Friday, February 13, 2004

previous entry | main | next entry | TrackBack (0)

To post or not to post

Mark Kleiman believes that it was in "extreme bad taste" for me to post on the Kerry business:

So far only Drezner and some of the British papers, among the non-sleazaloid media, have picked this up. No self-respecting media outlet should be prepared to take this sort of unsourced second-hand sludge and run with it. We don't even know the name of the woman he's supposed to have been dating, making the story completely impossible to check.

Some readers agree.

First off -- Mark's facts are wrong. By the time I got around to posting on it, I'd seen blogposts from DailyKos, Atrios, Instapundit, and Andrew Sullivan, about the story. According to Jonah Goldberg, this allegation was first posted by a Wesley Clark blogger last week.

Mark is also incorrect is saying that the Drudge Report and the National Enquirer story about Kerry are talking about the same thing. See John Hawkins on this.

Second, I linked and quoted the DailyKos post at greater length, in large part because Kos' points on this were way more specific than Drudge's. He also confirmed that Wes Clark made statement about the Kerry situation to reporters. As I said before, what interests me is how the story got to Drudge. If it's from Clark, it would appear to fit in with this characterization of generals who fail at politics.

I'll close with Andrew Sullivan's point on this, because it's true:

[T]he internet has ended any semblance of a barrier between respectable news and gossip. Once Drudge has posted, the story is public. This is an awful development, but it is real. I should also say: I know of no hard evidence that this rumor is even faintly true. But true or not, if the Republicans planted it, they should be excoriated. If a rival Democratic candidate did, ditto.

UPDATE: Tim Noah has the full list of rationales -- mine are #3 and #8.

posted by Dan on 02.13.04 at 09:04 AM


Ok, all things being equal, Kleiman would have a point. But when it comes to the media, all things are absolutely not equal. Look at how long the networks sat on the Lewinsky scandel. They sat on Kathleen Willy for something like 5 weeks when the reporter who had the story said it was the most rock solid story she'd ever done. On the other hand, Bush the AWOL get doled out year after year, and _still_ no reporter has bothered to go interview people he served or worked with. But they are happy to parrot the story. Look, the mainstream media is _not_ in the pocket of the Democrats. But they _are_ extremeley arrogant, very lazy, and have a decided liberal worldview on the whole. To them stories that hurt republicans are news. Stories that hurt democrats get more scrutiny before they run, because the reporters tend to be fundamentally sympathetic to the people in question. They like John Kerry, they want to believe him. While they dislike and distrust George Bush. Its a soft, probably unconscious bias. Look, Drudge wouldnt exist if the media was doing its job. Thats what really pisses them off.

posted by: Mark Buehner on 02.13.04 at 09:04 AM [permalink]

Well, the Sun's reporting the name, but the Sun's not exactly the most reputable of British papers.

posted by: Sean O'Hara on 02.13.04 at 09:04 AM [permalink]

First off -- Mark's facts are wrong.

Isn’t that usually the case?

posted by: Thorley Winston on 02.13.04 at 09:04 AM [permalink]

Wha? You're saying The Sun isn't reputable? Ok, let's try another.

(Notice anything, um, similar?)

posted by: X on 02.13.04 at 09:04 AM [permalink]

All these pepole, Dan, talking at you about how " No self-respecting media outlet should be prepared to take this sort of unsourced second-hand sludge and run with it" should look into hteir own history... none of them seem to ahve had any problems with running with the "Bush AWOL" lie, and on less of a paper trail.

Sorry, the argument doesn't wash.

posted by: Bithead on 02.13.04 at 09:04 AM [permalink]

If the best Rupert Murdoch could come up with was a girl from a swing state who was asked if she wanted to work on Kerry's re-election, it doesn't look good for this rumor.

Unless that's a well-known Washington euphemism equivalent to "want to look at my etchings?"...

posted by: Jon H on 02.13.04 at 09:04 AM [permalink]

But they _are_ extremeley arrogant, very lazy, and have a decided liberal worldview on the whole.......Look, Drudge wouldnt exist if the media was doing its job. Thats what really pisses them off.”

Most professional journalists that I’ve met are poorly read. They attended a liberal school and never bothered to challenge the status quo. Do these folks consciously align themselves with the Democrat party? No, it’s just that the Democrats are perceived to be the rational people who hold sensible positions. Conservatives, on the other hand, are those individuals who howl at the full moon and may have 666 branded in the back of their scalps. The benefit of the doubt is rarely given to conservatives. The exact opposite is the case with the “altruistic” and “self sacrificing” liberals. John Stosell writes about this phenomenon in his new book, --Give Me A Break--. Matt Drudge would have remained a nobody if Newsweek had not killed a story by their reporter Michael Isikoff, just before deadline.

posted by: David Thomson on 02.13.04 at 09:04 AM [permalink]

Who is Mark Kleiman trying to kid arguing that he “would have preferred to ignore the latest Drudge sludge/National Enquirer/Rush Limbaugh slime, at least until someone had some idea what was actually going on.” Has anybody bothered to read this previous post on his website? This part of it is a total hoot:

“The White House is practicing slime-and-defend on the Texas National Guard official who has told of being present at meetings where senior Bush advisors and the commander of the Texas Guard discussed "cleansing" the record of its embarrassing elements.”

