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Last week, Washington Post reporters Dana Milbank and Chris Cillizza filmed a "Mouthpiece Theater" video in which Milbank called Hillary Clinton a "mad bitch" and Cillizza called Rep. Chip Pickering's wife a "bitter woman from hell" (Her crime? She says her husband cheated on her. So, clearly, she is from hell.)
The Post pulled the video after hours of outrage, and Cillizza Tweeted about the controversy: "Folks, know a lot of you were upset about Mouthpiece,. We've apologized and the video has been pulled. Thanks for the feedback."
In fact, they hadn't apologized. A Post spokesperson said the video was "satire" that "went too far." But that isn't an apology -- not to Hillary Clinton, not to Chip Pickering's wife, and not to Washington Post readers. It's a "OK, we give, please stop hitting us."
And it hides behind the absurd notion that Milbank and Cillizza were simply engaging in satire that went a bit too far. Oh yeah? What were they satirizing when they called Clinton a "bitch" and Pickering a "bitter woman from hell"? That wasn't satire, that was simply two smug men calling women bitches and bitter women.
Yesterday, the Post's Howard Kurtz wrote in an online discussion "Chris apologized on his Twitter feed." No. Cillizza did not apologize in his Twitter feed. Saying "We've apologized" is not apologizing.
And today, Cillizza and Milbank made clear that they are not at all sorry. They posted a new "Mouthpiece Theater" in which they suggest they were "censored," pretend that Milbank's comment about Clinton was the only problem -- ignoring Cillizza's cruel attack on Chip Pickering's wife -- and generally treat the whole thing as a big joke.
Except, as usual, there's nothing funny about "Mouthpiece Theater."
This, by the way, is satire:
(Hat-tip to Americablog for the video, by Andy Cobb.)
UPDATE: CJR's Megan Garber on the new "Mouthpiece Theater":
[T]here's really very little to say about the video, because, as usual, there's really very little substance within it. Except that it's remarkable how, like one of those movie aliens that feeds off the life force of humans, the series's inflated sense of its own jocularity seems only to have expanded since Friday's debacle. As if "Mouthpiece Theater" feasts on widespread indignation itself.
Would this entry by the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza look any different if it had been written by John McCain's press secretary?
In just a few paragraphs, Cilizza:
1) Touts McCain's influence within the Republican Party
2) Suggests you can't have bipartisan legislation unless McCain is on board
3) Passes on McCain's claims that the Democrats are not truly interested in bipartisanship
4) Passes on McCain's attacks on the inclusion of a public option in health care reform
5) Frames the gulf between McCain and the White House in McCain-friendly terms: McCain, according to Cilizza, is "growing increasingly upset with the growth in government spending and the lack of consultation between the White House and Senate Republicans."
And there isn't so much as a word of scrutiny of McCain's claims. Not a word even hinted at the possibility that McCain's take on anything might not be the whole story.
From the August 2 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources:
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From Dana Milbank and Chris Cillizza's July 31 installment of their washingtonpost.com video series, "Mouthpiece Theater":
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Yesterday, I asked what a Republican Senator would have to do to make Chris Cillizza's list of Sotomayor confirmation hearing "losers." Well, today's edition of Cillizza's "Winners and Losers" is out, and we still don't know the answer.
Cillizza went to great lengths to avoid naming a Republican one of the losers of Day 4 of the hearings; his "losers" list included "The Third Round of Questioning," "Analogies," and Michael Bloomberg, for mispronouncing Sotomayor's name. Bloomberg, of course, was a Republican until leaving the Party in 2007. Combined with Cillizza's choice of Arlen Specter among yesterday's losers, it seems the best way for a Republican to make Cillizza's list really is to leave the GOP.
Strangely, Cillizza named New Haven firefighter Frank Ricci one of yesterday's "losers." Why? Because "Ricci's statement was entirely devoid of controversy (or any mention of Sotomayor) and the follow-up questions to him produced no drama either."
See, that seems to me like a failure on the part of the people who decided to make Ricci their star witness and hype his appearance for a week, then failed to elicit anything interesting from him during questioning. You know, the Republicans who serve on the Judiciary Committee.
Ricci isn't a Senator, he isn't a lawyer, he isn't a legal scholar; all he could do was tell his story. He shouldn't be blamed for not being entertaining or illuminating enough for Cillizza; his hosts bear responsibility for putting him in that position, and for wasting the committee's time with a witness who, according to Cillizza, added nothing to the proceedings. Blaming Frank Ricci for that seems like awfully poor form.
Yesterday, I noted that Washington Post reporter Chris Cillizza's list of Sotomayor hearing "Winners and Losers" included Lindsay Graham among the winners, despite what many saw as condescending questioning. And that Cillizza couldn't think of a single Republican to list among the day's losers - not even Jeff Sessions, whose suggestion that all judges of Puerto Rican heritage should rule alike served as a reminder of his history of racially insensitive rhetoric.
