This Week. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) discuss immigration: plus, a global warming tour of Montanas Glacier National Park with Gov. Brian Schweitzer and a face-off between Manliness author Harvey Mansfield and feminist Naomi Wolf.Omigod! A revival of the Mansfield-Wolf debate which aired on C-SPAN last weekend (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 3/21/06).
Why do we recommend this program? In the wake of this weeks small discussion about the conduct of Campaign 2000, heres a chance for you to see the person the media establishment went after so hard in the fall of 1999. For six weeks, the establishment media tried to convince you that Wolf was a big haired cutie, a kook, a crackpot, a bimbo, an oddball, and a flashy Culture Babe. Thirty-seven years old when the frenzy began, she was described as this girl, this silly girl, a girl writer, a Valley Girl, and was scorned as this silly book author by Margaret Carlson on CNNs Capital Gang. And yes, this astonishing performance was conducted by the mainstream media, not by the Right-Wing Noise Machine. Indeed, who were Wolfs most prominent defenders during this period? Of course! The Williams—Kristol and Safire! Go ahead! Try to find a major liberal defending Wolf during this period. Were fairly sure that they existed (well cite one below). But theyll prove hard to find.
Again, heres a chance to see the person the mainstream media slandered in such an astonishing way. Wolf is, of course, a former Rhodes Scholar. As of 1999, she had written three best-sellers; two had been picked by the New York Times as notable books of the year. And she had advised the 96 Clinton campaign. Heres what Dick Morris wrote about Wolfs role in that campaign in his book, Inside the Oval Office. The book appeared before smutty Wolf-trashing became the latest establishment rage:
MORRIS: Two to three times a week, [a number of advisers] met with me to formulate copy...Author Naomi Wolf was sometimes with us. I myself met with Naomi every few weeks for nearly a year to get her advice on how to target women voters. She also gave me remarkably prescient analyses of the social-cultural trends in the country.That was Morris account of Campaign 96. But when Wolf became an adviser to Gore three years later, brought on (in part) to target women voters, the establishment media pretended that it was the strangest event in worlds long history. So it went as the media establishment conducted its War Against Gore.
So go ahead—watch Wolf and Mansfield tomorrow, then ponder how Bush found his way to the White House. Remember—the smutty trashing of Naomi Wolf was conducted by the mainstream press, not by the Right-Wing Noise Machine. Last week, Ezra Klein—The Answer, The Doctor, Dr. K—finally made this general point, showing off some of his gravity-defying Klei Slamma Jamma moves to the hoop. But others cling to tired tales about the Right-Wing Noise Machine—a machine which played a very small role in the two-year war which sent Bush to the White House (and the U.S. Army into Iraq). To get the full dope on this remarkable episode, we strongly advise you to see THE DAILY HOWLER, 3/3/03, and read all through that weeks five posts. After watching This Week, of course—after watching the press corps silly book author debate the genial Professor Mansfield.
KUDOS TO ALTERMAN: When an establishment scribe (a guy we like) made a smutty but—oops!—false claim, Eric Alterman asked why he did it! The answer became an Instant Classic. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 3/3/03. Incomparably, we explain where this particular claim seems to have gotten its start.