Big phony meets the fake genuine article

tr_blow.jpgOver the winter months, bestseller lists have been crowded with books exposing the misdeeds of the worst administration ever, written by democracy geeks, disgruntled whistleblowers and rogue reporters doing the job of an AWOL press.

Stabbing their way up the line are factesque wrong-wing epics bulk-purchased by generous billionaires who fork out big bucks to get the authors on TV as pretend experts, and to give unfortunates who don’t really read an uplifting book-owning experience they wouldn’t have otherwise. (These sales are marked with a dagger, representing a knife in the back of free enterprise and accurate measures of culture.) The books normally have soft covers so no one gets hurt when they’re hurled across rooms, but many have hard covers to thump emphatically should shouting the contents fail to convert skeptics to the Republican Faith, the one true political faith.

But now that steamy weather is upon us and the reading public pants for something more believably reassuring than Yes, America Can Pretend Harder, the spanking new Sycophant stable of media romance authors is ready to be unleashed on a public not yet ready to look reality dead in the face without whiskey under a dramatically swinging naked bulb.

Enter the new, non-maverick Sycophant publishing house, which last night introduced its bulging catalogue of Sycophant Romances with a steamy offering from literal heavyweight, Tim Russert. The Sycophant series provides the reader with exciting pairings between credulous, fawning media and the rugged administration heroes who involve them in the eternally enthralling dance of beat it, I love you/c’mere I hate your pointless guts. True to the traditional leadership/press romance format, the government is terse, manly, opaque, rude and corrupt while the press is languid, vague, befuddled, obedient, babbling, confused, and neurotically on edge wondering if its phone batteries are dead. Sycophant rejects the charge that the books are formulaic or predictable in any way, as each tale provides not only the titillation of validation sought, withheld, denied and achieved, but a level of erotic suspense unique to each author.

Tim Russert’s I Blow Him in The Preface features some of modern history’s most erotic yet tender examples of love and absolute mind control exchanged between a journalist and his leadership, which Sadly, No! will cheerfully excerpt in upcoming posts. For now, please enjoy a transcript of Punkinhead’s appearance on the Daily Show flogging his new book and showing a fake tv journalist what a genuine phony looks like up close.

[commercial break]

STEWART: We’re talking to Tim Russert from Meat the Press. Let’s talk a little bit about what’s going on, obviously, in Iraq and these abuses. We saw a clip earlier in the show, the President said, this is the difference between democracy and dictatorship — is that, we deal with our abuses openly yet I can’t help but think if the press hadn’t published these pictures, because they [the administration] knew about this back in January, we still wouldn’t be dealing with it. Is that hypocrisy or am I just misreading — ?

RUSSERT: It’s an important question because the pictures came from the father of one of the National Guardsman who’s been charged with the abuses because he was afraid his kid was going to be made a scapegoat and he provided them to 60 Minutes II. I think we have to step back and look at this. One, when they dragged American bodies through the streets and charred them and hung them from bridges, that’s an outrage. We should be outraged. The Arab world should be outraged. But the United States has to stand for something and it’s called having a moral presence in the world. We have a military presence in the world. We have a military force. We have to have a moral force too and when we commit atrocities in a military prison that Saddam Hussein use to use —


RUSSERT: — it’s very confusing to people in Iraq who are saying, “Wait a minute, you’re the liberators,” and therefore we as a country have to say, “We have to find out who did this. Did National Guardsman bring over their own hoods and their own dog leashes? No. Someone told them this was the way to break the Arab male mentality, by challenging his sexuality. That’s a big deal, that’s a big issue.

STEWART: So you’re talking about military intelligence. This is a more of a CIA type issue.

RUSSERT: Right. And a chain of command. We have to find out who in the United States government authorized that, not because we’re trying to punish America, but what we’re trying to say is, “We’re better than that.” My dad who was in WWII as you’ve talked about, he took great pride in the fact that the Germans and the Japanese treated prisoners of war different than Americans, because we believe in a moral certitude that is important to embrace.

I have to pause the tape here because it’s simply astonishing that the state of media is so bad, this supposed journalistic bulldog would equate investigating a story involving:

  • potentially wide-scale systemic abuse and torture,
  • of people we supposedly went to Iraq to liberate,
  • a completely collapsed foreign policy,
  • a war spiralling out of control militarily, in purpose and in cost,
  • waged on false premises that intentionally abused the trust Congress and the public gave after 9/11,
  • that has left two countries on the verge of chaos or civil war,
  • with no exit strategy in sight,
  • and the homeland more vulnerable to terrorism than ever,
  • and potential allies driven far away from arrogance and stupidity
  • with a weakened military
  • with strategy continuing to be submissive to the needs of corporate cronies and fanatical ideologues
  • rather than geared towards a successfully achieving the security to attract international support

with trying to punish America. Is the GOP koolaid really that yummy? At least we have real fake journalists asking hard questions.

STEWART: Do you believe we’d have heard about this if the pictures hadn’t have come out?

RUSSERT: We would — we — we did hear about it because it was announced there would be — there was an investigation January 16th. The severity, no.

STEWART: But that memo — it was very difficult to tell —

RUSSERT: The severity —

STEWART: I mean, they basically announced, “And then I had cake.” Like it wasn’t — you couldn’t — when you look at that memo, it doesn’t have anywhere near the litany of abuses that were occurring.

RUSSERT: The interesting thing is how widely circulated these photographs were amongst the military men and women on the digital cameras. They were sending them back home.

I’m with the real fake journalist here — the lameness of the memo (suggesting an attempt to bury the story) is more journalistically interesting than troops passing around war porn, which has been done at least as far back as the widespread exchanging of lurid urns during the Punic wars.

