The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Monday, August 30, 2004  

Together With Media Miscellany
August 30, 2004

“Psst! The good vodka is in the back!” [*]
Courtesy of the Chicago Tribune:

The Bush twins’ ballyhooed “R -- The Party” was L -- the Letdown for the A-list GOPsters who wangled one of the hottest tickets of the GOP convention here.

Sunday’s fest at Roseland Ballroom was the first event involving the First Daughters -- 22-year-olds Barbara and Jenna -- ever promoted by the White House. But once the twins passed the cameras on their way in, they disappeared behind a blue curtain into a VIP corner leaving the heaving masses yearning for more than the brief peek at the pert young ladies.

“Pert”? Must have been early in the evening.

Mug Shots
The New York Post reports some Republicans are upset that an anticipated glossy two-page spread of party luminaries in New York magazine didn’t turn out as expected: The Post, on Page Six, calls the photo collection as published a “sneak attack,” and quotes an unnamed “media watcher”: “It’s the most frightening collection of mug shots since the card deck of Iraqi war criminals,” said one media watcher. “They cut off the top of Lucianne Goldberg’s head, made tomato-tressed temptress Georgette Mosbacher look cross-eyed, and turned the beauteous Jeanine Pirro into a plain Jane. Steve Forbes looks like the canary that ate the cat, and handsome attorney John Quinlan Kelly looks like he’s just received a death sentrence. Natural beauty Peggy Noonan looks like an escapee from Madame Tussaud’s, and as for Henry Kissinger, don’t even go there.”

“Natural beauty Peggy Noonan”? Get me outta’ here!

Podhoretz World
Meanwhile, Post columnist and born neocon John Podhoretz is signing the praises of political weblogs. Podhoretz the Lesser writes:

The last two years in particular have seen the explosion of a new medium -- the personal Internet newspaper, or blog -- that has already and will forever change the way people get their information.

This is a thrilling development -- unless you are a mainstream-media Big Fish.

The success of the Swift-boat vets’ ads is the tale of the triumph of the nation’s alternative media. The mainstreamers didn’t want to touch the story with a 10-foot pole, and they didn’t. But the alternative media did. Amateur reporters and fact-gatherers offered independent substantiation for some of the charges. It turned out the criticisms of the Swifties weren’t quite so easily dismissed. [Emphasis added.]

One wonders who and what constitute “the mainstreamers” in Podhoretz World. The disaffected veterans’ claims were widely reported and except on one minor, almost irrelevant, thoroughly discredited. It’s over and done with, though now the Kerry-Edwards team has to regain ground that may have been lost due to a calculated smear campaign for an uninformed batch of tightly interconnected partisans.

The real kicker comes when Podhoretz, extolling the wonders of blogs, observes: “[T]hese alternative phenomena have been of great benefit to conservative ideas, anti-liberal attitudes and Republican politicians.”

Trent Lott, please call your office.

The Oxymoronic Republicans
The Log Cabin Republicans, a self-styled gay rights group whose members, when spoken with privately, seem more concerned with lower taxes and “greedy welfare recipients” than much else, are running TV ads in the New York market this week, “attack[ing] the party’s conservative turn, including the president's support for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage,” the New York Times reports.

Get this: “One person briefed on the plans said the commercials would quote from President Ronald Reagan on the subject of the party as a ‘big tent.’” Right, because you know Reagan was talking about gays when he said that.

More On Mary Cheney
Mary Cheney, the dutiful daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, dutiful to the point of exploitation, is in New York for the Republication National Convention. David D. Kirkpatrick of the New York Times (“Cheney Daughter’s Political Role Disappoints Some Gay Activists”) notes that her high-level participation in the Bush-Cheney campaign has caused a stir from right to left: “Some on each side contend that the campaign is using her presence and Mr. Cheney’s comments to soften its image and appeal to moderate voters at a time when the nation's attention is focused on the convention.”

Sounds reasonable; that’s been my take on the deployment of Mary Cheney from day one. This, however, sounds unreasonable: “Social conservatives like Gary Bauer, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination four years ago, complain that Mr. Cheney’s public support for his daughter ‘demoralizes some sections of the base that they need in an election where we could all be counting chads again.’”

How to please the likes of Bauer? A public vow of disownment? A beheading?

Fearing of the Nation
Who’s afraid of The Nation, the small-circulation weekly magazine with a devoted liberal following? Fox News is.

The New York Times reports (“A Magazine of the Left Won't Speak to the Right,” by David Carr):

Ten days ago, the ad agency for The Nation sent a 60-second commercial to the cable network promoting its brand of political news and commentary as free of White House influence and corporate agendas.

“Nobody owns The Nation. Not Time Warner, not Murdoch. So there’s no corporate slant, no White House spin. Just the straight dope,” the commercial says.

While the ad will appear on Time Warner’s CNN, as well as NBC Universal’s MSNBC and Bravo, it will not appear on Fox News, a division of the News Corporation whose chairman and chief executive is Rupert Murdoch.

Just so you know: The Nation last year accepted a full-page ad from Fox News.

[* Note: Additional items may be posted to “Political Notes” after initial publication but only on the day of publication, excluding post-publication addenda. Such items, when posted, are designated by an asterisk.]

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