ATRIOS (10/24/04): I have to admit I was always a bit confused about where exactly all the explosives [in Iraq] were coming from. Sure, some basic devices can be created with a bit of know-how, but some of the bigger car bombs were a bit more impressive than that. Now we know.Weve always wondered where the explosives were coming from, too. And why did we have no earthly idea? Because this was one of ten million obvious questions that never seemed to get explored in the press. Was Iraq another Nam? Inquiring minds always wanted to know. But in Vietnam, we always knew that the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese were getting logistical help from outside. Where were the insurgents in Iraq getting their firepower? We never had the slightest idea, and we never saw journalists ask.
So some things have changed, and some have stayed the same. Four years ago, we were worrying about Bushs drunk-driving charge. For ourselves, we dont care much about matters like that. But why had this incident remained a secret? Because no one in the press corps had ever bothered to go to Kennebunkport and ask. Early in Campaign 2000, reporters swore they would tear Bush apart. They would leave no stone unturned, they said. We dont care about old drunk driving charges. But clearly, those puffed-up claims by the growling press corps were nothing but a lot of hot air.
Four years later, things have changed. Now, they have a real last-week story that they can cover. Lets see how they do it.
VISIT OUR INCOMPARABLE ARCHIVES: For a modest assessment of that DUI flap, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 11/3/00. Sorry—the link to our Howlings column is dead. For a hoot, well post it tomorrow.
ANNALS OF THE FATUOUS: Yes, weve come a long way in four years. And then, of course, theres Maureen Dowd. Nine days before her country would vote, The Fatuous One joined Jodi Wilgoren in counting John Kerrys contractions:
DOWD (10/24/04): The senator is desperately trying to prove his regular-guydom. He's using more contractions and dropping G's, T's and N's, as Ms. Wilgoren points out, and he drank Budweiser with his male aides while watching a Red Sox game, when you know he was dying for an imported beer.Wilgoren reported—and Dowd decided. Yes, when a brilliant reporter makes a great point, Dowd is quick to repeat it. Everything changed on September 11. Everything changed except that.
DOWD (10/24/04): In yet another attempt to prove to George W. Bush that he is man enough to run this country, John Kerry made an animal sacrifice to the political gods in a cornfield in eastern Ohio last week.Kerry wasnt sending a signal to certain voters. No—he was trying to prove his manhood to Bush! Reliably, Dowds ruminations are absurd and inane. But they almost define the kooky culture that pervades the inane New York Times.
DOWD (10/24/04): Tromping about in a camouflage costume and toting a 12-gauge double-barreled shotgun that shrieked ''I am not a merlot-loving, brie-eating, chatelaine-marrying dilettante,'' the Democratic nominee emerged from his shooting spree with three fellow hunters proclaiming, ''Everybody got one, everybody got one,'' showing off a hand stained with goose blood.Dowds readers got a good tale—Kerry was showing off his blood-stained appendage! But Wilgorens report said nothing like that, and in the Washington Times—the paper that played this story straight—Charles Hurt told a quite different tale. We apologize for discussing this at all:
HURT (10/22/04): But as Mr. Kerry removes questions among gun-toting voters, he also is careful not to scare off supporters who might be a little squeamish about seeing their candidate smeared with the fresh blood of a fowl whose only crime was to try landing in the wrong cornfield.Was Kerry showing off his bloody hand? According to Hurt, he was actually hiding it! Scribes had spotted the blood with long lenses! But Dowd has been making up—and improving—inane tales for years. She brilliantly ginned up the Love Story foofaw. Nine days before her country votes, she found herself at it again.
So the event yesterday was tightly choreographed...
Campaign officials wanted to convey the image of a hunter without permitting any of the gory details. They refused, for instance, to allow a reporter to join the hunting party in the blind.
After about two hours of hunting, Mr. Kerry emerged. Photographers with long lenses noticed that he had blood all over his left hand. By the time he reached reporters, he had tucked that hand into his sleeve.
After some speculation among reporters over whether he'd been injured, campaign officials said Mr. Kerry had cut his hand, but that it was mainly goose blood.
Marie Antoinette had a fatuous circle. Today, in their stead, we have Maureen Dowd. Everything changed after 1789. Everything changed except that.
THE WAY WE WERENT: In this mornings Post, Howard Kurtz describes a new Pew survey about the coverage of Campaign 04. We thought this passage was striking:
KURTZ (10/25/04): Has the press been unfair to President Bush? Thirty-seven percent of voters think so, while 27 percent find the media coverage unfair to John Kerry. And that is nearly double the number who found the press tilted against Al Gore four years ago.Weve come a long way, baby! No, the coverage of Campaign 04 hasnt been stellar; well list basic complaints in the days/weeks ahead. But one thing is abundantly clear—the coverage of Kerry hasnt compared to the two-year trashing administered to Gore. But alas! Four years ago, the DAILY HOWLER was a (relatively) lonely voice in the wilderness. Four years ago, few Americans understood the nature of the trashing being handed to Gore. (Many journalists who did understand kept their traps shut.) Four years later, Democrats nerves are more easily plucked. But lets say it! Even today, few of those Democrats understand the way George Bush found his way to the White House. No, that story still hasnt been told—and it does involve Dowd and the Love Story nonsense, the bit of inanity she helped to gin up when most Dems were still young and quite foolish.