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LIMOUSINE LIBERAL BIAS (PART 1)! Margaret Carlson showed her “liberal bias” when she railed at the Outrage of the Year:


SLOW TO ANGER: Finally! On last Saturday's Capital Gang, the pundits finally got their chance to describe the “Outrage of the Year.” Kate O’Beirne and Bob Novak went first, making safe conservative picks. According to O’Beirne, Bonior-in-Baghdad was the year’s worst event; Novak was angry at the way Senate Dems had blocked Bush judicial nominations. But finally the liberals got a chance to fight back! Margaret Carlson railed at her greatest outrage:

CARLSON (12/28/02): With its totally tasteless Wellstone memorial service, Democrats killed Walter Mondale’s chance of winning that seat and hurt Jean Carnahan in Missouri as well. Why didn’t the Clintons, instead of clapping and laughing, send word backstage to tone it down? Why didn’t Senator Tom Harkin give a speech that was elegiac, not angry? If only Wellstone had been in charge, his memorial would have been solemn but happy, like him. The bungled memorial service ironically served to make us miss Wellstone that much more.
And no, we aren’t making this up. Given the entire year to choose from, Margaret Carlson—showing off the “liberal bias” for which your media has become so famous—actually called the Wellstone memorial the “Outrage of the Year.”

Try to believe that she said it! Try to believe that Margaret Carlson thought a few “scattered boos” and a speech by Tom Harkin comprised the most outrageous event of the year. And try to believe that this is what passes for “liberal” commentary in your pundit corps. Indeed, could any pundit really believe that this was the year’s biggest outrage? In real time, Carlson didn’t think so. Here is what she said in real time, on the November 2 Capital Gang (five days after the Wellstone memorial). Carlson followed Novak, who had referred to “this atrocious pep rally at the Williams Arena in Minneapolis:”

CARLSON (11/2/02): I think Mondale’s going to win because people in grief want to do something, want to find a place for it. The memorial did get out of hand, but that is because it was unscripted and some people just, you know, let their feelings run away with them. Mondale is a good candidate. Actually, he does well on college campuses. He’s exciting people out there.
At the time, Carlson’s “outrage” was quite hard to find. One week later, she discussed the service again, this time in her “Outrage of the Week.” But again, she downplayed the actual event, hammering Minnesota guv Jesse Ventura for making political hay of the service:
CARLSON (11/9/02): Al, is it possible to offend Jesse Ventura of the pink tights and boa feathers? I don’t think so. But he claims he felt, quote, “violated” by the Wellstone memorial. Indeed, the memorial should have been more dignified, but he goes too far. His first act of revenge was to upstage the Mondale-Coleman debate by appointing an unnecessary replacement for Wellstone right in the middle of the debate. But worse, he desecrated the man he called his friend by ordering flags flying at half-mast be raised early. Why punish Wellstone because his supporters went overboard?
In real time, Carlson mocked Ventura’s phony outrage. Seven weeks later, she displayed some phony outrage herself, pretending that the memorial service was the year’s most disturbing event.

Don’t even ask us to explain the way Margaret Carlson’s mind functions. But note a few of the basic themes exhibited by her odd choice.

First, note the total lack of seriousness displayed by your celebrity pundits. Can any sane person really believe that the Wellstone memorial was the “outrage of the year?” Carlson’s choice is utterly silly—especially given her real-time reactions. This past year, after all, was the year of Enron, Global Crossing, Adelphia, WorldCom. If you’re living in the real world, read what Dan Thomasson wrote in Wednesday’s Washington Times, in a column titled “Year of Corporate Scandals:”

THOMASSON: What a year, 2002, huh? The depth of corporate and private malfeasance—said to be the worst since those days of the Depression—was enough to take one’s breath away. Even as the year of Enron, Tyco and other financial scandals of enormous proportion was ending, new incidents of corporate and public corruption monopolized the news…
But this didn’t take Carlson’s breath away—she was disturbed by Harkin’s speech! Obviously, Carlson was playing some kind of pundit politics when she made her oddball choice. Don’t ask us to guess what it is. (For the record, Harkin’s speech drew little criticism even during the Wellstone flap.)

