Talking Talking Points

Ever since Jon Stewart did that “keeping up on current events is hard” segment last week, seems everyone is talking talking points.

Eric Boehlert of Salon’s War Room catches USA Todayparrot[ing] the RNC on Bush-bashing celebrities.” The paper, Boehlert observes, “announces the trend towards political activism in Hollywood to be deeply, deeply troubling,” goes on to sound a few RNC talking points, and relies on Bush-Cheney folks to make the case. Boehlert concludes Campaign Desk-ishly: “Tip for USA Today: just because the RNC claims Bush-hating celebrities are out of control, that doesn’t make it so. Let alone news.”

And just because the RNC — via the press — has set the bar for Kerry’s post-convention bump in the polls at 15 points, that doesn’t mean lefties shouldn’t try to manage expectations downward. Pandagon’s Ezra Klein pronounces the RNC’s move “slimy, slimy,” and contends: “We know Kerry won’t get a 15 point bounce because that poll boost is base consolidation” (emphasis ours). Since Kerry, Klein suggests, has “already done that work” of uniting his base, “there’ll be little support gained at this convention, but that’s because Kerry’s done a good job, not because Bush has.”

In other convention-related matters, Mathew Gross, undoubtedly jazzed about being one of the credentialed, calls upon fellow Boston-bound bloggers to stop “wasting a lot of time talking about what we’re gonna wear … [and] see how much we can set the agenda for the traditional press by banging the drum on a single issue.” Which issue? Gross suggests “media concentration.”

Speaking of concentration, right-leaning bloggers continue to focus theirs on Berger. Lacking much in the way of new information, Peter Robinson, of National Review’s The Corner, has been reduced to encouraging readers to hobble around their offices or homes with documents tucked into their socks, just to see how much paperwork one might be able to jam in there. In a post titled “Corroboration,” Robinson brings us a reader’s report that s/he “just fit a 17-page document in an over-the-calf dress sock and walked around the office comfortably … nobody noticed.”

And Hugh Hewitt excerpts Tom Brokaw’s interview with candidate Kerry last night — specifically, Brokaw’s question about whether Kerry knew that Berger was under investigation. The senator replied, “I didn’t have a clue, not a clue.” “Clueless Kerry,” Hewitt muses, “that should stick.” Especially once the RNC/Bush-Cheney camp grab hold of the phrase to devise yet another of the incredibly lame online games of which both campaigns — and the press — are so fond.

Liz Cox Barrett

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.