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America vs. The World

The big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart. — Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Just can it

Julie Beth is half of Friday Chick Blogging. You can read more of her at It's an Outrage.

Can't they ever just can it?

Why is it that the teaming hoards of White House pack journalists seem to relish the days the president's spokesman hands them an easy story all wrapped up in pretty paper with ribbons? I think it's probably because they are a bunch of overworked but mostly lazy reporters. So they grab the gift, unwrap it, tediously pull out all the tissue paper and styrofoam peanuts, gush all over it for as long as the news cycle can bear and stop just before they start looking like complete morons.

That is exactly what happened this week when Sen. John Kerry, a decorated veteran who is not running for any office, uttered his immortal insult to U.S. troops. By the time White House press secretary Tony Snow took a softball question from a Fox News reporter, Kerry's remarks had already been reported in local newspapers, which are no doubt members of The Associated Press.

Yet White House reporters, who also work for organizations that are members of The Associated Press, didn't think it was a story until Snow started talking about it the next day. Then it metamorphosed into the lead story on nearly every national news broadcast, in most national papers and was the top story for quite a while on The New York Times' Web site.

I don't care if Karl Rove himself says young people might have to join the Army if they don't study. You will never convince me the story deserves top billing for nearly two news cycles. You will never convince me it deserves any significant attention at all. The proof is on the Times' site today, where the outrage that is John Kerry has suddenly fallen off the map. Why? Well, the federal government accidentally posted instructions on how to make a nuclear bomb on this very Internet. And on Tuesday, every state in the union is having a little something called Election Day. Also, it turns out they now have a much juicier story to latch onto involving sex, drugs and hypocrisy — too bad Snow couldn't hand a gift like that to the press corps.

Incidentally, the only mention of The Great Kerry Flap of 2006 on the Times' front today are letters in response to its editorial about it and a column by Thomas Friedman (which is unfortunately available only through TimesSelect) pointing out that making John Kerry's insult important is itself an insult:
Every time you hear Mr. Bush or Mr. Cheney lash out against Mr. Kerry, I hope you will say to yourself, "They must think I'm stupid." Because they surely do...

Everyone says that Karl Rove is a genius. Yeah, right. So are cigarette companies. They get you to buy cigarettes even though we know they cause cancer. That is the kind of genius Karl Rove is. He is not a man who has designed a strategy to reunite our country around an agenda of renewal for the 21st century — to bring out the best in us. His "genius" is taking some irrelevant aside by John Kerry and twisting it to bring out the worst in us, so you will ignore the mess that the Bush team has visited on this country.

And Karl Rove has succeeded at that in the past because he was sure that he could sell just enough Bush cigarettes, even though people knew they caused cancer. Please, please, for our country's health, prove him wrong this time."
I'm pretty sure Friedman would also love to tell White House reporters, their editors and producers to just can it.


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Jeff Goldstein is a wanker.