Step right up ...

I've got a new Think Again column here called “Who Really Supports the Troops,” about coverage of Bush's destruction of the military, and a new Nation column about The New York Sun called “Potemkin Paper,” here.

We note that yesterday Drudge had a “developing” story up saying that Reagan's diaries were outselling Gore's “Assault on Reason.” Turns out Gore's book is debuting at #1 on the Times best-seller list. That story was gone the next day. Typical Drudge, alas.

Why no ID of Jeff Gerth's conflict of interest in his Times Magazine piece, asks Garance? Good question. Read Boehlert if you have not already, here. It's crazy great and deserves a point-by-point response from the Times ombudsman. Somebody ought to write that letter and send the reply here.

And there's all this from our sponsors:

NY Times excerpt of Her Way falsely claimed Clinton “first” accused Bush of misusing Iraq authorization in 2006

On May 29, The New York Times published an excerpt of Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta Jr.'s upcoming book Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton (Little, Brown & Co., June 2007). The excerpt asserted that Sen. Clinton's June 21, 2006, floor statement marked “the first time in her public speeches” in which she offered “a new interpretation” -- or “revised account” -- of her 2002 vote to authorize the use of force against Iraq: “The authority Congress given [sic] the president and his administration four years earlier, Clinton explained, had been 'misused' because they acted 'without allowing the inspectors to finish the job in order to rush to war.' ” In fact, Clinton has been claiming that President Bush misused the Authorization For Use Of Military Force Against Iraq since at least October 2003.

On Hannity & Colmes, Morris falsely claimed Gerth book says Media Matters was “set up by Hillary's staff”

On the May 29 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Fox News contributor and syndicated columnist Dick Morris falsely claimed that in Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta Jr.'s Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton (Little, Brown and Co., June 2007), the authors “point[] out that Media Matters ... was actually set up by Hillary's staff, and she had a large amount to do with setting it up.” In fact, Her Way does not state that Media Matters for America was “set up by Hillary's staff,” nor does it claim that Clinton “had a large amount to do with setting it up.” Rather, the book notes that Media Matters is “independent” and “had among its earliest supporters and advisers long-standing allies of Hillary and the Democratic Party.” Read more

Gerth and Van Natta misrepresented Clinton's account of Foster's last month

In their new book, Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton (Little, Brown and Co.), Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta Jr. claim that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) blamed deputy White House counsel and longtime friend Vincent Foster for failing to find time to spend with her in the month leading up to Foster's July 20, 1993, suicide. They write: “Hillary's painful reconstruction of their last month of silence focused not on her inability to meet with him, but his own failure to find the time to reach out to her.” As their source, the authors cite Clinton's autobiography, Living History (Simon and Schuster, June 2003). But in her autobiography, Clinton wrote that both she and Foster were busy; she had spent that month “working to keep health care reform on the congressional agenda” and had been “preoccupied with preparing for my first trip out of the country as First Lady.” She also wrote on page 174 of Living History: “I will go to my grave wishing I had spent more time with him and had somehow seen the signs of his despair.”

Web version of NY Times Gerth article left uncorrected 13 years after publication

Thirteen years after the publication of a New York Times article that made a false claim regarding President Bill Clinton's tenure as Arkansas governor, the online and Nexis versions of that article still do not include the correction.

Ezra Klein calls on Little Roy to defend his honesty, here. I'll wait. Reading Dave Leonhardt's story on Lou Dobbs yesterday, here, it reminded me of quite a bit of Charles Murray, who, after all, is far guiltier than Dobbs of pushing his racist agenda on the basis of tainted pseudo-scientific sourcing. As I recall, Andy remains proud of that as well; nice that, to The Washington Post, this is their idea of a liberal ... (Naturally, by the way, Dobbs' response is personal abuse.)

I'm a little light today. I'm still recovering from seeing three terrific hours of Roger Waters last night, with a Floyd-worthy video component (and a complete Dark Side) at the Garden. Tomorrow, I will be a little light from going with Boehlert to watch El Duque beat the Giants, though I'm hoping that they win by only one more run than Barry hits home runs. The degree of sanctimony about Bonds is sickening, particularly among the Mets announcers.

Reading Around:

“The Kennedy Brothers and Civil Rights” by Sheldon Stern, here.

Empire, ideology and the U.S.: a symposium, here, featuring Andrew J. Bacevich, Michael H. Hunt, Anna K. Nelson.

Churchill and Zionism, here.

Dan Levy's got a great new blog on Israel, here.

Oppenheimer on Einstein, here.

Correspondence Corner:

Name: Beth Harrison
Hometown: Arlington, VA

Eric, I have a proposal for all the Altercators out there: when Jeff Gerth goes out on his book tour, get out your old copies of “Fools for Scandal” and “The Hunting of the President,” and ask him questions about his Whitewater reporting and leaks from Ken Starr's office. (Nailing him on his Wen Ho Lee lies would also be fun, but let's stick to the Clintons.) Sure, he won't answer, but just imagine embarrassing him with the facts. But he probably won't do a book tour, because Gerth IS afraid of being asked embarrassing questions. A girl can dream, can't she?

