For those of you who watched American Idol tonight and saw somebody in the audience cheering and holding a sign with a pickle on it, that wasn’t a photo of contestant Kellie Pickler, it was Associated Press hack Nedra Pickler :
Look familiar American Idol fans? Since it’s the most popular show in the world or something, lemme point out that the graphic was originally made to highlight the fact that the press routinely gives Republicans a free pass while holding Democrats to a higher standard. Atrios in particular was all over this a couple years ago and described Pickler’s style as such :
Nit Picklering being the writing of news stories admonishing Democratic candidates for daring to not explain their own inconsistencies, as demonstrated by Nedra Pickler by the inclusion of some utterly irrelevant detail.
Matt Yglesias later expanded the Nit Picklering phenomenon into an article for the American Prospect :
Pickler, a 28-year-old Washington-based reporter who covered the auto industry before moving to the campaign beat last January, took Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) to task for telling the story of a New Hampshire couple whose water supply was rendered unsafe for drinking or showering due to the presence of a gasoline additive, MTBE, without noting that they now, in fact, had potable water from an alternate source. Was Kerry remiss? Certainly no more so than Pickler, who failed to mention that the senator’s remarks came up as he was discussing the Bush administration’s efforts to shield manufacturers of the toxic substance from lawsuits. (MTBE has a propensity for poisoning groundwater). A revised version of Pickler’s story was released on the wires the next morning, now leading with the Kerry-bashing in the first paragraph, insinuating that the senator had inflicted emotional distress on the victims of his “dishonesty.” Actual harms caused by the chemical didn’t make the cut, however.
. . .
Pickler’s tic is a source of amusement, but it also has quite serious ramifications. While most discussion of media bias focuses on elite outlets like The New York Times and The Washington Post, stories put out by The Associated Press form the backbone of national political coverage in the small- and medium-sized newspapers whose combined circulations far exceed the majors. These early campaign reports, moreover, set the larger story line that constrains later coverage of events. Once Al Gore got the “liar” label on the 2000 campaign trail, he was unable to shake it no matter how unfair the charges were or how much worse Bush’s behavior was. This is a movie we’ve all seen before, and it doesn’t have a happy ending.
And now her photoshoped mug has become a prop on the most popular show on TV. It’s fitting that the audience, producers, network, hosts, and contestants seem to be unaware that the sign that drew so much attention was a case of mistaken identity, since American Idol‘s Pickler is dumber than a bag of hammers, but the original pickle sign was a humorous way to protest the media’s continual double-standard towards liberals. It would be nice for this to be used to shine a light on the talking points-recycling Pickler and her Republican-boosting colleagues. but since Idol is on Fox, don’t hold your breath waiting for Ryan Seacrest to point out the mix-up.
UPDATE : In case you thought I was mistaken, here’s a screengrab from the American Idol segment that features the Pickler :
I argee with Atrios. This isn’t as weird as Evil Bert, but WTF?!