WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10, 2004
QUITE A MORNING: We have an event tonight for which we must prepare. But what a day in the mornings newspapers! Well get to a few of these topics in coming days. But four things deserve your attention.
First, check Nicholas Kristofs must-read piece in this mornings Times. On the campaign trail, Candidate Gephardt routinely discussed the unthinkable possibility which Kristof examines. What would happen if a nuke went off in Times Square? American society as we know it would cease. But your mainstream press corps is more concerned with the price of John Kerrys shirts. Let them eat haircuts, your press corps has said. This morning, Kristof examines the unthinkable. This topic deserves much more attention.
Second, check Michael Winerips latest must-read report, this time about the libraries in some urban schools. But time out! For once, Winerip seems to be unaware of a larger issue involved in his brief. Having spent many years teaching urban fifth-graders, we plan to explore it tomorrow.
Then theres pitiful Katharine Kit Seelye. Her work should be sent straight to the Smithsonian, where future journalism students could go to marvel, ponder. lament and stare. Her third and fourth paragraphs are always editorials, and todays tortured news report provides no exception. By the way, does Seelye have politics? We still dont know. But if theres a less disciplined scribe on the face of the earth, were not really sure who it is.
Finally, for a good solid laugh, check this front-page headline in the Washington Times: Kerrys proposed Iraq trip recalls McGovern war visit. How big a rube must a Times reader be? Its simply amazing to see the way this paper talks down to its readers.
DAVID BROOKSA QUESTION RESTATED: So lets see: According to this mornings papers, The Media Fund is running an ad about George Bushs priorities. The Log Cabin Republicans are running an ad about the proposed gay marriage amendment. Last night on Sean & Colmes, we learned that another group is running an ad about the funding of No Child Left Behind.
Yes, the sheer inanity of Bossies ad is one of our ages sad wonders. But then, the same inanitythe precise same inanitywas found at the core of a David Brooks column in Saturdays New York Times. What does Bossies ad concern? Kerrys shirts, haircuts, yacht and big houses! And what did Brooks column concern? His list of topics was precisely the same! There they were, precisely the same topics, at the heart of the mans inane column.
And so we repeat our question from yesterday (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 3/9/04): Who is scripting Brooks column? As some readers have pointed out, its obvious that Bossie didnt get his topics from Brooks column. Bossies ad was in the can and posted by Monday; theres no way it could have been produced on such short notice. So where did Brooks come up with the very-same topics? Who was actually calling the shots when he wrote this insulting, inane column?
Readers, it isnt necessarily wrong when a scribe takes his cues from a pol or a party. For example, if the RNC offers a salient critique of some issue, its perfectly fair for a scribe to affirm it. But in this case, Brooks points were unattributedand his column was vastly, insultingly inane. The New York Times should be embarrassed to have put such drek into print at all. But when we see that the columns agenda apparently originated somewhere else, the Times should be asked to tell its readers: Who is actually scripting its columns? The name on the piece said David Brooks. But who really scripted this column?
Let them eat earth tones, they said four years back. Now were fed haircuts and troubling shirts. The Times should be embarrassed to publish such crap. But again we ask the obvious question: Who is actually scripting these columns? Again we ask Gail Collins (and David Shipley): Gail, its 11 oclock in your country. Do you know who your columnists are?
KRAUTHAMMER HELPER: Whoa, Nelly! This morning, Imus hosted Frank Rich and Bill OReillyin separate telephone sessions, of courseas the pair of plupotent pundits extended their war about Mel. In our view, this remains the most illuminating press story of the week; well review Frank and Bills remarks before tomorrows HOWLER. For our money, OReilly has lone been over-the-top and around-the-bend in his constant rants against what he calls secularism. But we think he has sometimes gotten the better of Rich on this topic. Well offer examples tomorrow.
Last night, though, the propaganda continued. Dem consultant Flavia Colgan spent some time in Scarborough Country. She scolded Jon Voight for comparing Gibson to Hitler. But then she said thisand misled:
COLGAN: Jon Voight, whichI have to disagree with him even putting Mel Gibson in the same sentence with Hitler. I think hes doing what hes accusing Mel Gibson to do, which is to do make inflammatory comments. And it really doesnt help the issue.Normally, Colgan does better than this. Readers, are you normally happy when Dem consultants spread Charles Krauthammers spin-points around? At least The Hammer mentioned a salient fact, if in passing (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 3/8/04)in The Passion, Satan appears among Jewish crowds only twice, out of four appearances. But when Andrew Sullivan adopted the point last Friday, this qualification had already disappeared. [Gibson] is clearly and palpably anti-Semitic, Sully wrote. His movie is an act of aggression against Jews Charles notes how Satan walks and lives and breathes among the Jews in the movie. Last night, Colganin another discussion of alleged anti-Semitismdeep-sixed Krauthammers qualification, too. In The Passion, Satan stands beside Romans and Jews. But when Colgan showed up in Scarborough Country, the Romans had somehow disappeared.
Alas! Colgans comments were even more misleading than Sullys. Where is Satan when he has someone at the breast milking? Alas! Thats the scene where Satan stands in solidarity with the Roman commander who is directing the scourging of Jesus. But insider pundits have formed a group judgment, and theyre trying to drag you along for the ride. Result? Dems embellish Krauthammers points! Meanwhile, some readers scream when this sort of thing is dumped on Dems, but are pleased when its handed to Mel.