Washington Post Writer Stephanie Merry Has A Devastating Metaphor Right In Front Of Her, And Can’t See It. Three Guesses Why…

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In an essay recounting the Wrong Envelope Oscars Disaster, Washington Post writer Stephanie Merry lionizes  “La La Land” producer Jordan Horowitz, who after learning that his movie was not, in fact, the actual “Best Picture” winner, took charge. Faye Dunaway was dashing for cover, MC Jimmy Kimmel was wishing he was in an undersea paradise, and in general everyone was losing their their heads and blaming it on Warren Beatty, but the producer took the microphone and said,“‘Moonlight’ won. Guys, guys, I’m sorry, no. There’s a mistake. ‘Moonlight,’ you guys won best picture.This is not a joke. Come up here.

Then he held up the card just pulled from the actual award envelope, so that the cameras could zoom in.

“Moonlight,” he said. “Best picture.”

Merry seems to think this was some extraordinary act of improvisation and heroism. True, Horowitz did what ethical people do when in a position to: he fixed the problem.  Still, his actions only seem remarkable in light of the incompetence all around him. Ah, but Merry has an ulterior motive, you see, because the Post, like the New York Times and so many other news sources, apparently pay a bounty for every story that can somehow betwisted into a attack on the President. That’s the full time mission now, and journalists really, truly think that’s responsible journalism, and responsible citizenry, though it is neither. So she wrote:

He told the truth even though it was difficult and awkward and embarrassing, because he had just stood in front of the world and thanked his friends and family for an award that wasn’t his. But that didn’t stop him from admitting that he was wrong, even though he was a victim of circumstance. He could have slunk offstage and let Jimmy Kimmel and Warren Beatty continue to fumble through an explanation. Instead he did the dirty work with what looked like pride.

This behavior shouldn’t be all that exceptional, but truth has been hard to come by lately. We’ve all just come off an election in which politicians have happily danced around facts, and the president continues to make false or misleading claims. When the truth is inconvenient, a lot of people spin it or bend it to their will. But that’s not Horowitz’s style.

What, holding on to the Oscar like grim death and screaming, “I WON! I WON!” and running into the wings cackling maniacally isn’t his style? I should hope not! What possible alternative did he have in that situation? He didn’t have to “tell the truth,” he just had to submit to it. Yes, he was gracious. But the episode had no lessons for President Trump, except in Merry’s fevered, Trump-addled mind.

Yet she had laid out a very useful and germane metaphor, so good and timely that I will give her credit for it even though Bias Made Her Stupid, and blind to boot.

Here, let’s see if you get it; it isn’t hard:

“La La Land” had been conceded the Best Picture award for months. Virtually every critic and prognosticator predicted its victory, even when one felt another film was more deserving. The film’s cast and crew had to be very confident entering the theater that night, though the film’s failure to win some of the lesser awards was ominous: the predicted sweep wasn’t happening. Still, all the polls said the movie was a lock.

Then, just when victory seemed certain, it was gone. An underdog competitor took the prize, and not cleanly, either. After all, the deck had been stacked in favor of giving black artists more recognition. And what the heck was going on with the alleged guardians of the voting results?

Remind you of anything?

The lesson a non-blinded, non-biased, not partisan writer would have seen in brilliant light was that what Horowitz and “La La Land” did was a vivid and necessary reminder of the only ethical, gracious, fair, decent, honorable and responsible way to handle such a defeat. To protest, complain, question the process, deny the legitimacy of the victors, refuse to accept the results and demand recounts, do-overs and investigation would have torn the community and the industry apart, and also made the losers look  like utter, vile, juvenile, anti-democratic assholes…because that’s what they would have been.

Thus it is the wrong way to behave, and obviously so. The people she was praising did not act that way, and yet in an analogous national event of great import, her party, her ideological compatriots and her fellow journalists and pundits did, and are still.  Yet Stephanie Merry could not bring herself to think it, much less write it.

That is why the news media is now truly an enemy of the American public. Where their duty is to clarify and explain, they choose to distort, slant and avoid hard truths they can’t face themselves. Not even choose, any more: they can’t help themselves. They are blind and biased, and all they can do now is infect the public with the same maladies.

17 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Arts & Entertainment, Character, Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media

17 responses to “Washington Post Writer Stephanie Merry Has A Devastating Metaphor Right In Front Of Her, And Can’t See It. Three Guesses Why…

  1. Pennagain

    Jack, sorry to have to use this but I have no other way of reaching you. I am “blocked by Verizon Online’s anti-spam system” from emailing you. Certainly not for content: you know I never say anything subversive, offensive, silly or sarcastic … it must be the syntax.

  2. RomanBWitkowsky

    Same comment as I had just posted on the immediately
    prior posting:
    The other side of the story. Additionally, I refuse to enter into any discussions concerning the media should responses arise. The article, as well as numerous public media defenders, do a much better job than I ever can. Also, I simply do not have adequate time to devote to this controversy. I do, however, appreciate and will read any comments that are posted.
    Don’t Dismiss President Trump’s Attacks on the Media as Mere Stupidity Bret Stephens 18Feb2017
    Bret Stephens writes the foreign-affairs column of the Wall Street Journal, for which he won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for commentary.
    http://time.com/4675860/donald-trump-fake-news-attacks/

    • Margie

      Stephens suffers from the same blindness as Merry. I don’t care how many Pulitzers he’s won. He trusts and believes the very media distortions that Jack has astutely catalogued here. He’s wrong.
      Jack is right.

