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Exiled in NJ

Slip out for fifteen hours or so and Bob Somerby moves to New York state and takes over your blog. Wonderful summation in two parts of what has happened to our so-called press.

Lance

Thanks, NJ. Should point out that Somerby thinks I'm too easy on the Media and their invidious treatment of Al Gore.

Slothrop

Rove knee-capped McCain in South Carolina, not North. If I hadn't grown up in Chapel Hill, I wouldn't know the difference either. That's okay, though, I get the Dakotas mixed up.

Kevin Wolf

"They covered Gore as if he was Bill Clinton, their Bill Clinton, [and] they started covering Bush as if he was McCain."

Doesn't get much more clear than that.

Lance

Slothrop, I have no excuse. Should have done my homework better. Thanks for the heads up.

Here's a link to an interesting eyewitness story about the SC primary.

Thinking it over, I've decided to add the link to the proper point in the post. So don't click if you've already read Nancy Snow's piece at Common Dreams.

J.

In all seriousness, there's a book deal in this post's ruminations. This kind of media mentality needs to be exposed, and it would sell like hotcakes. "How the Media Sold America's Future Away"

Rob

You're right about Klein's book.

Nevertheless, I'm of the mind that John Travolta's turn as Clinton/Stanton in the film is one of the great performances of our age, and probably the most spot on portrayal of a President on celluloid.

daveminnj

terrific work, lance.
i'd back up the date to mid-1988: i think
the press was caught as flat-footed and
horrified as the rest of us by the 1-2-3
of flag-burning, boston harbor and willie
horton.
bush sr. had been viewed as a dithering
wimp,and most,i believe, viewed the reagan
presidency as an unrepeatable anamoly. the
coverage of bush sr had basically been "undeserving,uninspiring,aloser".

after(especially) bushes flagburning routine
i think the reaction of the press was fear (for
themselves). i think very few people predicted
how potent bush playing george wallace could
be, or how dangerous a force it would be in political culture. but when the democrats did
not fight back, that is when the coverage of the
press truly changed to overtly favoring bush.

to be concise,it's not yuppie guilt, or the kewl kidz, but the msm identifying with bullies and then projecting their self-contempt onto the
democrats and hoi polloi who are the target of
the bullying. typical junior-high freud. better
to be an abetter than a target.

clinton was actually most popular with the press in 1992,when he fought back in kind against the
bush campaigns whispering campaign with a whispering campaign of his own(jennifer
fitzgerald).

Lance

Rob,

I'm a fan of the movie, only because of Travolta's performance. But what he did was a labor of love. My favorite moment in the film is when the young aide, missing his boss, looks out his hotel room window and across the parking lot to the diner where he sees Travolta sitting at the counter talking to the diner owner. The grin on Travolta's face is beautiful. It's a smile of pure relaxed good times. It captured Clinton perfectly. Bill wore that look every time he was able to get out among people. I don't think we've ever had a president who so obviously enjoyed the company of other human beings.

The director, Mike Nichols, ruined the moment by not leaving well-enough alone and having the aide follow Travolta into the diner and overhear the conversation, as if what was being said was important, and then exchanging some dialogue that had no other function than to tell stupid people who hadn't been paying attention, "See, this guy really likes the common man. That's why he should be president," which besides being redundant and unnecessary was fatuous.

J, Dave, thanks. I've got something to say in response to your comments, but I'll have to get to it later. Watch this space.

Exiled in NJ

Walking the dog, I had a flash memory of Henry Hull shouting "Roy, Roy, take an editorial. If we're ever to have law and order in the West" but somehow, instead of taking the Washington press corps out and shooting them down like dogs, he transmogrified himself into J Edgar and was transferring the whole lot to the paper's Butte, Montana office.

The Viscount LaCarte

Lance et. al.

This comment caught my attention:

>but the msm identifying with bullies and then projecting their self-contempt onto the democrats and hoi polloi who are the target of the bullying. typical junior-high freud. better
to be an abetter than a target.<

I see that all of the time. That seems to be a major attraction of these RushHannityCoulter shills. They miscast intelligent discourse as some form of spineless-longhaired-wussy-pabulum and then hold it up for ridicule. Ridicule is a lot easier to understand than a well thought out reasoned response to the over-simplified sound-byte "analysis" being fed to the masses. It is as if they are all John Wayne's and Clint Eastwood's and anyone who disagrees with them are Michael Jackson's and Peter Lorre's.

