SPOTTED: Some truly awful “he said/she said” reporting!


MINOR HINT: It’s on the front page of the Times: Yesterday, we hung our head over the pitiful work of our liberal tribe.

At Salon, a tribal leader denounced some outrageous “he said/she said” reporting about the government shutdown. Despite his claim that everyone’s doing it, his examples came from some very minor sources—and his four examples were highly underwhelming.

That was pitiful work. This morning, though, we awoke to some truly horrible “he said/she said” reporting about the shutdown. And this reporting appears in a high-profile spot, on page one of the New York Times!

Good God, this report is awful! It’s written by Ashley Parker, one of the emptiest youthful droogs in our whole upper-end “press corps.”

Last night, we saw the fatuous Parker opining, or trying to opine, on The One True Liberal Channel. Instantly, all the analysts groaned.

They didn’t know what was coming.

Parker (Penn '05) got her start in horrific fashion as “research assistant” to Maureen Dowd, whatever that could possibly mean. She tidied up after Dowd for five years. As she did, the “creeping Dowdism” may have wormed its way into her soul.

This morning, Parker starts her front-page piece like this, headline included. Truly, this is awful:
PARKER (10/1/13): Conservatives With a Cause: ‘We’re Right’

Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, was the first to take to the Senate floor to publicly pose a question gnawing at an increasing number of lawmakers and ordinary citizens alike as the deadline for a government shutdown neared: Has Congress gone completely crazy?

“It’s very hard from a distance to figure out who has lost their minds,” said Ms. McCaskill immediately after the Senate on Monday rejected a Republican plan to not finance the government unless Democrats agreed to delay the new health law. “One party, the other party, all of us, the president.”
We know, we know! You think we’re kidding, but that’s the way Parker starts her report, which is apparently designed to illustrate a key fact:

Conservatives think they’re right about the government shutdown!

If that was really Parker’s assignment, the fault lies with some editor. But Parker starts by quoting McCaskill in a very peculiar way—in a way which makes it sound like McCaskill can’t figure out who to blame for this completely crazy mess!

We’re going to guess that McCaskill went on to say a bit more than what was quoted. Up until now, McCaskill has had little trouble explaining who she thinks is at fault.

But that is the actual start of Parker’s front-page report! It gives the impression that even major Democrats can’t figure out who to blame for this nonsense.

Obviously, that impression is false. As Parker continued, she turned to a second big Democrat:
PARKER (continuing directly): Senator Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat and majority leader, had his own colorful, if somewhat skewed, metaphor about why much of the government was about to grind to halt in a take-no-political-prisoners fight over what is essentially a simple six-week funding bill, attributing it to the emergence of a “banana Republican mind-set.”

Mr. Reid’s language was evocative, and the implication was serious. With Democrats controlling the White House and Senate and with millions of dollars spent getting the health care law to the starting line, what gives House Republicans the idea that they can triumph in their push to repeal, or at least delay, the Affordable Care Act when so many veteran voices in their party see it as an unwinnable fight?
In this case, a major Democrat was at least blaming the GOP, though his metaphor was said to be “somewhat skewed.”

As she continued, Parker made no attempt to explain Reid’s accusation. Why would Reid describe the situation that way? Parker doesn’t ask, doesn’t tell!

Instead, she simply moves ahead to a third figure, a Republican this time. As she continues, Parker lets Rep. Steve King tell an uplifting tale.

In this passage, King becomes the Man from La Mancha, daring to dream the impossible dream! Parker lets King and two other Republicans explain why the GOP thinks it can win this “unwinnable fight.”

The fight involves a “higher quest,” the three Republicans say:
PARKER (continuing directly): “Because we’re right, simply because we’re right,” said Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa, one of the most conservative of House lawmakers. “We can recover from a political squabble, but we can never recover from Obamacare.”

Representative Raúl Labrador, Republican of Idaho and one of the original proponents of the so-called Defund Obamacare movement, was similarly sanguine. “We can always win,” he said Monday afternoon, as he jogged up the stairs to a closed-door conference meeting, where House Republicans gathered to plot their next move.

Representative Pete Sessions, Republican of Texas and chairman of the House Rules Committee, hinted that Republicans were unlikely to give up without at least another round since they see their campaign against the health care law as something of a higher quest. And many, if not most, people they talk to—colleagues, friendly constituents, activists, members of advocacy groups—reinforce that opinion, bolstering their belief that they are on the right side not just ideologically, but morally as well.

“This isn’t the end of the road, guys,” Mr. Sessions said with a grin. “This is halftime.”

The distance between the House and the White House has never seemed greater.
Let’s see if we’re able to follow the logic here! According to Parker, Republicans “believe that they are on the right side” of this issue, “not just ideologically, but morally as well!”

Do Democrats think they’re on the right side? Crackers, please! Claire McCaskill can’t figure out which side is at fault!

In fairness, this isn’t a case of “he said/she said” reporting. In this report, the Democrats are never even allowed to say that they think they are right!

Is it news when Republicans say they think they’re right about some issue? Actually no, it isn’t.

Members of both parties constantly say that their side is right, no matter what the issue may be. It’s hard to know exactly why Parker was assigned to do such a weird report, which is apparently devoted to stating the obvious:

The GOP says it’s right!

That said, when it comes to fatuous work, no one does it better! This is a truly awful report—and it appears above the fold on the front page of the New York Times, our nation’s most famous newspaper.

Perhaps for that reason, the kids at Salon still haven’t noticed Parker’s work as we post this piece. Yesterday, Salon was very upset about nothing. Today, they don’t notice this.

Our liberal team is very weak—inept, quite lazy, career oriented, quite low on the trait known as skill.


  1. "Our liberal team is very weak - inept, quite lazy, career oriented, quite low on the trait known as skill."

    It's called serving our corporate overlords.

  2. I'm not surprised that Senator McCaskill doesn't know what side she is on. After all, after Hillary raised money and campaigned for her she turned around and endorsed Obama in 2008 because she did not like what Bill Clinton did with Ms. Lewinsky. (What that had to do with Hillary is, of course the question). so now all is forgiven and she is ready for Hillary after all in 2016. So, I am not shocked that she is confused.

    1. For the record, McCaskill also got a lot of help from Sen. Obama in her 2006 run for the Senate. And her endorsement of Obama wasn't a rejection of Hillary, nor did it have anything to do with Bill and Monica.

      It was an endorsement FOR Obama, not AGAINST any one else.

      Here is what she told the NY Times in real time:

      “At the fierce urging of my 18-year-old daughter, I could not sit in the bleachers any longer,” Ms. McCaskill explained. “I felt like I needed to get down on the field, fighting for what I think is so important for our country.”

      “A lot of people talk about his ability to give a great speech. And there’s no question that he is truly gifted by God with an ability to speak to people in a way that touches them,” Ms. McCaskill said. “To me, that is the whip cream in the cherry. To me, this is a man who has incredible intellectual heft, he’s a very smart guy with a wide soul who is not afraid to figure out a new and different way to tackle problems.”

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