      • Jack and Stephens are both right — I don’t think they are disagreeing.

        • Did you read the same article I did? I read it the first time, and my take away was: Journalism is a dangerous and necessary profession, social media is killing us, Trump is kicking us when were down, Trump lies, he lies like he breathes, and this is why in spite of that, he’s believed.”

          After your comment, I reread it just in case I missed something. What is it… exactly… That you think they agree on? Put it into words for me, ’cause I’m missing it.

          Stephens takes no responsibility. The article is shameless. and a non sequitur: “The media has morphed into a partisan, corrupt, deceitful propaganda engine.” “Trump is bad too.” What’s the point? If Trump choked on his well done, ketchup laden steak tomorrow, the media would still be a festering pile of shit. It would still be on the decline, like it has been for decades, and it would still have a huge credibility problem, which might be the only thing they’ve come by honestly.

          • Humble. Trump and the media is an ethics train wreck on both sides. Jack would not disagree that Trump has a strained relationship with facts. And Stephens acknowledges liberal bias in the media, while complaining that Trump would have no problem if the media was biased in his favor. Stephens is defending the ideal of truth telling by the media in the context of eulogizing Danny Pearl and defending the WSJ. I do not read him as denying that much of the media has been grossly unfair. Jack and Stephens may disagree in emphasis but I don’t think they are far apart on substance.

            • I’m not sold… I think that ‘bias’ is too cute a term for what certain journalists have put out in the last couple of years, passed by their editors and standing uncorrected. He acknowledges the bias? I read the bits on Clinton too… But there’s a difference between using selection bias to choose stories more convenient to your politics, or editorialising the facts to make a narrative and the… wanton deceit that I’m talking about. Two weeks ago The WSJ took a still image from a video of Felix Kjellberg pointing to a group of his fans and told their readership it was him giving them a Nazi salute. That’s not “Bias”. If the choice is between whatever the hell that is and “Bias”. I’d love me some “Bias”.

    • Alex

      And I was giving Roman the benefit of the doubt as a misguided soul. Appears to be just another Hillary spambot.

    • You refuse to enter into discussions on the media? Of course you do. Their actions are indefensible, and attempting to have that discussion would almost invariably undermine your point.

      Look, buddy… If you think the best way to spend your time is to lob impotent diversion bombs on internet comment sections, you do you. But I’m out. If you don’t have the courage to stand behind your assertions, I don’t have the time to waste on you.

    • RomanBWitkowsky,
      My perception of your comment based on the content and way you are posting it, makes it appear that you are a troll posting spam to promote another website.

      Based on my perception of your actions, I think what you are doing is unethical.

    • You are posting to say you won’t respond or discuss, just post other “authorities” to do your thinking for you? Uh-uh. Last chance. You can read comments without wasting space saying what you won’t discuss. Your next comment like this one gets spammed, and you lose commenting privileges. Put up or shut up.

  3. Zanshin

    Regarding, “True, Horowitz did what ethical people do when in a position to: he fixed the problem. Still, his actions only seem remarkable in light of the incompetence all around him.”

    This is what producers do, troubleshooting.

    • Alex

      Your comment reminded me of a recent FB post that went semi-viral with my friends down in Mexico City. A cinema student sent a text message a group of peers asking for twenty lawn chairs, a black SUV, a pair of large dogs, a corrido band, and sound recording equipment. The first response was gold: “My dear [name redacted], what you actually need is a producer.”

  4. Jack,
    This blog is outstanding!!!

  5. The culture of the (now openly) progressive press (that is to say, the Main Stream Media) precludes self examination to any significant degree; after all, when you are the ethical, moral, and divine authority by fiat, why would you ever doubt yourself?

    They have descended to “one of ours said it, so it must be true, and if the facts say otherwise, we are still right”

    Except they get their money, indirectly, from the common folks who think otherwise. Hopefully the bill will come due sooner rather than later!

  6. I agree that this article should be a must-read for the “Not my President” crowd because the lesson-not-learned is causing them way too much heartburn.

    However, forgive me for being a Philistine, but this is the most damning and damaging passage in the piece:

    “Then, just when victory seemed certain, it was gone. An underdog competitor took the prize, and not cleanly, either. After all, the deck had been stacked in favor of giving black artists more recognition. And what the heck was going on with the alleged guardians of the voting results?”

    I am not sure that the author really understood what she wrote and how it undercut the entire Oscar concept. If the Oscar is supposed to go to the best film, performer, etc., setting aside awards for minority-involved categories reduces the entire process to affirmative action. Perhaps next year the Academy should set up specific awards: Best White Performer; Best Black Performer; Best White Film; or Best Black Film. The blatant admission that the Academy would give the nod to black artists and films about black issues containing black actors over other films or performers renders any idea of meritocracy irrelevant. I wonder if the Black Entertainment Television awards will look to balance its results by awarding prizes to non-black-focused films/entertainment. Maybe? a

    jvb

    PS: I have tried to follow the RomanBWitkowsky sing and response from above and other posts, and I have to say that I have no idea what any of that means.

    jvb

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