Saturday, April 14, 2007

Illustrating a theme

possibly you've seen various lefty bloggers referring to the "SCLM" or "so-called liberal media." Eric Alterman brought this theme up in his book What Liberal Media? a few years ago. Interestingly, we see these two recent items:

1. via The Sideshow:

Bob Somerby wrote this in 1996:
By late 1995, this abusive tone-in support of an indefensible presentation-had become a trademark of the Speaker's appearances promoting the GOP plan.

After the evening's session, Franken is luxuriating in a Hyatt lounge with CNN's Robert Novak, NewsHour correspondent Margaret Warner, and House Budget Committee chairman John Kasich (R-OH), a key member of the GOP leadership. In challenging Kasich on the Speaker's argument, Franken-a humorist-manages to display the technical competence which completely eluded the press corps all year. And this evokes a reaction so remarkable that I reprint the anecdote in full:

At one point Novak was extolling Gingrich's "masterful" speech, and I objected, especially to the patronizing crap about the $4800 versus the $6700. So I turned to Kasich:

"By the way, are those constant dollars?"
Margaret jumped in. "Of course they're constant dollars. They wouldn't be that dishonest."
"Sure they would," I said. Turning back to Kasich, "Are those constant dollars?"
"Al..." Kasich's voice has a touch of annoyance, "we're increasing funding for Medicare."
"But the $4800 to $6700, has that been adjusted for inflation?"
"Al, the dollars are going up."
"I just want to know if those are constant dollars."
"Al, we're going from 178 billion [total Medicare budget in 1995] to 283 billion [total Medicare budget in 2002]." Kasich gave the others an exasperated look. When will this guy stop?
"Look. Gingrich is going like, 'Hey, you're a fucking moron if you can't see that 6700 is more than 4800.' I just want to know how big a moron am I. Are those constant dollars?"
A pause. Then. "No, Al, they're not constant dollars."
Kasich slumped in his chair and admitted, "I guess we're being a little intellectually dishonest about this one." And I took a few victory laps around the table.
Margaret was slightly embarrassed and begged me not to repeat the part about her assuming it was constant dollars. I knew she was kidding, however. She's a terrific journalist and she knows a good story.

2.from "Various items"
Glenn Greenwald [2007-04-14]
In light of recent revelations concerning the Bush administration, it is worthwhile to watch Norah O'Donnell's angry interview of Pat Leahy from the end of March, in which O'Donnell expresses a mix of anger and incredulity over the fact that Senate Democrats want to question Karl Rove under oath and in an open session with a transcript, rather than in a private "interview" with no oath.

[the youtube video is here.]

She begins the questioning this way: "Well Senator -- Tony Snow said today that you guys want the truth, and in this interview, you guys are going to get the truth from Karl Rove. What's wrong with that?" She then observes incredulously and angrily: "You don't trust the White House. The bottom line is: you don't trust the White House." What kind of monster would not trust the White House"?

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