CONFEDERACY OF PUNDITS! Quinn and Yglesias and Crowley and Giles spoke from a planet of chimps: // link // print // previous // next //
THURSDAY, JUNE 12, 2008
BLAME THE TEACHERS WELL: It seems like only yesterday! Reporter Bill Turque was counting the buttons on Candidate Gores deeply troubling suitsand offering psychiatric explanations for Gores deeply troubling conduct. (Link below. Brian Williams is involved.) By contrast, in this mornings Post, Turque reports the latest lofty statement about public schools from the nations high-minded reformers.
As a nation, we might have been better served if Bill had just counted their buttons.
The high-mindeds had all reported for duty! Standing Up for the Children, the headline says, quoting one of their lofty statements. But uh-oh! Heres paragraph 3:
Darn it! Klein and Sharpton forgot to say what should be donethough they promised theyd fill us in later. But it seems that Sharpton may have blurted a bit of their high-minded thinking:
Of course! Its time to stamp our feet at the teachers! Meanwhile, at the New York Times, Sam Dillon tattle-tales a bit more about this groups lofty thinking:
You know the Times has stopped playing fair when they blame Democrats for a gang like this! At any rate, Dillon went into more detail about the plan to squeeze those teachers:
Its the most familiar proposal in the annals of history: Hold the other guy accountable! In this case, the principle devolves to this: Blame the teachers well!
Blame the teachers (and the administrators) well! As weve explained in the past, it has been the foundational theory of upper-class school reform since we entered the Baltimore City Schools way back in 1969. From way-on-the-outside peering in, high-minded elites have always insisted that everything would turn out fine if those teachers would just start doing their jobs. At first, we were told the teachers werent doing their jobs because they were such slobbering racists. When these elites finally learned that many black kids were actually being taught by black teachers, we were then told they werent doing their jobs because they were so g*d-damned lazy. And basically, thats the theory that obtains today among these lofty, high-minded reformers. Well just stamp our feet at the teachers, they saywell just insist they become more accountable! Throw in high-minded statements about standing up for the children and you have a formula for more decades of fumbling improvement.
Well be eager to see what these high-minded people finally propose by way of reform. But be careful what you read in the papers! Also today, Sheryl Gay Stolberg presents a detailed New York Times report about the history of No Child Left Behind. But uh-oh! The Times includes a pair of graphics purporting to show Students at or above basic achievement levels in the public schools. The Times seems to be using test scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, although it clumsily fails to say. But in this mornings hard-copy editions, the Times has plainly bungled the data in its math graphic. Sorry! That graphic is just flat-out wrong. The reading graphic is basically accurate.
Reading right, math hopelessly bungled? That represents a score of 50and that has long been a passing grade when the nations elites peer in at the schools.
A little tip: Watch the press corps beg Obama to second this high-minded strategy. Its a Sister Souljah moment!
Visit our incomparable archives: Brian Williams was visibly disturbedand he wanted a straight-talking answer: Why in the world did Candidate Gore sometimes wear casual clothes on the trail? Why didnt he always wear suits? Turque came through with the Standard Reply. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 9/11/02. For a real-time report on this evil conduct, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 2/15/00.
Yes, this is how George Bush got where he is. In his memoirs, Josh will explain it.
A CONFEDERACY OF PUNDITS: Well say it again: For most people, its very hard to grasp the depth of the press corps mental dysfunction. In our culture, TV pundits and New York Times columnists are high-profile authority figures. Denial centers in the brain reject the truth about this group.
That said, they love to put their mental dysfunction on visible public display. For example, Sally Quinns current post about Hillary Clinton is almost dumb-founding in its inanity. A person would surely think that what follows was offered as some sort of parody. No. Its comes to us straight from the soul of the Postindeed, from the papers On Faith section:
Self awareness is the goal! Having stated this lofty ambition, Quinn gives Clinton the advice her cohort has always given: Please go away for awhile [sic]!
