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November 17, 2003

CLARK ON FOX....Via Josh Marshall, here's a link to the Wesley Clark interview on Fox that several people mentioned in comments below. You have to sit through an opening ad, and Fox annoyingly prevents you from skipping forward and backward in the clip, but at about the 2-minute mark the Fox host asks — while sort of sadly pretending to apologize for having to bring it up — about something Clark said on Sunday:

Fox: On Meet the Press you said something about Iraq. You said, "President Bush has said [the war in Iraq] is the centerpiece for the war on terror. It isn't. It's a sideshow. It's simply their easiest means of access to attack American soldiers. That's all it is."

Do you really think Iraq is only a sideshow?

Clark: For the war on terror it's a terrible distraction. We should have gone directly after Osama bin Laden....We should be putting a full court effort on finding Osama bin Laden....

Fox: While our men and women are dying in Iraq, is it proper to call it a sideshow?

Clark: Our men and women in Iraq are doing a fabulous job....Don't you dare twist words into disrespect for our men and women in uniform....You better take my words the right way....

And it just gets better from there.

This tired trope of pretending that anyone who criticizes presidential priorities is showing disrespect to the military is about as despicable as it gets, and it's way past time for it to stop. Clark got good and pissed off about it, and deservedly so. I hope it embarrasses the clowns at Fox from pulling it again.

And in case you're wondering, I imagine that this kind of remark is exactly what Samuel Johnson had in mind when he said "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."

UPDATE: Wording changed slightly based on the transcript here.

Posted by Kevin Drum at November 17, 2003 05:40 PM | TrackBack


Comments

Damn, that was a 360 degree reverse- windmill slam dunk! Go Clark!

Posted by: Old Hat at November 17, 2003 05:47 PM | PERMALINK

It was glorious, wasn't it? I agree completely with what you've said, and I hope that Fox News does think twice before trying to smear anyone else. But while Clark's indignation will play very well among people who agree with him already, people who don't agree with him will see his performance, probably, as some sort of weird, mad rant. That's the spin I'm expecting to see on it. Lots of furrowed conservative brows furiously wondering what on Earth could have gotten him so riled up. They'll probaly conclude (diplomatically, and with all due respect, of course) that he's utterly bonkers.

I'm so sick of of having to filter everything through the layers of conservative spin, but it almost becomes fun when you start predicting the rightward spin before it's even begun.

Posted by: Drew Vogel at November 17, 2003 05:48 PM | PERMALINK

Fox News having shame?

Posted by: Rob at November 17, 2003 05:50 PM | PERMALINK

So far as I am aware, no member of the Murdoch family has served in any nation's armed forces.

Posted by: Alice Marshall at November 17, 2003 05:50 PM | PERMALINK

Remember: "Clark is bitter"

Posted by: Bartolo at November 17, 2003 05:51 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, from now on, please be sure to "take Bush's words the right way", OK?

Posted by: me at November 17, 2003 05:53 PM | PERMALINK

Nah, I'm sure he picked up some supporters even from the Faix News crowd with that exchange. He's a fighter and he kept sticking up for the soldiers, people like that.

Posted by: Old Hat at November 17, 2003 05:55 PM | PERMALINK

Ker-pow. Take that pissy prissy Faux News anchor dork.

Hi-yah to the soi-disant and "overwrought" blogosphere arbiters of good and evil.

But eee-gads, I don't know how well that will play to the masses.

"Well sir, it seems to me that Clark is awful defensive..."

"No one here attacked his patriotism. What's he got to hide?"

"Well, I'm sad to say he's both crazy and evil."

Posted by: SamAm at November 17, 2003 05:56 PM | PERMALINK

I think you're right, Drew. The Fox guy deserved a smackdown, and Clark gave it, but Clark bordered on stooping to his level (e.g., shouting at the same time). One of the raps they will try to push on Clark is that he's too tightly wound (Even Halberstam's mostly favorable portrayal of Clark in War in a Time of Peace noted this characteristic.)

There's a real art to dealing with smirking shmucks like the Fox guy -- a way to put them down without sinking to their level. I don't think Dean or Clark has mastered it yet.

Clark was way better than Dean, BTW, in dealing with Timmie "Gotcha" Russert on MTP yesterday . Tim trotted out all the supposedly contradictory statements Clark made on the war. Clark was very poised and clear in explaining his position.

Posted by: Upper West at November 17, 2003 05:56 PM | PERMALINK

I loved, loved, loved seeing Clark put the hurt on those guys. And your right, Fox News Hour did the raised eyebrow treatment, but anyone who saw it could see right through what they were trying to do. Man, I have been waiting and hoping someone would have the b*lls to take on the smear jockeys at Fox.

Fox thinks they can smear Clark like they did McCain. They are wrong. Clark is a democrat, and a lot of us moderates hate Fox and the right wing for what they did to McCain. Not going to work.

General Smackdown. I like it.

Posted by: AnnB at November 17, 2003 05:58 PM | PERMALINK

Drew:

I talked with two conservative (not right wingers, just conservatives) friends of mine today who had seen the interview and they were seriously unimpressed with Fox trying to portray the General as not supporting the troops. They found it pretty offensive in fact. I think this will backfire on Fox if my friends are any judge.

Posted by: Kimberly at November 17, 2003 06:00 PM | PERMALINK

A Democrat with a backbone!

Posted by: Arash at November 17, 2003 06:01 PM | PERMALINK

Went over real well with a couple of my military buddies ...

Snickered at Asman's (yes, that is the Fox News guy's real name) stuttering and giggling. "Way to go, Clark"

Posted by: mikep at November 17, 2003 06:02 PM | PERMALINK

Think of it this way--every time they play that clip, thousands of men and women who serve in the armed forces or have a loved one serving there who are worried about this mess in Iraq will see a man who they know is a military leader saying how he LOVES the troops, thinks they are wonderful and STILL questions the president.

If Wes Clark can say this, they might start to feel they can question the president now too. Nobody can say Wes Clark isn't a patriot, yet they will see him on FOX criticizing the president's judgment and yet still supporting the troops. Maybe this will give some of them courage to speak out, too.

Who loves the soldiers more? The man who gets on FOX and says it, even if it could be used against him by the unfair and unbalanced FOX? Or the man who is president who won't even meet with the US families of the dead but plans to meet with the British families?

Posted by: Cat M. at November 17, 2003 06:02 PM | PERMALINK

The General takes out a big can of 'whooop ass' and sprays it all over that whiney bitch Asman!

Posted by: PF at November 17, 2003 06:03 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

This interview clip is a good indication of why General Clark is good for the democratic opposition to the President regardless of whether or not he wins the nomination. (I hope he does)

He can attack on the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Neocon national security policy, shoddy treatment of veterans, and intelligence fiascos with an unimpeachable credibility that is going to put the Republican machine on the defensive.

It's wonderful to behold.

Posted by: Jeffrey Maier at November 17, 2003 06:03 PM | PERMALINK

Me: "Mr. Asman, you're very patriotic. I can see by the little metal American flag pin on your lapel. You served in the military, correct?"

Asman: "Erm, no, uh, I never, my dad had a trust fund and I went to school to--"

Me: "Oh REALLY, Mr. Asman? That's very INTERESTING, Mr. Asman!"

Posted by: Old Hat at November 17, 2003 06:07 PM | PERMALINK

Not to poop parties--and go, go, go Clark, anyone who can be that devastating about Tom DeLay and Fox News is that much closer to my vote--but:

Did he really say "the war on terror is a terrible distraction"? I would've thought it should've been "The war on Iraq is a terrible distraction." I can't watch the clip, so can't check.

Posted by: Matt Weiner at November 17, 2003 06:07 PM | PERMALINK

I predict that this will not work to Clark's benefit.

His ire went on just little too long for the size of the wart posing the question. Not proportional, you know.

In other words, it looked like the long awaited manifestation of the temper problem people have been predicting from Howard Dean, only from the other guy.

And if it's a problem for Dean, how come it's "good and deserved" when Clark does it?

And if it's good when Clark does it, at which point is Dean's (as yet unmanifested publicly)"temper problem" become a(nother) trope?

And I'm also certain that Fox anchor is no where near embarassed, since I guarantee his producers were high-fiving him the minute he got off the set.

Posted by: David Glynn at November 17, 2003 06:09 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, right, David Glenn, the Democrats rolling over and letting these chickenhawk creeps run roughshod over then has done wonders for the party. If we want to make an omelet, we're going to have to break some eggs. It's sad but that's politics.

I, for one, am ready for someone with a little fire in their belly!

Posted by: Old Hat at November 17, 2003 06:12 PM | PERMALINK

The first question Asman asked was just as snarky and loaded: "Who talked you into this?" Fair and balanced, indeed.

Posted by: fastback at November 17, 2003 06:13 PM | PERMALINK

Clark's perforance was superb; he showed backbone and mettle, and he did so without the Bush-style bravado. A few more like that and the people will be up out of their chairs in New Hampshire.

Posted by: Poputonian at November 17, 2003 06:13 PM | PERMALINK

Any bets on how long fox is going to leave the clip up?

Soon as they get wind of the fact that left blogistan is popping corks and doing touch-down dances......Asman's going to be flushed.

Posted by: -pea- at November 17, 2003 06:14 PM | PERMALINK

"I hope it embarrasses the clowns at Fox from pulling it again."

The smug twit asking the questions didn't look too embarassed to me. Shamelessness is a hallmark of Fox, so far as I can tell.

As far as the shouting goes, well, everyone has their limits. I had the very clear sense that had the talking head been standing in front of Clark we would have seen a great smearing of pancake and powder. Of course, like a lot of chickenhawks we know, the twit probably wouldn't have the temerity to impugn the general's patriotism had he been within reach.

There's no reasoning with psychopaths, and it's about time we had some people on the left, like Clark and Dean, who are unafraid to demonstrate that they are not willing to be meddled with.

Posted by: Robuzo at November 17, 2003 06:15 PM | PERMALINK

Upper West, I disagree in this case. I agree staying calm and collected is the best way most times, but what happened here was different.

The majority of Clark's life has been spent in the military. He served this country in battle. To then have your loyality to the those fighting today questioned must feel like a deeply personal attack.

FOX will try to spin it as a crackpot defensive rant(I think they already did), but the difference is this guy has a military service.

Had this happened with anybody else, with the exception of Kerry, I might agree. The spin could be made the guy is hotheaded,even insecure.

However,both Clark and Kerry lived what those in Iraq are facing. So to question either of them in the way the FOX guy was doing begs for righteous indignation.

Only the rabid neocon partison couldn't see how honestly offended Clark was.

I think this was a positive moment for Clark in the eyes of dems, independents and maybe some republicans.

MHO of course.

Posted by: Jennie at November 17, 2003 06:15 PM | PERMALINK

I agree that Clark did a great job of smacking around Fox.

I do, however, find the "You better take my words the right way!" a bit troubling, and I certainly hope he meant "War on Iraq", not "War on Terror".

