Thursday, November 13, 2008
Kurtz should be writing about the fact that Andrew Sullivan, a blogger for a mainstream media outlet, is so unhinged that he still thinks this is a legitimate story, and still pledges to chase it down. Sullivan is certifiably insane, and yet retains his post at a mainstream outlet.
If you were a terrorist tree, what kind of terrorist tree would you be?
First on TVNewser: William Ayers has stayed largely silent during the nearly two years of election coverage, even as his name was mentioned in many forms.
But the Chicago activist who has been tied to President-elect Barack Obama is breaking his silence tomorrow when he appears on ABC's Good Morning America. Chris Cuomo conducts the live interview.
Just to be clear, the two hoaxsters who were able to fool MSNBC into believing they were a McCain advisor named "Martin Eisenstadt" and leaked the Palin smears are saying they did not leak to Carl Cameron.
"To be very clear, no, we were not the source for Carl Cameron and never spoke to him," Mirvish tells TVNewser. "We took credit for his anonymous sourcing. If they were going to be cowards, then we figured we may as well step in."
This seems pretty obvious to me, but maybe some people are confused. Cameron travels with the McCain campaign and would not have gone with information from someone calling him up he's never met before. Plus there is enough half-truth in some of the stories that it would be impossible for "Eisenstadt" to know about the slips of the tongue Palin made during debate prep. As irresponsible as Cameron's reporting has been on this issue, I doubt he's that irresponsible.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Trouble is, Martin Eisenstadt doesn’t exist. His blog does, but it’s a put-on. The think tank where he is a senior fellow — the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy — is just a Web site. The TV clips of him on YouTube are fakes.
And the claim of credit for the Africa anecdote is just the latest ruse by Eisenstadt, who turns out to be a very elaborate hoax that has been going on for months.
In the comments at Hot Air, Debbie Schlussel claims to know the hoaxer, who has a very political background.
In real life, Eitan Gorlin is a former Orthodox Jew, whom I once knew and who worked for then-Congressman Jack Kemp as an intern. He became a left-winger and made a horridly boring and despicable anti-Israel movie that went up in smoke.
On the hoax, the guy who outed him noted that Eitan took part of my own bio for his “Martin Eisenstadt” character. I kept getting these e-mails from people touting Eisenstadt and the e-mails were always slightly weird and a little off-kilter, so I never fell for the tips, repeated them on my site, or included them on my blogroll, which they kept asking me to do. They told me that Jeffrey Hart was supporting Obama, which was the first hint they were fakes.
I thought the guy looked like and sounded like Eitan when, last night, I saw the videos they made, including one where “Eisenstadt” (Gorlin) claimed he saw Michelle Malkin having an affair with John McCain behind close doors. As if. . . . Puh-leeze. Democratic Underground bought into that, though.
Michelle did cite Eisenstadt’s comments on Paris Hilton, though.
The strangest thing, though, is that we never heard from the McCain campaign throughout the entire year of this non-person creation claiming he is a McCain advisor. Never a mention that, “Hey, we don’t have an advisor by that name.”
"Martin Eisenstadt" also was interviewed by a less-than-convinced host on Breitbart TV.
Katie's Little Helpers: How Couric Prepped for Palin
At Quadrangle's Foursquare conference today, Portfolio's own Matt Cooper interviewed Katie Couric, Brian Williams and George Stephanopoulos about covering the presidential campaign that was. Matt says he's sworn to secrecy, and you know I wasn't invited, but one person who was there says it was a lively discussion, with Williams teasing Couric about all the attention she got for her campaign-narrative-altering interviews of Sarah Palin.
Couric shed some light on her preparation for the interviews: Beforehand, she sought advice from former senator Sam Nunn and Council on Foreign Relations president Richard Haas. They told her to draw Palin out on her geopolitical worldview and urged her to let the governor speak at length without interrupting her. Maybe she should bring them along with her when she takes over at Meet the Press?
Who is Sam Nunn?
