How dishonest is Wes Prudens Times? "Pathological" would be a good place to start. On Monday, the papers page 2 "CULTURE et cetera" column ran this clip from Andrew Sullivans web site:
THE WASHINGTON TIMES:
"So it seems that the sins of the United States past make it impossible to judge the massacre of September 11, according to our 42nd president. Americans treatment of blacks and native Americans renders unequivocal moral judgment impossible.
"I must say that even I found Clintons comments Wednesday at Georgetown University truly shocking. I always thought he was a charlatan, but often a clear-headed one. This speech suggests he has imbibed any amount of leftist nonsense.
"But the truly revealing fact is that he calls upon America to be introspective, to look into ourselves for the causes of this massacre
"If any American deserves any guilt for laying the groundwork for September 11, Bill Clintons name must come at the top of most lists. How fitting that he should seek to deflect this fact by casting aspersions on the country whose highest office he besmirched and disgraced."
-Andrew Sullivan, writing on "Clinton Speaks," Thursday at www.andrewsullivan.com
Whats so amazing about that clip-job? Sullivan placed these idiot comments on his web site last Thursday, November 8four days before the WashTimes ran it. The following day, he took it all backnoting that he had been deceived by an "appallingly slanted" piece in the Washington Times! (See THE DAILY HOWLER, 11/9/01. Incredibly, Sullivan hadnt read Clintons speech when he posted his original, astonishing comments.) But Prudens paper runs on deceit; it exists to lie, dissemble and deceive you. Imagine! Knowing that Sullivan had renounced his essayand knowing that hed blamed the Times for its errorsthe Times went ahead and published it anyway, not telling its readers about his later reversal. People who will lie in your faces like that are people who will lie in your faces about anything. Theres a word for Wes Pruden and his slimy little band. And you know that wordanti-American.
But then, high buffoonery is now the norm all over your Washington press corps. Consider the performance turned in Thursday night by Brit Hume and his gang of Fox "all-stars." Joseph Curls dissembling piece had appeared in the Washington Times just that day. With a slippery articleand a bogus headlinethe Times was pulling its latest scam. With the practiced deceit that is Wes Prudens trademark, the paper was falsely suggesting that Clinton had said that, on September 11, we got what we deserved.
Youd think that journalists would check very closely before offering comment on charges like that. For example, youd think they might check out the AP report of Clintons speech, which had been sitting on the wire since Wednesday. Why, youd even think that an overpaid scribe might read Clintons speech before making a comment. In matters like this, you could even imagine that major pundits might want to know what theyre talking about.
If you think that, of course, it means one thingyouve never watched Special Report. Hume opened last Thursdays panel with a quick clip from Clintons vile speech:
CLINTON (on tape): Those of us who come from various European lineages are not blameless.
Blameless for what? It wasnt quite clear. Then Brit played a slightly longer excerpt:
CLINTON (on tape): Here in the United States, we were founded as a nation that practiced slavery. And slaves, quite frequently, were killed, even though they were innocent. This country once looked the other way when significant numbers of Native Americans were dispossessed and killed, to get their land or their mineral rights, or because they were thought of as less than fully human. And we are still paying the price today.
Those were the only clips played from Clintons lengthy presentation. And then the Gang of Three began to discuss What It All Meantand it quickly became clear that none of the three had ever looked at the actual speech.
For the record, the clips that embarrassing Hume played this day were a fleeting, trivial part of this speech. The excerpts had almost nothing to do with what Clinton went to Georgetown to say. By the way, does anyone doubt that "here in the United States, we were founded as a nation that practiced slavery," or that "we are still paying the price today" for the moral errors in our nations racial past? These fleeing comments are utterly commonplaceand they had almost nothing to do with the overall thrust of Clintons actual speech.
But when the heralded "all-stars" began to talk, it was clear that none of them knew this. In fact, it was perfectly clear that none of the three had even read through Clintons speech. None, of course, was honest enough to say that he just wasnt able to comment. Each one fumbled and phonied along, sometimes seeming not to know that its even possible to read a real speech.
