Wednesday, June 07, 2006

California Primary results

Mixed. Angelides beat Westly, so Phil Angelides will run against the Governator, time to mobilized for Phil Angelides. Jerry Brown beat Rocky Delgadilo for the nomination for Attorney General. The sad news: Marcy Winograd lost her bid to defeat Jane Harman. However, Marcy and her campaign made Jane accountable. It flushed out Jane's pro-war votes, it made her actually campaign for the first time.

Marcy Winograd got into the race late. Because of this, she didn't have the organization she needed, and I think that's what cost her. She'll be back, and she'll be visible from now on.

But as Newton Minnow predicted, television continues to anesthetize people, as shown by low voter turnout. When he began his tenure as chairman of the FCC, Minnow delivered a speech in May, 1961 which is as pertinent today as 45 years ago. (I've tried to link the full text, but it doesn't work. Sorry. It's called Television and the Public Interest, and worth finding.)

Most well known comment from that speech: When television is good, nothing--not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers--nothing is better.

But when television is bad, nothing is worse. I invite you to sit down in front of your television set when your station goes on the air and stay there without a book, magazine, newspaper, profit and-loss sheet or rating book to distract you--and keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that you will observe a vast wasteland.

You will see a procession of game shows, violence, audience participation shows, formula comedies about totally unbelievable families, blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, murder, western bad men, western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence, and cartoons. And, endlessly, commercials -- many screaming, cajoling, and offending. And most of all, boredom. True, you will see a few things you will enjoy. But they will be very, very few. And if you think I exaggerate, try it.


Also in that speech: Some say the public interest is merely what interests the public. I disagree. So does your distinguished president, Governor Collins. In a recent speech he said,

Broadcasting to serve the public interest, must have a soul and a conscience, a burning desire to excel, as well as to sell; the urge to build the character, citizenship and intellectual stature of people, as well as to expand the gross national product. ...By no means do I imply that broadcasters disregard the public interest. ...But a much better job can be done, and should be done.


I'm amazed that so many people pick up the phone to call in their votes for American Idol as if their lives depended on it; yet when something actually matters, and affects them, they stay at home. I know I should not be amazed, especially when I go back to Minnow's speech -- but we are beyond numb at this point; and the media is complicit with government in keeping us this way.

We are our own tragedy in the making.

11 comments:

DBK said...

To be fair, AmId announces massive vote counts, but I would guess that more than half of them are multiple votes. People use automatic dialers/voter scripts to put those votes in, so I doubt anywhere near a couple of million people in the entire country actually bother to vote. It is in AmId's interest to permit that sort of voting so that they can announce there were forty million votes, ro whatever it was, for the show because it makes them look important.

DivaJood said...

I know, but even saying this makes me frustrated, DBK. It's like we're frozen in a terrible time.

Patrick Meighan said...

"The sad news: Marcy Winograd lost her bid to defeat Jane Harman... We are our own tragedy in the making... It's like we're frozen in a terrible time."

Cheer up, Charlie.

Don't forget, just three and a half months ago Marcy Winograd was an unknown schoolteacher, with no history of electoral politics, watching "Meet the Press" with her husband, and getting pissed as Jane Harman was defending the president's illegal warrantless spying program and deploring the NYT for reporting on it. Right there, in her living room, that schoolteacher decided to run against Jane Harman.

Three months is not much time for a political cypher to mount a campaign against a 5-term congresswoman with through-the-roof name-recognition, more money than God, and the ENTIRE established Democratic Party apparatus at her beck-and-call.

And yet...

Marcy Winograd, in those three months, put together a grassroots campaign that got 37.5% of the total vote, and 39.3% of the vote cast at the polls.

Given the severe obstacles Marcy had to face (most notably the differential in name recognition, voter initertia, and just plain' ol lack of time), Marcy's showing should be viewed as a demonstration of the electoral effectiveness of the progressive message.

Should Marcy Winograd choose to continue organizing and mobilizing for the next two years (and I have no idea whether or not she will make that choice), Marcy's message of progressive change *WILL* be a winner in 2008.

Patrick Meighan
Venice, CA

DivaJood said...

Patrick, you are right that Marcy accomplished a lot in an all-too-short time frame. She certainly made Jane Harman accountable. The day after the election is not the day for her to decide if she'll run again -- but if she does, there's a grass roots organization in place.

My real discomfort is with the voter inertia. But you are absolutely right on what Marcy Winograd did: she made people in the party stand up and take notice. Probably on the other side as well!

Sigrid Jardin said...

Ah yes, some wins, some losses. I'm so glad you mention the American Idol parallel - how discouraging that everyone cares enough to vote for that piece of delusional fantasy, while real politics barely warrants a nod. I'm feeling really sick about Richard Pombo getting re-elected. If ever there was a poisonous scoundrel, he is the epitome. Well, one day at a time, one vote at a time, we keep on keeping on.

DivaJood said...

Sigrid, I'm happy we still have elections, though.

Alicia said...

DJ and Patrick - you're right about Marcy - she made a great showing, and I hope she keeps on keeping on. I'm glad we got to participate in her campaign.

DivaJood said...

Alicia, she did a lot. Thanks for crossing into the district to help!

Comandante Agi said...

Nice wrap up. All the Republican incumbents are safe here in Orange County. Our corrupt sheriff got re-elected too. But yeah, at least we are still allowed to vote ;P

DivaJood said...

Comandante Agi, I read your comment with a mouthful of tea -- which is now spewed on my monitor. Thanks. Yeah, lucky us, we still get to vote. Not that the vote is counted, or anything, right?

comandante agi said...

Counting votes? Only liberal pansies count votes!

But surprisingly, this was the first election to feature a paper trail receipt on our electronic Diebold machines.

Sorry bout the monitor.