He's a Democrat who joined Obama's foreign policy team in April, five months before Couric interviewed Palin.
Sam Nunn lines up behind Barack Obama as best equipped to stop political ‘demonizing, dumbing down’
Friday, April 18, 2008, 12:25 PM
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Former Georgia senator Sam Nunn, who toyed with the concept of a non-partisan run for president last year, has come down on the side of Barack Obama in the Democratic race for president.
The former senator, considered one of the nation’s preeminent experts on U.S. defense, met with Obama’s foreign policy team this morning.
In a just released statement, Nunn said Obama “will have the sound judgment to put together an outstanding governing team, bringing people together across old boundaries.”
“My own role in this campaign will be as an advisor - particularly in the field of national security and foreign policy,” Nunn said.
Though not a superdelegate to the Democratic National
America's Favorite Campaign Journalists
As the Pew Research Center's Weekly News Interest Index has shown, the public followed news about the 2008 presidential campaign more closely than any presidential election in the past 20 years. Americans relied primarily on television news for information about the campaign, and cable TV was the dominant medium1.
When asked to name their favorite and least favorite campaign journalist or commentator, Bill O'Reilly was named most frequently as the favorite -- and as the least favorite. O'Reilly was named by 5% as their favorite journalist or commentator, while 3% each named Tom Brokaw and Sean Hannity. However, fully half could not name anyone as their favorite.
When asked to name their least favorite journalist or news commentator who covered the campaign this year, 60% offered no response. Among those who did name someone, O'Reilly also topped the list (6%). Katie Couric of CBS News was named by 5% of the public as their least favorite campaign journalist. In addition, 3% named each of the following: the Fox News Channel, Rush Limbaugh, Keith Olbermann, and Sean Hannity
He doesn't offer much of an explanation about why he breathlessly reported on some crazy allegations about Sarah Palin's "knowledgability" without double checking. And there's none of this backing away from his story, as Greta Van Sustern says he told her privately.
"The people who put this out, and it's senior McCain staff, are now in the cross hairs themselves for attacking the running mate, which by proxy means attacking the ticket they were trying to elect," Fox News campaign correspondent Carl Cameron, who broke some of these details the day after the election, said by phone.
From Fox News Channel, from Newsweek, from elsewhere, we know more of a strained relationship with campaign staff members who allege she didn't stick to the campaign's game plan, didn't know which countries were in NAFTA, rejected campaign efforts to prep her properly and so on.
Much of this amplifies reporting about Palin during the campaign, though the fact that so much more came out within hours of President-elect Barack Obama's victory leaves open the question of why not tell the electorate before they voted?
Cameron, who noted he dragged off-the-record material into on-the-record usefulness practically daily as needed, said it's because the sniping revealed more about the divisions within the campaign than the candidate herself.
"It grew out of criticism of the campaign from the right that they were putting Sarah Palin on ice, and the staff really resented the assertion," Cameron said. "A lot of this stuff, it's a question of: Does it ever ripen? Does it ever become relevant?"
What changed, Cameron said, was "the circular firing squad that Republicans and Democrats both go through in the aftermath of a defeat is an interesting story. And it's made more interesting by the obvious political future that Sarah Palin has. … She is not going to go away. There is a clear path for Sarah Palin right now to Iowa and New Hampshire in 2012."
The Huffington Post has details of new poll showing Hardball's Chris Matthews has a chance if he were to run for the Senate in 2010.
A Public Policy Polling survey of Pennsylvania voters conducted shortly before last week's election found that MSNBC host Chris Matthews would have a shot if he ran as a Democrat for the US Senate against long time Republican incumbent Arlen Specter in 2010.
Specter polls at just 40% in a potential match up with Matthews. That's still a 13 point lead over the potential challenger, who gets 27%, but 33% of the electorate is undecided about how they would vote in such a contest, an indication that they're at least open to the thought of supporting Matthews.
Here's some of the challenges facing the new president in Afghanistan and in his hunt to get Osama bin Laden.
