Look, we can have reasonable debates about whether John McCain is the right person to be president. Many conservatives disagree with his policy positions. But we cannot dispute that McCain is a war hero. Oh, but Media Matters thinks it is beyond the pale to call him so:

In the past week, The New York Times has described John McCain as “a Vietnam hero and national security pro.” The Associated Press has referred to McCain’s “Vietnam War-hero biography.” UPI has referred to him as “the 71-year-old Vietnam hero.” The Boston Globe called McCain “a 71-year-old war hero.” The Buffalo News combined the two descriptions, describing McCain as “a 71-year-old Vietnam War hero.” And Newsweek declared McCain “a war hero who is fun to be around.”

(Such casual invocations of McCain’s war record are far from new. Two examples: In 2003, the Las Vegas Review-Journal sneaked a reference to McCain’s Vietnam service into the beginning of an article about his efforts to ban gambling on the NCAA basketball tournament. In August 2000, the Chicago Tribune shoehorned McCain’s status as a former prisoner of war into a brief article — just 157 words — about his skin cancer.)

Typical of Media Matters, they don’t offer any counter-information that would discredit McCain’s service, and especcially his admirable decision to remain in the Hanoi Hilton when he could have gone free earlier. But by highlighting this fact, they are clearly saying it is wrong for the media to call him a war hero.

Consider how the left considered wrong to question John Kerry’s military service in Vietnam. Even though Kerry served for only a few months before returning to the U.S. to take up the cause of opposition to the Vietnam war.

Consistency, please? Oh, sure, Media Matters eventually confesses that they too agree, McCain is a war hero. Their real problem is that they claim the media is “cheerleading” for McCain.

Really, a front page article in the New York Times insinuating that McCain had an affair is “cheerleading”? Remember that McCain’s denial was then run on a page very far into the A-section the very next day. Then there’s this:

But non-sequiturs like that occur regularly in coverage of McCain. The effect is to constantly remind voters of what may be the most admirable thing about him, enhancing his reputation on security issues.

Right. His war hero status is bad because the media keeps mentioning it. How dare they!

But seriously, how dare Media Matters call into question McCain’s history, and find it controversial that it is mentioned in media coverage of his candidacy.

The Media Matters article has hundreds of more words about how they don’t like McCain.  But I still want to know: Why does Media Matters insist on demanding reporters fail to acknowledge John McCain’s admirable service in Vietnam? They didn’t like it when Kerry’s service was questioned, but they do support questions about McCain’s service? Hmmm. You might almost think it’s a partisan outfit.


For some reason, the Left likes few things more than defending anti-American attitudes, especially those of celebrities, especially those of foreigners. This weekend was a special bonus for one of the most unhinged from this contingent, DownWithTyranny, which could also be called DownWithSpacesBetweenWords. Here’s a headline from the weekend:


Now, it’s not likely I was going to see any Marion Cotillard films anyway (she’s the little-known French hottie who won Best Actress at last week’s Oscars). I wouldn’t go out of my way to see them, and I’m not sure if I would go out of my way to avoid them, either.

But anyway, this blog DWT, which deserves all of the scorn that can be heaped upon it and more, often tracks in scurrilous rumors, past ones which I won’t dignify by mentioning here. (I’ll wait until they mention them again.) But I will highlight this:

I have no idea who killed John F Kennedy. For me the jury is still out. I suspect Rove ordered the murder of Paul Wellstone but I have no way of knowing that for sure; it’s just a hunch. 9/11? All I know is that the Bush Regime lies about everything all the time. Is 9/11 the one thing they told the truth about? I can’t imagine that they did. So what happened? I guess we’ll never know exactly what happened, although we do know who was supposed to be watching the door to the house at the time.

You can’t even disprove this kind of thing. But know that Down With Tyranny apparently is not convinced by Gerald Posner’s “Case Closed” or Popular Mechanics’ superb debunking of the 9/11 conspiracy theories.

As for the Wellstone crash, it’s too fringey to have even a serious debunking. But hey, if they want to mar the memory of their favorite senator with baseless speculation, we can’t stop them.

But we can make sure that the media stops taking them seriously. And anyone who links to Down With Tyranny should not be taken seriously. Keep a lookout.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, or deliberately avoiding blog coverage of the dictator Fidel Castro’s abdication, you must have seen this memo from top CNN brass, first reported by the invaluable Babalu Blog:

From: Flexner, Allison
Sent: Tuesday, February 19, 2008 7:46 AM
To: *CNN Superdesk (TBS)
Cc: Neill, Morgan; Darlington, Shasta
Subject: Castro guidance

Some points on Castro – for adding to our anchor reads/reporting:

* Please say in our reporting that Castro stepped down in a letter he wrote to Granma (the communist party daily), as opposed to in a letter attributed to Fidel Castro. We have no reason to doubt he wrote his resignation letter, he has penned numerous articles over the past year and a half.