Posted by: John Q. at November 17, 2003 06:18 PM | PERMALINK

I hope you're right Jennie. I liked Clark's response until the shouting match. Judging by the comments here and elsewhere, it may play well for the swing voters, esp. veterans.
Have you read the Clark chapter in Halberstam's book? Very interesting.

Posted by: Upper West at November 17, 2003 06:22 PM | PERMALINK

Is it just me, or has Faux already tinkered with the clip? All I get is the commercial.

Posted by: NC Progressive at November 17, 2003 06:23 PM | PERMALINK

Clark and Dean, Dean and Clark, either way it's music to my ears.

BTW, I think Fox will probably be glad to have Clark on again in the very near future- mudwrestling sells, witness the Jerry Springer show. Verbal slugfests are good for business...

Posted by: peter jung at November 17, 2003 06:25 PM | PERMALINK

Clark wasn't angry, he was indignant. He was composed the whole time, even gesturing up and down with his right arm in cadence with his voice intonations. Maybe Clark won over a few moderates and independents today; some of those folks who are looking for an alternative.

Posted by: Poputonian at November 17, 2003 06:26 PM | PERMALINK

Matt: yes, that's what he said. The audio gets a little faint right there, but I listened a couple of times. I don't think it's that big a deal, but definitely a poor choice of words.

Fastback: I agree. That first question was almost breathtakingly insolent. Clark just took it in stride, but I imagine it ticked him off and got him good and heated up for the subsequent exchange.

BTW, I agree with the comments that Clark has to watch his temper. (Dean too, I think.) He did OK this time, but while genuine passion is great, pissing matches with reporters *do not* look presidential to a lot of people. This is definitely something that needs to be kept on a tight leash.

Posted by: Kevin Drum at November 17, 2003 06:28 PM | PERMALINK

i read halberstam's book. a pretty flattering portrait, i have to say. i also read clark's 2nd book. good stuff, if a little thin at times.

Posted by: praktike at November 17, 2003 06:31 PM | PERMALINK

I think Clark's exchange will work in earning him more support among Democrats, but it won't help at all with the mindless ones in Fox's crowd. The hardcore are going to push that as either a temper unsuited for office or lying for votes ("he dont really care bout no military! he jest using them!").

Posted by: bubba at November 17, 2003 06:31 PM | PERMALINK

David Glynn writes: "His ire went on just little too long for the size of the wart posing the question"

The question was posed by Fox News, part of the Rupert Murdoch media empire.

That's not a wart, it's a freaking metastasized malignant tumor.

Posted by: Jon H at November 17, 2003 06:35 PM | PERMALINK

I would like to make an important yet subtle poing... this is how most people right of center believe news people treat Republicans.

It is obviously ugly no matter what side of the fence you are on.

I see very little difference between how Bush is constantly treated from those on the left and this incident.

It would be so much more productive if we could get away from this idiotic way of conversing with another human being.

I am glad that some of you here recognized this twisted attempt at making Clark say something he obviously wasn't saying and not condone it when they do it to Bush, Cheney or Rumsfield either.

Posted by: Odysseus at November 17, 2003 06:40 PM | PERMALINK

Watching the crawl below Clark, I noticed that a "Fox Fact" indicated that the Fourth Quarter ends December 31. Are Fox viewers so clueless that they don't even know that?

Posted by: Randy Paul at November 17, 2003 06:41 PM | PERMALINK

What also impressed me in Halberstam's book was Clark's monumental will to win. I hope he can apply it to his campaign. Sure, running for Pres. is different from everything else he's done, but he's certainly got media experience, and his military success was predicated on succeeding as an intellectual in a basically non-intellectual environment. But what Halberstam stressed was that he was both a "warrior" and a "military intellectual."

Reading Halberstam it's also easy to see the variety of reasons why the military brass "spite girls" like Shelton have been nasty about him. He was seen as siding with the civilians in advocating a more aggressive Balkan policy; plus his Rhodes scholarship and intellectual background always made him suspect; his seeming (but not really close) ties to Clinton also didn't help.

Posted by: Upper West at November 17, 2003 06:43 PM | PERMALINK

Fox already took the clip down. It was being downloaded so much by Dems they got nervous.

I was posting at Democratic Underground and this went over HUGE. Three threads and even supporters of other candidates were cheering him on.

Posted by: Annx at November 17, 2003 06:43 PM | PERMALINK

Clark's got backbone. This plus his not taking any shit from Tim Russert has him looking better and better.

Let the creeps say what they want to about him being "unhinged." People with sense know better.

Posted by: David Ehrenstein at November 17, 2003 06:44 PM | PERMALINK

Matt Weiner:

I just listened to the Fox video again to answer your question re "The war on terror is a terrible distraction."

That's NOT what he said. The audio faded a bit just as he spoke those words, so transcription is not all that easy. What he really said was:

"For the war on terror, [Iraq's] a terrible distraction."

Posted by: loonytoons at November 17, 2003 06:45 PM | PERMALINK

For the life of me I really don't know why Democrats don't simply boycott Fox altogether. You know that they are going to goad and play gotcha and that the results will be spun to death in the most negative way possible. There are no upsides to my mind. It's as if it's 1962 and Pravda is interviewing Andrei Sakharov. What do you think they're going to do?

Posted by: R. Porrofatto at November 17, 2003 06:47 PM | PERMALINK

I also thought it was good the way Clark counter-punched Tommy Franks .. blaming him for bin Laden's escape. Maybe some of these retired guys who have criticized Clark will realize he's going to have more airtime than they will.

Posted by: Poputonian at November 17, 2003 06:56 PM | PERMALINK

re "The war on terror is a terrible distraction."

I agree with the other poster, this IS NOT what Clark said.

What I distinctly heard was:

"For the war on terror, IT'S a terrible distraction"

Posted by: Dennis at November 17, 2003 06:56 PM | PERMALINK

It's as if it's 1962 and Pravda is interviewing Andrei Sakharov.

Funny you should say that, Wes kinda reminded me of the time (during perestroika) when someone wrote an unflattering article about Sakharov's wife.

Later, when he ran into the reporter, this frail, gray, old Nobel Prize winner walked up to him and smacked him across the face.

Posted by: Sovok at November 17, 2003 06:58 PM | PERMALINK

Where's Reg, Will Allen, Al, Ron, and the other unpaid members of the Mighty Wurlitzer blog team to say how this shows that a retired office of the US Army cannot be trusted with his finger on the button?

C'mon, guys, you all too busy at work or something?

Posted by: Dark Avenger at November 17, 2003 06:59 PM | PERMALINK

Annx: "Fox already took the clip down. It was being downloaded so much by Dems they got nervous."

Fox didn't take it down, but like you say, it's being played so much, it difficult to play the darn thing without it bombing. Took me about 10 tries before it played all the way through.

Posted by: Dennis at November 17, 2003 07:02 PM | PERMALINK

You can open Windows Media Player, choose File --> Open URL, and paste this in:

http://www.foxnews.com/video2/windows/0,3783,4908:300,00.wvx

You'll still start with the ad, but you can skip it now. You can also control the playback a bit better. Enjoy.

Posted by: Zadig at November 17, 2003 07:03 PM | PERMALINK

R. Porrofatto,

"You know that they are going to goad and play gotcha and that the results will be spun to death in the most negative way possible."

I am just curious if you think ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN treat Republicans that way.

Posted by: Odysseus at November 17, 2003 07:04 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, my bad. It is still up just hard to load.

Posted by: Annx at November 17, 2003 07:05 PM | PERMALINK

Oops, I forgot to include the gov't funded NPR

Posted by: Odysseus at November 17, 2003 07:05 PM | PERMALINK

Is there any chance we can stop framing every issue in "Well, the other side does it too!"?

Yes, Republicans get poorly treated in some venues. But justifying it by other bad behavior trivializes Fox's blatant misconduct in this case.

So, Odysseus:

Yeah, it happens. But it has no bearing on Fox's behavior here.

Posted by: John Q. at November 17, 2003 07:11 PM | PERMALINK

Odysseus,

You have a point, a good one, but honestly, I can't remember a time when a US military officer of General Clark's caliber and record, had his loyalty to the troops so shamelessly questioned by ANY network.

Posted by: Dennis at November 17, 2003 07:11 PM | PERMALINK

Well...I guess Clark told him!

Posted by: Jay at November 17, 2003 07:17 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, my word.

::swoons::

Well, I don't know how well it went over with the majority of Fox's audience, but it went over quite well with me. He just so plainly *meant* it. And I *loved* that little jab at the end: "Thank you for clearing that up so there's absolutely no misunderstanding on the part of Fox or its viewers. . . " and then he goes on to get the last word in: "And I've got a plan to get us out of there. And I will."

Man! When's the last time you saw someone *win* an exchange with one of those sleazy interviewers? (Incidently: If Clark were to be the Democratic nominee, one of the great pleasures of the general election would be watching the debates.)

I've been a sort of pragmatic Clark supporter for some time -- figured he had decent policy instincts, and was the most electable, etc. -- but I am feeling a lot less pragmatic now.

Shoshana

Posted by: Shoshana at November 17, 2003 07:19 PM | PERMALINK

John Q.

"It is obviously ugly no matter what side of the fence you are on."

Maybe you missed that comment... my point here is not at all to trivialize, but to amplify it for everyone. This behaviour by the media sucks!

And Dennis,

I can't remember the last time a military officer was, but I can certainly come up with instances when it was just as bad... but equally significant circumstances.


Posted by: Odysseus at November 17, 2003 07:20 PM | PERMALINK

... this is how most people right of center believe news people treat Republicans.

I see very little difference between how Bush is constantly treated from those on the left and this incident.

All due respect, Odysseus, but when was the last time the Shrub had to face any real questioning about his policies from ANYONE? Let alone the smirkjob "gotcha" routines Fox News pulls. OK, he IS the President, and Clark is not (yet); but I don't think that it is accidental that Bush's handlers have kept him away from direct contact with the media. Can you imagine Dubya trying to deal with the sort of treatment Fox News dealt out to a Democratic candidate? Pleasant to think about - ain't gonna happen!

But I can heartily endorse another of your comments:

It would be so much more productive if we could get away from this idiotic way of conversing with another human being.

Sure: just change the channel

Posted by: Jay C. at November 17, 2003 07:27 PM | PERMALINK

Dennis:

I can't remember the last time when a military man like Clark had his loyalty to the troops questioned like that .... but I also can't remember the last time a military man like Clark took shots (even if well-deserved) at the President during wartime while running for President himself ... the only thing that comes close is MacArthur maybe ... so its a whole new ballgame.

Doesn't matter anyway. Clark is a flash in the pan. Dean is the man.

Posted by: SRock at November 17, 2003 07:31 PM | PERMALINK

Oysseus,

You won't get an argument from me when you say the behaviour of the media (with little exception) sucks. However, I recognize the challenge reporters face when asking the tough questions without the appearance of bias.

Posted by: Dennis at November 17, 2003 07:31 PM | PERMALINK

Odysseus, suggest you go read a dozen random archived posts at dailyhowler.com - or read some of Eric Alterman's work. There's plenty of available documentation that the press has on average been harsher towards the left than the right, and that the fringe-right press is much more "mainstream" than the fringe-left.

