THURSDAY, APRIL 29, 2004
LET THEM EAT PEANUT BUTTER: Ask yourself a simple question: What kind of letters editor would actually publish the following text? This letter receives prominent display in todays New York Times:
To the Editor:Barela, of course, is a consummate rube, of the kind found in every society. But what kind of journalist would publish this lettera letter whose facts are so blatantly bogus? In fact, no one has ever so much as claimed that Kerry had only fingernail scrapes to show for his three Purple Hearts. Last week, the claim that he received such a scrape when he got his first Purple Heart was shown to be blatantly false. But a week later, what does the great Times do? An editor receives this idiotic letterand incredibly, he puts the letter in print! The Times of course knows the letter is false. But how many readers will know this?
Readers, only a fool could fail to see the truth in this mornings Times. The Washington press corps is deeply disorderedin effect, mentally illand the Times is quite eager to prove it. We principally speak of Maureen Dowds column, which plays off Jodi Wilgorens profile on the front page of yesterdays Times (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 4/28/04). Why do we use the term mentally ill? At a time of building national peril, Dowd is concerned about this:
DOWD (pgh 1): So lets see. Whats our swell choice here?Al Qaeda plots around the world, hoping to destroy your society (more below). And Maureen Dowdat our greatest newspaperis concerned because a White House candidate doesnt make his own peanut putter sandwiches! She draws her inanity from the profile penned by Wilgoren, of course.
How inanehow illare Wilgoren and Dowd? As Wilgoren wrote in yesterdays profile, [e]very modern presidential candidate has a factotum, or body man,a guy who serves as personal assistant to the candidate himself. But for reasons only she can explain, Wilgoren zeroed in on Kerrys assistant, painting him as Kerrys butler, his glorified valet, who exists because John Kerry is comfortable being catered to. (Like Katharine Seelyes report about Kerrys war record, Wilgorens imagery mimics RNC spin. She also lards her slimy piece with homoerotic imagery.) Why, the butler even makes Kerrys sandwiches, the troubled Wilgoren reported. Today, this screaming trivia makes its way to the top of Maureen Dowds worried piece.
What does Dowd have on her mind today? George Bush cant answer questions about 9/11. And John Kerry doesnt make his own sandwiches!
Of course, inanity has been this corps stock-in-trade over at least the last dozen years. When you read your paper each day, you read the work of a vacuous press which is happy to display its Millionaire Pundit Valuesa press corps addicted to trivia and inanity. While Osama plotted in the summer of 2001, they rubbed their thighs about Chandra Levy. Meanwhile, theyve turned your elections into trivia festivals, built around earth tones, Love Story, dog pills, blow-jobs. Now were handed our current fare. What is the headline on Dowds piece? Guns and Peanut Butter, it says.
And yes, simply put, its an illness. Even faced with growing peril, the Wilgorens, the Dowdsand the letters editorssimply cant stop their incessant group clowning. Are there real topics Dowd might have explored? At one point, after all, she writes this:
DOWD: Communing with the Higher Father and the Almighty, President Bush has either stumbled into a Holy War or swaggered into one.Does Bush have some sort of religious view which Americans ought to know more about? We dont know, but this passage from the Schweizers book is hardly the first indication. Bush has made several odd statements recently, including those made to Bob Woodward, statements which produced this exchange when the author did 60 Minutes:
WOODWARD: The president still believes, with some conviction, that this was absolutely the right thing, that he has the duty to free people, to liberate people, and this was his moment.It will cause many people to tremble! But what has made Bush believe that he was sent by somebody to free the people, not just in Iraq, but around the world? It was fairly clear that Woodward and Wallace believedbased on Bushs statement about serving a higher fatherthat the president might feel a religious calling when he makes these surprising statements. At any rate, Bushs new belief is quite a shift from his humble foreign policy of Campaign 2000, and when he talks about the duty to free people around the world, that seems to suggest a different mission than ridding the world of WMD. Does George Bush feel a religious mission which Americans need to hear discussed? We dont know, and we never will, because your press corps will never dare ask him. Instead, Dowds headline talks about peanut butter. Is she concerned about global war? Yes, but shes also concerned about John Kerrys sandwich, the one we read about on page one on yesterdays inane New York Times..
Their focus on trivia is an addictiona raging, millionaires mental illness. Their opinion leaders are multimillionaires, and they do behave like a perfumed courtlike Marie Antoinettes inner circle. As theyve long shown, they are impervious to serious thought, as their class has always been. And they continue to clown at a dangerous time, at a time that imperils the world.
While they clowned about Gary Condit, Osamas men were tooling those planes. And now, as they clown about peanut butter, Osamas men are still at work. And what will happen to your country because Wilgoren and Dowd set the tone? Let us finally tell you your future: Osamas men will come with a bomb (see below), and theyll destroy an American city. American society will end on that day. And when it does, you can think of Wilgoren and Dowdand you can think of the letters editor who laughed in your face with that letter today. Theyve made a joke of your discourse for yearswhile your enemies hunt for a bomb. There is little chance those enemies wont succeed, because screaming idiotsscreaming idiotshave long been in charge of your discourse.
History makes it crystal clearthose who clown will be destroyed. Marie Antoinettes posse lost their fine heads. A larger disaster awaits you and yours. Let them eat peanut butter, the Times says.
