Daily Howler logo
GAIL COLLINS DID SOMETHING USEFUL! Gail Collins did something useful today—if you have faith in Gail Collins: // link // print // previous // next //

Speaking of voyeurs: This week, you’ve seen your “progressive” elite hit the barrel’s bottom. You’ve seen them taking their story assignments from Tucker Carlson, whose web-site broke the non-story story about that trip to Voyeur.

In a way, it makes perfect sense. You see, Carlson is the horse’s asterisk Rachel Maddow rode in on. In 2005, she got her start at MSNBC as a regular on Carlson’s woeful program, The Situation with Tucker Carlson. Carlson and Maddow had been brought to the station by prime-time director Bill Wolff, whose leading credential was the following: He had co-written Rebound, the Martin Lawrence comedy basketball movie. (In his wisdom, Wolff also made Max Kellerman, the former TV sports shouter, a regular guest with Carlson.)

Leave it to Carlson to tell the world about that pointless trip to Voyeur! And leave it to corporate-progressive hosts to gambol and play with this nonsense. (This nonsense will bounce back against progressive interests hard, just as soon as some low-level Democrat commits some similar goof.) In the larger sense, this silly story is getting play around the press for two major reasons. First, Michael Steele is widely scorned, pretty much across the spectrum. But it’s getting big play for a second reason. You see, the story involves major sexy-time sex, the topic our dead-souled cable “press corps” has always loved most above all.

To what extent will our leading corporate progressives talk down to you as they hand you sexy-time tales? Below, you see Olbermann, this Monday night, treating you like perfect fools on his first night back on the program. In fairness, this segment gave KO the chance to show visuals of Playboy covers all through the night, as he teased this important report. This is the very sort of thing he complained, quite accurately, about Bill O’Reilly doing.

In what follows, Olbermann is telling you something basic. He thinks your IQ is 9:

OLBERMANN (3/29/10): But our winner, Bill O’Reilly, who— now I have been away for a while, so I forget who some of these folks are. He’s apparently one of those trained seals over at Fox News. Is that right? Over the weekend, Mr. O’Reilly once again spoke to the It Happened to Alexa Foundation, a terrific group that tries to support rape victims, to which I’ve donated. He speaks to them, even though he publicly blamed a rape and murder victim, an 18-year-old girl, for her own demise in August 2006, because, as he noted, she was wearing a halter top and a miniskirt.

But that hypocrisy is pretty far back in the O’Reilly ledger. This is about what he did after the fund-raiser on his trip back to New York Saturday morning, apparently, Delta from Palm Beach to Laguardia, flight—I have it here somewhere—2270. Every week or so, Mr. O’Reilly goes on TV and decries the waning morals of this nation, especially the willingness of women to appear in bikinis or less, or their appearance in commercials or videos.

He underscores how offensive this is by naturally showing several minutes of the women in bikinis or less on TV. This, he proudly announces, is him just looking out for the folks, especially those poor exploited women. Well, according to a fellow passenger on Delta, after Mr. O’Reilly greeted his fans and settled into his seat, he pulled out from a leather portfolio a copy of Playboy magazine, which he proceeded to peruse for much of the flight, in plain sight of passengers nearby, including children.

As the old saying goes, he wasn’t reading the articles. Bill O’Reilly—maybe he was bringing it back for one of his producers, if you know what I mean—today’s “Worst person in the world!”

On his first night back, Olbermann’s contempt for his viewers was evident in this report—which was carefully based on what one unnamed passenger had allegedly said!

(By the way—note how KO now praises the Alexa Foundation as “a terrific group.” Last year, pseudo-liberals trashed the foundation when O’Reilly spoke at their function; the play pretty much blew up in pseudo-progressive faces. This year, Olbermann tells us the Alexa people are terrific—but he still won’t explain why such a terrific group would want O’Reilly to headline its big event. Olbermann knows the answer, but you do not. And in his contempt for you and yours, he’s planning to keep it that way.)