Posted by: rilkefan at November 17, 2003 07:32 PM | PERMALINK

I thought it was interesting that Asman said, the sideshow statment"...caught our attention" and then looked down at his notes. How much do you want to bet it came right off the "daily memo" from Ailes and Moody? It takes some brass balls to question the patriotism of a 4 Star general to his face but they are nothing if not bold. I suspect his response was a bit of a surprise, though.

It doesn't hurt Clark one bit to get angry on Fox News. It's a perfect venue and target for Democratic righteous indignation, which is a big selling point on the primary circuit this season. I think he was very well aware of that.

Posted by: digby at November 17, 2003 07:33 PM | PERMALINK

".... but I also can't remember the last time a military man like Clark took shots (even if well-deserved) at the President during wartime while running for President himself ... "

SRock,

"even if well-deserved" are the key words here. The attempt by Fox to twist Clarks word were anything but "well-deserved".

Posted by: Dennis at November 17, 2003 07:35 PM | PERMALINK

Jay C.

I concede that it is not happening to Bush in live interviews, but this Administrations words always seem to be twisted by the media away from their original intent. That is the behaviour I was specifically trying to combat.

I agree that the news media is not disrespecting the President like that to his face.

"Sure: just change the channel"

And which channel would that be?

Posted by: Odysseus at November 17, 2003 07:35 PM | PERMALINK

I also can't remember the last time a military man like Clark took shots (even if well-deserved) at the President during wartime while running for President himself

But SRock, there's never been a war-time president as incompetent as Bush.

Posted by: Poputonian at November 17, 2003 07:35 PM | PERMALINK

Digby is right about the anger. Fox viewers don't know what to do with people who aren't angry. It made me uncomfortable but I'm not a Fox viewer. In fact, I give lots of credit to bloggers who can bear to scan that sick excuse for a network to report back on what they see. I couldn't do it. It took quite a bit of fortitude watch Clark put up with Asman to the end, but I like the General so I did.

I'm encouraged that the idea of Fox as state TV is getting more play. I hope that over the next few months it loses most of the credibility it's managed to acrue. Now I have to go take a shower.

Posted by: Get HR2239 Passed Now at November 17, 2003 07:37 PM | PERMALINK

rilkefan,

Eric Alterman? Please he should just change his last name to Fisk!

Posted by: Odysseus at November 17, 2003 07:37 PM | PERMALINK

Another important video is posted on USA Today's website. It was made during Clark's interview. URL is:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/nation/2003-11-16-clark-excerpts_x.htm

In the beyond words section, the title is,
"Clark emotional while detailing horrors of Bosnia"
He is showing some pictures of the war and uses the phrase, "the pornography of violence".
What a turn of phrase!

Posted by: BOHICA at November 17, 2003 07:40 PM | PERMALINK

Odysseus, in defense of Alterman: I don't particularly like his blog, but I can recommend his book. Certainly, he goes overboard in places, but I generally found it to be rather measured and honest (in that he points out true instances of liberal bias) and on the whole much less partisan than his blog.
Now I'm a liberal so our tastes probably differ, but you should consider giving it a try, you might be in for a surprise.

Posted by: markus at November 17, 2003 07:46 PM | PERMALINK

Poputonian,

Is Bush incompetent because Osama Bin Laden can't come out of his cave without fear for his life or because Saddam Hussein has been taken down and Iraqi's are free for the first time in along time.

Is the job finished? NO, but we should all be working towards finishing. I truly wish people could see that we are at the beginning of a long war. Unless, of course you think Al Queda is just going to sit back and leave the U.S. alone when a democrat is elected president.

Or would they be as active as they were against U.S. interests as they were under Clinton.

Or is it because the economy is starting to comeback after recovering from the end of the Clinton presidency. (Not that I think that was necessarily Clinton's fault. Just cyclical in my opinion.)

I don't see perfection, but I also don't see incometence.

Posted by: Odysseus at November 17, 2003 07:49 PM | PERMALINK

Poputonian,

However I do see incompetence in my spelling.

Posted by: Odysseus at November 17, 2003 07:51 PM | PERMALINK

Another very cool video:

Jonathan said to share it, so here goes!

http://gwforclark.menshevik.com/thegeneral.wmv

Posted by: Dennis at November 17, 2003 07:52 PM | PERMALINK

Oops, I forgot to include the gov't funded NPR

Well, I suppose that's technically correct as NPR receives 1-2% of its funding from federal grants.

Posted by: Qoheleth at November 17, 2003 07:56 PM | PERMALINK

BOHICA, "the pornography of violence" is a fairly common phrase - it was coined by the poet Gamel Woolsey writing about reportage on the Spanish Civil War. Anyway, I'm glad to see Clark using vigorous language.

Posted by: rilkefan at November 17, 2003 07:59 PM | PERMALINK

In '88 Bush sr. berated Dan Rather for around 5 minutes. Like most of HW's attempts to appear spontaneous it seemed rehearsed but it was considered a defining moment of the campaign.

Posted by: davids at November 17, 2003 08:00 PM | PERMALINK

That video was as staged event:

Why do I know!

Because Clark didn't go "ballistic" as Josh as said he did, Oh No baby (watch the video again and tell me where the laughing, smiling Clark goes ballistic-didn't happen)

Righteous indignation wouldn’t show an interviewer laughing with the reporter though the whole thing....when someone gets anger general gets a bit messy (see Howard Dean).

And yeah FOX has been know to stage event an event or two...Just ask Senator Bill Frist and Judicial committee 3 night slumber party.

The big question here is does the FOX News people (or conservatives at large--see Brook's column this last Sunday) think “Bush is NOW unelectable”? That is the real question here is as I've been saying all weekend. Iraq is Bush's "Gulf of Tonkin" albterosa.

Bush can't stay in Iraq and yet Bush can't leave either...That is WHY Bush is now officially unelectable. Poor Junior, he's been hung out to dry...kiss Brit Hume and his nice voice and "everything" good-by baby.

Easy come, easy go!

Posted by: Cheryl at November 17, 2003 08:08 PM | PERMALINK

Bravo for Clark! And to do it on Fox he gets bonus points. Clark's indignation was a breath of fresh air.

Posted by: dorsano at November 17, 2003 08:08 PM | PERMALINK

I am delighted to say that my cable company (Urban Cable Works in Philly) does not carry Faux News!

Posted by: sockeye at November 17, 2003 08:09 PM | PERMALINK

I've been a Dean supporter and continue to like him, but I have to be honest; the more I see of Clark, the more I like him, too.

Posted by: LauraJMixon at November 17, 2003 08:11 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,
Clark's original comment and yours are reasons 4,678,342 and 4,678,343 why the Democrats will not even get a whiff of the White House for the next 9 years. If then, even.

Posted by: Frank at November 17, 2003 08:14 PM | PERMALINK

I think this was Clark's Sister Souljah moment ....

Posted by: pol at November 17, 2003 08:14 PM | PERMALINK

Clark: "you're getting political"

Now where have I heard that before - oh yeah, isn't that a Republican attack phrase???

Clark isn't really know for his swift verbatim and sharp wit and witty intellect.

Kevin, dear, I wouldn't hang on to Josh Marshall's weblog words--as they have been know to wrong more a time or two.

Posted by: Cheryl at November 17, 2003 08:16 PM | PERMALINK

"when someone gets anger general gets a bit messy (see Howard Dean)."

I don't see anger in Howard Dean (only in some of those running against him). I see indignation, passion and determination.

And to paraphrase Clark - don't put a political spin on it. While Clark was deciding about whether or not to run, Dean was giving Democrats some backbone.

I for one, am glad to have an ally since as far as I'm concerned - Deaniacs have been fighting this war alone for too long.

Posted by: dorsano at November 17, 2003 08:18 PM | PERMALINK

I wrote up the full transcript.

Note: The cross talk was very hard to transcribe. I'm not certain of the order of the statements made here, or the content during the parts where the interviewer kept interrupting and Clark kept trying to speak. This should not be taken as authoritative. This is a rush job by someone who has never done this before.

Interviewer David [Something-or-other]: Well it's not easy to call a four star general with a heroic battlefied record weak on defense. That's one of the reasons that democrats were so pleased to see him make a run for the whitehouse. And we're very pleased now that he could take time out to be with us. Democractic Presidential Candidate, retired general, Wesley Clark. General thanks alot for coming in. Appreciate it.

Clark: Good to be with you.

I: Who talked you into this?

C: Oh it was a long process and essentially I looked at the direction the country was headed and I just wasn't pleased. I saw us going into a war we didn't need to be in. I saw tremendous problems at home. I saw tax cuts that didn't really make economic sense. I saw business problems, ethics problems in business, and I began to speak out about them and people came to me, and many people asked me to run.

I: Was... Did Bill Clinton, eeehhh, have the deciding vote in you running?

C: No he didn't. But I did talk to Bill Clinton. And I talked to Hilary. And I talked to a lot of leaders in the democractic party at various times over the last couple of years because like me they're very concerned about where things were. And where they're headed.

I: Now one thing you must be sick of by now, but I gotta play the game too is ehh bringing up statements that you made in the past. You're not a pope-politician at heart. Therefore you've made some more mistakes than other people have, so people throw them back at you. One of them was just yesterday. Maybe it wasn't a mistake but it caught our attention. On the Meet the Press you said something about Iraq. You said "President Bush has said (the war in Iraq) is the centerpiece for the war on terror. It isn't. It's a sideshow. It's simply their easiest means of access to attack American soldiers. That's all it is." You really think that Iraq is only a sideshow?

C: For the war on terror it's a terrible distraction and we should have gone directly after Osama Bin Laden. Let's be clear about what happened. This administration decided to go to war against Saddam Hussein, or at least to set all the plans in motion, while we were still bombing Afghanistan and when Tommy Franks should have been challenged to come up with the plans to finish the job against Osama Bin Laden. He was apparently preparing plans to preparing plans to brief the president and secretary of defense on Iraq. We let Osama bin Laden get away. He's there in the mountains of Western Pakistan. Newsweek magazine can find him. I don't know why we can't. And I propose we have a joint US-Saudi force to go after Osama bin Laden. Let's finish this job on terrorism.

I: Well let me just ask you, Do you... Do you know that newsweek knows where Osama bin Laden is and isn't telling the world?

C: Well I've seen the articles in Newsweek. I'm sure you have. And so I think we should start by talking to Newsweek. I think our US Government should start. And I think we should be putting a full court effort on Osama Bin Laden. As for Iraq: We're in a mess. It was a war we didn't have to fight. We're there. Now we've got to have a success strategy. This administration hasn't had one. It called Jerry Bremer back from Baghdad in an effort to cobble one together. It still doesn't go far enough. We need a success strategy for our foreign policy. We need a success strategy in Iraq. But don't ever make the mistake of believing that what we did in Iraq was related to the war on terrorism. It was related only tangentially and it distracted us from what we needed to be doing...

I: [interrupting] But to call it while our...

C: [continuing] Unfortunately now we have to finish it.

I: [interrupting] But General, while our men...

C: [continuing] Now just wait a minute.

