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Two Associated Press writers, with the help of accompanying photos at ABCnews.com, have dug down deep and reached a new low in dismal, depressive reporting.
You can be forgiven if, after reading the entire Saturday afternoon "report" by Alan Fram and Eileen Putman of the Associated Press, you worry that the two writers plan to jump from the nearest tall building -- and take their readers with them -- unless Barack Obama wins the White House.
This is how the pained pair's incredibly over-the-top report begins (note how the headline answers the question before the text begins; excerpted text is included here for fair use and discussion purposes, as are photos originally found at the ABC link that are included at the cross-post):
Everything seemingly is spinning out of control
Out-of-control weather, gas prices, economy chip away at American self-confidence
Is everything spinning out of control?
Midwestern levees are bursting. Polar bears are adrift. Gas prices are skyrocketing. Home values are abysmal. Air fares, college tuition and health care border on unaffordable. Wars without end rage in Iraq, Afghanistan and against terrorism.
Horatio Alger, twist in your grave.
The can-do, bootstrap approach embedded in the American psyche is under assault. Eroding it is a dour powerlessness that is chipping away at the country's sturdy conviction that destiny can be commanded with sheer courage and perseverance.
The sense of helplessness is even reflected in this year's presidential election. Each contender offers a sense of order - and hope. Republican John McCain promises an experienced hand in a frightening time. Democrat Barack Obama promises bright and shiny change, and his large crowds believe his exhortation, "Yes, we can."
Freaking-Out Fram and Put-Upon Putman then lament that "a barrel-scraping 17 percent of people surveyed believe the country is moving in the right direction." It's a wonder, given the tenor of press reporting during at least the past two years, that it's as high as it is.
(By the way, did you notice that Fram and Putman didn't mention who has been in control of Congress while much of this decay in confidence has taken place until the third-last paragraph? Or that Congress is the least-trusted institution in the country -- less than HMOs and "Big Business"?)
Global warming, or what yours truly likes to refer to as "globaloney," even makes an appearance:
Floods engulf Midwestern river towns. Is it global warming, the gradual degradation of a planet's weather that man seems powerless to stop or just a freakish late-spring deluge?
Then the Disheartened Duo get to the real purpose of their piece: to convince us, now that we're all completely miserable, that the only solution is a change in which party controls the White House (bolds are mine):
American University historian Allan J. Lichtman notes that the U.S. has endured comparable periods and worse, including the economic stagflation (stagnant growth combined with inflation) and Iran hostage crisis of 1980; the dawn of the Cold War, the Korean War and the hysterical hunts for domestic Communists in the late 1940s and early 1950s; and the Depression of the 1930s.
"All those periods were followed by much more optimistic periods in which the American people had their confidence restored," he said. "Of course, that doesn't mean it will happen again."
Each period also was followed by a change in the party controlling the White House.
By the way, those familiar with the Venona Papers and the work of M. Stanton Evans know that there is a better word to describe the "hunts for domestic Communists in the late 1940s and early 1950s." The word is "necessary."
You'll have to go to the final two paragraphs at the last page of the article yourself to read how these two wrap things up. One really has to wonder how they get through each day.
Fram's and Putman's despondent drivel isn't labeled "analysis," or "background." It is apparently what these sad sacks, and their editors at the Associated Press, believe is "journalism."
No it's not, but it is this: Something you should save to the hard drive, and show to anyone still clinging to the misbegotten belief that the press hasn't taken sides in the 2008 presidential election.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.