FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2002
ALL TAPPED OUT: Why was the press corps slow to react to Lotts remark? At THE HOWLER, we really cant say. We have said this: Its hard to believe that the corps is spilling with liberal bias when it drags its feet on a story like this. When Andrew Sullivan has to badger NPR on this topic, just where is the corps liberal bias?
Once again, liberal bias seemed to be missing in action. Indeed, as the flap about Lott keeps unfolding, we cant even find liberal worldviews at well-known liberal sites! On Wednesday, TAPPED explained the corps slow reaction. Try to believe that they said it:
Why did the corps go slow on Lott? TAPPED endorses Instapundit, who says it shows that everyone is too buddy-buddy inside Washington. Amazingly, it doesnt even occur to TAPPED that the press tends to bow to conservative power, especially when dirty secret segregation groups are involved. Does TAPPEDS buddy-buddy theory make sense? For example, did the corps ignore the Georgia flag flap because it was just so chummy with Peach State participants? Plainly, that story did not involve an insider classbut the pundit corps punted there, too.
WILL LOTT GO? Its amazing to Tapped that this story almost went away. (InstaPundit is correct that the incestuousness of Washington politics and media is largely to blame. Everybody here knows everybody.)
Pathetic, isnt it? In citing Insta, TAPPED recites Andrew Sullivans line (Insta voiced it first). Here was Sullivans take on this topican interpretation which preserves the idea that liberal bias is ruling the media:
SULLIVAN: Howie Kurtz notices how much quicker on the draw the blogosphere was on the matter of Trent Lotts declared regrets for the passing of Jim Crow. Im still stunned at how little the New York Times made of it (although Krugman seems to have drawn from lots of blogosphere arguments for his column today). Why this discrepancy? I dont really know. One thought I have is that the media bigwigs really do operate socially in Washington and find it hard to pounce on people they know, like, respect or need as a source.
Sully says that DC socialization explains the pundit corps lazy response. Thank goodness! This way, he doesnt have to voice an unwelcome thought. He doesnt have to say that Washingtons pundits may not be so liberal after all.
This view makes perfect sensefrom Sullivan. But TAPPED buys it hook, line and sinker. Readers, where oh where is liberal bias? We suffer from such a brainwashed insider clique that even liberals cant seem to imagine that the pundit corps bows to con power.
THE FRENZY IS ON: In todays Times, historian Joseph Crespino discusses a topic we mentioned on Wednesday (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 12/11/02). Sound bites pitched toward the racist right have been the dirty little secret of the Republican Party for four decades, he writes. As an example, he cites Candidate Reagans 1980 appearance in Philadelphia, Mississippi. Here is his closing nugget:
CRESPINO: Historians can debate just how central Senator Lotts kind of doublespeak has been to Republican success in the South. They can also debate how central the South has been in the Republican Partys success nationally. But the fact that racial appeals have played a role in the success of the modern Republican Party is not under debate. It is irrefutable.
On the same Times op-ed page, Paul Krugman alleges the same two-sided conduct, then wonders why weve heard so little about it. What prevents reporters from explaining to the majority the coded messages that are being sent to the minority? the scribe asks. Krugman continues: How many readers ever heard about the flap, several years ago, over Mr. Lotts association with the racist Council of Conservative Citizens? The scandal was actually worse than his remarks last weekbut it just got buried. Did the CCC affair really get buried? Krugman overstates a tad. But a press corps which now professes its shock didnt dig very deep on that matter. Nor did it dig deep in Georgia last month. And it really did bury John McCains tangy race man. What ever happened to liberal bias when Naomi Wolf is viciously mocked, and Richard Quinns views seem so normal?
On the other hand, some of what is now occurring is a standard press feeding frenzy. They may have been slow coming out of the gate, but now, the pundit corps loves this story; it gives them easy topics for columns and easy TV segments. Were reading about what Lott did in college. And in Krugmans piece (and in many others), were reading about this outrage:
KRUGMAN: The great majority of Americans dont share Mr. Lotts views. For example, he opposed declaring Martin Luther King day a holiday, telling Southern Partisan magazine that we have not done it for a lot of other people that were more deserving. Most Americans, I think, believe that King was pretty deserving.
