Whistling past the libel graveyard.

A mostly political Weblog.
July 17 2004 1:49 PM

No Caterpillar, No Cocoon?

Plus--Whistling past the libel graveyard.

(Continued from Page 5)

The LAT issues a defensive and un-mensch-like correctionof its false anti-Bremer report (that he didn't give a farewell speech "as if he were afraid to look in the eye the people he had ruled"). Patterico notes that it's hardly an excuse that the speech was "not publicized to the Western news media." If something's not publicized does that mean it didn't happen. Are LAT reporters totally dependent on handouts from Bremer's office? Iraqis knew about the speech.  ... Update: It's actually not that bad. It's worse! Bremer's speech was on CNN. ...12:55 P.M.

Roll Over Howell (and tell Nina Bernstein the news): The NYT now says that renewing the 1996 welfare reform ("one of the acclaimed sucessess of the past decade") is a "no brainer." Who could ever have thought anything different? Stuart Buck goes to town. ... 2:51 A.M.

Mickey's Assignment Desk: Explainer, Please! We're told that once John Kerry and George Bush accept public funds to run their campaigns after their respective nominating conventions, they will

be banned from raising funds or spending funds contributed prior to the nomination. [Emph. added]

That presumably means Kerry must somehow spend all the record-breaking millions he's raised so far before the convention. But what can he spend it on? Can he pay for October ad time in advance? (How do you stop him?) Can he pay Bob Shrum and his other consultants their full-year fees? Can he pay for his plane in advance? If so, the restriction might not be so hobbling. But it was hobbling enough that Kerry considered delaying his formal acceptance of the nomination to postpone the cutoff date. So how, exactly, does it hobble? ... Do we have a post-9/11 blood transfusion situation here, with a spontaneous outpouring of aid for Kerry that's so large he can't possibly profitably use it all?  Is it a scenario in which he might as well spend it on luxury hotels for his posse? The NYT recently reported

They have begun chartering a 757, packed with first-class seats, good food, sleeping accommodations -- even a stand-up bar. They hardly shy away from top hotels, like the Four Seasons in Palm Beach and the St. Regis in Los Angeles.

Hmmm. I gave Kerry $300 and don't particularly want it to go to the Four Seasons! ... Explain this too: Kerry's being urged to opt out of public financing for the general election--that means refusing federal money and relying on private donations, as he did in the primaries. But would this allow him to spend in September and October the millions he now has in the bank? Or would it merely enable him to raise more money after the convention than the feds will provide? ...P.S.: Isn't it kind of obvious,when you think about it,  that Kerry will opt out? ....[Wait a minute. Y ou gave money to Kerry?-ed. Yes. Doesn't that violate journalistic ethics?--ed. Not mine, as long as I disclose it, which I just did. The danger is that having invested in him, I'll now go soft on him. Don't worry! You think he'll be a failed, Carter-like President--ed. True. But we survived Carter and we'd survive Kerry (though it will be a long, hard slog!). I plan to vote for him because I think a) we need a break* from Bush's strident public global terror war in order to prevent it from becoming a damaging, lifelong West vs. Islam clash--in order to "rebrand" America and digest the hard-won gains we've made in Iraq and Afghanistan (if they even remain gains by next January). Plus, b) it would be nice to make some progress on national health care, even if it's only dialectical "try a solution and find out it doesn't work" progress. I could change my mind--if, for example, I thought Kerry would actually sell out an incipient Iraqi democracy in a fit of "realistic" Scowcroftian stability-seeking (an issue Josh Marshall's recent Atlantic piece doesn't resolve).  But I don't intend to agonize like last time.] ... *Note: The first version of this post said we needed a "time out" from Bush's strident global terror war. Several e-mailers point out, correctly, that this is a bad phrase to use, in that it seems to imply a pause in attempts to get at al Qaeda and similar groups. I mean a period of consolidation and lowered swagger and apocalypticism, not a halt in rooting out terror cells, etc. ... 1:51 A.M.

"Rollout" Readout: Thanks to ABC's highly-useful Evening News Wrap, here are some results on the Kerry campaign's attempt to "own" the week by torturously drawing out the naming and getting-together and hand-raising of the full Democratic ticket--what The Note called "a slow-motion, multi-day dog and pony show": Just one network (CBS) led its evening newscast with the Kerry-Edwards hand-clasp money-shot story. It was only the #4 story on NBC (layered in some Carl Quintanilla meta-reporting about "media manipulation") and the #3 story on ABC. ... Maybe the evening newscasts aren't that important anymore, but I'd say this isn't exactly wall-to-wall hype. The slow-mo dog-and-pony show is headed for a smaller theater, fast (albeit with a late stop at 60 Minutes). ... Wouldn't it have been better to just have had Edwards jump onstage from behind a curtain on Tuesday, get the big publicity pop, and then hit the trail? ... I expect this pattern--with the "ace" Kerry PR operation overestimating how riveted the nation will be by their man--to be repeated throughout the Democratic convention. ... P.S.: Not that the press isn't excited by Edwards. In all the talk about how the Edwards pick pleased key Democratic constituencies. only a few pundits  mentioned the extremely pleased key (and mainly Dem) constituency of the media. But news shows aren't going to play up Kerry-Edwards day after day absent evidence that the public is as excited as the press is. ... 1:07 A.M.

Wednesday, July 7, 2004

Exciting Edwards "Rollout":  Robots not impressed  (so far).... But 4-point bounce on CBS--which will probably become a tidal wave in the Nagourney/Elder spinterpretation. ...P.S.: I forgot, it's only a CBS poll, not a CBS/NYT poll, so it doesn't count, according to Nagourney.  ... 3:01 P.M

Yesterday's Front-Page Fiasco--It's Not the N.Y. Post: