Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Enquirer in 2005: Bush Drunk Again

The sad end of John Edwards’ political career takes out one of the most dynamic, articulate Democratic leaders and sends him prematurely to the ash heap of history, along with Gary Hart and various others, known and unknown, who could have, but didn’t. Edwards’ eloquent commitment to the poor and disenfranchised fell just short of what was necessary in his scrutinized life. It is a tragedy for more than just the already-injured Elizabeth – the whole country will be worse off by not having his enormous talent around in the Obama administration and after.

For this, we have to thank the National Enquirer, the supermarket rag usually too busy with the comings-and-goings (and babies and weight problems) of Hollywood stars to be too concerned with those who really have something to do with the ways of the world. This is the New Media, we are told (although there is nothing new about it); loosed from the namby-pamby rules of the Old Media, printing rumors in the hopes that it becomes true. Sure enough, in the case of the sloppy Edwards (really, do you think you could have found somewhere a little more discrete than the Beverly Hills Hilton?), the blind squirrel got a nut, putting the Enquirer’s known batting average at something like .059.

But there are Lessons To Be Learned here, and not just by Edwards. The MSM, it is said, smugly ignored the Enquirer’s ambush reporting, supposedly protecting the Democrat by hiding behind ridiculously obsolete concepts like verification and credible sources. Except that the MSM didn’t ignore the story – their slower-but-surer methods eventually closed in and actually resulted in Edwards’ confession. Never mind: this is the "end to the era in which traditional media set the agenda for national political journalism," writes Tim Rutten in the L.A. Times, also crediting the "bloggers and online commentators have refused to let the story sputter into oblivion." Oh, and don’t forget the GOP's nationwide network of radio wing-nuts and Fox Noise, who squawked about the story for weeks. Ooops, looks like he did.

Well, alrighty then. Cheap tabloids toss out some rumors, conduct some ambush "journalism" in a hotel somewhere and publish their results. If it makes a Democrat look bad, the RNC will put it out in their talking points for their too-willing messengers to drive the story for weeks, forcing the issue onto the guilt-ridden MSM for belated discussion and denouement. Sure – that might work, if I'd rather have my rumors and innuendo untested by facts and quality. Then you could just give it to me raw and I’ll believe what I want to believe. Like music, the news would become fractured into niche markets, giving people what they want. Forget what we need to know, you elitist MSM smarty-pants. Just tell me pretty lies.

Well, now that the torch has been passed, let’s play a little catch-up and see what we might find in the newly-Pulitzer-worthy Enquirer. Hello? What’s this? It seems the Enquirer reported back in 2005 that the right-wing’s own darling, Junior Bush, lept off the wagon with both feet and helped himself to a couple of snoots to sooth his self-imposed pain during his mishandling of the Katrina disaster. "‘When the levees broke in New Orleans, it apparently made him reach for a shot,’ said one insider. ‘He poured himself a Texas-sized shot of straight whiskey and tossed it back. The First Lady was shocked and shouted: ‘Stop George!’" I love that quote: "Stop, George!" Many of us have been screaming that at him for eight years.

Anyway, I don’t remember the MSM getting all fired up and doing anything at all about that one. If they were protecting a Democrat by ignoring the Edwards story, don’t you think they’d go after the important story of an admittedly alcoholic president going off on a bender or two? But, no. They ignored it because it was the Enquirer. Regardless of the obvious entertainment value of the Bush story (did Laura throw a lamp at him? did he start talking to the pictures on the wall, like Nixon, the last Drunk President?), it seems like a good guideline to me.

I don't want my news cheap, sloppy and half-baked. And I certainly don't think the national discussion should be poisoned by tabloid stories, blown up through the right-wing echo chamber, and served up as anything other than the self-serving, selective efforts at personal destruction that they are. The right-wing messengers couldn't care less whether the Edwards story or any of the other garbage they throw out there is true -- just whether it will effectively destroy an effective politician who will make it harder for them to pull the wool over people's eyes.

This is Edwards' real failure -- that he gave them something like this to blunt his career and his message. In this, he becomes his own worst enemy and, unfortunately, at least for now, one of ours.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

that laura bush quote sounds like HAL 9000 as it was being deactivated.

Anonymous said...
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Other Side said...

