When does this start to seem strange: As far as we know, Slate’s John Dickerson is the nicest guy in the world.
We know nothing bad about Dickerson in any way. Aside from his role at Slate, it seems that he’s also political director for CBS News.
That said, Dickerson is one of many leading scribes who quickly echoed the latest narrative, the narrative which has already been rolled out to govern Campaign 2016. No sooner had Hillary Clinton said “dead broke” than Dickerson was present at Slate with a pile of tedious comments running beneath these headlines:
Does Hillary Clinton Feel Your Pain?Dickerson’s opening sentence captured two decades of Clinton/Gore-trashing. “It’s not the empathy, it’s the honesty,” he concernedly said.
Her “dead broke” comment will be forgotten. What’s more problematic are questions about her honesty.
This Monday, he did it again. This time, Dickerson was upset with Joe Biden’s comments about his lack of wealth. These Slate headlines resulted:
Crying PoorDid Hillary Clinton ever suggest that she and her husband are penniless?
Why do Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden want you to think they are penniless?
Dickerson's piece will seem challenging if you are 7 or 8. The closing paragraph hits a real low. After that, you’ll see Slate making a formal correction of a lazy mistake.
This is called “buying the narrative.” It’s the laziest, emptiest way to do journalism. People like Dickerson love it.
All over the press corps, a large assortment of lazy script-readers quickly echoed the guild’s new line about Hillary Clinton being too wealthy, or out of touch, or possibly too gaffe-ridden. The fact that the obscenely wealthy Diane Sawyer initiated this wildly premature discussion has officially struck no one as strange.
But then, everyone agrees on one key rule of life in the Washington press corps—the massive wealth of our leading “journalists” must never be discussed. No one may ever suggest that it's strange to see a jewel-encrusted dimwit like Sawyer poking at Clinton’s wealth.
It violates pundit law even to think it! This brings us to Dickerson’s early life as the reigning “Fresh Prince of Merrywood.”
There’s nothing “wrong” with what comes next in our disquisition. But according to the leading authority on his life, Dickerson spent his early years in this particular manor:
WIKIPEDIA: A native of Washington, D.C., Dickerson is a son of C. Wyatt Dickerson and Nancy Dickerson. He has three sisters and one brother and grew up in McLean, Va. at Merrywood, a sprawling 49 acre estate with a 36-room Georgian-style mansion, high on a leafy bluff overlooking the Potomac River. Dickerson's parents purchased the property in 1964 from Hugh Auchincloss, following a protracted legal battle which eventually prevented Aushincloss from developing a massive high-rise apartment complex on the site.Just for the record, Dickerson’s mother, Nancy Dickerson, was a major correspondent for CBS and NBC in the first two decades of TV news.
Auchincloss was step-father to both Jacqueline Kennedy and Gore Vidal, who each spent significant portions of their childhoods at the estate...
The Dickersons sold the estate in 1984, and it was eventually purchased in 1999 for $24.5 million by its current owner, former AOL TimeWarner Chairman Steve Case.
“Merrywood” sounds like an Austen quip, but it seems to be a real venue. Indeed, Dickerson’s detailed recollections of his early life at this barony were published in the New York Times in 2006.
You’ll think we’re making this up, but we aren’t, as you can see if you click on the link. This is the way Dickerson’s memoir started:
DICKERSON (11/2/06): Growing Up in a Glamorous NeverlandDickerson’s memoir goes on and on from there.
In McLean, Va., in the 1970s, the suburban clusters had names written in script at the entrance gates, but my house was the only one I knew that had a name of its own. When my parents gave parties, it was my job to open the door, look each new arrival in the eye and say: “Welcome to Merrywood.”
The house, a 36-room Georgian-style mansion built in 1920, was veined with ivy and surrounded with old boxwood bushes that looked like broccoli when you flew over on the descent into nearby National Airport. Jacqueline Kennedy grew up there and Jack Kennedy worked on “Profiles in Courage” on the third floor.
Gore Vidal, who lived in what would become my brother’s room, put the house at the center of his 1967 novel “Washington, D.C.”
We assume that Dickerson’s a perfectly decent guy. But where does this nonsense stop?
As noted, the oleaginous Diane Sawyer started this latest gang bang. According to the occasional press report, she has been “earning” $12-20 million per year for a very long time now. But she found herself concerned by the size of Clinton’s wealth.
Gloria Vanderbilt’s son was soon promoting this premature stew. As of last Wednesday night, Herbert Hoover’s great-granddaughter seemed to be concerned that Clinton may be out of touch.
Beyond that, the former crown prince of Merrywood can’t seem to let this one go.
Please understand! There are sensible questions a person could ask about Clinton’s wealth, and about her policies and proposals. In truth, you’re very unlikely to see the press corps waste their time on the latter.
(Clinton's current project, Too Small to Fail, is designed to help low-income kids get a fairer shot at life. As has long been abundantly clear, most journalists would sell both grandmothers into white slavery before they would demean themselves by discussing a topic like that.)
There are sensible questions a person could ask about Hillary Clinton’s wealth. That said, the problem of the press corps’ wealth is a much larger problem. These people are empty and deeply uncaring. They’re as out of touch with average people as humans have ever been.
To state the obvious, their owners pay them to be that way! The former doorman at Merrywood may be a good investment.