A STANDARD ASSERTION: Richard Cohen gets some things right and some things wrong in todays column about Reverend Wright. But lets ignore his views of the current matter. When journalists advance this Standard Laughable Claim, we try to swing into action:
COHEN (3/18/08): But a presidential candidate is not a mere church member, and he operates in a different context. We examine everything about him for the slightest clue about character.
When it comes to presidential candidates, We examine everything about him for the slightest clue about character. They make that Standard Claim all the time. Who knows? They may even believe it!
What does the press corps actually do? As E. R. Shipp noted in March 2000, they invent different roles for the characters in their drama, then proceed disgracefully from there. For example, does anyone think that the press corps has examined everything about John McCain for the slightest clue about character? Does anyone remember the way they examined everything about Candidate Bush for the slightest clue about character? Bushs DUI emerged at the end of Campaign 2000 because, for all their early growling, the press corps hadnt bothered to check his record in Kennebunkport. Meanwhile, why was CBS still exploring (and bungling) the Air National Guard story during Campaign 04? Because, with very few exceptions, the nations big news orgs took a total pass on the story during Campaign 2000.
Instead, they spent their valuable time inventing bogus tales about Gore.
We examine everything about them for the slightest clue about character? In fact, heres what they actually do: They invent demon tales about those they dislike, and recite hero tales about those they prefer. Despite this, Cohens claim is perfectly standard. They get to keep making this ludicrous claim because career liberals—our sides house-broken lovable losers—keep accepting the things they do.
MISTER DRUDGE SI, NEWSMAX NO: Bill Kristol made a major misstatement in yesterdays column about Obama. Just like that, Josh Marshal swung into action, snarkily saying that Kristol forg[ot] that fact-checking is important, even in a hit piece. In this subsequent post, even the superlative Greg Sargent had some fun, rolling his eyes at the idea that Kristols misstatement was based on reporting by NewsMax, of all things. (By the way, what ever happened to Horses Mouth? We could guess—but we hate such vile conduct.)
For ourselves, we got a bit snarky too—when we read these posts. After all, it was just a few weeks ago that many liberal lovable losers were happily citing Matt Drudge as a way to trash Hillary Clinton. Just to establish the historical record, weve been meaning to post this exchange from the Charlie Rose show, which we mentioned in real time. Lets see if we have the current rules straight. Citing NewsMax is abhorrent. Citing Mister Drudge is OK:
ROSE (3/3/08): What did you think when they released the photo to Drudge of Obama in tribal clothing?
DASCHLE: What it said to me was that they still havent learned, you know. We thought that after the South Carolina experience, where race was raised, that they had been burned adequately. That led them to believe that this isnt going to work, and that we shouldnt be exploiting that kind of tactic again. But nonetheless, it happened. It was a desperate move on the part of some—somebody in the campaign. Hillary of course denies it.
ROSE: Are you convinced that it came from the Clinton campaign to Drudge?
DASCHLE: Im not convinced of it. Drudge said that it had. Hillary has denied it. Barack has accepted her denial. Im satisfied with that myself. But if it did come from the Clinton campaign—and again, as I said, that is what Mr. Drudge has insisted—I think its a desperate move.
Here at THE HOWLER, weve always liked Daschle. But in that exchange, you see a major Democrat utterly disgracing himself. To state the obvious, Daschle had no earthly idea if that photo came from the Clinton campaign. (By the way, that isnt what Mister Drudge had said.) But he was perfectly happy to say that it had (before later admitting his ignorance). All based on what Mister Drudge has insisted, of course.
Has insisted! Simply astounding.
At any rate, please remember the rules—at least the rules that obtain this week. Its outrageous to take your facts from NewsMax. From Mister Drudge? Please! A-OK!
WATCHING THEIR NOVEL GROW: We love to watch their novels grow. Yesterday morning, Bill Clinton told ABCs Robin Roberts that he got a raw deal when he was slammed for comparing Obamas win in South Carolina to Jesse Jacksons two victories in the state. To watch the tape, just click here.
Ten hours later, the propaganda—sorry, the novelizing—started up quickly on Hardball. Chris Matthews engaged in standard clowning about Clintons troubling body language with Roberts (not included below). But it was social commentator Nancy Giles who extended a colorful novel:
MATTHEWS (3/17/08): I was amazed to see Bill Clinton—I always say that somewhat sarcastically; I dont mean to be sarcastic—I saw Bill Clinton on Good Morning America this morning said that he had nothing to apologize for when he compared Barack Obamas victory in South Carolina with that of Jesse Jackson. He wasnt marginalizing the minority candidate. He was doing nothing wrong. Whereas Hillary said, if I did something wrong or my husband did something wrong, please forgive him. Different points of view, obviously, here on the campaign trail by Bill and Hill.
GILES: Absolutely. And the funny thing to me is, if you watch and you remember the moment when sort of standing there saying, Jesse Jackson won South Carolina, Jesse Jackson, Jesse Jackson; he never said anything about him winning with a biracial coalition like he claimed this morning. He just kept repeating Jesse Jackson in this kind of wild-eyed crazy way like, remember, Jesse, Jesse. Its totally disingenuous for him to say that today, I think.
Absolutely, Giles enthused. And then, she started inventing.
In fairness, Giles remarks created a colorful new chapter in the press corps favorite novel. Unfortunately, her remarks just werent—whats the word? Oh yeah—her remarks werent true. At this link, you see the full transcript of the press exchange in which the now-famous Jackson comment was made. Clinton mentioned Jacksons name once (after saying several times that he wouldnt take the bait). If its the truth you expect from people like Giles, Clinton didnt sort of stand there saying, Jesse Jackson won South Carolina, Jesse Jackson, Jesse Jackson. He didnt keep repeating Jesse Jackson in this kind of wild-eyed crazy way. He didnt say Jesse, Jesse. Nancy Giles simply made that sh*t up. But making sh*t up about disfavored Dems has long been standard press practice.
Readers, enjoy the irony! In his interview with Roberts, Clinton complained that his remark about Jackson had been falsely turned into a racial matter. As if to reinforce his larger point, Matthews and his gang of clowns got busy adding bogus chapters to their favorite novel. First, Matthews made clownish remarks about Clintons troubling body language. Then, Giles engaged in conduct normally described as lying—except in the mainstream press corps, of course, where making sh*t up (inventing novels) is a part of the standard culture.
By normal standards, Giles should be gone. (She should have been gone a long time ago. Matthews should have been gone by 1999.) Tomorrow, well show you how an early chapter in this press corps novel was composed. Thursday, well spend some time examining Matthews high-minded recent thoughts about race. Our question, which well post to you as well: Which part of Jesse Jackson makes this creep think of a ghetto?