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The Great Tradition of American Stenography

[ 1 ] September 11, 2008 |

Ye gods, Wiesman is a hack. It’s people like him which make McCain’s disgraceful campaign work.


A Palin Hack Two-fer

[ 24 ] September 9, 2008 |

It’s not surprising to see Rachael Larimore make excuses for Palin’s baldfaced lies about the Bridge to Nowhere by 1)carefully omitting her actual statements (she didn’t merely claim to have “nixed” the project) and then 2)claiming that all politicians “exaggerate” anyway. Distorting and then making up reasons to ignore Palin’s egregious howlers is by now as natural to her apologists as breathing. Having at least half-conceded that McCain’s central selling point in favor of Palin is bogus, however, I guess she needed to repeat one undiluted Palin myth. Hence, Larimore discusses “that private jet that Palin sold on eBay.”

Again, the facts here are not complex:

  • Palin didn’t sell the jet on eBay.   The jet was sold through a broker.
  • But because she tried to sell the jet on eBay, the state was out more than a hundred grand in expenses.
  • And notwithstanding McCain’s lie, the plane was ultimately sold at a loss, not a profit.  (Larimore at least doesn’t repeat this lie, although it’s central to the myth.)     

McCain and Palin are lying about “selling the jet on ebay” just as they’re lying about the Bridge to Nowhere.    Whether Larimore is lying or simply doesn’t know what she’s talking about I can’t say.    And needless to say, Larimore’s argument that pointing out Palin’s lies is some kind of betrayal of feminism is utterly risible.   

This Is Mavericky Fiscal Conservatism, My Friends

[ 8 ] September 9, 2008 |

The priorities of Sarah Palin:

  • An expensive sports complex made much more expensive because you’re too incompetent to ensure the city had the land rights — not burdensome.
  • Paying for rape kits for rape victims — burdensome.

If this is the “new face of feminism” I think I prefer the old one.

[Whoops–didn’t see that Dave beat me to it. But my small-town values make me strongly opposed to redundancy, my friends.]

Surprisingly, Many American Voters Don’t Even Have Pocket Rockets

[ 5 ] September 9, 2008 |

An editor really needed to tell Gary Kamiya to go back to the drawing board with this one. But I suppose for a publication that publishes Camille Paglia this is unrealistic; indeed, since the piece didn’t relentlessly plug the author’s books and add a lot of deepthink Madonna references from the early 90s, they may even argue that it’s an improvement over their star columnist’s similar nonsense.

If You Want to Get Techincal…

[ 46 ] September 9, 2008 |

Marc Ambinder says that a GOP ad “claims that Palin “stopped the Bridge to Nowhere,” which is technically true but functionally false.”

Let’s be clear. Palin’s repeated claims are not “technically” true, or “metaphorically” true or “spiritually” true or true in any sense at all. They’re unequivocal, bald-faced lies (although Ambinder’s phrasing obscures this fact.”)To review, Palin’s claim was: “I told Congress, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’ on that Bridge to Nowhere.” But:

  • Congress ended the earmark for the bridge before Palin was governor; she had no authority to say “no” to anything.
  • At this time, Palin supported the bridge and criticized its opponents.

Her claim isn’t “technically” true; it’s 100% dishonest. And while the issue itself is trivial, given its centrality to the McCain campaign the lies certainly aren’t. As Matt says, perhaps “the electorate doesn’t seem to penalize” the McCain for these lies because pundits like Ambinder will fudge and obfuscate rather than calling McCain or Palin’s lies lies, while they were happy to call Al Gore a liar for things that weren’t lies or for obvious jokes or for things that he didn’t say at all.

The Real Issue With MSNBC

[ 48 ] September 8, 2008 |

I think this is the key part of Greenwald’s post about Gregory replacing OberMatthews:

Finally, and perhaps most notably of all, Olbermann’s role as anchor somehow destroys the journalistic brand of both MSNBC and NBC, while Fox News continues to be deemed a legitimate news outlet by our political and media establishment. Fox does this despite (more accurately: due to) its employing Brit Hume as its main anchor — someone who is every bit as partisan and ideological as Keith Olbermannn is (at least), who regularly spews the nastiest and most vicious right-wing talking points, yet because he’s not a liberal, is deemed to be a legitimate news anchor.

The Washington Post’s Howie Kurtz — while repeatedly lamenting the ascent of Olbermann (and Maddow) as a threat to objective journalism — proclaims that “Hume is no partisan brawler” while Charlie Gibson gushes: “He has a wonderful style which makes you want to hear what Brit has to say, in an age when so many people are in your face.” The Associated Press recently declared that Fox News has never gone as far as MSNBC in producing partisan news coverage, asserting that “Olbermann’s popularity and evolving image as an idealogue (sic) has led NBC News to stretch traditional notions of journalistic objectivity” and that “Fox has never done that, perhaps mindful of the immediate controversy that would result.”

