2000s - Media scorns Truthers. Period.
2010s - Media scorns Birthers and calls them Republicans. [ArthurK]
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April 23, 2011

Has Ryan Really Ruled Out Running?

I've been wondering about this because I'd written off Ryan ("My kids are too small and my ego's not big enough") and yet there continue to be these mentions of him as a prospect by the conservative media.

I asked Bill Kristol about this at Breitbart's book signing -- I keep hearing Weekly Standard people, particularly, hint that Ryan is entertaining the idea of a run.

Joking around, he said, "Oh, we all just say that to each other [at the Weekly Standard]" -- meaning, "We're all psyching ourselves up with that and/or attempting to put out that rumor out there."

Funny.

But I asked another journalist type (I won't say who since I didn't tell him I'd be quoting, it was a personal type question) and he said, "Well, he rules it out in his public statements but in his private statements...?" Not so much.

I asked, to be sure, if he was saying "Who knows what he says in private?" or if he was saying "I've heard what he says in private, and he's not as firm on it as he is in public declarations." He confirmed it was the latter.

I think the situation he'd be willing to consider it is if there's no unifying, consensus figure in the primaries.

Just noting.

I'm not sure if I am supposed to quote this, but Kristol said he had a "contrarian" take on Trump and birtherism -- which is basically my take. Birtherism may be untrue, but it's not nearly as damaging and radioactive as some parts of the establishment-oriented base of the party seem to think. And Trump, he agrees, is performing a useful function by, as I said, "treating Obama like an ordinary politician" and beating hell out of him -- not only does this bring Obama down to earth, and make it seem less taboo to not treat him with the deference reserved for the Sun King, but heck, who knows, maybe more Republicans will get the hint that it's okay to start hitting Obama hard.

By the way, speaking of "Narratives" -- it's The Narrative that other Republicans aren't hitting Obama hard. That's not really true. A lot of them are. Mitt Romney's hitting Obama hard, for example. Gingrich has never been shy. Palin has been for years (but the media doesn't like quoting her when she does, eh?).

It's just that it doesn't seem like they are. I guess Trump's brash style (and its amplification throughout the media) makes it sound like he's the only one doing this.

Not so, but he's the one getting through the most.

So, at the very least, I think Trump is at least softening him up. Maybe Trump's not doing something that others aren't, but the media is responding differently -- actually bothering to put his soundbites on the air.

Maybe they think it's safe to do that because Trump is a "joke" in their eyes. I don't really agree with their line of logic if that's what they're thinking.

Kristol noted-- "If the birtherism thing is as damaging as the media thinks, why are Obama's poll numbers falling while Trump's mainstreaming it?"

Good point. (Not that it helps, mind you, but it doesn't seem to be hurting, either.)

I told Kristol that it had long been my theory that birtherism was harmless politically, "All the hardcore conservative outlaws like us are saying that now." Since, you know, he has a reputation as a RINO and I get the RINO label myself.

Maybe it's not that funny. I laughed.

Breitbart gave a short speech about his determination to take on the media in their own villainous lairs (he used that analogy), such as MSNBC's studios. He spoke of his interview with indictment by celebrity jagoff "reporter" Martin Bashir, identifying him as "the man who put the thought of suicide in Michael Jackson's head."

He also noted, laughing, that people who give him fair interviews (he named Dylan Ratigan and Elliot Spitzer as liberals who were fair) do nothing for his book sales, and he walks out of those interviews saying, "Damn, missed opportunity."

On the other hand, Martin Bashir-type interviews go viral and sell his books.

If you watch that Bashir interview (below), by the way, it's a good example of what I mean when I say "Liberals don't lower themselves to ask us information-seeking questions." Bashir made statements phrased as questions, but they weren't questions, because at no point did Bashir even accept Breitbart's statements, for the sake of argument, as true. He just either said they weren't true or re-asked the question, which is not-so-subtle-code for, "You're a liar, answer me truthfully this time."

Generally, even when you suspect someone is telling a falsehood, it's good form not to simply call that person a liar, but accept their claim for the sake of argument but then ask them to explain any inconsistencies that might cause. Like, "Okay, let's say that was your intent with Shirley Sherrod, but then why did you X?"

Bashir doesn't even do that. It's just -- Liar. Honestly, I don't even think he's listening. He literally will not let Breitbart finish a statement, and he begins cutting him off not during a sixty second filibuster but more times than not on the third or fourth word of an answer.

Before Breitbart's even matched a verb to a noun.

How the hell do you cut someone off based on just a noun?

"My article--"

"Liar."

What? There can't be a lie if there's only a noun.

"Cars--"

"Liar."

"Lamps--"

"Liar."

"Delta rays--"

"Liar."

"Diddlefingers---"

"Ooh, you dirty liar."

So, obviously-- not really asking for the sake of generating information.

Best part is Bashir's odd and varied claims regarding when guilt by association is and is not fair. Bashir claims he can't be held responsible for MSNBC cutting off the head of a black gun-carrier and calling him white in order to advance the narrative that angry white Tea Partiers are carrying guns -- because Bashir wasn't at MSNBC then. (He also refuses to acknowledge it even happened; he doesn't say, "I know that happened, but that wasn't me." He sort of denies it happened.)

But having established the proposition that Bashir can't be held responsible for his coworkers, he then rakes Breitbart over the coals for a blogger who posted a few times on one of his sites and said something racist elsewhere, and also, an Orange County Republican who Breitbart has no connection to sending out a racially-charged photoshop of Obama.

As this one version of the clip got 99,000 views in three days, I guess Breitbart needs to thank Bashir.



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posted by Ace at 06:04 PM

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