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Daily Howler: Obama's campaign--channeling Murdoch--told the dogs to bark
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WHO SENT THE DOGS OUT! Obama’s campaign—channeling Murdoch—told the dogs to bark: // link // print // previous // next //

MEYERSON DOES IT AGAIN: You live in a deeply disordered culture. Just consider the letters about Hillary Clinton’s vile recent comment in this morning’s Washington Post. The Post published three letters on the subject. Only one defended Clinton. Incredibly, this is the one the Post chose:

LETTER, WASHINGTON POST (5/28/08): I'm appalled at the media's jumping on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton for her supposed gaffe in referring to Robert F. Kennedy's assassination the night he claimed victory in the 1968 Democratic presidential primary in California [front page, May 24].

The point that Ms. Clinton was making to a South Dakota newspaper editorial board was that things can change suddenly in a presidential primary, as we have seen this year. Yet The Post's Libby Copeland, in just one example of the media's reaction, grumbled in an essay, "To raise the specter of a rival's assassination, even unintentionally, is to make a truly terrible thing real."

Kennedy was obviously stunned when he lost the Oregon primary, despite a hard-fought effort. A week later, however, he was clearly elated by his stunning turnaround win in California's early-June contest.


Truly, that’s insane. The Post published one letter defending Clinton—and the letter grossly misstates “the point” she was making. If you read the Washington Post, you will read no letters—none at all—which accurately describe what Clinton said. The one letter published in her “defense” grossly misstates what she said.

Can this possibly have been done in good faith? By the way: Tell us how this would have been different under a President Brezhnev.

Meanwhile, the New York Times publishes two letters interpreting Clinton’s remark (the first two in this group). Both letters are stridently anti-Clinton. With apologies, neither writer shows the slightest ability to interpret the simplest remarks.

As a society, are we able to interpret meaning in a standard manner at all? Or is everything just a novel now? We’ll discuss this critical question on Friday. But then, we also get Harold Meyerson today, baldly misleading the public on the Post’s op-ed page.

Can Meyerson possibly be this dumb? Trashing Clinton’s vile ways up in Michigan, he misstates elementary fact not once, but twice, in this groaning passage:

MEYERSON (5/28/08): Had Florida and Michigan conducted their primaries the way the other 48 states conducted their own primaries and caucuses—that is, in accord with the very clear calendar laid down by the DNC well before the primaries began—then Clinton's marchers would be utterly justified in their claims. But when the two states flouted those rules by moving their primaries outside the prescribed time frame, the DNC, which gave neither state a waiver to do so, decreed that their primaries would not count and enjoined all presidential candidates from campaigning in those states. Obama and John Edwards complied with the DNC's dictates by removing their names from the Michigan ballot. Clinton did not.

Seating Michigan in full would mean the party validates the kind of one-candidate election (well, 1.03, to give Dennis Kucinich, Chris Dodd and Mike Gravel, who also remained on the ballot, their due) that is more common in autocracies than democracies. It would mean rewarding the one serious candidate who didn't remove her name from the ballot when all her rivals, in deference to the national party rules, did just that.

You live in a deeply disordered society, as Meyerson has shown in the past.

Sorry, but even Meyerson surely knows that there was no “DNC dictate”—no “national party rule”—requiring Obama, Edwards, Biden and Richardson to remove their names from the Michigan ballot. Duh! They did so voluntarily, at the last minute (as was their right); that’s why Clinton, Dodd, Kucinich and Gravel were free to leave their names there. The candidates’ decisions were voluntary; indeed, all the requests were made on October 9, the day of the ballot deadline, to considerable uproar in Michigan. (The DNC had condemned the state’s primary at least four weeks earlier.) Indeed, in the October 10 Detroit News, party honcho Debbie Dingell said that Obama’s campaign “had assured her last week that he would remain on the ballot.” We have no idea if that’s accurate, but no challenge to her statement was ever published—and it only made sense because there was no requirement that names be removed from the ballot. All the uproar, surprise and confusion occurred because there were no “rules” or “dictates” requiring names to be removed.

Request to Meyerson: What was the “dictate” to which you refer? Any chance you could quote it for us?

How should candidates have handled Michigan? That is a matter of judgment. But Meyerson seems to be working double-hard to convince Post readers of something that’s baldly untrue. Clinton, Dodd, Kucinich and Gravel all stayed on the ballot. And they broke no “dictates” or “party rules” when they decided to do so.

