CEMENT IS THE WORD: At long last, her colleagues have started telling the truth—very slowly—about the past work of Katherine Kit Seelye (see below). But the utterly fatuous New York Times scribe continues to work her magic in the paper of record. In todays Times, Seelye writes about Barack Obamas interview with David Remnick. And what does the addled scribe choose to emphasize? Of course! The fact that Bill Clinton once said—fourteen years ago—that he didnt inhale! Yes, Obama apparently gave her the opening. But her obsessive mind took it from there:
SEELYE (10/24/06): Senator Barack Obama, the Illinois Democrat who said Sunday that he was considering running for president in 2008, created a little sunlight on Monday between himself and both Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton.''When I was a kid, I inhaled,'' Obama apparently said in his interview, before an audience of magazine editors. (We say apparently because Seelye has a history of accidentally quoting folk wrong.) The obsessive script-reader typed it from there:
For one thing, he said that as a youth he had inhaled.
SEELYE: The direct admission was in contrast to Mr. Clinton's denial in his 1992 campaign for president that he had smoked marijuana.Cement, of course, is the perfect word for discussing Seelyes range of ideas. Fourteen years and one large war later, its still stuck in cement in her head. She still cant get over the troubling thing the troubling Bill Clinton once said:
''I didn't inhale,'' Mr. Clinton said, cementing the idea that he liked to have things both ways.
SEELYE: Since Mr. Clinton's statement, the question of drug use has become a standard one for politicians, sometimes as a test of their ability to be straightforward. If the politician has used drugs, conventional wisdom says it is best to try to get the question out of the way early.Of course, as everyone (including Seelye) knows, the question of drug use was quite standard for White House candidates in 1988 as well. But as with obsessives of every stripe, Seelye remembers what she wants to remember—and forgets almost everything else. For example, gone are the memories of Candidate Bushs evasive responses to this question, eight years after Clintons answer supposedly made this a measure of straightforward politics. Bushs evasions have flown from her head. But she cant stop obsessing on Bill.
HARRIS/HALPERIN (page 129): A number of members of the Gang of 500 are convinced that the main reason George W. Bush won the White House and Al Gore lost was that Gores regular press pack included the trio of Katherine Kit Seelye (of the New York Times), Ceci Connolly (of the Washington Post), and Sandra Sobieraj (of the Associated Press).Simply put, thats an astonishing statement—but it appears as a minor aside, buried deep inside a very long book. In this passage, Harris and Halperin—major press corps insiders themselves—say that some of their well-placed colleagues believe that George Bush reached the White House because of the work of just three Gore reporters! Harris and Halperin have dropped a bomb here. And as they do so, they pretend they have not.
HARRIS/HALPERIN (page 129): No one who kept a close eye on the media coverage of the 2000 campaign would deny that the press corps assigned to Gore was more aggressive and more hostile toward the candidate than those assigned to Bush ...This discrepancy made Old Media reporters much more likely to buy into political party press releases, late-night comic jokes, and the general story line that mirrored the Bush campaigns crafted version of Gore.We begin to see how astounding their statement really is. According to Harris and Halperin, no one denies that the reporters assigned to Gore were more hostile toward Gore than those assigned to Bush. It is in that context that they makes their next statement—saying that some insiders are convinced that Bush reached the White House just because of three such reporters. For the record, Harris writes for the Washington Post—the newspaper for which Connolly covered Gore. Indeed, as we will see at the end of the week, Harris co-authored some of the reports in which Connolly made up fake tales about Gore! Yep—Ceci Connolly made it up about Gore for twenty straight months. And on occasion, John Harris helped out.
A number of members of the Gang of 500 are convinced that the main reason George W. Bush won the White House and Al Gore lost was that Gores regular press pack included the trio of Katherine Kit Seelye (of the New York Times), Ceci Connolly (of the Washington Post), and Sandra Sobieraj (of the Associated Press).
HARRIS/HALPERIN (page 129): And it was not just those three tone-setters who latched onto a negative image of Gore. Nearly every newspaper and television network in the country did stories at some point during the campaign raising the question of whether the vice president was a big liar or merely a small one. As Rolling Stone pointed out long after the election, Journalists just refused to drop unflattering Gore stories, no matter what the facts revealed.As we noted last week, Harris and Halperin accept the judgment of Eric Boehlert, who wrote that statement for Rolling Stone. Incredible, isnt it? According to Harris and Halperin, no matter what the facts revealed, their colleagues just kept repeating their negative tales about Gore! Indeed, what do Harris and Halperin say about the press corps endless assaults on Gores character? Nearly every one of these controversies was overplayed or mischaracterized by the mainstream press corps, they write on page 128.