Dana Milbank Sucks At Journalism

17 December 2008

Dana Milbank is always on MSNBC, yet he persistently manages to say nothing of substance. It's always safe and easy to spout off "conventional wisdom" and crack jokes about the topic of the day. Yet it never adds anything to the discussion, and it's always terribly shallow. Milbank continued to do what he does in the Washington Post today:

Next up in Obama's insomnia treatment was an acceptance speech by the previously unknown nominee, followed by the president-elect's own blend of convoluted and passive answers to questions...The whole thing might have ended in snores if [Chicago Tribune reporter John] McCormick hadn't piped up about Blagojevich.
Milbank will be chasing after this one like the O.J. and Ana Nicole stories. He just wants to be entertained with a sexy story. No time to report on agricultural policy and our bizarre farm subsidy problems, because that's no fun. Never mind that these people will be making important and complex decisions about our country's food and energy policies. Dana Milbank wants to be entertained.

UPDATE: See this previous post.

UPDATE II: Bob Somerby is a national treasure:
On Monday, Obama announced that his office’s “full review of this” would be withheld until next week, at Patrick Fitzgerald’s request. And Fitzgerald’s office confirmed the fact that they had made this request. But McCormack plowed ahead anyhoo, asking a question that plainly wouldn’t get answered. And then, on cable, the children started wailing, about Obama’s bad conduct.

Which part of “the information will be withheld until next week, at Fitzgerald’s request” don’t these life-forms understand?

The caterwauling was widespread on cable; for Digby’s account of one exchange, just click here. But as always, the silliest Villager was the Post’s Dana Milbank, who put his low IQ on display in this morning’s “Washington Sketch.” If the insider press is our dumbest elite, Milbank is its perfect town crier. Like Bush, he’s straight outta Skull and Bones. And as he neared the end of his “sketch,” he again seemed determined to prove it.

Classic Milbank! This is how the Post’s “sketch” artist described one part of yesterday’s session—an event at which Obama introduced his nominee for Secretary of Education. As always, Milbank found himself bored by the day’s dismal dullness:

MILBANK (12/17/08): Next up in Obama's insomnia treatment was an acceptance speech by the previously unknown nominee, followed by the president-elect's own blend of convoluted and passive answers to questions: "We're going to have to work through a lot of these difficulties, these structural difficulties that built up over many decades, some of it having to do with the financial industry and the huge amounts of leverage, the huge amounts of debt that were taken on, the speculation and the risk that was occurring, the lack of financial regulation, some of it having to do with our housing market, stabilizing that."

The whole thing might have ended in snores if McCormick hadn't piped up about Blagojevich.

Milbank began with a brainless jibe at the “previously unknown” Arne Duncan. In fact, Duncan has been head of Chicago’s public schools for the past seven years, though no one in Milbank’s circle has heard. Then, the crier took a familiar tack; he complained that Obama’s quoted answer was too “convoluted” —too long. In fairness, Obama’s answer did stretch to a punishing 71 words, and Village attention spans are quite short. At least Obama hadn’t used too many big words, the brainless complaint the Bonesman raised against dull, verbose and know-it-all Gore when the exceedingly tiresome fellow once tried to discuss his new best-selling book (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/30/07). Gore had used such terms as “the marketplace of ideas” and the ”exchange of goods and services”—and this had led to a long, loud complaint. Ponder the plight your nation faces when Boneheaded fellows of such low distinction control the shape of its discourse.

“The whole thing might have ended in snores if McCormick hadn't piped up about Blagojevich,” the Bonesman explained, helping us see his cohort’s sad culture. Again, the truth about this dullest elite: They’re constantly drowning in their own dismal dullness. Only the thrill of scandal/sex/wardrobe/personality tales rescues them from their own cosmic dullness. Big Dem pols who don’t offer such treats will be accused of using big words—of giving “convoluted answers.” Almost everything puts them to sleep. Low-income kids can be damned.

Yesterday, the nonsense was general all over cable, but no one is ever much dumber than Milbank. As he described McCormick’s Q-and-A, we got to peep inside the head of the Village’s emptiest Bonesman:

MILBANK: [T]he Chicago Tribune's John McCormick didn't want to talk basketball. He wanted to know about contacts that Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, had with disgraced Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

"John, John, let me just cut you off," Obama interrupted, "because I don't want you to waste your question." The president-elect said the "facts are going to be released next week”—when he, by random coincidence, will be enjoying Christmas vacation in Hawaii—and "it would be inappropriate for me to comment" before then. "So, do you have another question?"

McCormick tried to rephrase the question, to no avail. "John, John," Obama repeated, reproachfully. "I said, the U.S. attorney's office specifically asked us not to release this until next week."

Can you get dumber? We’re not sure. But try to grasp how bad it can get when these life-forms start offering snark. Again, Fitzgerald’s office confirmed the fact that they asked Obama to wait till next week before discussing Emanuel’s contacts. The Bonesman, though, interjected some “tude” into his account of this matter. He suggested that the release of the info next week was some sort of slick Obama trick, designed somehow to coincide with the gentleman’s Christmas vacation.

No, that doesn’t really make sense. But this is the Village’s Bonesman.

Let us repeat what we’ve told you before. There is no way to understand this group without understanding a basic fact: Your “press corps” is a D-plus elite—our slowest, dumbest professional cohort. For the record, we’ve been surprised by the way they’ve behaved in the ten days since the Blago tale hit. They’ve been dumber—and faker—than we would have dreamed. Nothing derails their sad culture.

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