Tuesday, November 11, 2003

The Genesis of a Slimejob on Clark

From R. Prichard, Table Talk

There's a hit piece on Clark in The New Yorker by Peter J. Boyer, General Clark's Battles.

You may remember Boyer for the infamous Once Upon A Time In Arkansas, the Frontline distortion of Whitewater as told by Viet Dinh, Federalist Society biggie, greatly rewarded by Bush Inc.

Boyer also wrote the endlessly-quoted New Yorker profile of Al Gore depicting him as a poor little rich kid growing up in a swank hotel. Richie Rich Al was clearly a disturbed man.

Boyer does the same for Clark. When Boyer sees Clark catnapping on a plane he warns us that Clark is such a weirdo that he sleeps with "his arms clinched across his chest, tightly wound even in slumber."

As Boyer tells it, Cohen and the Pentagon barely lucked out in getting through the Kosovo nightmare without Clark, an ambition-crazed misfit, dragging the free world into an unnecessary quagmire that he was mostly responsible for instigating. No mention of the lack of allied casualties. No mention of the extraordinary diplomacy involved in preventing another meltdown of the tribes of Europe in response to genocide in the Balkans. Instead, Boyer presents Kosovo as Clark's folly, which he unethically badgered the White House into.

When Boyer quotes Shelton's assertion that Clark was fired for "integrity and character issues," he doesn't mention Clark's response that Shelton's refusal to explain himself amounts to McCarthyism -- which seems to me to be the minimal requirement for any pretense of objectivity.

Boyer has previously written a heroic profile of Tommy Franks, who participates in this slamfest.

This is Cohen's, Shelton's, and Rove's work. Boyer states as fact, "Before Clark became a candidate, he said that he was leaning toward the Democratic Party because Karl Rove never returned his calls," -- and he doesn't even source the story to the two helpful Republicans some elf hooked up with Howard Fineman and other Bush oppo stenographers.

The thesis of the piece is "The comments of Franks, Shelton, and others in the Clinton-era military and defense establishment suggest a paradox in Wesley Clark’s candidacy for President: his military career, the justification for his candidacy, may also be a liability."

You can be sure that Tim Russert will quote extensively from this piece when he interviews Clark on Meet The Press next Sunday. My bet is that the invitation to MTP was timed to the release of this piece.


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