Unintended Consequences, Redux

by matttbastard

(Photo: Paul Keller, Flickr)

Jane Mayer on the sudden prominence of ex-W speechwriter (and current Hiatt-approved pro-torture propagandist*) Marc Thiessen and why those who don’t pop wood for enhanced interrogation [sic] should be wary:

The publication of “Courting Disaster” suggests that Obama’s avowed determination “to look forward, not back” has laid the recent past open to partisan reinterpretation. By holding no one accountable for past abuse, and by convening no commission on what did and didn’t protect the country, President Obama has left the telling of this dark chapter in American history to those who most want to whitewash it.

Teach the controversy, maaan. Nothing is true; everything is permitted.

*As Harry Allen would say, don’t just read Alex Pareene’s superlative Gawker piece ‘The Washington Post Has the Worst Opinion Section in America‘ — memorize it.

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Olbermann: Alex Rodriguez Inducted Into The Apology Hall Of Fame!

by matttbastard

I really don’t give a toss about the A-Rod steroid controversy.  Am far more curious why Washington Post reporter Michael A. Fletcher felt the matter was of such national import that he asked the freakin’ POTUS for a response during Monday’s prime time press conference.

As O-Dub put it:

We’re in the middle of a fiscal crisis, two wars, and numerous other national and international issues. A-Rod could shoot up heroin, snort cocaine and disrobe during the all-star game and it would be immaterial.

Still, I couldn’t resist posting the following montage, a fitting tribute to the many insincere career-salvaging expeditions embarked upon by disgraced public figures over the years.

Watch it:

On a related note, I will never, ever tire of Jimmy Swaggart’s iconic tearful confession–even if the nostalgic indulgence in schadenfreude simultaneously resurrects the unfortunate image of him getting a blowjob in sweatpants.

My sincere apologies if any of you were eating while reading that.

(video courtesy CSPANJunkie)

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Ego and Ambition: Privileges That Only White Men Are Allowed To Enjoy (Beltway Edition)

by matttbastard

Shorter Charles Krauthammer:

Uppity. N*gger.”

For fuck’s sake, Chuck–stop wasting our time (and Katherine Graham’s money), cut the crap and just say what you really fucking mean.

Attaturk has more on ‘Operation U-P-P-I-T-Y’.

(image originally uploaded by Barack Obama, posted under a Creative Commons license.)

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International Women’s Day Comes Early in DC

by matttbastard


Shorter Daily Mail Washington Post (!): “Stupid and fickle, together at last.”

Jill takes on stupid, Hilzoy tackles fickle and zuzu nails it:

…I’m sure the fact that these opinions are aired in mainstream outlets has nothing at all to do with the dearth of women on op-ed pages. Well, except for those engaged in the ignoble pursuit of tearing down other women.

Next week in Outlook: Negros–lazy and fleet footed (oh, wait–Black History Month was in February.)

Update: Outlook Editor John Pomfret is officially the dumbest motherfucker in journalism (except of course for all those stupid squealing wimmins who, apart from honourary men like Char, aren’t being published in the WaPo opinion section because they’re stupid and fickle). The only ‘joke’ I can glean is his lame attempt to deflect responsibility for enabling hate speech. And even that isn’t funny.

h/t Jessica @ Feministing

Update 2: Well, Kieran Healy sure called it. Superlative NatSec correspondent Laura Rozen (who has been all over the Post for this) scores the following explanation from Pomfret, the dumbest motherfucker in journalism:

.. I ran Charlotte Allen’s piece to provoke, but not to offend. I thought the parallel she drew between fainting Obama followers and Beatlemania was an interesting frame with which to analyze the Obama phenomenon. She went further, of course, to draw broader conclusions about the state of her gender highlighting women’s interest in Gray’s Anatomy and Eat, Pray, Love. But my reading of it was more a tongue-in-cheek screed borne from exasperation with her sisters than a mysoginist [sic] rant from a self-hating woman. Yes, she engaged in massive hyperbole but she did it to try to make a point. That said the piece obviously offended you and others and I regret that. But it was an opinion piece and that is what they sometimes do. …

Sorry I regret that you were offended.” Well, ain’t that mighty white o’ Pomfret? Yes, John, Char did have a point, as Rozen’s unnamed colleague notes: “That women are stupid.”

Ha. Ha. Ha.

Please, someone (preferably a white male, since, as per 1337 satirist!!111 William Saletan, I’m just a dumb negro–hmm, Slate’s owned by The Washington Post, innit?) show me how an avowed anti-feminist trafficking in mysoginy [sic–image=WIN] counts as “tongue in cheek” (ie, ironic).

