Hobbits in Black Tie and Attack by Adjective

It’s a rainy, depressing morning in New York, and the blogs aren’t doing much to shake us from our weekend stupor, with the conservative/liberal tit-for-tat of fact-free charges seemingly nastier, and less substantive, than ever. Thank goodness we’ve got Wonkette! to take the air out of everybody’s sails. Her report from the White House Correspondent’s dinner discusses who cut in line (Jeff Bezos and a Meg Ryan-toting Howard Fineman), who’s short (Blitzer), who’s hot (Cooper), who’s ubiquitous (Franken), and the question of whether journalists look like hobbits. (Was there ever any doubt?)

Unsurprisingly, says Wonkette!, the journos failed miserably at affecting that blasť attitude Los Angeles types employ when dealing with actual celebs. “Anyone above famous-for-D.C. standards is manhandled and manuevered into more digital camera still photo shoots than make up a Wallace and Grommit movie.”

In more substantive but no less salacious news, Ezra Klein at Pandagon claims Fox News Channel has finally come out of the closet. How? By announcing that it would spend an evening reporting successes in Iraq as an explicit response to the “Nightline” special focusing on fallen soldiers. Says Klein:

[W]e should all be cheering Fox’s triumphant exit from the closet of non-partisanship. By engaging in blatantly jingoistic acts in response to supposed liberal media attacks, they prove themselves conservative and add weight to the left’s accusations of bias. Fox’s power has always been in their plausible deniability, as soon as they begin admitting to, and acting in ways consistent with, blatant partisanship, they immediately ensure their audience will be populated by the converted and the few stragglers who come by for news will know to take it all with a grain of salt.

Atrios has a lengthy takedown of Barbara Bradley Hagerty’s Friday NPR piece on John Kerry and religion. “She is NPR’s religion reporter and always writes about the hot-button social issues,” he writes. “She’s careful — very careful — to not let her reporting appear to be obviously slanted, but it’s hideously slanted in a subtle manipulative fashion. The good guys and bad guys are always clear in her stories, even as she seeks to provide ‘balance.’”

Meanwhile, Tim Graham of the Corner is mocking David Brock for starting a new conservative media watchdog website, Media Matters. Writes Graham: “Is there anything funnier on Earth than factually challenged David Brock starting a web site to fight ‘erroneous assertions’ by the conservative media? What kind of pitch is this? ‘When I was a conservative journalist, I lied through my face. Now count on me to be your guardian of media ethics?’”

Finally, Mickey Kaus continues his scorched earth campaign against John Kerry, referring to him as a “vain, pompous, dissembling candidate.”

(Memo to Mickey: Like all relentless drumbeats, this endless attack-by-adjective is not only tiresome, it eventually causes a deep longing for nouns. Wistfully, Campaign Desk picks through the haystack, looking for a single, solitary fact buried inside the blizzard of pejoratives. Our only consolation: We get paid to do it.)

Brian Montopoli

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Brian Montopoli is a writer at CJR Daily.