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April 09, 2004

MSNBC Flings Shit Onto Page, Calls it Analysis

Howard Fineman serves up today’s delicious helping of steaming tripe on MSNBC.

Does Rice really know her role?

Hey, he had to call it something, and “Black Women Belong in the Kitchen” didn’t quite have the nuance he was looking for.

How national security adviser's testimony hurt Bush

Nice subtitle, but it would’ve been better called “More crap I’m going to fling onto a page.”

WASHINGTON - Republicans who'd been hoping that Condi Rice would calm the political waters with her testimony to the 9/11 commission have to be disappointed.

If he’d listen to a single Republican he’d find out we’re absolutely delighted. We’ve been laughing and cheering all day.

Stylistically and tactically, she was serviceable.

Serviceable? I wonder how much he’ll offer for her. Maybe he should check her teeth before bidding.

Her voice seemed to quaver at times, but overall she was a confident master of detail, choosing, for the most part, to praise rather than confront the accusatory Richard Clarke.

Actually she smacked him like a bug, without going overboard on it.

But the larger picture she painted of herself, her president and the administration certainly won't help George W. Bush's re-election chances.

Oh, so this “journalist” thinks derailing the left’s insane quest to prove that Bush wasn’t doing anything to fight terror is going to hurt Bush. I could’ve guessed as much.

A self-proclaimed expert at understanding "structural" change in large institutions, Rice wasn't aware — may still not be aware — that the nature of her job had changed by the time she took over as national security adviser in January 2001.

Of course she’s not aware of the left’s newly designated role for her. I guess instead of analyzing NATIONAL SECURITY she should’ve been making tea and cookies in the White House kitchen.

Reared in the Cold War era, she saw herself following in the footsteps of Henry Kissinger. "National security" was largely a matter of global state-to-state diplomacy.

Boy, you’d think with that tone all those cold warriors are soooo obsolete and backwards. So why didn’t he just say “Reared down in the ante-bellum South on a plantation?”

In fact, as her predecessor in effect warned her when he was turning over the keys, the model was no longer so much Kissinger as it was, say, Elliott Ness or J. Edgar Hoover.

Actuallly, journalists who actuallly listened to the testimony wouldn’t have referred to events that didn’t take place, now would they? And we really need an Elliott Ness to go arrest all of China for bullet smuggling when they try and invade Taiwan, now don’t we? Can you say “dumbass journalist spews garbage”? I thought you could.

If, as she said, we had been at war with terrorism for 20 years; if, as she said, the terrorists are determined to attack America, then the NSC chief has to be a ruthless hunter for clues around the world — and on American soil.

No, she said that terrorists had been at war with us for 20 years, while we had not been at war with them. That the problem was we had people running around like Eliot Ness instead of taking strategic actions in the old “state-to-state” model where we hand people’s asses to them. But I’m sure something like the entire fucking point would be lost on a journalist looking for nuance, or trying to get a better look at her teeth, or whatever this dingbat was doing during her testimony.

Asked at the hearing why she hadn't pressed the FBI more closely about what it knew, or didn't know, about domestic terrorist threats, she acted as though the question was an odd one: It wasn't her job. Well, in retrospect, it was and now certainly is.

She’s the National Security advisor. Maybe he can’t read, but they don’t generally deal with FBI things like hunting the Unibomber or asking if any students were overstaying their visas.

Rice identified the chief "structural" problem — that the CIA and FBI don't share information — in a speech she gave in October 2000.

So she was prescient and perceptive about structural problems in the makeup of US intelligence. Doesn’t that sound like exactly the person we want in that position?

She even said that the problem could result in a disastrous domestic terrorist attack. And yet, based on her own testimony, she did little or nothing before 9/11 to break down those walls.

And the walls between the FBI and CIA were put up by whom? What was that you said? “Congress.” There you go! And who is it that keeps screaming about sharing intelligence? The Patriot Act? Bueller? Anyone? “Left wing Kerry voters.” Yes!