Today, Cillizza is back with more "Winners and Losers." Among his winners: Sen. Tom Coburn. Yes, the same Tom Coburn who channeled Ricky Ricardo during his questioning of Sotomayor. And, once again, Cillizza doesn't list a single Republican among the day's losers. (Though two Democrats make that list, four in the last two days.)
UPDATE: Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter appears on Cillizza's current losers list, so perhaps the answer to the question posed in the headline of this post is "Become a Democrat."
Washington Post reporter Chris Cillizza offers a scorecard of "winners and losers" from yesterday's Sotomayor hearings.
His second "winner"? Lindsey Graham, who Cillizza says "was the Republican senator best able to rile Sotomayor" and "managed to unsettle Sotomayor." Cillizza provided no evidence to support that assertion. Nor did he mention that Graham asked Sotomayor if she has a temperament problem - a question that was rather odd coming at the end of a day in which she had answered a barrage of often hostile questions without losing her composure.
Cillizza wrote that Graham's "low-key delivery" proved that he is "one of the best questioners/smart legal minds in the Senate" -- but even Chris Matthews found Graham's questioning condescending. When even Chris Matthews thinks someone is being condescending to a woman, there's a problem.
Even more odd, Cillizza couldn't think of a single Republican to list under the day's "losers." Not, say, Jeff Sessions, the Senator whose own judicial nomination was derailed amid charges of racism - and who suggested that Sonia Sotomayor should have ruled the way Judge Cabranes did because he is also "of Puerto Rican ancestry." Not only that, Sessions blundered into a Marshall McLuhan moment - something that just doesn't happen in real life.
No, Cillizza's "losers" were President Obama and Democrat Herb Kohl - not because Kohl did anything wrong, but because the cable channels didn't cover him.
Here's how the AP reported on the Minnesota Supreme Court's ruling in favor of Al Franken:
Coleman's campaign didn't immediately return a call for comment. Nor did, whose signature is required on the election certificate Franken needs to be seated.
Pawlenty, a Republican, has said he would sign the certificate if ordered to do so by the court. The court's ruling stopped short of explicitly ordering the governor to sign the document, saying only that Franken was "entitled" to it.
That's some pretty fine hair-splitting.
UPDATE: And here's how Chris Cillizza describes Pawlenty's comments from Sunday: "On Sunday, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) indicated he was inclined to sign the certificate of election for Franken if the state's Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Democrat."
Well, no, Pawlenty didn't say he was "inclined" to sign the certificate. Here's what he said: "I'm going to follow the direction of the court, John. We expect that ruling any day now. I also expect them to give guidance and direction as to the certificate of election. I'm prepared to sign it as soon as they give the green light. ... I'm not going to defy an order of the Minnesota Supreme Court. That would be a dereliction of my duty."
That's rather more definitive than "inclined."
The Washington Post quoted Mitt Romney saying that "the American public" -- not the president -- "ought to own" GM. But the article did not note that the Obama administration has said it has "no desire" to own equity in GM "any longer than necessary," and reportedly plans to sell all of its shares in the company within 12 to 18 months.
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In a blog post, washingtonpost.com's Chris Cillizza reported that the National Republican Congressional Committee released an ad attacking a Democratic House member who voted in favor of an earmark for "the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service," but Cillizza did not note that 89 House Republicans also voted in favor of the earmark.
On washingtonpost.com, Chris Cillizza uncritically reported Sen. John McCain's false claim that Sen. Barack Obama had misrepresented comments former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had made about negotiating with Iran, writing that "McCain was able to turn a single question about meeting with rogue leaders into an extended colloquy that ended with him hitting Obama for misunderstanding Henry Kissinger." In fact, Obama accurately represented Kissinger's comments about negotiations with Iran.
Discussing on CNN the 2004 presidential election and noting that Democrats believed Sen. John Kerry had "unassailable military credentials," Chris Cillizza asserted, "Well, lo and behold, a group called the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth raises questions about it, John Kerry is presented as a flip-flopper, and that conventional wisdom goes out the window." But Cillizza failed to note that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth's "questions" were false and baseless smears about Kerry's service in the Vietnam War.
Washingtonpost.com's Chris Cillizza falsely suggested that Sen. John Kerry's call for Sen. John McCain to "cut ties" with retired Col. George "Bud" Day stemmed from Day's defense of McCain's military service in Vietnam. In fact, Kerry's statement called for McCain to sever ties with Day after Day described the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth attacks on Kerry in 2004 -- attacks Cillizza noted McCain denounced at the time -- as "revelation of the truth."