Sunday, August 11, 2002

Looks Like President Gore Is Scaring the Presstitutes

In Saturday's New York Times, Bill Keller penned a really nasty piece of work, managing to squeeze practically every tired Gore-bashing cliché into a 1500-word column. Here's a sample:

This isn't about Al Gore's inner peace. And it isn't a grudge match. The last thing we need now is a wallow in the past — which a Gore campaign is almost certain to entail, dragging around as he does the whole sorry afterbirth of Florida, the Clinton mischief, his own self-reinventions. This is about whom we want to lead the country through a perilous period. Mr. Gore disqualified himself by not having the confidence of his own convictions — to the point where we wondered if he had any convictions. Surely two prerequisites for a president are a confident sense of direction and the ability to inspire people to go there.

I got kinda ticked off at this, maybe partly because it follows by two days Faux News's attempt to smear President Gore and First Lady Tipper Gore with a phony story about Bruce Springsteen tickets. So I wrote Mr. Keller a letter:

Mr. Keller,

Either you're ignorant of Florida election law or you're just another dishonest, unethical Gore-bashing "journalist."

You state:

"Mr. Gore never bothered to demand that statewide recount, because he preferred the cynical alternative of recounting only the Democratic counties. Kind of hoist by his own petard, wouldn't you say?"

There is no real mechanism in Florida law to demand a statewide recount -- and only 2 ways to get one:

1. A laborious process involving asking for 67 separate county recounts. After the requests, which must be made within 72 hours of Election Day, each county election board has to vote on whether to do a test recount of selected precincts. If they agree to the test recount, then once it's finished, the county election board must vote on whether the results of the test justify doing a full recount of the county. Obviously, such a process would involve an incredible amount of money and manpower for the requesting candidate, and because of the special deadlines involving the Electoral College, time was an important factor as well. The Gore campaign chose the four counties based on things like the percentage of undervotes and overvotes, not because they were Democratic counties. In fact, the Gore campaign would've surely requested a recount in Republican Duval County -- and they are on record as saying they would've done so -- had they not been lied to by a Republican election official about the percentage of spoiled ballots there.

2. If both candidates agreed to a statewide recount, the Florida courts could've rubber-stamped the idea. I believe this is what happened in a very close 1988 Senate race. Of course, there was no way the Bush family would've ever agreed to a statewide recount.

Secondly, you state:

"The last thing we need now is a wallow in the past — which a Gore campaign is almost certain to entail, dragging around as he does the whole sorry afterbirth of Florida, the Clinton mischief, his own self-reinventions. This is about whom we want to lead the country through a perilous period."

Did your masters at the ReTHUGlican National Committee and the Bush Crime Family dictate that piece of lying propaganda to you, or did you think it up all by yourself? It's BS like that that has forced me to the conclusion that the honest journalists in this country can be counted on two hands -- and the overwhelming majority of them don't work for the mainstream media.

During the 2000 election, I watched as "journalists" like the NY Times' own Katherine Seelye repeatedly got caught misrepresenting, distorting, and outright lying -- by high school kids, in one instance -- about things President Gore said, in order to smear him as a liar. Meanwhile, the Shrub got away with lie, after lie, after lie, after bald-faced lie, and the only person in the mainstream media who called that pathological liar on his lies was your colleague, Paul Krugman. Maybe the fact that Mr. Krugman isn't a journalist, but rather an economist, has something to do with the fact that he's practically the only honest person left in the mainstream media.

And many of us are very well aware that President Gore isn't the real problem. The real problem is a media that is a fully owned subsidiary of the GOP Smear Machine. I have no doubt, for example, that if Bill Bradley had actually gotten the Democratic nomination, his former champions in the media would've viciously turned on him in a New York minute. Just as they would surely turn on and smear John Kerry, John Edwards, Howard Dean or whoever else the Democrats might nominate, all the while giving a free pass on everything and anything to The Squatter Illegitimately Residing in President Gore's House.

No matter who the Democrats nominate for President, the Beltway Blowhards in the media will regurgitate the blast faxes they receive from the ReTHUGlicans and put their own bylines on them. If Jesus Christ became the Democratic nominee, we'd see screaming headlines like "JESUS ENGAGED IN KINKY FOOT AFFAIR WITH PROSTITUTE, SOURCES SAY!" or "JESUS TURNED CANA WEDDING INTO BOOZEFEST, SAY WITNESSES!" And we'd hear talking heads and self-righteous pundits bloviating about how Jesus keeps reinventing himself: "One minute Jesus says he's a man of peace, and then the next minute he's throwing money-changers out of the temple!!! Which Jesus is the real Jesus? Sounds to me like Jesus himself doesn't know who he is."

Thank you for reinforcing my belief that "journalists" are lower than lawyers, lower than used car salesmen.

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