Bueller? Bueller?

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Situational Ethics

by matttbastard

As Rush and the rest of the rebellious right do a 180 by rallying ’round the Maverick (nothing says “common cause” quite like hatin’ on teh librul Grey Lady), Greg Sargent conducts a little thought experiment:

Let’s take the meat of the big New York Times story and substitute the words “Dem Presidential Hopeful” for “John McCain”:

Early in Senator Dem Presidential Hopeful’s first run for the White House eight years ago, waves of anxiety swept through his small circle of advisers.A female lobbyist had been turning up with him at fund-raisers, visiting his offices and accompanying him on a client’s corporate jet. Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself — instructing staff members to block the woman’s access, privately warning her away and repeatedly confronting him, several people involved in the campaign said on the condition of anonymity.

When news organizations reported that Mr. Dem Presidential Hopeful had written letters to government regulators on behalf of the lobbyist’s client, the former campaign associates said, some aides feared for a time that attention would fall on her involvement.

Mr. Dem Presidential Hopeful, 71, and the lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, 40, both say they never had a romantic relationship. But to his advisers, even the appearance of a close bond with a lobbyist whose clients often had business before the Senate committee Mr. Dem Presidential Hopeful led threatened the story of redemption and rectitude that defined his political identity.

If these words had appeared on the front page of The New York Times, wouldn’t we all be yelling and stamping our feet about “panty sniffing” and condemning the use of anonymous sources who suggest a possible affair that may or may not have happened and wasn’t directly alleged by anyone?

That’s a sincere question. Wouldn’t we?

Conversely, would the wingnuts be circling the wagons in the name of journalistic integrity? IOKIYAR, natch.  Regardless, even if there’s no substance to allegations of sexual impropriety, Stephen Bainbridge wonders if the “values” wing will eventually grow tired of GOP relativism:

The social conservatives in the base already have problems with McCain. Don’t you think that someday that part of the base is going to get tired of the “values” party being led by divorced womanizers?

Now that is a sincere question.

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Train Kept A-Rollin’

by matttbastard

Ryan Lizza in this week’s New Yorker:

It is bracing to drop in on the McCain campaign after covering the overly managed productions of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The Democratic candidates rarely speak to the travelling press. McCain not only packs his bus with reporters (whom he often greets with an affectionate “Hello, jerks!”) but talks until the room is filled with the awkward silence of journalists with no more questions. The Obama campaign, like the Bush White House, prides itself on message discipline and tracks down leakers with a frightening intensity. McCain and his aides openly discuss strategy, whether it’s Brooke Buchanan, McCain’s travelling press secretary, prepping him for a press conference (“ABC might ask about that”) or McCain discussing his targeting strategy for Tampa (“I thought we did a robo-call to tell people about Schwarzkopf”—referring to the endorsement by General Norman Schwarzkopf).

The intimacy of the bus means that McCain’s family life is an open book. (Cindy is dismayed that their son Jack recently split up with his girlfriend; John has turned his daughter Meghan’s status as an unemployed art-history grad into a punch line.) The chumminess with the press usually spills into the evenings, and McCain’s senior advisers dine almost nightly with the people covering the candidate.

McCain’s open-access policy is partly strategic. After all, he is able to hammer talking points like any politician. (It’s not just his jokes that he repeats.) But, by engaging reporters in long, even substantive conversations, he also disarms them. The incentive to ask “gotcha” questions that feed the latest news cycle is greatly reduced, and the hours of exposure to McCain breed a relationship that inclines journalists to be more careful about describing the context of his statements. Mark Salter believes that McCain’s back-of-the-bus rambles rarely produce gaffes. “Ten per cent of the time, something like that is going to happen,” he said. “But ninety per cent of the time it works out fine. If you just make your case, and reporters are familiar with you and know how you talk and know what you mean when you’re bouncing around on a bus and you truncate your sentences or something, then they know what you’re driving at, and you’re going to be fine.

Keep that in mind as you watch the members of the Fourth Estate twist themselves into knots debating whether the “breaking news” about McCain’s possible compromise of his vaunted “principles” constitutes a scoop or a “hit-and-run smear campaign” (Monica who? Oh, that was a real scandal–IOKIYAR, natch).

The Man Crush Express rolls on (also, what Marc Cooper said).

More from Josh Marshall, publius, Steve Benen, and a virtual avalanche of digital opinion scribes over @ Memeorandum.

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