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Daily Howler: Fifteen years of liberal silence is finally explained by Josh Marshall
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IN WHICH IT’S FINALLY REVEALED! Fifteen years of liberal silence is finally explained by Josh Marshall: // link // print // previous // next //

IN WHICH IT’S FINALLY REVEALED: With a thrill, we started reading this post by Josh Marshall; we saw it as a (somewhat rare) chance to praise Josh’s work on the press corps. In his post, Josh debunks the latest bogus hit-piece, this one aimed at Nancy Pelosi—and he even names a major press figure who has been promoting this latest fake tale. We haven’t been watching Lou Dobbs ourselves, so we didn’t know that he’d been pimping this story. But Josh was doing superlative work, naming Dobbs and explaining the nature of the press corps’ latest fake tale.

And then, good grief—Josh said what follows. Fifteen years of successful slimings of Major Democrats passed before our eyes:
MARSHALL (2/5/07): Many consider it poor form to point out these small-ante falsehoods. But this is how the Obama-Madrassa story got jazzed all over the place.
Good lord! Good God almighty!! Many consider it poor form to point out these small-ante falsehoods! In a word, that statement is astounding. We stared, gape-mouthed, in surprise.

Many consider it poor form! Good grief—good lord almighty! Endlessly, we’ve been puzzled by the way our “liberal” “leaders” have refused to confront these endless false stories—the endless fake tales which have virtually defined the shape of our modern discourse. Now, a major blogger explains the whole thing. Dear readers! It’s considered poor form!

Good lord! Drink it in! “Poor form!”

So we’ll all understand recent life on the planet, “these small-ante falsehoods” have been the principal language of our political discourse for the past fifteen years. For example, twenty months’ worth of such “small-ante falsehoods” decided the outcome of Campaign 2000; the U.S. army is in Iraq today because of those small-ante falsehoods. (Al Gore said he invented the Internet! And: Naomi Wolf told Al Gore to wear earth tones! And: Al Gore said he inspired Love Story! And: Al Gore wants to eliminate the automobile as we know it!) The RNC has slavishly cultivated such small-ante tales—and yes, the RNC has devoted itself to such tales because they have been so effective. Before Gore, such falsehoods were endlessly aimed at the Clintons, as we’d assumed every liberal must know; just yesterday, for example, a C-SPAN caller said she’d never vote for Hillary Clinton because she’d read Gary Aldrich’s book. (The Clintons’ White House Christmas tree featured obscene Christmas ornaments!) Now, such small-ante tales come at Hillary Clinton, at Obama and Edwards—and yes, at Pelosi. But good God! “This is how the Obama-Madrassa story got jazzed all over the place,” Josh proclaims, as if addressing a race of readers which emerged on the earth in the past several weeks. He writes as if he just awoke from a thorough fifteen-year slumber himself. And he correctly debunks the latest bullshit—even though, as he strangely tells us, doing so is considered “poor form.”

Good God! At this point, who the fuck could believe it’s “poor form” to challenge such falsehoods about major Democrats? To name the journalists who pimp such tales—such familiar political porn? To judge from Josh’s post, the weird belief that this is “poor form” may well explain the groaning passivity of our liberal leaders down through the Clinton-Bush years. In particular, Josh has sat and stared into air while a generation of Major Dems have been savaged and slimed by such tales; we’ve held him in private semi-contempt since the summer of 2002, when it became clear that he understood the facts about Gore and the press corps but still preferred not to state them. (See THE DAILY HOWLER, 8/12/02. Have you heard him say a word about this major part of our recent history from that day right up to this?) But now, five years later, he boldly comes forth, speaking as if this problem has just now emerged. This is how the madrassa story got jazzed, he weirdly explains to his readers. Has any group, anywhere on earth, ever been so willfully clueless?

In 1996, Gene Lyons published Fools for Scandal, the book which began to define a press era. Lyons’ book, and his subsequent book with Joe Conason, was largely ignored by career liberals. (Though not by Bill Clinton. Link below.) But with the appearance of Fools for Scandal, it became clear that something was massively wrong with the way the press corps—people like Dobbs—was now relating to Big Major Democrats. By 1999, the corps had entered a full-scale nervous breakdown (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 1/19/07); twenty months of “small-ante falsehoods” would now be aimed at Candidate Gore, and these tales would send Bush to the White House. (The “swift boat” episode still lay ahead.) And during this entire period, our bold “career liberals” have cowered and quaked, refusing to deal with the long string of falsehoods—the falsehoods which have defined our discourse and changed U.S. and world history. We’re in Iraq because of their silence. This week, false tales RE Pelosi are easily spread because we’ve put up with such tales in the past. People who hear the new tale RE Pelosi have never heard the old tales debunked. Why should they suspect that this tale is false when they’ve seen us accept all the rest?

