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Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Boehlert Hits Sour Note

I'm not one of those guys who starts his day with ABC's the Note, but that's just me. But liberal author Eric Boehlert lays into the writers over there with some zest.

The first thing you notice about The Note is that it sounds like it's written by high school students. Smart high school students--really smart students, even--but nevertheless teenagers who crack themselves up with their wit, rely on hard-to-decipher references to up their hip insider quotient, and have a penchant for words like "ginormous" and multiple exclamation points. Cutesy, creepy, and relentlessly effusive towards the media elite, The Note confirms the old adage that life really is like high school, with The Note filling the role of cheerleader-meets-yearbook editor, keeping tabs on where the cool kids are eating lunch, what they're wearing, and who's having the big party this weekend.

Gee, you mean it reads like Wonkette without the anal sex references? But of course the snarky, cynical attitude that Boehlert describes is everywhere--in Slate, in the Huffpo, in every Maureen Dowd column. The difference of course is that the Note is not as relentlessly liberal as those outlets.

Boehlert claims that the media aren't really liberal because they're not as liberal as he is. This despite all the data that indicates that the media in general are more liberal than the average Democrat in Congress. Essentially his gripe with the Note is that it does not follow every quote from a Republican with the words "he lied".

Like everybody else on the left he way overinflates the importance of the Terri Schiavo case:

Let's begin in March of 2005. The Note was all onboard for the Terri Schiavo saga, at one point linking to twenty separate Schiavo stories in one day. It also thought Republicans had themselves a winning issue with the right-to-life story: "The Republican leadership seems to have succeeded in framing the discourse around a moral question." At the same time, on March 21, The Note's parent, ABC News, released the findings from a Schiavo poll that found 67 percent of Americans thought elected officials were acting for political advantage rather than for the principles involved. The Note did its best to spin the results in favor of the White House, writing that the Republican intervention in the Schiavo matter had been met with "some public opposition." Only in the 2005 Beltway media environment could a controversial GOP initiative that was rejected by a broad cross-section of Americans--including 58 percent of self-identified conservative Republicans--be described as having been met with "some public opposition."

Two days later, detecting widespread mainstream criticism of the Republicans' heavy-handed intervention, The Note reported it was "perhaps the beginning of a media backlash." [Emphasis added.] When Bush's own poll numbers began an immediate decline in the wake of the Schiavo intervention--dropping seven points in seven days, according to one national survey--editors at The Note scratched their heads, declaring it was impossible to figure out "what exactly accounts for the President's droopy poll numbers."

This of course is post hoc reasoning at best; does anybody really believe that Bush lost seven points because of Terri Schiavo? I wasn't big on that issue myself, but I certainly didn't see it as damaging to Bush.
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