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18 July 2001

Our current howler (part II): Too hot to trot

Synopsis: It was too hot to run, Barbara Olson said. But it’s never too hot to dissemble.

Commentary by Ann Coulter
Larry King Live, CNN, 7/17/01

Commentary by Juan Williams
Fox News Sunday, Fox News Channel, 7/15/01

Commentary by Barbara Olson
Larry King Live, CNN, 7/16/01

Once in a while, they just get delusional. Last night on Larry King Live, a caller had a tangential question. Could Chandra Levy be charged with a crime if it turns out that she is in hiding? Luckily, one guest had already thought it through:

ANN COULTER: I had thought about that, I mean, it struck me, very late one night. Best alternative possibility that—I mean, I have to say it’s a great way to get a congressman in trouble, going into hiding. The problem with that theory is it is insane because you would have to have a conspiracy of that half a dozen people who are committing a crime. It is a crime to—

At this point, others cut Coulter off, saying there would be no crime. Michael Zeldin said, "Ann, I think you should go to bed earlier. I don’t think there is a crime of going into hiding." But after all the fun was done, Coulter fleshed out her theory:

COULTER: She would have had to have done this in cahoots with her aunt, the stewardess, her parents—

She would have to have been in cahoots with the stewardess? No one thinks it’s likely that Levy is hiding. But Coulter’s theory only makes sense in the psycho ward—which is pretty much where Coulter is, by the way, when she appears now on Larry King Live.

If our TV pundits didn’t exist, could you ever have dreamed this crew up? Could you ever have dreamed that America’s discourse would be handed to dregs such as these? Plainly unbalanced; dishonest; dissembling—they parade their strange wares on TV every night. Think back to the day you came of age, dearest reader. Could you ever have dreamed that the world’s leading nation would have honored spots for dissemblers like these?

There is simply nothing our pundits won’t say—nothing so stupid that it won’t be expressed, and used to try to get you to think that someone has committed a murder! Let’s think back to the addled idea Juan Williams put forward last Sunday (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 7/16/01). Williams, of course, was trying to suggest that Chandra Levy left her home on May 1 with Gary Condit:

WILLIAMS: Chief [Gainer], what do you take away from the fact that Chandra Levy had nothing but her keys on her when she disappeared? I’ve read where one columnist suggests there are only two places a woman doesn’t take her purse, and that would be to the gym or on a motorcycle. And we know that congressman Condit has a motorcycle.

Hint hint hint. There are, of course, many places where "a woman doesn’t take her purse;" Williams was simply dissembling again, as he so frequently does (more on Williams’ long-standing problems with the truth in a later HOWLER). But just stop to consider the sheer stupidity of the scenario Williams imagines. As has been well established, Condit was almost obsessive about secrecy; he hid his face to take Chandra to lunch. But in Williams’ mind, when Condit decides to murder his gal, he roars right up to her house on his chopper, and rides her off like Black Jack Davy. No one would ever notice that.

But defectives like the hapless Williams now rule the American discourse. There’s no scenario too absurd to push—as long as it convicts Gary Condit. Like us, the hapless pundits have no way of knowing what actually happened to Chandra Levy. But they are bound and determined to pretend that they do—and they’re willing to say whatever comes to mind if it helps to convict target Condit.

How dishonest will our pundits be? Let’s revisit uber-dissembler Barbara Olson on Monday night’s Larry King Live. As is perfectly obvious from the factual record, it’s entirely likely that Chandra Levy went jogging on May 1. (This doesn’t mean she was harmed while jogging. She may have jogged, come home, then gone out again.) But pundits like Olson don’t even want you to think that Chandra may have taken a run; they only want you to suspect Gary Condit. So Olson went to work Monday night. King was asking his women guests if they would jog without their ID:

OLSON: Certainly not in that area, I wouldn’t. I think that’s why Chandra did belong to a gym. And it’s odd that she had her key and nothing else with her packed [sic]. Now, maybe you say she’s a runner, she quit her gym, but she was packed and ready to go. We know she’s been on the Internet that morning at least until 12:30 or 1:00 in the afternoon. Good jogging time? Not in D.C. It doesn’t seem to add up.

Olson seemed to imply that it would be too hot to run. (That’s how Laura Ingraham understood her; "I don’t think that’s all that unusual, even on a hot Washington day," Ingraham said in response to Olson. Duh.) But is it hot in D.C. on May 1—the day when Levy disappeared? According to the National Weather Bureau, the average high temp in D.C. on May 1 is a stifling 71 degrees! It is, of course, a perfect day and a perfect time to run in Rock Creek Park. Did Levy do so? We don’t know. But neither, of course, does Barbara Olson. Olson was simply spinning again—because she wants you to picture Condit committing murder.

Could you ever have dreamed that this crew would exist? That our discourse would be handed to such utter defectives? To the addled gang whom we now honor, it’s too hot to run in D.C. on May 1; women take purses everywhere—except on big Harleys; and Levy would have to check with Anne Marie Smith before she could go into hiding. And of course, it’s perfectly OK to dissemble and spin to accuse a person of murder!! Meanwhile, slumbering hosts like compliant King act as if it all makes sense. If you hadn’t seen our TV pundits, could you ever have dreamed the crew up?

Temps time: According to the 5/2 Washington Post, the high in Washington this May 1 was 82 degrees, at 3:11 PM (up from a low of 54 that morning). (The May 1 Post predicted: "Warm and pleasant.") Humidity was low for the area—30 percent. It happened to be a great day to run. Did Levy run? Our pundits don’t know. But Olson—by now an instinctive dissembler—went on TV to pretend that she did. When you were still a youth like Levy, could you ever have dreamed that dregs like this would be in control of your discourse?


The occasional update (7/18/01)

Everyone out of the marsh: Finally, someone stopped fooling around and got down to brass tacks. Last night, Paula Zahn brought on "a psychic medium known around the world for her ability to help find missing children." Since Zahn’s usual psychic medium is Rosemary Altea, you just knew that something big was up. Sure enough—Sylvia Browne had some news:

ZAHN: If you were to consult with the PD, what would you tell them to do? Where should they be looking?

BROWNE: Well, see, I never ambulance chase. They always, you know, call me. If I were to take a helicopter straight up and to look at this park [Rock Creek Park], which makes sort of a square, except it’s got a little bit of a point to it—I haven’t seen the, you know, the topography of it. But to the left of this, if I were facing west, let’s say, there’s a marshy area. There are some trees down in a marshy area.

In other words, when you step on this land, it looks like it could have been a seabed or something. It’s a marshy area. This is where the body is. This girl—I am sorry to tell you this, but this girl is not alive.

As would be second nature for any top journalist, Zahn wanted to know where Browne got her facts. "How do you know that, Sylvia?" she asked. "Has this been something that you’ve been spending time thinking about and analyzing?"

"Because I’m a psychic," Browne replied. "I know where she—I know she’s there."

And no, we’re not making this up.

We think it’s good that Zahn solved the case. Earlier on, she’d been slamming Condit for the cruelty he’s shown to Levy’s parents by refusing to share all his knowledge. It would have been hypocritical for Zahn to hold back these facts. And by the way—did you ever think you’d see the day when TV "journalists" would act like this—would shed big tears for suffering parents, then bait them with this kind of segment?

Commentary by Paula Zahn, Sylvia Browne
The Edge, Fox News Channel, 7/17/01