Howling Dog Graphic
Point. Click. Search.

Contents: Archives:

Search this weblog
Search WWW
Howler Graphic
by Bob Somerby
E-mail This Page
Socrates Reads Graphic
A companion site.

Site maintained by Allegro Web Communications, comments to Marc.

Howler Banner Graphic
Caveat lector

ABSOLUTELY FATUOUS (PART 3)! Why have Bush’s real groaners disappeared? One of the “experts” explains it:


EXPERTS AT CLOWNING: Amazing, isn’t it? Amazing to think that the Washington Monthly’s panel of “experts” judged that a trivial private JOKE was actually George Bush’s fifth biggest lie! But this is the clowning our nation is handed by the Monthly’s fatuous “Mendacity Index” (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 9/3/03). We don’t even know what Bush said in his JOKE, and his comment, after all, was only a JOKE, voiced in private to only one person. But according to the Monthly’s Index, this private JOKE—they don’t know what Bush said—was more serious than his groaning misstatements from the fall of 2000, the widely-repeated public misstatements which helped put the Texan in office. How in the world did the Monthly manage to hand us such consummate nonsense?

The answer, dear readers, lies not in the stars—it lies in the list of the “experts.” Why on earth did the Monthly’s Index skip the misstatements of Candidate Bush? Good news! One of the “experts” is Margaret Carlson, and she explained, back in real time, why those misstatements by Bush were ignored. We’ve reported this grisly story before, so we’ll move through it quickly this time.

On Tuesday, October 10, 2000, Carlson appeared on Imus in the Morning to discuss press coverage of Bush and Gore’s 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 Gore’s alleged “misstatements” weren’t misstatements at all.) Much larger howlers were being ignored—misstatements by Bush about policy matters. Speaking with Imus, Carlson explained the corps’ double standard. Here was Carlson, explaining why Bush’s groaners were being ignored:

CARLSON: Gore’s fabrications may be inconsequential—I mean, they’re about his life. Bush’s fabrications are about our life, and what he’s going to do. Bush’s should matter more but they don’t, because Gore’s we can disprove right here and now. We can’t disprove that there’s going to be a chicken in every pot.
According to Carlson, the press had focused on what was easy to disprove. She went into gruesome detail:
CARLSON: 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 it’s really easy, and it’s fun, to disprove Gore.
It was “easy” and “fun” to disprove Gore’s errors! Carlson took her presentation through one more appalling iteration:
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 can’t disprove these other things.
What an astonishing presentation! According to Carlson, the press was pursuing Gore’s trivial errors because it was “greatly entertaining” to do so. Meanwhile, they were ignoring Bush’s more serious errors because they weren’t as easy to disprove! According to Carlson, Candidate Gore was being flogged because it was “entertaining” and “fun.” The coverage was “sport,” Carlson said.

Most of what Carlson said this day was completely disingenuous, of course. In fact, there was nothing especially hard about “disproving” Bush’s Debate I errors; the press corps simply preferred not to do so. For example, Bush’s basic presentation about his budget plan was baldly inaccurate—but Paul Krugman had already explained this point three separate times in his New York Times column. It was easy to explain this misstatement—but the press corps chose not to do so. For reasons only they can explain, the corps had gone in the bag for Bush. And, as their work makes abundantly clear, the press corps was gunning for Gore.

But why were Bush’s groaning misstatements MIA in the Monthly’s Index? Why did the Index flog a JOKE and ignore the misstatements which put Bush into office? Simple! In real time, the Washington press corps went in the bag when Bush made these groaning misstatements. It was “fun” and “entertaining” to go after Gore, and so they ignored Bush’s errors. And now, they don’t intend to look back. That’s right, gang! The Washington Monthly continues to con you, covering up what their cohort did in the fall of 2000. That part of your history has been disappeared. You’re handed total nonsense instead.

How deeply dysfunctional is your Washington press corps? How deeply corrupt are its honored members? Just look at that clowning Monthly feature. It helps you see where their “expertise” lies—and it helps you see the screaming contempt in which they hold every normal American. Yikes! What in the world could make bright young scribes sing the praise of such consummate clowning?