Supplemental: Yardley discusses campaign storylines!

MONDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2014

We don’t think that’s how it works:
In yesterday’s Washington Post, Jonathan Yardley reviewed Matt Bai’s new book about the Hart campaign.

That’s right—about the Gary Hart campaign! In 1987!

Twenty-seven years later, Bai is arguing that this is where the modern bullroar in the reporting of White House campaigns got its start.

In this modern journalistic bullroar, the nations’ reporters thrash about, trying to examine some candidate’s “character,” or at least pretending to do so.

Bai’s thesis doesn’t seem entirely wrong. During Campaign 1988, the press corps registered two major scalps. They got Candidate Hart on an adultery charge and Candidate Biden for plagiarism.

Because we happened to know him in college, we can tell you something about a third candidate in that 1988 campaign. Some reporters were trying very hard to get Candidate Gore for youthful drug use, and on an additional count from his youth.

We got many phone calls on these matters, from one reporter in particular. (We don’t remember who it was. Based on the published record, we could take a guess.) At the time, we were struck by how much the reporters wanted to get that third scalp and, if you really have to know it, but how poorly conceived their drug jihad was.

They were eager to get that third scalp! But in one fairly obvious way, we remember being struck by how dumb their questions were.

This wasn’t exactly the start of this candidate-hunting crap. Way back in 1972, they got the scalp of Candidate Muskie on a “character” rap. By the way:

Can we possibly notice that all these scalps came from one of the two major parties? We don’t know if there’s a reason for that. But we were struck by this passage from Yardley’s thoroughly worthwhile review:
YARDLEY (10/12/14): It happens that though I was not in any way involved in The Post’s coverage of Hart and have never met [reporter] Paul Taylor, I did devote part of a weekly column I wrote in those days to Hart’s case. I said that “in Washington, and wherever else two or more politicians may gather, he who does not get caught has ‘character’ and he who gets caught has none.” That seems to me as true today as it was then. The persecutorial media that so alarms Bai has no real interest in “character” and oceans of interest in sex and sensation. This unfortunately at times has involved what is known as the “mainstream” media, but the contributions of People and US Weekly and the National Enquirer and, especially, the Daily Mail Online and all those bloggers madly typing away have only intensified things. Probably the political climate would be a lot healthier and the political discussion a lot more constructive if the media would simply obey that most basic of biblical injunctions: He who is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.
To us, that passage seems to suggest that the press corps stages its jihads against candidates in a way which is dumb and unwise, but which is also “nonpartisan.” Simply put, the jihad starts when one of the hopefuls gets caught.

We don’t think that’s necessarily the way this syndrome works. The historical record seems fairly clear:

Decisions are often made in advance about which candidates have “character.” The jihads proceed, or get suppressed, on the basis of those prejudgments. It isn’t true that the jihads begin at the point when someone gets “caught.”

That passage by Yardley conveys a certain sense of the way these candidate jihads work. We think he’s offering an idealized portrait of the way the press corps works, as opposed to The Way We Are.

Tomorrow: Final points concerning two favorites of the analysts, their uncles Boehlert and Drum

48 comments:

  1. McCarthyism is a movement around which men of good will and stern morality can close ranks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Like the Spanish Inquisition?

      Delete
    2. Bob compliments Boehlert. But he was a fellow traveller with Walsh in '00. Walsh graduated college in Joe's home state but we won't hold that in her favor.

      Delete
    3. No one expects the Spanish Inquisition, but any thinking person expects McCarthyism from the likes of Ted "Carnival" Cruz and his merry band of teahadists.

      Delete
  2. "Some reporters were trying very hard to get Candidate Gore for youthful drug use, and on an additional count from his youth.

    We got many phone calls on these matters, from one reporter in particular. (We don’t remember who it was. Based on the published record, we could take a guess.)

