Monday, April 20, 2015


There's a Fred Dicker story in the New York Post right now that's being taken very, very seriously. Did I say in the headline that Dicker's source for this story is Dick Morris? Actually, I have no idea who the source is. I just made the headline up -- which is appropriate, because Dicker, or his source, almost certainly made the story up:
De Blasio in secret bid to be Dems’ 2016 pick

Despite repeated claims to the contrary, Mayor Bill de Blasio is positioning himself to be the leftist “progressive” alternative to Wall Street-friendly Hillary Rodham Clinton as the Democratic candidate for president, a national party operative told The Post.

De Blasio’s hope, the operative said, is a “Draft de Blasio" movement will develop among progressive activists over the next several months that will lead to the mayor being able to defeat Clinton in the primary elections next year in much the same way leftist Sen. George McGovern successfully challenged the initially front-running establishment Democratic candidate, Sen. Edmund Muskie, more than 40 years ago.
Why is this ridiculous? Let Ed Kilgore count the ways:
... you have to wonder exactly why anyone would think Bill de Blasio has a legitimate shot at displacing Hillary Clinton and becoming president, especially via a “draft,” which hasn’t really happened since 1952 if even then. The number of mayors of New York who have gone from Gracie Mansion to the White House, directly or indirectly, is exactly zero. The McGovern analogy Dicker offers is flawed by the fact that it’s, well, wrong; McGovern wasn’t some late entry who upset Ed Muskie; he carefully built a grass-roots organization while Muskie collected endorsements, and Muskie started falling apart the minute voters became involved.
(And Dicker is old enough to know that.)

It's true that de Blasio visited the key primary state of Iowa last week. But that was at the invitation of a fellow progressive, former senator Tom Harkin. At the urging of another progressive friend, de Blasio also visited Nebraska, which -- to put it mildly -- is not a key primary state, and he also plans to visit Wisconsin (again, not a key primary state) later in the month.

This is not the itinerary of a guy who's running for president in this cycle, though it's possibly the itinerary of someone who wants to build a national progressive movement (and wants to influence the eventual Democratic nominee's platform). Republicans do this kind of thing all the time. My first thought when I heard that de Blasio was in Iowa was that he's trying to be a Democratic Steve King -- a guy who uses a high profile and clout within his party in order to try to keep prominent members from drifting to the center.

I guessed that Dick Morris was the "national party operative" in Dicker's story because he's made it his life's work to stir up trouble for Democrats. But the "operative" could be anybody -- or nobody.

The story is phony, but here's New York magazine taking it seriously, and here's The Week doing the same.

And that's because most of the media doesn't grasp what's self-evident to Josh Marshall:
... 100 to 1 it's another consciously made up New York Post story. Because this is what the Post does. For those outside New York, remember, the Post isn't a real newspaper in the sense of publishing accurate stories. And I say that as someone who used to write columns for them.
If there's a group that really needs to be told that the Post "isn't a real newspaper in the sense of publishing accurate stories," it's not "those outside New York," it's those inside the rest of the media. The rest of the media think the Post is a paper that tries at all times to present facts and opinions the same way other papers do, albeit with a more conservative slant and a greater taste for the lurid. But the Post is perfectly willing to just publish fairytales -- the same is true, of course, for Fox News -- as long as the fairytales come with some deniability.

This story isn't a big deal in the long run. It'll be obvious soon enough that it's ridiculous, and it won't have any effect the presidential race. But the rest of the press needs to start noticing that the Murdoch empire flouts the rules other media outlets play by. In bigger things, that matters. Murdoch should be a pariah and all his properties should be under a cloud of suspicion whenever they publish. But we're not even close to that yet.


Victor said...

The NY Post is as close to a real newspaper, as a month-old Big Mac is to a fresh handmade and grilled hamburger.

It's a rag.
And one that's not even fit to wrap a dead fish in, since it would be an insult to the intelligence of the poor dead fish.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a Roger Stone special.

petrilli said...

The Hooker, Line And Sinker
By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 4, 1996; Page B01

Dick Morris. Toe sucker.