Monday, January 12, 2004

Lie Without Shame

Today's Howler reminds us of something that we should be aware of - today's press corps lies without hestiation. Repeatedly. Without regret. And, most importantly, without consequence save promotion.

Not being human herself, Dowd is instinctively troubled by earth tones. “Al Gore sprouted earth tones in 2000,” she robotically typed in yesterday’s piece, “hoping heathery brown sweaters and khakis would warm him up.”

No one has ever really explained the thinking behind the corps’ earth tone obsession. Why exactly did it seem strange to see Gore dressed in “sweaters and khakis?” And why did pundits keep insisting that Naomi Wolf had told Gore he should don them? We’ve told that story in some detail (links below). But Dowd has a connection to the earth tone script that is minor, but well worth recalling.

A bit of background: Wolf’s connection to the Gore campaign was first reported by Time, in a story released on October 31, 1999. The story had been carefully researched—and it didn’t say a word about earth tones! By the way: Like most humans, Gore had been wearing the troubling tones since he began his campaign in March. This is abundantly clear in the published record, as the link below makes abundantly clear.

But so what? The morning after the Time report, Ceci Connolly got busy. In the Post, she cited a conversation with Dick Morris, in which Morris “speculated” (Connolly’s word) that Wolf had told Gore to wear those troubling tones. By that afternoon, the corps was reporting this “speculation” as fact, and worrying hard about its significance. Wolf flatly denied that she had ever given Gore advice about his clothes. No evidence ever contradicted her statement. But so what! Earth tones were now a fact-for-life. Over the course of the next thirteen months, they were endlessly flogged as a troubling fact which revealed troubling parts of Gore’s character. And yes, this really did happen.