The president is going to inherit the problem the Soviets had roughly 15 years ago during the Soviet jihad. You cannot tame the people in the North-West Frontier Province and on the border in Pakistan and Afghanistan," said Dalton Fury, the commander of special operations at Tora Bora.
"The only army that has been successful has been Genghis Khan and his Mongol horde. They cut off heads and killed everyone in the villages, and since we have self-imposed rules of warfare, we are not going to do what they did."
Cooperation from Pakistan's military has been touchy, and most experts agree finding bin Laden is just not a priority for Pakistan's troops.
Fury says the best route for the president-elect to take would be to change the dialogue about bin Laden. Intelligence officials do not believe he is playing an operational role and so has no reason to move around or communicate.
"I think it's important to understand that bin Laden had his chance at martyrdom. He was in the mountains of Tora Bora, he ran away. In my opinion, I think we ought to promote this," Fury said.
He believes taunting the al Qaeda leader may force him to prove he's relevant and, in the process, lead the United States right to him.
The Other McCain again tries to explain the David Brooks, Christopher Buckley, David Frum syndrome.
Read the whole thing. Choice quote:
Having not been isolated within the intellectual class, however, I know that the absolute solid bedrock of the 21st-century GOP coalition are the pro-life activists. Those are the folks who put butts in the voting booth -- they deliver on Election Day. The Republican Party can easily afford to lose 100% of the Harvard vote, but if the GOP loses the pro-lifers, you can kiss it good-bye, people.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
How can any news serious news organization publish this kind of childish crap?
I think my favorite part of this morning's interview was when Palin justified her desire to "introduce" McCain with her intention to "brag him up" -- a phrase that sounds dirty as well as vaguely violent. But this aside might have done more damage: "it would do what John McCain just can't seem to do for himself -- bless his heart;" if only because it sounds less like he's too humble to boast about his own accomplishments (did you know he was a prisoner of war!?) than he's too feeble.
As for Piper -- she's a pistol, that's for sure. On the Palin plane, she stole the hearts of much of the press corps, who bought her trinkets on Halloween and doted on her like would-be aunts (and some uncles). She also is as qualified as her mother to be president.
Monday, November 10, 2008
The Other McCain nails it and explains why some conservatives so hate the Wasilla Chillbillies.
One of the great woes of the conservative movement in recent years is that it has attracted a set of intellectuals who are culturally and socially disconnected from the people whose votes elect Republican candidates. This is, to an extent, a result of what Herrnstein and Murray called "cognitive partitioning."
Our intellectual class is now dominated by "meritocrats" who come from upper-middle-class backgrounds and who have been grinding it out since middle school trying to get into the elite schools that offer the fast track to success. Conservatism has sought out these brainiac types who bring with them a set of class prejudices that make them incapable of relating to State University business majors and self-sufficient tradesmen, the petit bourgeois backbone of the suburban Sunbelt GOP.
Conservative students on elite campuses seem to develop a siege mentality. On the one hand, they are forced to refine their arguments against liberalism. On the other hand, they tend to internalize the notion that conservatism is somehow less respectable than liberalism, so that there is a flinch reaction to accusations of racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. This creates within the conservative intelligentsia an obsession with respectability.
The quest for respectable Republicanism explains why so many conservative intellectuals kept boosting Rudy Giuliani during the 2006-07 runup to the GOP primaries. Giuliani is a New Yorker, a pro-choice, pro-gay-rights Catholic (oxymoron alert) -- not an evangelical hick governor from Waco or Wasilla. What is odd about conservative intellectuals, especially the younger ones, is that if their class prejudices and standards of "respectability" had dominated the GOP in the 1970s, Ronald Reagan's presidency would never have happened.
Reagan's great feat was to take the fierce anti-communism of Joe McCarthy and Barry Goldwater (which had been disdained as outlandish by the intellectuals of their day) and weave it into a larger, broader critique of liberalism, delivered with a genial smile. Reagan learned from conservative failures of the past the importance of building a coalition through tactical alliances.