Of course, we’ve seen Meyerson do this sort of thing before. (Remember, readers! This land is their land!) But then, we live in a deeply disordered culture. We’ll most likely see this again.

Special report: The evil of banality!

PART 2—WHO SENT THE DOGS OUT: The screaming mimis keened and wailed when it was deemed that Clinton had vilely offended. Robinson, Olbermann, Herbert, and Dowd (sounds like a firm of ambulance chasers!) realized how vile the vile woman had been—and they began to tear their hair wildly. And it wasn’t just these hounds of hell—hounds who howl for the mainstream press corps. Many hacks on the “liberal web” have taken to reciting this latest grim nonsense. Once Drudge had said that Clinton was vile, these pseudo-libs rushed to affirm it.

Can our society function this way? More on that question this Friday.

At any rate, Robinson, Olbermann, Herbert and Dowd took turns barking and howling their outrage. Which takes us back to the early days of March—to the hounds which failed to bark.

By last Friday night, everyone knew it: Clinton’s statement to the editorial board in Sioux Falls was one of the vilest things ever said. But uh-oh! As it turned out, Clinton had said the exact same thing to Time’s Rick Stengel in March! When Joe Klein played the fool (again) this weekend, he cited her earlier statement:

STENGEL (3/6/08): Can you envision a point at which—if the race stays this close—Democratic Party elders would step in and say, “This is now hurting the party and whoever will be the nominee in the fall?”

CLINTON: No, I really can't. I think people have short memories. Primary contests used to last a lot longer. We all remember the great tragedy of Bobby Kennedy being assassinated in June in L.A. My husband didn't wrap up the nomination in 1992 until June. Having a primary contest go through June is nothing particularly unusual.

Yep! Last Friday, all the mimis screamed and yelled at Clinton’s deeply vile statement. But Clinton had said the same thing in March! And to show you how fake this week’s outrage was: Not one damn thing happened back then!

There was no madness back in March. Before considering Robinson, Olbermann, Herbert and Dowd, let’s make sure we understand the chronology of Clinton’s March statement:

  • Clinton’s interview with Stengel was held on March 5. The full transcript was posted on-line, on March 6.
  • As you can clearly see from the transcript, Stengel said nothing—nothing at all—when Clinton made her statement about Robert Kennedy. This was no sign—no sign at all—that he was troubled, in any way, by what the vile person had said.
  • On March 10 or thereabouts, Time’s hard-copy edition hit the street (dated March 17). The cover stories—about Obama and Clinton—included two Q-and-A’s from the Stengel interview. And yes: This did include the Q-and-A in which Clinton cited Kennedy’s death. But even then, after several days had passed, there was no reference to Clinton’s statement in Time’s cover-story reporting. There was still no sign that anyone at Time was troubled by what Clinton had said.
  • *In its next edition (dated March 24), Time published several letters about the Obama/Clinton cover stories. None of the letters mentioned Clinton’s reference to Kennedy’s assassination—and no such letters appeared in subsequent editions. In short, there was still no sign that anyone had found a problem with Clinton’s remark.
  • That brings us around to our hounds from hell—to Olbermann, Robinson, Herbert and Dowd. Olbermann, Robinson, Herbert and Dowd wrote many columns—appeared on many cable programs—during the first few weeks in March. And guess what? Not one of them said the first f*cking thing about the outrage Clinton committed. Olbermann and Robinson kept their traps shut. Joe Klein didn’t say one word either.

In fact, no mainstream pundit (no one; nobody) said a word about Clinton’s statement in March—a statement which was published in Time, and on-line at the magazine’s web site. No one at Time said a word; no one in the wider press corps. And yet, this past weekend, everyone keened and wailed and tore their hair when Clinton so vilely said the same thing! Olbermann, “The Worst Con Man in the World,” offered a heartsick restrospective in which he blamed himself:

OLBERMANN (5/23/08): She said, in an off-camera interview with Time on March 6, "Primary contests used to last a lot longer. We all remember the great tragedy of Bobby Kennedy being assassinated in June in L.A. My husband didn`t wrap up the nomination in 1992 until June, also in California. Having a primary contest go through June is nothing particularly unusual. We will see how it unfolds as we go forward over the next three to four months."

