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CNN Hires Kathleen Parker as Weigel resigns from Post and Frum throws a Times covered book party.
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One hates to suggest to Mr. Brauchli that he’s perhaps…ohhhh…decades late on that score.
If irony were oats there would be enough here to choke a cavalry of horses. But, of course, it’s not Dave Weigel’s fault he doesn’t get it. Only that he got caught. Most conservatives I know think this is standard fare at liberal newspapers — which is why they’ve mostly stopped reading them. Ditto liberal TV networks. The notion that his executive editor doesn’t get it either, or at least says he doesn’t, should provide some balm for Weigel.
Outside the Beltway and the herd mentality, I actually wish Dave Weigel, whom I’ve not met, well. He has a real opportunity here to learn something, pick up his socks and come back as a better journalist. But hopefully he will use this episode as a moment to think through what happened to his once-blossoming career and why.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST is the Frum party for Ayaan Hirsi Ali. So there’s no doubt — hooray for throwing her a party. This is a remarkably brave woman willing to speak out at a time of genuine danger for those like herself — and eventually all the rest of us as well if we don’t face up to it.
This was not, however, just a dinner party. It was a book party, and for author and book to get known this means media invites. But the way this was played out alas adds to Frum’s reputation as one of the more fecklessly inept — someone willing to do almost anything to get publicity, including trashing Rush Limbaugh on the cover of Newsweek even as he knows the only reason he would ever get cover space at even a fading liberal magazine is to trash the number one conservative radio talk show host in the sourest of personal terms.
Sure enough, what was — one assumes — a media invite to cover a dinner party for a notable author and book turned into the typical Times effort at conservative bashing. Which is to say, Mr. Frum invited a batch of conservative friends and guests, only to have them set up for ridicule on the front page of the Sunday Times Style section.
The Party, in Exile snarks writer Pamela Paul of the guests. Ms. Paul, it seems immediately, is clueless about the conservative ascendancy going on just about everywhere outside the Beltway and the newsroom of the New York Times these days. But never mind. Mocked for showing up to honor the author are the “summer frock” crowd of Laura Ingraham, Mona Charen and “Barbara Amiel, the wife of the disgraced media baron Conrad Black, now incarcerated at a Florida prison.” Presumably that would be the same Florida prison where Mr. Black heard recently (after the Frum event) that the U.S. Supreme Court decided by a 9-0 vote that he had been wrongly convicted. No word whether Ms. Paul writes stories covering parties with guests such as ex-Times publisher Howell Raines (he of the Jayson Blair scandal) or former President Bill Clinton (of impeachment fame) and appending the prefix “disgraced” to their names.
But guess who else is featured in this gem of a story engineered by Mr. Frum? Really. You’ll love this on several levels.
Also present was The Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker, prom-girl pretty and winner of a Pulitzer this spring for “gracefully sharing the experiences and values that lead her to unpredictable conclusions,” including a rebuke of Sarah Palin. “Like all the best conservatives, I started off as a liberal,” she trilled. In a similar display of the intellectual right’s discomfort with Wasilla-brand populism, Ms. Frum mocked a speech by Ms. Palin in April on The Huffington Post. (“There was not a single memorable line, not a single new political idea, not a single proffered solution beyond the cliché.”) And lending a poignant immediacy to the rejiggered state of affairs was the Republican Senator Robert Bennett, ousted last month in the Utah primary for his votes on health care and Wall Street reform. A certain kind of nomad, all.”
Getting the flavor here? Try as they might, even though Parker is willing to mock Palin and gets a Pulitzer from the Liberal Establishment for sharing her “unpredictable conclusions,” even thus Parker is a figure of idiocy to the Times as she “trilled” her way though her latest thoughts “prom-girl pretty.” Right alongside the defeated Senator Robert Bennett, upended in Utah by those nasty Outside-the-Beltway tea partiers.
Perhaps most pitifully of all, Mr. Frum — the host in his own home — was written up as having “lost his salaried post at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, in March, after calling the passage of health care legislation the Republican party’s ‘Waterloo.’” A dissection of Mr. Frum’s problems follows. Ouch.
What ties all these stories together?
From Al Gore’s police reported but media ignored troubles to CNN’s big bucks for the trillings of Ms. Pulitzer Parker to the departure of the Washington Post’s Weigel and the coverage of Mr. Frum’s party — in one form or another we are seeing different threads in the usual pattern of Establishment media or liberal Establishment media bias.
The good news for conservatives is that this kind of thing no longer makes much difference. The Gore story was sniffed out by the relentless Enquirer, which got the goods on John Edwards as everybody else in the liberal media closed their eyes. The Parker-Spitzer pairing will interest a few times while the public’s curiosity about Client Number Nine is sated. But hiring a conservative who makes her bones dissing conservatives will not bring a conservative audience to CNN. Why go for the chopped liver when Fox is steak — and there is no obvious intention at CNN to ever deliver steak?
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