Well only suggest that you read the whole post. Once again, well state the obvious: If you didnt know this post was real, youd assume that it had to be parodyperhaps the script for Candy 2.
But then, the mental styles of the insider press corps are constantly put on unsettling display. Quinn has been at the soul of this clan for a very long time now. By was of contrast, Matt Yglesias is very young; hes still on his way to their tables. But here he is, reacting to Todd Purdums piece in Vanity Fair. This isnt parody either:
Some of it could be true, the lad judged. Though it was hard for him to tell how much of what Purdum hints at is actually true. (Translation: None of it may be true. More on Purdums work next week.)
How much more do you need from Yglesias? A question sometimes comes to mind when we sift the work of lads like this: How do they get this way so early in life? Likely answer: Theyve worked very hard at the task. But there again, you see the mental styles of your press elite on display.
And yes, theres always more. You already live on The Planet of Chimps, and chimps have always loved to put their skills on vivid display. During Campaign 2000, Michael Crowley was flummoxed by 2 plus 5 (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/9/00); at the start of Campaign 04, he ran to be the first to complain that John Kerry liked wind-surfingand even played show tunes on his guitar! (See THE DAILY HOWLER, 9/10/02.) Sorryno one ever gets that stupid without putting in a good deal of hard work. And sure enough! Yesterday, the baby-faced boy who put Bush where he is showcased his mental stylings again. His headline: The Clintons Enemies List. These were his thoughtful ruminations:
The Clintons weren't exactly refuting charges of Nixonian tactics there? The Clintons werent quoted in the piece. In fact, heres what Leibovich said about Hillary Clinton, based on things he says he was told by unnamed campaign officials: Mrs. Clinton has a short list of people who disappointed her. Wow! Her evil ways just never stop! But in the mind of a butt-kissing climber like Crowley, that sentence let him put Enemies List into a headlinea headline which said that Hillary Clinton had such a listand it let him tut-tut-tut about what she wasnt exactly doing. But then, many boot-licking boys like Crowley run to show that they will accept whatever narrative their clan may lay out for them. (Why on earth did Candidate Gore cite seven years as a journalist?) Yesterday, the term Enemies List had reached the top headline at The Huffington Post by noon. By the way: If you want to peruse the work of people who really cant read a newspaper story, just scan the inaccurate, cosmically gullible statements by so many of Crowleys commenters. Remember when we liberals used to claim that we were smarter than those dumb-*ss conservatives?
For our money, though, we may have been most struck by Nancy Giles, on last nights Verdict with Dan Abrams. In fairness, Giles is barely a part of the pundit corpsand she clearly seemed to be sincere when she made the statement which follows. But should people of this type be on network TV? If your press corps werent so baldly dysfunctional, would this sort of thing seem acceptable? The exchange began with Abrams posing a hypothetical: Should Obama make Clinton his VP if it seems that she is needed to win the November election?
Of course, many pundits have joked the Standard Joke about Obama needing a food-taster. But Giles showed no sign of joking when she recited the tired old script. She said she literally felt that way, and she clearly seemed to mean it. We were thus returned to the remarkable days when pundits sat on network TV and talked about Hillary Clinton, murderer. Giles is banal, and doesnt really belong there. But sometimes, banality leads to evil. (Check the fruits of their clowning from eight years back.) Last night, nobody noticed.
By the way, since these people were so deeply concerned just a few weeks ago: Does anyone worry that comments like Giles might lead some nut to go after a certain ex-candidate? (In 1999, Chris Matthews disgraceful conduct led to the arrest of a man who was trying to kill a journalist.) Do you even have to ask? We would be willing to bet the store: That thought hasnt entered their minds.
Some of these low-lifes are simply dissemblers. Others, like Giles, may not be real sharp. But again: Its very hard to comprehend the depth of this cohorts mental dysfunction. Denial centers in the brain scream out: It simply cant be true, they insist. But sorry: You already live on the Planet of Chimps. They go to great lengths to prove this point. If the future is like the past, theyll prove it all night tonight too.