I don’t, in the abstract, object to replacing them, and indeed would never have given them the job in the first place. The unprepared, trivia-obsessed Matthews has no business anchoring anything. I don’t watch Olbermann; I accept the need for a liberal O’Reilly but I’m not interested in watching it, and he’s far from an ideal choice as anchor (as opposed to pundit.) The problem is the double standard, and the circumstances of their firing.

The other thing to note is that replacing people because they’re too biased and don’t meet Brian Williams’s journalistic standards is pretty farcical.

The Strawman Archetype

[ 9 ] September 7, 2008 |

Oh, sure, it’s been done on American blogs too. But “decent” uber-wanker Nick Cohen gives us the full Republican-ressentiment script. Claim: “On the other, liberal journalists turned [Palin’s] family into an object of sexual disgust: inbred rednecks who had stumbled out of Deliverance.” Omitted: a single name or concrete example. Presumed reason: some Guy With a Sign and/or Random Blog Commenter Somewhere aside the charge is invented.

We’ll be seeing plenty more of that. Republicans are very good at creating such scripts from thin air, and they have a lot of useful idiots to work with.

Your Questions Answered!

[ 0 ] September 5, 2008 |


Ilya asks whether Palin has libertarian tendencies.

No. This has been…

Admittedly, I do think that it’s fair to say that Palin gives off a “western vibe.” What this vibe seems to entail is simultaneously 1)demanding that the government get off your back while doing things like 2)demanding and accepting buckets of federal money far in excess of your state’s tax contributions, favoring the banning of abortions in virtually all circumstances, believing that a liberal democracy in Iraq can be created ex nihilo in a war that otherwise has no positive relationship to American interests at the cost of trillions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives, etc. etc. etc.

What this has to do with “libertarianism” in any sense I can’t tell you, unless the term means “being a completely orthodox right-wing Republican with an extra dose of hypocrisy.”

Based on A Poll of Republican Donors in Montgomery, Alabama, McCain Has A Huge Lead!

[ 5 ] September 5, 2008 |

Some nice cherry-picking from Drudgico.

Shocking Verdicts of the Market

[ 0 ] September 5, 2008 |

Apparently, there isn’t a market for a fourth reactionary newspaper in a city that can be expected to vote Obama about 85-15 during a brutal time for the newspaper industry. Who could have possibly predicted it? (And, yes, the Sun does have very good arts and sports coverage. It’s also not surprising that this wasn’t enough to support a newspaper founded on the principle that it would be great to read an entire newspaper written like the craziest Wall Street Journal editorials.)

For further comedy check this out. Since on days where we get an Atrios link I think we have a greater readership than the Sun , this reminds me that I forgot to say that we are hiring interns with similar rules — it’s a great deal! In fact, we will permit our male interns to wear khakis with their sport jackets on Sunday…

But POW! Hockey Moms! Arugula!

[ 15 ] September 5, 2008 |

Family visitation and work commitments meant that I didn’t see any speeches at the GOP convention last night; I can’t say I was terribly disappointed. Nonetheless, I did look at some transcripts and clips. We could do this all day, but consider the density of lies and nonsense packed into this sentence:

[Obama’s] plan will force small businesses to cut jobs, reduce wages, and force families into a government-run health care system where a bureaucrat…


… where a bureaucrat stands between you and your doctor.

There are a couple of obvious lies here: Obama’s plan specifically exempts small businesses from contribution requirements, and he’s not proposing British-style socialized medicine. But what really kills me is the idea that in the current American system no “bureaucrat” will stand between you and your health care. I hate to break this to McCain — whose immense wealth and government benefits mean he doesn’t have to deal with this — but private insurance companies all invest in large bureaucracies whose primary purpose is to stand between you and your doctor.

More Please

[ 0 ] September 3, 2008 |

This ad seems like a good start, although it says something about the way pundits see abortion that cutting an ad supporting a Supreme Court decision supported by 2-to-1 majorities can be seen as a “counterintuitive” move. The next step: include in an ad the fact that both John McCain and the Republican platform support a constitutional amendment that would make abortion illegal (and indeed, if one takes the platform seriously, first-degree murder) in all 50 states. Drawing attention to your opponent’s exceptionally unpopular opinions really should be Politics 101, but when it comes to abortion for some reason only Republicans seem to believe that you should try to fight on favorable terrain.

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