The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Friday, April 09, 2004

Franken gets it on Kerry's 350 tax increases

I never thought it would come to this: Al Franken impressed me.

Listening to large chunks of his post-Condi show, he gave glimpses that perhaps he might turn out not as bad as might have been feared.

I laughed reluctantly at his Yiddish segment: which he said was sponsored by the Pillsbury Jew-Boy.

And, interviewing Michael Kinsley of Slate, Franken almost came off the more au fait with the subject matter.

Franken had mentioned the 350 before, fact-checking Sean Hannity [1] - and Kinsley had done a piece on the matter (March 23).

They chatted a bit on it; and then Franken said something to the effect [2] that it was all very well picking up Hannity's ravings - but the real problem was with the mainstream press. He had a metaphor for the press pack involving teams of six year olds playing soccer - all going for the ball; and was so bold as to suggest that one reason was laziness.

Kinsley went completely non-responsive at that point. He seemed unwilling to confront the idea that this was a systemic problem: that the factoid is placed in the ether and can never be recalled is not an Act of God but an artefact of media practice.

(Franken said he was planning to set about fact-checking the mainstream press, and Kinsley said something like Good for you.)

And that after having mentioned writing about the similar slur produced by 41 against Clinton, and failed to make any impression on the Conventional Wisdom.

Franken even mentioned Kit Seelye by name!

What was remarkable was not the content of the interview, so much as the fact that Franken seemed to have some kind of understanding of the systemic problem - elements of which much discussed here [3] - and Kinsley was nervous about getting into it. (Despite being happy to own up to being a liberal, and therefore, presumably, a Kerry supporter.)

There is an element of Dr Johnson's dog here: low expectations help Franken no end. But it's enough to keep me interested for the moment.

  1. It's in the O'Franken Factor blog for April 6 - they don't seem to have permalinks.

  2. No transcripts!

  3. I'm pretty sure it was Franken who gave an example of a sensational headline on the front page, with the context hidden somewhere deep inside - our old friend, the inside jump - last mentioned here on April 6. Being an inside jump newbie myself, I'm naturally going to find that impressive!

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