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Powerline Puffery
Posted by: Jon Henke on Wednesday, February 08, 2006

It's an exceedingly minor thing, but I can't resist pointing and laughing at the recent blog puffery that occurred after one of the Powerline guys bravely repeated AG Gonzales' talking points to Sen. Durbin. The relevant amusing moments...
Q: But the attorney general says FISA allows intercepts that are otherwise authorized by statue. And he also says that that was authorized in the authorization of force act.

DURBIN: That’s his argument. You’ve just repeated it.

Q: But did you hear Gonzales say –

DURBIN: I’ll check out Pajamaline, but I’m not familiar with your publication.

Q: Yeah. Dan Rather knows something about it.
James Taranto notes that "the blogosphere has outdone the mainstream media in the one area where we thought the MSM's advantage was insurmountable: self-regard."

But how funny is the "Dan Rather knows something about it" line? Refrerences to Rathergate are beginning to sound a lot like "Four touchdowns in one game, Peg!"

"Let me tell you something. I served my country. I played high school football. 4 touchdowns on one game. Yet I'm not exempt from state and federal taxes. Now, is this any way America should treat it's heroes?" — Al Bundy
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Previous Comments to this Post 

As I commented yesterday... Paul and the guys will be engaged in far too much self-congratulations for a while to be of any use.

But, give ’em credit for this, at least; the incident, however puffed after the fact, however overplayed by slamming themselves on the the back, does point up just the kind of questions that the supposed mainstream press should be asking, and for whatever reason, are not. And this is a situation the Democrats have become far too accustomed to. Clearly, neither Kennedy nor Durbin was ready for the hard questions, and Paul exposed that.

The question now, is the next step, and who takes it. Alas, so wrapped up in self-congratulatory mode are they, that I tend to doubt powerline will be the ones to take it.... but we’ll see.

Written By: Bithead
I am not a reader of Powerline, nor necessarily a supporter of either Powerline or Pajamas Media, however I must offer some defense.
If the Rather comment sounds like Al Bundy’s one lifetime claim to fame, it is probably because of the dilation of time caused by almost instantaneous news. Bundy was bragging about an incident probably over 20 years previous, more than half of his life. The Rather business happened less than two years ago.
Also, considering that the MSM still has little respect for even the more upstanding members of the internet media, it is important to remind people that it has made a difference. Would Durbin promise to check out Pajamas Media if the line was instead, "I do this for fun"?
Overall, I am not sure there is much difference between the MSM and bloggers WRT self-regard. As far as the MSM, their bonifides are sown up, so they don’t have to trumpet as loudly. But that doesn’t mean they don’t demand that level of respect or higher.
Written By: anomdebus
URL: http://
LMAO! That is hilarious.
Written By: Matt McIntosh
There are only 3 (out of 21 at the moment) additional posts at PowerLine dealing with that incident. And they all deal with how the rest of the online world is reacting to it.
Durbin’s ’Pajamas’
Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin told reporters yesterday that the Senate didn’t intend for the resolution authorizing President Bush to use "all necessary and appropriate force" to include warrantless spying on suspected terrorists.
"Why don’t you go on the floor and try to get a vote and have the Senate say whether or not the authorization of all force necessary ... ," blog reporter Paul Mirengoff began asking before the Illinois Democrat cut him off.
"You got it wrong. You got it wrong," Mr. Durbin said dismissively. "Who do you work for?"
Mr. Mirengoff is one of three authors of Power Line, one of the most influential conservative blogs online, which played a key role in exposing "Rathergate" last year. He attended yesterday’s hearings on the warrantless surveillance program also on behalf of Pajamas Media, a newly founded consortium of Web loggers worldwide.
"I’m sorry. I wasn’t familiar with your publication," Mr. Durbin said derisively.
When Mr. Mirengoff tried asking a follow-up question, Mr. Durbin walked away from the microphones and muttered something about "Pajama Line" and how he had never heard of the organization.
"Yeah, Dan Rather knows something about us," Mr. Mirengoff shot back.
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
Against a little self-promotion, guys?

Pajamamedia is a centralizing, for-fee business, now. And, let’s face it, on the center-rightish blogosphere, any take-down of Durbin bears frequent repetition.

As for the Dan Rather-meme: I think it is alive and well, Jon, and ripe for repetition.

Just yesterday I marveled at the similarity between the crude forgeries Rather and Mapes propagated before the ’04 election, and the crude photocopy of a French pig-squealer that a Danish imam has been circulating in Muslim countries.

