David Brooks and the Bob Dole Fallacy

A mostly political Weblog.
Aug. 16 2005 3:05 AM

Brooks and the Bob Dole Fallacy

Plus--kf's jejune swoon!

(Continued from Page 2)

Was Stephen Glass right   too soon? 5:23 P.M.

"You're calling me 'jejune'?" James Wolcott shows he's one of the most june guys  in all the blogospheres in  a brilliantly imaginative post that begins by pretending Jeff Jarvis said "clap" instead of "crap"! ... And they say he's lost the magic! ... 5:53 P.M.

Kleinenfreude! Harry Shearer says "The Situation Room," CNN president Jon Klein's afternoon masterpiece, is

watchable only for those devotees of train wrecks who used to love that mid-day talk-show on CNN -- the place Bobbi Batista went to die -- that smooshed together email, phone calls, and live guests in the CNN Center in front of an audience that looked more like hostages.  ... [emphasis added]

The ratings suck too. I say give the dynamic Wolf Blitzer time to find his voice! ... P.S.: But should present trends continue, I am not worried about Klein. His whole strategy--leading with his lip, playing to the respectable media-crit claque by trashing his own people, giving dozens of interviews and speeches in which he makes a grand show of saying nothing--seems designed not to help his network but to make sure that by the time he definitively fails at CNN and has to leave he's enough of a big-deal TV network name that he can get a good job somewhere else! ... P.S.: Don't worry: No doubt Klein employee Howie Kurtz will eviscerate Klein in WaPo! [Once he's safely out the door--ed You said that.] ...  P.P.S.: Isn't Jack Cafferty's loose "Situation Room" sniping  kind of ... good, though? Maybe the Post could hire him too! ... 4:44 P.M.

The epistemological status of Doug Jehl's report--that a Pentagon data-mining progam had fingered Mohammed Attta as Al Qaeda in 2000-- remains unsettled. Maguire has the state of play. A key issue: the "former intelligence official" who has come forward with the story says

he had explicitly mentioned Mr. Atta in the briefing [to the 9/11 commission] as a member of the American terrorist cell.

But those who were briefed don't seem to remember the name, which you'd think they would. ... So does the NYT believe it's own report? Did it have it nailed down when it ran with it? Or are Jehl & Co. asymptotically approaching the truth, bloggy-style, by publicizing an uncertain story and initiating what is in effect a dialogue with those who have additional, clarifying information to offer? ... Not that there's anything wrong with it! ... 3:54 P.M.

"[T]he software put them all together in Brooklyn." The NYT reports on its front page  that over a year before 9/11, "a small, highly classified military intelligence unit identified Mohammed Atta and three other future hijackers as likely members of a cell of Al Qaeda operating in the United States." How did the military intelligence unit do it? Readers who made it to the middle of page A-14 of the Times learned the answer: data-mining. ... Does this seemingly stunning proof of data-mining's efficacy mean the NYT will ease its staunch editorial opposition to the technique, which the paper has breathlessly said

could mean that F.B.I. agents will show up at the doors of people who order politically unpopular books on Amazon.com or make phone calls to organizations critical of the government.