REMEMBER, CASSANDRA WAS RIGHT: Richard Gephardt, on Hardball last November:
GEPHARDT: What are we worried about? Were worried about an A-bomb in a Ryder truck in Washington, in St. Louis, in L.A. It cant happen. We have to prevent it from happening. It cannot happen.We have to prevent it from happening, Gephardt said. But readers, it wont be prevented from happening if we clown about peanut butter! We cant put idiots in charge of vital functionsand idiots currently run our press corps. Go out and spend a dollar today. Let the Times show you its true.
TINA BROWN, FULLY SANE: Yes! This disordered discussion really occurred on last nights Hardball. Chris Matthews rapped about medals v. ribbons with RNC chief Ed Gillespie (MSNBC transcript, including quotation marks):
MATTHEWS: It turns out later that they were not histhey were his service ribbons, which he now says last night were the same as medals. Whats wrong with him saying theyre medals if theyre ribbons, or theyre both the same thing?In a dangerous world, that discussion is insane. But Matthews has hosted discussions like this for year after year after year. By the way: True to the way your discourse works, neither Matthews nor Gillespie had a transcript of Kerrys 33-year-old comments. Each man kept misstating Kerrys remarks. This is the way the clowning clown Matthews has treated your lives for seven years. (Happy anniversary, Chris!}
Yes, this is a form of illness, but they insist on indulging it. Theyve built your discourse around this nonsense for at least the past dozen years. Four years ago, it was earth tones, Love Story, dog pills and Love Canal, with RNC shills like Katharine Seelye coming up with strange misquotations, and with screaming mimis like Matthews lying in your face each night (for one extended example, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 11/18/02). You must see this for what it is. And you must understand that this bizarre group will never go away until forced.
But one persononeis quite sane today. In this mornings Washington Post, Tina Brown lays it out nice and clear:
BROWN: The Republican attack machineagainhas made the right calculation: Hit em with trivia. Bait the hook with the absurd issue of whether it was medals or ribbons that Kerry hurled over the wall when he was a 27-year-old hothead. Then watch the media bitetheyll do it every timeand let Kerry rise to it and blow it. Presto, a thrice-wounded, decorated war hero running against a president who went missing from the National Guard is suddenly muddying up his own record on the morning talk shows. Shades of 2000, when Bush jokily bowled oranges down the aisle of his campaign plane while Gore argued about whether he did or didnt say he invented the Internet.Tina is wrong on one point; Gore almost never discussed the endless inanity about invented the Internet. (Gore was criticized for not taking on the endless trivia. Today, Kerry is being criticized for having done so.) But the press corps flogged invented the Internet for two solid years, feigning concern about Gores troubling character, and they flogged other fake inventionsLove Story, Love Canal, doggy pills, earth tonesas they made a vast joke of your lives.
Hit em with trivia, Brown derides. But why does the press corps luv such talk? In October 2000, Margaret Carlson explained. Carlson appeared on the Imus show to discuss press coverage of Bush and Gores first debate. As she noted, Gore was being slammed as a liar because of a few exceptionally trivial misstatements. (To state the obvious, most of Gores alleged misstatements werent misstatements at all.) Meanwhile, much larger howlers were being ignoredmisstatements by Bush about policy matters. Speaking with Imus, Carlson explained the double standard. Here she was, explaining why Bushs groaners were being ignored:
CARLSON (10/10/00): You can actually disprove some of what Bush is saying if you really get in the weeds and get out your calculator or you look at his record in Texas. But its really easy, and its fun, to disprove Gore.Amazing, isnt it? (And perhaps you can sense the liberal bias.) According to Carlson, the press was trashing Gore over trivia because it was easy and fun to do so! The millionaire pundit kept talking:
CARLSON: I actually happen to know people who need government, and so they would care more about the programs, and [less] about the things we kind of make fun of But as sport, and as our enterprise, Gore coming up with another whopper is greatly entertaining to us. And we can disprove it in a way we cant disprove these other things.The press was chasing trivial errors because it was greatly entertaining. Meanwhile, they were ignoring Bushs serious errors because they werent as easy to disprove! According to Carlson, Candidate Gore was being flogged because it was entertaining and fun. The coverage of this election was sport, Carlson amazingly said.
Much of what Carlson said this day was disingenuous, of course. In fact, it was perfectly easy to disprove much of what Bush was saying (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 9/4/03). But on this day, Carlson gave an idea of why youre reading fake letters in todays Times, and why youre reading about peanut butter. Brown is quite sane, but shes also polite, so let us say it one more time: Your Washington press corps is deeply disordered. Wilgoren and Dowd are eager to prove it. Theres no sign they ever will stop.
TODAYS OTHER CONSUMMATE FOOL: Todays other consummate fool is the Washington Posts Richard Cohen. Peanut butter makes his lead paragraph. Cohen is part of a vacuous elitepampered, perfumed, overpaid, fat and happy. These people cant grasp the damage done by the trivialization of your discourse. And Cohen, of course, is scolding Kerry because he dared fight back this week. Understand how these people think. Gore is wrong when he doesnt fight. Kerry is wrong when he does.
Cohen is a screaming fool. But its good to be Cohen, squire of New York, overpaid and over-praised. As a matter of fact, it will be good to be Richard Cohen until al Qaeda comes to New York and puts an end to all New Yorkers lives.
TOMORROW: Why your favorites wont tell you