Monday, August 31, 2009

The un-Meritocratic States of America

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Come on... really. Jenna Bush as a correspondent for NBC's Today Show? Seriously?

This is what she's "always dreamed to do"?

And the idea just came to the executive producer of the show, Jim Bell, because she "just sort of popped to us as a natural presence," because "she knows something about pressure and being under some scrutiny," and because, in a couple of previous appearances on the show, "she knocked it out of the park."

Please. Spare us the bullshit.

She got the job because she's a Bush, because she has the right last name and the right connections, and because she has the right sort of appeal. Bell is clearly hoping viewers will tune in not because anything she has to say is all that significant -- honestly, who cares what her views are on education? how are her views worth anyone's while? is every expert in America unavailable? -- but because a Bush, the daughter of the ex-president (and a massively unpopular one at that) and a minor political celebrity (a celebrity by close family connection), will be on camera.

So what? Well, yeah, so what? I don't watch Today (a clip maybe, here and there, but that's it), and I suppose it's free to hire whomever it wants to pull in viewers, connected or not, qualified or not (not that everyone in the media is qualified, but whatever).

Let's just not pretend this is something it's not.

I think Greenwald nails it. This is all about "American royalty":

They should convene a panel for the next Meet the Press with Jenna Bush Hager, Luke Russert, Liz Cheney, Megan McCain and Jonah Goldberg, and they should have Chris Wallace moderate it. They can all bash affirmative action and talk about how vitally important it is that the U.S. remain a Great Meritocracy because it's really unfair for anything other than merit to determine position and employment. They can interview Lisa Murkowski, Evan Bayh, Jeb Bush, Bob Casey, Mark Pryor, Jay Rockefeller, Dan Lipinksi, and Harold Ford, Jr. about personal responsibility and the virtues of self-sufficiency. Bill Kristol, Tucker Carlson and John Podhoretz can provide moving commentary on how America is so special because all that matters is merit, not who you know or where you come from. There's a virtually endless list of politically well-placed guests equally qualified to talk on such matters.


Liz Cheney is really the perfect face of Washington's political culture, a perfect manifestation of all the rotting diseases that define it and a pure expression of what our country has become and the reasons for its virtual ruin. She should really be on every political TV show all day every day. It's almost as though things can't really be expressed thoroughly without including her. Jenna Bush as a new NBC "reporter" on The Today Show -- at a time when every media outlet is firing and laying off real reporters -- is a very nice addition though.

Yes, she'll fit right in, a perfect addition to an already deeply corrupt media establishment.

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