    That was 26 years ago. About the same that elapsed between the erroneous Nashville Tennessean report that Al and Tipper were the models for Love Story and Gore retelling that tale on Air Force Two.

    Neither Gore nor author Erich Segal, nor, to this day, Bob Somerby, seemed to recall the name of the reporter who wrote that story, and through negligence changed the course of history.

    Based on the record I could guess it was Al Gore himself. He is the only person I can name who worked for the Tennessean at that time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He said he could guess, but that isn't solid enough to make a public accusation, even if this is just a blog.

      Delete
    2. Truth be told, 12:18, he said he couldn't remember before he said he could guess. And he said his guess would be based on the "published" record
      about which reporter called him "many" times asking him about drug use of his college roomate who was then running for President.

      But you are right. Bob has scruples even if he has no long term memory of this trivial matter demonstrating the early days of the collapse of our intellectual culture.

      Unless, of course, the reporter called him anonymously in order to add credibility to his claim he would treat Somerby as a confidential anonymous source.

      Delete
    3. Do any of you believe this story or claim?

      Delete
    4. You seem to shortchanging Bob a few bucks on this exchange.

      Delete
    5. Feel free to supplement my efforts.

      Delete
  3. OMB (Oui, oui, oui, me, me, me. E-I-E-I Ohio)

    "We got many phone calls on these matters." BOB

    “I I I I I I I.” According to rumor, that’s the slogan on Maddow’s coat of arms." BOB

    After singing this “personal” song of himself, Bob admits he can't recall.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. $8 plus a bonus $2 = $10. All you trolls keep supporting Somerby so he can fight the good fight.

      Delete
    2. Hey, trolls get $10 from Rachel everytime they get her name in a comment. They get a $2 bonus everytime a response calls them a troll.

      You think they want Somerby to quit?

      Delete
    3. Must go to work now but I'll come back later to see what I owe. Seems to me the Maddow trolls owe Somerby a kickback for not moderating the comments.

      Delete
    4. They owe you a kickback if you put your money where your keyboard is.

      Delete
    5. AnonymousOctober 13, 2014 at 1:11 PM
      Must go to work now but I'll come back later to see what I owe.

      AnonymousOctober 13, 2014 at 3:29 PM (NYT/MSNBC thread)
      $19

      Banker's hours.

      Delete
    6. Monitors security cameras at the White House.

      Delete
    7. Fact-checker for Rush Limbaugh.

      Delete
  4. Bob complains that "all these scalps came from one of the two major parties". I seem to recall Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew being "scalped", not that they didn't richly deserve it. I also recall massive support for John McCain as Republican candidate in 2008, especially from the NY Times. Of course, they turned around and savaged him once he was running against a Dem.

    And, an entire set of books could be written about the media's harsh treatment of Sarah Palin -- treatment that continues to this day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1:17 PM. Our choice for current most interesting commenter!

      Delete
    2. "Scalping" here means taking down a politician on nonsense charges or spurious tales of bad "character."

      Nixon and Agnew were basically felons. And are you really defending Sarah Palin?

      Delete
    3. If that's what scalping means, then Gary Hart wasn't scalped. As another commenter pointed out, Hart deserved what he got.

      I thought Sarah Palin had weak qualifications. Her administrative experience was only something like 2 years as Governor of a small state. I do think she was "scalped" on her cultural views, which were more moderate than the media represented.

      Also, Palin's experience was little worse than Barack Obama's. Of course, his educational attainments were much superior to Palin's, but he had little or no administrative experience. His Senate experience was negligible. He had spent much of that brief period campaigning for President. One could not point to any particular Obama achievement in the US 'Senate.

      Delete
    4. Gary Hart was "scalped" by scandal unrelated to his politics, his policies, or the execution of his job. Nixon and Agnew were basically felons.