I: [interrupting] while our men... ..yeah...

C: [continuing] You just wait a minute.

I: [interrupting] Scuse me just one minute... I just want to add onto that. While our men and women are dying in Iraq is it proper to call it a sideshow?

C: Our men and women in Iraq are doing a fabulous job. They're doing a great job. I love them. I respect them and I honor them and. My problem is with the president of the united states. He's the one responsible for this. As he told us. He was going to make the decision when to go to war. He did. Our men and women are doing everything their country has asked them to do. But for the war on terror it's not the right thing that we should ask them to do. Don't you dare twist words into disrespect for the men and women in uniform. I love those men and women. I gave 34 years of my life to them. You better take my words the right way...

I: [interrupting] General I'm just repeating your own words to you.

C: [continuing]... This is about the president of the united states and [unintelligble] Leadership.

I: [interrupting] Didn't you say that Iraq was a Sideshow?

C: No sir, you are not. You are playing politics.

I: [interrupting] [unintelligible]

C: [continuing] No, sir. No, sir. You are plaing politics with the men and women in uniform. You are sir.

I: [interrupting] I just read back your own statement. General...

C: [continuing] Take it straight. You take it straight.

I: [interrupting] Didn't you say it was a sideshow?

C: [continuing] Straight...

I: [interrupting] General, I just read back your own statements... your own words.

C: [continuing] No sir, you are playing politics with the men and women

I: One thing our military advisors have assured us is that there is nothing but respect that one should have for your military career and for your respect for those who are now in the military. As a father of a marine, we both share that respect for men and women in the military. So don't get me wrong on that. I just wanted to make clear what you mean by that statement which you made. I just quoted your own statement.

C: I think you're trying to distort my meaning. I want to make it very clear, and I think you've said I made it clear. The sideshow is not the men and women in uniform. It is the leadership of the president of the united states who would get us into this. And I think we need to be very straight in covering this. I'm not afraid to say what's right and wrong in this country. And I'm speaking out, David. And I'm telling you this. That war in Iraq is a war that did not have to be fought.

I: Alright, General, Again. We uh... We were just reading back your statements. I'm sorry you got so upset at.. at our having done that. But that's all we did. We didn't have any implication beyond that.

C: You did have an implication. [unintelligble] I find it very unfair.

I: No, general. We were just trying to figure out what it was that you meant.

C: Well you got it now.

I: [unintelligble]...And I don't want to go through that territory once again. But we do appreciate you coming on.

C: Thank you and thank you for clearing that up on the part of Fox or it's viewers. I love the men and women of the armed forces but I think this administration has asked them to do the wrong thing in Iraq. We're in a mess, and I know how to get us out of it, and I will.

I: Well General Wesley Clark, we do hope you come back and tell us more about how to get us out of the mess ... that you say we're in.

Posted by: Anon at November 17, 2003 08:18 PM | PERMALINK

".... but I also can't remember the last time a military man like Clark took shots (even if well-deserved) at the President during wartime while running for President himself ... "
What the heck is "a military man like Clark"? Every POTUS campaign has vets in it. Do you mean a general? Then your comment is unsurprising, since I doubt you were alive when a general last ran for POTUS. Am I missing something that prevents this remark from being dumb?
Odysseus, don't those RNC talking points get metal fatigue from extended use? Can you ask the RNC for some new ones, do you think? Seriously, man, my eyelids are drooping here.
BTW: aner moi enepe mousa polutropos. Great first line, especially polutropos.

Posted by: John Isbell at November 17, 2003 08:23 PM | PERMALINK

I think Clark - who seems a fairly mild mannered guy in general - laid it on a bit thick and ended up coming across a little nutty.

The General appears to be trying to re-ignite his stalled campaign by showing he has the 'fire in the belly' to be President (a theme that has become all too common among Democrats this election cycle). But there is a danger here for him because he doesn't seem comfortable yet with this new role.

His original campaign demeanor - soft spoken, intelligent, level headed, cool under fire - appears much more in tune with his real persona. Now, he seems to want to play the fire brand. But for a novice campaigner with no acting background to change the tone so drastically in mid-stream is asking a lot - and could be dangerously above his range at this stage in his political career.

With the DLCers in charge of Clark's campaign, I'm not surprised at the change though. They have a long track record of making over the candidate's persona in the middle of the campaign to please this or that focus group. Yet nine times out of ten, the candidate ends up trying too hard to pretend he's someone he's not. Case in point - a usually mild mannered Gore stalking Bush around the stage in the last debate.

Don't get me wrong, I applaud Clark for refusing to be a patsy to those smarmy, blow dried punks. But it's always a challenge to play a part that isn't really you, and you either need a lot of experience OR a lot of natural talent OR BOTH (preferably) to pull it off successfully.

Anyway, for the General's sake, I hope the new, 'feisty Clark' product rollout works. Otherwise, it's gonna be awfully late in the season for yet another personality makeover.

What then? Earth tones?

_____

BTW - Fox uses a slice of the Clark interview in the clip above with the picture of Dean. They quote Clark that the Government should ask Newsweek where Osama is . . . .

Schmucks.

Posted by: Night Owl at November 17, 2003 08:23 PM | PERMALINK

Odysseus,

No worries...I can't spell any more either. Clark's point about Bush asking Franks for an Iraq plan while in the middle of the Afghan war is one hint. Another is completely alienating the world; we've lost our standing world-wide. Uh, let's see, the post war debacle in Iraq. Clark pointed out two beauties the other day: the axis of evil comment (in spite of Bush's swagger) only caused the North Korea and Iraq to accelerate their nuclear programs; his 'bring 'em on' comment incited the terrorists to more violence. You see, Clark is much smarter than that. He knows that false courage, bluster, and bravado won't work.

Posted by: Poputonian at November 17, 2003 08:24 PM | PERMALINK

*make that North Korea and Iran

Posted by: Poputonian at November 17, 2003 08:26 PM | PERMALINK

Samuel Johnson? Damn, I thought Dylan coined that phrase. :-)

Posted by: Mark H at November 17, 2003 08:29 PM | PERMALINK

Cheryl, Night owl

Don't look now, but your agenda's showing.

Posted by: Sovok at November 17, 2003 08:32 PM | PERMALINK

John, you mean "andra moi ennepe, mousa, polutropon" - Tell me, o muse, about Mr. Versatile? (Learning supplied by google). So would Clark be the Odysseus figure in the race?

Posted by: rilkefan at November 17, 2003 08:41 PM | PERMALINK

The only way Clark could have been better is if he said: "I gave 34 years of my life to this country by service in the armed forces, unlike those in the administration who ducked out on service to this country through deferments and special privleges. I believe I am more qualified to discuss, think about, formulate and implement military strategy for the good of this country than elected official in the Bush Administration."

Posted by: Cal at November 17, 2003 08:41 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

I do hope you will correct your misquote "Clark: The war on terror is a terrible distraction...."

He really did say "FOR the war on terror, IT'S a terrible distraction".

I can't look at the main page without wincing :)

Posted by: Dennis at November 17, 2003 08:42 PM | PERMALINK

"Clark's original comment and yours are reasons 4,678,342 and 4,678,343 why the Democrats will not even get a whiff of the White House for the next 9 years. If then, even."

I disagree Frank. If you haven't noticed, support for Bush's war is fading fast - even among Republicans. Recent polls show that nation wide, Bush's negatives are rising to match his positives.

Rove's matrix is imploding and Clark just punched another big hole in it. And when the war goes, the rest of the deciepts that this administration has perpetrated on Americans will soon follow.

What a glorious day!

Posted by: dorsano at November 17, 2003 08:42 PM | PERMALINK

hahahahahahhahahahhaha

Regarding Schwarzenegger's first day, this just in from Letterman:

12:35 PM - Begins overhaul of state's fiscal crisis by looking up the word "fiscal" in the dictionary

Posted by: Poputonian at November 17, 2003 08:58 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, rilkefan, those two accusatives make sense. "Mr. Versatile" will do, but literally it's "the man of many paths", andra polu-tropon, which I love because the Odyssey men is spatially many paths, and also de as your translation shows Odysseus is a man full of ideas. Double meaning.
I guess any challenger is an Odysseus, on a long, rambling voyage toward home, with Penelope undoing by night what she has woven by day, and a house full of suitors.

Posted by: John Isbell at November 17, 2003 08:59 PM | PERMALINK

thanks kevin

Posted by: chef at November 17, 2003 09:00 PM | PERMALINK

Cheryl, does that guy hitting you on the head with the shovel ever get tired?

Posted by: Kevin K. at November 17, 2003 09:02 PM | PERMALINK

Sovok don't look now but your lack of critical thining skills are showing.

That was absolutely a FOX news informational-just watch the damn video...again.

I know what I saw...I saw Clark do something unethical—and that's what I saw and I know what I saw.

And little SNL skit... that's all it was. (just watch the video - Clark is laughing-there wasn't the rightous indignation of someone who was "misquoted" and I have NO agenda because on several occasion I too, am also troubled by Dean’s lack of professionalism and his lack of political understanding.

Dean is not by any means a adept politician because really Dean isn't every educated on politic or social issues -- he is just a Doctor who doesn't really understand how ugly politics can be (as Clinton became educated) Dean is like Clark claimed to be as NOT a politician.

But Clark in fact did something very unethical when he staged that video... and Fox News isn't in to helping Democrats-they have NEVER been fair and balanced about anything...and they are not stating now and don't you think it's strange that they would do so now...don't you Sovok?

No! Because you don't think...your wife most likely does it for you, least I bet she does.

Posted by: Cheryl at November 17, 2003 09:14 PM | PERMALINK

Someone upstream tried to parallel Clark critizing bush during a war to MacArthur criticizing Truman during a war...

There is a huge difference: retired vs. active generalships...

(Just another example of "twisting words" to try to make Clark look unpatriotic.)

-----

Check out LiberalOasis's comments on Clark trying to jump start his campaign (obviously a pre-fox interview post):

http://www.liberaloasis.com/

Posted by: -pea- at November 17, 2003 09:23 PM | PERMALINK

I know what I saw...I saw Clark and that's what I saw and I know what I saw.

Kevin K. - you called that one right. It is a head injury.

Posted by: Poputonian at November 17, 2003 09:23 PM | PERMALINK

Odysseus, has Bush done one single adversarial interview during his Administration?

No.

Posted by: Andrew Lazarus at November 17, 2003 09:23 PM | PERMALINK

Cheryl, dear, less Kool-Aid.

Seriously.

Posted by: gasket at November 17, 2003 09:35 PM | PERMALINK

Weblog comments from Orcinus taht every liberal should read...we have a problem and this WHY we need DEAN.

This nonsense has already been well-limned by Somerby, who points out the ludicrousness of Kristoff's comparisons. And Kristoff, nominally a liberal himself, is only one of many from the left side of the aisle wringing their hands in such fashion; another example is David Kusnet's attack on Howard Dean in Salon, in which he describes the kind of election-year blueprint now being tailored by the GOP:

This strategy serves four goals: portraying Bush as the unifying leader that he could have become after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Diverting attention from his own high-risk policies. Painting his eventual opponent -- especially if it's Dean -- as the real extremist and a hothead as well. And blaming Bush's lack of legislative accomplishments on the Democrats' refusal to work with a president they despise.

