Lehrer Dodges Hewittian Bullet … This Time

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Before last night's surprisingly entertaining back-and-forth over the five-or-six-party North Korea talks, Red State champeen Hugh Hewitt issued this pre-emptive Weekly Standard Online warning over the scalp of PBS' rat-eyed moderator:

Jim Lehrer and the rest of the old media should know that they have to play it straight tonight.

Or else what?

in this era of new media, any detectable bias on Lehrer's part will result in a cyber-tsunami headed towards PBS affiliates across the country.

The key is "detectable," and the arbitrators of that … will be the viewers themselves, working through the blogosphere, posting on FreeRepublic.com, calling into talk radio, and canceling their pledges to local PBS affiliates if their verdict on Lehrer's performance is negative. If Lehrer goes in the tank for Kerry, expect an enormous blowback–as predictable as the one which followed CBS's foisting of forgeries on the public.

Judging by the lack of Lehrerocide on Hewitt's website this morning, Robot Jim successfully avoided Rather's cruel fate (perhaps it has something to do with the fact it's rare for debate moderators to present fraudulent documents as fact). For an earnest, multi-party discussion of Lehrer's performance, try Jay Rosen's site. And for some unintentional comedy, go back to Hewitt's Weekly Standard piece and see what he's really miffed about—that's right, it's that the mainstream media "refused to acknowledge a genuine, though bizarre, story that is actually having an impact on the race–because they collectively don't think it should be having an impact on the race." That story? "Ooompa-Loompagate."

NEXT: Just Say Nein

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  1. Yes, Hugh, Kerry’s tan is what this race is all about. Sheesh.

  2. “…posting on FreeRepublic.com, calling into talk radio, and…”

    OK, dear reader, how does Hewitt complete this list of aggressive techniques angered freepers can use to show their rage at the French loving commies on PBS?

    Would you believe, “…canceling their pledges to local PBS affiliates…”

    By God, farm owners throughout Indiana will be using their thumbs to obscure the logo on their NPR coffee mugs!

  3. “…and canceling their pledges to local PBS affiliates if their verdict on Lehrer’s performance is negative.”

    I’m a bit skeptical that the folks who are inclined to complain about Lehrer’s bias toward Kerry are generally big PBS supporters. Just a hunch.

  4. Hewitt also claimed on his blog last night that the debate was “a big win” for Bush, and that the Fox News panel (which actually gave grudging props to Kerry) agreed. Today, after it became clear that most viewers didn’t share that assessment, he posted this:

    “Gallup says viewers gave Kerry the win 53 to 37%. Heh. That’s like saying the horse thief who sold rope to the posse was a good businessman.”

    If any of you can make sense out of that metaphor, please fill me in.

  5. Blogs are seriously setting themselves for a fall due to their own hubris.

  6. So the disagreement is about whether Kerry’s facial color should be the subject of major media coverage?

    OK, evil mainstream media 1, scrappy blogosphere 0

  7. “That’s like saying the horse thief who sold rope to the posse was a good businessman.”

    ok, well, like, if you sell rope to hang yourself with, and you’re john kerry, he’ll win the debate but lose the election because of a last minute lynching?

    ok, i have no fucking idea either.

  8. If any of you can make sense out of that metaphor, please fill me in.

    Simile, not metaphor. I guess the idea is that the majority is wrong if they think Kerry won, because Hugh Hewitt has decided that Bush won; that is, the public is wrong to think Kerry won in the same way the person who believes the rope salesman was smart is wrong. It still doesn’t make much sense, because (with the caveat that you can’t trust polls) a budge in public opinion is the only real measurement of who won or lost.

    I wouldn’t try too hard to puzzle it out. As it says in the title of my favorite afterschool special: Hewitt’s Just Different.

  9. “Gallup says viewers gave Kerry the win 53 to 37%. Heh. That’s like saying the horse thief who sold rope to the posse was a good businessman.”

    So Gallup is the horse thief, Kerry is the rope, and the viewers are the posse. After that, it’s obvious.

  10. Tim: Yes, that’s a simile, not a metaphor. Thanks a lot, now I have to go retake fourth-grade English.

  11. I thought it meant Kerry is the horse, Bush is the piece of rope, the viewers are all businessmen catering to the needs of posses, and I’m Kirk Douglas circa 1975. I just don’t know why the fuck America took my Kerry and sold me Bush.

  12. Hang on. Kerry is the posse, the win is the rope, and viewers are the horse thief. Now it’s obvious.

  13. From Primary Colors:

    Richard Jemmons: Say you’re out in the woods taking a shit, and a wild boar comes charging at you. Now do you pull your britches up and run? Or, do you try to pull your britches up and grab the doves you just shot and then try to run, all at the same time? Or, do you just forget about the fucking doves, pull your britches up and run, ’cause you ain’t got time to aim and button your fly? And if you miss, well, you don’t want to die with your dick hanging out, you see what I’m saying?

