual blurring of the worlds of politics, celebrity and the media.

The shifting boundaries of politics and media have been apparent for some time. The networks, especially cable news, have opened doors - sometimes revolving ones - for former speechwriters and campaign operatives. More recent, though, are the trips through those doors of the candidates themselves. Former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has his own show on Fox, for example.

MSNBC pundit Harold Ford Jr., a former congressman, recently decided not to run for the U.S. Senate from New York, but said he hopes another opportunity presents itself. MSNBC's "Hardball" host Chris Matthews, who worked as a Democratic congressional staffer and a presidential speechwriter, has talked about a Senate run from Pennsylvania.

To analyst Marty Kaplan, who often examines the nexus between politics and culture, the phenomenon is troubling. Equal time rules don't come into play for those merely considering running.

"The question becomes, when does this turn into a conflict?" asks Kaplan, director of the Norman Lear Center at the USC Annenberg School of Communication. It's especially dicey when a former politician is using the platform to mull a re-entry into politics, he says. "The networks are in effect being used by these people to rebuild their political futures. There's enough evidence that they should be thinking twice about this."

Blurring lines

This might not be the harbinger of the end of our civilization, but it is evidence we are as a society getting more and more willing to accept bullshit. Count me out, please.


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