How very brave of anonymous. Seems to me the only coward is the one who refuses to stand up and provide his/her name.

Typical conservative.

Mike Plaisted said...

Being anonymous is the least of his problems. This is one sick bastard.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Edwards is a lying sleazebag! Why blame the messenger? I'm glad they exposed what an arrogant, narcissistic liar he is! A medical marijuana coward too, despite his wife's cancer.

You ought to be praising the Enquirer for this revelation! If he's willing to lie about an affair, he'll lie about anything. He lied to his family first!

Anonymous said...

I think that earlier anony must have lost a case to Mike or something, he's slightly off-kilter.

So let's not talk about what a lying, philandering, two-faced "man" Edwards is and instead let's bash the source and while we're at it take some cheap shots at President Bush. Were those the direct marching orders/talking points you received from the DNC, Huffy, MoveOn, or MSM yesterday?

Steps of liberal cover-up:

Deny affair.
Continue denying affair.
Mock media source.
Continue to mock media source.
Accuse everyone of slander as rumor starts to become true.
Admit to affair.
Immediately request privacy.
Continue to slam media source.
Declare that it's no big deal.
Mock current Republican President to take attention away from reality of situation.

Anonymous said...

John Edwards is less than pond scum. Here's a guy that lied to juries so he could steal money from insurance companies (ultimately all of us)and ruin many doctors good names.

apc said...

anony at 6:53, 8:16, 9:30, and 5:22seems to be further proof that John Stuart Mill was right.

And anony at 12:13, I think this scandal is somewhat remarkable for its lack of the components you mention, at least among the principals involved. Mr. Edwards admitted the affair to his wife and they were dealing with it. There were none of the equivocations of, say, Senator Larry "I have a wide stance" Craig or Pastor Ted "Jesus Camp" Haggard or even (to head off the inevitable) Bill "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" Clinton.

patrick (not the big blogger) said...

Anony 6:53--

You're a wanker.

Anonymous said...
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patrick said...

Anony:

Better be careful or mom will take away the computer. You're stupid and give conservatives a bad name.

Anonymous said...
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patrick said...

Wanker 6:47

I've been arguing here with Mike for many moons--look at the previous posts. He even singles me out for ridicule. I'm no liberal--but you--you are a stupid fool. Get a thought.

Anonymous said...
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patrick said...

You are as stupid as you are arrogant. You're also a liar. Nobody who has earned a 400k house ould have the poor grasp of basic writing skills you display. My guess is that you are a 13 year old knob playing with mommy's computer. Before you wade into political discourse, consider enrolling in those remedial English classes your teachers have suggested.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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patrick said...

Wanker:

"Your" is a pronoun indicating possession (that means owning something). "You're" is a contraction meaning "you are." Live and learn, stupid. And while you are at it, why not identify yourself (ask mom first).

But what really concerns me is how a sick and stupid person like yourself could identify themselves as a conservative. You're all emotion and insult, not logic and reason. If you believe Plaisted is wrong--as anyone who reads this blog more than one time would know I frequently do--consider constructing a reasoned response. But I imagine you are too stupid for that.

Anonymous said...
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Mike Plaisted said...

Alright, you two, take it somewhere else. Patrick, my suggestion is to ignore this unbalanced lunatic.

All future back-and-forths between the two of you on this thread will be deleted.

Anonymous said...
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gus said...

Edwards is a sleaze bag. Of that there is no doubt. Most liberals are sleaze bags. Some truly believe the commie tripe they spew. Some know they are completely dishonest misfits.
Most try to defend the indefensible.
Most libtard "leaders" are phonies.
Edwards was transparent to anyone who wasn't a kool-aid drinker. A way way too slick narcissistic trial lawyer who claimed to be for the little guy and claimed to the son of a "mill worker". For Christs fuxing sake, the man took 40% of proceeds of out of court settlements and lawsuits involving babies. HE ENRICHED HIMSELF on the backs of BABIES he portended to care about. Then he built a 27,000 square foot new home, while telling YOU, not to drive an SUV.
Libs bought it, because the WANTED to buy it.
Plaisted, Mathias and other soft witted simps, aren't smart enough to see the truth. They believe the lying profit.
And then there is Obama.......