The student of bureaucratic change didn't really attempt to foment any, at least not with the kind of urgency we know she needed to have.

I love how he just tries to though the word “bureaucratic” and “student” into the same sentence, as if he desperately wants to use the N word, but is shying away from it. Actually Condi started out as an expert in the power politics of confronting the Soviet empire, but let’s leave that aside for now.

And Rice's tone was perhaps too steely: The response to terrorism over the years had been "insufficient," she said. What a bland word when a soothing sense of regret was required. She was a bureaucrat explaining "structure" to a national audience (and a chamber full of family members) that yearned for blunt talk.

Oh, maybe she should just fucking hire Al Gores fashion consultant while she’s at it. This sanctimonious ass-wipe is striving for a Mareen Dowd moment, isn’t he? Maybe he should be more forthright and describe many of those family members as people in the Theresa Heinz Kerry funded Tides Foundation supported roll-over-and-die peace movement?

Rice, in the end, is just a cog in a machine.

What a description for the most powerful woman in human history. I wonder what cogs are selling for on the old cog market, anyway? Can these democrats not look at a black person and see something other than a piece of merchandise?

The real political question is: How did her testimony enrich the narrative of what the president did — or didn't — know and do about terrorism before 9/11? In an interview with Bob Woodward, Bush admitted two years ago that he didn't have a sense of "urgency" about al-Qaida. He said he wasn't "on point" — wasn't locked on a target in hunting dog fashion.

If we ever have a National Security Advisor who thinks their jobs is to “enrich the narrative”, just take them out and shoot them. And aren’t the same idiots who are trying to accuse Bush of not being “on point” the same ones who accused him of being obsessed with Bin Laden? That just a quibble I have about dumbass journalists and politicians who argue opposite sides of an issue. Kind of like Kerry, who tries to take on an issue by surrounding it on all sides until it surrenders in utter bewilderment.

That admission caused few ripples when it was published. But now voters may revisit the remark. Why? Because it's now clear that the president may have had urgent reason to be "on point." Rice was told about al-Qaida cells by Richard Clarke in February of 2001.

She wrote a fucking book on Al-Qaeda in 2000, but I’m sure Clarke threw out a few tidbits like “They’re bad! They’re very bad men! But don’t make them mad!” But I like how this dingbat journalist is trying to stay on message. They must’ve had some meeting where they decided to pretend Condi had never heard of Al-Qaeda, despite having written extensively on the subject.

When, if ever, did she tell the president about them?

Tell the president about them? Are these idiot journalists so far off into their paranoid delusion that they think the president didn’t already know about them? My fucking mechanic new about them. My garbage man new about them. My cleaning lady new about them. EVERYBODY knew about them, yet these “journalists” are trying to spin as reality the idea than NONE OF US KNEW WHAT WE KNEW. G-d it takes balls, arrogance, and utter stupidity to even attempt that.

The president was given the now-famous PDB of Aug. 6, 2001, which suggested not only that Osama bin Laden was "determined " to attack inside the United States, but that the FBI had picked up a pattern that suggested the possibility of hijackings here.

And all this vast journalismers conspiracy is based on what, “A pattern that suggested”? Everyone knew that Bin Laden wanted to strike us here, there, and everywhere. Everyone knows that Arabs terrorists have hijacked planes before, sometimes quite famously, especially during the 1980’s. What they’ve never, ever done is fly them into buildings.

Did Bush follow up with the FBI? What did he do in the days immediately after getting that PDB? Rice may insist that it wasn't a "warning," but we'll see soon enough when it's released to the public, as it almost surely will be in the days ahead.

Oooo… Prophetic shadowing! I love it when journalists resort to that when even they realize they're just flinging random shit onto a page to meet another deadline.

Remember the picture of the president in the classroom being told by Andy Card of the attack? The American people thought they were seeing a man suddenly thrust into a grave challenge no one could have anticipated.

