Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Lies from a lying liar. It's a rare day indeed when the media call the White House on one of its mind-boggling lies. So it was refreshing to pick up this morning's Globe and find this front-page story by Anne Kornblut and Bryan Bender that takes Dick Cheney to task for his continued attempts to link Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

At issue is Cheney's appearance on Meet the Press this past Sunday. Among other things, host Tim Russert let Cheney get away with this:

Now, is there a connection between the Iraqi government and the original World Trade Center bombing in '93? We know, as I say, that one of the perpetrators of that act did, in fact, receive support from the Iraqi government after the fact. With respect to 9/11, of course, we've had the story that's been public out there. The Czechs alleged that Mohamed Atta, the lead attacker, met in Prague with a senior Iraqi intelligence official five months before the attack, but we've never been able to develop anymore of that yet either in terms of confirming it or discrediting it. We just don't know.

It's true! We don't know. But we're pretty sure, aren't we? As the Globe notes, the Czech connection has been "widely discredited." Kornblut and Bender write:

A senior defense official with access to high-level intelligence reports expressed confusion yesterday over the vice president's decision to reair charges that have been dropped by almost everyone else. "There isn't any new intelligence that would precipitate anything like this," the official said, speaking on condition he not be named.

But the story goes on to note that "69 percent of Americans believe that Hussein probably had a part in attacking the United States, according to a recent Washington Post poll."

Cheney knows a good thing when he sees it. And he's not going to give it up -- the truth be damned.

Duke! Duke! Duke! Globe columnist Joan Vennochi has some well-considered nice things to say about Michael Dukakis this morning.

Vennochi -- who is exercised over John Kerry's attempts to distance himself from Dukakis, under whom he served as lieutenant governor in the early '80s -- writes of the former governor, "He is a man of dignity and conviction. After all that he has gone through in politics, he remains idealistic and loyal."

I also suspect that if Dukakis had had this field to run against in 1988, he would have won the Democratic nomination for president even more easily than he did.

You want some Velveeta on that cracker? Salon has an interview with one of my favorite conservatives, Tucker Carlson, ex of the Weekly Standard and now with CNN.

You've got to be a subscriber to read the whole thing, but here is Carlson on what's wrong with the talking-heads shows that have come to dominate cable news:

Well, what I think the problem is in general and, not just with Fox, but the genre, is that it encourages you to use a straw man. So for example you see hosts bring on, "This is Jeffrey Mohammed X, and he's the president of the Association to Kill White Motherfuckers," and he'll be presented as a spokesman for black America. And then the host will say, "Well, how can you support lynching white people? That's just wrong!"

Well, of course, it's wrong! This guy doesn't represent anybody! The classic flipside, which I've seen much more, is that you get some 62-year-old, semi-retarded cracker whose [sic] like the lone member of his chapter of the KKK, and he represents white supremacists. How many white supremacists are there in America? There are about nine, and they're all mentally retarded.

Carlson has succeeded in defining everything that's wrong with The O'Reilly Factor and Hannity & Colmes in two paragraphs. For that, I can almost forgive him for The Spin Room.

Salon is also running excerpts from Carlson's book, Politicians, Partisans and Parasites: My Adventures in Cable News.

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