Thursday, August 21, 2008

How Do You Write 50 Paragraphs About Steve Schmidt, and Not Mention Rove?

OK, Lois Romano's Style section puff piece on Schmidt does mention Rove twice, if you want to be technical.

Once in the 21st paragraph, where Rove is quoted as a knowledgeable but uninvolved observer.

And three paragraphs later, where Romano says, in passing that "it bothers [Schmidt] to be called a protege of Rove's."

Here's what the WaPo's Chris Cillizza reported back in December 2006:
[P]rior to [the 2006 campaign season, Schmidt] was a member of the Bush political inner circle. He handled the strategic communications efforts during the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Samuel A. Alito Jr. and John G. Roberts Jr., and during the 2004 presidential election he was a member of the "breakfast club" -- a small gathering of top level Bush advisers who met regularly at the home of senior strategist Karl Rove.
'Rove protege' or not, Schmidt clearly worked closely with him on both the 2004 campaign and on 'strategic communications' for the Supreme Court appointments: it's not like Rove would have been only lightly involved in selling Roberts and Alito.

Romano adds this nugget:
Schmidt's sister, his only sibling, is gay, and he has made it clear that he is appalled by the party's hostile attitudes toward gay rights.
I can only respond that Schmidt is so "appalled by the party's hostile attitudes toward gay rights" that he was an integral part of the message machine for Bush's 2004 campaign that, in part, won by rallying conservative Christians against the specter of gay marriage.

And after that, he led the propagandizing for two new Justices who could be counted on to vote against gay rights in any decision that came before them.

In other words, Schmidt is a guy who would sell his own sister down the river to get his candidate elected. I guess there just wasn't room in that 50-paragraph puff piece to mention that.

But she does have room for:
Steve Schmidt has made a career out of not being a creature of Washington.
Yeah, I thought that was pretty funny, too. Washington state? Maybe. Washington, Virginia? Nah, I'll bet he's dined at the Inn. Washington County, Oklahoma? That's probably safe.

And she also has room for:
"The Internet has created a wave of venom that is very disturbing," he says of the e-mails and calls he receives. "People who run these campaigns have become targets very directly. Who needs it?"

I think the phrase is, "what goes around, comes around." Or, "turnabout is fair play." Or "pot, meet kettle." Or "he who lives by the smear, whines at the smear (and then everybody makes fun of him)."

He curtailed McCain's media availability because he found journalists were more interested in filing hour-to-hour for the Web, rather than reporting more in-depth looks at the day on the trail.
Yeh, riiiiiiiiiiiiight.

Even by the standards of the Style section, this is an incredible display of taking a public figure at his word. If Lois Romano looks in the mirror, does she see Roland Burton Hedley?


JJ said...

Good stuff. I'm going to file this away. I haven't seen very much written about this subject. Did you catch this post by G. Greenwald from a while back?

"Mike Allen: A fascinating thing about these Republican campaigns, and that is Giuliani, McCain and Romney, all of their communications operatives are schooled in the Bush-Cheney school. You know Steve Schmidt...

Steve was a very high official in the Vice President's office... And he also went over to Iraq to look at the communications capabilities, and he came back with a number of recommendations about even some of the logistical things to help people get those stories out. Now I think the military's getting smarter about it, as you know."

low-tech cyclist said...

jj - good to see you again! I'm glad to see you're still stopping by from time to time. I feel I'm still trying to find my voice, as they say, but I think I'm gradually getting there.

I hadn't seen that Greenwald post, but I have now. Thanks for pointing it out!

I was aware that the Administration's political operatives had schooled the military on how to sell the war, but I really hadn't known who Schmidt was until he took over the McCain campaign.

The striking thing about that piece is the depth of the buddy-buddiness between Mike Allen, Villager in good standing and alleged reporter, and this guy he covers. It's a damned sight harder to say bad things publicly about someone you consider a friend - I consider myself a person of integrity, and I don't see how I could bring myself to do it, because friendships are important to me.

But the editors that guys like Allen report to, clearly don't see such friendships as a problem.

JJ said...

I think it says something that the PR outfit running McCain's campaign and the military's Surge!(tm) are close to seamless.

The Surge!(tm) seems to be so much in the media brain stem that stories like this go almost completely unremarked.

low-tech cyclist said...

The MSM, with rare exceptions, has degenerated to the level of a college-dorm bull session. Opinions don't have to be tempered with facts, and the 'facts' provided in the news stories are things like how the 'celebrity' ad is playing.

It would drive me crazy, if I weren't there already.