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Thursday, February 10, 2005

Partisan Journalists Throw Softball Questions?! Horrors!

In a desperate attempt to get a "Gotcha" moment much like bloggers did over Dan Rather and the fake memos on CBS news, hard-left blogs like Atrios, DailyKos, and others are all over a story about an allegedly-partisan journalist serving up - get this - softball questions at White House press meetings! What's this? A partisan serving up softball questions to someone on their side?! Say it isn't so!

The journalist in question, James Guckert (aka Jeff Gannon), had asked a loaded question of President Bush about working with Senate Democrats, qualifying it by describing them as appearing to "be divorced from reality". Mr. Guckert/Gannon worked for The Talon news service before resigning, and was the registrar of several provocatively-named, gay-oriented websites (despite not being involved in any of them, reportedly). The story appears in the Chicago Tribune. Naturally, the resulting kerfluffle over the entire thing was cause for him to resign from The Talon in the interest of protecting his family.

I, and I'm sure many others, find ourselves of the same opinion of Little Green Footballs, Power Line, Wizbang, and others (with Ace of Spades having a few funny posts here and here - the second one not being for the sensitive) - that is, we greet this sort of news with a resounding "Meh." OK, so he used a different name in publishing on the Talon (he used his actual name for his daily press credentials), was decidedly less concerned with "Gotcha" questions and grinding axes for press conferences (i.e., manufacturing news instead of reporting it) and registered several gay-oriented websites as part of his job with a software company. I fail to see how this is at all important or anywhere remotely offensive.

Seriously, if this is something that liberal bloggers are going to seize upon as groundbreaking as they claim it is, we're going to need more teacups for them to have more tempests in.

Creative? I think not.

It's just so wonderful to log on to the internet and read stories about how yet another kid (this one in Rhode Island) thinks they're making a statement by equating President Bush with Adolf Hitler. It just smacks of originality...only it doesn't. If you click the link at the top of the post, you can read all about how this 17-year-old kid thinks that our policies involving Iraq have similarities to the German Blitzkrieg over sixty years ago. The stretch is so gossamer-thin, it's not even comprehensible. If that's all he was trying to convey, he's doing a miserably poor job of expressing the point. The "exhibit" features comparative quotes from the President and Adolf Hitler, Nazi swastikas and American flags, as well as plastic soldiers facing off against each other.

Naturally, the kid gets awarded for his expressive display, with his teacher giving him an A and also receiving the Silver Key from the Rhode Island Scholastic Arts Awards. Meanwhile, people are (understandably!) concerned that he's receiving all this attention for yet another tacky display, with the basic argument being that he could've gone a lot further in clarifying his point (or could have presented a more cogent, sound argument). Michelle Malkin has more.

It strikes me as disingenuous that this kid claims he supports our troops but doesn't think we should have removed Saddam Hussein the way we did (even after the Iraqi elections), saying the war was unjustified. Meaning, enforcing UN resolutions from the past twelve years before the invasion isn't quite enough to justify removing a madman who also regularly kills and maims his own people, usually for sport or imagined infractions. Last time I checked, the United States was still a pretty big supporter of democracy and human rights, something Saddam Hussein thought he could flout and violate UN resolutions, sanctions, and programs.

What ever happened to kids making art that was actually interesting for a change?

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Circling the Drain in Baltimore

As a Maryland native, I frequently get to hear the Democratic Mayor of Baltimore, Martin O'Malley, blast everybody (except for, noticeably, himself) for preventing him from doing his job and serving the people of Baltimore. Anybody with enough synapses firing would eventually figure out that he's so busy blaming everyone else, he can't do his job.

So, naturally, it shouldn't come as a surprise he tries to blame his long-time political rival, Republican Governor Robert Ehrlich for recent troubles arising from rumors over him having an extramarital affair. O'Malley, it should be noted, would blame Ehrlich if he were to stub his toe. As it turns out, it was a long-time state employee that had been spreading those tasteless, harsh rumors, without the Governor's knowledge. The Governor found out, and promptly demanded a resignation and public apology (read: totally fired the guy - this is just a pleasant way of putting it for the press). Martin O'Malley is putting such a brave face on this whole ordeal, he just wants to "get back to serving the People of Baltimore".

So how is it "serving the People of Baltimore" when you go out and recklessly shooting your mouth off, and compare President Bush's budget proposal to the 9/11 attacks? Over at Power Line, they are of the opinion that O'Malley is reflective of the Democratic Party's inability to see the threat of terrorism for what it is. I'm not entirely sure I agree. To be sure, calling a budget proposal something akin to a terrorist attack is an idiotic, reckless thing to say - something Martin O'Malley is exceptionally well-qualified for. But O'Malley is representative of the kind of person who doesn't turn their brain on before they open their mouth. His myopic view of the world is indeed disturbing, and he's in fairly good company within factions of his own party, but I don't think you'd see as many Democratic mayors being so mind-bendingly obtuse and saying such things. At least, not if you had any plans for running for Governor, like O'Malley is expected to be announcing relatively soon. Michelle Malkin (which you can also access through the Power Line link) has a great roundup of quotes of other bloggers on the subject.

It is indeed bothersome that public officials are allowing cameras to capture them saying these things, especially when they're in a political minority. The trick isn't to dig a deeper hole to keep yourself in - you have to start finding a way to climb back out.

Blogging a go-go, baby.

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