Bring back the Soviet Union: We're on our way back to our sprawling campus, with full services to resume tomorrow.
In the meantime, maybe it's time to bring back the Soviet Union. This thought came to mind as we read Glenn Kessler's new Washington Post Fact-Checker report, "Recalling Hillary Clinton’s claim of ‘landing under sniper fire’ in Bosnia."
Kessler's report starts off like this. We'll highlight two points which "bring the eternal note of sadness in:"
KESSLER (5/23/16): One of our all-time great fact checks was The Fact Checker’s March 21, 2008, report on Hillary Clinton’s false claim that she arrived in Bosnia “under sniper fire.” The article, written by our former colleague Michael Dobbs, was quickly followed by CBS News, PolitiFact and others—and ultimately became a defining moment in the 2008 campaign for the former first lady. The incident even earns a mention in a recent attack ad from the National Republican Senatorial Committee.Sad. Kessler is revisiting a misstatement by Candidate Clinton from 2008. Despite the fact that the misstatement in question is eight years old, he reports that "readers constantly ask about" it.
Readers constantly ask us about Clinton’s Bosnia tale, and ask whether we will fact check it. As noted, The Fact Checker did so eight years ago. But the original version now appears on the web in very small type, so here it is again. We have also included new material on what happened next.
He reprints the Post's original fact-check of this eight-year old event. Weirdly, he refers to that original piece as "one of our all-time great fact checks."
We see here the ancient human need to construct and oppose a vile, fiendish enemy figure. At one time, the Soviet Union played that role for us in this country. In the process, the Soviet Union brought us together, as Nixon was once asked to do.
Since the loss of that external enemy, various players in various camps have been busily constructing internal enemies. (We'd include the mainstream press corps as one of these camps.) In this case, one camp is constantly asking poor Kessler to remind them of how vile this particular enemy is.
This is a form of mental illness. Increasingly, it defines our political/journalistic culture.
For today, we'll recommend that you read the "Aftermath" section of Kessler's post, in which he quotes the way Ambassador Christopher Hill recalled the Tuzla event in his book from 2014. Hill's account of what happened that day adds background and context to Clinton's misstatement, which she made in 2008.
Mainly, though, we'll recommend that you weep and quake about our human need to construct The Other. The need for demons has come to define our political culture. Incomparably, therefore, we ask you again:
Is it possibly time to bring back the Soviet Union?
UPDATE: We've received a thoughtful phone call on this subject on our movie star hot line, which carries an unlisted number.
The telephonic communication came from an audibly angry Al Pacino. "This whole post-Cold War arrangement is out of order," the furious movie star said.
We're off on a mission of national import, visiting the archives of a major blogospheric outpost in the war to salvage our melting intellectual culture.ReplyDelete
We suspect we may travel back in time, if such travel is possible without conventionally good looking women whose status outside their volunteer
role as PBS eye candy is obscured.
We may go back eight years and see what the Howler was covering when mere misstatements innocently escaped the lips of mortals running for office. Perhaps those poor souls who did not realize that "the fact that our “press corps” inhabits this world is a national security problem."
OK so my curiosity was piqued. On March 21, 2008 Bob was lamenting pieces on Hillary done by ABC and the Huffington Post on topics other than Bosnia.Delete
But most of his excellent work that day was a long examination of Michelle Bernard's appearances on "Hardball." Bob raised the question (suggested by another reporter of course) that her appearances were part of a conservative effort to make Obama the nominee. (He had earlier cuffed Marshall for tinfoil haberdashery).
He provided a long list of dates she had been a featured guest on "Hardball" which would be amusingly short if, for example, compared to a list of Howler posts in the last two months which had featured Rachel Maddow.
I've been hearing rumors that Trump's fortune originated with his grandfather's prostitution business and that he continues to run a high-end "escort" business out of Trump Tower. Why didn't the Fact Checker decide to investigate that one?ReplyDelete
I've been hearing rumors that Bernie Sanders said that having too few orgasms causes cancer. Why didn't the Fact Checker investigate that one?
Special rules for Clinton: All past controversies that were fact checked get published again, especially when negative. This despite her higher rating than Sanders or Trump on Politifact -- the FACT that Clinton is the bigger truth-teller among the remaining candidates.
Trump is incapable of telling the truth and Sanders tells only a very self-serving version. But Clinton is the one who gets this treatment! Tell me again how things are rigged in her favor.
Take your crap somewhere else sicko.Delete
Try this one:Delete
He states facts (re Fact checker ratings on candidates)and you go ad hominem. Classy. Of course the 1st 2 paragraphs are snark. The most important fact, never to be forgotten during this campaign, is that there are and always have been unfair rules for treating the Clintons.Delete
The unwritten rules of silence are even worse.Delete
Trump would not be even in the polls with Clinton if the New York Times had taken the time to explain just how crazy his budget proposal is.ReplyDelete
The thing that excuses Trump's ridiculous budget proposal is that he doesn't mean it. In fact, I don't think he mwans anything that he said during the campaign. After all, he keeps contradicting himself and changing his mind.Delete
This pattern of saying anything helps him, in a way. Voters who dislike Hillary can hope that Trump will do responsible, helpful things, even if his words say the opposite.
I wonder if Bob has any thoughts on the historical accuracy of the latest LBJ-MLK cinematic offering?ReplyDelete
Have you seen the look on Clinton's face when Bernie mentions the wealthy paying their fair share? It's one of sheer repulsion.ReplyDelete
The hatred hardly goes one way.
TDH knows that it is actually true that Clinton did not indeed arrive under sniper fire like she claimed. So he instead writes that those who mention this are akin to a Red Scare, his regular fear when he is upset vaguely with the Democratic party but can't articulate why.ReplyDelete
This morning David Brooks is calling Hillary unlikeable while the Washington Post is pretending that she is in danger of losing in California, a state where she is way ahead in the polls. Who says the media is rigged in her favor?ReplyDelete
LA Times today endorsed Hillary -- not Bernie. Hard to see how he will take the state without that endorsement.Delete
That Clinton story about sniper fire stands as another example of fact checker incompetence. HRC arrived in Bosnia after earlier planes had experienced sniper fire and the crew warned everyone on her plane to move fast and keep their heads down. HRC's comment was an innocuous comment about a warning she well remembered and took to heart. That silly review is just one of the albatrosses hanging around Kessler's neck.ReplyDelete
So when she was taking her picture with a class full of school children she was really deep inside concerned that at any moment hey could go down?Delete