Now that we know WaPo reporter Bob Woodward craps his pants when someone tells him “as a friend” that he’ll regret making a fool of himself by publicly staking out an untenable interpretation of political strategy, it would be irresponsible not to speculate on what other scary things cause his bowels to freeze with terror.
The thing that gets me is that, even when Woodward was playing the Fearless Muckraker Who Cannot Be Intimidated on CNN and other outlets, he had to know he had self-refuted the Mafia-toned interpretation he lent to Sperling’s email.
As the presumed author of the email response to Sperling’s “threat,” Woodward knew he had put his actual, wholly benign interpretation of the exchange in writing. He knew the man he accused on TV of issuing threats like a Chicago mobster had it within his power to release the whole email exchange and vaporize whatever point Woodward was trying to make—and make Woodward look like a squealing candy-ass into the bargain.
Excepting the Not-So-Breitbarts, even the wingnuts who originally seized on Woodward’s accusation as validation of their Gangsta Obama meme realized they’d been had when the entire exchange was released. That facts were able to penetrate their fact-repellent bubble indicates the scale of Woodward’s cock-up.
I’m not sure what Woodward was thinking. It’s clear he has an enormous ego and operates within a media and political sphere legendary for cathedral-sized self-regard, but even taking that into account, Woodward’s TV tour was remarkably dumb and self-destructive.
Well, evidently, something knocked Erick Erickson off his ass on the road to DC. As a result, the author of such journalistic low-points as:
- comparing an Obama Administration official to a Nazi
- asking if President Obama was shagging hookers behind the media’s back (guess he didn’t get the memo about Obama being gay)
- referring to Michelle Obama as a “Marxist Harpy”
- calling former Supreme Court Justice David Souter a “goat-fucking child molester”
- and oh, so much more . . .
has now become an advocate for journalistic integrity, forcing the rest of us to set aside our regular business and ponder that age-old question of whether or not a mean-spirited, conservative hack can grow up to become a contributing member of society.
Freshman senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) is really starting to work my nerves and not in a good way. In a slow news cycle dominated by gridlock over fiscal things that none of us are expected to understand, a loudmouthed, showboating Senate newbie is as good as a train wreck to the media. I, myself, recently posted on Cruz and didn’t expect to be following up so soon, but, as the say in MSM “this is a developing story.”
As a result of the media’s comprehensive and exhaustive coverage of “Shit My Senator Says,” my first impression of Sen. Cruz is that he is an over-achiever with a ‘tude and an adolescent boy’s dedication to shock value. And, at a time in American politics that the bar for shock value has been set almost impossibly high, Cruz’s flamboyant debut has upped the ante.
I find people like Ted Cruz pretty fascinating. The combination of quantifiable intellectual talent cohabiting with mind-numbing idealogical orthodoxy is an enigma wrapped in a paradox and shrouded in a conundrum, to my mind. And so, I set out to find out a little bit more about what makes Senator Ted Cruz tick. And, frankly, I’m scared.
In an opinion piece yesterday for, who else, the Washington Post, Bob Woodward managed to come off as manipulative, petty and totally off the mark.
Titled “Obama’s sequester deal-changer” he rambles on about just who was responsible for the sequester thingamajig anyway:
Misunderstanding, misstatements and all the classic contortions of partisan message management surround the sequester, the term for the $85 billion in ugly and largely irrational federal spending cuts set by law to begin Friday.
What is the non-budget wonk to make of this? Who is responsible? What really happened?
And then goes on to pat himself on the back for his remarkable reporting that shows that Obama’s team originally proposed the idea. To which the only reasonable response is “who cares anyway?” Congress passed it. Everyone was responsible for it. What our intrepid analytic reporter completely glosses over is why the idea of a sequester was proposed in the first place. To hear Woodward tell it, it was just some mean trick that Obama wanted to play on an unwitting American public. Here is his sole reference to the situation in the second to the last paragraph of a piece taking up two pages:
In fact, the final deal reached between Vice President Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in 2011 included an agreement that there would be no tax increases in the sequester in exchange for what the president was insisting on: an agreement that the nation’s debt ceiling would be increased for 18 months, so Obama would not have to go through another such negotiation in 2012, when he was running for reelection.
During last year’s election, we and many others remarked on the possibly disastrous consequences of politicians believing the BS that the rightwing blogosphere and other online media peddle and parroting it in public, where occasionally more stringent evidential standards apply. It cost Mittens dear during the second Presidential Debate when his attempt to bully President Obama about when precisely he characterized the Benghazi attack as an act of terrorism backfired catastrophically and left him scraping egg off his coif.
On February 7, Breitbart.com’s Ben Shapiro reported that Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel (according to “Senate sources”) received money from a group called “Friends of Hamas.” The report spread quickly through the conservative media as damning of Hagel, until Dave Weigel at Slate.com pointed out a salient fact—there’s no evidence that “Friends of Hamas” exists. Now, New York Daily News reporter Dan Friedman is claiming that a joke he shared with a GOP source is the provenance of “Friends of Hamas.” In response to their story falling apart, Shapiro and Breitbart.com—who angrily and self-righteously demand accountability from the rest of the media for every slip-up, real or imagined—are lashing out and refusing to accept responsibility for publishing a report based on a falsehood.
