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1 October 1998

Read on, part II: No one does it better

Synopsis: When it comes to passing on an exciting tale, no one does it any better than Chris.

When it comes to passing on an exciting tale, no one does it any better than Chris. We thought you might enjoy seeing how the gossips and spinners he’d assembled on Wednesday reacted to Morris’ charges.

As we’ve mentioned, Matthews highlighted Morris’ exciting story in the intro to the show (see above). But wouldn’t you know it? With all the other rumors he had to get to, Matthews almost forgot to bring up the topic! Here’s how the talker finally raised the exciting issue, right near the end of the show:

MATTHEWS: Susan [Molinari], what do you make--I gotta jump in here, someone in my ear is telling me this is a great question, I forgot to ask it before--what do you make of this police going and telling all the women to shut up, the president says to shut up?

Not the clearest question we’ve ever seen posed, but Molinari knew what to do--she embellished:

MOLINARI: Very scary, very scary allegations there, I mean I think that is going to immobilize, if any of that is substantiated, that is so much more profoundly frightening than anything we’ve discussed in terms of the handling of the power and abuse of the office--

Of course, Hansel and Gretel would be “profoundly frightening” true, if any of it “turned out to be true.” But anyway, Douglas Kmiec was also on hand, representing that crack Pepperdine Law School, and he helped the nation see the kind of intellectual rigor we expect from great students of law:

KMIEC: If that comes out, the Watergate parallels get stronger and stronger, [BONUS POINT FOR MENTIONING WATERGATE], because already we have the president misusing his power in terms of privileges in the judicial process. If in fact he’s got a secret police force--

Darn! Chris had to jump in at this point, to make his final comment before dismissing his guests. But interrupting Kmiec was well worth it:

MATTHEWS: I just want to say one last word. I think Dick Morris is so ripped at this president because he got in trouble with a prostitute for somebody sucking on his toes and look what Bill Clinton had going on and he walked through that briar patch. Anyway, more Hardball coming back on CNBC.

And the thigh-rubbing talker headed off for a break. To almost anyone else, of course, the notion that Morris may be angry at Clinton would be more reason to exercise caution before crediting his tale. But that would be how a real journalist might think. Did we mention this account was from Hardball?

Please note: in the course of this exciting discussion, no one mentioned what Susan Schmidt had reported--that Morris had apparently admitted that he had no first-hand knowledge of whether his “charges” were actually true. Molinari didn’t mention it; Kmiec didn’t mention it; Matthews didn’t mention it. It’s the sort of thing that’s simply not done. Did we mention this account was from Hardball?