The Urban Myth and the Palinized press

Spent too much time this morning explaining to people why the amazing email they sent me was full of hooey. Sadly, the major media is  sometimes the sender of these things, indirectly.

One email was from some guy who said I couldn’t change a word on his email, then included an attached email he has been forwarded in which President Obama says the American flag is a flag of opression and he won’t wear one or fly one or salute to one as a result.

Needless to say, as I pointed out to the sender, it’s hooey — has nicely debunked it as a serious forwarding of something that started off as some guy’s idea of satire. This is right up there with me presenting the latest from The Onion as real news, only from the right instead of from whatever planet The Onion occupies.

Someone else sent me an email saying that this July will be the only July in 800 years to have five saturdays and sundays. I’ve seen this one also making the rounds, and it’s harmless and not nearly as mean spirited as the one about Obama. And, again, at, you can find out the truth — this happenes several times a year, pretty much in any month with 31 days, and on any particular month every six or 11 years.

Last but not least, the current media frenzy over Sarah Palin’s telling of the Paul Revere thing — which has been stupid all around, up to and including Ms. Palin, whose grasp of American history can best be described as “shallow,” and was probably gained by reading the back of cereal boxes as a child.

Even so, there is a grain of truth to her little diatribe, but as Joel Miller in the National Review points out, it’s really a stupid diatribe by her and an equally stupid diatribe by the media to pay attention to it, or to draw inferences from it, or to even pay attention to it.

My question is why the media pays any attention to her at all, but I guess I am here, too, so who am I to talk?

But really, the media is at fault for giving her far more weight than she deserves. She doesn’t deserve coverage until she actually does something newsworthy other than just show up in public, and she certainly doesn’t deserve the sort of rebuttal she is getting.

To give her the only bit of due she is worth — not much — she has been criticized by the national media for failing to release her travel itinerary ahead of time forcing the reporters following  her to — gasp! — work to cover her.

This epitomizes the lazy national media in this country like nothing else — whining becasue they don’t have the script of a carefully arranged and rehearsed event ahead of time? Actually have to cover the thing WHILE IT HAPPENS?

The horror.

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14 Responses to The Urban Myth and the Palinized press

  1. Owain says:

    C’mon, Charles. Your arriving a bit late to the party. Doug Gibson has already been all over the Palin/Revere story. Can’t you come up with an original topic?

    If you’d like to catch up on current events, try

    The discussion of very entertaining. :D

  2. Charles Trentelman says:

    geeze, i praise her (sort of) and offer a reasonable explanation for what’s going on, and you refer me to something on palin haters?

    And you tell me to think of something new? Well, you skipped over two very nice urban myths to get to the one you cared about. What does this tell us in terms of web hits which is, remember, the goal of journalism these days.

  3. Owain says:

    Well, Doug writes about the Palin defenders, including historians who have submitted that Palin was actually correct, so it’s not just a Palin hater thread.. As for your other myths, not much interest level there, as you note, so if this is your idea of an attempt to drum up hits, I don’t think it’s working.

  4. ctrentelman says:

    owain, if you’d bother to read the link you’d see that it does — and i am by association — granting a tiny bit of correctness to ms. P, however tenuous.

    But he, and I, are also saying that her very fanciful (bells?) story about paul R doesn’t amount to a hill of beans, either right or wrong in any amount, nor does the vilification of her by the media. Absolutely everyone, yourself included, is getting yourself worked up in a state of high dudgeon over a dispute of the most rank stupidity it is really a national disgrace.

    You, for example, are so quick to label me as a palin “hater” that you seem to miss the nuance of my point entirely … that she may not be completely wrong, but who gives a rat’s patoot?

    which is why i put the thing last after two myths of more interest.

  5. Owain says:

    “owain, if you’d bother to read the link you’d see that it does — and i am by association — granting a tiny bit of correctness to ms. P, however tenuous.”

    Charles, it is not my contention that your post doesn’t support Palin’s “stupid diatribe” in your typical backhanded manner. My point is that your post is derivative and irrelevant, since the thread on Doug’s blog has already covered the topic, quite well. But I compliment you on your keen journalistic instincts that led you to post on a subject that’s been covered in depth on SE blogs already .

    While you are in search of hot breaking news, why don’t you post about Congressman Anthony Weiner. Maybe people won’t notice that Doug has that one covered as well.

  6. hawg says:

    totally as an aside, but why is “considered” so credible?

    • ctrentelman says:

      snopes has been dealt with many times by many comentators, owain — can’t you come up with an original topic?

      • Owain says:

        Charles, I was responding to Hawg. I know this is your blog, but sometimes, it’s not always about YOU.

      • Owain says:

        Wait a minute. Charles, were talking to me, or were your talking to Hawg, but thinking you were talking to me?

        A short review seems to be in called for, then.

        Hawg -> this is not me.
        Owain -> Yes, this is me. Very good.

        Are we clear now?

  7. Owain says:

    On run of the mill urban myths, snopes is pretty good. On political issues, not so much, so your milage may vary with Snopes.

    Google ‘snopes gets it wrong’ to see what I’m talking about. From the links I sampled, there seemed to be a distinct liberal bias.

    If you want to find out about Nigerian heads of government who want to deposit millions of dollars in your bank account (or some variant on that theme), Snopes is great. If you have a search on a topic with a political flavor, caviat emptor.

  8. Howard Ratcliffe says:

    How about covering her 30 minute speech to the Repubican Govenor in Dallas, driving to the DFW Airport, boarding a 3 hour Alaska Flight to Seattle, changing planes, boarding a 4 hour flight to Alaska, driving past Anchorage hospitals to Wasilla over a hour north to give birth to her 5th child with Down’s Syndrome all after she claimed her water broke.
    Palin should stand trial for attempted murder or conconcting this rather large charade.
    Seeing Russia from her porch and Paul Revere are nothing compared to the real Houswife of Alaska

  9. Ed Brady says:

    Charles, you CANNOT win with Palin lovers. They don’t care how stupid she sounds nor acts. She’s \God-sent.\ Just sit back, let them rant, and, one day (hopefully soon), she’ll disappear from public life (like she did from the governorship of Alaska).

  10. Owain says:

    No, it’s the Palin haters that are over the top. Listen to yourselves.

    And liberals are supposed to be the tolerant compassionate ones.


    If you want to find a narrow minded hate filled hypocrite, seek the nearest liberal.

  11. neal cassidy says:

    It does seem that anyone. for whatever reason. disagrees with anything Ms. Palin says is immediately label a Palin hater. Does that mean that anytime you disagree with your spouse or children you are a hater?

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