So, When Do We Get to Lynch Matt Drudge?
Now that it turns out that Matt Drudge's "WORLD EXCLUSIVE" regarding a nonexistent affair between John Kerry and a woman who, contrary to what was in his report, was not an intern and did not "flee" the country was, to be overly polite, a large piece of fiction with an infinitesimally small bit of truth, which is that the events did occur within this solar system. Nor, as Drudge also reported, were any reputable media outlets investigating the story.
Which leaves two possibilities:
1. Drudge is an incompetent
2. and a partisan tool as well.
and a statement:
Fucking Matt Drudge.
The problem is that is that Drudge was right.
And he's still riding that wave.
Back in 1998 Drudge got the Lewinsky blowjob crisis right. However, it seems he didn't exactly scuff his gumshoes printing up a story that was essentially fed to him. After that he's been typing up his own farts and stinking up the web with his idea of a "world exclusive". Still, the great thing about working in American partisan journalism is that there's absolutely no downside to being not only wrong, but fraudulent as well.
In this way, being a "reporter" of the Drudge variety is like being a Larry King psychic, just with lower professional standards.
In what other profession can you be wrong so pervasively and still have people coming back for more? If someone hit the DC streets selling black tar heroin that was really just burnt brown sugar, it wouldn't take 24 hours for them to end up stuffed in a dumpster. Even doctors protected by the AMA don't get to, say, amputate the wrong limb or transplant baboon hearts as often as they might like, and certainly not as often as reporters of this type get to be caught flat out wrong or dishonest and still remain in business.
Then, in the higher tiers of the profession things are not much different. Has the icon of the "so-called liberal media", the New York Times, explained why they kept replanting the seeds of Whitewater every time that story wilted on the vine? Has the Wall Street Journal ever adequately been taken to task for exhuming Vince Foster and raping his corpse every chance they get? Has either of them even admitted that they were substantially, if not completely, wrong?
And look at Peter Jennings. Just before the White House Press Corps woke up from a four year glue sniffing coma Jennings asked a question to Wesley Clark --which was really an assertion loosely disguised--describing Michael Moore's characterization of George W. Bush as a "deserter" as “a reckless charge not supported by the facts.”. Really? Since when? Since the issue was completely ignored in the lead up to the 2000 election in favor of claiming Al Gore took credit for "inventing", the Internet using a word he never used?
Now that the press has woken up with a hangover and had to drag themselves off to their jobs in a bitchy mood, completely blind siding White House spokesman Scott McClellan as only the spectacle of a neutered dog growing its balls back can, has Jennings added anything to his contention that the reports of Bush skipping out on the National guard were unsupported? No, of course not.
He tried to sway public opinion with a statement that either reveals partisan duplicity or rank incompetence and we shrug and give him a pass. Nice haircut. Good production values on that bullshit. Let's see Janet Jackson's middle-aged tit again.
Considering how unreliable, if not actively propagandistic, even the mainstream media is, it makes sense for them to keep Drudge around. Not only does he get to launch trial balloons and take the hit when they get shot down, but his very irresponsibility and telescoped agenda make even Jennings look good by comparison.
Not to mention that the fringe right-wing press and pundits function as the toxic agent orange used to clear a path for the more established mouthpieces to tread.
That's how you explain Drudge. That's how you explain the Wall Street Journal editorial page and that's how you explain a twitchy crank like Ann Coulter.
Coulter's recent column on Max Cleland, that gets the basic facts about his decorations for valor wrong, conflating the actions that won him the Silver Star with those that cost him both legs and one arm when he reached to pick up a grenade he though he had dropped, but actually dislodged from another soldier's web gear with the pin detached. Facts so basic and so easily checked, that even a tube of model airplane clue stuck up an editor's nose doesn't adequately explain it.
It's a very, very mean-spirited and stupid column.
It's supposed to be. It has nothing to do with Cleland, who had already been smeared by the right-wing attack press as a stealth al Quaeda operative for not following Bush like a baby duck. Rather, what Coulter has done, like Drudge, is to produce rhetoric so pathological and unfounded as to make subsequent attacks on John Kerry, photos with Jane Fonda forged or otherwise notwithstanding, seem almost sane and honorable by comparison.
As Bush's poll numbers drop and Kerry's star rises, we can expect more of the same. The people backing Bush, the corporations and the wealthiest of the wealthy, realize that they may have to give up an additional four years of this free ride they arranged for themselves and this time the election might not be close enough to steal. It's going to get very, very ugly, where, in hind sight, mocking guys who left most of their limbs in Vietnam and assuming adultery is synonymous with proximity will seem almost quaint in comparison.
Why don't we find these bastards like Drudge, Jennings and Coulter (just to name a few) a nice tree before that happens?