Outrage is getting a bit selective. Many others opposed the MLK Day; John McCain voted against it, for example. But how many pundits ever said that McCains vote reflected on him?
The frenzys on. Youll hear what Lott did at age 19. Youll hear about votes which the press corps favorites cast, too. But heres what you almost surely wont hear: You wont hear anyone ask whether this has affected Lotts performance in office. Does any of this have a thing to do with anything Lott has ever done? That, of course, involves policy mattersand to your press corps, such matters are boring. Trust us: Your press corps doesnt give a fig about issues which may be involved in this matter. Your press corps loves an easy column, and your press corps loves to run with the herd. This week, your press corps is suddenly helping you see just how bad ol Strom really was. Last week, CNNs Morton was loudly swearing that gentle old Strom never meant it.
Your press corps mainly likes one thing. It likes the recite the CW.
Tomorrow, well review a recent column about a topic which deeply affects the lives of black children. Your press corps ignored this topic in Campaign 2000, and theyll keep ignoring it now. Dont be fooled. Your press corps loves a spirited chase (as long as everyone else is doing it). They love their careers, and their cocktail parties. But your Washington press corps couldnt care less about the actual lives of black children. Well try to help you see that fact in our incomparable piece on the morrow.
WHO MAKES E. D. HILL POSSIBLE? Try to believe that you live in a world where E. D. Hill is even possible. On Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, Hill engaged in her usual conduct, sliming Goreand his parentson the egregious Fox & Friends (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 12/12/02). Hill wasnt content to debate Lotts comment; she was hot to trash some vile Dems too. So she falsely claimedrepeat: falsely claimedthat Al Gore was sued by four [black] Secret Service agents who said that he didnt promote them. And much more nastily, she also concocted a phony tale in which Gores parents mistreat a black employee. Try to believe that you live in this worlda world where fakers like Hill can trash decent people without the slightest fear of any consequence or criticism.
Why does Hill behave as she does? Because shes paid to do so. And why is she free to engage in this conduct? Because she knows that our media reporterslets mention Howard Kurtzwould rather eat live worms in a pit on Survivor than comment on her kind of work. As everyone knows, dissemblers like Hill have been inventing these tales about Gore ever since March 1999. Hills nasty invention about Gores mom and dad is the latest in a long list of entries.
But has Howard Kurtz ever spoken up? Has he ever debunked a single one of these tales? On Monday, we start to discuss that. Where in the world is liberal bias when this great man is always so silent?
One final pointdont bother looking for Fox & Friends transcripts, even on Nexis. Fox doesnt want you to know what they say. Like Rush, these friends leave no tracks.
WHO MAKES DEBRA SAUNDERS POSSIBLE? Dont worryyou wont hear a word about Debra Saunders latest column from Howard Kurtz. But on Thursday, the egregious pundit was at it again, dissembling in the San Francisco Chronicle on a tired old subject. Maybe you thought we were kidding when we said that this slander campaign has gone on for four solid years. Saunders recited another bogus spinGore really gave us Willie Horton:
SAUNDERS (pgh 1): When a Massachusetts prison mistakenly gave a weekend pass to convicted murderer Willie Horton, it released a chain of events that reverberate through America today.
The claim about Gore is utterly falsea long-standing, bogus RNC spin-point (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 11/1/02 and 11/4/02). Gore never ran TV spots on Willie Horton, although RNC fakers from Lee Atwater on have peddled this phony story. Before he died, Atwater apologized for his conduct regarding Horton. Thanks to dissemblers like Debra Saunders, the work he disavowed lives on.
(2) The first result was the brutal 1987 torture/rape of a Maryland woman in front of her hog-tied fiance.
(3) The second result was political. Then-Sen. Al Gore, and later an independent campaign supportive of then-Vice President George Bush, ran TV spots on Horton during the 1988 presidential election. Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis lost.
Saunders statement is patently false; with Debra Saunders, thats hardly news. But its strange. Her conduct occurs in the open air. Her Chronicle readers are persistently deceived. And Howard Kurtz has never said Boo. Why do you think hes so docile?