It is indeed apparent that conservatives are making "Bush hatred" the centerpiece of their 2004 election strategy. But what is especially silly about warnings like Kusnet's is that Republicans are going to attack any Democrat in similar fashion, regardless of who it is. The only productive counterstrategy is not to defuse or muffle the very real anger out there, but to emphasize its rational content -- and thereby help make it spread. As the bumper sticker says: "If you're not outraged, you haven't been paying attention."

Unsurprisingly, conservatives continue to play up the "Bush hatred" theme, including David Brooks' latest New York Times column, in which he attempts to advise liberal presidential candidates to chill out. Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but I do find such advice from oh-so-thoughtful conservatives -- George Will likewise makes a habit of advising liberals how to behave -- extremely helpful. It's a very handy reverse barometer of exactly the kind of strategy that liberals should pursue.

Oh you should read this...this guy a very good point...

I don't often use Holocaust analogies, but given the increasingly violent and hateful nature of the attacks on liberals -- and the increasingly apparent fascistic tendencies of the opposition -- it is becoming all too apt.

The most disturbing aspect of this trend, as I described in the above post, is the clear emergence of an eliminationist agenda aimed at liberals, replete with all kinds of rhetoric fomenting violence against them. (One example I failed to mention was this one.) The past few days have provided even more examples of this behavior.

Glen Reynold sis such a cult follower-is he not?

Posted by: Cheryl at November 17, 2003 09:43 PM | PERMALINK

Gee can you believe this:


Saturday, September 27, 2003
The Free Republic is about to sue the city of Fresno and its Human Relations Commission for designating the Freepers as a "hate group." Here is the "Notice of Claim" (the first step in a lawsuit) it filed:

Gee doesn't Atrios know about this?

Posted by: Cheryl at November 17, 2003 09:48 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps Clark was "smiling" at the end because he realized he had just kicked some FOX News ass.

Posted by: Stephane at November 17, 2003 09:51 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry I should have said: I know what I saw...I saw Clark do an informational and that's is what I saw and I know what I saw...

You know you have to ask yourself why is Fox doing this...because they don't do this stuff.

There is NO spontaneous newscast like this from FOX News – that is what I’m getting out here...they don’t do that for liberal politicians. They have never done that before and they are certainly not starting now...

That Fox newscast was a staged event...end of story.

Posted by: Cheryl at November 17, 2003 09:54 PM | PERMALINK

The video speaks for itself. Clark is still learning how to deal with right-wing asshat attack dogs--and I think he did a good job for someone who has never run for office before. They threw him a spitball and he hit a triple. Not bad.

The wingnuts didn't like it. Big shock. But the rest of us did and the rest of us are going to send Bush the hell out of Washington and back to clearing brush in Texas--a more appropriate job for the man's talents and interests.

Posted by: Tim B. at November 17, 2003 09:55 PM | PERMALINK

Night Owl, are you so sure it was playacting?

I mean, Clark has certainly has given calm and measured responses thus far to questions-that bordered-on-attacks; with the whole Shelton nonsense, he has been forceful, but never angry.

But he usually displays a great deal of passion when speaking of the war and the role our soldiers play in it. We saw that on Capitol Report & Buchanon & Press, for example. And then there's the open contempt he deals Bush (the "prancer") on behalf of the sailors who were blamed for the banner.

Is it possible that this one thing really is THE hot button issue with him?

Russert came damn close to accusing him of testifying at the Hague for a photo-op, IMHO, and Clark didn't bite. Personally, I found that question rather offensive (and idiotic--as if Clark had that kind of power over the International Tribunal) but Clark seemed to take it in stride.

But Asman was clearly implying that Clark' "sideshow" comment meant that Clark thinks the troops--especially the ones dying-- aren't important, which could not be further from the truth and Assman--who was hostile right from the get-go--damn well knows it. They were hoping to make him squirm and they failed.

I don't know if this is a good or bad thing for the General. Perhaps he was playing for the benefit of those Faux-hating liberals. I tend to think that he'd decided that he just wasn't going to take that shit and gave Asman a proper dressing-down. We caught a glimpse of the don't-f*ck-with-me general, and I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing. When you consider what he was angry about, I don't think any (reasonable) person will hold it against him. I mean, it's not like he blew up because his coffee was cold.

And I don't think this is going to be a common occurence on the campaign trail, either. My guess is he'll go back to being calm, quietly passionate guy--especially on any network but Fox. That would teach them a lesson, wouldn't it?

But I wonder--remember how in the old Westerns, the young and inexperienced guns always went a- hunting for the #1 gunslinger? So, are all the reporters going to go after him now, pushing the hot button, hoping to engender a similar response? Or will they recognize that sleaze for what it was and straighten up and fly right?

Posted by: Laura at November 17, 2003 09:56 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps Clark was "smiling" at the end because he realized he had just kicked some FOX News ass.

No, someone said smile and ACTION! Than CUT, that's a print or a wrap.

the Movie biz... got to love it.

Posted by: Cheryl at November 17, 2003 09:58 PM | PERMALINK

Idea for blog software designers: put the name of the commenter at the top of the post.

That way I won't have to first read a paragraph, realize the gobble-de-gook is Cheryl's, and then stop reading.

Instead, I can stop reading from the very top.

Posted by: shovel at November 17, 2003 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

More on Orcinus...

But as Falk also warns, this kind of rhetoric, and the resulting behavior, has a flip side: Hatred inspires hatred, violence inspires counterviolence. Eventually the provocations from conservatives will inspire a response in kind. This means we are treading into extremely dangerous territory.

Contrary to Kusnet's thesis, I think it's clear that Howard Dean's candidacy is an important sign of a healthy response. As Falk puts it:

The Democratic Party is simply NOT doing what it should be doing in offering health debate that is necessary for a health debate..WHY?

Orcinus offers a good weblog -- you should read his stuff even if you don't agree with it.

Fox news should not be called NEWS.


Posted by: Cheryl at November 17, 2003 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

I paid for this microphone!

Everyone remembers how that little tantrum turned Reagan's candidacy around. Was this Clark's Reagan moment?

Posted by: bryguy at November 17, 2003 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

Laura,

No it's wasn't even Clark's personality -- not in his style to interrupt the interviewer like he did in that video...He IS a very calm and measured person and that is why the video doesn't make sense. As you're right about Clark being calm and measured so that rattling on and on about the respect of the troops in Iraq was just, well stupid, really...not that they don't deserve respect - just that Clark turned this video into an "Aircraft Carrier Event"--shame on him doing with his pride in the troops.

Josh described him as "ballistic" - but it isn't how Clark came off. This wait, wait I'm talking here, the timing is WAY off and the video is a nothing more that a falsified ad campaign as I'm sure Brook's NYT column rattled the moderated conservatives with his Sunday comments about Bush being intellectually immature.

I've also noticed a lot of conservative think tanks have complaining of late like for instance: Bush "spends like a drunken sailor" and that Bush embarrassed an AEI member by begging the UN to sign that last do-nothing UN resolution.

Bush is starting to get complaints from conservatives.

Posted by: Cheryl at November 17, 2003 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

Reading posts from Cheryl, I can't help but wonder if we're all not sharing the same air.


Posted by: Dennis at November 17, 2003 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

"There is NO spontaneous newscast like this from FOX News – that is what I’m getting out here...they don’t do that for liberal politicians. They have never done that before and they are certainly not starting now...

That Fox newscast was a staged event...end of story."

Perhaps - but I'm not so cynical yet that I believe that the people at Fox are Republicans first and Americans second.

And this administration, with its budget deficit, the growing national debt, the reckless fiscal policy, the rape of the environment, the unsustainable foreign policy, the self-serving energy policy, the abuse of public education, the assualt on health care and social security - might have finally convinced the people at Fox that Bush is bad for America.

So if they are trying to anoint the man they think most capable of defeating Bush - more power to them.

Posted by: dorsano at November 17, 2003 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

Sovok,

Don't look now, but your agenda's showing.

Just one person's observation.

If you wish challenge the SUBSTANCE of my post, rather than the motive, please feel free.

I look forward to some REAL discussion.

Posted by: Night Owl at November 17, 2003 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

FOX News is so disgusting. They had their little talking points, straight from the daily memo, and made sure they tried to work in all the points that they thought would make Clark look bad for their Right wing audience.

First, they ask Clark who put him up to this. Make sure the Fox viewiers know that Clark is just a puppet.

Second, make sure the next thing they mention is BILL CLINTON. Ha, see Fox viewers, this Clark guy is just a Clinton lackey. Thus, he is to be instantly hated with the fire of a thousand suns.

Third, make sure that Clark's criticism of Bush is turned into troop-hatred / not supporting the miltary. See, Fox viewers, Clark is just another spineless, soft-on-defense, America-hating liberal, like the rest. Never mind that he's a retired general.

Heck, they even feign to be respecting his 4 star general status before the interview starts, but it was acutally a blue-print for how their smear job was going to go.

Goebbels would be very proud. They are very much a propaganda machine trying to hide as journalists. They have absolutely zero insterest in presenting news, or providing a public service. Their goal is to program minds. For the Republican party. It is just so, I don't know, Fair and Balanced!

At least Clark did not stand for it. I don't see why Democrats bother going on Fox, unless they are going to stand up for themselves, as Clark did.

Posted by: Timothy Klein at November 17, 2003 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

Couple of points on the above:

there was clearly about 1 sec of satellite lag between the fox newsroom and clark's location. this wreaks havoc on conversational interplay, as anyone who's tried to use a half-duplex voice chat / netmeeting type program can attest. part of the awkwardness/talking over was due to the lag, which the fox guy seemed to be using to patronizing effect.

clark's been on TV enough to know to smile when he's not talking. he was pretty pissed but there's a core of mediagenic discipline that kept him going.

i thought he came through as well as could be expected. it was obvious from the "who talked you into this? did bill clinton talk you into running?" outset that it was an attack piece.

Posted by: ahpook at November 17, 2003 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

Any comment re Newsweek? I dropped my essentially free subscription long ago to save a tree. I assume they ran some good OBL articles, but contextless Clark's statement sounds rather odd.

Posted by: rilkefan at November 17, 2003 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

Night Owl, are you so sure it was playacting?

I wouldn't call it play acting. I'd call it politicking. Every good campaign establishes a distinct TONE - an attitude that the candidate conveys and that he hopes the electorate will take to. It's what all good politicians do.

In Clark's case it was clear that his original tone (I call it gentlemanly, my father calls it drab) just wasn't working. So now he's trying something else. There's no problem with that so long as he is skilled enough to switch without appearing disingenuous.

But let me be clear - there IS a strategy to this. Clark is trying to establish a new tone for his campaign: The Fighting General.
Clark's challenge in making this switch, however, is that the 'Hot Head' personality seems uncomfortable to him. Whatever one thinks of the movie Patton, most career officers don't rise to the top eschalons of the military hierarchy or corporate boardrooms by yelling and finger wagging at the slightest provocation - no matter how strongly they may feel about an issue.