And now, the bravest of all brave boys tells us why this pattern has obtained. Good God! Just try to believe it! Even today, unnamed people around Josh Marshall persist in thinking that it’s “poor form” to contradict lies against major Democrats! God almighty!! The contempt you should feel for the thought thus expressed should really know few bounds or limits. At THE HOWLER, we’ve puzzled about this matter for years, and finally, a career liberal has told us. In the world of Josh Marshall, unnamed people still weirdly believe that it’s bad form to challenge lies about Democrats. So Josh, dear leader, do tell us more. Just who are these simpering dandies? Tell the truth, Josh—it’s Clemons, isn’t it? It’s Clemons who says it’s “poor form,” old chap, to confront RNC/mainstream press lies.

A single statement finally explains the silence which has defined an era. Over the course of the past fifteen years, the history of the U. S. and the world has been changed by a torrent of “small-ante falsehoods.” Why has it been so easy to pimp these vile lies? We now see: It’s been easy because your career liberal leaders live in a very strange world indeed—an upside-down world where correcting such lies is seen as some sort of “poor form.” Come, come, old chap, they tell one another, sitting in the club’s leather chairs. Let’s not engage in the kind of “poor form” that can ruin a good man’s career!

Why is George W. Bush in the White House? Finally, Josh Marshall tells you.

CLINTON KNEW: Career liberals knew that it was “poor form” to talk about Lyons and Conason’s books. But Bill Clinton knew what these two books had said. To see Clinton cite them in front of the nation’s editors, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 4/18/00. But uh-oh! Around Marshall, people still think it’s “poor form” to do this—to discuss our actual history.

“No one has yet written the full story,” Clinton tartly said to the editors that day. “I can imagine why you wouldn't, particularly given the way a lot of this has been covered.” Ouch! But guess what? The cowards you accept as your liberal leaders have ducked “the full story” of Clinton and Gore right up to the present! They run from these tales like you’d run from the plague. “Small-ante falsehoods” about Pelosi are easily spread for this very reason—because we’ve refused to debunk all the others. The woman who read Gary Aldrich’s book has never heard her country’s real story. She hears the bullshit from people like Aldrich. In response, the people around Marshall take special care to maintain their endless “good form.” Even today, Josh feels forced to say he’s sorry when he confronts press corps lies!

Good God! You live in a madhouse.

Why have these leaders been strangely silent? Finally, at long last, Marshall tells us. There should be few boundaries on the contempt you feel for such wonderful form.

MARSHALL KNEW: Josh understands the history here. Here’s what he told Howard Kurtz, on Reliable Sources, back in 2002:

KURTZ (8/10/02): Josh Marshall, don’t a lot of reporters believe deep down that Gore ran a horrible campaign and doesn’t deserve another shot?

MARSHALL: I think it’s even more than that. I think deep down most reporters just have contempt for Al Gore. I don’t even think it’s dislike. It’s more like a disdain and contempt...

This was, you know, a year and a half before the election, I think you could say this. This wasn’t something that happened because he ran a bad campaign. If he did, it was something that predated it.

Josh was only off by two months. Quite clearly, the press corps’ War Against Gore began full-bore in March 1999, twenty months before the election. Josh has always known about this. Our question, as we asked you above: From that day right up to this, have you ever seen him say a single word about this matter? Today, he acts like the “small-ante falsehoods” got started last month, with the Obama tale. Five years later, he seems to feel he must apologize before taking on press corps lies.

Clinton knew. And Marshall knew. But only one of them spoke.

THE POST’S GOOD FORM: The Post presents the basic facts about Pelosi in a short report today. (By Lois Romano. It’s on page A15 of our hard-copy Post.) We’d like to link you to this report. But old chap, the Post is showing good form! As of 10:30 AM Eastern, Romano’s report is helpfully AWOL from the paper’s web site.

ONE SMALL FALSEHOOD THIS GROUP IGNORED: Here’s another of these “small-ante falsehoods:” Hillary Clinton is a multiple murderer! (See THE DAILY HOWLER, 1/19/07.) When a crackpot was invited on TV to say this, two separate times, your career liberals all just sat around, silent. Speaking up about such small falsehoods was apparently considered “poor form.”

The contempt you should feel for these loathsome posers really should know few limits.