What did Katie Couric know when she was assigned to cover the Pentagon?
Who will be investigating Chris Dodd and Barney Frank?
Why is the government in the mortgage business in the first place?
These three questions go straight to the heart of the new world that is emerging in the aftermath of the economic crisis, of the Palin nomination and the advent of the New Media. It is a world of paradigms lost. You know paradigms, that collection of pesky “assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them” as the online Free Dictionary has it.
Assumptions such as the notion that a multi-millionaire television anchor gets to ask snooty questions of a female vice-presidential nominee while being forgetful of just what got the said anchor on the road to being that anchor in the first place. Assumptions such as the idea that those in Congress who created the crisis at Fannie Mae, which in turn set off the Wall Street implosion, are somehow invulnerable to everything from Congressional hearings to federal investigations. Assumptions such as the concept that the New Deal must still reign supreme and that the federal government simply must be engaged in the mortgage business or run your health care or God only knows what else.
The world has changed, the old paradigm is gone with it. So let’s see how things look anew in a 21st century paradigm.
ASSUMPTION ONE: For those who heard the Couric CBS News interview of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin it is perhaps best to start with Couric herself. The not-so subtle message Couric was sending in her interview was that Palin, a sitting Governor, is unqualified to be vice president.
OK. Got it. Couric disdains putting unqualified people in important jobs.
So let’s turn to the new paradigm that allows us to question the credibility of mainstream journalists. When, exactly, did Katie Couric begin to dance on the national mainstream media scene and what qualified her to do so? Well, to start, Katie is a public school product, including Yorktown High in Arlington, Virginia. She was a cheerleader there. Then she moved on to the University of Virginia, a state school as was Palin’s University of Idaho, where our Katie was an English major. Then Ms. Couric headed into journalism, starting at the bottom with perhaps the journalistic equivalent of Palin’s PTA — a lowly desk assistant at a network. After a couple more rungs on the ladder she made it to general assignment reporter at a Miami TV station, where she doubtless covered every street festival and homicide there was to be had in the big city. Then it was back to Washington for a reportorial stint at the local NBC affiliate.
Here’s where the new paradigm kicks in. Having been through the journalistic equivalent of politics in Wasilla, Alaska, Katie suddenly is appointed — are you ready? — Deputy Pentagon Correspondent for NBC News. Whoa, Nelly! What just happened here? Are we to understand that this young woman — the cheerleader from Yorktown High, the English major, the “general assignment reporter” in Miami — is suddenly qualified to be covering the Pentagon for NBC News? Can it be that the network of Huntley and Brinkley was sending someone to cover the headquarters of the United States Armed Forces — in the middle of the Cold War — who had never had a nano-second’s worth of experience with the military? Well, yes. That’s exactly what they did. Our Katie had evidenced not a scintilla of experience in this area anywhere in her career. Did she know the difference between an F-14 and a B-52? How many military bases had she visited? Did she have a clue what the Navy’s SLEP program was?p>Let’s do a little time travel. Let’s go back to the day of Katie’s appointment to the Pentagon in 1989 and rephrase some of the questions Ms. Couric asked of Governor Palin the other day as they strolled in front of the United Nations building in New York. Let’s see how they would sound if we had the chance back then (through a correspondent we’ll call Ike the New Media guy) to ask them of Katie the cheerleader, English major, and Miami street reporter as Katie and Ike strolled in front of the Pentagon. br> /p>
Couric to Palin: As we stand before this august building and institution, what do you see as the role of the United States in the world?
Ike to Couric: As we stand before this august building and institution, what do you see as the role of the United States military in the world?
Couric to Palin: In preparing for this conversation, a lot of our viewers … and Internet users wanted to know why you did not get a passport until last year. And they wondered if that indicated a lack of interest and curiosity in the world.
Ike to Couric: In preparing for this conversation, a lot of our viewers wanted to know why you did not either serve in the military yourself or get any kind of degree in international politics or national security. And they wondered if that indicated a lack of interest and curiosity in the military, or perhaps hostility.
Couric to Palin: You’ve cited Alaska’s proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?
Ike to Couric: You’ve cited growing up near the Pentagon and Arlington Cemetery as well as covering night life in Miami and Washington Mayor Marion Barry as part of your national security and defense policy experience to cover the Pentagon. What did you mean by that?
Couric to Palin: Have you ever been involved in any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?
Ike to Couric: Have you ever been involved in covering any U.S. military actions from the scene, for example, in Lebanon or Grenada?
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?