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

KEVLAR VALUES! If troops get killed, that’s A-OK. But please don’t respond to their questions:


LET THEM EAT TURKEY: If your Washington “press corps” didn’t exist, its values would be hard to imagine. This morning, the Washington Post finally discusses a serious matter which has been a matter of record for months. The Post finally notes that many U.S. soldiers in Iraq do not have the kevlar vests which are necessary for their protection.

Let’s say it again: This subject has been on the record for months, as you can see in today’s article. But the Post ignored the matter until today, and the New York Times still hasn’t touched it. Meanwhile, note the way today’s report tippy-toes around the potential scandal involved here. The Post leads with the story’s feel-good aspect; “Body Armor Saves Lives in Iraq,” says its headline. Only then does it manage to note that many soldiers have not been equipped. And clearly, the paper has made little effort to learn why this troubling situation exists.

Note then the values of your millionaire “press corps.” When a United States senator goes to Iraq and answers a soldier’s bone-simple question, she is reviled on national TV, and slithering men like Sean Hannity and Dick Morris are sent out to lie about her conduct. On cable, it’s an instant scandal when a soldier’s simple question gets answered! But what happens when those very same soldiers are sent into war without basic protection? Your national “press corps” hides its eyes, ducking behind its mahogany desks. And no one hides his eyes any more than Fox News Channel’s repulsive Sean Hannity.

Hannity, of course, has lied all week about Hillary Clinton’s trip to Iraq. According to his own high-blown statements, the Fox news honcho is deeply concerned about the “morale of the troops.” But what about the lives of the troops? Simply put, he couldn’t care less. (There’s no sign that Alan Colmes gives a shit either.) Just this morning, we entered “kevlar AND Hannity” in the Nexis search engine. And we’re pretty sure you know what we got in reply: “No documents were found for your search.”

Why has Hannity skipped this topic? Duh! Because it might make his precious commander look shaky! Hannity is paid to mislead the rubes, and if he has to lie about Clinton—and if soldiers must die—he’s more than willing to go there. Let them eat turkey, the slithering man says. And as he does so, he helps you see the astonishing soul of your “press corps.”

As we said: If this “press corps” didn’t exist, there would be no way to imagine its values. Read this morning’s report, in which the Post still tippy-toes around the months-old kevlar story. And remember: Given the corps’ Millionaire Pundit Values, this is actually a hard-hitting piece.

WHAT DOES THE WASHINGTON PRESS CARE ABOUT? They care about John Kerry’s wife! Read this bit of political porn, penned by Slate’s inane Tim Noah, and gaze on the empty, vacuous soul of the group we still describe as a “press corps.” If this odd group didn’t write such reports, could any sane person could possibly know what these folks really have on their minds?

By the way, Noah raised an excellent question in a Monday piece. And guess what? Given the pseudo-values of Slate and the press, it will never be mentioned again! (Meanwhile, don’t miss Slate’s cover story today. You’ll love it. It’s about Martha Stewart!)

LET’S GAZE ON THE SOUL OF CHRIS MATTHEWS: Last night, Hannity stopped lying about Clinton’s trip—and Chris Matthews eagerly took up the cross. All day, MSNBC pimped the topic in promotions for Hardball. And how did Matthews handle the matter? Just gaze on the soul of the Washington “press corps” as Matthews’ panel enjoys a good laugh at the expense of a certain New York female senator. What follows comes straight from the MSNBC transcript; the [LAUGHTER] notations are theirs, not ours. Matthews is speaking with the Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes, who has already noted that the Hillary flap is a big crock of hot steaming bullshit (see below):

HAYES: I think that one of the differences, if you look at the video of Hillary Clinton over there—and I said I didn’t necessarily have any major problems with the things she said, or most of them—she clearly doesn’t have the rapport with the troops that the president does…I mean, they love the guy. And you could see from the reactions on their faces when he walked in, it was—

MATTHEWS: But it wasn’t like that scene when she went to the New York firefighters and they all booed her.


HAYES: No, it wasn’t.

MATTHEWS: They were at least neutral to her this time. Peggy [Noonan], you know what I’m talking about. The cultural difference between the guys in uniforms and Hillary Clinton.

NOONAN: Oh, absolutely. It’s—look, working guys, enlisted men, cops, firemen, they relate to Bush as a guy, as a regular, normal, masculine, American man who is doing his best and trying to be a decent guy.


NOONAN: I think that always shows up. I think they see Hillary as an elitist, mmmm, snooty school monitor in high school.