In retrospect, we failed her when we did not call her out, for that remark, dry and only disturbing, inside the pages of a magazine.

Readers, if you’re dumb enough to buy that sh*t, you’re as dumb as this big fraud thinks you are. For the record, that was in Olbermann’s “Special Comment.” In it, the man who suggested, just last month, that someone should “take [Clinton] in a room and only he comes out”—that delicate poodle barked deep outrage about what Vile Clinton had said.

Except, she had said the same thing back in March—and this hound from hell hadn’t barked at all! In fact, nobody barked back in March. And everyone barked this past weekend.

But readers, you may understand why this happened—because we’ve all seen this movie before. Let’s explain what happened this weekend. Let’s explain why Robinson, Olbermann, Herbert/Dowd/Matthews all sat up and started to bark.

How did the chronology go down this time? As usual, it all came down to a famous old question: At present, who is scripting your “press corps?”

In fact, a familiar old pattern reappeared in the wake of Clinton’s remark in Sioux Falls. As John Harris explained at Politico, the Associated Press filed an initial report about Clinton’s session with the editorial board—and the AP didn’t mention her remark about Robert Kennedy’s death! At the AP, it was March in May; no one seemed to be troubled by Clinton’s outrageous comment (link to story below). But then, the people who script your “press corps” got busy! As Katherine Seelye reported on Monday, the brilliant minds at the New York Post got the nasty episode started. Then, your press corps’ current masters told the dogs to bark:

SEELYE (5/26/08): Shortly after Mrs. Clinton spoke on Friday, the Obama campaign jumped on the story, sending an e-mail message to reporters saying her comment had no place in a presidential campaign. It linked to a online report in The New York Post that said Mrs. Clinton was ''making an odd comparison between the dead candidate and Barack Obama—a phrase the newspaper later dropped.

So there you see the sad chronology of Friday’s nasty, vile nonsense. The AP treated Clinton’s remark as inconsequential—just as Robinson, Olbermann, Herbert and Dowd had done back in March. But off in the dumbest regions of Gotham, the creepy crawlers of Rupert Murdoch’s dumbest newspaper made a claim so stupid that they later retracted—and just like that, the Obama campaign threw the Post’s dog food to all the dogs! And presto! Just like that! Every shill in America’s “press corps” knew what their current trick had to be. They repeated the New York Post’s stupid and ugly claim—a claim so stupid that the Post even dropped it!—and soon, they were trying to top one another. They competed to see who could bark loudest about the vile thing Clinton said.

Back in March, she had said the same thing—and Olbermann didn’t say one word about it. Neither did Robinson; neither did Herbert; neither did Klein, or Matthews, or Dowd. Neither did anyone at Time—and oh yes, neither did anyone in the “liberal” web! Go ahead! Ask the screaming mimis of the liberal web, the children who are so outraged today. Ask them to show you a single word anyone wrote back in March!

In fact, we’ve all seen this stupid story before, back when the RNC was still scripting the “press corps” (details tomorrow). But is it really so different today? Last Friday, it was Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post which first put out this rancid dog food—offering an interpretation so deeply stupid that even they later retracted it! But so what? If you want to know how your “press corps” works, you have to know who they take their scripts from. And last Friday, they took their script from Obama’s campaign—from the campaign John Judis tells us is “history.” But then, that campaign recently pimped out bullsh*t from “Mister Drudge” too! Should we really be surprised when it feeds on the New York Post!

Last Friday, Obama’s campaign told the “press corps” to jump. The “press corps” barked and then wondered: How high? But then, we’ve written this story for more than ten years: When the dogs were told to bark, Robinson, Olbermann, Herbert and Dowd all commenced barking and howling.

TOMORROW—PART 3: Same pattern, from back when the RNC ruled. And:

Back in March, Olbermann mused about “assassinating Hillary Clinton”—on two separate programs! And:

What happened in June—of 1992—in the words of the Washington Post.

THE AP DIDN’T BARK: Here’s Friday’s original AP story, as it appeared on-line at the Boston Herald. The story didn’t mention Clinton’s comment about Kennedy—just as no one in the press corps had mentioned her comment in March. The AP didn’t file a report about Clinton’s vile remark until more than another hour had passed. By then, of course, current masters of the hounds of hell were scripting the bullsh*t you’re handed.