Name: John
Hometown: Kinnelon, NJ

Why does it have to be a fence? Remember that movie about the politcal speech writers, “Speechless”? How about a ditch -- the “Friendship Ditch” -- along the border?

Name: Derrick Gibson

I certainly hope that you did not mean what Mr. Stapleford said you meant with that post on the border fence.

I would hope that the entire 'Altercator' community supports “anything that advances this nation toward a (more?) progressive society,” but how does a fence do that? Stapleford's statement that a fence -- in theory -- leads to enforcing the existing law of the land just does not hold water. In the classic example, segregation was the law of the land; Dr. King showed us that breaking that law was the path toward a more progressive society.

While in most cases, reaching back to the Civil Rights Era is perhaps seeking an unfair advantage in the debate, but immigration strikes many of the same notes and liberals would be well advised to follow the same path that Dr. King walked in seeking to create a just society.

I would think that liberals would be asking what is the purpose of immigration laws to begin with -- who is it who decides that we can only allow X number of people from country A and Y number of people from country B? Who is it that says that immigrants must have college educations or be able to speak English? What do any of these rules have to do with creating a more progressive society and if these laws do not lead to a liberal end -- why should we support them?

Eric replies: Dear Derrick, I did mean it all. Sorry.

Name: Viktor
Hometown: Falls Church, VA

Also in Milbank's insult to Iowa hog farmers was this:

“He spoke of Adam Smith and Thomas Jefferson and John Stuart Mill, only briefly mixing up his patriots: 'James Madison wrote -- no, Thomas Paine, I'm sorry.' ”

Phew, that was a close one. Imagine the shit storm we would have had to endure from the massive Right Wing Noise Machine if Gore misidentified a single Founding Father during his lengthy and detailed speech.

Name: Bill Brand
Hometown: Boston, MA

Hi Eric,

I can't supply the tickets (mayhap Charles Pierce can assist you there). But with the enjoyment I've gotten out of reading your blog the last few years, I'd be happy to reciprocate and let you stay at our apartment. It's on Jersey Street / Yawkey Way.

Can you handle a three flight walk-up and the ignominy of watching the Mets lose?

Eric replies: Dude, I also need you to vacate the apartment. (I hate to listen to Red Sox fans, of whom I am one in years that the Mets are eliminated, cry at night.)

Name: Hart Edmonds
Hometown: Omaha

So, Eric, help me understand this. Milbank and other Washington Post reviewers think Gore's too smart for the rest of us. I've got a hunch he's too smart by far for most of the D.C. pundit crowd as well. What would we rather have? A President who's dumb as a sack of hammers? Oh, I guess that's taken care of! It's easy to feel the equal or superior of Bush for all the horrendous decisions the “Great Decider” has made. But the chattering class just can't stand meeting up with someone like Gore who attacks head-on the shallowness that persists in much of journalism today. Too many of the D.C. pundits have been swimming in the shallow end of the gene pool for too long. Most signed off the failed Iraq policy and don't have the guts or the smarts to realize they were snookered.

Name: Melissa Morman
Hometown: Littleton, CO

Dr. A -- if you get a chance, kindly pass this along to Mr. Milbank:

My husband (born and raised in Iowa) has often said “Iowa farmers don't respect a good education. They worship one.” He and his three siblings all graduated from Iowa schools with multiple degrees. I guess it hasn't occurred to Mr. Milbank that people outside the Beltway actually, you know, read. (And yeah, the slap at Gore is obvious too. Geesh.)

Good work as always. Thanks.

Name: Larry Howe
Hometown: Oak Park, IL

Eric --

You're right that Milbank's remarks about Gore's book being over the heads of Iowans is insulting. What's more, it's flat wrong. The last statistics I saw, a while ago I admit, showed Iowans as the most educated of the residents of all 50 states.

I've only met one Iowa corn farmer, but his profile matched that statistical portrait rather well. We met in Santa Fe and had three or four extended conversations around the fireplace of the lodge where we were each staying. He held a bachelor's and a master's degree and was extremely well read. He and his wife traveled the world every year during the offseason. His two sons had lived abroad as high school students through AFS, and Mr. and Mrs. Iowa farmer had visited those families who had hosted their sons in Denmark and Thailand.

Milbank should get out a little more himself.

Name: Don Schneier
Hometown: Springfield MA

I agree with you that we need to be patient with the attempts of the majority of Congress to end the Iraq fiasco. However, they need to exercise some discipline in their efforts. The issue for them should be the single true and Constitutionally-validated point -- that Bush has continuously lied and/or performed incompetently, and therefore, can no longer be trusted with spending public money on Iraq. In contrast, any reference to solicitude for the well-being of the troops is a distraction that plays right into Bush's hands, and is bait that Congress should not bite at in their rhetorical battles with him.