Toobin and Gergen join in: Allegedly, girls just want to have fun.
Pundits just want to embarrass themselves. Two cases in point appeared with Anderson Cooper this Friday. (See our previous post.)
Cooper made a very modest attempt to clarify the basic facts. Then, it was time to speculate about the way the boys feel:
COOPER (1/31/14): Wildstein has also, it seems like, has taken issue with some of the things that Chris Christie has said about Wildstein, about himself.For the record, there were no references in the letter to “documentary evidence.”
ZERNIKE: And I think that is what the interesting personal dynamic here is that Chris Christie stood up at that two-hour marathon press conference and said, “Look, it has been, you know, my friendship with, say Wildstein has been overstated. We weren't even acquaintances in high school. I barely knew him. I was on the, you know, I was the class president and an athlete. I had no idea what he was doing.” I think there is a feeling among Wildstein's friends that this really antagonized David Wildstein and him to say, OK, I will prove you wrong.
COOPER: Jeff, some were saying that Christie and Wildstein were high school buddies. Christie, as Kate pointed out, shot that down completely. I do want to play the sound bite of what he said.
CHRISTIE (videotape): David and I were not friends in high school. We were not acquaintances in high school. We didn't travel same circles in high school. You know, I was the class president and athlete. I don't know what David was doing during that period of time.
COOPER: I mean, this is a guy who clearly can do some damage to the governor. It seems like maybe he was antagonized.
TOOBIN: Anderson, it is revenge of the nerds today. You know, I mean, you know, this is obviously a complicated political story. But there is such an interesting personal dimension here.
You know, David Wildstein was this guy who was most well known in New Jersey as a blogger, someone who followed New Jersey politics intimately. He finally gets his chance to be in the, or somewhere near, the inner circle of the governor and here when everything hits the fan the governor just throws him under the bus.
Well, David Wildstein is not finished talking and he is looking for a deal. This purpose of the letter was to get the Port Authority to pay his legal fees which they have not agreed to do. But I think the larger purpose is that he wants immunity. And the action is really going to be with Paul Fishman, the U.S. attorney who is the only person in the process who has the power to grant immunity. And basically, what Wildstein is saying, Come to me, Fishman, I will give you jewels if you give me immunity. And perhaps he will.
COOPER: Well Jeff, does that then call into question perhaps the veracity of what he is saying? Or just have put his credibility on the line if he is, I mean, he clearly, he is wanting something from this.
TOOBIN: Absolutely. I mean, that is the tradeoff that always goes on here is that the angrier you are, the worse you look as a witness. And to me what is most important part of that letter are the two references to documentary evidence, to facts that he says prove that Christie was not telling the truth at the news conference. Because, you know, Christie's people can always discredit Wildstein as bitter and embittered, you know, president of the AV Club who resents the class president.
You’ll note that Cooper made no attempt to establish the facts concerning the “high school buddies.” He didn’t ask Zernike why she had described the fellows as “high school friends” on the Times web site that very afternoon.
(The description was later bumped back to “high school classmates.” That description is also inaccurate.)
Cooper simply threw to Toobin, who began creating a novel about the way Wildstein must feel. Newsflash:
Presumably, Toobin doesn’t know Wildstein. He doesn’t know how Wildstein feels.
All three children enjoyed the tale about the antagonized high school nerd who got thrown under the bus and might end up looking like someone from the AV Club. When David Gergen appeared for segment two, a second problem presented:
COOPER: David, you said all along that Christie might be able to weather this politically as long as it is shown he actually, you know, knew—didn't know about this in advance or order the lane closures. We still don't know from this letter whether that is the case. What do you think these revelations mean for the governor politically?Cooper seemed to think the letter involved “revelations.” Gergen went on and on about what the letter means “if it is accurate.”
GERGEN: I think they are very grave for him, Anderson, if this letter proves to be accurate. Contrary to what we heard earlier, I read the letter as directly contradicting what the governor said in two press conferences—namely, he said he didn't know anything about the lane closings until the whole episode was over. This letter says he knew, there was evidence tying him to knowledge while the lane closures were there.
If that is the case, that's a perilous revelation for him. Let's take a good example, a telling example. The Newark Star Ledger, the largest newspaper in New Jersey, a left-leaning newspaper to be sure, but also a newspaper that endorsed Governor Christie in 2013, has come out tonight to say, if this letter is accurate, he must resign. He must resign. If he won't resign, he must be impeached. That is very tough stuff if you want to run for the White House.
What if the letter isn’t accurate? Gergen didn’t offer his thoughts about that. He quoted what an excitable newspaper had said about the need for impeachment—if the claims are true.
Elsewhere, we saw the Star-Ledger ridiculed for the way it jumped the gun in that instant editorial. Gergen was racing off with them.
Zernike was racing off too. This sad exchange came right before the exchange we just posted:
COOPER: Kate, the documents you wrote about in the Times, a lot of it was redacted. There were e-mails that Wildstein provided between him and Bridgett Kelly. Has he provided un-redacted documents? Do we know?The possibility that Wildstein is full of crap is also “very real.”
ZERNIKE: No. He hasn't yet provided them. His lawyer has said he will turn them over. The legislature is expecting them. The legislature says they haven't gotten them yet. But I think that is what makes this latest development important is that—or interesting, at least—is that what we know about the scandal so far, we know from David Wildstein. We know from David Wildstein that it was Bridget Kelly who sent an e-mail from this administration saying time for traffic problems in Fort Lee. So the possibility that David Wildstein has more information is very real.
As the New York Times reporter-of-record, Zernike plays a good prosecutor. This may help explain the long string of factual errors she has already recorded.
According to civics textbooks, journalists are supposed to remind us excitable citizens of the problems with vague accusations like these. That wasn’t happening as these ridiculous figures gathered around Cooper’s bonfire.
This is the way these idiots went after Clinton, then after Candidate Gore. This is the way they went after Susan Rice.
This is the way these idiots are. When they do this to liberals, we meekly defer. When they do it to others, we cheer.