Oh, like we could’ve seen that one coming. Get a grip. This guy’s so full of shit it’s coming out of his eyeballs.

That won him enormous sympathy and patience from the voters. But what if he was literally on vacation — at the ranch in Crawford — when he should have been making sure that someone was ringing alarm bells throughout the bureaucracy?

What do they think he should’ve been doing?
“Condi. You hear that?”
“What? The traffic?”
“No, not that.”
“The typewriters?”
“The telephones?”
“The intercom?”
“The generals in the hall waiting for the next intelligence briefing?”
“No, not that.”
“Then what?”
“That’s just it. It’s quiet. It’s too quiet… Something’s up.”

Already on the defensive for his leadership in the post 9/11 world — the war in Iraq grows less popular by the day

Hey, he said it, so it must be true.

— Bush now finds himself with questions to answer about his pre-9/11 leadership. He says he's running for re-election as a "war president." But by Rice's own standards, the war was well under way by the time he took office. He was a "war president" the moment he took the oath. But did he act like one? The election may hinge on the answer.

Wait a minute. If Bush is supposed to be a “war president” the minute he took office, doesn’t that mean that Clinton was a "war president" his whole term? Hey, is getting a Lewinsky acceptable under the Geneva conventions? I wonder. Well, one things for sure. During Clinton's war years the enemy certainly didn't suffer any casualties.

Thanks to LC & IB Mamamontezz for the link. This pile of journalistic crap was so bad that the Fisk wrote itself.

April 9, 2004 in Politics | Permalink


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» MSNBC Flings Shit. Blogger Throws it Back from Sneakeasy's Joint
With Gusto! :-) Howard Fineman, of MSNBC wrote a scathing, and viscious, attack job, posing as considered analysis, of todays hearing appearance by Condoleezza Rice, and it was just a matter of time before someone ripped him to shreds... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 9, 2004 3:00:53 AM

» MSNBC Flings Shit. Blogger Throws it Back from Sneakeasy's Joint
With Gusto! :-) Howard Fineman, of MSNBC wrote a scathing, and viscious, attack job, posing as considered analysis, of todays hearing appearance by Condoleezza Rice, and it was just a matter of time before someone ripped him to shreds for... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 9, 2004 3:11:34 AM

» Sir George strikes again! from Emigre With Digital Cluebat
George Turner takes Howard Fineman of MSNBC out back to the woodshed and delivers a good old fashioned thumping to his drek posing as "analysis". George proves yet again that he his in the top tier of the fisking... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 9, 2004 3:45:30 PM

» Media Whores... Gotta Love Loathe 'Em from The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
We know that much has been written about the Condi ClueBatting of CongressCritters that took place this past Thursday, but... [Read More]

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» That media bias from Inoperable Terran
MSNBC tries to cut down Condi. George Turner has other plans.... [Read More]

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» It's not just "News" - It's FILLER! from Who Tends the Fires
The Word for the Day is: "Villification" "Wheel! Oh, keep your touch; we're goin' round a corner. Time! -- mark time, an' let the men be'ind us close. Lord! the transport's full, an' 'alf our lot not on 'er --... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 10, 2004 5:17:34 PM

» (P)MSNBC Smackdown from Barking Moonbat Early Warning System
I was gonna work on my computer today but I took a break and stumbled across this Royal Fisking&trade at The BastardSword of MSNBC and its coverage of Condaleeza Rice's appearance at the 9/11 Commission hearings last week. Thanks to... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 10, 2004 5:37:00 PM


Getting a Lewinsky is acceptable under Geneva, provided that the cigar doesn't suffer needlessly.

Posted by: Peter at Apr 9, 2004 3:06:11 PM

It amazes me that two different people can listen to the same testimony and hear two entirely different things. It makes me question my own grip on Reality.

