Of course, Bread for the City was the real winner—a point that should not be ignored.
CAREER LIBERALS REFUSE TO TELL VOTERS THE TRUTH: We drew one thought from that Matthews Show segment—here comes that Treasured Old Script once again, down the pike for Campaign 08 (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 4/27/06). Dem White House hopefuls are fake, inauthentic—and the voters can spot it right away. By contrast, Republican hopefuls are straight-talking straight-shooters, just reeking of pure authenticity. Youd think this script would lie in tatters after events of the last five years. But the Matthews panel was rehearsing it proudly—and the script is employed in puzzling ways in Joe Kleins new Politics Lost. (More on that book all next week.)
Republican candidates are the straight-talkers. Dem White House hopefuls are fake—inauthentic. The theme was active during Campaign 04—and it formed the backbone of the press corps war against Candidate Gore during Campaign 2000, the war which changed our history. But as weve told you—again and again—career liberals simply refuse to discuss this. This was acted out in a remarkable way when Democratic strategist Kirsten Powers appeared on The Factor last night, paired with tough-talking Michelle Malkin.
Mr. O was complaining about liberal bias; he said the press has shown such bias in the way it has treated security leaks. (They criticized the leak about Valerie Plame—but they cheered the leak about secret prisons.) But near the end of the segment, it happened. Omigod! What an opening! Mr. O directly asked Powers about the coverage of Campaign 2000:
POWERS (4/27/06): I'm worried about the press, but I don't think it's ideological. I think it's more a corporate agenda or a salacious agenda. There are other things that drive them.Omigod! Finally—at last! The perfect chance to tell the world about Campaign 2000! In 2000, the press corps pandered and fawned to Bush—and conducted a twenty-month war against Gore. And here was the chance to tell two million viewers about this important recent history! At last, the folks could hear all about it! But good lord! Heres how Powers replied:
O'REILLY: You don't think the New York Times is ideological?
POWERS: The mainstream media was behind the Bush administration, locked up 100 percent, up until the war. They're not liberal. That's not liberal.
O'REILLY: But that's because of the war on terror.
POWERS: No, it's not.
O'REILLY: That's what skewed it out. In 2000, when he won the election, come on! You're telling me that the mainstream media was happy about that?
POWERS (continuing directly): I worked in the Clinton administration, and I don't remember the press being that nice to Bill Clinton. And I've worked on Democratic campaigns, and really think there is a problem with the media. I don't think that the problem is that they are pushing for an ideology. I just don't think they are invested in that.Pathetic. I've worked on Democratic campaigns, and really think there is a problem with the media! But as weve long told you: For reasons only they can explain, Career Liberals simply refuse to discuss this part of our recent history. More specifically: Even when directly asked, Career Liberal Elites completely refuse to discuss Campaign 2000.
What an insult—and what an injustice—to those two million viewers.
Gore was slammed as fake, inauthentic; Kerry was subjected to the same scripts. And last weekend, a Matthews Show panel began to rehearse the script for applications in Campaign 08. And guess what? The script will keep working, again and again; it will work because of people like Powers. When will citizens get to hear the truth about their actual history? When will progressives—career liberals like Powers—condescend to tell voters the truth?
ON THE OTHER HAND: On the other hand, heres Eric Boehlert at the Huffington Post, discussing the coverage of Candidate Gore. And heres Kevin Drum at the Washington Monthly, discussing that New Republic profile of George Allen. Its very unwise to go back to events from Allens high school days. But Kevin jumps, quite correctly, at the Allen campaigns statement about authenticity. We ask a slightly different question, of course: In 2008, do we plan to let the mainstream press corps beat us to death with that old stick again? If not, well have to push back hard—and we have to start pushing back now.
ON THE THIRD HAND: Mr. O gave Michelle the last word. Unlike Powers, she didnt pull punches:
O'REILLY (continuing directly from above): All right. And I know—Michelle, I'm going to give you 15 seconds, because I know you disagree with that. You wrote a book about it.As weve long told you: The other side keeps saying things which are false. We refuse to say what is true. Result? That script will work again in 08. It will work due to people like Powers.
MALKIN: I certainly did. I think it's dealing in unreality to deny liberal bias in the media.
O'REILLY: Ladies, always a pleasure.
Malkin pounded Powers last night. Due to the pitiful way we perform, it only took 15 seconds.
WEVE BEEN GOOD ALL WEEK: All week, we held our counsel about that segment on last Sundays 60 Minutes. But what was wrong when Ed Bradley interviewed former CIA honcho Tyler Drumheller? In a nutshell, the problem is here, as Bradley discusses Bushs 16 words—and that uranium story:
BRADLEY (4/23/06): So, let me see if I have—have it correct here. The United States gets a report that Saddam is trying to buy uranium from Africa, but you and—and many others in our intelligence quickly knock it down. And then the uranium story is removed from the speech that the president is to give in Cincinnati because the head of the CIA, George Tenet, doesn't believe in it?Doh! Can you spot the logical problem? Drumheller—who has never seen the British intelligence—doesnt think its any good. But the Brits—who have seen the British intelligence—still insist that its valid. And what does Bradley want us to do? He wants us to accept the view of the guy who hasnt seen the British intelligence! Drumhellers judgment might be right, of course. But given the logic of this odd situation, theres no real way that we can know that. Or, if there is a way to know, Bradley didnt ask what it is. Handed the conclusion he wanted, he simply moved ahead.
