Fox News has been running with the "Obama offered a job to Sestak not to run against Specter" scam endlessly on cable and while there was a serious press conference going on about the catastrophic BP oil spill, Major Garrett had to toe the Roger Ailes line and was the only reporter at the sixty-three-minute press conference to even mention it.
It's the last question of the presser.
Q Two issues. Some in your government have said the federal government’s boot is on the neck of BP. Are you comfortable with that imagery, sir? Is your boot on the neck of BP? And can you understand, sir, why some in the Gulf who feel besieged by this oil spill consider that a meaningless, possibly ludicrous, metaphor?
Secondarily, can you tell the American public, sir, what your White House did or did not offer Congressman Sestak to not enter the Democratic senatorial primary? And how will you meet your levels of expressed transparency and ethics to convey that answer to satisfy what appear to be bipartisan calls for greater disclosure about that matter? Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: There will be an official response shortly on the Sestak issue, which I hope will answer your questions.
Garrett is a good little doggie making sure Ailes gets his bone. Why Obama would engage at all is ridiculous because now more reporters will want to be in on the con. His first question was just nasty and makes no sense in the larger discussion of the pil spill, but that was just the set up for his "con."
Jonathan Chait writes:
I'll keep saying this: A job offer is not a quid pro quo to get somebody out of a race. It is getting somebody out of a race. Accepting one job means you cannot run for another. It happens all the time -- the White House appointed John McHugh Army Secretary in part to get him out of New York's 23rd Congressional District. It offered Judd Gregg a cabinet slot in order to get him out of the Senate. This is completely routine, neither illegal no immoral nor especially unusual. Can't we wait to appoint a special prosecutor until there's at least some possibility of underlying illegal behavior?
Digby and Jamison Fosier have been writing a lot about this flim flam reporting and engaging in any fashion is like playing Three Card Monte against a bunch of pros.
In its full form, Three-card Monte is an example of a classic short con in which a shill pretends to conspire with the mark to cheat the dealer, while in fact conspiring with the dealer to cheat the mark.
FOX News or some right wing propaganda outlet is the confidence man. The media are the shills and Democrats are the marks. It's very simple. The scam can't be beat so the White House should just walk away.
But here's the thing. None of that will do any good. There is no winning with these noise machine pseudo-scandals. They have an alternate media structure that is designed to stoke scandal fever and the way they keep the mainstream media on the hook is with "smell tests" and demands that the person address the claims, apologize or make amends, none of which will be deemed adequate and all of which necessitate another round of investigations, demands etc. With every impossible requirement that isn't met, the press will become more convinced that the person must be hiding something, is too hot to handle and will eventually agree that he has to step down or quit the race because "the scandal" is devouring him.
Later an article or a book will be written explaining that there was never anything to the charges, that the whole thing turned into a feeding frenzy but that the real problem is that the politician didn't get "out front" or establish a "war room" or otherwise magically change this dynamic and it will be deemed his fault for failing to be a stronger, better politician. Some pols survive this, notably Bill Clinton. But it takes a willingness to recognize that they are not going to leave you alone, give yourself up to it and greet each day with the knowledge that this is going to dominate until it either passes or kills you.
The right wing scandal machine creates political viruses that mutate and take on a life of their own. There's no antidote once you've caught it --- you either have a good immune system and a will to survive or you don't.
Update: read this piece by Foser from 2006 on the same theme.
Fosier does and outstanding job of listing all the Democratic politicians that have been smeared to the high heavens by the right wing bunko brigade which was aided by the MSM. The Villagers act like the shills and become part of the con, playing the straight man who make believe they are part of the card game to draw the sucker in to be taken for all he's got. It's a long piece, but well worth the read.
What the bunko brigade count on is that the rest of the unwitting and witting accomplices (media) that will join in the party because they feel left out of the "Three-Way" confidence game. It happens every time as history shows. President Obama should keep his money in his pocket and move along.