Today's conservative intellectuals often praise Reagan and try to claim the mantle of Reaganism for their own pet projects, but they have a very un-Reaganeque tendency: Trying to build a movement via subtraction. David Frum delivered an infamous auto da fe against anti-war conservatives. Chris Caldwell wants to run the pro-lifers and gun owners out of the Big Tent. George Will thinks the GOP's problem is too many hockey moms. And, yes, there are far too many Christian conservatives who use "libertarian" as a pejorative.
I posted a large excerpt because it's that good. McCain is one of the most underrated bloggers on the Conservative side. I discovered him when he linked to my search for the Palin hacker. Put him on your RSS feed.
If you want to see this respectable Republicanism in action all you have to do is read this lengthy Q and A between McCain campaign insider Steve Schmidt and the very liberal Wonkette Ann Marie Cox.
Cox's questions were loaded with terrible assumptions about Sarah Palin, GOP campaign rallies and other things that Schmidt failed to pushback on.
It was an inside glimpse of a Georgetown cocktail party with the supposed conservative — Steve Schmidt — not challenging the assumptions of his liberal friend — Anne Marie Cox.
That’s why so many of these beltway types are programed that way at their elite schools or eventually go native, because if they don’t every conversation turns into a fight.
So yes, to be clear, last week I was the one who leaked those things to a producer at Fox News who works with Cameron. Carl and his producers are good guys, and I don’t want them to have to worry about protecting their sources (and going through the wringer ala Judith Miller or Matt Cooper) on something like this.
As you know, I was one of the foreign policy advisers on the McCain campaign who worked with Randy Scheunemann to help prep Sarah on her debate with Joe Biden. Did we outright give her a geography quiz when we started the prep? No, of course not. But yes, in the context of the prep, it slowly became apparent that her grasp of basic geo-political knowledge had major gaps. Could she have passed a multiple choice test about South Africa or NAFTA. Probably. But it was clear that she simply didn’t have the ease of knowledge that we come to expect from a major party political candidate. Other slights came up, too: Not knowing the difference between Hezbollah and Hamas. Or the difference between the Shiites and Suni. Or when it came to international terrorist organizations, knowing that the IRA was in Northern Ireland, and ETA in Spain.
The real thing we had to constantly remind her was to never, ever compare herself in any way to Hillary Clinton, as she had at her announcement speech. We had it on good authority that Biden was prepping to unleash the inevitable line, “I know Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton is a friend of mine. And Sarah, you’re no Hillary Clinton.” Alas, Biden would have been right.
Here's a behind-the-scenes story from the McCain camp that clearly illustrates how McCain's decision not to bring up Rev. Wright handcuffed his campaign and made his surrogates look like idiots sometimes.
In an appearance with Rick Sanchez on CNN in the final days of the campaign, Goldfarb had accused Obama of hanging out with anti-American and anti-Semitic figures and cited PLO sympathizer Rashid Khalidi as an example. Sanchez wanted more.
SANCHEZ: Can you name one other person besides Khalidi who he hangs around who is anti-Semitic?
GOLDFARB: Yes, he pals around with William Ayers who is an unrepentant domestic terrorist.
SANCHEZ: No, no, the question I asked you is can you name one other person who he hangs around with who is anti-Semitic? Because that is what you said.
GOLDFARB: Look, we all know there are people who Barack Obama has been in hot water--
SANCHEZ: Michael, I asked you to name one person. One.
GOLDFARB: Rick, we both--
SANCHEZ: You said he hangs around with people who are anti-Semitic. Okay. We got Khalidi on the table. Give me number two. Who's the other anti-Semitic person that he hangs around with that we quote, "All know about"?
GOLDFARB: Rick, we both know who number two is.
SANCHEZ: Who? Would you tell us?
GOLDFARB: No, Rick, I think we all know who we're talking about here.
SANCHEZ: Somebody who is anti-Semitic that he hangs around with?
SANCHEZ: Well, say it.
