CHARLIES BUNGLE! Charlie Gibson did just fineexcept for that one giant bungle: // link // print // previous // next //
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2008
KINDY DOES CINDY/LATEST CANT FROM THE LIPS OF THE PIGS:Its a precept of their fraternal law. They know they must deceive us rubes about the way their cohort does business.
Latest example? In this mornings Washington Post, Kimberly Kindy offers this front-page report about Cindy McCains past problems with painkillers. (John McCains past conduct is also at issue.) Kindys work is long and informativeand then, near the end, she chumps you with this. Its hard to put lipstick on this pig. Do these people ever stop lying?
Truly, thats astounding. Kindy tries to make you think that the press corps did its job during Campaign 2000that Cindy McCains past problem was covered, with interest fading only when it became clear that she and her husband weren't headed for the White House.
Sorry. That just isnt accurate.
Lets start with Kindys most gruesome error. In fact, Newsweeks first-person account (with that spelling error) appeared in April 2001, not during Campaign 2000. We know, we know: Kindy doesnt actually say that the piece appeared during Campaign 2000. But readers will think thats what she said. Sorry. It just didnt happen.
What did occur during Campaign 2000? Plainly, Kindy wants you to think that the press corps pursued this matter, though interest in Cindy McCain's story faded when it became clear that she and her husband weren't headed for the White House. But that just isnt true either:
During Campaign 2000, Kindys cohort was all over Saint McCains bus, eating his doughnuts, drinking his booze, and thrilling to his thigh-rubbing tales about his stripper ex-girl friends. Kindy makes it sound like interest in this problem was expressed on the Straight Talk Express, but there is little sign that any such thing ever happened. During this period, journalists were practically on McCains payrolland they didnt ask embarrassing questions, as they themselves even explained on occasion. As best we can tell from searching Nexis, Newsweek referred to the addiction matter just once during Campaign 2000in a short, three-paragraph piece in February 2000. Time made three tiny, fleeting references, always inside long, flattering profiles. In two of these cases, the matter was only mentioned to criticize smear merchants conduct in South Carolina. The matter was only mentioned to make the great saint a great victim.
Searching the New York Times and the Washington Post, a similar lack of interest is clear. Lets get real: Cindy McCains problem was almost never discussed by the press during Campaign 2000. Kindy clearly suggests something different. But as we said, misleading the public about their own conduct is what this particular cohort do best. They seem to love nothing quite so much as putting lipstick on their conduct.
During Campaign 2000, the national press corps embarrassed itself with its great love affair for the great Saint McCain. Childish men rode around on his bus, thinking theyd enrolled at a Vietnam Fantasy Camp; they loved it when he told them (and told them) about how much he hated discussing Nam, and they loved it when he told them (and told them) that he thought they were smart. Yesterday, Michael Kinsley joined the crowd, expressing his newly hatched shock and concern at what this great, saintly man has become. In our view, these losers should drag themselves into the woods and take a big handful of Cindys pain pills. So should the weak-minded pseudo-liberals who pretend these confessions are cute.
Sorry. John McCain was no saint during Campaign 2000. He lied and embellished and played the fooland these upper-end imbeciles loved it. Today, Michael Kinsley is shockedjust shocked. We cant find sufficient words to express our contempt for such clowning.
Final point: If McCain wins the election this fall, it will happen because these weak, stupid people worked so hard, for so many years, to erect his reputation.
WHY HERO TALES MATTER: During Campaign 2000, people like Kinsley built hero tales around McCainand demon tales around Vile Gore. Two weeks ago, a new pol arrived on the scene with inane hero tales. This us why hero tales matter:
Lets be candid. In all likelihood, Susan Pratt, 53, knows nothing about excess spending in Alaska. But she does know the hero tale about listing that jet plane on eBay.
We recommend Lori Montgomerys full report about the cluelessness of voters. Many voters know nothing about major topics. But by God! How they love simple tales!
CHARLIES BUNGLE: For our money, Charlie Gibson did a pretty good job in the first chunks of his Palin sessions. Not only thatin this mornings New York Times, Jim Rutenberg does an excellent job reporting the part of the interview that was broadcast last evening at the start of World News Tonight. Rutenberg quotes large chunks of what Palin actually said, largely eschewing paraphraseand he applies a sensible framework to his report (her tendency to keep repeating short talking-points). Rutenbergs piece is as good as it gets when it comes to reporting of interviews.
But good grief! Yesterday, we pre-discussed the technical incompetence of the upper-end, millionaire press corps. And sure enough! In one of his segments, Gibson engaged in the type of school-boy bungle we were talking about. By the time the segment aired last night, ABC News had tried to smooth the bungle (details below). But earlier in the day, the network had released partial transcripts of the interview, just as it occurred. And sure enough! Gibson had made an inexcusable bungle in this part of the session:
Good God. Thats astoundingly bad.
Yes, Virginiathose really are Palins exact words, taken from a longer statement at her former church. But as many schoolboys could tell you, you can badly misrepresent someones statement depending on which exact words you select. And thats what Gibson did in this instance. Heres the longer statement by Palin from which those exact words were cadged:
As you can see, those exact words were part of that longer statement. But its plain from Palins longer statement that she was not asserting that our soldiers have been sent to Iraq on a task that is from God; in reality, she was plainly urging her audience to pray that this was the case. (Thats what we have to make sure that were praying for.) Gibsons presentation was baldly misleadingan astounding, inexcusable bungle. Palin was right when she suggested that shed somehow been quoted wrong.