      Obama was a Senator in the 109th and 110th Congress. He was a junior Senator in the minority for the former. It's the nature of the institution that he wouldn't have had his hands on the levers of power. Nevertheless, he sponsored or co-sponsored 570 bills, although only 15 became law. He proposed amendments to 50 bills, 16 of which were adopted. You can't point to his accomplishments because you never check the facts. Agree with his political positions or not, it's absurd to compare his involvement with his branch of government to half-term Palin's involvement with hers.

      (The same applies to his career in the Illinois Senate, when he was in the majority party for only two years. He sponsored 100 bills a year for each of the eight years he was in the Illinois Senate, and worked on health care, anti-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, capital punishment, and more.)

      Sarah Palin's major accomplishment as governor was to abuse her office in a vendetta to get her former brother-in-law fired from his job as a state trooper.

      Delete
    5. Actually her major accomplishment involved working against powerful oil companies. Wiki says, "She also helped pass an increase in the severance tax oil companies pay to extract oil from state land."

      As for Obama sponsoring or co-sponsoring bills, BFD. Did he read the bills? Did he draft them or help draft them? Were they good bills? Did Obama's expertise contribute to their content?

      I'm not saying that the answers to these questions are all "No". I'm saying that raw numbers tell us nothing.

      Delete
  5. Still troubled by 1988!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Must not have many customers or supervision.

      Delete
    2. I'm the boss of me, $21

      Delete
    3. So, its the no customers option? Better be or you are just procrastinating.

      Delete
    4. If there were no customers, I'd have no money to throw around like this. $24

      Somerby is lucky to have someone like you joining in the effort to keep him funded. This is kind of like a troll matching fund. Keep it up -- love to send more money Somerby's way!

      Delete
    5. You should also volunteer to serve as Bob's moderator.

      Delete
    6. "You should also volunteer to serve as Bob's moderator."

      I was thinking more along the lines of him/her/it volunteering for the first manned landing on the sun.

      Delete
  6. Really, Bob. The Gary Hart-Donna Rice scandal is virtually unprecendented in its egotistical hubris.

    And Bob? He was blown out of the water (almost literally!) in the spring of 1987.

    If you are any friend at all of Al Gore, you wouldn't even think of bringing up Gore in the same post as Gary Hart.

    ReplyDelete
  7. "The jihads proceed,"

    And Bob? Please stop misusing terms from religions you make no effort to understand to score points on your blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The usage finger writes and having writ moves on, and you can't do fuck-all about it. Yes, "jihad" means struggle, and it can denote a personal and internal struggle. But it can also mean a war against the infidel, from which the slang usage takes its meaning.

      Are you going to complain when English speakers use "nirvana" to mean paradise?

      Delete
  8. Can anyone tell me what "telegenic in a faux-Kennedy fashion" means?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Here's a thought for Somerby.

    You think the same private dicks that Lee Atwater hired to dig up dirt on Gary Hart might have also been digging for dirt on every potential Democratic nominee?

    In other words, it may have not been a "reporter" whose name Bob can't remember who called him repeatedly about Gore's alleged youthful drug use.

    But then again, that wouldn't fit the pleasing story Bob tells his rubes.

    ReplyDelete
  10. More on Gary Hart please, Mr. Bob. He was more exciting than Gore and had better taste in women than Clinton or Kennedy. Except for Marilyn, of course.

    ReplyDelete




  11. !!! How Dr.great Restore My Broken Marriage And Bring Back My Lover !!!

    My name is Sarah. I am from Spain i am here to spread the entire work of a real spell caster called Dr. great who just helped me to retrieve back my union with my husband and make our relationship very stronger and brought joy and happiness into our marriage. I have been scammed by a lot of fake spell casters but i was later introduced to Dr. great by a friend named tucker stacey to this great man who help her to restore her relationship back with his husband.He also help me and wipe away my tears. So viewers of this wonderful testimony who wants to contact him greatpowerspelltemple@gmail.com

