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4 August 1999

Smile-a-while: Pathetic Times two

Synopsis: Just how silly can Bill Sammon get? Pretty silly—and Melinda made two.

Mental health conference puts Tipper in the spotlight
Bill Sammon, The Washington Times, 6/8/99

Gores and Clintons, Relaxed and Intent, Turn to Initiatives on Mental Illness
Melinda Henneberger, The New York Times, 6/8/99

At Forum on Mental Health, Calls for Compassion and Coverage
Amy Goldstein, The Washington Post, 6/8/99

How willing is Sammon to gimmick up stories? His work is at times just pathetic. Read his account of a one-word slip Gore made at a mental health forum. (We're not kidding you, folks. This was a news story.) According to Sammon, Tipper Gore had jokingly told the VP where to sit at the confab:

SAMMON: [Gore] said that while he would follow his wife's advice, it was "departing from my destructions." Quickly recognizing the mini-gaffe, he hastened to add: "My instructions."

Hmmm. Let's see if we have this story straight. A person makes a one-word mistake—then he corrects his error. Intriguing!

SAMMON (continuing): The flub seemed to epitomize Gore's image problem. When he sticks too closely to his script, he is accused of being boring. When he ad libs, he sometimes makes mistakes that become the object of ridicule, such as his now-legendary claim to have invented the Internet.

Bingo! Sammon gets his $50 bonus for working in the Internet. Read on:

SAMMON (continuing): Yesterday, Mrs. Gore ignored her husband's mistake and continued to treat him with a slight irreverence that added levity to the proceedings.

One is tempted to say she ignored the mistake as anyone but Sammon would do. But if one were to engage in that kind of thinking, one would be quite mistaken. The New York Times' brilliant self-diagnosed genius was also at the mental health conference. Apparently she was getting bored with the policy crap too, because she too recorded the slip-up:

HENNEBERGER: In her role as moderator, Mrs. Gore choreographed the Clintons and her husband, at one point telling the Vice President, "You might want to get up and go over now," pointing him toward a corner where he was to interview two more people about their experiences with mental illness.

"Yes, ma'am," he told her, laughing. "I'm anxious to follow instructions carefully, but to depart from my destruct—, or, to depart from my instructions, I want to say I hope you can see how proud I am of Tipper."

Apparently Henneberger's editors kept her from recording her "analysis" of what the important slip meant. But isn't it simply amazing, dear friends, that the New York Times would print nonsense like this? That a New York times editor would even consider publishing such absolute drivel? But as we've told you before, this isn't the Times—not when it publishes this dimwit chatter. But it is with writers like this that the Times now reports the world's most important public discourse.


Contest: Feel free to construct your own clever play about the Times Two at a mental health conference.

Cover-up: Writing in the Post the same day, Amy Goldstein—the cover-up queen—never mentioned the revealing Gore error. It really and truly does make you ask how much else the slick Post is concealing.