Wednesday, March 12, 2003
Are you familiar with a series of Boston Globe stories questioning Senator John Kerry's ancestry? It seems the same lazy corporate press corp that brought us "The Trashing of Albert Gore" is gearing up for a sequel. There may however be a tiny bump on the road to this lunacy as evidenced in this morning's Washington Post feature about former NATO Commander and Rhodes Scholar 4 star General Wesley Clark. The General, it seems, will not go gently into that media night...here are the lead graphs:
Wesley Clark needs you to know something and it can't wait.
"I want to make this very clear," he says. "Some of the information that's out on me says I come from a long line of rabbis." But now he says he's not certain about his lineage. He acknowledges, "I may be incorrect."
As a general rule, interviews don't start this way. Certainly not interviews with former NATO commanders who might run for president. You haven't asked Clark anything, barely said a word beyond small talk, and suddenly the telegenic retired general with an Arkansas drawl is setting the record straight about his peeps back in Minsk.
Who -- to reiterate -- may or may not have been rabbis.
"That's the big thing this season, Jewish ancestry," says Clark, who confirms that his late father was Jewish. His father died when Wesley was 4, he was raised as a Southern Baptist and later converted to Catholicism.
Notice how the reporter feigns a perplexed confusion over General Clark's desire to "make this very clear." What could ever have been the "telegenic" General's motivation to clarify, after "barely...a word beyond small talk...his peeps back in Minsk"? Those people "who--to reiterate--may or may not have been rabbis."
Poor reporter. All set to strew future lie bomblets along this uppity General's Presidential aspirations when the General outflanks him by being "very clear".
Our intrepid 4 star general media watchdog then discomforts General Clark's patience with this:
In the 60 days before this interview, the words "Wesley Clark" and "for president" had appeared in 312 American newspaper articles. You mention this, and Clark shrugs, with perfectly calibrated modesty.
Get it? "Perfectly calibrated modesty". Why General Clark you conniving manipulative demon seed. This is too funny or rather it would be were this not a supposedly serious profile of a possible Presidential contender. The arch nastiness scatters through the story. The General's "tenure in the Army would give the Democrats a dash of battlefield credibility on foreign policy." Just a dash, huh? And then, "some former associates have accused Clark of enjoying the spotlight too much. He is known for blunt-speaking and occasional outbursts". Why General Clark sounds like a maniac doesn't he?
Luckily General Clark's clarity and straightforwardness shines through the smarm and hurled dirt. I particularly liked this graph:
Clark says America's relations with its traditional allies can be repaired. France, he says, is the country most like the United States. "They have a worldview, they have a lot of pride. France and Texas, they're two sides of the same coin." It's the job of statesmen to build bridges, Clark says.
Oh, I wonder if he's got any particular non bridge building non statesman in mind...hummm? Our Post reporter isn't wondering because he has too much on his crowded agenda. Get this:
When asked if he agrees that speculation about his candidacy grants him a platform to discuss issues, Clark turns oddly combative.
"Well, why do I have to agree on that?" he says. "Why do I have to comment on that?"
"That's one of these sort of 'When did you stop beating your wife?' questions."
No, it's not.
"Oddly combative". Give me a break! Does the reporter mean himself or the General? Has this savage power mad General brutally unsettled this poor reporter's fastidious mien? Way to go, General! You are sounding more Presidential every time I watch or read your remarks.
The Washington Post, on the other hand, is sounding less and less like the newspaper it used to be. What happened? Is it as simple as the death of Katherine Graham? Has poor innocent Donnie Graham fallen prey to dark influences without Mama's strong protective hand? Were we living in an episode of The Young and Restless this would most certainly be the case.