Clark is a smart, poised guy. I doubt very much that he simply flew off the handle at the Fox twit's silly question. I think it far more likely that he was coached to be rightly indignant if they came at him with an unfair 'sideshow' question - a question any good handler would know the neo-wolves at Fox probably would not be able to resist.

Picking a fight with the evil FOX empire may be a smart way to begin to change the tone of Clark's campaign. My only point is I think he was a little over the top in this first attempt.

Posted by: Night Owl at November 18, 2003 12:05 AM | PERMALINK

I have been sitting the fence for some time now waiting for the candidate that had the most appeal for me and I believe that I am now in the Clark camp. I like Dean too but his red-neck outreach program kind of made me back up and re-assess the man. Ultimately I will back whoever opposes the current administration but I hope it is Clark.

Posted by: Eric Paulsen at November 18, 2003 12:09 AM | PERMALINK

It is unlikely that Clark's readiness to stand up for himself against the misconstruals of television info-tainment personalities will slacken cable news media's impudence in the face of valid criticism of its methods and product.

Posted by: Ipecac at November 18, 2003 12:41 AM | PERMALINK

The General came across as a hothead. He never CALMLY made it CLEAR just what it was he was objecting to. The next time someone calls Dean "angry", I suggest they watch this video of Clark. This is the demeanor you want in the President of the United States? Be honest, if this had been Dubya or Dean what would your reaction have been?

Clark hurt himself. The best thing his supporters could do would be to hope this interview fades from memory quickly while directing everyone's attention in some other direction.

I'm a former enlisted guy myself and the overwhelming impression was of a four star diva who got angry over much of nothing. Better to have calmly pointed out the spin and explain why he would not answer a question framed in such a fashion. He blew it. Big time.

Posted by: The Ox at November 18, 2003 03:25 AM | PERMALINK

The interviewer's son is a marine. He definitely came off as a bit hostile, but I think that's understandable.

It seemed to me that Clark suddenly remembered the official list of Attacks-the-Right-will-try which include Lack-of-Patriotism and Impuning-Our-Troops. A lightbulb goes off. Blink. And he goes into a tyrade.

He's not a very good actor...the little snit came off as very forced to me.

Posted by: Sylver at November 18, 2003 04:10 AM | PERMALINK

It's particularly annoying for Fox to conflate criticism of executive decisions with criticism of the bravery and dedication of the soldiers in uniform. A distinction between these two has been a basic concept for like, forever. See an essay by J.R.R. Tolkien called "The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm's Son" for a lengthy discussion of this very point.

As someone said above, MacArthur is hardly comparable with Clark. MacArthur's crime was not so much criticizing the President as it was the refusal of a serving military officer to obey specific orders. (Clark is not a serving military officer any more, and Bush hasn't asked him to do anything.) After MacArthur was relieved and came home, he testified to Congress on his views at great length, and nobody criticized his right to say what he thought there.

Posted by: Simon at November 18, 2003 04:22 AM | PERMALINK

Ambrose Bierce had a more perceptive comment about "patriotism." And "patriot."

PATRIOT, n.

One to whom the interests of a part seem superior to those of the whole. The dupe of statesmen and the tool of conquerors.

PATRIOTISM, n.

Combustible rubbish read to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name.

In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit that it is the first.

--Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary.

Posted by: raj at November 18, 2003 04:34 AM | PERMALINK

Raj beat me to it on the Bierce reference!

Posted by: englishprofessor at November 18, 2003 04:40 AM | PERMALINK

As one who works in the mental health field, with experience in treating anger management difficulties, my impression is that this was not a staged event by Fox. First, anger is an entirely normal, frequently healthy, human emotion that varies in strength from mild irritation to intense fury and rage.

Similar to other emotions, it is accompanied by physiological and biological changes. Using just the construct of physiological changes the sequence is typically this:

Event --> Physiological changes --> Reaction

Watch Clark in this video. You can see a visible change after the interviewer said “While our men and women are dying in Iraq is it proper to call it a sideshow?”

You can see Clark’s face redden; his body becomes tense almost immediately. These are physiological changes that are very difficult to “stage,” particularly the first one.

Highly unlikely that this was staged.

I personally think Clark came off well. My fear is that this will be used as an “unstable” clip in the future. But when watched in its entirety, only those that are completely ‘hard wired right’ would likely come to that conclusion.

Posted by: fizz plop fizz at November 18, 2003 04:41 AM | PERMALINK

Dark Avenger asks
Where's Reg, Will Allen, Al, Ron, and the other unpaid members of the Mighty Wurlitzer blog team ...

What were you expecting us to do? I mean here we have a newsie trying to trip up a political candidate (hardly a first), and a candidate does his best to look good during the attempted trip (hardly a first).

Did you want my opinion? I thought the initial indignation was appropriate, but that he might have carried on a little too long. Of course, carrying on also has a strategic value: fewer questions.

I'd call it a success for Clark because it played well to the base, and since he's in the primaries that is the important thing.

Posted by: Ron at November 18, 2003 06:00 AM | PERMALINK

I packed up my pen and notebook and slowly made my way to the door through the sardine-packed crowd of Dean-o-philes.

-- Josh Marshall

A Dean-o-phile? Gee I wonder if that is anything anything like a pedophile?

Real nice choice of words there--at least you know what Josh Marshall thinks of Dean supporters.

Posted by: Cheryl at November 18, 2003 06:23 AM | PERMALINK

One thing I haven't seen mentioned (I have not yet read all the comments) is the way Clark returns to his smiling self after the shouting is over. I'm sure Fox will cut that part off when they replay it, but for those who see the whole thing it is hard to portray Clark as a raving lunatic. It looks a lot like a guy who is pissed off at having his support for the armed forces questioned by a talking head.

Posted by: David Perlman at November 18, 2003 07:27 AM | PERMALINK

I haven't read through all the posts so I'm sorry if this was already noted, but I feel it's an important thing to point out:

at no point did Wes Clark say the war on terror was a distraction, he said (note the word _for_) -

Asman: "Do you really think Iraq's a sideshow?"

Clark: "for the war on terror it's a terrible distraction"

I was also impressed by his ability to shift from justifiably passionate in defending his words, to calm and controlled. I think you saw the General in him coming out for a moment - and I mean that in a good way. When a good man with good intentions is that powerful and willed when the time is right you see that indefinible thing that makes some people true leaders. I don't think we've had a leader that really seemed like one in a long time.

Posted by: Len at November 18, 2003 07:33 AM | PERMALINK

I think Clark did an awesome job responding to the standard "gotcha" questions that interviewers put to candidates.
But please, please spare me the self-righteous preening about the "jerks at Fox News". This is the standard stuff that interviewers ask, I've seen Peter Jennings ask similar "put words in your mouth" questions to lots of politicians, as have Dan Rather, Bryant Gumbel, Chris Matthews, and as for the entire 60 Minutes crowd, don't get me started. Oh, yeah, don't forget NPR (did you miss their ombudsman cutting up Terry Gross for her blatantly hostile interview with Bill O'Reilly? To be fair, I can understand being hostile to old Bill, but it's not the proper function of an interviewer). I've been offended by this stuff for years and years, watching openly liberal journalists imply that those who disagree with them are loathsome.
Oh, and they didn't question his patriotism. They asked him to justify calling Iraq a sideshow, and he did. So what's the problem?
Besides, Clark should kiss the guy, it was a standard question that gives him the opportunity to show some strength of character that's pretty rare in politicians.

Posted by: rhinoman at November 18, 2003 07:44 AM | PERMALINK

The liberal partisan in me was cheering Clark on as he bitch-slapped Assman, but the moderate swing voter in me was appalled at seeing Clark get into a shouting match with a FNC flunky. It looked very unpresidential. Of course, it was no more unpresidential than saying "trick question" during a news conference, but still.

Posted by: Big Tex at November 18, 2003 07:51 AM | PERMALINK

Very impressed with Clark's performance. Although I thought he missed a great opportunity with the first question:

Asman: Who talked you into this?

Clark: Well frankly, George W. Bush did, by failing as a president...
---
Cheryl, I understand where you're coming from because I've been there, but you seriously need to step back and relax. You aren't changing anyone's mind here.

The suffix "phile" can be attached to almost anything, "pedophile" is common but so is "francophile." Marshall is an open supporter of Clark and somewhat of a "Dean-o-phobe", he's simply poking fun at his readers who are Dean supporters.

Posted by: Rosco at November 18, 2003 07:58 AM | PERMALINK

"They asked him to justify calling Iraq a sideshow, and he did. So what's the problem?"

That's not quite right. They asked him if it was "proper" to do so "while our men and women are dying in Iraq."

THAT'S where Clark lost his sh*t, and justifiably so. It's a classic, time-worn ploy to silence dissent by assailing one's patriotism and/or to suggest that such dissent is assailing "our men and women."

If Clark had said he supports Bush's policy 100%, would Asman have asked if it's "proper" to do so while "or men and women are dying in Iraq"? Of course not! Consent is deemed patriotic or "proper." Ditto, silence. Only DISSENT draws this kind of ugly, McCarthyesque implication. Why? To scare it into silence.

I'm freakin' SICK of it. Evidently Clark is too. Good on him.

And I'm not even a Clark supporter.

Posted by: Patrick Meighan at November 18, 2003 08:05 AM | PERMALINK

Although I thought he missed a great opportunity with the first question:
Asman: "Who talked you into this?"
Clark: Well frankly, George W. Bush did, by failing as a president...
---

I know. What a freaking smug way to open the interview. If you watch the tape, you can't help noticing how condescending Asman is the whole way, as if gently debating with a teenager who must be unable to comprehend the ramifications of his own arguments.

Here's another snitty question I would've answered a bit differently than Clark did:
Asman: "Did Bill Clinton have the deciding vote in you running?"
Clark: No, my wife did.

Posted by: Patrick Meighan at November 18, 2003 08:10 AM | PERMALINK

C: Our men and women in Iraq are doing a fabulous job. They're doing a great job. I love them. I respect them and I honor them and. My problem is with the president of the united states. He's the one responsible for this. As he told us. He was going to make the decision when to go to war.

YES, isn't it a terrible, just a terrible, horrible thing to do? Using the men and Women to play politics on TV with, especially if that is precisely what Clark's was doing with this filmed political infomercial--Gee HOW many times did Clark shoot his scene before you know -- he got it just right?

Does Kevin Drum or Josh Marshall REALLY want to know this--because does in fact have certain ring of death about it...if in fact Clark "practiced" this little skit for Fox News.

Oh yeah, and is Josh Marshall recent post intented to be a derogatory name calling moment for any person that supports DEAN?

I packed up my pen and notebook and slowly made my way to the door through the sardine-packed crowd of Dean-o-philes.

-- Josh Marshall

I win!

Posted by: Cheryl at November 18, 2003 08:29 AM | PERMALINK

Cheryl wrote:

"A Dean-o-phile? Gee I wonder if that is anything anything like a pedophile? Real nice choice of words there--at least you know what Josh Marshall thinks of Dean supporters."