I don’t underestimate the power of war porn, though. The entire Fourth Estate is already stepping back in line to whore for access to the torture-smut the administration has comandeered to control foreigners’ inexplicable feelings of rage and the media’s unwholesome fascination with lurid specifics such as who ordered torture where and what the did President know and when did he know it?

This sensible strategy looks to be successful from a security standpoint, as widely disseminated nauseating material is really easy to control once digitized, so it will be obvious that any credible fakes making their way across the net can be identified as such. But back to Punkinhead.

STEWART: It’s a whole new world. You know, that kid from American Idol who sang “She Bangs”, that’s all over the place. Like you can’t stop anything. Look at how quickly “The Macarena” took off. Like there’s nothing you can’t — that’s something I think people don’t realize. What concerns me slightly and you might know about this is, this administration keeps talking about all our ideals and how open we are and yet I can’t help but think they’re incredibly closed.

RUSSERT: You can’t blame the press for this.

Ahem. He wasn’t.

RUSSERT: Lindsay Graham, a Republican from South Carolina —

STEWART: Right —

RUSSERT: — said, put all the pictures out there, now. Let the world see it. Lindsay Graham said, don’t say, tell the Senate or the Congress to get off the back of Donald Rumsfeld. We have a right to investigate. This is a Republican Senator. The easy thing is to shoot the messenger. We’ve got to make this right — Democrats, Republicans, Liberals, Conservatives. This is not what the United States of America should stand for. If we’re trying to win the hearts and minds of the people worldwide, we have to be better than other people in terms of what we are as a moral force in the world.

STEWART: Do we lose the moral force by invading a country or can we get it back by you know —


STEWART: You know when you say you’re going to bring democracy to a place, I always thought you could say, like maybe, if you give elections, if you have a little legislature we’ll maybe give you a billion dollars.

RUSSERT: Your first question was very serious. The fact is, what do we do in terms of invading a country with a pre-emptive strike. Three fourths of both houses of Congress supported the presidential enterprise. 80% of the American people were for it. This is back in October.

STEWART: They supported a resolution. I don’t think anybody had any idea how far along that war was. And when they supported that resolution, that was an abstraction and I thought that when — the day that that passed — that administration went, “Holy Crap, we can do whatever we want now.” And I think that was a huge mistake.

RUSSERT: The issue there was, the primary rationale was the weapons of mass destruction that so far have not been found?


RUSSERT: That’s a big deal, John.

[applause, crosstalk]

STEWART: … clearly, I wish I really knew what I was talking about, cause boy, I’d be dangerous. But you know, I’m as confused as the next guy right now.

RUSSERT: Well it’s complicated but, you know, if you step back and look at it, you can connect the dots. And I think it’s important that we have a presidential campaign where we have candidates with big differences about big issues so if George Bush says we’re gonna stay the course, then John Kerry, I think, has an obligation to say “We’re gonna have a different course and this is what I suggest,” and let the country decide on this, because it is a huge issue. I think this campaign is all about Iraq, and the economy and our level of security or anxiety, and if there’s a lot of anxiety, we’re going to have a new president and if there’s a lot of security and stability, we’ll keep our incumbent.

STEWART: I think this year, voter turnout: almost over forty percent. I’m really excited about that. [Applause, laughter] “Big Russ and Me”, it’s on the bookshelves now.

Tim Russert on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, May 11 2004 (Transcribed and checked once off cached audio for accuracy. Parenthetical snark mine.)

I realize that Punkinhead was just on to flog his book, but it’s unbelievable that Democrats are so marginalized in his head that their platform — the representation of well over half the population (pre- and post- the stealing of the election by the current Emperor) — should be framed not on their own wishes and merits but on whatever the Fuckup in Chief discards.

Spoken like a big phony voluntarily serving at the pleasure of the Fuckup!


Comments: 6


You know, I’m sure I’m getting carried away here thinking all the way to November, but I really hope that after Kerry wins millions of people just flood the streets and party and honk their horns and carry on deliriously happy for just a whole day and night. And I hope they show the pictures all over the world, so the world knows that WE have been liberated and we are so damned happy to be rid of that effin bastard. And all the bush supporters can scream into their pillows.

Miss Authoritia

Did Russert make a slip when he used the phrase “presidential enterprise”:

“Three fourths of both houses of Congress supported the presidential enterprise….”

Intriguing way to describe this snuff war.


Tim Russert is the best journalist the United States has ever had. People ought to let him do his job.


Actually the phrase that most caught my attention was “weapons of mass distruction that so far have not been found.”
So far.
Like they may still turn up somewhere, maybe under the cushions of one of Saddam’s sofas or in the lint trap of the palace dryer.
He’s still wedded to the Bush-wah that they’re out there somewhere, we just haven’t found them yet.
Those pesky WMD’s they’re always the last place you look.

And swear to Pete, I’m gonna spend the next month looking for a way to work the words “lurid urns” into a conversation.


Stewart acquits himself quite well here, for a comic. A more sickening exchange took place when Russert’s book promo extravaganza called on Hannity. I was sure that Hannity was holding back a primal urge to drop to his knees and blow Russert on the spot. A comment on your 5/9 posting. In the last photo two of the guards seem to be wearing rubber gloves, so something nastier than what we’ve seen was about to occur. Are the journalists too squemish to ask what that was?


Yeah, I caught the mutual thighstroking on Knucklehead Hannity’s show, which was all “my daddy was wonderful, as was your daddy… gulp…. moral compass…. gulp… politicizing the war…. our daddies wouldn’t have stood for it… gulp… Ruth’s Chris Steak house…” At which point the studio engineer threw a bucket of cold water over them and told them to get a room. Disgusting.


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