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Whispers From The Fax Machine


Jamison Foser at Media Matters has a great assembly of the "best of" Republican talking points faxes around the media.  And how easy it appears to be for the GOP to download their planted political swill into the text of various columns and shows without any semblance of critical thinking kicking in on the part of the transcribers.

How sad.  To wit:

You might want to make sure you're sitting down for this one.

This week, the Republican National Committee distributed materials attacking Democratic presidential candidates for such sins as … liberalism. Hillary Clinton, for example, is described as a "lifelong liberal." John Edwards is a "liberal," as is Barack Obama. And Chris Dodd.

Shocking, isn't it?

Strangely, some journalists apparently thought the RNC criticizing Democratic presidential candidates was unusual and surprising enough to merit a news story.

Oh yes. Shocking. Glad I was sitting down, thanks Jamo.  (Honestly, the entire article is infuriating, which means that you should go read it right away.) Perhaps the folks in the "journalism" community ought to stop taking their cues from Hedda Hopper — who used to denounce liberals as communists because it suited her vindictive streak during the rampant "me, too!" finger pointing of the McCarthy era — and start asking some skeptical questions. 

Here, let me give you a few examples:

— Why is this person faxing and/or e-mailing these talking points to me?  What is their aim in doing so?

— Is it because, as Cathie Martin testified during the Libby trial, I, a reporter, have been singled out as a non-thinking shill and a good forum for these viewpoints to be aired without any difficult questions whatsoever being asked?

— If that's true, what does it make me?  (Ten bonus points if you can spell "stenographer.")

— Maybe I should, you know, try and find out if the allegations printed therein are actually true before I repeat them far and wide?

— What if I actually did my job and fact checked these — and then called them on the ones that are outright lies?  Ooooh, what if I did it publicly?

And that's just for starters.  Imagine asking even more questions and actually trying to find ALL the answers to them.  Critical thinking is so hot.  Please try it.  I mean, hell, The Defamer does more critical thinking these days than the WaPo editorial page, which is printing wholesale yet another weekend of GOP talking points, today starring Frank Luntz who argues that the Republican party should start talking like they have reformed their ethics (all the while continuing to DO the dirty tricks — you didn't think they would honestly reform, did you?).

Honestly, after reading through Jamison's article, you are going to want to heave something across the room (Suggestion:  pillows.  Your disgust is not worth wrecking your furniture.)  Let me give you another peek:

If McCain's flip-flops are described as positives by political journalists, what do they make of him skipping votes?

John McCain skipping a vote — a vote about war, at that — is a sign that he is a "maverick." And not just any "maverick" — a "maverick" on an "upswing."

We wish we were making this up. Oh, how we wish we were making this up. But no.

Meanwhile, CNN went to the trouble of pretending that it had stopped calling McCain a "maverick" … all so it could tout the maverick's return. On-screen text during the February 22 edition of CNN's The Situation Room read "McCain: A Maverick Again?" It had been two full days since a CNN reporter referred to McCain's "independent thinker not beholden to any political party" and more than two weeks since CNN correspondent Jamie McIntyre referred to him as "maverick Republican John McCain."

At CNN, apparently, making it nearly three whole weeks without describing McCain as a maverick is cause for a segment touting the moniker's comeback.

Is this a press corps or a pep band?

I know what I'm voting for this morning.  How about you?  (Quick, is that Mark Halperin on the triangle?)

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com