Now me:

Or like an Anglophile, maybe? From "philos," Greek, meaning "love?" You know?

Cheryl, tell me: Are you, a (presumed) adult, so genuinely ignorant that you don't realize the innocence of Marshall's use of that suffix? Or are you just hoping that someone else here is?

Shoshana

Posted by: Shoshana at November 18, 2003 08:36 AM | PERMALINK

Patrick Meighan:
I still don't get it, it's a perfectly normal question in the realm of TV journalism. I've easily seen as bad or worse from network jounalists. Check out the ourve of Sam Donaldson sometime. Candidates should be made to answer direct questions about their statements, the things that many in the audience are thinking. It's up to the candidates to handle it. If you can't answer these kind of questions well, you have no place running for President. But they should be asked.

Besides, the question wasn't even close to the Chris Matthews school of interviewing, which would go like this, " Many people say that by calling Iraq a sideshow, where are men and women are dying, you're simply belittling their sacrifice for the sake of your political career. But to get beyond that, don't you think that such crass opportunism is unfortunate in a man who wants to be President? And what would you say to those who hold you in contempt for that? How could you look the families of these dead soldiers in the eye having already told them that their sacrifice, of all they felt is important in the world, was just a sideshow? How would you do that? Oops, we have to take a break. We'll be back after this to get his response."
Now, THAT'S an arrogant, hostile question. The type of which happens all the time.
Well, OK, I exaggerate, but not by much.
And, yes, it's fun to see a good candidate easily handle an interviewer you don't like. Just try and keep some perspective on this stuff.
I admire politicians who go into the enemy's camp to show their mettle. I remember watching, a LONG time ago, Ronald Reagan was running for President against Carter, and he agreed to a one-hour unedited interview with Mike Wallace, who didn't like him very much. Wallace was very hostile, but Reagan handled him easily (Like I said, a long time ago). I didn't like Reagan, but I admired him for doing that. And, I think much more of Clark after seeing him go through this.

Posted by: rhinoman at November 18, 2003 08:41 AM | PERMALINK

apparently Asman's a Vivid fan:

from
http://www.ainews.com/Archives/Story4749.phtml

Jenna Jameson, the most popular adult star of all time, has appeared on various Fox programs in the past year along with other actresses from Vivid Entertainment. Fox News Channel anchor David Asman asked producers who worked on the Vivid stories if they could contact the stars and ask them to sign photos that his son could distribute to his buddies in Iraq.

The girls are all enthusiastic about signing the photos, which are being sent in care of Asman's son, Cpl. Felipe Sanchez, with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

Posted by: john at November 18, 2003 08:45 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry, I can stand the *idea,* I suppose, but the grammar has got my skin crawling. Cheryl, meet your new editor.

Cheryl:

C: Our men and women in Iraq are doing a fabulous job. They're doing a great job. I love them. I respect them and I honor them and. My problem is with the president of the united states. He's the one responsible for this. As he told us. He was going to make the decision when to go to war.

YES, isn't it a terrible, just a terrible, horrible thing to do?

Corrected: YES, isn't it just a terrible, horrible thing to do?

-

Using the men and Women to play politics on TV with, especially if that is precisely what Clark's was doing with this filmed political infomercial--

Corrected:

Playing politics on TV with the men and women of our armed forces -- especially if that is precisely what Clark was doing with this filmed political infomercial?

-

Gee HOW many times did Clark shoot his scene before you know -- he got it just right?

Corrected: Gee, HOW many times did Clark shoot this scene before, you know, he got it just right? [Note: For myself, I would have put the emphasis on "right," not "how," but that's just a matter of opinion. And I would have used the little *asteriks* emphases, instead of the less subtle CAPS.]

-

Does Kevin Drum or Josh Marshall REALLY want to know this--because does in fact have certain ring of death about it...if in fact Clark "practiced" this little skit for Fox News.

Corrected: Does Kevin Drum or Josh Marshall REALLY want to know this? Because it does have a certain ring of death about it if, in fact, Clark practiced this little skit for Fox News. [Note: "ring of death?" I'm sorry, but this is an honest, non-snarky question, because I just can't tell: Did you mean "ring of truth?"]

-

Oh yeah, and is Josh Marshall recent post intented to be a derogatory name calling moment for any person that supports DEAN?

Corrected: Oh, yeah -- and is Josh Marshall's recent post intended as a derogatory, name-calling moment at the expense of any person that supports DEAN?

-

I packed up my pen and notebook and slowly made my way to the door through the sardine-packed crowd of Dean-o-philes.

-- Josh Marshall

I win!

Corrected: I win! [Note: Thankfully, this sentence did not require any correction of spelling or syntax, although its meaning was a little obscure.]

Shoshana

Posted by: Shoshana at November 18, 2003 08:59 AM | PERMALINK

I really love stupid people, they entertain to me no end.

Cheryl, I happen to be a big enophile - I guess that puts me squarely in the pedophile camp huh?

Go get an education please, your really beginning to look a little unstable.

[new latin -philus, from Geek -philos, beloved, dear, from philos, beloved, loving.]

Posted by: sUbversive at November 18, 2003 09:03 AM | PERMALINK

Rhinoman,

A better phrasing of the question would have been this: "By saying Iraq is a sideshow, General Clark, are you comparing our soldiers to bearded ladies, contortionists, and carnies?"

Then clark would have had a chance to clear up the Asman's mistaking Clark's figurative speech for literal speech. And we all could have gone home happy.

Posted by: MattInBrooklyn at November 18, 2003 09:29 AM | PERMALINK

I wasn't watching the 'Fox News Facts' at the bottom all the way through, but I note they followed up "CLARK: SADDAM IS A CHALLENGE AND A THREAT" immediately with "CLARK: SADDAM WAS NOT AN IMMINENT THREAT".

Considering it was obviously juxtaposed to make Clark look like he contradicted himself, I found it kind of funny nevertheless, considering the warblogger's recent hoo-ha over the word 'imminent'.

Posted by: eyelessgame at November 18, 2003 09:49 AM | PERMALINK

Calpundit: what you fail to notice is that, in the American system, our fighting men and women double as political hostages. Anyone who questions their deployment must just want them to die or, alternately, think that their sacrifice is worthless.

I think this is related to the right's notion that counting the bodies coming back from Iraq retroactively kills them, but I'll leave that question for an anthropologist.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan at November 18, 2003 09:55 AM | PERMALINK

"Patrick Meighan: I still don't get it, it's a perfectly normal question in the realm of TV journalism. I've easily seen as bad or worse from network jounalists."

Rhinoman, I've got no problem with tough questions. I wasn't bothered, for example, by Russert giving Dean a pop-quiz on troop deployments. "Gotcha" journalism (from the right or the left) has never been my beef. In fact, generally, I think our journalists are TOO docile, and TOO afraid to speak the truth to power (or, if you prefer, to ASK the truth of power, and get clarification on contradictions).

What I DO have a problem with is someone impugning the patriotism/Americanism of another American (particularly a political opponent). Asman could call Clark a liar or a fraud right to his face, I wouldn't much blink. But to imply that Clark's political dissent is not "proper" because of " our men and women dying in Iraq," is to use those troops (and the flag) to silence political dissent. When I was a kid, I was taught by my dad (a Republican) that we're not to do that in this country anymore.

Just say Clark's d*ck is small, or something. That, I'm fine with.

Posted by: Patrick Meighan at November 18, 2003 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

Patrick, I think we just have a difference of opinion. "Have you beaten your wife recently" questions are quite common, how offensive they are is a matter of taste and perspective.
I find journalists who ask about "mean spirited" policies are just as asinine. And, unlike Asman, they don't even ask if the policies under question are mean spirited or not, they just work it into the question so that it's assumed. At least he asked if it's proper or not, and gave Clark the chance to respond to the allegation directly.
Besides, I think y'all are taking this Kabuki theater thing too seriously. Clark knew exactly what he was going to be asked on Fox News, that's why he went. He has to generate some buzz to get his campaign going, and his people want some show of how presidential he is. To put it differently, it's like a rodeo rider trying to make a name for himself. So he gets on the meanest horse he can find. Sure, anyone can ride the old nag (Larry King), but what does that prove? You want a horse that'll go after you, so people will see how good you are.

Posted by: rhinoman at November 18, 2003 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

"...there's a core of mediagenic discipline"

Sorry, don't know who wrote this, but wanted to thank him/her. I learned a new word! Mediagenic--like telegenic on steroids?

Night Owl, I think the real test will be how he behaves in the many upcoming interviews. Will he henceforth be the "angry general" you describe? Or will this be a blessedly rare occurence? We'll have to wait and see. But my money's on the latter.

You know the expression "what if they gave a war, and nobody came?" What if they had a so-called news network and nobody came? By nobody I mean anyone of the liberal/democratic/progressive persuasion. None. Not a one. Fox news would be forced to rely solely upon Miller and Morris for their "opposing" view. Force them into irrelevance/obscurity or at least crown them as the official and indisputable conservative mouthpiece we already know them to be. Wouldn't that be sweet?

Yes, there is a liberal bent to NPR and Terry Gross may well have been out of line with Bill O'Reilly. (as ye sow...) but tell me you've ever heard Diane Roehm (sp?)behave to a guest with the rudeness and snideness of any of the "Fox and Friends" set?

Posted by: Laura at November 18, 2003 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

Anyone who thinks this will be spun against Clark is nuts. Everyone clearly saw what the "issue" was. Another right winger trying to impugn a Bush critic's patriotism.

PEOPLE GET THAT now, finally. They understand it is a tactic of the right and know why Clark reacted. Assman looked like an idiot when he kept whining "I was just quoting your own words"

Spinning it against Clark isn't going to work and only people who already oppose him claim it will.

Posted by: Samurai at November 18, 2003 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

Laura:
There's no "may" about it, Gross was out of line with O'Reilly. When your own ombudsman admits it, you're pretty much done.
But you're missing my point. I don't defend Fox News as a decent news source. My objection was to Kevin's horror that Asman was baiting Clark with offensive questions. I pointed out that this is SOP for all of network news, even the oh-so-pretentious NPR (who I listen to a lot, btw), so demonizing Fox for doing it is silly.

Posted by: rhinoman at November 18, 2003 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Regarding Faux News - Fox news is popular. That means that it resonates with a portion of the population. Those are all potential Bush voters. To try to walk away and "shut down" Fox into irrelevance is the same as letting Bush have his way with them with no fight. I think the Dems should vigorously engage Fox and kick ass all over the place.

Go Clark!

Posted by: Sean at November 18, 2003 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

I loved how the interviewer started whining "we were just repeating what you were saying"

Clark does a smack down with "no, sir, you were NOT."

I've been liking Dean and Edwards since Clark's first week campaign blunders, but this is a truly great performance.

Posted by: Dan at November 18, 2003 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

GMT -- I think this is related to the right's notion that counting the bodies coming back from Iraq retroactively kills them, but I'll leave that question for an anthropologist.

Wow, I think you nailed it -- it's Schrodinger's War.

