Thursday, October 16, 2003

Spinner One is on the attack

The New York Times' most reliable Gore-basher, Katharine Seelye (dubbed "Spinner One" by Bob Somerby), is now attacking Clark. Today she writes:

The campaign of Gen. Wesley K. Clark, who has based his Democratic presidential bid on his career in the United States Army, this week released 200 pages of internal military evaluations from his commanding officers, who repeatedly used only superlatives to describe his skills, energy and leadership abilities...

The release comes at a time of increasing interest in General Clark's biography and several weeks after officials who had served with him said his career revealed both strengths and shortcomings.

In one incident in 1994, General Clark posed with Gen. Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian-Serb general accused of slaughtering hundreds of civilians. General Clark had been advised by the State Department not to meet with him, but he did anyway, swapping caps and posing for pictures.

While Nitpicker thought, stupidly, that he'd already cleaned up this smear, it's very interesting to note what Seelye's doing here. Using the renowned journalistic technique of the "circular question" -- the reporter wants to know something or make something known, so he or she says that "questions continue to swirl about politican X" -- she says that "increasing interest" has driven her to report that Clark posed with Mladic. Where are those questions coming from? Why, The Weekly Standard, of course. And, let's remember, our old friend Bob Novak spun this pretty hard last month, suggesting (as Seelye seems to) that Mladic was already indicted when Clark met with him, which was a lie. The Free Republic's on the case, too.

Let's all just remember that this happened before Clark received his promotion to four star general and was chosen to be the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO. He said in his book that he was never "advised by the State Department" not to meet with Mladic and no one has come forward to say that this is untrue. Anyone who knows how political the upper ranks of the military are knows that, if this story was as damning as it's made out to be, Clark's career would have been over.

Apparently Spinner One has set her sights on the General and she's firing with Republican-provided ammunition. Unfortunately, for her and the Republicans, she's firing blanks.


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