Both fakes were disseminated to fabricate a political movement; to "spook the herd" so-to-say.
Written By: Steve
URL: http://
You missed a chance to post the best Al Bundy moment ever: his poem "At the nudie bar"
Written By: shark
URL: http://
On the ego fluffing back slapping I’d agree Jon, but you are being a bit disingenuous in framing your post. Powerline bravely restated AG Gonzales’s position not as a question, but as a preface to a question - namely that if congress did not like how the admin was interpreting poorly defined FISA guidelines, one immediate option would be for them to amend the legislation that they themselves wrote. They are called the legislative branch for a reason, after all.

Secondly, and more importantly, while J-school grads may be experts in journalism (a debatable issue itself) they are not nor can not be experts in all fields that they are supposed to be reporting upon. They are necessarily incapable of always asking concise questions that demand cogent answers, obvious dodges, or hurried punts.

More informative answers don’t result from shouting the same question louder and louder – the come from asking more informed questions. Mock the self-congratulations all you want, but the underlying issue of widespread journalistic ineptitude should not be downplayed.
Written By: bains
URL: http://
Seems a bit petty to me, Jon, but then I am a member of Pajamas Media so perhaps that is skewing my view.
Written By: Rob
That really made me laugh Jon; well done.

Powerline makes me puke these days; I sort of loved them during Rathergate, but beginning with Schiavo, the glow started to fade. Then reading the sheer drivel they have offered as "legal analysis" in the NSA warrantless spying matter, I have been appalled. They are too smart to believe most of what they post about it, and would never, in a million years, put their names to such crap in a legal brief or a law review article. But to seduce a lay readership, they will spew any legalese-sounding garbage to support Bush.

Written By: Mona
URL: http://
Your post reads more like a little green monster then insight. BTW, where did the ’quote’ like highlighted section come from? I tried to find the same quotes but couldn’t. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems your post is commentary that doesn’t reflect what happened and then critizes them based on your interpretation of (as opposed to the actual) events. btw, the analysis I think you missed is that with the growth of truly independent (although often biased) internet reporting the Washington world still hasn’t adapted to questions from people who aren’t part of the MSM, similar to the blog calls that you participated in and continue to reference.

At the same time I like the Ted Bundy reference and think we should consider ’Bundy Proud’ as an accurate description of people who live off past fame without contributing,. Note that description is I think why I take issue to referencing it in the case of them crowing about trying to get a hit in a congressional interview and in essence using the reference to throw back in the face of someone belittling there affiliation.

BTW, Dan Rather is just the first one that truly entered the mainstream consciousness... he could just have easily referenced New Orleans buses or the fact that almost no US publications published the current Muslim cartoons, and probably in part it was again Internet users who are uncovering the true story that the whole crisis is being created by images and falsehoods spread by Danish Muslim leaders who used an unrelated photo as a ’cartoon’. The key from Powerline’s point is that they are again demonstrating the failure of our ’free press’ to act.
Written By: Bill
URL: http://
“But to seduce a lay readership, they will spew any legalese-sounding garbage to support Bush.”
“Powerline makes me puke these days; I sort of loved them during Rathergate.”
Mona, Powerline always made you puke. You “sort of loved them” only as a rhetorical ploy to set up your next slam. The content of your remarks does not justify the weight of your ego display. And I use the term “weight” advisedly. So I suggest you back off and present your ideas with a bit less arrogance. Your law degree was not from a first-rate school, anyway, so don’t traffic on it so much. Just let the content of your ideas carry you (or not). So far they show some promise.
Written By: Notherbob2
URL: http://
Seems a bit petty to me, Jon, but then I am a member of Pajamas Media so perhaps that is skewing my view.
Didn’t really have anything to do with Pajamas Media. I mean, they mentioned it to Durbin and he said he hadn’t heard of it, but that had nothing to do with the post I wrote. My contempt is for their self-regard and relentless flogging of the long-ago Rather story. And for their flackery. And the fact that, much like the media outlets they castigate for being unresponsive to criticism, they almost never respond to criticism. (a fact they acknowledge, at least privately)
Your post reads more like a little green monster then insight.
Hey, I’d love their traffic. But not at the price of my dignity.
I tried to find the same quotes but couldn’t. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems your post is commentary that doesn’t reflect what happened and then critizes them based on your interpretation of (as opposed to the actual) events.
Where have you looked? I’ve seen that transcript posted in various places and I’ve listened to the video. It’s accurate.

In any event, I freely acknowledge the impact of the blogosphere. But there’s a difference between acknowledging the impact and gloating on it. We’re just people who talk about politics with varying degrees of accuracy, insight and expertise. Asking a politician a tough question is good — but it’s not exactly world shattering.

Written By: Jon Henke

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