    Susan Stanton: I think I speak on behalf of everyone in the room when I say “no.”

  14. “Gallup says viewers gave Kerry the win 53 to 37%. Heh. That’s like saying the horse thief who sold rope to the posse was a good businessman…”

    The main response I’ve been hearing from Bush supporters is that Kerry relied far too much on “rhetoric” in the debate.

    Apparently GWB’s savant-like skills of repitition and penchant for making bizarre grimaces at the camera would have made Aristotle proud.

    So maybe Hewitt is alleging that the rope was Kerry’s inflammatory “rhetoric,” the public (read: mob) are the posse, and when they find out the *facts* about Kerry he’s going to be strung up for his insincerity.

  15. Cletus Nelson,

    Rhetoric (at least by one of its definitions) is the use of language to effectively persuade; its also the study of how to use language effectively, one much praised by Cicero, Tacitus, etc.

  16. Kerry is the horse thief. Bush is the posse. The rope is some sort of line of attack Kerry opened himself up to in the debates.

    It’s a variation of the “Kerry MUST have lost, because he’s wrong on this and that issue” line of argument the committed Republican commenters have been pushing. You see, even though the “flip flopping” and “liking Europe” and “giving aid and comfort to our enemies” and “being right about the Vietnam War” problems haven’t sunk him so far, and didn’t allow Bush to win the debate last night, now they’re really, really going to destroy Kerry, because…

    …well, the “because” is a little weak, but basically revolved around the theory that Kerry’s positions are so self-evidently wrong that they’re going to doom him in the election. As Bullwinkle says, “This time for SURE!”

  17. Cletus Nelson,

    One of the most commonly used forms of effective rhetoric is repetition.

  18. I’ve always found Jim Lehrer to ask good insightfull questions during the news hour. I haven’t really thought much about what most folks would have liked him to ask but I thought the questions were reasonable and fair. Anyway, I like the news hour, props to my man Lehrer.

  19. “I thought it meant Kerry is the horse, Bush is the piece of rope, the viewers are all businessmen catering to the needs of posses, and I’m Kirk Douglas circa 1975.”

    No, I’m Spartacus!

  20. Jason:

    Apparently the Bush supporters I spoke to were trying to give the word “rhetoric” a negative connotation i.e. Bush had “substance” Kerry was full of “rhetoric.”

    “One of the most commonly used forms of effective rhetoric is repetition…”

    Oh the (((irony)))! 🙂

  21. Its simple. Gallup is the shepherd, Kerry is the weak, and Bush is the tyranny of evil men.

  22. ” problems haven’t sunk him so far, and didn’t allow Bush to win the debate last night, now they’re really, really going to destroy Kerry, because…”

    Um, because he’s behind, and is eventually going to run out of time unless he can come up with a good reason why people should switch horses midstream. You see, the posse’s coming, and the horse thief needs a better excuse, or the rope he sold the shepard is going leave him hanging in the valley of death.

  23. Kerry could always explain the tan by saying it had gotten onto his face from Charlize Theron’s thighs.

  24. That’s like saying the horse thief who sold rope to the posse was a good businessman.

    My first thought was, “if he gets away, he’s a great businessman.”

  25. “That’s like saying the horse thief who sold rope to the posse was a good businessman.””

    I think he was saying that Kerry was like a lawman, bringing order where there is chaos, and Bush was acting like a horse’s ass.

    But I could be mistaken.

  26. I believe Hewitt’s point was that getting kudos for being a good businessman isn’t gonna matter much when your swinging from an oak limb. Or in Kerry’s case, looking good while spewing out new GOP campaign ads that may wind up cooking his goose.

  27. Cletus Nelson,

    Oh, I know they were using it in a pejorative sense. I just think that they are being silly and maligning an important subject. But what else do you expect from the elephants and donkeys.

  28. joe nails it.

    I blew hot chocolate on my monitor reading that Hewitt warned PBS that the Freepers would cancel their pledges.

  29. Actually, the “horse thief” stuff IS a metaphor. The “that’s like saying” part might be a simile, but it’s a stretch.

    Also, Hank Reardon: Neither campaign can use material from the debate in their advertising. So says the vaunted 32-page rule book each signed.

  30. How the hell do guys like Hewitt even get work?

  31. I like Lehrer. I think he’s thoughtful and decent – and reserved, not robotic. I don’t know why he gets so much shit on this blog.

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