    1. GETTING YOUR EX LOVER BACK.

    2. DIVORCE SPELL

    3. WINNING LOTTERIES.

    4. BREAKING OF GENERATION COURSE.

    5. GETTING OF JOB.

    6. CHILD BEARING.

    7. MONEY SPELL.

    8. CURING OF HIV AND MANY MORE.

    9. HERBAL CARE.

    10. BEAUTY SPELL.

    11. BUSINESS CHARMS TO ENQUIRE MORE CUSTOMERS AND LOT'S MORE..

    So brothers and sisters i have tested this man DR.great and i have found that he is real and genuine. i am now the happiest woman on earth today, Contact his via email id and be joyful in your life.greatpowerspelltemple@gmail.com. also contact him on his web site: http://greatpowerspelltemple@gmail.com More gratitude and thanks to you again the great DOCTOR great.

    ReplyDelete

  12. I want to testify that my wife is back after a Divorce !!!

    Hello to every one out here, am here to share the unexpected miracle that happened to me three days ago, My name is Jeffrey Dowling,i live in Texas,USA.and I`m happily married to a lovely and caring wife,with two kids A very big problem occurred in my family seven months ago,between me and my wife so terrible that she took the case to court for a divorce she said that she never wanted to stay with me again,and that she did not love me anymore So she packed out of my house and made me and my children passed through severe pain. I tried all my possible means to get her back,after much begging,but all to no avail and she confirmed it that she has made her decision,and she never wanted to see me again. So on one evening,as i was coming back from work,i met an old friend of mine who asked of my wife So i explained every thing to her,so she told me that the only way i can get my wife back,is to visit a spell caster,because it has really worked for her too So i never believed in spell,but i had no other choice,than to follow her advice. Then she gave me the email address of the spell caster whom she visited.(bravespellcaster@gmail.com}, So the next morning,i sent a mail to the address she gave to me,and the spell caster assured me that i will get my wife back the next day what an amazing statement!! I never believed,so he spoke with me,and told me everything that i need to do. Then the next morning, So surprisingly, my wife who did not call me for the past seven {7}months,gave me a call to inform me that she was coming back So Amazing!! So that was how she came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and she apologized for her mistake,and for the pain she caused me and my children. Then from that day,our relationship was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster . So, was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster . So, i will advice you out there to kindly visit the same website http://bravespellcaster.yolasite.com,if you are in any condition like this,or you have any problem related to “bringing your ex back. So thanks to Dr Brave for bringing back my wife,and brought great joy to my family once again.{bravespellcaster@gmail.com} , Thanks.

    ReplyDelete



  13. Hello, my name is Miss faith, I'm from USA. I want to inform you all that there is a spell caster that is genuine and real. I never really believed in any of these things but when I was losing Garvin, I needed help and somewhere to turn badly. I found consultant.odia spells and i ordered a LOVE SPELL. Several days later, my phone rang. Garvin was his old self again and wanted to come back to me! Not only come back, the spell caster opened him up to how much I loved and needed him. Spell Casting isn't brainwashing, but they opened his eyes to how much we have to share together. I recommend anyone who is in my old situation to try it. It will bring you a wonderful surprises as well as your lover back to you. The way things were meant to be." you can contact the spell caster on ogbonispelitemple@hotmail.com he's very nice and great.

