Eric Holder cracking under pressure?

November 30, 2011

The Daily Caller has been carrying lots of articles about the growing calls for Attorney General Holder’s resignation over the Fast and Furious gun-trafficking scandal. And apparently it’s getting to him: when a TDC reporter tried to ask him a question about the growing clamor, Holder snapped:

Embattled Attorney General Eric Holder today demanded The Daily Caller stop publishing articles about the growing calls in Congress for his resignation because of the failed Operation Fast and Furious gun-walking program.

As Holder’s aide was escorting the attorney general offstage following his remarks Tuesday afternoon at the White House, a Daily Caller reporter introduced himself and shook Holder’s hand. The reporter asked him for a response to the growing chorus of federal legislators demanding his resignation.

Holder stepped towards the exit, then turned around, stepped back toward the reporter, and sternly said, “You guys need to — you need to stop this. It’s not an organic thing that’s just happening. You guys are behind it.”

Holder then walked offstage without answering TheDC’s request for comment about calls for his resignation.

Visit TDC for the video.

I honestly feel sorry for our Attorney General; after all, it’s not easy being an admitted incompetent who doesn’t read memos on major DoJ operations and who thinks voting rights laws protect only some Americans, based on their skin color. For the worst AG since Wilson’s A. Mitchell Palmer, these have got to be tough, stressful times.

Which is why I think the poor dear should do the right thing and resign to “spend more time with his family.”

Before he does any more damage.

PS: Bravo, TDC!

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

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#Palin: This is disappointing, if true

August 16, 2011

Anyone who knows me or who has read my posts for any length of time knows I’m a fan of Sarah Palin. A big fan. I like her politics, I like her outlook, I like her record, and I think she has the makings of a good president.

Which makes this news both disturbing and disappointing:

What happened was that Alex Pappas of The Daily Caller, one of the rising stars among political scribes and a meticulously careful and wonderfully polite, fair-minded young man (an aside: I’ve known him since he was in junior high school), wrote a perfectly fine story about Palin’s current stances vis-a-vis the presidential race. In it, one of the things she said was that if Mitt Romney is the nominee, well, of course she would endorse him over Barack Obama.

Fox Nation picked up the story and, in its own headline (not Pappas’, not the Daily Caller’s, but its own headline completely apart from anything Pappas ever wrote) played up the “Romney endorse” angle in a way that apparently did not make it clear that the endorsement might be in the general election, rather than the primary campaign. (The headline is no longer available at Fox Nation, so I can’t say exactly what the wording was.)

Anyway, the Palin team pounced. Specifically inviting over reporter Kasie Hunt from Politico so she could hear the exchange, Palin called Pappas’ cell phone and began berating him in a very scolding manner for writing a headline suggesting she supports Romney. Pappas didn’t even know what she was talking about. When he tried to say that neither he nor his editors had written such a headline, she said she didn’t have time for this, that she needed to go back to the “real people” at the State Fair, and hung up on him.

Later, when it became clear that Fox Nation, not Pappas or The Daily Caller, had written the semi-offending headline, a Palin press aide called Pappas back not to apologize but to say that they now realized it was Fox and that the headline had been taken down. “No,” Pappas said, far more bemused than angry or upset, “he didn’t come close to apologizing.”

Be sure to read the whole thing.

Let’s set some context here. The article’s author, Quinn Hillyer, is a solid conservative. American Spectator is an old-line conservative magazine. Both Hillyer and the magazine have defended Sarah Palin in the past. And, while The Daily Caller tends toward the tabloid style, it’s well to the Right, too.

This was not a Lefty hit-job.

What jumps out at me is not that the former Alaska governor blew her stack at a reporter. We know how miserably she’s been treated by the press and, well, everyone can have a bad moment. (Even I’ve been known to have one from time to time. Ahem…) That I can write off.  In this modern age of flip cams and 24-by-7 coverage, every politician will at some time or another reveal their warts.

No, I’m bothered by two other items: first, that Mrs. Palin apparently called over another journalist to witness her reaming of Pappas — what was the point? It reeks of pettiness and unprofessionalism. She is a serious contender for President of the United States. This kind of “Watch me burn this guy” behavior should be beneath any candidate.

Second, once it became clear that Pappas and The Daily Caller were not at fault, Governor Palin owed him a personal call to apologize. Not a non-apology call from an aide.

Not only is that simple courtesy and the decent thing to do, but it’s smart politics. Once you, a contender for high office, have been shown to be wrong, admit it, apologize, and defuse the issue immediately. In the process you show yourself to be a good person and you disarm your opponents’ talking points. To do what Sarah Palin is accused of doing, however, is to compound boorish, childish behavior with poor political judgement.

In a candidate with ambitions for high office, that’s a bad combination.

Again, that’s if this is true. I say “if” because we all know the dangers of first reports and how there can be many wildly different viewpoints regarding the same set of facts. (Ever see Rashomon?) And it just doesn’t sound like Sarah Palin, for several reasons. But here we have witnesses, and I suspect what was reported is at least close to what happened.