I mean, it looked to ME like Condoleezza answered all the questions, and she made the point that needed to be made. It certainly seemed to ME that the only people in that room who looked like idiots were the ones asking the questions.

Yet somehow, the Lefties can look at that same scene and draw exactly the opposite conclusions. It makes no sense.

Did somebody slip something into my Salems? Did I damage my brain permanently that one time I did acid, years ago? Am I actually dreaming all this? It has the kind of fluid, illogical structure of a dream, after all...

Yes, that must be it. I'm actually sound asleep, and this is all just a brain flush. In fact, I'll probably wake up any moment now, and then --

Posted by: Tao Libra at Apr 10, 2004 8:26:09 AM

Hmm... I see your point, Tao. But what did you think of her smile? Did she need to smile more? Do you think she enriched the narrative enough? She might have been too bland. Maybe a more soothing sense of regret would've been more appropriate. What kind of shoes was she wearing, anyway? I didn't catch them. I'm not sure I can judge her testimony without knowing what kind of shoes she had on when she delivered it. Do you think they were Italian? I like Italian food. Especially manicotti. I really like manicotti. And breadsticks. Did you know the Summerians baked bread? I wonder if Condi knew that Iraq is the source of breadsticks. Do you think she did? You wouldn't have known it from her testimony, unless you looked at her shoes, which were surely Italian.

Posted by: George Turner at Apr 10, 2004 9:01:36 AM

Forgot to mention: I like the way Howie backhandedly insults Condi by describing her as "A self-proclaimed expert..." Let's just ignore her impressive list of credits...


...and minimize her accomplishments as "self-proclaimed."

While we're at it, we can call Mr. Fineman a "self-proclaimed Journalist," and a "self-proclaimed expert on political analysis."

We won't call him a dung-eating cockroach though, because that would be MY proclamation.

By the way, I also think it ought to be a crime punishable by public flogging to use the expression "enrich the narrative."

Oh, no! *I* said "enrich the narrative!" Crap! I said "enrich the narrative" *again*! Oh! I did it again...

Posted by: Tao Libra at Apr 10, 2004 9:38:18 AM

"What a description for the most powerful woman in human history."

Catherine the Great and Elizabeth I might have something to say about that.

Great work, George. I can only hope that Fineman and his ilk actually read this. It's so good that it might even give them pause. It would surely make 'em fume!

I hear you Tao. The gulf between the pardigms has become a cosmic chasm.

Posted by: Jon, Imperial Hunter at Apr 10, 2004 11:20:12 AM

Absolutely brilliant!
Great Fisking, George!

Posted by: Cooper for President at Apr 10, 2004 11:46:39 AM

You are ALL missing the point.

She needs a new hairstyle. That 'do' is a 'don't,' girlfriend!

the main commentary from a Lefty afternoon radio show, right before I threw up and changed the channel.

Posted by: lauraw at Apr 10, 2004 12:39:16 PM

Another one by the master!

Thank G-d that you decided to start up a blog!

Posted by: Emperor Misha I at Apr 10, 2004 12:59:03 PM

Great fisk!
George Turner, you sir, are a poet.

Certainly, I have an ambition to achieve a minimal change in the current political landscape. You give me the incentive to continue my delving into venues of distasteful discourse such as your discriminable dicing of Fineman's foolhardy critique.

Could I print a few copys and drop them off at the local city black colleges? They would not include any of my rambling wit or lucid commetary. It seems, quite a few black friends I have want to know more then the tripe fed to them by the Demo party.

"And Rice's tone was perhaps too steely:"

Y'all know, if'n y'all letts one of da highered help git too uppitty den the rest of 'em will be wantin' to tells us what to do. Dang, they won't stop till they gits to eat right there in the same room's us.

J. Byrd, y'all failed us.

Posted by: Mikenchi at Apr 10, 2004 1:23:07 PM

Tao wrote:
"It amazes me that two different people can listen to the same testimony and hear two entirely different things. It makes me question my own grip on Reality."

