Thursday, January 29, 2004

More cracks in the facade keep showing up -- this one thanks to Jay Rosen.
Well, it's unanimous. CNN, MSNBC, FoxNews, the Times... all of them give more prominence to Dean's shake-up of his brain trust than to David Kay's testimony on their front pages (web editions). They also give more prominence to the latest suicide bombing in Jerusalem. They also give more prominence to the Martha Stewart trial.

Wish I could say I was surprised.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Already, Trippi's ousting from the Dean campaign is being portrayed as the death-knell of 'internet campaigning'. Be interesting to see if that meme takes hold among the pundits.
Three quick thoughts on David Kay's testimony today:

- One, Kay mis-stated the charge against the White House (and Dick Cheney particularly), at least as I've understood it. The thought wasn't that anybody pressured analysts to report the party line; it's that the people reading the analyses simply ignored anything that didn't conform to the party line, and eventually changed the channels of communication to shelter themselves even further from dissenting views. Nobody was put under undue pressure. They were simply taken out of the loop.

- Two, as yet I haven't seen anyone run with the real nugget from Kay's testimony -- his exchange with Hillary about resources being diverted from the WMD investigation after the war. As much as what Kay said has been portrayed as helping the Bush administration (i.e. they were duped by the faulty intel), that particular bit of info could hurt them just as badly. If even they didn't believe they were going to find anything...

- Three, the strident defense of the war by the 'Pubs on the AF Committee seemed just sad. Inhofe calling an empty warhead a WMD capable of killing a million people was just bizarre. Hmmm... maybe it wasn't Clinton and Dole that were replaced:

Kang: That board with a nail in it may have defeated us but the humans wont stop there. They'll make bigger boards and bigger nails. Soon they will make a board with a nail so big it will destroy them all! A-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!
Nice post by Ezra Klein over at BOP, which dovetails nicely with Ally G's Talk Radio Manifesto.

So the question is, who can be the anti-O'Reilly? And if it turns out to be the Onion alumnus who nails this one, will anyone take them seriously?

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Mickey Kaus apparently needs a new prescription for his reading glasses... it seems it took an alert (!) reader to point out to him the reason behind Dean's big jump in Monday's Zobgy tracking number (#2 with an Asterisk!).

Here's the actual report from Z hisself. Notice how he buried the explanation for Dean's boost an entire quarter of an inch below the poll results. What a cad!

Yes, clearly it's not the fault of any lazy media folk for not reporting (or, indeed, even noticing) the caveat about the boost (which disappeared Tuesday morning or, by Z's account, Monday night). It's that darn Zogby, always looking for cheap publicity.

I love the quote from Mystery Pollster: "[H]as Zobgy been probing leaners (and withholding the results) all along, or did he just start last Friday?" Well, maybe I'm just being nit-picky, but the fact that they are 'leaners' would pretty clearly imply that they were leaning towards some candidate or other. Or were they simply drunk? Maybe Zogby's secret polling technique involves a lot of bar-hopping.

The fact that Zogby chose to lump 'leaners' into the Undecided camp early, then count them as supporters the day before the vote, at least has some rational basis behind it, agree or disagree with the methodology. The decision to run his numbers without reporting that methodology to explain/create a sudden 'surge'? Mmmm, less so.
It's early yet (just before 11 Eastern) but the theme of the day might be that the wheat will be separated from the chaff in New Hampshire.

For instance, we have Carville chatting with Bill Hemmer:

HEMMER: How many will drop out tomorrow?

CARVILLE: I think of the big five, two will be gone tomorrow. Whether they drop out -- whether you drop out or not doesn't matter -- but if two people finish far behind here, it's going to be pretty hard for them to raise money; it's going to be hard for their supporters to stay with them.

And there's a great sense among everyday rank-and-file Democrats, "Hey, if somebody does really well here, let's get, all get behind them and make this person nominee." And by the same token, these guys have been working hard -- Sen. Edwards and Dean -- you can't force people out of this thing too early, but somebody has to show ability to get votes in order to stay in this thing. You can't just stay in this thing forever.

Interesting that he singles out Dean and Edwards as the hard workers who need to show the ability to get votes to remain viable.

