Another week, another triumph for conservative media bias. The beleaguered liberal MediaNews.org website put in a nutshell with this headline: “Bushee named Arizona Republic editor.” Until now we thought all Bushies controlled America’s press from the White House itself. It cannot augur well for surviving liberal pockets of objective media to learn that Bush conservatives are consolidating their press dominance by moving into the hinterland. And what an ugly insult to John McCain, who was not consulted or even given advance word about this key appointment in his own backyard. One detail needs to be ironed out. The full name of the Bushee in question is Ward Bushee. From now on, to prevent any confusion, it’s Ward Bushie.
Bush central command is still reeling from the sabotage attempted by one of its early stars, Prof. John DiIulio, Jr. For someone who made his name as a criminologist, DiIulio sure got easily mugged. Not since the late great liberal journalist Henry Fairlie cooperated with robbers who cleaned out his apartment have we seen anything quite like this.
DiIulio, as we know, got into trouble this week when news broke and of the interview he gave Esquire magazine. Its reporter, Ron Suskind, as one of the few remaining liberal journalists still at large, has made it his life’s mission to do in the Bush White House before it does him in. For all intents, he treated DiIulio like a hostage. First, he got DiIulio to sing over the phone, in an apparently recorded conversation in which DiIulio freely denounced his former colleagues at the Bush White House. Then, when big John got nervous and asked Suskind not to treat as on the record anything he’d said. Suskind refused the request. DiIulio’s response? Instead of going to the Karl Rove or the FBI or the CIA or Mossad, he sat down and typed up a 3,500 word “For/On the Record” confession that proved even juicier than anything he’d said over the phone.
The rest is a Philadelphia story. Like former 76er Charles Barkley who denied the contents of his own autobiography, Penn Professor DiIulio denied the words he had penned on the record.
At least now it makes sense why DiIulio voted for Al Gore. Yes, the Al Gore who last month had denounced the unchecked power of ultra-millionaire owned right-wing publications. Such as the Weekly Standard, owned by über-wealthy Rupert Murdoch, which in the U.S. broke the story of Gore’s recent secret trip to China where big bucks were raised and ties with a former Enron honcho re-established. This after Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, which Murdoch long owned before selling it to a pro-Beijing local, first reported on Gore’s return to his 1996 campaign fundraising habits. So as not to reinvent himself unnecessarily, Gore denied any wrongdoing through spokesmen who insisted he’d been invited to an event sponsored by BusinessWeek — which promptly denied any connection at all with Gore’s China meetings. Gore’s only prayer now is that BusinessWeek turns out to be owned by an ultra-rich-right-winger.
In other news from Goredom, there was no movement on the book front, even though the former vice president and his missus went out of their way to emphasize how much raunchy kissing they do in public (at least). One solution: rename the book. From now on, “Joined at the Heart” should be titled, “Joined at the Mouth.”
Moving right along, where there’s Gore, there’s Clinton. In another of his patented efforts at comeback (which applied to Gore would be termed reinventing), the still impeached former boy president kidded the Democratic Leadership Council only to compound his and his party’s problems. It didn’t make sense for Clinton to chide Democrats for weakness on national security issues when he then adopted the Gore line on leaving Saddam alone. Even better, he echoed Gore in denouncing an “increasingly right-wing and bellicose conservative press,” which presumably is part of the “destruction machine” Republicans operate. And it wouldn’t have been a Clinton speech without a little whining from the big blubba. “We don’t have a destruction machine,” he bemoaned. How easy it is to forget that Democrats once did have a destruction machine. But that was before Clinton directed its contents at an aspirin factory in the Sudan.
To be fair, Bill does have a way with words. We especially admire his use of “bellicose,” which is not to be confused with Bela Lugosi or Nancy Pelosi. It’s the sort of modifier never applied to the New York Times, which instead this week proudly pronounced itself censorious, spiking two sports columns that disagreed with the new party line on women at Augusta. Instead of coming to Tom Daschle’s defense, as Bill Clinton urged, the paper’s tigers insist on making trouble down South, even if that means overturning the First Amendment and a reader’s right to choose.
For shame, Howell Raines. Some Timesman you’ve proved to be. We bet you’ll try to dump the EOW prize you’ve just won on Gerald Boyd’s lap. But that’s between you and your compliant managing editor. We prefer to think of these recent developments as art in progress. If he’s still available, we’ll commission Tennessee Williams to write the play, “Big Daddy and Caddie at Augusta.”
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