GOLDFARB: I think we all know who we are talking about, Rick.
Goldfarb had done the interview from a studio at the campaign headquarters in Crystal City, in suburban Virginia outside Washington, D.C. His exchange rocketed around the Internet and quickly became a favorite of left-wing bloggers--who alternately accused him of playing dirty by making charges he couldn't back up and wimping out by refusing to name a second anti-Semite. Others wondered whom Goldfarb was talking about.
If it wasn't obvious to them, the identity of "number two" was clear to those inside McCain headquarters: Reverend Jeremiah Wright. McCain had pledged last spring that he wouldn't use Wright's hate-filled sermons against Obama, who had listened to them for 20 years in the pews of Wright's church. But virtually no one on McCain's staff agreed with the candidate's restraint. Goldfarb had joked before the appearance that he was going to "go rogue" and bring up Wright's name in the interview. He didn't--barely--thereby preserving his job at the cost of looking a bit ridiculous. But when he walked into the campaign's common area after his exchange with Sanchez, his colleagues gave him a standing ovation.
Read the whole thing
Two weeks ago, in my ABCNews.com column, I took off on a brief tangent from my usual technology and business orientation to instead discuss what I saw as shocking bias by the mainstream media - in particular, television network news, newspapers and newsmagazines - in its coverage of the Presidential campaign.
What happened next is, I think, an interesting glimpse into the dynamics of the traditional and digital media now, nearly a decade into the new century, and a dozen years after the widespread cultural adoption of the Internet.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
She's absolutely gushing about Obama.
For me, this whole Obama craze is a just a way for 60s boomers to relive their childhood. The 60s didn't die last week because the last Vietnam era presidential candidate lost.
To quote Noonan.
For me, at the end of the evening, looking at live shots of the throngs in Chicago's Grant Park, I flashed back to 1960 and how it felt, as a child, to see that the grown-ups had elected a Catholic president. I can't say we stood taller—we were Irish, we already stood tall—but yes, there was a wave of feeling: "What a country," "What a development!" The other day, when I said that to the writer Henry Louis Gates, head of African American studies at Harvard, he told me he'd grown up in a Catholic neighborhood and had celebrated that night with his neighbors because he thought he was one of them. That struck me as a very American anecdote.
Peaked in the first Bush administration.
Here's some highlights from his latest confusing rant for The Weekly Standard.
First off, O'Rourke accuses the GOP of being racist.
There was no need to piss off the entire black population of America to get Dixie's electoral votes. And despising cracker trash who have a laundry hamper full of bedsheets with eye-holes cut in them does not make a man a liberal.
On illegal immigration
Our attitude toward immigration has been repulsive. Are we not pro-life? Are not immigrants alive? Unfortunately, no, a lot of them aren't after attempting to cross our borders. Conservative immigration policies are as stupid as conservative attitudes are gross.
On the War on Terror, O'Rourke shows he has no understanding of radical Islam.
Then, half a generation later, when we returned with our armies, we expected to be greeted as liberators. And, damn it, we were. I was in Baghdad in April 2003. People were glad to see us, until they noticed that we'd forgotten to bring along any personnel or provisions to feed or doctor the survivors of shock and awe or to get their electricity and water running again. After that they got huffy and began stuffing dynamite down their pants before consulting with the occupying forces.
Is there a moral dimension to foreign policy in our political philosophy? Or do we just exist to help the world's rich people make and keep their money?
O'Rourke just doesn't get it. For a conservative he sure believes a lot of liberal memes. Nobody becomes a suicide bomber (or, as P.J. puts it, stuff dynamite down their pants) because their electricity grind ain't working.
If so, there would have been no need to rescue people after Hurricane Katrina as they would have blown themselves up before General Honre got to town with his choppers.
O'Rourke should stick to his witty observations about the inefficiencies of the postal system or first-person 5,000-word accounts on privatizing sidewalks mixed in with a liberal amount of references to Clinton being a horn dog and Madonna being a slut.