Don't question your grip on reality. Fineman saw exactly what you saw, he only made it seem entirely different because he knows most people did not see it at all and he can describe it however he likes and most will never see the actual testimony or question his version. At least this does not work as well as it once did thanks to the new media and the blogosphere.

Posted by: twalsh at Apr 10, 2004 1:40:53 PM

FWIW, this poll in the NY Post today seems to indicate that Fineman and his ilk aren't having much success spinning Condi's testimony:

April 10, 2004 -- WASHINGTON - Condoleezza Rice's testimony to the 9/11 commission gave a boost to President Bush and helped convince Americans that his administration did all that could be expected to prevent the terrorist attacks, a new CNN poll shows. The poll - taken Thursday after blanket TV coverage of Rice's dramatic appearance - found that 48 percent of Americans now think Bush did all that could be expected while 40 percent disagree. That's a big shift from 10 days ago when 54 percent said Bush didn't do everything possible - that was at the peak of the furor over Richard Clarke's claim that the president was asleep at the switch.

It's gotta suck being a Democrat right now.

Posted by: TomB at Apr 10, 2004 3:12:07 PM

Thanks everybody!

Just remember. I couldn't make these people look so stupid if they weren't so stupid!

Posted by: George Turner at Apr 10, 2004 5:22:36 PM

As I post this Fineman's page has links to stories about the Fallujah rebels wanting a cease fire and planning to release Japanese hostages. It seems the Fallujah rebels heard and understood Dr. Rice a lot better than Fineman.

Posted by: Fred at Apr 10, 2004 5:29:11 PM

"WASHINGTON - Republicans who'd been hoping that Condi Rice would calm the political waters with her testimony to the 9/11 commission have to be disappointed."

That sentence alone reveals more than all the revisionist mumbo jumbo that follows. If Fineman knew even ONE Republican, or bothered to look at even ONE Republican oriented website, that sentence wouldn't appear in his story. Had he done so that sentence should have been more along these lines:

"WASHINGTON - Contrary to the apparent belief of Republicans that Condi Rice did well in her testimony before the 9/11 commission, analysis by left leaning reporters in newsrooms across the country tell a different story."

Good Fisk George. You're just a bit nicer than I would be. BTW, Condi might not be the most powerful woman in history, but she's certainly the most powerful Black Woman in history. And she was appointed by....oh nevermind this is a waste of time.

Posted by: Calliope at Apr 11, 2004 10:45:46 AM

I'm not sure, Calliope. It depends how we calculate "powerful". Land area dominated? Size of the army. Amount of influence over your country's throw weight and megatonnage, or number of men with sharp pointing sticks serving the Queen?

Depending on how you weight the possibilities, sometimes Condi comes seem to come out on top. Of course, if you jiggle it enough you can get almost any answer you want. What's interesting is that she got as far as she did on pure competence in dealing with military power politics. Not public speaking, social issues, or because she was heir to the throne.

Posted by: George Turner at Apr 11, 2004 1:32:40 PM

OK. Let's just put it this way, she's the most powerful Black Woman in my lifetime for sure.

I have enormous respect for Rice. 50 years ago black folks couldn't ride in the fron of the bus. Now a Black Woman sits down the hall from the most powerful man on earth and its perfectly clear to me he trusts and respects her enormously. That's an accomplishment. When 50 years have passed and the history of this time is written Rice will be a whole lot more than a footnote, at least that's what I predict.

She's got more of "what it takes" in her left pinkie finger than there is in the entire Dem party.

Posted by: Calliope at Apr 11, 2004 5:53:53 PM

Excellent fisking Sir George. Condi may not be the most powerful woman in history, but she is damn sure the most attractive NSA the US has EVER had. Interstingly enough, that has nothing to do with why she has the job.

Posted by: DG at Apr 12, 2004 11:11:34 AM