Sunday, August 17, 2008

'Bloviation assembly line'

Frank Rich:
As I went on vacation at the end of July, Barack Obama was leading John McCain by three to four percentage points in national polls. When I returned last week he still was. But lo and behold, a whole new plot twist had rolled off the bloviation assembly line in those intervening two weeks: Obama had lost the election!
To start with, it ill behooves Rich to employ a phrase like "bloviation assembly line," when he himself does nothing else. It's one of the greatest scandals of journalism: Rich is paid a six-figure salary by the New York Times and never does any reporting. Has anyone ever seen a Frank Rich column with a dateline?

However, this latest effort from the former film critic does indeed include an attempt at some actual reporting -- in the 16th paragraph:
Rita Hauser, who was a Bush financial chairwoman in New York in 2000 and served on the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board in the administration’s first term, joined other players in the G.O.P. establishment in forming Republicans for Obama last week. Why? The leadership qualities she admires in Obama -- temperament, sustained judgment, the ability to play well with others -- are missing in McCain. "He doesn't listen carefully to people and make reasoned judgments," Hauser told me. "If John says 'I'm going with so and so,' you can't count on that the next morning," she complained, adding, "That's not the man we want for president."
There's your big scoop, folks: John McCain is a jerk, says Rita Hauser. But wait for the punchline: Who is Rita Hauser?
Rita Hauser, the PLO apologist whose law firm, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, racked up millions of dollars in legal fees over the years as a registered foreign agent of Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority. Ms. Hauser met with Mr. Arafat as early as 1988, when America still considered him a terrorist and refused even to allow him access to the United Nations headquarters in New York. . . .
Ms. Hauser helped fund the Edward Said chair at Columbia for Mr. Obama's pal Rashid Khalidi. "I made a contribution," Ms. Hauser told us back in 2003, describing the chair's namesake, Professor Edward Said, as "a friend of mine. I admire him."
I don't know about you folks, but when a paid stooge for Yassir Arafat says someone is "not the man we want for president," I'm kind of dubious. Not Frank Rich, who gets paid an estimated $300,000 a year by the New York Times, just signed a "creative consultant" deal with HBO, but who can't be bothered to Google "Rita Hauser" and figure out that the real scandal here is why the Bush administration ever let someone like her anywhere near the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.

Small wonder, as Teach notes at STACLU, that Sulzberger's flagship is "hemorrhaging paying subscribers."

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