    ReplyDelete
  14. nike shoes, Cheap Jordans,Cheap Jordan Shoes,Cheap Air Max,Cheap Free Run Shoes,nike shoes,nike outlet,nike factory,nike store,nike factory outlet,nike outlet store,cheap nike shoes,nike sneakers, toms outlet, toms outlet,tom shoes,toms shoes outlet,tom shoes,toms wedges,cheap toms,toms.com, air jordan, air jordan,jordan shoes,cheap jordans,air jordans,jordan retro,air jordan shoes,jordans,jordan 11,jordan xx9,jordan 6,new jordans,retro jordans,jordan retro 11,jordan 5,air jordan 11,jordans for sale,jordan 4,jordan 1,jordan future,jordan 3,jordan 12,michael jordan shoes,air jordan retro, cheap jordans, cheap jordans,cheap jordan shoes,cheap jordan,cheap jordans for sale,jordans for cheap,jordan shoes,jordans,air jordan,jordan retro,jordan 11,jordan xx9,jordan 6,new jordans,air jordans,retro jordans,jordan retro 11,jordan 5,air jordan 11,jordans for sale,jordan 4,jordan 1,jordan future,jordan 3,jordan 12,michael jordan shoes,air jordan shoes,air jordan retro, jordan retro, jordan retro,jordan shoes,air jordan,air jordans,retro jordans,air jordan retro,jordans,jordan 11,jordan xx9,jordan 6,new jordans,cheap jordans,jordan retro 11,jordan 5,air jordan 11,jordans for sale,jordan 4,jordan 1,jordan future,jordan 3,jordan 12,michael jordan shoes,air jordan shoes, air max 90, air max 90,nike air max 90,air max 95,air max 2014,air max 2013,air max 1,nike air max,air max,nike air max 2014,airmax,nike air max 2013, air max 95, air max 95,nike air max 95,air max 90,nike air max 90,air max 2013,nike air max,air max,air max 2014,nike air max 2014,airmax,nike air max 2013, nike free 5.0, nike free 5.0, nike free trainer 5.0,nike free run 5.0,free running 2,nike free run,nike free,free running,nike running shoes,nike free trainer,free runs,free run 5.0, omega watches, omega watches,omega watch,replica watches,rolex watches,replica omega watches,rolex,watches for men,watches for women,rolex watches for sale,rolex replica,rolex watch,cartier watches,rolex submariner,fake rolex,rolex replica watches,replica rolex, ralph lauren outlet

    ReplyDelete
  15. ralph lauren outlet,ralph lauren outlet online,polo ralph lauren outlet,polo ralph lauren outlet online,polo ralph lauren,ralph lauren,polo ralph,polo shirts,ralphlauren.com,polo outlet,ralph lauren polo, oakley sunglass, oakley sunglasses,cheap oakley,cheap oakley sunglasses,oakley sunglasses cheap,oakley outlet,oakley sunglasses outlet,oakley vault,oakleys,oakley.com,sunglasses outlet,cheap sunglasses,oakley prescription glasses,fake oakleys,oakley glasses,oakley store,fake oakley,oakley sale,cheap oakleys,discount oakley sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses, Ray Ban Sunglasses,Ray Ban Outlet,Ray Ban Sale,Cheap Ray Bans,Cheap Ray Ban Sunglasses,ray ban sunglasses outlet,ray ban,rayban,ray bans,ray-ban,raybans,ray ban wayfarer,ray-ban sunglasses,raybans.com,rayban sunglasses,cheap ray ban, burberry, burberry,burberry outlet,burberry outlet online,burberry factory outlet,burberry sale,burberry handbags, chanel bags, chanel bags,chanel handbags,chanel sunglasses,chanel outlet,chanel purses,chanel handbags official site, coach outlet store, coach outlet,coach outlet store,coach outlet store online,coach outlet stores,coach factory outlet,coach factory,coach factory online,coach factory outlet online,coach outlet online, chaussures louboutin, louboutin,louboutin pas cher,christian louboutin,louboutin chaussures,louboutin soldes,chaussure louboutin,chaussures louboutin,chaussure louboutin pas cher,louboutin france, sac michael kors, michael kors,sac michael kors,michael kors sac,michael kors pas cher,sac michael kors pas cher,michael kors france, north face outlet, north face outlet,the north face,north face,the north face outlet,north face jackets,north face jackets clearance,northface, yoga pants, yoga pants,lululemon,lululemon outlet,lululemon athletica,lululemon addict,lulu lemon,lulu.com,lululemon.com, beats by dre

    ReplyDelete