If I didn't love you, I'd hate you ...

››› ››› ERIC ALTERMAN

What's up with my buddy Edsall? Hello, Tom, what exactly -- and I do mean "exactly" -- is the connection between refusing to take part in a Fox News-sponsored debate and taking the money of its owner or its employees? The implication here is that the Democrats who've taken Murdoch money are either hypocritical or self-contradictory, but that reasoning is impossible to uphold. In one case, a candidate is legitimating a propaganda network that pretends to be an honest news source and allowing them to determine the agenda for a debate and, by extension, the campaign. The case is arguable, but I agree with the Democrats' position, as I made clear here. In the other case, well, what? Don't all political campaigns run on money? Isn't any money just as good as any other money? He notes that any number of Democrats work for Murdoch. Does Tom think it appropriate for candidates to demand that all contributors pass a morals exam before a campaign accepts their contributions? Does Tom think that Murdoch employees should be stigmatized as contributors because of the enterprise for which they work? Does Tom have any evidence that any of these campaigns have done anything or made any promises in exchange for any of the money they've received? If Tom does not believe any of these things or have any evidence of wrongdoing -- and I'd be amazed if he did -- then what is the point of this false connection? How does this story illuminate anything at all, save the fact that we live in a country that encourages wealthy individuals and corporations to fund our election system? Clearly what underlies this story is the notion that Murdoch used to be a Clinton enemy and now he's a Clinton friend. OK, fine, we knew that already, but if there's more to that story, let's hear it. Meanwhile, if there's a get anywhere in this alleged gotcha, it's lost on yours truly ...

Quote of the Day: "Bloggers, it seems to me, don't really care what the facts are." -- Robert Novak.

"So around this time we started making a little money with the band and I got my first car, a '57 Chevy, thirty miles highway, and a Hurst on the floor. It had Flames on it and everything, man it was hot! Twenty five city. And once I got that thing going man I just drove and drove you know, I didn't care where I was going. Days went by, I'm telling you, I just drove, didn't stop for anything, not gas or food, I didn't even stop for the bathroom, I just went in the car. HeeheHee. So I found myself at this little ice cream place in the middle of nowhere. And I just knew the old man couldn't find me out there. And I went up to the lady at the stand and I said 'I'd like a Mr. Softy' and she said to me, she said 'son, the machine's broke.' This song's called The River. " How funny is this?

Alter-review: Joan Osborne, Breakfast in Bed

I keep listening to this damn CD over and over. It's just Joan signing some originals and soul classics, including "Ain't No Sunshine" and "Break Up to Make Up." She even covers "Midnight Train to Georgia," a ballsy thing to do since she does them pretty straight, and succeeds wonderfully. Her own songs hold up pretty well, especially one called "I Know what's Goin' On". Also included are her versions of "Heat Wave" and "What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted," taken from the documentary "Standing in the Shadow of Motown" about the Funk Brothers. They, too, are terrific, though to my mind, not quite as terrific as "Kiss and Say Goodbye," one of the greatest songs of all time.

Correspondence Corner:

Name: John Walters
Hometown: Ridgfield, CT

Didn't G.K. Chesterton say: "My country right or wrong is like saying 'my mother, drunk or sober' "?

I think that gets to it rather well.

Name: Mike Morley
Hometown: Scituate, MA

Hi Eric,

Um, I hope you weren't serious about your comment regarding the website for that movie Medellin. This is from the HBO show Entourage dude. It's a movie that the show's movie star character is shopping around. HBO has been showing faux-previews and now they have a website too. Not real, brother.

Eric replies: Dude, do you really have so little faith in me? Harsh, bro ...

Name: Rick Kane
Hometown: Locust Grove, Virginia

Hello Doc: Today, our friends at Talkingpointsmemo discussed Ms. Townsend's news conference that took place this afternoon. They note the "bamboozle" on how she stated "al Qaeda and al Qaeda in Mesopotamia (aka al Qaeda in Iraq), a group that appears to have no operational ties to bin Laden's group are in fact "one and the same." I caught some of the interview and for once some in the press corps got her to admit that "we stirred up a hornets' nest" when we went into Iraq, after which she went into the full dodge and weave. As has been pointed out by so many, everything this administration does, even fight its wars, is completely political (in the sense of advancing its own political agenda). The problem is that when you don't admit the reality of who you are fighting and where, you certainly are not going to win. You essentially have made yourself stupid.

Name: Ian
Hometown: Los Angeles

Not only was the Nixon pardon wrong because there was no real accountability, but it became part of an ongoing pattern with the Democrats. After Iran-Contra, again, the Republicans were simply let off the hook. That's why now, impeachment has to be on the table -- as the main course. This is not retribution or payback for the Clinton lunacy, this is what the process was created for.

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