Fifty-Seven Ways To Say "No Comment"

Aug. 16 1998 3:30 AM

Fifty-Seven Ways To Say "No Comment"

In which Mike McCurry defeats the White House press corps.

One of the weirdest and most pernicious side effects of Flytrap has been the relocation of the White House to an alternative universe, a place where up is down and down is up and everything is the opposite of what it should be.

Advertisement

In the Flytrap universe, there is a White House counsel (Charles Ruff) who can't counsel, a presidential confidant (Bruce Lindsey) whom the president can't confide in, a presidential wife who acts like a lawyer, a president who acts like a criminal defendant, and a former intern who has more power than any of them.

David Plotz David Plotz

David Plotz is Slate's editor at large. He's the author of The Genius Factory and Good Book.

The most public manifestation of the bizarro White House is Mike McCurry. He has become a spinner who can't spin, a presidential press secretary who can't talk to the press or the president about the only issue they care about.

Here, as evidence, are the notes I managed to scrawl during yesterday's White House press briefing. (The speaker is McCurry unless otherwise indicated, and the subject is Flytrap.)

The president has answered all questions.

It's clear there is nothing more to say.

I am not going to add anything.

I don't have anything to add. [twice]

You played a semantic game yesterday. I am not playing that game today.

You played a semantic game.

TODAY IN SLATE

Jurisprudence

Scalia’s Liberal Streak

The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.

Colorado Is Ground Zero for the Fight Over Female Voters

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

Culturebox

Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
  Life
The Slate Quiz
Sept. 18 2014 11:44 PM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.