Then there was Maddow, bringing on Ana Marie Cox to ponder the Voyeur matter. This sort of thing is especially painful on Maddow’s show, because we have to sit through Maddow’s endless, silly song-and-dances about how deeply embarrassed she is to discuss such deeply embarrassing sexy-time topics. On Tuesday, Maddow and her nitwit friend spent more than twelve minutes kicking this utterly pointless non-story around. We were especially struck by Maddow’s bald disseembling in the part of her exposition which dealt with Bob Dole’s former press secretary. But then, no one dissembles the way Maddow does. We’ve never seen her match.

In the last week, Maddow has aired five full segments on an especially cloying topic—on the fact that she isn’t running for the Senate. (Five segments! She also ran a full-page ad in the Boston Globe.) By Tuesday night, she was pretending that she was doing these segments because she just hates lying so much. Presumably, several viewers believed what she said. Our own thoughts turned to P. T Barnum, who understood such transactions.

That said, Maddow did a fascinating segment last night, interviewing James Hoggan, author of Climate Cover-up (click here). For our money, the big picture got semi-lost in this segment. We’ll discuss that big picture tomorrow. Sorry—no sex was involved.

GAIL COLLINS DID SOMETHING USEFUL (permalink): Gail Collins did something useful today—if you have faith in Gail Collins. But first:

A note on the intellectual horizons at the upper end of the New York Times.

At first, we thought it must be a joke! Yesterday, we checked David Shipley’s Wikipedia entry, fact-checking a minor point for Chapter 5 of How he got there. (Shipley was married to Naomi Wolf during Campaign 2000, when the press corps conducted its astonishing, month-long trashing of Wolf as part of its war against Gore.)

Today, Shipley is deputy editorial page editor and op-ed editor at the New York Times (click here). Presumably, he’s Collins’ “boss” in some technical way. That’s why we thought it might be a joke when we read this line in his Wikipedia entry:

WIKIPEDIA: In 2007 he and Will Schwalbe wrote a book named "send" that talks about how to email, and the correct way to do so.

Say what? The op-ed editor of the New York Times wrote a book about how to e-mail? Seriously though, people: We thought this might be one of those counterfeit lines Wikipedia quickly removes from its posts. But because we’ve been hurt so badly before, we fact-checked at Amazon all the same. And sure enough! Upon arrival, we found this:

Send: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do It Better, Revised Edition [Bargain Price] (Hardcover)
David Shipley (Author), Will Schwalbe (Author)

Go ahead—you explain it to us! To all appearances, the op-ed editor of the New York Times co-wrote the definitive book on the correct ways to e-mail! Incredibly, the book is 250 pages long. To peruse chapter titles, click this.

Does Collins’ groaning intellectual horizon perhaps start making more sense?

That said, Collins did something worthwhile today—if you trust Gail Collins. But first, the analysts groaned and writhed at the start of this high lady’s column. Good God! Say it ain’t so! The lady had done it again!

COLLINS (4/1/10): Mitt Romney, Liberal Icon

I need to apologize to Mitt Romney.

Here I was thinking of him as a failed politician with no discernible core values, who had once driven to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of the car.

While other analysts shrieked and wailed, one youngster tried to look on the bright side. At least she didn’t name the dog, he observed. Oh yeah? In fact, Collins had saved the same of the dog for the end of the column:

COLLINS: It’s possible that [Romney] hadn’t looked so uncomfortable since the time he was chased by a reporter who wanted to know if he thought Seamus the Irish setter had enjoyed driving to Canada on top of the family car.

Based on our own recent count, this is at least the fourteenth column in which this high lady has referenced Mitt Romney’s dead dog.

On the other hand, she has never written a book about the correct ways to e-mail.

How dumb does it get at the top of the Times? In today’s column, Collins quotes Obama, who recently said that his health plan resembles the plan Romney installed in Massachusetts. But uh-oh! “We did not actually hear a whole lot about how Obama’s health care bill was similar to Romney’s during its long, torturous struggle through Congress,” Collins then weirdly writes. Apparently, Collins spent the past year on Mars. Here on this planet, this resemblance has been mentioned, with great repetition, since time immemorial. But so it goes at the upper end of an intellectual pseudo-elite—an elite which has literally written the book about the best ways to e-mail.

