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May 04, 2005

Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps (Yet Another New York Times Edition)

Mark Schmitt assesses David Brooks as the true heir of William Safire. Don't trust. Verify. And even then don't trust:

The Decembrist: Brooks Channels Disinformation: "I remembered that when I said something nice about Brooks, I was bombarded with e-mails and comments attempting to demonstrate his essential dishonesty. I think this is proof of that -- either dishonesty or simply gullibility in channeling plain old disinformation....

[I]magine how unlikely it is that [Reid] would have offered to grease the way for the next Supreme Court nomination: He doesn't know who the nominee is, unlike most of the other judicial nominations at issue. He can't make such a promise because he can't know whether he can deliver on it. And making such a promise would be an invitation to bring on the worst possible nominee.... [I]f Judge Janice Rogers Brown is a little scary, folks, meet Justice Janice Rogers Brown, here to repeal that 'socialist revolution' that put us all in 'slavery' about 70 years ago.

If Reid were forced to actually deliver on such a promise, it would not just be an ill-advised squishy compromise, it would be the end of his leadership of the Democratic minority, and a debacle for the party. As disinformation, however, it makes sense. It undermines Reid at a moment when he's riding high. It helps spin the rightwing storyline that the Democratic Party is in thrall to interest groups that take a harder line than the elected members do. And it helps stir up tensions between those outside groups and the congressional party.

It's an interesting tactic, worthy of the master, but Brooks either should have been able to see through it, or chose not to.

Posted by DeLong at May 4, 2005 11:54 AM