* Please note Fidel did bring social reforms to Cuba – namely free education and universal health care, and racial integration. in addition to being criticized for oppressing human rights and freedom of speech.

* Also the Cuban government blames a lot of Cuba’s economic problems on the US embargo, and while that has caused some difficulties, (far less so than the collapse of the Soviet Union) the bulk of Cuba’s economic problems are due to Cuba’s failed economic polices. Some analysts would say the US embargo was a benefit to Castro politically – something to blame problems on, by what the Cubans call “the imperialist,” meddling in their affairs.

* While despised by some, he is seen as a revolutionary hero, especially with leftist in Latin America, for standing up to the United States.

Any questions, please call the international desk.


What’s up, TV Newser? This influential cable news blog, the center of the industry, hasn’t said a thing. Not one mention. Nada. If TV Newser doesn’t mention it, then did it really even happen? Right now it seems TV Newser is trying hard to protect CNN from this latest embarrassment. Why?

N.B. It appears someone else has posted it to the TV Newser forum, off the main page. And yet TV Newser STILL sees fit to ignore it. Why is TV Newser protecting CNN?

Seriously, look at this:

Print press repeats media mantra of McCain as “maverick”

Summary: Numerous print publications — including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times — continued a longstanding practice of referring to Sen. John McCain as a “maverick” in their coverage of the February 5 presidential primaries and caucuses.

Thanks for reminding us, Media Matters! In related new: Fire Hot!

Lord knows, Glenn Beck has said some outrageous stuff in the past. But I’ll be damned if I can find anything to get hysterical about here:

On the January 28 edition of MSNBC’s Countdown, host Keith Olbermann named CNN Headline News’ Glenn Beck the “runner-up” in his “Worst Person in the World” segment for Beck’s recent comments — documented by Media Matters for America — on Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and race. On the January 25 edition of his show, Beck responded to National Public Radio commentator John Ridley’s statement that “questions about ‘Is Obama black enough?’ ” are “ridiculous” by asking: “[C]an you imagine a white commentator saying that? Can you imagine if I said, ‘Is Barack Obama black enough?’ … I don’t see that man as black. Of course I do, because I’m not blind. I don’t see him as black or white. He just is. He’s an American. He’s a man.”

However, on the February 12, 2007, broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Beck commented that Obama is “very white in many ways,” adding, “Gee, can I even say that? Can I even say that without somebody else starting a campaign saying, ‘What does he mean, “He’s very white?” ‘ He is. He’s very white.” Later on the February 12 show, Beck claimed that Obama “is colorless,” adding that “as a white guy … [y]ou don’t notice that he is black. So he might as well be white, you know what I mean?” After contrasting Beck’s January 25 comments with his February 2007 remarks, Olbermann said, “Sometimes it’s not just the dumb, it’s the hypocritical.”

OK… so, what? If you didn’t know who was supposed to be the good guy and the bad guy, could you tell? After all, Glenn Beck over the course of several statements has accurately illuminated some interesting contradictions about public perceptions of Barack Obama’s race. But Olbermann without substance and extreme hyperbole has just called someone the “worst person in the world.”

Does Media Matters want to encourage a media landscape where people are afraid of discussing matters of race and politics? If they’re conservatives, yes! That’s the whole point.

It’s been a real pleasure watching the Democrats argue over Reagan’s legacy. Finally it’s not just conservatives talking too much about Reagan, who was great but isn’t coming back or likely to be matched anytime soon.

Republicans are trying in vain to follow up Reagan, but right now it seems Democrats are having a harder time grappling with his legacy. It’s also split the Democrats, which is fun. And it’s revealing Paul Krugman to be a ridiculous Clinton shill. Not just a Democrat shill. We knew that. Let’s go back to Krugman’s Monday column:

Historical narratives matter. That’s why conservatives are still writing books denouncing F.D.R. and the New Deal; they understand that the way Americans perceive bygone eras, even eras from the seemingly distant past, affects politics today.

And it’s also why the furor over Barack Obama’s praise for Ronald Reagan is not, as some think, overblown. The fact is that how we talk about the Reagan era still matters immensely for American politics.

Bill Clinton knew that in 1991, when he began his presidential campaign. “The Reagan-Bush years,” he declared, “have exalted private gain over public obligation, special interests over the common good, wealth and fame over work and family. The 1980s ushered in a Gilded Age of greed and selfishness, of irresponsibility and excess, and of neglect.”

