The guild will take care of its own: As noted in our last post, Maureen Dowd took her cue for yesterday’s column from last week’s Meet the Press.
Bill Clinton’s ten acts of oral sex were discussed on last Sunday’s program. (Wikipedia says it was nine.) Dowd responded by telephoning Rand Paul to ask him to please tell her more.
She wrote a column of 1200 words about the exciting topic. (Normal length: 800 words.) The New York Times put the piece on the front page of Sunday Review, where thrilling work belongs.
Dowd was a bit more honest concerning one point than some others were. In this passage, she described the way the excitement began:
DOWD (2/2/14): David Gregory asked Paul about the comment of his wife, Kelley, in a Jason Horowitz profile of the senator in Vogue, that Bill Clinton should not be First Spouse, given his “predatory” behavior with Monica Lewinsky.Dowd at least included one basic fact. The current episode started when David Gregory asked Rand Paul about the topic.
Paul backed up his wife, telling Gregory that there “is no excuse” for preying on a young intern and that it should affect history’s view of the ex-president. While he said it was “not Hillary’s fault,” he added that with the Clintons, “sometimes it’s hard to separate one from the other.”
The interview was almost over. Rand Paul didn’t bring it up.
Dowd skipped a second fact. That Vogue profile appeared back in mid-September, gaining almost no attention. Mrs. Paul’s comment hadn’t been discussed until Gregory brought it up, more than four months later.
For no apparent reason, David Gregory raised the topic of Clinton/Lewinsky. But you weren’t allowed to know that if you watched yesterday’s Meet the Press.
In our view, Gregory repeatedly misled viewers about that fact. Rather plainly, he made it sound like Paul had raised the topic.
As usual, a panel of sycophants played along with their host. He is a powerful figure within their sad, corrupt guild.
On yesterday's show, Gregory quoted Dowd’s column at length. Before he did, he seemed to say that Paul raised the topic of Clinton/Lewinsky the week before:
GREGORY (2/2/14): Hillary Clinton, still such a focus in 2016. Polling came out, big surprise here, from the Washington Post/ABC News, that Hillary Clinton is trouncing any opponent she might have in the party, Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren.Gregory went on from there, quoting Dowd’s familiar pensees about how evil Hillary is. In our view, he rather plainly conveyed the impression that it was Paul who had raised the topic the week before.
But very interesting last week here, with Rand Paul really amping up, kind of, the Republican response, and raising Bill Clinton, raising Monica Lewinsky.
Maureen Dowd writes in her column this morning in the Times that he had something of a point. Here's a portion of what Dowd wrote this morning.
It’s not so simple to cast Hillary Clinton as the victim...”
The panel swapped a few quick jokes about David Wildsetin and high school. Gregory then threw to Gwen Ifill.
As he did, he advanced his misleading presentation:
GREGORY: Gwen, you go first. Is this deft on the part of Republicans to say that, “We're going to bring this up in the context of the war on women?” Or people are just going to say—Is it just us? In this instance, Gregory rather clearly seemed to suggest that Republicans in general have been saying that they “are going to bring this up in the context of the war on women.”
IFILL: Watching that last week, I really had the feeling, David, that he was riffing, that this was just something that occurred to him as he was defending his wife, who had raised this question. And the people who lived through this, for whom this was an important part of their political life and a formative issue, will be happy to write about it again. But as we spend all of our time obsessing about the Clintons, again, and about Hillary Clinton, again, I think there's a lot less attention being spent, aside from Chris Christie, on who the Republican nominee's going to be...
As far as we know, that’s not true. It certainly isn’t what happened the week before.
Even as she went soft on Paul, Ifill didn’t mention the fact that Gregory raised the topic. It fell to Rich Lowrey, the panel’s lone conservative, to tell a small bit of the truth.
In a strangely muffled comment, Lowrey managed to say that Paul had been asked about his wife’s comment. He didn’t feel allowed to say who had done the asking.
Lowrey told a bit of the truth. Note the way Gregory reacted:
LOWRY: Well, I mean [Hillary Clinton] has been an overwhelming front-runner before. You know, and that didn't work out very well last time. Maybe it works out this time. But I think you're right, Rand Paul—that was just a riff. He was being asked about, you know, his wife's comments. And I get the sense the Republicans don't—“That was pretty well planned?”
GREGORY: Guys, for a riff, that was pretty—I mean, that was pretty well planned.
In response, Lowrey said that Republicans “are not sitting around in back rooms figuring out how to bring up the 90s again.” But no one was willing to tell the truth about who had brought up the 90s the week before, or about what Gregory now seemed to be doing.
On three occasions, Gregory gave the clear impression that Paul, or Republicans in general, had been “raising” the topic of Clinton/Lewinsky. At best, this was grossly misleading.
Doris Kearns Goodwin didn’t speak up. Ifill simply played along. Lowrey dared to say one little thing, no more.
For his part, Gregory just kept giving his viewers a weirdly false impression.
These are very dishonest people. On the bright side, they all know the rules:
Pundits must cover for their own. They never, ever tell the truth about such internal matters.