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precarious since 1997 | by maryann johanson

the hacktacular “journalists” of ‘Swing Vote’

There’s an odd bit of nonsense in the ends credits of Swing Vote:

The CNN Journalist portrayed is a fictitious character

I’m not sure which character this is meant to refer to. I suspect it’s the TV news reporter played by Paula Patton, the one who befriends Molly, the little girl, but she’s not a CNN reporter: she works for a local station and her report is picked up by CNN, but that’s not the same thing.

What strikes me as downright weird, though, is that so many real “journalists” appear here as themselves: Chris Matthews, Larry King, Tucker Carlson, folks like that. It’s bizarre, frankly, because the kinds of issues Swing Vote thinks its satirizing are partly a result of talking heads like these guys. I mean, they’re part of the problem in that they don’t do their jobs by speaking truth to power but instead cave to the powers that be by being their mouthpieces; they’re stenographers rather than journalists. Lots of movies these days slap the faces of TV personalities — and that’s really all you can call these TV news people — up on the screen to lend a certain versimiltude, but it’s truly weird, in this case, that none of them seem to recognize that they’re being made fun of as well (or would be, if the movie had any real balls). Only Bill Maher can be excused. He appears as himself here, too but — as is often the case in real life, too — he’s the only one being honest about what a farce American public life has become. Well, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert serve that vital purpose, too, but neither of them appear in the film, to their credit.

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