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Daily Howler: Cottle's crib is worth $2 million. So why are her comments so worthless?
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SADDLING DINOSAURS! Cottle’s crib is worth $2 million. So why are her comments so worthless? // link // print // previous // next //

PART 8 TO FOLLOW: Part 8 in our “Bungling Rather” report will probably follow tomorrow. In the meantime, more on the fiery “liberal spokesmen” who refuse to describe the recent history of the mainstream press corps.

GEISHA BOYS: Why do “liberal spokesmen” have so little to say about the press corps’ recent conduct? More specifically, why do so few of your “liberal spokesmen” discuss the press corps’ trashing of Clinton, then Gore? The question popped into our minds again when we opened this morning’s New York Times and found this lengthy op-ed piece by The New Republic’s Noam Scheiber. (Warning: Do NOT attempt to read this piece while operating heavy machinery.) Weird, isn’t it? Though TNR simply crawls with fiery liberals, the journal had virtually nothing to say about the press corps’ two-year War Against Gore—a war conducted by the Washington Post and the New York Times, a war which put George Bush in the White House. Our reaction? Whenever one of their bright young editors writes a piece for the Post or the Times, we find ourselves recalling this peculiar circumstance. Why didn’t TNR describe the New York Times’ actual conduct? Did puppy-dog editors have their own career prospects in mind as Campaign 2000 rolled on to conclusion? We don’t have the slightest idea. But for young hustlers who want to write for the Times, the conflict of interest is obvious.

Of course, this is a very old story. In days of yore, young Hamlet railed against Dad’s murder. But all around him, he saw a court determined to ignore what had happened. Weak-willed courtiers gazed away, gaining advantage from their silence. With that in mind, if you want to read young Schieber’s piece, we’re fairly sure you know what to do: Drink a pot of steaming black coffee. Finish it off with a chaser of Jolt. Fortified thus, just click here.

SADDLING DINOSAURS: Good news! In its current “LUXURY HOMES” feature, the Washingtonian keeps us up-to-date on the life styles of the rich and musing. Who has been buying those luxury cribs? Here are the mag’s first four listings:

THE WASHINGTONIAN (3/05): IN DC: Republican consultant Michael Murphy sold a brick Victorian townhouse on O Street in Georgetown for $1,763,000. The house has four fireplaces and a garden.

Christopher Orr, executive editor at the New Republic, and his wife, Michelle Cottle, New Republic senior editor, bought a five-bedroom Colonial on Loughboro Road in DC's Kent neighborhood for $1,470,000. The house has a hot tub and pool.

Hilary Rosen, former director of the Recording Industry Association, and Elizabeth Birch, former Human Rights Campaign executive director, sold a six-bedroom Tudor on Hillbrook Lane in Spring Valley for $2,300,000. The house listed for $2,350,000.

IN VIRGINIA: Washington Wizards center Brendan Haywood bought a $1,550,000 Colonial townhouse in Rosslyn. The house has an elevator, library, gourmet kitchen, and rooftop terrace.

Surprising, isn’t it? The Wizards’ center bought the library. The New Republic eds went for the hot tub!

Yes, there’s plenty of reason to keep your mouth shut when membership in the press corps elite leads to such priceless rewards. And sure enough! This very Sunday, on Reliable Sources, there was Cottle, criticizing that vile mainstream press corps—because it’s so tough on conservatives! Does the mainstream press corps ridicule Christians? Her host’s inquiring mind wanted to know—and her answer was suitably ludicrous:

HOWARD KURTZ (3/27/05): Michelle Cottle, has the press ridiculed, or maybe I should say marginalized, religious people who believed the Terri Schiavo must be kept alive as a matter of Christian morality?

COTTLE: Well, it's not that they get out there and make fun of them. It's just you come with a ready-made kind of visual here. You have people on the streets praying. They're—you have very dramatic and even melodramatic protests and things like this. These people are very easy to kind of just poke fun at without even saying anything. You just kind of show these people.

Yesterday, Atrios noted the sheer absurdity of Cottle’s remark. But later, the hot-tub dweller continued her assault on that troubling mainstream press corps:
KURTZ: Let's broaden this to other religious-related issues: teaching of evolution in Kansas schools, a lot of coverage there, whether it should be required, whether creationism should be included; the Ten Commandments display in Alabama and elsewhere; even gay marriage in San Francisco. Isn't there some built-in media bias by the East Coast journalists toward those who have a different view of these matters?

COTTLE: I think there is. I mean, it's not that they—again, it's not that they say unpleasant things. But they do behave as though the people who believe these things are on the fringe, when actually the vast majority of the American public describes itself as Christian.

Cottle still hadn’t given any examples of the press corps’ troubling “behavior.” But as she continued, her commentary became even more puzzling:
COTTLE (continuing directly): You know, a huge percentage, somewhere between a third and a half, actually say that they believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible. And another huge chunk would be uncomfortable with evolution being taught in the schools. And this—this is not what you find in the New York media.
Say what? It was still unclear what Cottle was saying, but her complaint began to seem bizarre. Should members of the New York media be “uncomfortable with evolution being taught in the schools?” Should members of the New York media “believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible?” Last evening’s NewsHour included a report about a Christian conservative who is constructing a $25 million “Creation Museum;” the museum includes an exhibit in which life-size dinosaurs are even shown wearing saddles! Should members of the New York media be endorsing things like that? You can’t quite tell from what Cottle says. Maybe all those hours in the new tub have eaten up her precision.

How does the press corps cover religion? The question is important, but it can’t be answered with flippant spin, the way Cottle and Steve Roberts did on Kurtz’s program. Does the “New York media” really trash Christians? Check out the transcript from last night’s Paula Zahn Now if you’re so sure that the answer is yes. Or read the transcript from that NewsHour report—a report which was appropriately respectful but didn’t pretend that there isn’t a problem when museums put saddles on dinosaurs. In this case, the PBS media was perfectly fair. It was Cottle who was too lazy to get past her tired old spin.

Cottle and Roberts offered a wealth of “establishment right-leaning centrist” spin, but they offered absolutely no insight. The good news? They won’t be getting nasty e-mails from Christian conservatives. Cottle, lounging in the tub, may not have much time for that.

YOU HAVE TO KNOW WHEN TO HOLD ‘EM: Let’s say it again: There’s plenty of reason to keep your mouth shut when membership in the press elite leads to such priceless rewards. Strangely enough, Cottle is tough on the “New York media” when it won’t put saddles on dinosaurs. But it’s funny! No one has covered up for the press corps’ War Against Gore more skillfully than this fiery “liberal spokesman!” Indeed, when Cottle played Hardball in December 02, she perfectly captured the prevailing press line (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 12/19/02). Like all the rest of your “liberal spokesmen,” she somehow knew that she just shouldn’t mention what the press corps had done to poor Gore! Read her comments for a perfect recitation of the prevailing—and bogus—press line.

What a paradox! She lives in a crib that’s worth $2 million. So why are her comments so worthless?