MAINSTREAM VEIL OF TEARS! Where, except in the mainstream press, could NPRs logic obtain? // link // print // previous // next //
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2005
MAINSTREAM VEIL OF TEARS: It may just be the holiday languor. Or it may be the weight of a year in which weve given up on a chunk of the liberal web. At any rate, weve slacked a bit in the past few days—and we have to entertain another group of lucky holiday duckies tonight! Still, we do continue to marvel at the way our public discourse malfunctions. Many webcats have mentioned the odd proclamation of NPR ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin (see Atrios, for example). But were not sure that anyone has captured the consummate oddness of Dvorkins presentation. Among other things, Dvorkin responded to the claim that NPR relies on too many conservative think tanks. Only in our broken discourse could his kooky logic seem to make sense (forgive the length of the excerpt):
DVORKIN: NPR often calls on think tanks for comments. But NPR does not lean on the so-called conservative think tanks as many in the audience seem to think.Only in [the] America[n press corps]! Dvorkin says that NPR does not lean on the so-called conservative think tanks as many in the audience seem to think. As evidence, he offers a numerical accounting which tilts almost two-to-one toward conservative think tanks! Only in our broken discourse could such logic obtain.
Some have complained that Brookings and CSIS arent really think tanks of the left. But for the sake of argument, lets leave that point to the side. Where except in the mainstream press can we find public figures who reason so strangely? By any rational standard, Dvorkins figures represent one thing. So he says that they stand for the opposite!
By happenstance, we saw a similar bit of reasoning as we thumbed a book in a D.C. Borders last week. And, with some pundits suggesting again that Gore might be the best 08 Dem hopeful, this bit of odd reasoning has stayed in our mind. But alas! We cant find the books relevant text on line, and we dont have it here at our sprawling headquarters. Well offer you the text on Monday. But reread that puzzling piece by Dvorkin and ask yourselves what we often ask: Is it possible that we live in a comic dream universe—a realm constructed by the gods for their delight and amusement?
THE BOOK WE THUMBED: The book we thumbed was The Woman at the Washington Zoo; it was written by the late Marjorie Williams, of Vanity Fair and the Washington Post. By all accounts, Williams was a superlative person, considered one of the press corps finest. Well guess that Dvorkins a nice man too. Indeed, thats the puzzle and the problem.
The passage in question comes from Williams July 2001 Vanity Fair profile of the Clinton-Gore relationship. Well give you the fuller passage next week. But here, in a contemporary piece by the New York Posts Deborah Orin, is the sentence that caught our eye and led to our mordant musings:
ORIN (6/5/01): The report also says Clinton rejects the idea that Sexgate caused Gore's loss to George W. Bush, telling a confidant: "[Hillary] was able to figure out how to deal with her relationship with me and win by 10 points. [Gore] should have been able to as well.Did Bill Clinton really make such a statement? We dont have the slightest idea. But uh-oh! In Campaign 2000, Hillary won by ten points in the state of New York. Gore, who had to run nationwide, won this same state by 25 points! Here are the FEC numbers:
2000 presidential election, state of New YorkIs there anywhere but the mainstream press where such puzzling logic prevails? Dont you sometimes wonder if you live in a veil of tears—a comic stage devised by the gods, as divine Homer so often wondered?