Contrast that with Mr. Obama’s recent statement, in an interview with a Nevada newspaper, that Reagan offered a “sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.”

Oh yeah? Here Mr. Krugman is undercut only today in a column by his fellow liberal columnist, E.J. Dionne:

It was a remarkable moment: A young, free-thinking presidential hopeful named Bill Clinton sat down with reporters and editors at The Post in October 1991 and started saying things most Democrats wouldn’t allow to pass their lips.

Ronald Reagan, Clinton said, deserved credit for winning the Cold War. He praised Reagan’s “rhetoric in defense of freedom” and his role in “advancing the idea that communism could be rolled back.”

“The idea that we were going to stand firm and reaffirm our containment strategy, and the fact that we forced them to spend even more when they were already producing a Cadillac defense system and a dinosaur economy, I think it hastened their undoing,” Clinton declared.

Let’s recap: On Saturday, Krugman bashes Obama for allegedly praising Reagan, and cites Bill Clinton from his 1992 campaign. Then today, Dionne points out that Clinton said some very favorable things about Reagan himself during the 1992 campaign.  So Krugman’s anti-Obama tendencies lead him to write hackish things in the same way his anti-Bush tendencies lead him to write hackish things. Conclusion arrived at once again: Paul Krugman is a hack.

What’s that sound you hear? Not the pop of Krugman’s reputation. That happened along time. Maybe what you heard was a rustle of wind causing his already deflated reputation to rustle just a tiny bit. Not that much, though, it’s been deteriorating a lot from being exposed to the elements.

Oh, the heart-ache:

No, I don’t agree with McCain on everything. But if it’s a choice between him and Limbaugh, there really is no contest. McCain makes all the right people on the right angry. McCain represents a chance to remake the GOP on reformist lines, just as Obama represents a chance for the Democrats to escape the sleaze and cynicism of the Clintons.

Wait, Limbaugh is on the ballot? Sullivan will throw his support to a candidate based on who the candidate makes “angry”? What is “reformist lines” supposed to mean? Does Andrew Sullivan now support campaign finance “reform”? Did I miss something?

N.B. An oldie but a goodie, WuzzaDem‘s Andrew Sullivan EmotionAlert color chart:

Andrew Sullivan EmotionAlert Level

This is a day old, but worth calling attention to:

Yeah. That is why he didn’t address the studies. Anyone with half a brain would not find that even remotely controversial. Hell, perhaps we can ask Mr. Yankee to point us to all those WMD we found. Or maybe he can discuss the Office of Special Plans a bit. Or maybe not, as they have already had a pretty bad week at Red State, what with Fred dropping out of the race and all.

John Cole is LYING. Well, no he’s not. But why afford him the subtleties of such distinctions when his entire blogging mission since about 2004 is to smear the bloggers he once counted as allies? In his own mind, he’s the one being reasonable. In reality, he’s borrowed a page from David Brock and answered what he thinks were execesses on the right and “made up” for them with excesses now on the left.

You want to see a serious response to the same study, John? Here, James Joyner will show you how it’s done:

This is the crux of the matter. Being proven wrong is not “lying.”

The study is entitled, “False Pretenses: Following 9/11, President Bush and seven top officials of his administration waged a carefully orchestrated campaign of misinformation about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.” Quite clearly, then, the authors contend that the statements were made with full knowledge that they were wrong in order to lead the nation to war.

The study finds no such thing.

If John Cole was intellectually serious, he might have written the same thing. But fat chance of that. He’s too busy trying to be Atrios.

Forcing himself to confront another serious-minded conservative blogger, which Cole might in fact have been at one point (it’s hard to recall) he goes with snark over smarts again:

Captain Ed finds the real villain- GEORGE SOROS!

Whoo — you really showed Captain Ed! John Cole, you may not be a liar, but you are dishonest.

N.B. Much less surprising but still stupid is DownWithTyranny, on the same Soros-funded report:



Think they’ll say anything about this? From Reuters:

U.S. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur came to a House committee hearing on Thursday prepared to ask U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson tough questions about his involvement in the subprime mortgage crisis.

Unfortunately, she was questioning the chairman of the Federal Reserve.


She then asked: “Seeing as how you were the former CEO of Goldman Sachs …” But the only person testifying at the hearing interrupted.

“No, no, no, you’re confusing me with the Treasury Secretary,” said Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

“I’ve got the wrong firm? Paulson, Oh, OK. Where were you sir?” Kaptur said.

