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SPINNING KERRY (PART 2)! Gail Collins, it’s 11 o’clock. Do you know where your newspaper’s written?


BROOKS BROTHER: Who actually wrote that David Brooks column? Who wrote that vacuous, fact-challenged piece about Kerry’s haircuts and shirts? (See THE DAILY HOWLER, 3/8/04.) Last night, a brilliant e-mailer linked us on to the place where Brooks may have gotten his orders. And yes, we were surprised at where we went; we were linked to David Bossie’s “Citizens United” site, where we saw that pseudo-con operative’s latest 30-second TV ad. It’s a vacuous ad about fake, phony Kerry—and it may have scripted Brooks’ column. You can watch or listen to the ad at this link. But here is its brilliant, deep text:


(Insinuative voice, with plummy accent):

Massachusetts senator John Kerry.

Hair styled by Christophe’s: 75 dollars.

Designer shirts? 250 dollars.

42-foot luxury yacht: One million dollars.

Four lavish mansions and beautiful estate? Over 30 million dollars.

Another rich liberal elitist from Massachusetts who claims he’s a “man of the people.”

[Porcine grunting] Priceless.

Try to believe that Republicans peddle this crap! At any rate, yesterday we asked the obvious question: How inane is David Brooks? Hearing this ad, we finally found out—and we may have learned who actually scripts the New York Times’ emptiest columnist.

Because yes, dear readers: If you read Brooks’ column last weekend, you know how closely his meditation followed this inane Bossie script. Brooks included the name of the yacht, but otherwise aped Bossie’s package. The shirts, the haircuts—the whole list was there. All he added was a factually fake intro, in which he claimed that American Dems always pick phony rich guys like Kerry. But here’s the text which David Brooks typed once he established that fake, phony “fact.” We’ll let you see what we all should know: Brooks and Bossie are two great minds. Weirdly, they think just alike:

BROOKS: Kerry’s second wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, is worth over $500 million. Between them they have a $4 million mansion in Georgetown, a $6 million townhouse on Louisburg Square in Boston, a $6 million summer home on Nantucket, a $3 million estate in Pittsburgh and a $5 million ski lodge in Idaho, which is a 15th-century English barn that was disassembled and imported to the U.S.

Most Democrats have trouble affording one home, so when they search for a leader who shares their values, of course they nominate a guy who is running for his sixth. Of course they nominate a guy whose 42-foot powerboat, the Scaramouche, sells for upward of $700,000. Of course they choose a guy famous for his Christophe haircuts and his Turnbull & Asser shirts.

The only difference? David Bossie had too much class to slime John Kerry’s wife in the process. With David Brooks, though, things were different. He dragged her to Clown College too.

One fact about Brooks is now clear—the scribe is a fake, empty shell. Last Saturday’s column was based on fake “facts”—and on simpering, inane “observations.” (Kerry once had a “plummy accent.”) But one great fact is still unclear; does Brooks script Bossie, or is it vice versa? Or do both of these utterly vacuous men take their scripts from some other great source? Any chance that Karl Rove writes the Times?

Meanwhile, some obvious questions for Brooks’ editors. First, let’s restate yesterday’s query. Why was Brooks’ column published since it so plainly was built on fake “facts?” Plainly, Democrats don’t routinely pick Mayflower types, the ridiculous claim with which Brooks began. Nor was Nominee Gore a “multizillionaire,” another fake fact Brooks invented. Surely, no Times editor could really have thought that either of these claims was accurate. So let’s return to yesterday question: Why on earth is the Times prepared to let Brooks lie in Times readers’ faces?

But now we have a few more questions for the eds who run the great Times—for Gail Collins, the editorial page ed, and for David Shipley, her op-ed helpmate. First, of course, our original question: Is there any “fact” so fake and false that you won’t allow your writers to print it? Is there any point at which you’ll defend your readers against bald-faced deception?

But now, we move to our newer questions—questions for Collins and Shipley. Answer, eds, in your own plummy accents: Does David Brooks think up his own work, or is it typed by David Bossie? Are you surprised to see your brilliant columns turned into dim-wit political ads, paid for by our emptiest operatives? Did you know, when you hired Brooks, that you might be hiring Bossie? Final question: Do you ever wonder if there’s a chance that Karl Rove is typing your great, inane columns?

Readers, we’d really like to know: Does David Bossie write Brooks’ columns? From whom do Brooks’ pieces derive? Does Karl Rove send these scripts to each man? And one more time, the key once again: Is anything in Brooks/Bossie’s scripts so inane it won’t make the cut at the Times? Let them eat earth tones, they said four years back. Are they planning to say it again? Let them just eat high-priced haircuts?

WE SUGGEST YOU COMPLAIN LONG AND LOUD: The Times wants you to “Contact Us.” And you know they’re eager to hear your remarks; they give you a microscopic link, all the way down at the end of their web site! With that in mind, here are some names of the paper’s best and brightest. Gail Collins and David Shipley shepherd this mess. Daniel Okrent is the Times “public editor.” The hapless publisher: Arthur Sulzberger. We suggest you ask them the obvious questions. Is any “fact” so false that the Times won’t print it? Is any topic too dumb for its pages? And did the Times know, when it hired Brooks, that it might have been hiring Bossie or Rove? Gail and David, it’s 11 o’clock. Do you know where your newspaper’s written?

SPEAKING OF EASYGOING NARCISSISM: This morning, Brooks is very upset—about Mitch Albom’s writings. Indeed, low, mordant chuckles filled our halls as we thumbed through the Timesman’s complaints. Never mind Mel Gibson, Brooks insists. “We’ve got more to fear from the easygoing narcissism” that is reflected by all those people like Albom! Meanwhile, Brooks scolds all Americans today, just as he scolded all Dems last week. “Americans in the 21st century are likely to be divorced from any sense of a creedal order.” Naughty us! We’re “ignorant of the moral traditions that have come down to us through the ages.”

Poor David! Forced to cohabit with losers like us! But here’s a “creedal tradition” we’ll offer to Brooks: How about this: Thou shalt not bear false witness? How about not going in print with plainly false “facts” about all Dems and Al Gore? And how about the “moral tradition” which says that our discourse should not be a travesty? David Brooks—or should we say Bossie?—is making an absolute joke of our discourse. Let them eat haircuts, this empty man says. Or are we being most unfair? Was it really Bossie—was it really Karl Rove—who actually said down and typed his dumb script?

We pose our question to the Times: Who is actually writing your columns? And why in the world are your columns so dumb? Why do you make us eat haircuts?

TOMORROW: Spinning Kerry, part 3: Halbfinger does Kerry’s flip-flops.

BROOKS AND EASTERBROOK: Readers, we’d probably drop the Mel Gibson thing, but you keep sending us fervent e-mails saying, No, you have to read one more column! And those columns are almost always so rich that we find ourselves forced to opine. Last night, it was Gregg Easterbrook’s comments on The Passion to which a valued reader directed us. We’ll comment on his piece tomorrow. In the meantime, if you want to see what the Easter-man said, you know what to do: Just click here.

By the way, a note for readers who keep insisting that we should stop discussing this topic: If we do discuss this topic tomorrow, that will be something you can choose not to read!