Consider Mara Liasson, for example. Fred Barnes, commenting first, said he doesnt feel any guilt about slavery. (Clinton hadnt said that he should.) And he said, "I dont understand why [Clinton] wants to join the we dont come to this with clean hands school. Thats ridiculous." (Theres no sign that Clinton was saying that, either.) No matter. Fred folded his arms as he closed. Then Brit turned to unprepared Mara:
HUME: Is that how you took it, Mara?
LIASSON: You know, I would have liked to have known where he was going with that, and what does it have to do with terrorism, and is he equating the two? Its certainly true that many atrocities have been conducted in the name of religions all over the world. And certainly, Christianity is not immune from that. But Im just wondering if he is trying to make some kind of moral equivalence.
Mara didnt have a clue. She "would have liked to have known" where Clinton was going. It didnt seem to occur to the scribe that she could have found out by reading the speech. But now nit-picking Brit turned to Ceci Connollyand Connolly didnt have a clue either:
HUME (continuing directly): Well, what strikes me is he said, "those of us who come from various European lineages are not blameless." Hes not talking about our ancestors. Ceci, do you think he may have misspoken there, and he meant to say our forebearers are not blameless?
CONNOLLY: Its hard to say. I mean, it appeared from that clip that he had some point and some thought-out sequence there, but its not clear to me, sort of, what either the larger message was, or how he is trying to apply it to this circumstance.
It "wasnt clear to" her, "sort of," what "the larger message was"because she hadnt read the speech either. By the way, there was absolutely no signnone at allthat Hume or Barnes had read Clintons speech. But that didnt stop Inexcusable Barnes from drawing a bogusand quite uglyconclusion:
BARNES: I mean, you look at what he said, and hes implying a moral equivalence between us and Usama bin Laden and his terrorists. And thatswell, its incorrect, but its also a ridiculous thing for him to say.
CONNOLLY: Maybe he just wants back in the spotlight.
BARNES: He got it.
HUME: He got a little bit of it, anyway. All right, everyone. Thank you very much. Thats all the time we have for the panel.
Repulsive, isnt it? And anti-American? In truth, there isnt a word in Clintons speech about "implying a moral equivalence between us and Usama bin Laden and his terrorists." But how in the world would Connolly knowshe clearly hadnt looked at the speech! On the other hand, she did understand her role on this showshes there to make snide remarks about Clintons motives. At a time of massive national stress, Connolly was too corrupt, too lazy, too empty to know what Clinton had actually said. But she was eager to keep the slander game going. How Roger Ailes beamed with pride!
So lets see. Andrew Sullivan hadnt read Clintons speech. Ceci and Fred hadnt read the speech either. They still went ahead and explained what it mean. Our question: How in the world did losers like these get to play such key roles in our discourse?
Next: Trembling, knock-kneed, quaking in fear, Howard Kurtz knew his role. He kept quiet.
The Daily update (11/14/01)
It got worse: Later that evening, Jeffrey Kuhnerthe Washington Times assistant national editorguested on the OReilly Factor. Remember, theres nothing they wont do and say at the Times. So Kuhner went ahead and said this:
OREILLY: Mr. Kuhner, whats your objection to President Clintons remarks?
KUHNER Well, I mean, itsits just sort classic Clinton. The statements, I think, were irresponsible and just frankly silly. To say that the United States is paying a price today for slavery and the mass murder of Indians is not only false, but its morally reprehensible.
That was so dumb that Bill had to speak. He let Kuhner try it again:
But make no mistakethe people who work at the Washington Times are willing to do and say anything. Indeed, theyll go on TV and lie in your face at times of great national stress. There is no slander they wont try to sell you; no nonsense so vast that they wont swear its true. That must be why Kuhner lied in Bills face, making this baldly false statement:
We didnt? In paragraphs four and five of his lengthy speech, Clintonquite quicklysaid this:
Which part of "we have to win the fight we are in" doesnt the slandering Kuhner get? And which part of this early statement escaped his careful gaze?
We could, of course, go on and on. But what would be the point of that? Jeffrey Kuhner was baldly lyingright in the face of OReillys viewers. And he was baldly slandering an important public figure. At times of great challenge, theres a word for such conduct. And you know that wordanti-American.