Monday, January 08, 2007

Peter + Darren (2-gether/4-ever)

If, like me, you enjoy journalism, politics and porn, you got the trifecta on Sunday via Darren Allen’s big smooch of a column on our newly minted congressman, Peter Welch. Let’s just say that Darren didn’t heed Snarky Boy’s advice last week to start reporting on our congressional delegation rather fawning over and flacking for them. Because, my friends, this one was way, way over the top – even for Vermont’s rather non-existent muckraking traditions.

Basically, Allen went jogging with Welch while on company time in DC. And Welch, sensing what a little poodle of a journalist he had at his disposal, took Allen on a heavy-handed jog “past the Capitol, past the Washington Monument, the White House, the World War II Memorial, and then up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.”

I’ll bet with each and every stop along the way Welch was wondering how much Allen was going to let him get away with without firing a substantive question or challenge his way. But, as those of us who endured the entire sappy length of this column can attest, there was nary a challenge in the midst. Nope, this was all myth building all the time. Worse, it was just plain hokey.

Just taste these lines from the beginning: “As we started, he turned toward the majestic building, its dome framed by wispy pink clouds, and then he turned to me.”

I honestly thought the next line was going to be: “And he kissed me so passionately and lovingly that I knew a civil union was in our future.”

But no such luck. Instead, all we got was hundreds and hundreds of additional words worth of political swooning over Welch, their consummating jog together, and cliché after cliché and fucking cliché.

Don’t believe me? Taste this: “And viewing it through the eyes of a new congressman is a sure way to be reminded of why we send 535 people here, pay them generous salaries and provide them with staffs that do their bidding.”

Or, if that bit of ass kissing isn’t good enough for you, try this: “On his first day, he presided over the House (OK, it was between 10 and 11 p.m., but he presided, nonetheless) and accepted the accolades of dozens of family members, friends and fellow congressmen.”

Come on, Darren. It would only be news if a congressman REJECTED such accolades. As a viewer of C-SPAN, I can most assuredly tell you that accepting accolades is a very normal part of ANY congressman’s day.

Vermonter’s, unfortunately, have become all too used to this kind of suck-up journalism. It’s one thing to accept a private jog with a congressman, but it’s quite another to use that kind of access to simply fawn and fall for the spin of it all. Did Allen ask Welch one tough question? Did he challenge him in any way? Did he even make light of the heavy-handedness of it all? Nope. This was purely and simply love at first spin.

Oh boy, and we wonder why Vermont’s political incumbents stay in office for as long as they want to stay in office. With journalism like Allen’s, it’s a smooth ride, baby.

Next time, fellas, get a room.