If Shapiro deserves credit for anything, it’s introducing us to a new meme about his oeuvre—”accurate and clearly caveated,” which translates as, “I pulled this out of somebody else’s ass, and I warned you it was probably bullshit at the time.” (It’s also led to much Twitter punnery on the lines of “Friends of Hummus” etc., to which the title of this post is a humble contribution.)
Meanwhile, the unspeakable John Nolte has been wearing out his iPhone in a desperate CYA campaign on Twitter. You can always tell when they’ve screwed up particularly badly because he goes postal.
Malkin’s Twitchyite horde have also been trying to comfort each other, distracting and covering their embarrassment by picking up on a brief minor omission by BuzzFeed’s Cat Correspondent Andrew Kaczynski.
There’s a conspicuous silence and lack of support for Shapiro on this issue from the rest of the RW blogs, some of whom, like Hugh Hewett, were also caught out, the buffoonery also ensnaring Rand Paul. Others are crediting the ‘bartlets et al. for fouling the pitch for their conspiracymongering and virtually ensuring Hagel’s appointment next Monday.
I may be premature and overly optimistic here, but the era of knitting your own reality seems to be drawing to a close. Will Republicans ever learn to factcheck before shooting their mouths off on the basis of the nonsense their online organs churn out? I hope not.
OK. It doesn’t happen often but I know the warning signs and if I don’t vent, right now, I’m liable to go stark raving bonkers right here on my skimpy little raft which is the only thing keeping me from drowning in a vast Sea of American Stupidity.
Inspired by my President, Barack H. Obama, who only has one term left and is currently refusing to play nicely with morons, I too am ready to stand up and howl for the survival of standard intelligence which is currently fighting a losing battle with pandemic nonsense.
When I was a child, Americans prided themselves on being intelligent, well-educated, open to new ideas and (literally) reaching for the stars. Something awful has happened in the ensuing fifty-or-so years since then. Some Americans seem to actually embrace life in the fact-free-zone, getting their information from an echo chamber and spending their leisure time dumbing down in places like The Creation Experience. Or teaching schoolchildren from fairy tale books rather than science texts.
I think it’s a sad day in journamalism when the question of whether President Obama really, really, for really truly and honest-to-gosh “goes skeet-shooting all the time” at Camp David is seriously fact-checked. And yet I think it’s a hilarious day when Breitbart’s very own John Nolte questions why no one is questioning the fact checkers. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes, dig? Woodward and Bernstein once brought down a president with Watergate—but today’s lapdog press is blindly accepting photographic evidence debunking Skeetgate that was made in the very same seat of the powerful that brought us such sheer propaganda as….
Today, however, the White House released a photo that purports to show Obama (love that tucked-in shirt) shooting skeet last August. Except… he’s shooting straight ahead, which means that there’s either a barn door somewhere in need of some patching, or Obama is such an awesome skeet shooter, he hits them as they come out of the firing device.
I keed, I keed. There are legitimate reasons that would explain the angle of his gun, but….
(I humbly submit that since there is smoke coming out the barrel, he has already shot and lowered the rifle, probably because it makes sense in the linear stream of things. And I’ve watched many episodes of CSI. CSI: New York and Miami, too!) And of course, the press is only doing it to make the skeet-truthers look stupid! Because…um. Right.
Can anyone remind me again why this is supposed to matter?
Despite the fact that he remains popular in Massachusetts, the highly negative tone of his campaign against my hero Elizabeth Warren probably hurt him. There are also speculations that he might be looking at a shot at the governor’s office. That would be interesting! Not sure that Scott’s prior experience posing nude for Cosmopolitan, working as a hand model or sashaying down the couture runways in pink leather shorts will necessarily provide the skillz set for a high pressure administrative job.
Via Rawstory, it looks like Bay Buchanan, former Romney campaign spox, has canned punditry for real estate:
Just two days after the election, Buchanan started an online real estate course and recently became a sales associate for McEnearney Associates Inc. in McLean, Va.
“Being somebody that they kind of know will be a real positive and, as you know, I’m just a charming person,” Buchanan insisted, adding that “compared to what I did in the past, this is an easy sell.”
“It’s so negative and TV is more difficult than ever in the sense that it’s really not an honest debate anymore,” she said of her television talking head days. “I can’t just live my life going on TV and being angry all the time.”
And, well, I’ve got no snark about that. Oh, as a pundit, she was great snarkfodder but it’s kind of nice to think that someone can look at being a tv talking head person and walk away if it actually isn’t fulfilling or useful to them (or anyone else, for that matter). And after looking over Bette’s grand recap of some of the GOP’s post-electoral shenanigans, I shouldn’t wonder if other conservative spokesfolks wouldn’t be thinking of doing something along the same lines. Just as happened shortly after the 2008 election, one expects to see some “serious” pundits (think Frum, Douthat, Brooks), plump for “Conservative smarter”, while seeing bloggerati go for “Conservative harder.” But the old tricks won’t be unlearned and there’s no point in message tweaking when it’s the ideas that aren’t hitting it with people.
