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PROGRESSIVES, SHOOTERS AND BEARS! Pandering to his dumbest viewers, Matthews flogged Foster again: // link // print // previous // next //
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2007

CONNECTIVITY CONTINUES: We thought we had a back-up land line, but it’s looking like we currently don’t. Postponing our straight-shooter series again, we offer three short assessments:

Progressives: Readers have suggested various categories for Maureen Dowd (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 9/13/07). But we thought the basic point was worth re-stating. Media Matters did a superlative job assessing the ideology of America’s pundit corps. But ideology is only one part of pundit culture (albeit an important one). The ongoing rise of the Cult of Trivia is a giant part of modern press culture—and it has badly harmed Dems and progressives. Dowd is the high priestess of this sad, silly cult. We need to help voters understand this.

Straight shooters: We’ll plan to finish our series on Monday, suggesting how people get ranked as “straight-shooters.” (One suggestion: Don’t be a Democrat.) Some have written us to suggest that General Petraeus isn’t a straight-shooter, based on things his commanding officer has reportedly said. But that begs the larger point. It would be better if we stopped assessing people’s souls and started assessing their statements instead. How solid were the general’s data last week? As Kevin Drum said, some news orgs made preliminary assessments. Since then, most have not.

Pander bears: Media Matters calls attention to this statement by Hardball’s Chris Matthews. We thought one part of Matthews’ statement deserved special attention:
MATTHEWS (9/12/07): And look out, Hillary! The toughest investigator in Congress, the great Henry Waxman of L.A., has told the National Archives to give him millions of pages of Clinton White House records that have been previously sealed off from the public.

Let's see, the cattle-futures deal that got Hillary a $100,000 windfall, her missing billing records from that Arkansas law firm, Vince Foster—lots of stuff for Waxman's staffers and the Republican staffers on his subcommittee to feast their eyes on.

As I've have said before, there's nothing like the power of the subpoena.
Matthews’ whole presentation was sad, for reasons Media Matters explains. But the fact that he mentions Vince Foster again—well, there’s simply no end to where these children will let their disorders take them.

At this point, why would Matthews raise the late Vince Foster’s name again? Let us speculate for you:

This week, Matthews has been pounding Bush about Iraq. The excitable talker has done good work on this topic since the fall of 02; indeed, it’s the one thing he has done well on his show in the past dozen years. And, presumably, this costs him mightily with conservative and Republican viewers.

Solution? Wherever possible, throw red meat to these viewers—even if it means taking the name of Foster in vain once again. In 1999, after all, Matthews sat there for a full half hour while Gennifer Flowers accused both Clintons of serial murders. Why not throw this evil old bone to your stupidest viewers again? Presumably, this is why Giuliani is running that Clinton-bashing ad in today’s New York Times. His Republican poll numbers have been dropping. Solution? Name-call Hill!

Amazing! Let’s investigate the death of Foster again—and let’s pretend to tie it to Hillary Clinton! Simply put, there is nothing these people won’t say and do. Or maybe this happened: Maybe some dimwit producer scripted this copy, and Matthews simply sat there and read it as it rolled by on the prompter.