Posted by: Hunter at November 18, 2003 11:25 AM | PERMALINK
"...there's a core of mediagenic discipline"

Sorry, don't know who wrote this, but wanted to thank him/her. I learned a new word! Mediagenic--like telegenic on steroids?

I stole it from Neal Stephenson's Zodiac, where Sangamon Taylor tries to expose the Boston-area chemical companies' bad eco-habits in ways that look really good on the evening news. Antonym: mediapathic, like images of black effluent dumping out of a huge pipe into a river in which children/deer/fuzzy bunnies are splashing around...

Posted by: ahpook at November 18, 2003 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

Cheryl,

Do you honestly believe Fox would coordinate with Clark to stage this skit? What have you been smoking?

This is just another stale attempt at the right to tear down Clark. The more the right tries, the more they are exposing their fear of Clark getting the nomination.

Republicans are saying they want Dean to win the nomination while simultaneously attempting to tear down Clark. It's evident that Clark is the man with the best chance of ousting Bush, not Dean.

Posted by: Mark M at November 18, 2003 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Night Owl, I think the real test will be how he behaves in the many upcoming interviews. Will he henceforth be the "angry general" you describe? Or will this be a blessedly rare occurence? We'll have to wait and see. But my money's on the latter.

I think I said 'Fighting General', but whatever.

Whether or not Clark continues to publicly rail against the forces of corporate news evil will depend a lot on his campaign's internal polling. If they feel he gets an overall positive response from the tirade, you will definitely see more of the Fighting General.

My guess is we'll see at least a couple more rounds of this in the near future. He needs to learn to strike a balance with it though. The first one got people's attention, but if he doesn't tone it down a little next time, people may start to wonder.

Posted by: Night Owl at November 18, 2003 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

Posted this at the Wesley Clark Weblog, so apologies to anyone who's reading it a second time. :)

That exchange was downright heartwarming. Clark had to respond with force so that he - not Fox - would be the one to define what people remembered from this interview. A sound tactic.

When it comes to tactics, it's hard to beat a general. :)

However: this shows again the dangers of having any "general" or broad remark turned against you by opponents. Clark should well know this by now (for that matter, so should Howard Dean). The very phrase "it's a sideshow" opened the door to misrepresentation and attack. I'm not saying that candidates should be so careful when speaking that they wind up not saying anything at all. But they have to understand the two-edged nature of words.

In the meantime, Clark took what would have been a negative and turned it into a positive. Good job.

PS - I never watch Fox News, so this is really my first exposure to it. It's appalling. I'm thinking specifically of the tidy little summations they provide at the bottom of the screen - telling people what they should extract from an interview. Fox doesn't seem to want to risk viewers doing their own thinking. I halfway expected to see "Clark in league with Satan" appear there.

Posted by: delcyphr at November 18, 2003 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

And the second question Asman threw out there didn't help. Did Bill Clinton talk Clark into running. Shilling: to prostitute.

A better choice of words would have helped but Clark saw it for what it was an attack on his patriotism. Didn't work.

Posted by: daryl at November 18, 2003 02:03 PM | PERMALINK

Ambrose Bierce ("Devil's Dictionary") said something to the effect that, with all due respect to Dr Johnson, patriotism is often the first refuge of a scoundrel.

Posted by: Michael Kemspter at November 18, 2003 02:58 PM | PERMALINK

dear foxnews clowns...our current "president" is a drunken, draft-dodging cheerleader...thought you'd like to know.

Posted by: tim at November 18, 2003 05:37 PM | PERMALINK

Rhinoman

"There's no "may" about it, Gross was out of line with O'Reilly. When your own ombudsman admits it, you're pretty much done."

"My own ombudsman" has his head up his butt. By quoting from Franken's book, Gross gave O'Reilly a chance to respond to Franken's statements. She gave Fox's biggest bully a chance to have his say and he whined and wimpered and claimed he was being abused all the while he was abusing Terry.

O'Reilly is whimp - he should suck it up - he's giving the Irish a bad name. And NPR should fire its ombudsman because he's almost as bad.

Posted by: dorsano at November 18, 2003 08:28 PM | PERMALINK

I think Clark did a great job in the Fox "interview". He was justifiably angry, but not at all out of control. He had fire is his eyes, and passion in his voice, and it was wonderful to behold.

Incidentally, I was able to download the .wmv file to my pc.

If Fox removes it from their website, I'd be willing to send a copy to anyone who wants it.

Posted by: Synykyl at November 18, 2003 09:04 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. That's all I can say. I was moved by the way he spoke with such courage and conviction. And I always like it when FOX reporters are called on their blatant bias.

Posted by: Alex Mudd at November 19, 2003 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

Wait a second, I'm confused. Fox News is in league with Clark now? Why, exactly, would they agree to stage-manage this appearance by Clark? To make themselves look better? If so, then why would Clark agree to appear? Is it a "win-win" situation? As my very best friend in the world Nicholas always says before he dives into one of the many stage-managed events that he participates in, "What's my motivation?"

And Cheryl - the substance of your post? There appears to be little in the way of substance, save wacky conspiracy theories based on questionable evidence ("I saw Clark and I know what I saw... The whole thing was stage-managed, period.") and a clear agenda (rabid support for another political candidate).

Posted by: Yasonyacky at November 19, 2003 01:46 PM | PERMALINK

Soooooooo...we have a repug who believes Faux News is in collusion with a democratic presidential nominee...how quaint!

No accounting for intelligence these days...goes with the "no child left" policy I suppose.

Posted by: mystic at November 19, 2003 02:08 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: Hackett at November 19, 2003 02:19 PM | PERMALINK

Matt Weiner and others: He did not say the "the war on terror is a terrible distraction." He said "For the war on terror it [the war on Iraq] is a terrible distraction." And it is.

Posted by: David Kellogg at November 19, 2003 06:09 PM | PERMALINK

But SRock, there's never been a war-time president as incompetent as Bush.

Clinton's example of war time leadership in Somalia comes to mind. It probably wasn't his fault because all of his friends in France were calling and yelling run, run, run at him.

Bush has done pretty well organizing and conducting wars in Afganistan and Iraq in my opinion. I know Bush haters could nitpick his performance to death. Nothing is perfect.

Posted by: Dennis Slater at November 20, 2003 09:25 PM | PERMALINK

Clark really comes across as a twit. He said Iraq was a sideshow then dodged answering the question by acting like an arrogant jerk towards the interviewer. How dare you ask me, a big time general, a question I do not like!!!

This type of response is typical of people who are embarassed about explaining their previous statements. They try to turn on the questioner. and question their motives, etc.. If anyone views that as courage or an example of backbone, it isn't. It is an example of someone that knows how to get out of answering an embarassing question.

It was Clark who made a stupid statement by calling the Iraq war a sideshow not the interviewer. The statement, whether he meant it or not, trivializes the sacrifices made by our troops and their families. He shouldn't have made it. He should have apologized for making it. But generals do not apologize do they?

I guess the people who respect him for weaseling out of answering a question, fair or not, probably respect him for making his other statement as well. He could have handled the question with humor and grace rather than feigning anger. This guy scares me. Sorry.

Posted by: Dennis Slater at November 20, 2003 09:40 PM | PERMALINK

Slater, it's obvious you are so far to the right you make Archie Bunker sound like a moderate. Fox pulled that segment for a while because they were so embarrassed by it. You know Clark was right and it makes you sooooo mad you can’t stand it! Clark is the fist person to stand up to FOX and they’re scummy way of hiding behind patriotism to snuff out any disagreement. Questioning someone’s patriotism is communist not American. Slater if you had a brain you would understand that Decent is as American as American can be. To Question someone’s patriotism like FOX and Rush and Savage do is a disgrace and in my opinion is Un-American. You need to go back and read up on your Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. Look, lets say we decide to go attack the south poll for no reason and our men and women are dying of frostbite. Even though our soldiers were dying serving our country wouldn’t that be a terrible distraction? Iraq is not much different that attacking the south poll. There are no WMD's and it's not in our interest to be there. It's costing us hundreds of billions and thousands of Americans have been injured and killed while the people who ACTUALLY attacked us were two countries over. Clark was absolutely right because Iraq is a distraction to the real war on terror and our men and women have been used as pons in Bush's fictitious war. Bush should be ashamed and apologies to every soldier for putting them in that position when they could have been used in an effective way. Clark is a real hero and Bush didn't show up for duty while protecting Texas from a surprise attack while Clark was getting shot four times in Vietnam. And another thing, Clark would never, never, never, never, land on an Aircraft Carrier and act like Tom Cruse in the middle of a war! Bush is a disgrace! He is a little man!

Posted by: Steve Richardson at November 22, 2003 08:03 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and Slater don't give me the humanitarian argument. First of all they are estimating we have killed as many as 10,000 Iraq soldiers and perhaps as many as 10,000 civilians. I remember all to well when we were in Bosnia an Kosovo and all I ever heard from Rush and the Right was. "I feel bad for all those people but we can't be the worlds policeman." And when Clinton bombed Afghanistan trying to get Osama the Republicans screamed "WAG THE DOG." Yes, you guys really empowered Clinton when he wanted to go after Osama! Way to go. You guys are such hypocrites it's sad.

Posted by: Steve Richardson at November 22, 2003 08:31 PM | PERMALINK

I disagree completely with those who think Clark needs to hold back on his anger WHEN OUR SOLDIERS ARE BEING KILLED WHEN THEY SHOULDN’T HAVE TO! First of all from what I am hearing his reaction was a HUGE HIT all over the place! I remember Ronald Reagan getting irate a few times and when he did people knew he was serious. There is a time to be mad and there is a time to be somber and this was a time for Clark to be mad. The bottom line is that FOX ABSOLUTLY knew that Clark's statement about Iraq being a "side show" was DIRECTLY pointed at the Administration and not at the soldiers. They twisted his words and tried to make it look like he was being disrespectful to the men and women who were dying. There is no excuse for that kind of CRAP! If Bush had listened to Clark all our Dead men and women would still be ALIVE! PEOPLE ARE DYING AND GETTING BLOWN UP IN IRAQ UNDER FALSE PRETENCES WHILE OSAMA IS HAVING ORGIES AND MAKING PLANS TO BLOW UP AMERICANS! When a war is a mistake "WHY THE HELL CANT WE CALL IT A MISTAKE WITHOUT SOME JERK FROM FOX TELLING YOU, YOU ARE BEING DISRESPECTFUL? JUST THINKING ABOUT IT MAKES ME WANT TO SCREAM! And it's not like this was the first time FOX has done this. Hannity (INSANITY) pulls that kind of Crap all the time. This kind of BS is designed to snuff out intelligent discussion about EXTREMELY DEADLY ISSUES! CLARK WAS RIGHT AS HELL TO TAKE THE BASTARDS TO TASK AND IT'S HIGH TIME MORE PEOPLE SPOKE UP! WE CAN'T BE AFRAID OF BUSH AND FOX CALLING US UNPATRIOTIC! My hats off to General Wesley Clark! IF WE CAN'T CALL IT WHAT IT IS WHAT THE HELL DO WE CALL IT FOX? IT IS A DAM "SIDE SHOW"! GET IT?

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