More on the Heathers


Jamison Foser has a lot more on Marc Ambinder’s remarkable, matter-of-fact admission that “healthy chunk of the national political press corps” is out to get John Edwards and will give Mitt Romney a pass, because…he’s a Republican the frontrunner, and the fact that you have a better chance of being the most powerful person in the country means…you should be subject to less scrutiny. Perfectly logical!

It’s been quoted elsewhere, but I can’t resist returning to Pierce:

However, where in hell do we go with that last passage there, about how the haircuts matter because “a healthy chunk of the political press corps” doesn’t like Edwards, and how they’re staying away from a sauce-for-the-goose position on Mitt Romney’s makeovers because of their own private calculations of the relative electability of the two candidates. OK, here’s the deal. Every member of that “healthy chunk” of the press corps should be fired. Today. This minute. Without pay or recompense. Let them all walk back inside the Beltway from Cedar Rapids if they have to. I value what I do. I value the work of the people in my business who do it correctly. But, holy mother of god, these people do not do what I do. It’s OK to sneer at a candidate if you don’t like him? It’s OK to create a destructive narrative out of unmitigated piffle because he doesn’t kiss your ass with the regularity you think you deserve, or because his press buses don’t run on time, or because one of his staffers was late with the Danish in Keene? I watched a roomful of them boo Al Gore seven years ago, behavior that would have gotten them run out of any press box in the major leagues. Do you think one of these jamokes — or jamokettes — is thinking, “Maybe we should lay off the haircut thing because of what we all did to Gore in 2000, and look how well that worked out.” Please.

I’ll also add that any editor who assigns a reporter who is “looking to bury” John Edwards to cover him should also be fired. Which will happen the same day the Senate is abolished.

And, of course, this won’t be limited to Edwards–cf. Clinton’s highly troubling breasts. (Warning: PHOTO NSFW!!!!1111!!!11!1! Ann Althouse fainted twice!) Foser is good on this, but the nice thing about junior-high school narratives is that they leave an entirely blank slate for the reporter. A reporter writing about something substantive might (however accidentally) allow her readers to learn something, and tendentious critiques might lead to claims that are plainly false. When stories involve people’s haircuts, suits, decolletage, etc. you can infer anything about anything. The fact that Ambinder — first with ABC News’ atrocious “The American Pravda“, now with the Atlantic Monthly — takes for granted the use of trivia by reporters in order to pursue personal vednettas is instructive in an extremely depressing way.

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