Bernanke noted that he was head of the Princeton University economics department.

“Oh, Princeton, oh, all right, sorry. I got you confused with the other one … I’m glad you clarified that for the record,” she said.

You can IMAGINE the firestorm of contempt that would erupt of Ms. Kaptur was a member of the Republican Party.  Instead…. silence.

Last August, Marcy Kaptur showed up at the wretched hive of scum and villainy (that’s Daily Kos) to promote some misbegotten bill or another. And she apparently had nothing better to do that day than hang out in the comments and accept their obsequious fawning respond to their sharp-minded policy questions. Here’s my favorite:

nice first diary! Quick question on your opinion of Bill O’Reilly who has been attacking dailykos alot lately….what do think of his comparing this community to the KKKs and the Nazis?

Ms. Kaptur didn’t respond. So maybe she isn’t a COMPLETE idiot. Wait, here’s more:

  •  and not here just to hit us up with requests 

    for donations! Very refreshing!

    Thanks for the list of books to read. I thought Sleeping with the Devil would be authored by either Dick or Lynn Cheney..but alas, that book is a different book altogether- found in a different part of the book store!

    As a Californian, I can tell you that emissions regulation make for cleaner air, and healthier lives! You’ll find much interest in your energy proposals here at this site.


    “Liberals feel unworthy of their possessions. Conservatives feel they deserve everything they’ve stolen.” Mort Sahl

    by maggiemae on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 03:34:37 PM PST

OK, sorry. Yes, complete idiot.

In a comment on this blog’s first post, lo these many hours ago the brilliant young mind Ezra Klein offers a weak defense not far off the one he gave to Wonkette and Fishbowl DC yesterday:

You’re absolutely correct that this was patently offensive. It was a private text message to friends, an inside joke we have because it’s so over-the-top obscene. It was never, ever meant to be public, and I’m deeply apologetic that it crossed that barrier. It’s not the sort of work I publish as a writer, and not what I seek to contribute to the discourse. The other examples of my writing, those that appear on my site, were meant to be in the sphere, to be argued with, even mocked. But the Twitter was ripped from my private life, and it was never meant to brought out of the bar-like context in which it was born. Guess those privacy settings are more important than I realized.

Well, maybe. Compared to his post WORST. MODERATORS. EVER you know, it’s hard to be sure this wasn’t his true feelings, expressed in a “spiky tipped” manner. And that’s still how I see it. HOWEVER, “deeply apologetic” is more than we’ll get out of most left-wing bloggers, so, fine. Ezra Klein is in fact smarter and more intellectually honest than most of those who we really mean when we say “nutroots.” That’s why such invective from him was worth making the first post of this blog.

For more interesting insight along these lines, see a couple comments on Hot Air yesterday:

Don’t you get the feeling he’s trying to endear himself to the nutters, get on their good side by being as hate-filled?

Topsecretk9 on January 16, 2008 at 6:47 PM



I think you have hit the nail on the head. Klein’s early writings are not so crazy. He actually gives a fair opinion. He has pieces on the net about Bush, Iraq, AQ and Vietnam. He actually says everyone thought Iraq had WMD, just US was the only one willing to do something about it.

He has another piece about Heath Care. He does not attack the other side as you can see here

“The question, of course, is why this goes on. Conservatives, enmeshed in their current push for so-called consumer-driven medicine, would have you believe that patients are to blame—they demand the surgeries, excited as all get-out to spend a couple weeks on a luxurious hospital cot. Under this analysis, all the system needs is more patient vulnerability. As Arkansas governor and likely 2008 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee puts it, “One of the reasons we have a health-care crisis is because, as a consumer, I don’t have that much skin in the game. A lot of us feel there needs to be a transformation from a third-party [insurance] system to more [financial] participation by the [patient].”

Mahar neatly dispenses with that excuse, reminding readers that patients don’t actually know what they want. The doctor-patient relationship, indeed, is built on a trust akin to deification—we rely on their extreme training and vast knowledge to navigate an organism that we inhabit but don’t understand, and we take their recommendations as the unswerving expressions of their education and oath. Forgotten in this analysis is that medicine is a business like any other, and profit matters. Even the motto of non-profit hospitals has become “No margin, no mission,” to express the reality that their capital comes from bond investors, and if the investors aren’t happy, there won’t be a hospital left to treat either the poor or the rich.”

It seems he is changing, like they all do to win the hearts and minds of the left.

WoosterOh on January 16, 2008 at 7:40 PM

Food for thought. Or, closer to my own interpretation:

Itchy Twitter finger.

Jim Treacher on January 16, 2008 at 8:17 PM


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