One of the reasons Somerby is an incomparable resource is because he researches and sources what it is the press reports over time. His write up of the current mendacity shows what Pelosi has been reported as saying for the last six months. He presents the original material (transcripts, Pelosi's own press release, a TV clip) and then identifies how reporters, in this case the WaPo reporter Paul Kane) changed her words to make them fit the spin the press wished to "report". This is standard operating procedure for Bob, a degree of fact finding (dare we say it? a degeree of reporting) that is absent from most of the press and virtually all blogging.
Towards the end of the post, Bob links to an Oliphant cartoon that depicts Pelosi smoking a joint and claiming she didn't inhale. What Bob says about this cartoon is critical:
Somerby appears to be saying that because Pelosi spoke the truth about the manipulations of the CIA in the service of the criminal Bush administration, that the press will use this to make it just that much harder to achieve the Democratic agenda. On one level, the most obvious level, Bob seems to be saying that political liberals need to be quiet so as not to make things toughre for Obama. In this, I disagree with the Incomparable One, though with care, as Bob is a more insightful and subtle thinker than people assume, because the way he frames the situation, he questions why saying patently obvious and common sense political things gets some political actors demonized by the Villagers.
The political price: What political price will Democrats pay for Pelosi’s sweeping accusation? Consider Pat Oliphant’s new cartoon, which appears in this morning’s Post. Too gaze on it, just click here.
The cartoon is called “The Pelosi Position.” Pelosi is shown smoking a large joint marked “Torture.” She’s making a familiar statement: “But I didn’t inhale.”
Translation: Pelosi’s sweeping charge is reactivating press/pundit frameworks from the Clinton era. This has been obvious watching cable. Oliphant spells it out nice and clear.
During the 1990s, Clinton—then Gore—were portrayed as feckless dissemblers, "willing to do and say anything." You couldn’t believe a thing they said! Clinton had said that he didn’t inhale—and Gore had said he invented the Internet! In June 1999, Hillary Clinton even said she was a childhood fan of the Cubs and the Yankees! Earlier profiles seemed to show this was true. But so what? The press called her every name in the book (links below). As they’d done throughout the era, the corps was prepared to pretend.
You couldn’t believe a thing Big Dems said; Big Dems were feckless dissemblers. (If the press corps had to dissemble to "prove" it, dissemble the press corps would.) Given Obama’s impressive demeanor and unusual background, this framework has been dying on the vine this year. But it still lurks inside these idiots' heads. Pelosi made a sweeping accusation this week—and the framework returned from the closet.
A few guesses about the political price to be paid:
The hubbub will make it slightly harder for Obama to nominate Sotomayor (as opposed to a more "traditional" choice like blonde Diane Wood). But Obama will nominate Sotomayor anyway. Because of the hubbub and the reactivated frameworks—the nomination fight will be a bit harder. Obama, and his party generally, will lose a bit of political capital in the form of a few ratings points.
This makes the health care fight a bit harder. Does the public plan therefore come out? These are the political problems we sometimes create when we scream our deepest beliefs, as progressives have begged Obama to do all through the course of this year. (my emphasis)
Jonathan Turley just can’t understand why Obama won’t scream long and loud, just like him. Then again, the heartfelt professor already has good health care.
About the Cubs and the Yankees: In June 1999, Hillary Clinton said she loved the Cubs and the Yankees as a child. Earlier profiles seemed to suggest that this was true—but the corps called her every name in the book. It triggered an established framework, you see. Send your own kids to another room. Then, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 4/16/08.
In 2007, they took a turn with this bullroar again. This time, their clowning may have been even dumber. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 10/2/07. The n-word even got used this time! (When trashing Clinton, as when trashing Gore, the n-word was “Nixonian.”)
This is the way they portrayed Big Dems right up through Obama’s nomination. Under Obama, these frameworks had been dying on the vine. In the last day or two, they are back.
Combine his judgment with comments made by Ian Welsh in this comment thread on Corrente and we get a familiar picture of the culture inside the Beltway. The cultural exclusivity of the Village translates into political danger for policy and politicians who do not do not properly reflect the opinions of the Village - which is most of the substantively liberal objectives of the Democratic Party.
Bob points to the peculiar split between the party and The Precious, how the press treats "Big Dems" one way while engaging in adulation of Obama on the other. The frameworks have not been dying; they merely have not been applied to Obama. Thus we end up with the strange situation where Pelosi is being pilloried in the press for saying she did not know at the time the full extent of the Bush torture regime, while the stories about Obama (who now is in a position to know everything about that policy) refusing to release the rest of the torture photos and reinstating the Guantanamo tribunals are washed away from the front pages.
Boehlert talked about the way in which Obama got everything he wanted from Left Blogistan without having to make promises in return. Perhaps the correct framing is that he got everything he wanted from the Democratic Party without having to promise much of anything in return.
The situation is that Big Dems are still the enemy while Obama basks in the glow of media approval.