Sunday, February 10, 2008

Josh Marshall: commendably fair or incredibly biased?

Read the following passage from TPM:
First of all, some have criticized Greg Sargent's reporting. But let me make this crystal clear. I personally signed off on the post and I wrote the front page headline myself.

Some have said that Clinton's letter to NBC wasn't written clearly or that she was saying that suspensions and apologies were not enough, that what was needed was a broader reevaluation on the network's part of its attitude to women and Hillary Clinton in particular.

Simply read the key passage ...

Nothing justifies the kind of debasing language that David Shuster used and no temporary suspension or half-hearted apology is sufficient.

I would urge you to look at the pattern of behavior on your network that seems to repeatedly lead to this sort of degrading language.

Some readers seem to believe that Clinton is saying that it's not about suspensions or apologies. It's about MSNBC's need to reevaluate its pattern of behavior.

But there's a fatal flaw with this strained interpretation. Look at the actual words. If that's the case, why does she qualify 'suspension' with the adjective 'temporary'? That tells the tale right there. The alternative to a temporary suspension is a permanent one, which is clear English we call 'firing'.

I give the Clinton campaign the respect of knowing that they're no slouches with the written word. And the words in this letter were clearly chosen with great care. The point of that passage was that merely suspending Shuster was insufficient -- that he needs to be fired. That's what they meant. And I have little doubt that Shuster and the MSNBC execs understood the meaning the moment they read it. I think it would be wrong to shy away from making that clear.

Greg Sargent's report can be found here.

All I can say to that is, WTF? Whet the F***ing F***? A single word -- "temporary" -- is fraught with dire implication, but the entire sentence that follows is meaningless? What does Marshall use to support his thesis? He falls back on the tired canard that "the Clintons" calculate every thing they say and do. It's funny how disciplined "the Clintons" are, except when they're not.

Marshall says "read the key passage," yet he ignores the clear meaning of the second half of the "key passage." I'd give Marshall credit for being fair enough to include the entire passage, but he didn't even seem to consider the meaning of the second sentence. Clinton was clearly calling for an end to a pattern of behavior that's been obvious for years. The Clinton campaign may have also been calling for Shuster's dismissal, but that clearly wasn't the primary objective. Of course, to believe that Clinton was calling for Shuster's dismissal, you'd have to believe that the incredibly disciplined (except when they're not) "Clintons" were totally unaware of the backlash that Shuster's dismissal would produce.

I'll offer my counter to Marshall's thesis. Marshall and Greg Sargent are brilliant and talented writers, but they're also partisan hacks. I give Marshall and Sargent of knowing that they're no slouches with the written word. They're also aware of the ability of the internet to influence the Sunday morning talk show debate. And I have little doubt that Marshall and Sargent understood that they were giving Clinton-haters in the MSM an opportunity to put her on the defensive. I think it would be wrong to shy away from making that clear.

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Josh Marshall is a self-proclaimed Zionist, and hence a racist. He's also a douchemook asshole first class.
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