THEY REFUSE TO COMPLAIN! When it comes to McCains fawning coverage, career liberals refuse to complain: // link // print // previous // next //
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26, 2008
NURSINGAND RATCHETINGNARRATIVE: Maureen Dowd has been a public embarrassment for a very long time. That said, we were struck by the instructive uses of her new column this morning.
How does the modern pseudo-journalist ratchet up narrative? Dowd is there to show you:
In paragraph 5, though, the big lebowski: Dowd compares the events shes discussing to one of my favorite movie formulas.
Indeed, much modern journalism is a novel (a typecast drama, in E. R. Shipps language). Statements are ratchetedmotives are imaginedto make events fit pre-conceived formulas. Lazy ingenues loll about, turning your lives into tired old movies. And their dramastheir narrativesfrequently change:
Just like that, the novel has changed! For years, the Dowds were busily trashing Gore; to that end, they wrote a novel in which the vain, stupid hopeful refused to ask brilliant Bill Clinton for help on the trail. Now, Bill Clinton has fumbled a bit in such settingsand the Dowds are busily trashing the Clintons. Presto! The story-line shifts! Before, Gore wouldnt ask Bill Clinton for help. Today, though, Selfish Bill wouldnt help
But Dowd has been like this for a long time. In recent years, her lunacy has become more apparentbut her fatuous languor had long been public. Embarrassingly, Dowd won the Pulitzer Prize in April 1999; embarrassingly, her official citation praised her for her fresh and insightful columns on the impact of President Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky. As it turned out, Dowd had little else on her prize-winning mind. On July 28, 1999, she returned to the Times from a month-long absence. Heres the list of topics the tyro tackled upon her return to duty:
Nine years later, the vacuous starlet is still on hand, imagining motives, ratcheting dialogue, quoting anonymouslyand forcing events to conform to formulas followed by her favorite dull film fare.
Dowd appeared on last nights Larry King Live; in a word, her segment was embarrassing. Result? Some Clinton pals said its hard to imagine that this cipher is actually sane. Of course, Dowd thinks of herself as the corps greatest queen. Maybe shes thinking she has to ignore the signs of her growing decline!
THEY REFUSE TO COMPLAIN: On Monday night., Kevin Drum marveled at the way John McCain can get away with routine demonstrations of abject ignorance and with transparent flip-flopping so egregious it would make any other politician a laughingstock. He cited examples of McCain flip-flops and howlers, then closed with a pair of questions. Well assume they were rhetorical:
How does McCain get away with so many mistakes and flip-flops? Well offer two answers.
First, lets review Jennifer Palmieris performance on last evenings Hardball. Palmieri was representing the Center for American Progress, one of the liberal/Dem worlds leading think tanks. (She shared the segment with Republican strategist Todd Harris.) At one point, Chris Matthews turned to Palmieri and asked her a very good question:
Thats a very good question; weve discussed it several times in the past. And one part of the answer is blindingly obvious. But in this, Palmieris full reply, she never quite got to it:
Palmieri is an experienced Democratic spokesperson. She also seems like a very nice person. But wed have to say that performance was woefulin a very familiar way.
Why is McCain even-steven in the polls, even if his policies are unpopular? In part, the answer to that question is blindingly obvious: The mainstream press has spent the past dozen years presenting McCain as a secular saintas the straight-shooting maverick king of the highly authentic Straight Talk Express. But career liberal pundits and Dem Party spokesmen have spent the past dozen years refusing to complain about that. When Matthews asked a very good question, Palmieri offered tedious thoughts about corporate tax cutsand failed to cut to this part of the chase.
But then, career liberals always behave this way. In this mornings Washington Post, Harold Meyerson got out the great big tub of soft soap when he discussed a variant of this problem. Why has Saint McCain gotten a pass for his recent blunders about Iran? Well offer a large chunk of Meyersons column. Pathetically, this is as far as modern career liberals will go when it comes to describing reality:
Meyerson at least mentioned the fact that McCain got a pass from most of the media. But his explanation for that is the press corps own explanation, one which involves a lot of soft soap. McCain got a pass last week, we are told, because of his image as an expert on national security. That explanation at least makes senseon the surface. But, alas, it isnt accurate; it doesnt explain the overall data. During Campaign 2000, for example, McCain was granted endless passes for embarrassing blunders about domestic policy (including his comically failed, and abandoned, health plan). As Meyerson knows (but will not say), McCain was granted those passes then, as now, because members of the mainstream press corps have long been promoting his runs for the White House. They even sing him to sleep on his birthday (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 3/11/08). Big career liberals likes Meyerson know this. But they refuse to tell their readers. And of course, they refuse to complain.
Lets cut Palmieri some slack. She was speaking extemporaneously on Hardball; at one point, it even seemed like she was might be about to go straight at the press. (Interrupted, she quickly reversed her field, returning to her cosmic tedia.) But Meyerson carefully wrote a columnand carefully failed to describe the real world. Might we guess at the problem here? Meyerson works for the Washington Postand the Washington Post is the problem at issue! No, we cant mind-read this big hapless loser. But this pattern occurs again and againand again and againand it keeps helping Dems lose elections. Indeed: Eight years later, these big hopeless losers still havent mentioned that War Against Gore! You knowthe one the press maintained simultaneously with their pimping of the great Saint McCain.
(In her March 2000 ombudsman column, Shipp specifically said it: The Post seemed to be giving Candidate McCain a free pass while painting Candidate Gore as delusional. Eight years later, Meyerson still hasnt mentioned his cohorts trashing of Goreand he still downplays the way McCain gets pimped by these people.)
The press corps has made him a saint for the past dozen yearsbut big career liberals refuse to complain. And the conflicts of interest they bear are quite obvious. As we told you earlier about your side: Apparently thanks to conflicts like this, were number twoand we dont try harder.
Why is John McCain even-steven? Go aheadreread Meyersons column. Enacting an obvious conflict of interest, the Meyersons have used that tub of that soft soap for years. They refuse to tell you the truth about this. Simply put, they refuse to complain.
VISIT OUR INCOMPARABLE ARCHIVES: In December 1999, McCain got a pass when his health care plan bombed. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/19/06. Prepare for morbid laughter.
TOMORROW: Right there in todays New York Times, Brother Gabler speaks up for the rubes.