Macaca! Live! In Person!

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S.R. Sidarth is 22 years old and sounds it: He is genuinely weirded out by the fact that he brought down a possible President of the United States. "I've, uh, talked about this to… a number of reporters," he says, and his re-telling of the Macaca story is rather dry and serious. The only thing I learned was that before the actual Macaca moment Sidarth introduced himself to Allen and was next to him during a short ride Allen took on a horse at a parade. "He said something… unintelligible" Sidarth said. "But I realized later that he that was the first time he said "Macaca."

Sidarth was less interesting in whacking the mainstream media than his co-panelists. Lane Hudson, the "Stop Sex Predators" blogger who broke the Mark Foley story, recounted how he sent IMs and rumors to reporters but none of them chased the stories down. "I handed them the biggest media story on a silver platter but most of them said 'Eh, not enough.'" He plugged the Michael Copps speech: "If we elect a Democratic president, will probably be elected FCC commissioner and be able to keep the FCC's power in check."

Mike Stark was actually the most controversial panelist, and proud of it. He was the guy tackled by George Allen's security detail for shouting questions about whether he spit on his wife; last week he went to Bill O'Reilly's house and posted signs about his sexual harrassment case until O'Reilly himself came outside. Stark's theme was that the mainstream media writes stories "for Homer Simpson"—for stupid people—and activists can do the job they won't do, asking uncomfortable questions about Republicans' scandals. On the question that got him wrestled to the ground: "The only thing I regret was that was instead of saying 'Sen. Allen, did you ever spit on your wife,' I should have shouted 'Sen. Allen, tell us about your arrest records."

Jonathan Caplan, a reporter from The Hill newspaper, challenged Stark's idea of what the media does. He pointed out that Ryan Lizza of The New Republic exposed Allen's scandals before bloggers did, and Stark agreed.

"But you're acting like The New Republic is the mainstream media," Stark said. "They're not."

"Tell that to them!" Kaplan said. He was talking over loud applause for Stark.

Kaplan and Stark clashed over the limits that journalists use when quizzing people like Allen. "You're suggesting that you ask a sitting senator, 'Did you do this? Is this rumor true?'"

"Yes," Stark said. The audience murmured in agreement. "What did reporters ask Bill Clinton?" someone barked.

More Stark: "Everybody in the media is bright enough to know that Bill O'Reilly is not a journalist. He is a ranting propagandist. They are not talking about that, and I am going to expose that."

NEXT: Presence of Malice

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  1. the new republic isn’t mainstream?

  2. the new republic isn’t mainstream?

    Hardly. Outside of political junkies I doubt too many people are aware of the New Republic of the The Free Republic or most of those partisan rags.

    Kaplan and Stark clashed over the limits that journalists use when quizzing people like Allen. “You’re suggesting that you ask a sitting senator, ‘Did you do this? Is this rumor true?'”

    “Yes,” Stark said. The audience murmured in agreement. “What did reporters ask Bill Clinton?” someone barked.

    That’s absolutely correct. Why do people want to pretend like the Clinton years never happened?

    The NYTimes and the Wash Post published each and every unsubstantiated rumor about Clintons and were never afraid to ask them to respond to any rumor or innuendo offered up. Why should a senator be given more respect?

  3. “A possible president of the United States”? Are we talking about the same George Allen?

  4. More Stark: “Everybody in the media is bright enough to know that Bill O’Reilly is not a journalist. He is a ranting propagandist. They are not talking about that, and I am going to expose that.”

    Huh? expose what? Does this guy think there is anyone who doesn’t know OReilly is a commentator? What, they don’t know when they tune in they aren’t getting the same thing as they get on their local news at night?

    It sure is a good thing I’ve got Stark to remind me that Oreilly and other like him are giving their opinion and aren’t straight news.

  5. “A possible president of the United States”? Are we talking about the same George Allen?

    Yes, amazingly enough. Had Senator Porkchop not made that comment, theres no doubt in my mind he would be the front-runner. All the Republicans in Virginia were raving about how he was the next Ronald Reagan.