Gibson had made an astounding mistake. And apparently, ABC News understood that fact by the time the interview aired. On World News Tonight, Palins complaint to Gibson had disappearedreplaced by tape of a longer chunk of her actual statement. On last evenings World News Tonight, this is what actually aired:
ABC had done a good deal of doctoring, trying to cover for Gibsons bungle. In real life, Palin challenged the quote when Gibson asked her, Are we fighting a holy war. On World News Tonight, you didnt see that. Instead, the tape jumped ahead to something Palin said a bit later. To the extent possible, evidence of Charlies bungling had been disappeared.
ABC did the best it could. But even the segment which aired last night is inexcusably, stunningly wrong. It opens with Gibson making a baldly false statement. This still aired at the start of the segmentand sorry, its just flat wrong:
But that isnt what Palin said. Gibsons statement is patently wrong.
If college-bound high school kids cadged quotes that way, you would be surprised by their bungling. At the top of your upper-end press corps, a multimillionaire TV star performed like a schoolboyagain. The sheer incompetence of this cohort is truly a thing to behold.
Yes, there are consequences: Will Gibsons bungle become an issue? That remains to be seen. Last night, William Kristol cited the bungle on Fox. But the McCain campaign may decide to let it slide, not wanting to stress the matter of Palins religious outlook.
But make no mistake; bungles of this type can and do drive our elections. In recent weeks, the McCain campaign has driven the discourse with cries of liberal media bias and anti-religious sentimentand this is exactly the sort of thing that gives such complaints their life. In this mornings Washington Post, Michael Gerson writes an excellent column, describing the utterly brainless ways pseudo-liberals lose elections. We recommend Gersons whole column, which was written before Gibsons bungle. But in part, the scribe says this:
Gersons warning is right on the mark. And yet, many pseudo-liberals will turn up their noses at the advice hes dispensing. As we have long explained: For a certain type of pseudo-liberal, politics is mainly about the chance to mock the culture of red-state rubes.
Pseudo-liberals have been losing elections this way since the 1960s. And yet, pseudo-liberals cant drop their condescension. Its what their lives are about. In some cases, pseudo-liberals would rather be superior than be president.
As we explained a few years ago, one well-known Democrat isnt this dumb. When we read Bill Clintons My Life, we were most struck by the lengthy passage in which he expressed his life-long respect for Arkansas Pentecostals (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 11/18/04). Clinton liked and admired them, he said, though they sometimes disagreed with his politics:
Knowing the Pentecostals has enriched and changed my life, Clinton wrote on page 252. And oh yes! Before he got around to writing that book, Clinton won two terms in the White House.
Here at THE HOWLER, were not religious ourselvesbut we understand that most voters are. And we understand something about many liberals: The thing they seek, above all else, is the chance to express their sense of superiority to red-state rubes. Like Palin.
Will Gibsons blunder become an issue? No idea. But in recent days, pseudo-liberals have stood in line, waiting their chance to mock Palins religious and cultural values. Who are the real dumb ones in these exchanges? Have you had a chance to look at the drift of the polling lately?
Frankly, this is Rich: In our view, Frank Rich is a classic cultural pseudo-liberal. This explains why he kept trashing Gore until he won the Nobel Peace Prize. (Even the Oscar didnt cause Rich to flip!) How devoted a pseudo-liberal is Rich? Try to grasp this: When Rich saw Gores important film, An Inconvenient Truth, he emerged complaining about the five-second segment in which Gore said that, as a boy on the Tennessee farm, hed owned a rifle. Gore was just making a play to the NRA, this big, dumb pseudo-liberal said. Gore had said that as a way to win the 2008 election.
No, you cant get dumber than that. But Rich insisted, all through Campaign 2000, that Gore and Bush were two peas in a pod. (He may have sent Bush to the White House himself.) Frankly speaking, this is why this great man reached this foolish judgment.
If we may quote the old singin brakeman: In Richs world, T was for Texasand, unfortunately, T was for Tennessee.
Pseudo-liberal at play: When Bush and Gore became nominees, Sarah Vowell thought of that singin brakeman too. Sadly, she also thought of the Tennessee Waltz, offering these pseudo-liberal inanities concerning Gore and the hokum of Nashville:
Lets be anthropologists! The dumbness of this tribe is endlessand they seem to love nothing so much as giving this dumbness wide public display. Why did Candidate Gore occasionally sing The Tennessee Waltz during Campaign 2000? Could it be because its one of the greatest, most mysterious songs in the American song book? (Malones peculiar quoted critique notwithstanding. In his actual book, by the way, Malone says the songs simplicity and haunting melody made it a national favorite. Vowells lackluster song quotation mysteriously fails to appear.) Weve always thought that Roy Acuffs version of The Tennessee Waltz defines the sound of a cultural world. To hear thirty seconds of Acuff, click here. Careful, though! Hes a red-stater!
Readers, is it possible Gore was singing this song because it was part of his cultural upbringing? Our whole staff happened to be in attendance at the Gores wedding in 1970. We retain two principal memories: Frank Church driving off in a clunky old car with Gores best man shouting insults at him. And the playing of The Tennessee Waltzwere fairly sure, when the estimable Albert Gore Sr. danced with his daughter-in-law.
By the way: Albert Gore Sr. had raised his son to respect the average person.
Since the time she wrote this piece, weve thought of Vowell as a classic New York Times pseudo-liberal. These people exist to do two things. They exist to express their unparalleled greatnessand to keep the GOP where it is.