MATTHEWS: It’s not exactly like Katie, Katie Hepburn walking past the job site in Manhattan, either.


Clinton doesn’t get wolf whistles from the troops, Matthews said, as he leeringly stroked his pink thighs, and as Noonan enjoyed a good laugh.

Earlier, Matthews had struggled valiantly, pretending there was actual substance to this absurd pseudo-scandal. (At one point, for example, he pretended that things Clinton said in a telephone interview had somehow been said “to the troops.”) And Matthews’ panel performed quite predictably. Pat Caddell seemed to lack Clue One about the facts of this case; meanwhile, Noonan was deeply, ostentatiously troubled by Clinton’s appalling bad judgment. Only Hayes broke out of the script. Unlike millionaires Noonan and Matthews, Hayes has actually been to Iraq. Remember, Hayes writes for the Weekly Standard. Here’s what he had to say about this inane pseudo-incident:

HAYES: I guess I disagree with Peggy a little bit in that I don’t think this is quite such a serious offense. First of all, in this 24-hour news cycle, the troops have the TV on over there. They know what the debate is. They’re following it. They’re following it closely. So I don’t think this is necessarily news.

And while I wouldn’t have said it while I was over there, were I advising Hillary Clinton, I don’t think it’s quite the big deal, because everybody is very aware of the debate.

Duh! But readers, Stephen Hayes has to get with the program! He fails to grasp his cohort’s core values. It’s OK to let troops get shot in the chest. It’s only disturbing to answer their questions! Matthews and Noonan? They want the troops feeling good before they’re asked to march off to slaughter. And of course, they want to tell their thigh-rubbing jokes about a female solon named Clinton. It’s very good for cable ratings, so its puts extra dough in their jeans.

Final note: “Matthews AND kevlar?” Surely you jest. No documents were found for your search.

VISIT OUR INCOMPARABLE ARCHIVES: Do cops and firemen “relate to Bush as a masculine American man?” That’s how Matthews relates to him, too! Back in May, Matthews teamed with Gordon Liddy to praise Bush for his bulging shorts. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/13/03, to revisit one of the greatest panders in modern pundit corps history.

The kicker? Matthews hurried to praise Bush’s crotch when the Lincoln landing ranked high in the polls. But times have changed, and so has Matthews. Last night, he dismissed the Lincoln landing. “That was a stunt,” the phony man said, expressing instead his new admiration for Bush’s trip to Iraq, which wasn’t. Note: MSNBC’s transcript shows Matthews saying, “That was a stunt?” as a question. Sorry. We just played our tape again. On our tape, Matthews makes a clear statement.

TIM RUSSERT’S FIGHT AGAINST PREJUDICE: Here at THE HOWLER, we’re still buzzing about Tim Russert’s pandering interview with Bernie Goldberg for Goldberg’s new book, Arrogance (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 12/1/03). Among other bits of ludicrous clowning, Russert pretended that he faces prejudice within the press because he’s a “practicing Catholic.”

What a complete, total phony! The press corps swims with “practicing Catholics,” as Russert of course knows full well. Just consider the ranks of Big TV Pundits. Here are a few of the practicing Catholics who have somehow managed to outflank the prejudice which had Russert boo-hooing with Bernie:

  1. Chris Matthews
  2. Peggy Noonan
  3. Mike Barnicle
  4. Sean Hannity
  5. Bill O’Reilly
  6. Brian Williams
  7. Pat Buchanan
  8. Bill Press
  9. Robert Novak
  10. Mark Shields
You can certainly see the crushing burden under which this oppressed group still performs.

Why would Russert make so absurd—and so ugly—a statement, a statement which makes his press corps colleagues sound like a band of hooded bigots? Simple! He was pandering to Goldberg’s conservative readers, telling them that he is oppressed by the godless media elite, just like they are. This is totally bogus, of course. How much prejudice does Russert really confront? Yesterday, we emitted low chuckles as we read a profile by USA Today’s Peter Johnson:

JOHNSON (11/1/00): Russert, a Roman Catholic, refers to his religion on Meet the Press and speaks reverentially about moderating. “If there’s such a thing as a non-religious vocation, this is it.” Colleagues say he shares a Catholic bond with NBC president Bob Wright and General Electric chairman Jack Welch.
Wow! The poor guy really does have it tough!

Is there bias in the press against “practicing Catholics?” The notion is simply absurd on its face. But then, there’s also no bias against hopeless phonies. That tolerance helps Tim Russert too.

LET THEM EAT TURKEY: “Russert AND kevlar?” Surely you jest. No documents were found for your search.