    The Macaca incident is the latest example of a long, slow, collapse of the Republican Party of Virginia that began in 2001. Gilmore busting the budget, Mark Warner winning almost all his battles with the GOP legislature, Jerry “Hitler Ads” Kilgore’s campaign imploding in 2005, one GOP state Senator telling blacks to “get over” slavery, and then Macaca.

    Their incompetence has managed to turn a solid red state a dark purple.

  6. The NYTimes and the Wash Post published each and every unsubstantiated rumor about Clintons and were never afraid to ask them to respond to any rumor or innuendo offered up.

    Not the way I remember it. (Corse my memory aitn’t what it use to be) IIRC those were all substantiated rumors.

    Reagan was the one who got peppered with allegations that didn’t stick.

  7. Cesar, sent you an email a few days ago and I was wondering if your spam filter blocked it.

  8. Somehow the significance of the Machaca incident eludes me. I mean, I love Machaca for breakfast, and there is this great little Mexican place in Placentia that has the best Machaca con Huevos ever. I just don’t see how Machaca could bring down George Allen. Maybe they don’t have good Mexican food in Virginia. [shrugs]

  9. “Huh? expose what? Does this guy think there is anyone who doesn’t know OReilly is a commentator?”

    Most of his viewers don’t know.

  10. The New Republic is certainly not “mainstream” in the sense that Time, Newsweek, USA Today or television news are mainstream. However, journalists who work in the mainstream take TNR seriously, and they don’t take bloggers seriously, so you can argue that TNR is still far more influential on developing “conventional wisdom” than its subscriber numbers would warrant. If, for example, TNR says invading Iran is a good idea, a surprising number of “liberal” journalists will accept that invading Iran is a “very serious” idea with some merit to it, rather than the batshit crazy idea it actually is.

  11. be able to keep the FCC’s power in check

    I know you’re dealing with a partisan crowd there, but haven’t the Republican appointees been the only thing keeping the FCC from running even more amok in recent years?

  12. The New Republic is certainly not “mainstream” in the sense that Time, Newsweek, USA Today or television news are mainstream.

    That’s what Stark meant, that a story in TNR doesn’t reach everyone like a TV news story.

  13. Most of his viewers don’t know.

    I think you are mistaken about that.

  14. “Most of his viewers don’t know.”

    I’m not one who usually defends O’Reilly, but I’d disagree with this. O’Reilly consistently states his program is “opinionated” and “news analysis,” not a straight news program. Unlike, say, Bill Moyers on PBS who pretends to be balanced but is actually a Democratic talking points mouthpiece.
    Disclosure: IMHO, O’Reilly — and most MSM commentators — are clowns.

  15. JbinMO,

    “Most of his viewers don’t know.”

    Cool trick! Quick, I’m thinking of a number from 1 to 10…

  16. Christ that Stark is a buffoon. I’m glad he’s willing to ask the hard hitting questions like “did you spit on your wife?” which unearth the criminal conduct of the Bush administration and will bring sweeping change to our nation.

  17. Caplan or Kaplan?

  18. Their incompetence has managed to turn a solid red state a dark purple.

    The population shift in favor of Northern Virginia and demographic/political shifts within No. Va. have a lot more to do with it. Demographically, the two parties are now about even in Virginia.

  19. “and activists can do the job they won’t do, asking uncomfortable questions about Republicans’ scandals.”

    Wow, does this idiot actually expect us to believe that the MSM is not asking questions about so-called Republican scandals. For christ-sake that has been all they have been talking about. Or maybe this pretentious moron has been too busy preening to read about the attorney firings, the Plame incident, etc, etc. It absolutely amazes me when individuals put forth, with a straight face, the notion that news outlets are being kind to the Republican Party. Give me a freakin break.

  20. “Huh? expose what? Does this guy think there is anyone who doesn’t know OReilly is a commentator?”

    “Most of his viewers don’t know”.

    I actually did not know O’Reilly was an opinion journalist. I guess I have been too busy following Rush Limbaugh like a sheep to pay attention to O’Reilly.

  21. “Bill Moyers on PBS who pretends to be balanced but is actually a Democratic talking points mouthpiece.”

    He must have one hell of an active imagination; he would have to muster all of his creative powers (limited as they are) to pretend that much. His show is so far to the left, he would have to be delusional to think otherwise.

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