In defense of the Milbank and Cillizza's offensive episode of "Mouthpiece Theater."

Media criticism.
Aug. 4 2009 5:44 PM

Another Round of Mad Bitch, Please

In defense of the offensive episode of "Mouthpiece Theater."

(Continued from Page 1)

I understand that [Plamegate special prosecutor] Pat Fitzgerald has been offered an invitation to the next [hunting trip].

Readers protested Milbank's tastelessness to Post ombudsman Deborah Howell, who got Liz Spayd, then assistant managing editor for national news, to comment. She told Howell that Milbank had "crossed the line" in his Countdown appearance.

Crossed the line? Isn't that what Coratti accused him of, too? Can humor exist without routine crossing of the line? Isn't swerving across the line again and again what humor is all about?

Howell pacified Post readers about Milbank's behavior by writing, "Suffice it to say that he has been taken to the Post's version of the woodshed and told not to do that again."

Fat chance. They've yet to build a woodshed that's strong enough to hold a guy like Milbank.


The only scandal here is the Post's cowardly removal of the "Mouthpiece Theater" segment from its site and Managing Editor Narisetti's cowardly refusal to discuss the controversy with the writer from CJR.

Meanwhile, Milbank and Cillizza aren't taking the excision of their work too personally, as today's segment, "Censored & Under Wraps," indicates. And something good has come out of the suppression of their work: This effective parody.


Hillary Clinton should consider herself fortunate. At least Milbank and Cillizza didn't call her a "congenital liar," as William Safire did in a 1996 New York Times column. Call me names via e-mail at and listen to my nonstop rudeness on my Twitter feed. (E-mail may be quoted by name in "The Fray," Slate's readers' forum; in a future article; or elsewhere unless the writer stipulates otherwise. Permanent disclosure: Slate is owned by the Washington Post Co.)

Track my errors: This hand-built RSS feed will ring every time Slate runs a "Press Box" correction. For e-mail notification of errors in this specific column, type the word bitch in the subject head of an e-mail message, and send it to