Birth of a Meme

Its not very often that you can tell, right at birth, that a new meme or catchphrase has been created, but General Honore's "Your Stuck on Stupid" seems to be such a case.  Radio Blogger has the context and transcript.  I will quote the key part, but its good to read the whole thing. 

The General had been trying to explain the evacuation approach so the press could get the message out to citizens who needed to know where to go.  Actually, the mayor had been trying to do that first, but was getting eaten alive by a press who were less interested in getting information out on the new storm than with scoring points** about the last storm. Both the mayor and the general kept getting peppered with questions like "why didn't we do that last time" and "That didn't work before".  At this point, General Honore was clearly frustrated with reporters who wanted to have a political finger pointing discussion when he was trying to communicate evacuation information.  So then there was this:

Honore: ...Right now, to handle the number of people that want to leave, we've got the
capacity. You will come to the convention center. There are soldiers there from
the 82nd Airborne, and from the Louisiana National Guard. People will be told to
get on the bus, and we will take care of them. And where they go will be
dependent on the capacity in this state. We've got our communications up. And
we'll tell them where to go. And when they get there, they'll be able to get a
chance, an opportunity to get registered, and so they can let their families
know where they are. But don't start panic here. Okay? We've got a location. It
is in the front of the convention center, and that's where we will use to
migrate people from it, into the system.

Male reporter: General Honore, we were told
that Berman Stadium on the west bank would be another staging area...

Honore: Not to my knowledge. Again, the current
place, I just told you one time, is the convention center. Once we complete the
plan with the mayor, and is approved by the governor, then we'll start that in
the next 12-24 hours. And we understand that there's a problem in getting
communications out. That's where we need your help. But let's not confuse the
questions with the answers. Buses at the convention center will move our
citizens, for whom we have sworn that we will support and defend...and we'll
move them on. Let's not get stuck on the last storm. You're asking last storm
questions for people who are concerned about the future storm. Don't get stuck
on stupid, reporters. We are moving forward. And don't confuse the people
please. You are part of the public message. So help us get the message straight.
And if you don't understand, maybe you'll confuse it to the people. That's why
we like follow-up questions. But right now, it's the convention center, and move

Male reporter: General, a little bit more about
why that's happening this time, though, and did not have that last time...

Honore: You are stuck on stupid. I'm not going
to answer that question. We are going to deal with Rita. This is public
information that people are depending on the government to put out. This is the
way we've got to do it. So please. I apologize to you, but let's talk about the
future. Rita is happening. And right now, we need to get good, clean information
out to the people that they can use. And we can have a conversation on the side
about the past, in a couple of months.

Awesome.  The press does a great job, and I couldn't do what I do as a blogger without them gathering the basic facts on which I comment***.  However, I think a lot of people are tired of their self-righteous shtick.

**  While I am convinced that reporters seem more interested in scoring points in these press conferences than obtaining facts (have you ever watched a White House press briefing?), it is interesting to ask "score points with whom?"  With each other?  With CSPAN viewers?  Are either of these really a sustainable constituency?

***  Vodkapundit has a great analysis that I think is dead-on about the NY Times putting their editorial copy behind a paid firewall.  The WSJ charges for news, but puts out opinions for free.  The NY Times does the opposite. 

Look. I usually suspect any New York Times story to be biased - but I can
expect it to be researched and fact-checked. And in this day and age, I can rely
on some smart blogger somewhere to tell me exactly what the NYT got wrong. But
what I can't expect blogs to do - at least not yet - is to do the dreary,
day-in-day-out work of getting the news in the first place. For all its faults,
the MSM is still far better than blogs at reporting.

Given all that, do recent decisions at the New York Times make any sense?
They're forcing people to pay for opinions they can get most anywhere else for
free, while cutting back on doing the one thing they can still do better than
anyone else.

  • Scott P

    On the other hand, Warren, maybe the Times is just playing to their vast masochistic readership.

    After all, the only thing more painful than reading Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd is paying for the privilege.

  • leftbrainfemale
  • Sandy

    I think they put the news pages in the free zone as an advertisement for the opinion. that way people will think "this is pretty great news, maybe I should buy the opinion." If the opinion pages were free, I think a great many would say "this opinion is worse than roadkill, why should I trust these jokers for news?"