The Envelope, Please …

There were two opportunities yesterday to watch nattily-dressed men on television, made up to the point of looking jaundiced, talking well beyond their allotted time. Wonkette! blogs both — the 76th Academy Awards and the CBS News/New York Times-sponsored Democratic debate — noting the actor Tim Robbins’ concerns about electronic voting and bestowing the award for “worst debate performance” to The New York Times’ Elisabeth Bumiller. Wonkette! opines that Bumiller’s “idiotic questions and arrogant assumptions” combined with her “Khrushchevian table-pounding” earned her the nod.

David Allan Pell also gives Bumiller and her brethren a bad review for their “silly questions,” and for “continually interrupt[ing] candidates when they were answering direct questions and then let[ting] them ramble when they were not.” Pell hands Sen. John Edwards an Oscar for “the most convincing performance that he had thought deeply about the issue of Haiti before last Thursday.”

Instapundit and Andrew Sullivan — preoccupied with spring in Knoxville and the gay marriage debate, respectively — rely on Wonkette!’s take on the debate. Mickey Kaus credits himself with getting wise to the new conventional wisdom — that Kerry does not like Edwards, which Kaus says was evident once again in yesterday’s debate — a full four days before The Washington Post’s Dan Balz.

There’s no end in sight yet for “Howard’s End”-type stories, as evidenced by the behind-the-scenes tale of rivalry and betrayal in the Howard Dean campaign that Howard Kurtz offered up in yesterday’s Washington Post and the play the piece received in the blogosphere. Suburban Guerrilla links to Kurtz’s story with this qualifier: “Yes, it’s Howie, but it’s fascinating stuff.” Matthew Gross, a former Dean aide, calls the piece “well-balanced, well-documented,” and “sad but true.” Daily Kos’ ihlin disses the Dean camp’s media strategy “or lack of” and advises campaign advisors who “don’t want to deal with media barrages and snippy reporters” to “get in another line of work.”

For Gov. Dean’s rebuttal, see Blog For America, where Dean calls Kurtz’s story “greatly exaggerated” and filled with “a significant amount of material which was not true.” He also notes “the danger of using unattributed sources as Kurtz and so many others do.” “Succinct” is not part of the repertoire of many bloggers, but today’s Campaign Desk award for pithiest post goes to one Dennis Baer, a Deaniac who delivers his verdict in the comment section: “Howard Kurtz in my view appears a presstitute for the Bush administration.”

Liz Cox Barrett

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.