You'd think Politico would have something more important to splash across their front page than a write up of some new book nobody cares about. But no:
Now, first of all: by "Monica's back," you might assume Politico means Lewinsky has written a book, or launched a speaking tour or something. No. Politico means that several months ago, Lewinsky gave a written comment to the author of a book that is coming out soon. Uh ... a little less "newsy" when you put it that way, isn't it?
Next, you may wonder how something can be the "first definitive history." How can there be more than one definitive history?
But then, if you're silly enough to read the article -- as, unfortunately, I was -- you see junk like this:
Confirmation of a long-rumored romantic affair between Clinton and McDougal, an Arkansas woman who spent 18 months in jail for refusing to answer questions from Starr's prosecutors before a grand jury, and later received a presidential pardon from Clinton. Gormley writes he is now certain "some intimate involvement did occur," though he will not say precisely how he knows it to be true.
Uh, Politico? That's totally not what the word "confirmation" means.
It gets dumber from there, with Politico breathlessly revealing that Robert Ray wanted to indict Bill Clinton (we already knew that) and that Ken Starr's office prepared a draft indictment of Hillary Clinton (knew that, too) and ... Well, who cares, really?
If the article has any redeeming feature, it is this:
Clinton retorts: "They were disgraced and he [Hyde] knows it. They ran a partisan hit job run by a bitter right-winger, Henry Hyde, who turned out to be a hypocrite on the personal issues....Yeah I will always have a asterisk after my name but I hope I'll have two asterisks: one is 'They impeached him," and the other is 'He stood up to them and beat them and he beat them like a yard dog.'"
The "them" in question has, of course, has always included the media that fanned the flames of impeachment. And they're still not over it.
In support of his dubious argument that the press is treating President Obama more favorably than President Bush, Politico's Josh Gerstein falsely suggested that unlike David Axelrod, Karl Rove was never involved in national security meetings. In addition, Gerstein advanced the falsehood that the Bush administration did not attack MSNBC and other news outlets.
Under the header "What if George W. Bush had done that?" Politico's Josh Gerstein indulges the right-wing persecution complex by arguing Barack Obama is benefitting from friendlier media coverage than his predecessor got.
Are you kidding me?
George W. Bush wanted to go to war in Iraq, so he made up some phony reasons for it. And the media, rather than scrutinizing his case for war, helped him along. That was a damn war. That alone pretty much ends the discussion. (Gerstein gives Iraq a passing mention in paragraph 16.)
But lets take a closer look at Gerstein's silliness.
He opens with mention of Obama making a "four-hour stop in New Orleans, on his way to a $3 million fundraiser." Apparently, Gerstein wants us to think that seeming indifference towards, and botched handling of, a deadly natural disaster while it is still unfolding is no worse than stopping at the site of the disaster for four hours ... four years later.
Another: "Doing more fundraisers than the last president. More golf, too."
Bush spent 487 days at Camp David, and 490 days at his ranch in Crawford -- where, among other things, he neglected to read a certain Presidential Daily Briefing entitled "Bin Laden Determined to attack Inside the U.S." A month later, Bin Laden did. I trust Gerstein will let us know when Obama blows off a similar memo during a golf outting.
And quickly add, with a hint of jealousy: How does Obama get away with it?
"We have a joke about it. We're going to start a website: IfBushHadDoneThat.com," former Bush counselor Ed Gillespie said. "The watchdogs are curled up around his feet, sleeping soundly. ... There are countless examples: some silly, some serious."
George W. Bush's predecessor was hounded for years over a land deal in which he lost money, and impeached -- due in no small part to media hyperventilation -- because he lied about an affair. Bush lied about a war and the press helped him do it.
For a reporter to pretend that George W. Bush has gotten tougher treatment from the press than other presidents is laugh-out-loud absurd.
Media observers note that the president often gets kid-glove treatment from the press, fellow Democrats and, particularly, interest groups on the left - Bush's loudest critics, Obama's biggest backers.
There's only one word for that: Stupid.
Seriously, it's a newsworthy phenomenon that Democrats and liberal interest groups were harder on Bush than they have been on Obama? Uh, Josh? What about Republicans and conservative interest groups? Have they, by chance, been tougher on Obama than they were on Bush?
(The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder, by the way, has argued "the left has held Barack Obama's feet to the fire way more than the right ever did to George W, Bush." That concept is missing from Gerstein's little essay.)
Don't they have editors at Politico?
Following the Nobel Committee's announcement that it would award the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama, conservative media figures have launched numerous attacks on Obama and the award, asserting, for instance, that Obama won the prize "for trashing America," in Sean Hannity's words, or that the prize is an "affirmative action Nobel," as Pat Buchanan and RedState's Erick Erickson asserted. In the latest attempt to discredit Obama's Nobel Prize, conservatives have claimed that his acceptance of the award violates the emolument clause of the Constitution, despite the fact that previous sitting officials have accepted foreign awards in the past.
Numerous media figures followed a Politico article in noting that President Obama did not use the words "terror," "terrorism," "terrorist," or "war on terror" during his speech at Cairo University, suggesting the omission was notable, but did not discuss possible reasons why Obama chose other words.
The Politico reported that Dennis Blair stated that harsh interrogation techniques yielded "high-value information" but did not note Blair's reported statement that the costs of those techniques "far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us."