Second, note the requirement of blaming Bill Clinton for everything that happens on earth. Harkin allegedly gave a bum speech? It’s the fault of—who else?—those vile Clintons! Bill and Hill should have marched right up and dragged Harkin down off that stage!

Third, note the liberal bias in action. Carlson’s statement would have been silly even from a conservative. But on Capital Gang, Carlson is supposed to be a “liberal.” In that role, she clowned her way through Election 2000, mocking Gore every chance she got (see below). Now she tells us that Bill-Clinton-clapping was the most outrageous event of the year. For her “Outrage,” she picks a trivial event—one she pooh-poohed at the time it occurred.

Do Americans deserve a serious discourse? If so, millionaire pseudo-liberals like Carlson really have to get packin’. In the conservative Washington Times, readers were told that 2002 was a year of corporate scandal. But what had the “liberal” Carlson upset? The fact that Trent Lott heard “scattered boos” from a crowd of 20,000! What could explain this pundit’s weird choice? Here at THE HOWLER, we don’t really know. But we’ll ruminate further on the topic tomorrow. In fact, let’s go back to what Carlson said when on the day she told all to the I-man.

TOMORROW: When Margaret met Imus. And: Ted Koppel cares.

POD PEOPLE: On talk radio, conservatives pretend that they’re in the soup, due to the press corps’ appalling “liberal bias.” But over at the New York Post, John Podhoretz was a bit more forthcoming. Maybe he’d gotten into the punch. But in his New Year’s predictions, Podhoretz said that the press would be tearing up Kerry:

Presidential contender John F. Kerry will become the new Al Gore. With the original Al Gore out of the race, American politics will need a yin to George W. Bush’s yang—a polar opposite for a polarized electorate. The junior senator from Massachusetts is wooden, humorless, self-aggrandizing and fancies himself an intellectual. Sound familiar?

Kerry will put off reporters who follow him around. Friends will protest that in private he’s incredibly charming. But nobody will believe those friends. He will be ripe for spoof and satire, and the parodies of him will quickly become better-known than Kerry himself.

In other words, conservatives like Podhoretz feel fairly sure that Kerry will be mocked, just as Gore was. Elsewhere, of course, they lie to The Cattle, telling them—wet tears on their cheeks—that they’re victims of that ol’ “liberal bias.”

HOWLER HISTORY: Carlson rarely missed a chance to take part in the “spoofing and satire” with Gore. When Gore gave his kick-off speech in June 1999, Carlson derided him as a “shouting, flailing person” on Capital Gang. When she reviewed the first Gore-Bradley debate, she criticized Gore as “Clintonesque” because he got off his stool when he spoke! And when the CapGang reviewed Gore’s convention speech, Carlson quickly launched her trademark Gore parody. “I think he’s been deprogrammed,” she said. “He was put in a motel, no food, no water, no bathroom. And his cadence completely changed. He was not pedantic. He didn’t speak to the audience in a sing-song-y voice, the way I’m speaking right now.” “[LAUGHTER],” says the CNN transcript, as the pundits enjoyed a good solid laugh at Carlson’s appealing bathroom humor.

For the record, “liberal bias” was hard to find as the CapGang reviewed Bush and Gore’s convention speeches. Bush was praised by one and all, “liberals” and conservatives alike. No criticisms—none—were offered. But when Gore made his own speech two weeks later, the situation was strikingly different. O’Beirne and Novak openly attacked, and the “liberals” offered left-handed praise—when they weren’t laughing at Carlson’s overt mockery. Meanwhile, how had the speeches played at home? Gore won the battle of the conventions, despite derogatory reviews all through PunditLand. He trailed by ten when the conventions began, and had gone ahead in the polls when they ended. One thing is sure—it wasn’t Carlson’s “liberal bias” that accounted for his sizable gains. For the record, it’s that same “liberal bias” which makes Podhoretz sure that Kerry will be the press corps’ next victim. Translation? American citizens deserve relief from the hackwork of the “liberal” Carlson. Tomorrow, we’ll recall what Carlson told Don Imus when he questioned her trashing of Gore. Prepare to see what really drives your pundit corps’ limousine liberals.