Oh my goodness, is Kleiman referring to Bill Burkett? One can only hope that this isn’t the case. I just saw this guy for the first time on TV last night. He is not even slightly credible. His story has the plausibility comparable to someone claiming to have been abducted by space aliens! Burkett actually expects us to believe that he overheard some officials saying that they were going to destroy the documents pertaining to George W. Bush’s alleged misdeeds in the National Guard. Does this pass the laugh test? This is especially the case when there are likely other copies of Bush’s records elsewhere in the system. The White House does not need to slime Mr. Burkett. He does a sufficient enough job demolishing his own credibility.

posted by: David Thomson on 02.13.04 at 09:04 AM [permalink]

Hmmm. Very interestink.

posted by: X on 02.13.04 at 09:04 AM [permalink]

For almost a decade I was a print reporter and I can tell you that David is on the nose about most of the press. Although relatively intelligent, few are well read and come out of "J" school with liberal stamped unquestioned on their foreheads. Fueled by dreams of changing the world (or at least getting on CNN)they do not see their job as simply reporting on events as accurately as possible. While I believe it is better to get it right first than to write it first, the Kerry story bears watching. You can bet this sudden display of haughty contempt for dirty campaigning would not bother them a hoot if their axis of evil- Cheney, Bush and Wolfowitz - were suspected of same.

posted by: EZ Writer on 02.13.04 at 09:04 AM [permalink]

This isn't a republican plot. They'd be guilty of premature defamation. This would be the kind of information you release after the primary.
This came from one of the competing democrats. Whether it will work, I've no idea. Kerry's biggest draw was 'electability.' Will this effect it?

posted by: Geoff Matthews on 02.13.04 at 09:04 AM [permalink]

My theory is Kerry leaked this himself. Look, everybody knew this was coming, including Kerry. He's apparently been assuring everyone they can handle it. What better time for this to hit? A month ago would have been disasterous, and a month from now could be too. All indications are that this is a story thats been floating around for years and was guaranteed to come up. My theory is Kerry hopes he gets the same pass that Bush got on his cocaine use story last election. It might just go away.

posted by: Mark Buehner on 02.13.04 at 09:04 AM [permalink]

"My theory is Kerry leaked this himself."

If it was remotely probable, it could be a theory (however implausible). But the only facts are that the SUN says some old folks thinks Kerry's sleazy cuz he TRIED to get with their daughter ?

Where's the story in that ?

Matt Sludge, has the convenient, -A Democrat made me do it-She is gone.

But Dan is right. If DailyKos/Atrios/Calpundit can post about it, there is no reason Dan should be singled out or even blamed (since the caveats were included).

posted by: ch2 on 02.13.04 at 09:04 AM [permalink]

David Thomson, go have a look at Ryan Lizza's piece at -

posted by: TedL on 02.13.04 at 09:04 AM [permalink]

“This isn't an example of ideological bias. It's actually the opposite. It's the press trying to be scrupulously unbiased.”
---Ryan Lizza

Baloney. I have no doubt but that Ryan Lizza means well. Still, I’m not buying his argument. The liberal media are a reality. This is not just my vague opinion. The overall evidence proves that most journalists are liberals. They take, perhaps subconsciously, special pleasure in attacking the Republicans. Democrats are given the benefit of the doubt while Republicans are guilty until proven otherwise.

posted by: David Thomson on 02.13.04 at 09:04 AM [permalink]

So Andrew Sullivan is all over the Kerry rumors -- after he complained about websites picking up on the story about the ads he placed looking for a unsafe-sex partner.

posted by: Andrew Sullivan on 02.13.04 at 09:04 AM [permalink]

Come on, David. Ryan Lizza offers facts and a timeline of events. You offer an assertion. What's wrong with Lizza's story?

The way I remember it, when Michael Moore raised the issue at a Clark campaign rally, the "liberal" media was all over Clark, insisting on a retraction. When Clark next offered a non-denial denial at the debate ("I haven't read the facts"), Peter Jennings (a Canadian, no less!!) slapped the rumor down, and by implication slapped Clark for failing to dissociate himself from it. It took time, a party leader making the claim personally, and a context in which the story had resonance. (David Kay report; the 20% fudge on the cost of Medicare, etc.)

posted by: TedL on 02.13.04 at 09:04 AM [permalink]

Hmmm well anyway... Presidents in the last 80-odd years who had an infidelity scandal (or who could have had one if the press had been more aggressive in their time):

SCANDAL: FD Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Reagan, Clinton

NO SCANDAL (as far as I know): Coolidge, Hoover, Truman, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Bush I, Bush II

Seems like most of the talent is in the top list. I'm just saying.

posted by: a random person on 02.13.04 at 09:04 AM [permalink]

Post a Comment:


Email Address:



Remember your info?