Of course it's much easier on the media if there are fewer candidates (the so-called Rule of Two) -- fewer campaigns to cover; less work during debates; more simplistic Either/Or, For/Against focus on the issues. But of course that's not relevant. This is about the People, making their Choice now now now now now!

Monday, January 26, 2004

Peter Jennings, anchor of ABC's World News Tonight, 2004, re: Li'l Bushie's service record- "Now, that’s a reckless charge not supported by the facts."

Dean Reynolds, correspondant for ABC's World News Tonight, 2000, re: Li'l Bushie's service record- "What about his military obligation in the Texas Air National Guard? He says he fulfilled it, but is hazy in his recollections." (Thanks Media Research Center!)

So there were enough facts for Reynolds to question it (in, no doubt, the sonorously skeptical tones of the professional journo), but not enough for Michael Moore to use for a bit of campaign rhetoric?

Does ABC offer any sort of FAQ or handbook so we laypersons can figure out the difference on our own?
According to John Ellis 85% of veteran pundits despise Kerry. And who am I to doubt the word of an officially sanctioned Gatekeeper? This does beg the question though... do they dislike Kerry because of his character faults, or do they see character faults that don't exist (or at least exaggerate them) because they dislike him?

Well, here's a little case study to examine the issue.

Mickey Kaus (and we know which side of that 85% divide HE stands on) paints Kerry as an opportunistic hypocrite every chance he gets. As recently as Sunday the 25th he referred to 'the affirmative action cave', one of the big skeletons supposedly lurking in Kerry's closet that Karl Rove is salivating over the chance to use. (Ellis has a more detailed explanation here.)

According to Ellis, Kerry gave a policy speech to 'reposition' his stance on affirmative action. Ellis- "...predictably, various liberal interest groups squawked. Within days, Kerry basically recanted everything he just said. It was, and there is no other word for it, pathetic." Notice that there is no actual evidence presented of this, just Ellis' recollection (which is inaccurate in at least one detail, as the speech was given in 1992 not 1990).

Now let's see what Google has to show us. Here's FAIR's account of the speech, for instance. Using (shocking!) actual quotes from the speech we find that Kerry said, "I want to be clear here. I do support affirmative action, not rhetorically but really" as well as saying that the policy has "made our country a better, fairer place to live". His criticisms, according to FAIR, were of the public perception that affirmative action was reverse racism, that its effects had been "exaggerated and exploited by politicians eager to use it" and, citing a survey showing that some white Americans felt more discriminated against than minorities, he called on Congress "to correct whatever false data or preconceptions have fed the belief that is evidenced in this poll."

Well, what does FAIR know anyway? Bunch of Commie subversives they are, making a living attacking the unimpeachable credibility of the New York Times... umm....

The Boston Globe has a different take. They portray the speech as the first of a series intended to launch an initiative tackling problems of race, crime and urban decay. The speech warned of the costs of a "culture of dependency. . . . We must ask whether [social disintegration] is the result of a massive shift in the psychology of our nation that some argue grew out of the excesses of the 1960s, a shift from self-reliance to indulgence and dependence, from caring to self-indulgence, from public accountability to public abdication and chaos," according to the Globe. "The truth is that affirmative action has kept America thinking in racial terms," Kerry is quoted, something that alienated whites.

I can only assume that Kerry was then calling for a return to self-reliance, caring and public accountability. It seems that the subtext of the speech was, if anything, directed at the civil rights movement itself, a warning not to get caught up in arguments about quotas (terrain where the opposition could make political coin) and to focus on a bigger picture. Notice the reference to public accountability and public abdication -- phrases that would seem to take aim at the use of the policy as a dodge to avoid dealing with the underlying problems that make affirmative action necessary.

What exactly, out of that, would need to be recanted I wonder? (Not that any examples of recanting were offered by Ellis.)

Or was it Kerry's subsequent refusal to go along with the media interpretation of his position (see the FAIR link for that) which earned him his 'pathetic' rep?

Of course there are plenty of other incidents that get used as ammo by Kerry-slaggers. I mean surely their opinion can't be based on just one thing. That would just be silly.

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