Collins rarely fails to amaze. But today, she does a worthwhile thing—if you trust Gail Collins. In four paragraphs of her 18-graf column, she actually explains a significant point which is being widely flogged on Fox. Have big corporations been mugged by Obama’s health plan? Will they get hammered by a major new cost? This week, Fox viewers have persistently heard this—that this is one more fiendish part of Obama’s fiendish new law. And incredibly, for one brief shining moment today, Collins kicked Romney’s dog to the curb and explained a serious point:

COLLINS: This week there was an alarming report that AT&T was going to have to reduce its long-term profit estimates by about $1 billion because of the new law—or, as the House minority leader, John Boehner, put it, the newly enacted “job-killing tax increases.” The AT&T charge was for accounting purposes, which is not as much real money as currency-based theology. But still, it did sound bad.

It turned out that the $1 billion goes back to the famous 2003 Medicare prescription drug entitlement passed by a Republican-controlled Congress and paid for through their innovative pretend-it’s-not-there financing system.

In order to keep businesses from ending their drug coverage and dumping their retirees on the federal system, Congress provided a 28 percent reimbursement for the benefits. And, the companies got to deduct the entire cost of the drug plans from their taxes. Including the government subsidy.

Yes! The job-killing tax increase in the new law involves no longer allowing big corporations to take a tax deduction for spending money we gave them. Somehow, this doesn’t seem to have the makings of a Tea Party rally.

That is useful information—if you trust Lady Collins. Do you trust her to know what she’s talking about? For ourselves, we’re inclined to trust—but we’d like to verify.

Just a guess: You won’t be able to verify Collins’ account in the Times’ news pages. This complaint about long-term profit estimate has been all over Fox this week. Those “Tea Party” folk at whom Collins rolls her eyes are hearing this flogged quite regularly. But Collins doesn’t mention this point in her column; she doesn’t let her readers know what millions of voters are being told elsewhere. Just a guess: This grand lady is too blinkered, too fine, to waste her time exploring the wider landscape—to study up on the way average folk (sometimes called “the rabble”) may be getting misled. It’s much more important to fill her column with the usual piddle and poof—with jokes about Romney’s dog, with weird accounts of things we didn’t hear during our past year of Mars.

Collins devotes four paragraphs to something important today. For Collins, that may be a record.

But what about the Times itself—what about the paper’s news pages? Elsewhere, millions of people are being told about those long-term profit estimates. They’re being told that this is another way the vile Obama plan will kill jobs. Do American voters deserve the chance to examine a fuller discussion? It’s unlikely they’ll get that chance in this lofty paper—the paper whose op-ed editor spends his time writing books about how to e-mail.

For years, we’ve suggested that big newspapers should conduct a regular “Spin Watch” feature. (This would be based on the “Ad Watch” features which appear during campaigns.) A paper like the Times could call it something less aggressive: “Things you’re hearing”/”What they’re saying.” But in effect, this would be a fact-check feature—a feature which would try to flesh out the various claims which are driving our talk-show culture.

In such a feature, the Times would document where particular claims were being made. And the paper could present a fuller discussion of the topic in question.

This will not happen at the Times, an intellectually low-grade enterprise. Collins, the paper’s former editorial page editor, obsesses at length about Romney’s pet dog. Shipley, the paper’s op-ed editor, writes complete books about e-mail. Meanwhile, Collins is under the odd impression that we never heard much about Romney’s plan during our Year of Health Care.

In our view, many people find it heard to process a basic fact about our press corps elite. Truly, it’s a D-minus elite, one of the dumbest elites in world history. We often discuss how “biased” this elite is; that is, of course, a perfectly valid analytical framework. But in our view, many people simply can’t process a more basic fact: This elite is just plain dead-dog dumb.

It’s impolite to say such a thing. As our prize, we get books about e-mail—and we get yet another jest about Mitt Romney’s dead dog.