And if that’s the case, then Sarah Palin owes Mr. Pappas a sincere apology.

PS: In case you’re wondering, no, this does not change my support for her. Not by itself, at least. However, it does go into the “Hmmm… File” as something that bears watching for signs of a trend.

PPS: I won’t at all be surprised to be fired at by both Palin-haters shouting “SEE? WE TOLD YOU SO!!!” and Palin-bots who go into attack-badger mode at even the least criticism. To the latter I suggest looking at my prior posts to see what kind of a supporter I’ve been.

PPPS: Rick Perry also had a serious unforced error moment in Iowa. Like I said, it’s going to happen to every candidate. Perhaps both should blame the deep-fried butter on a stick.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Pravda would be proud

July 20, 2010

People on the Right have for years complained about a media establishment biased toward the Left, only to be roundly mocked as paranoid, even when some evidence shows they were right. (For example) During the 2008 campaign, it became increasingly apparent that the major media had given up objectivity and was openly pulling for the victory of then-Senator Obama. While concentrating all their powers on Sarah Palin’s tanning bed, they almost totally ignored Obama’s political background, relationships, and lack of experience.

But they weren’t just passively avoiding anything that might be critical of Obama or detrimental to his presidential bid. No, at the very least some members of a now-defunct private mailing list  for liberal and left-wing journalists and other opinion makers called “Journolist” were looking for ways to actively intimidate into silence not just conservative critics, but even more moderate liberal members of the MSM. How would they do this?

According to The Daily Caller, by smearing their opponents as racists:

It was the moment of greatest peril for then-Sen. Barack Obama’s political career. In the heat of the presidential campaign, videos surfaced of Obama’s pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, angrily denouncing whites, the U.S. government and America itself. Obama had once bragged of his closeness to Wright. Now the black nationalist preacher’s rhetoric was threatening to torpedo Obama’s campaign.

The crisis reached a howling pitch in mid-April, 2008, at an ABC News debate moderated by Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos. Gibson asked Obama why it had taken him so long – nearly a year since Wright’s remarks became public – to dissociate himself from them. Stephanopoulos asked, “Do you think Reverend Wright loves America as much as you do?”

Watching this all at home were members of Journolist, a listserv comprised of several hundred liberal journalists, as well as like-minded professors and activists. The tough questioning from the ABC anchors left many of them outraged. “George [Stephanopoulos],” fumed Richard Kim of the Nation, is “being a disgusting little rat snake.”

The members of Journolist weren’t about to see their champion hurled to the ground. But, rather than investigate and try to refute the allegations regarding Reverend Wright and Obama, they instead decided to attack their colleagues:

“Part of me doesn’t like this shit either,” agreed Spencer Ackerman, then of the Washington Independent. “But what I like less is being governed by racists and warmongers and criminals.”

Ackerman went on:

“I do not endorse a Popular Front, nor do I think you need to. It’s not necessary to jump to Wright-qua-Wright’s defense. What is necessary is to raise the cost on the right of going after the left. In other words, find a rightwinger’s [sic] and smash it through a plate-glass window. Take a snapshot of the bleeding mess and send it out in a Christmas card to let the right know that it needs to live in a state of constant fear. Obviously I mean this rhetorically.

“And I think this threads the needle. If the right forces us all to either defend Wright or tear him down, no matter what we choose, we lose the game they’ve put upon us. Instead, take one of them — Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists. Ask: why do they have such a deep-seated problem with a black politician who unites the country? What lurks behind those problems? This makes *them* sputter with rage, which in turn leads to overreaction and self-destruction.”

In other words, a naked call to play the Race Card in American politics in order to stifle debate and criticism. Racism is the most vile charge one can make in our society; to accuse someone of it is to smear them for a long time, if not forever. And the discussants on Journolist were about to unleash it on their professional colleagues.

It’s fair to note that the people mentioned in the DC article formulating this strategy are almost all opinion journalists, such as Katha Pollitt at the progressive The Nation. One would expect them to try to shape the debate and defend their ideological positions, just as their counterparts at The Weekly Standard or National Review would do.

But not by character assassination and implying they were racists. And not by attacking members of the “objective press” for simply asking tough, legitimate questions.

That crosses the line not just into advocacy journalism, but propaganda of the worst sort, the kind I’d expect to see from the “journalistic organs” of a totalitarian state. Jack Reed and Walter Duranty would be proud.

The Daily Caller promises more in the days to come, and it will be interesting to see how far this rot has spread from politically-oriented opinion journalists to mainstream reporters.

I suspect it’s gone quite far.

(via Big Journalism)

LINKS: More from John Nolte, who says the playing of the race card isn’t the most shocking thing; Andrew Breitbart, who thinks the reporters at Pravda were better people; Kurt Schlichter, who talks about the MSM memory hole; Ed Morrissey, who considers the implications of this for the Left’s attempts to paint the Tea Party as racists; and William Jacobson, who says “Yes, Liberal journalists did manipulate the 2008 election.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)