31 December 1999
Our current howler: Milleniums end? Wed guess not.
Synopsis: Jackie Mason throws off the years final spin. But, given the history of the human race, we dont expect too much to change in the thousand years soon to be dawning.
Jackie Mason and Raoul Felder, The Washington Times, 12/31/99
We had actually planned not to file today, with the analysts
still away on vacation; we ourselves were kicking around THE DAILY
HOWLER's incomparable world headquarters. But in this morning's
Washington Times, demented "comedian" Jackie Mason teamed
up with super-incompetent Raoul Felder, and we thought their piece
was worth excerpting as an emblem of the past year in spin.
Their op-ed was headlined "Liar, liar" and guess
who the boys were discussing? And guess what "quote"
from the Washington Post they chose to employ as their lead?
MASON AND FELDER: Mr. Gore had already established his credits
on environmental issues...So why did he have to tell students in
Concord, New Hampshire, "I found a little place in upstate
New York called Love Canal. I had the first hearing on the issue.
I was the one that started it all?"
To show the writers' devotion to spin and misstatement, their
next example of "lying" involved Love Story.
The brilliant pair typed this:
MASON AND FELDER: Mr. Gore also claims his courtship of Tipper,
his wife, whose hairstyle seems to be trapped in a 1960s time
warp, was the subject of the novel "Love Story."
In their next sentence, they refer to this "claim"
as a "lie."
How dumb (and corrupt) is the human race? Marvel, if you will,
that Jackie Mason could critique someone else's hairstyle! (Felder
more so.) The human race is incorrigibly dumb, as once
was widely understood. Indeed, so dumb is the press corpsand
so committed to spinthat Mason and Felder may well not know that
their quote on Love Canal is wrong, and that their account on
Love Story is hopelessly wrong too. As the year in spin
now comes to an end, this is the basis on which major newspapers
tell their readers that public figures are liars.
Dear readers! Don't believe for a minute that something called
a "millennium" is ending tomorrow. Tomorrow morning,
as you rise from your beds, nothing on earth will have changed.
It's been 2500 years now since Socrates warned that sophists would
use their skills to confuse us. And it's less than 400 years since
harried Pope Urban turned on the sainted Galileo. In human affairs,
the veneer of rational discourse is thin, built on a bedrock of
deception and spin. Error and spin are lodged in the reptilian
brain, as you've perhaps seen in the papers this past annum.
By the waywhy is it possible that Mason and Felder may believe
their quote is accurate? Why is it possible that Helle Bering
didn't know she was publishing error? It is because the hapless,
grumbling Washington Post wouldn't acknowledge its recent howlerwouldn't
tell its readers it had misquoted Gore, and had built an entire
second-day story around Ceci Connolly's latest "mistake."
We're sure you're tiredas we are tiredof stories about spin
on Gore. But it's no surprise that the year closes out with its
principal spinwith a headline calling Gore a big liar. In the
current instance, get the name rightMason and Felder's bogus
Love Canal quote came to us from the Washington Post. And
remember, as you read that something has endedit will be the
same paper tomorrow.
As we have previously noted: The boys' Love Story
error was made possible by Maureen Dowd, one of the century's
absolute dumbest writers.