Oct 8, 2003


Out of the frying pan and into the fire: Grey Davis was by all accounts a miserable governor, but the major problems in the State of California were not his doing. Enron was more responsible for the problems than Davis, but the people of California were fooled by Dan Issa, Bill Simon, Pete Wilson, and the remainder of the Republican corporate machine into the belief that their candidate for Governor would be the 'answer' to the problems caused by Enron.

The disconnect between reality and imagination in California is apparent in the election of Governor Gropenator. Style won over substance - myth trumped truth - money & corporatism brought the people of the State of California under the governorship of a figurehead who will be run and operated by the very interests who were the source of their discontent.
It is a black day for California.

MOTHER JONES has an interesting take on why the Schwartzengroper wasn't the Toast of the Tabloids over the typical tabloid fodder of celebrities and sexual misconduct.
The fact is, stories like the one published by the LA Times are built on difficult, tedious, time-intensive work. And the media practices which usually apply in reporting on Arnold the celebrity simply don't apply when reporting on Arnold the candidate. What's more, Arnold has managed to keep a tight muzzle on the usual bane of celebrities, the lowest-common-denominator media of the tabloids.

Last year, America's leading tabloid publisher, American Media, purchased Muscle and Fitness, Shape and Men's Fitness magazines for $350 million from Arnold's business partner, Joe Weider. The company also owns the National Enquirer and Star tabloids -- and both have remained squeaky clean when it comes to Arnold. Instead of sicing its scandal-hounds on the misogyny angle, the company produced a 120-page glossy one-off titled "Arnold, the American Dream."

So, how does the willing silence of the checkout-aisle rags influence what the Times and other mainstream papers choose to publish? Ann Louise Bardach, writing in the Times, explains the unlikely connection:

"One of the less ennobling secrets of the mainstream media in recent years is its reliance on the tabloid press to launder seedy but irresistible stories about celebrities and politicians. Once the story is baptized in the tabloids, it's not long before it's fodder for TV talking heads and late-night comics. Then, more often than not, it's regarded as fair game for the elite media." But isn't there a difference between "seedy but irresistible stories" and illegal behavior? And, while newsrooms might have been hampered somewhat by the tabloid silence, shouldn't political pundits have been more aggressive on the matter? Katha Pollitt, writing in The New York Times, certainly thinks so.

"Why is it so hard for commentators to come right out and say: here is a man who seems to have a long history of contempt for women, who uses his celebrity to get away with sexual humiliation -- why does he belong in public life? Would that sound too square, too P.C., too, um, feminist? From the newsstand crammed with leering lad magazines like Maxim to all-male, all-the-time talk radio to the self-congratulatory misogyny of 'The Man Show,' aggressive male chauvinism is back in style, and Mr. Schwarzenegger is its standard-bearer."
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