Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Glenn Greenwald Watches Journamalist Adam Nagourney

And Glenn is not a happy camper:

Suburban Guerrilla » Eat the Press: I’m not one who subscribes to the view that our Beltway culture is so irredeemably vapid and broken that the entire political system is doomed, but those who do believe that were bequeathed several new gifts today for use in support of that claim, including:

(1) This article by The New York Times’ Adam Nagourney, in which he recounts the central role he and the Times played in the “John-Edwards-Loves-His-Hair-Like-a-Sissy” story, by publishing anonymous “Breck Girl” smears back in 2004. The smears were from what Nagourney back then called “Bush associates” (but which he today describes as people at “senior levels of the Bush political operation”). That article granted anonymity to “Bush associates” to call Edwards a girl and to say that John Kerry “looks French.”

For some entirely indiscernible reason, it appears that Nagourney woke up recently and was hit with the realization that maybe one of the reasons why such petty and vacuous stories dominate our political discourse is because he and his esteemed colleagues at The New York Times eagerly offer themselves up as instruments for disseminating such personal smears. Announces Nagourney, as though he has discovered some sort of complex, previously unknown Truth:

"Our story may have had the result of not only previewing what the Bush campaign intended to do, but, by introducing such memorably biting characterizations into the political dialogue, helping it."

Really? So if the New York Times uncritically publishes petty, anonymous personal smear quotes about Democratic candidates in its front page section without printing any response or critical analysis of any kind, that actually has the effect of helping to introduce such smears into our political discourse? Apparently, it took Nagourney three years to discover that novel journalistic insight.

Most amazingly of all, Nagourney still is incapable of making the connection between his stories with the “Edwards-is-a-Girl” theme and the comments last month from Ann Coulter that everyone — just everyone — agreed were so very, very wrong. Other than the fact that Coulter used a prohibited word and Nagourney (and Maureen Dowd and The Politico and on and on and on) did not, the stories are precisely the same — both in design and in effect.

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