What’s left isn’t “going Galt” but “going straight”. Not that I’m advising the opposition party in what to do, after all. But I do wish Bay Buchanan luck in her new field, where selling a “fixer-upper” might bear the promise of actually being a fixable commodity.
We interrupt your regularly scheduled blogging to report that FauxNews has dropped Klondike Barbie’s contract! Yes, she has become too whiny, resentful and uninteresting even for Fox viewers!
What will she do now? Well, according to a source *close to Palin* “She remains focused on broadening her message of common-sense conservatism across the country and will be expanding her voice in the national discussion.”
*scuse me just a jiff* *SNORT, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! wipes eyes, sighs*
That is all. You may now return to your regularly scheduled blogging.
Earn Quick and Easy $20 for an hour or less of work
Wednesday December 31st, 1969
Our firm needs 100 volunteers to attend and participate in a rally in front of the British Consulate/Embassy in Midtown Manhattan on the East Side on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 12 noon. The event is being held in order to protest wind turbines that are being built in Scotland and England. Your participation will be to ONLY stand next to or behind the speakers and elected officials/celebrities that will be speaking at the rally.
It is a really simple job and easy money for anyone who is around Manhattan at the time. We need all of our volunteers to RSVP for this event. It is VERY important that you RSVP because we have had people confirm spots and fill spots on the first day of the advertisement in the past. If you have participated in one of our events in the past (Ovation) please make a note of that in your RSVP email and we will email EVERYONE back to confirm your attendance.
We look forward to hearing from you all and again, the money is quick, the job is easy and we pay in CASH at the end of the event.
Looking forward to seeing you next Wednesday!
I took that from a feed site called Job Hustler since the version on Craigslist has been pulled now that Bump has publicized it for whoever’s planning this shindig, but Rebecca Leber at ThinkProgress caught a screenshot (right-click any of these screenshots below and then left-click on “View Image” to see them full-size):
You’ll see the firm behind this seems to be called Ovation—if anybody knows anything about these folks, do pipe up.
Whoever it is has put out a few variations. Here’s another one I found at Job Hustler
Easy job earn $20
Wednesday December 31st, 1969
Our firm needs 100 volunteers to attend and participate in an event and assist with public relations in Midtown Manhattan on the East Side on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 12 noon. It is a really simple job and easy money for anyone who is around Manhattan at the time. We need all of our volunteers to RSVP for this event. It is VERY important that you RSVP because we have had people confirm spots and fill spots on the first day of the advertisement in the past. If you have participated in one of our events in the past (Ovation) please make a note of that in your RSVP email and we will email EVERYONE back to confirm your attendance. We look forward to hearing from you all and again, the money is quick, the job is easy and we pay in CASH at the end of the event.
My, they’re obviously aiming upmarket with that one—“assist with public relations” eh? La-di-da!
Now, Phil Bump, Rebecca Leber, and I all have nasty, suspicious minds, so we’re assuming that Donald Trump is ultimately behind all this, in my case on the basis of (1) his history of antagonism toward windfarms in general, and one that’s planned in the vague vicinity of his controversial golf development in Aberdeenshire, Scotland in particular, and (2) my history of not being too keen on the bullying avaricious toad. It didn’t take me long to hunt down yet another more recent version I found at a site called Feedage that clinches it for me. See what you think:
Our firm is looking for extras that are avid golfers or look like golfers; we are also looking for individuals from England and Scotland. If you meet both qualifications - even better. We are hosting an event next Wednesday, January 30th at 12 noon i [...]
So if you’re in that area of Manhattan next Wednesday around noon, and if you can avail yourself of some plus fours, ultra-loud check trousering and Argyle sweatering, a Burberry flat cap, possibly a four iron, and an English or Scottish accent (I hesitate to suggest taking along blown-up placards of any of these ads, but I’m sure you could improvise), who knows, maybe you could find yourself an instant media star ...
The penultimate part of my stream-of-consciousness romp through the past year on Rumproast takes us from the suspense of the eve of the first Presidential Debate to the glorious GOP recriminations and infighting of the end of November. Part 5—December—will follow tomorrow (Sunday).
Before I get started discussing President Obama’s announcement regarding action on gun control, I want to address this cowardly and pernicious little ad the NRA folks thought was actually acceptable discourse:
Did you catch that? “Are the president’s children more important than yours?” Hm. Maybe they are under more of a risk because, for one thing: THEIR FATHER IS PRESIDENT. They have armed guards at their school. They have Secret Service protection. This is because there are people who would genuinely want to hurt or kill their father, and would even hurt or kill them, even though they are children. Barack Obama has faced an unusual threat level during his presidency. But no one should be unaware that this is something he knew about upon taking the job: