WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2003
THE SHAPE OF YOUR DISCOURSE: Their dumbnessand indifferencecant be overstated. How stupid is your public discourseand how inept are the good guy journalists who are supposed to steward that discourse? Incredibly, here was the multimillionaire journalist Harry Smith on yesterdays CBS Morning News. He posed a question to Art Torres, chairman of Californias state Democratic Party:
SMITH: All right. Art, let me ask you this: Assume for a moment that the recall is, in fact, voted down. You still have an enormously unpopular governor, a $38 billion budget deficit. Is that a victory?Amazing, isnt it? Why in the worldwhy on earthdo we, the people, put up with the Smiths? Torres offered the obvious answer to his hosts jaw-dropping question. We dont have a $38 billion deficit, he said (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 8/22/03). Youre buying the Republican lies again. We only have an $8 billion deficit moving into the next fiscal year. But what difference does it makewhat possible differencewhen youre dealing with stewards like Harry Smith? Smithpaid millions of dollars a yearis a screaming, hopeless incompetent. And his astonishing question gives you a look at the state of your corrupt public discourse.
Well offer more amazing examples of the $38 billion spin-point tomorrow. Is it really a Republican lie? At the HOWLER, we avoid the L-word as much as we can. But last night, GOP spokesmen were citing the bogus figure even after the elections results were clear! And sure enough: Smith had bought the bogus point, and he ran to recite it for millions to hear. Sadly, Smiths screaming incompetenceat millions per yearshows you the shape of your discourse.
What is the shape of Americas discourse? Increasingly, it looks like this: Loudmouth spinners of the pseudo-right send out ludicrous, laughable spin-points. And store-bought incompetentsmen like Smithignore the lunacy floating around them, or repeat the bogus spin-points themselves. Lazy, indifferent, inept and corrupted, they simply refuse to serve as your stewards. As a result, the pseudo-con spinners who count on their dumbness have become increasingly bold. There is nothing so stupid, so venal, so false that they wont serve it to half-witted readers. They do so, knowing that good guy pundits will never say a word in complaint.
How stupid are they willing to bethose who now program conservative voters? Consider Donald Lambros laughable propaganda piece in Mondays Washington Times. Like other store-bought spinners of the pseudo-right, Lambro is trying to deflect attention away from the leaking of Valerie Plames name. So he offered readers some silly distractions. Lambro got busy in his column, at service to the interests who own him:
LAMBRO: Then there are the deeply political motives behind the Democrats attacks, especially those of Mr. Bushs chief accuser: former Middle East diplomat Joseph C. Wilson IV, who supported Al Gore and now backs Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts for president.Every dumb-ass spinner knows it: When the facts dont support you, you run straight to motive. No one has ever really disputed the general merit of Joe Wilsons analysis. (Wilson said that, due to extensive oversight, it was unlikely that Iraq could buy uranium from Niger.) And its clear that someone leaked his wifes name; obviously, no one has disputed that. So Lambro tries to distract his readers, offering them slippery assessments of motive. Quickly, he goes on to say how blatantly political Wilson is: As for Mr. Wilson himself, his hatred for Mr. Bushs policies borders on the pathological. By the way, how deep is Wilsons hatred for Bush? During the 2000 White House campaign, Wilson and his now-outed wife donated $2000 to Bush! But Lambro is a store-bought fellow, and he knows that he must serve his masters. So he tells you that Wilson supported Al Gorebut he knows not to mention the fact that Wilson supported George W. Bush too. Instead, he offers scripted stupidity which Times readers dumbly choke down:
LAMBRO: More profound questions are raised about Wilsons CIA-approved mission to Niger to investigate whether Iraq attempted to buy yellowcake uranium. By his own admission, he had no investigative background and said his trip consisted of eight days drinking sweet mint tea and meeting with dozens of people.That clowning reference to drinking tea is, of course, a current RNC spin-point. All the store-bought sophists cite it. And enjoy a good laugh at that prize word reportedlya word which scripted bootblacks use when they want to cite a report which everyone knows is unfounded. But then, theres nothing these thigh-rubbing, store-bought men wont say in the attempt to deceive their dim readers. Readers, give yourselves a quick little test. Ask yourselves: Could this be true:
LAMBRO: [Wilsons] long, single-minded crusade against Mr. Bush has one purpose: to undermine the presidents credibility. But Mr. Wilson should consider his own credibility. He told C-SPAN last week he did not think Saddam Hussein ever had weapons of mass destruction. But before the Iraq war began, he told ABC News that Saddam might use a biological weapon in a battle that we might have.Do you really think that could be true? Since everyone knows that Saddam once used WMDs, do you think that Wilson went on C-SPAN last week and said he did not think Saddam Hussein ever had them? Here, we note Lambros lack of an actual quotation from Wilsonand of course, we note Lambros lack of character. But who could be stupid enough to believe this? Apparently, readers of the Washington Times believe it, and much more, as well note tomorrow.
And ranged against Lambros store-bought spinning we find the Harry Smithsand we find the E. J. Dionnes, who said not a word, when Donald Lambro deceived the world about Candidate Gore (see below). These men simply dont care about your discoursedont care enough about your discourse to speak up when its so deeply corrupted. Store-bought Lambro against worthless Smith: Increasingly, that is the shape of your discourse. That match-up explains why you live in a world of such consummate clowning propaganda.
WE LIKE E. J. TOO: Some of you dont want to give up on good guy pundits like Dionne. We sympathize, but we need to see the shape of our actual discourse. Early on in Campaign 2000, Donald Lambro got very busyhe was one of many pundits who peddled the notion that Gore had lied about those troubling farm chores (links below). In a nicely-scripted 3/20/99 column, the store-bought Lambro said that Gores remarks on the chores were an example of his deeply dishonest side, his dark side, his powers of demagogueryand although every Washington pundit knew perfectly well that what Gore said was patently true, this scripted trashing of Candidate Gore went on for three solid months. During that time, the Lambros kept reciting their liesand the Dionnes keep hiding under their desks, exactly where they could be found right through November 2000. At that time, Lambro was pushing the Gore liar script; now he is pushing the Bush hatred line. (Wilsons hatred is cited three times in his column.) And what is the actual shape of your discourse? Hapless fellows like Jonathan Chait dont seem to know that thats just fake spin too. To Chait, pseudo-con spinners are surely sincere when they flog this disturbing Bush-hatred. Simply put, your interests dont stand a chance when Chait and Smith steward your discourse.
How sincere is Donald Lambro? Sadly, Lambro is a store-bought man. Wilson gave $2000 to the man he hates, and Lambro knows not to tell you about it! And why does Lambro, a store-bought man, feel free to clown in such big shoes so openly? Because hes taken the measure of Harry Smith, and of all the hapless incompetents who steward your discourse. Reread Smiths astounding question. This is the shape of your discourse.
TOMORROW: Readers of the Washington Times? They must be the worlds dumbest people.
VISIT OUR INCOMPARABLE ARCHIVES: Scribes knew that Gores statement was trueand kept silent. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 8/30/99, with links to earlier reporting.
MORE FINE WINERIP: Has any scribe ever examined legislation the way Michael Winerip is probing No Child Left Behind? And dont worrythis will produce exactly zero discussion. Washingtons pundits are alike in one way: They simply, uiniformly dont care.