September 24, 2012

Touring the Journalist Cave

I'm a journalist, which means I have certain journalistic-endowed powers that sets me apart from other mortals. When Winona State University mailed me my mass communications/journalism bachelor of arts diploma back in 1998, they included the coveted "Journalist Key" that permits me access to the "Journalist Cave" where all the arcane and mysterious journalist secrets are kept. Plus, there's a full bar and awesome satellite dish television that pulls in broadcasts from as far away as the Kingdom of Bahrain. Trust me, you haven't lived until you've seen the Bahrain version of "The Big Bang Theory."

Because of my unfettered access to the Journalist Cave, I have unique journalist powers when it comes to understanding election campaigns, particularly presidential election campaigns. So, with just over a month remaining before the 2012 presidential election--which we journalists KNOW is the most important election in history, and we mean it this time, REALLY--I thought I'd share some of the closely guarded yet completely nonsensical journalistic truths governing this election cycle.

For example, despite an unemployment rate that's been in excess of eight percent for 43 consecutive months--even after a trustworthy government flushing hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars down an endless stimulus toilet--we journalists fully understand that the far more important story is how much a particular candidate did or did not pay in taxes spanning the last decade or so. Information like that is critical when you're unemployed.

On a related note, we journalists also intuitively know that when a presidential candidate flies to a campaign event in a taxpayer-funded 747 and admonishes his opponent for "being out of touch with America," there's no disconnect between that statement and reality whatsoever, because all Americans have access to their own personal 747--they just keep it in the garage so birds can't defile it.

As I combed through some of the Journalist Cave archives, I also discovered a fascinating rule about covering Middle East chaos. The rule states: "In the event the Middle East should be in chaos--which is always--journalists covering a presidential election cycle should focus with laser-like precision on which candidate once drove a car with a dog strapped to the roof and which candidate actually used to eat dog meat." You wouldn't think this rule would come into play all that often, but it's perfectly applicable to the 2012 election cycle, believe it or not.

Not surprisingly, there's an entire wing of the Journalist Cave devoted to rules regarding covering the Middle East during an election campaign, and we journalists are continually remodeling that wing to accommodate all the fresh madness that emanates out of that wondrous world cesspool.

One new rule, in particular, caught my attention. It turns out, during the 2012 American presidential election cycle, if the Middle East should erupt in protests and violence--what the Middle East refers to as "recess"--we journalists should turn to technology and blame. . . *checking sub-rule 298*. . . YouTube. That's right, when the Middle East unleashes its regular recess, resulting in the death of a U.S. ambassador and several other Americans, journalists should point to a poorly-produced YouTube video that denigrates a religious prophet as the culprit this time. That doesn't necessarily explain the last several decades of Middle East recess insanity, but thankfully the Journalist Cave archives explain that we journalists don't have to concern ourselves with something as inconvenient as historical context.

There are all sorts similar rules to be found in the Journalist Cave, and most of the rules wildly contradict each other, depending on which candidate and which political party is being reported on.

I would love to expound on some of the additional Journalist Cave rules, but the Bahrain "Big Bang Theory" just came on, and the guy who plays their version of Sheldon is just too good to be missed.

Posted by Ryan at September 24, 2012 09:25 AM | TrackBack
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