>flag burning<

Ok, this is a bit earthy, but it really does drive the point home. Neil Shakespeare is rapidly becoming one of my favorite daily visits.

jello

washington post did report on the vrwc. did an expose during the 90s on scaife and his spreading of money to manufacture dirt clinton. atrios a couple of years ago or so had found and dug up their archives. i was shocked they reported it, though it was probably buried in the back pages.

The Heretik

Bullies are big, only until they are exposed. We are in that very moment in history now with Bush. The press is like a ship on a tide, anxious to get to the dock,never leaving the ship's deck. The tide turns, the boat pulls to sea and we see all the muck on the shore. Oy.

carla

Rove knee-capped McCain in South Carolina, not North

And then MCain got on his knees for Rove and Bush in 2004.

I've totally abandoned any respect for McCain ever since.

In related news..a conservative friend of mine is just sure than McCain was treated as a "moderate" by the media..and that Bush/Rove did no such untoward thing to McCain. It was all made up by the bad liberal media.

Carla <<--now fleeing from the Viscount.

The Viscount LaCarte

"Seasons don't flee The Viscount
'nor do the wind the sun or the rain
we can be like they are
c'mon carla
don't flee The Viscount"

ahh, never mind - we need more cowbell...

KathyF

When you cast blame, don't leave out Southern conservative Democrats. I remember how Sam Nunn and his like ganged up immediately after Clinton was inaugurated to deny the commander in chief the right to sign an executive order allowing gays in the military. This to me marked the beginning of the end.

The press jackals merely saw a President who didn't have the support of the lions of his own party, and attacked with impunity.

Agi T. Prop

Al Gore was portrayed as another slick lying phony on the make.

Excellent observation Lance. The claim about Al Gore inventing the internet was all over the place in 2000. Not to mention that the "liberal media" ignored and allowed the good ol' Southern boys to steal an election.

Leah A

I'm late to this discussion, but I wanted to leave a thank-you, anyway.

I think there's a book here, too. (If you ever decide to write it, Lance, I have quite a bit of material I kept from the dead-tree press of the nineties, and I'd be happy to make it available to you. Remember, there was no internet, or not a widely used one in those early years of the Clinton administration, and for those of us who noticed what was going on, it was a lonely vigil; eventually, I gave up writing letters to editors and congress-folk, and contented myself with just trying to keep track of the lies. I'm sure I'm not the only person who feels they owe their sanity to Gene Lyons and Joe Conason.)

Exactly right about turning Gore into Clinton, and the coverage being a recap of anti-Clinton Golden Oldies as in Gore's ruthless pursuit of the Presidency being constantly exemplified by his willingness to do anything, even wear different types and styles of clothing, dependeing on the situation.

I agree about Travolta's performance, but "Primary Colors" is a disgusting book, as much for what it tells us about the overall political attitudes of a member of the SCLM like Joe Klein, especially as regards matters of race, class, economics, and democratic governance, as for the giant dump it takes on both Clintons.

Lance

J.,

Know a good agent?

Seriously, you're right, there's a book in this. Sounds to me as though Leah's the one ready to write it.

There's a novel in it too. Not a Joe Klein/Anonymous style cartoon. What we need is a contemporary Trollope who could do with the Clinton-era Washington what Trollope did with Barchester.

Dave, I don't remember the 88 campaign as well as I should. I was preoccupied. Something about a wedding. I forget exactly. I'll have to ask the blonde, she might remember. At any rate, mostly what I remember was being furious at Hart and then Dukakis, for different reasons. I was also telling everyone who'd listen that George HW Bush was not a nice man. But I don't remember thinking one way or another about the Media's coverage of the election. That would be something anyone who writes the book Leah and J. are suggesting would have to look into.

jello,

I remember that Washington Post piece. But it was a case of too little, too late, and it hasn't permeated the consciousness of the Media Elite at all. The prevailing narrative they keep repeating when they re-tell the tale of Clinton's presidency is that Bill was a Slick Willy who ruined his own chances at greatness. No Right Wing conspiracy, no Kenneth Starr, no Whitewater, no Republican Congress, and no Media incompetence or bias.

Also none of the Democratic mulishness that Kathy points out. Clinton came into office with a Democratic Congress whose leadership for some reason decided to sink him. They did the same to Carter, although Carter went out of his way to antagonize them.

Agi T and Leah,

One thing I didn't get into with Gore was the Press's affection for Bill Bradley. I remember the criticism Gore suffered for having the gall to play hardball against the Media's chosen candidate.

Lance

Leah, you're not too late. I'm still worrying this point. And the discussion's continuing at Ezra's and Avedon's sites.

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