Richard Cohen, Arianna, and Chris Matthews

The Daily Howler takes on Arianna Huffington, Richard Cohen and Chris Mathews as he took on Joseph A. Wilson. His skewering of Chris Mathews is particularly worth reading, for what he says about Mathews could be said about almost all the Wilson/Plame reporting:

SPEAKING OF STANDARD DYSFUNCTION: Speaking of those who protest too much, here was excitable Chris Matthews, opening last evening's Hardball:

MATTHEWS (10/17/05): Good evening, I`m Chris Matthews. Two summers ago, Vice President Dick Cheney was under attack. A former diplomat had published an article in the New York Times that he—the number two man in the government—had let the president to take us to war on bad intel, that there was no deal to buy uranium from Africa and the vice president knew about it, yet let the president tell the country there was. Did the vice president take steps to discredit the charge being made against him, or did he sit there and take it? Did he tell his staff to get on the case of knocking down the diplomat`s story and the diplomat with it, or did Cheney`s staff do that on its own?

To his credit, Matthews did good work in the run—up to Iraq. After a fumbling start, he opposed the war, and he produced some of the only skeptical work on cable in the months before war began. But now, he's in Standard Excitement Mode; last night, our analysts rolled their eyes at the statement we highlight above. No, President Bush didn't 'tell the country' that Iraq had made 'a deal to buy uranium from Africa.' But as we've explained again and again: If you want to preserve the sense that Joe Wilson debunked Bush's troubling State of the Union, you have to shave the facts somewhere. Here, Matthews pretends that Bush 'told the country' that a uranium deal had been made. Bush, of course, said no such thing. But here's how Chris would have had to proceed if he'd offered real accuracy:

MATTHEWS REVISED: Good evening, I`m Chris Matthews. Two summers ago, Vice President Dick Cheney was under attack. A former diplomat had published an article in the New York Times suggesting that he—the number two man in the government—had let the president take us to war on bad intel, that there was no deal to buy uranium from Africa and the vice president knew about it, yet let the president tell the country that Niger had 'sought' uranium from Africa. No, the diplomat's report didn't actually contradict what Bush said, but the press corps acted as if it did anyway. Did the vice president take steps to discredit the charge being made against him...

As you can see, Matthews' opening loses some bite if he reports what actually happened. But so it has gone for more than two years, all through this high—profile episode. Mainstream scribes have had to shave facts to create contradiction between Bush and Wilson. So that's exactly what they have done, over and over again, from the start. Tomorrow, we'll try to show you how it is that the press corps bought into this false contradiction. But it's easy to see what happened last night. Matthews misstated what Bush really said to create some high—octane excitement.  

Clarice Feldman   10 18 05

The Daily Howler takes on Arianna Huffington, Richard Cohen and Chris Mathews as he took on Joseph A. Wilson. His skewering of Chris Mathews is particularly worth reading, for what he says about Mathews could be said about almost all the Wilson/Plame reporting:

SPEAKING OF STANDARD DYSFUNCTION: Speaking of those who protest too much, here was excitable Chris Matthews, opening last evening's Hardball:

MATTHEWS (10/17/05): Good evening, I`m Chris Matthews. Two summers ago, Vice President Dick Cheney was under attack. A former diplomat had published an article in the New York Times that he—the number two man in the government—had let the president to take us to war on bad intel, that there was no deal to buy uranium from Africa and the vice president knew about it, yet let the president tell the country there was. Did the vice president take steps to discredit the charge being made against him, or did he sit there and take it? Did he tell his staff to get on the case of knocking down the diplomat`s story and the diplomat with it, or did Cheney`s staff do that on its own?

To his credit, Matthews did good work in the run—up to Iraq. After a fumbling start, he opposed the war, and he produced some of the only skeptical work on cable in the months before war began. But now, he's in Standard Excitement Mode; last night, our analysts rolled their eyes at the statement we highlight above. No, President Bush didn't 'tell the country' that Iraq had made 'a deal to buy uranium from Africa.' But as we've explained again and again: If you want to preserve the sense that Joe Wilson debunked Bush's troubling State of the Union, you have to shave the facts somewhere. Here, Matthews pretends that Bush 'told the country' that a uranium deal had been made. Bush, of course, said no such thing. But here's how Chris would have had to proceed if he'd offered real accuracy:

MATTHEWS REVISED: Good evening, I`m Chris Matthews. Two summers ago, Vice President Dick Cheney was under attack. A former diplomat had published an article in the New York Times suggesting that he—the number two man in the government—had let the president take us to war on bad intel, that there was no deal to buy uranium from Africa and the vice president knew about it, yet let the president tell the country that Niger had 'sought' uranium from Africa. No, the diplomat's report didn't actually contradict what Bush said, but the press corps acted as if it did anyway. Did the vice president take steps to discredit the charge being made against him...

As you can see, Matthews' opening loses some bite if he reports what actually happened. But so it has gone for more than two years, all through this high—profile episode. Mainstream scribes have had to shave facts to create contradiction between Bush and Wilson. So that's exactly what they have done, over and over again, from the start. Tomorrow, we'll try to show you how it is that the press corps bought into this false contradiction. But it's easy to see what happened last night. Matthews misstated what Bush really said to create some high—octane excitement.  

Clarice Feldman   10 18 05