BRADLEY: And then it appears in the State of the Union Address a short time later?
DRUMHELLER: As a British report, yeah.
BRADLEY: You oversaw all of the intelligence operations for the CIA in Europe?
BRADLEY: Do you think that the British had something that we didn't have?
DRUMHELLER: No, I don't think they did.
BRADLEY: The British maintain they have intelligence to support the story, but to this day, they have never shared it.
But then, we thought Bradleys report was just awful throughout. Have you ever wondered how 60 Minutes was dumb enough to air that report about Bush and the National Guard—the bungled report which helped Bush so much in the fall of 2004? Watching Bradley blunder and spin, we thought we finally understood. Was there any part of this report that didnt seem to come from a Gong Show out-take? For example, the uranium story that was removed from Bushs Cincinnati speech (see above) was different from the uranium story in the 16 words. But you wouldnt know that from Bradleys presentation—in fact, he implies just the opposite. And his work was that bad throughout. Consider this segment with Joe Wilson—a segment which is not Wilsons fault:
BRADLEY (taped interview): If Saddam Hussein had acquired 500 tons of yellowcake uranium in violation of UN sanctions, that would be pretty serious, wouldn't it?I concluded that it could not have happened, Wilson says, in the taped segment. But what exactly could not have happened? From context, it seems that Wilson concluded that there could not have been a transaction which sent that uranium to Iraq. But Bush didnt claim, in his famous 16 words, that Iraq had ever completed a purchase—and Wilson didnt claim, in his famous Times column, that Iraq could never have made an attempt. (He said it was highly unlikely that a purchase could have been made, due to international supervision.) Sought vs. bought! The millionaire press corps—people like Bradley—have been flummoxed by this distinction right from Day One. How could they have so dumb in the fall of 04? Just watch Bradley last weekend.
WILSON: Absolutely, certainly. And the fact that he was—there was an allegation out there that he was even attempting to purchase 500 tons of uranium was very serious because it essentially meant that they were restarting their nuclear programs.
BRADLEY: Wilson spent eight days in Niger looking for signs of a secret deal to send yellowcake to Iraq. He spoke to government officials who would have known about such a transaction. No one did. There had been a meeting between Iraqis and Nigeriens in 1999 but Wilson was told uranium had never been discussed. He also found no evidence that Iraq had even been interested in buying uranium.
WILSON (taped interview): I concluded that it could not have happened.
BRADLEY: And at the end of that eight-day stay, did you have any lingering doubts?
WILSON: No, no.
BRADLEY: Absolutely none?
What was comic about this report? In this report, were essentially asked to accept the judgments and narratives of a single source—Drumheller—because we agree with his conclusions. But thats exactly what Drumheller says the Bush Administration was doing! (As a general matter, hes surely right.) Meanwhile, our analysts started a bit when Drumheller played some Hardball on Tuesday (guest host, David Gregory). Heres his assessment of Saddams WMD. He refers to information obtained surreptitiously in the fall of 02 from Naji Sabri, Iraq`s foreign minister:
GREGORY (4/25/06): So you get this pipeline of information—what did [Sabri] tell you?Good grief! According to Drumheller, Saddam did have chemical weapons—we just dont know what happened to them. And in theory, he could have had a nuke in as little as 18 months. We havent heard that gloomy an account of Saddams WMD in the past several years. The Bush Admin should sign this guy up. To our ears, he makes them sound brilliant.
DRUMHELLER: He gave us a report in the middle of September of 2002 that was—this came to us through an intermediary, but we were able to verify it—that the, that Saddam had no—had, wanted nuclear weapons but didnt have, was at least 18 months to two years away from nuclear weapons if they were able to get the fissile material to produce them. So they didnt even have the fissile material at that point, so they were at least 18 months to two years away. And then—
GREGORY: So, bottom line, summer of 2002, Saddam does not have a nuclear weapon. Does he have an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction?
DRUMHELLER: No. And the biological weapons that were described to us as basically a chemistry set-type of capability, that was all destroyed after the first Gulf War.
GREGORY: But nothing that could threaten U.S. troops, nothing that could threaten our allies, nothing that could threaten the United States.
DRUMHELLER: There was no immediate threat to U.S troops. There were chemical weapons that he described as gas, but they were distributed through the political leaders around the country. And so—and the army, the military didnt have access to them. And those were not found after the war, so we don`t know what happened.
MEANWHILE, IS THIS GUY EVER NOT WRONG: On April 10, two major journalists—Shuster and Olbermann—made a truly amazing statement (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 4/11/06). Each said that the 10/02 National Intelligence Estimate did not include the claim that Iraq was vigorously trying to procure uranium. (Translation: Neither guy had bothered to read it.) This week, it was Larry Johnsons turn. See sentence one in paragraph 3. But then, paragraph 2 is wrong as well. (From the National Intelligence Estimate: DOE agrees that reconstitution of the nuclear program is underway.) Paragraph 4, and enjoy a dark chuckle: Of course, Bush ignored these hard facts.
What was common about these reports? At The Lake, they approvingly linked both times! Remember the rule, so widely accepted: When sources agree with our conclusions, we rush to applaud things theyve said.