How to Write About the Republican National Convention

A guide for the lazy mainstream media.

Every four years a conclave of the most fiendish villains found this side of San Francisco gathers to anoint a reactionary running dog capitalist candidate on a platform of destroying the environment, restoring slavery and making everyone eat broccoli. It is your job as a dedicated progressive reporter to penetrate their lair wearing the token press badges of your profession and file a balanced report describing in detail what absolutely awful human beings Republicans are.

Covering a Republican National Convention is not for the faint of heart. It requires journalistic integrity, keen reporting skills and a willingness to make up racist incidents that didn't happen to your knowledge but probably did happen somewhere at the convention while you weren't looking, because everyone knows that all Republicans are racist. Especially the black ones.

Start by observing the reactionary creatures in their native habitat. Emphasize how white they are and mention their lack of diversity in every paragraph. Racism didn't matter nearly as much before Obama, but these days racism is the only game in town. Even you have to admit that Obama isn't offering much and if you can't convince people to feel good about voting for him, maybe you can still convince them to feel bad for not voting for him.

The most important thing to remember about the convention is that it's racist; so wholly racist that it might as well come with a Klan hood as its gift bag. Think of racism as Waldo: it's lurking everywhere and only your keen journalistic instincts and a copy of something by Alice Walker from the airport gift shop can help you sniff it out.

Can you see any black waiters around? Are there no black waiters at all or is the number of black waiters out of proportion, in your uninformed but passionate opinion, to the number of black people in the Tampa area? Any of these is conclusive evidence of racism. Find a waiter who has a college degree and hasn't been able to get a job in his chosen field of ethnocentric history. Get his thoughts on Republican racism. If you can't find one, make him up. You've seen plenty of black people in movies. How hard can it be?

Study all the food on the trays and compare it unfavorably with your experience feeding an African village with the Peace Corps. Speculate that under Republicans most Americans will be divided between gun-wielding Republican warlords hoarding trays of canapés and the starving masses yearning for canapés, civil rights and schools that offer free sex-change operations to teachers as part of their union health plans.

To undertake this journalistic effort you need not have ever been in the Peace Corps or be able to find Africa on a map. Just think about the time that the dentist told you that you couldn't eat for an hour and how hungry you felt walking past that bakery that makes artisanal organic arugula rolls and how you were sure that your dentist was a right-winger because only a Republican could be so oblivious to the needs and wants of another human being.

Pick out the types of people that you expect to find. The Wall Street banker who laughs heartily every time he sends another widow to the poorhouse, the devoutly religious used-car dealer, the closeted conservative policy wonk and the lady who claims Obama is a space alien. It makes no difference whether or not you actually encounter any of these people because these are the people you expect to encounter and so you will write about them before you even go to Tampa. You will write about them even before you look up Tampa on a map to make sure that it isn't in Africa.

Flatter your readers by making them feel superior to Republicans in every way. Condescendingly describe their strange opinions about liberty and small government in the same way that 18th Century explorers reported on the customs of the Zulu.  The fact that they keep winning elections, like the existence of bands you abhor, movies you look down on and books you despise, reassures you and your readers that you are a superior class of people chosen by the slow march of evolution to help lift the ragged masses of gun-clingers and bible-thumpers out of the Jurassic mud. And if not them, then perhaps their college-educated offspring.

You will write about Republicans as enemies of all that is good and decent, on a mission to destroy our way of life, which consists of cowboy poetry, gay marriage, gay cowboy poetry and forcing Catholic priests to perform abortions on transsexual gay cowboys.

If you must write about the actual events on the convention stage, because the editors at your newspaper, magazine or progressive blog disguised as an online magazine actually care about that sort of thing, be sure to show your disdain for the proceedings. Convey to your readers that only a fool would confuse this parade of glib lies and subsonic racist dog whistles with the unimpeachable integrity and political heroism of the upcoming Democratic National Convention.

Tell the story that you came to tell about a party of rich white men at war with the forward march of history. When you encounter minorities, ignore them because they are only a minority of the attendees and are only there to fool you into thinking that Republicans aren't racists. Speculate that they might actually be plain old rich white men with tans.

Pay as little attention to the speeches as possible. Everything that you need to know about what is said on the stage, including how many times Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Ann Romney, Mitt Romney, Condoleezza Rice, the Olympians, Artur Davis and the guy making all the announcements lied, will come to you next morning in the email from ThinkProgress or Media Matters. After a few minutes of reading through their condensed talking points, you will pass on an even more digested digest to your readers so that they needn't waste their time actually listening to what the reactionary running dog capitalist swine plotting to destroy the icebergs with uncontrolled exhalations and bring back big band music have to say for themselves.

You are a journalist and your job is not to report on events but to tell the thoughtless masses whether the events are good or bad. It is your duty to brave the wilds of Tampa, to talk to people from flyover country who talk with weird accents and to make fun of them in your reportage. It is your mission, should you accept it, to use your experiences among the crazed masses of constitutionalists and horrible hordes of hard-bitten racists to illustrate the low character, bad morals and ugly physiognomies of the Republican Party.

And then when the balloons have been swept up and the parties have all ended, climb into your rental Prius and go home.

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