Yesterday on his Fox News show, Glenn Beck tried to tell us the noble tale of intrepid citizens who are now taking on the mantle of real journalism.
Of course, for those of us in the blogosphere, this is something of an old story. But for Beck, apparently, it's a brand spanking new concept!
But then, his idea of what constitutes such a citizen journalist is a little bit skewed ...
First, take Charlie Rangel — the perfect example of sleazy government. He's the head of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, yet he has allegedly failed to pay some taxes and is also part of an open ethics investigation.
Watch what happened when a citizen, not a journalist, approached with some questions:
OK, granted, that may have been a little uncomfortable because Rangel was ambushed. But the bigger issue is that we now have citizens doing the job that the media just won't do.
Remember when the media was known as the "fourth branch of government" because they actually served as a check against the government's power? Ah, the good old days. Now we actually need to have citizens roaming the halls of Congress to ask questions the media should've been asking months ago!
Since the year started, the mainstream media Web sites — ABC, CBS and NBC — didn't cover the Rangel controversy once, even though there was a vote to try to strip him of his chairmanship last month. For comparison, those same sites covered "Octomom" dozens of times; NBC alone had 30 references to her.
Beck then hosted an appearance by the young man who accosted Rangel, Jason Mattera, during which they proceeded to bash both Rangel and the traditional press.
Now, Beck has never been a journalist, so no doubt his idea of what kinds of questions journalists are supposed to ask are probably formed by a combination of watching bad movies and reading Bernie Goldberg. But in case he's wondering, no one has covered the Rangel story because there's no there there; the only thing any reporter could ask would involve wild speculation based on right-wing propaganda. And since journalists are not paid propagandists, they have a professional ethical obligation to avoid that kind of questioning.
However, paid propagandists have no such compunction, of course, and are free to ambush whoever they like -- though they shouldn't be surprised to get a hostile reception to such nonsense.
And a paid propagandist and political hack operative is exactly what Jason Mattera is:
Jason Mattera is a spokesman for the Young America's Foundation and has been described as "one of the top young conservative activists in the entire country."
This clown has pulled other, even more notorious stunts, such as viciously attacking Mathew Shepard's mother, helping create a whites-only scholarship at Roger Williams University, and half-assedly attacking Al Gore over global warming. He's also not very keen on press rights for progressive reporters.
You may remember Mattera best, though, from 2005, when he became known as one of the country's most prominent chickenhawks:
I think citizen journalists are great, since I kinda are one. But Jason Mattera is not a citizen journalist. That's evident not just in his background, but in the dumbass, purely propagandistic "when did you stop beating your wife?" questions he tried throwing at Rangel, too.
But then, on Planet Wingnuttia, only hacks are deemed "journalists."