The first phase of the Hillary Clinton/SoS "drama" may soon be over (will Tweety pull a Howard Beale tonight?), but members of the press want everyone to know they had no choice but to wallow in the drama. The drama was practically forced upon them. And of course the Clintons are the blame.
But as CDS spread, pundits began cast a wider net. And now some say it's Obama's fault too, for unleashing the "huge" drama by, y'know, asking Clinton to join his cabinet. According to the press, that was a deliberate choice the president-elect made to un-bottle the drama. And folks, once the drama's been let loose, there's just no containing it.
(FYI, The "they" in the clip below refers to the Obama campaign.)
Apparently a truck driver ripped into Beck while the two of them were standing in line at Wendys, with the trucker tagging the right-wing talker as a "racist bigot." And then he railed about how conservatives like Beck had destroyed the country.
I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out--is this wrong?
We're talking about the right-wing obsession with Fairness Doctrine, and how the conservative media, much to our amazement, continues to elevate the relatively minor media-related debate into a tip-top priority for the GOP.
Writes Steven Benen, who shares our sense of wonder:
Everyone from obscure right-wing bloggers to Rush Limbaugh to Washington Post columnists are prepared for a fight that isn't going to happen.
And yet, the nonsense doesn't stop. Perusing the news this morning, there are still more conservative columnists railing against the "plan" to bring back the fairness doctrine, and unhinged propaganda about the "unprecedented government assault upon the First Amendment" that is allegedly on the way.
The New Republic's Marin Cogan asked around, trying to find Democrats who actually support bringing the fairness doctrine back, or media-reform liberals who might push for action on this. Cogan couldn't find any.
This is some pretty weak tea, courtesy of the AP.
First the unfortunate headline: "Napolitano is no stranger to Washington scandals."
And here's the lead:
President-elect Barack Obama's likely pick for Homeland Security secretary, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, is no stranger to headline-making Washington scandals and controversies.
Napolitano was a U.S. attorney in Phoenix, appointed by former President Bill Clinton, when the Justice Department decided against prosecuting Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain's wife, Cindy, for the theft of prescription drugs from her medical charity.
First, what does being the U.S. attorney in Phoenix have to do with "Washington scandals"? Shouldn't Napolitano, like, be in Washington to play a part in "Washington scandals"?
Second, we'd suggest that to most casual news consumers the AP headlines certainly indicates Napolitano was the subject of the controversies, not that she, in the everyday duties of her job, simply oversaw prosecutions that were deemed controversial. Meaning, the press should probably resist throwing around terms like "Washington scandals" in reference to public officials who are making their introduction on the national stage if the officials themselves did nothing controversial.
In an article about how Holder will likely become Obama's AG nomination, the Times, like so many in the press, plays up as a huge deal the relatively modest role Holder had in the Marc Rich pardon scandal that marked the end of the Clinton administration.
According to the newspaper's headline Holder is "haunted" by the Marc Rich scandal (Oh my.) And in the lead, the Times announces rather breathlessly that Holder's name was "dragged very publicly through the mud" by the pardon ordeal. (Oh my!)
To prove what a huge ordeal the mostly forgotten saga was for Holder, the Times quotes from some anonymous GOP staffers as well as RNC-issued talking points and allegations, like Holder looked the other way regarding the pardons because he wanted to be Al Gore's AG, if Gore got elected. That's what GOP attack dogs like Rep. Dan Burton claimed in 2001, but there was no proof of that then, or now.
If Holder is officially nominated, will the pardon issue come up in his confirmation hearings? Almost certainly. Has Holder been "haunted" by the issue? The Times offers no real suggestion he has. In fact, it's quite the opposite: If Holder had been "haunted," and if his name really had been "dragged very publicly through the mud," he wouldn't be preparing to become the country's next AG, right?
Addressing students at Vassar College, the cabler chief bemoaned "the parlous condition of traditional news media," according to a local newspaper account.
Griffin also informed the students that, looking back on the historic 2008 campaign, Sarah Palin ""made this election."
We're pretty sure there's a connection between those two points.
P.S. Griffin complains that the network news outlets are "losing viewers, which means they're losing advertising revenue, which means their ability to do the very expensive job of international and investigative journalism is under serious threat."
But does anyone think that if the three networks had become miraculously flush with cash in 2008 that they would have devoted the windfall to international reporting and investigative journalism?
Or is he joking? He's a sly writer, so sometimes it's hard to tell. But after several run-throughs we have (sadly) concluded he's serious in his WaPo column today about Obama and smoking [emphasis added]:
Smoking is a disgusting habit that can kill you and those around you. Barack Obama claims to have quit, but the evidence is ambiguous. And the media's lack of interest in this question supports the charge that Obama is enjoying a honeymoon with the press. Compare the attention given to John McCain's melanoma -- a health problem more likely than smoking to kill him in the next four years, but also a problem beyond his control. Smoking, by contrast, is behavior. It sets a deplorable example for young people, millions of whom Obama has inspired into active citizenship.
We wish it was a parody.
UPDATE: The Daily Howler agrees.
That seems to be the GOP manta, post-Election Day. They're even making a movie about it.
The idea is simple: Because the press did not sufficiently air the right-wing smears about Obama, American voters didn't have all the facts when they awarded Obama an electoral landslide victory.
This was quite revealing. On MSNBC, as Media Matters noted, Scarborough was going on about Christopher Hitchens' bout of Clinton Derangement Syndrome. Scarborough thought Hichene's utterly predictable and factually-challenged screed about why Clinton should not become SoS was all very important, blah, blah, blah.
But here's the interesting part. Note who Scarborough claimed Hitchens spoke for during his attack. I've highlighted the language below and I'm pretty sure if you substitute the phrase "the press," you actually hit the real truth.
Scarborough: "What he said may resonate with some of her critics."
By "some of her critics," he meant the press.
Scarborough: "Hitchens last night weighed in on it and basically spoke for a lot of Hillary detractors."
By "a lot of Hillary detractors," he meant the press.
Scarborough: "He talked about...concerns that a lot of Clinton detractors may be bringing up."
By "a lot of Clinton detractor," he meant the press.
That's the point we've been making for the last week as we've watched MoDo and Chris Matthews and David Broder and the rest of the Village elders raise a stink about Clinton joining the Obama administration. And our point is this: The press represents nobody but the press on this topic. Meaning, the press has no political cover on this story because there's no partisan angle to the SoS story, which means their long-running Clinton hatred is just sort of out there, exposed for all to see.
Think about. It's been virtually impossible to find any senior members of Congress--Republican or Democrat--who publicly oppose Clinton as the SoS, which in and of itself is rather astonishing.
And within the liberal blogosphere, where one might expect there to be vocal opposition to Clinton since so many within the netroots opposed her during the primaries, most A-list writers have been extremely quiet in terms of airing opposition. (Whether they oppose Clinton for the slot and have simply accepted the possibility, we don't know. But if bloggers were truly upset, we'd know about it.)
So, if you're keeping score at home, that means the Obama White House is in favor of Clinton, Republicans in Congress are in favor, Democrats in Congress are in favor, and liberal activists are, essentially, in favor. (And so are most Americans.)
So we go back to our original point. Who was Scarborough talking about when he kept referring to these detractors who Hitchens represented. Who were these SoS "critics"? Answer: Scarborough was talking about the Beltway press corps. And if the Beltway press corps thinks Clinton should not be SOS, then that's big news.
Just so you know.
P.S. Did you also laugh when Scarborough claimed, "the Obama campaign is dragging their feet" on Clinton as SoS?