HOW TO RECOGNIZE A PUFF PIECE-- CHRIS CILLIZZA ON HAROLD FORD, JR.
I started reading Cillizza's Washington Post piece on Harold Ford, Jr. this morning with an open mind. (Why, you ask? Hey, it's always important to know what corrupt and opportunistic careerist pols like Ford are up to in their never-ending battle to wreck the values and principles of the Democratic Party.) Anyway, it only took 3 paragraphs, short ones, before I saw that Cillizza, had been employed to write a hyped-up puff piece on Ford. It's sickening; doesn't the Post pay Cillizza enough so that he doesn't have to freelance for the DLC?
In touting the magnificence of Ford's new job as DLC frontman, he talks about Ford following in the footsteps of Bill Clinton (rather than the quintessential DLC Chairman, Joe Lieberman, someone Cillizza has always done so much to support). He refers to the shameful and irrelevant job at the much-despised DLC as a "lofty platform." (I guess it could be looked at as "lofty" in an aloof, disconnected sort of way, totally out of touch with everyday Americans, but I doubt that's what Cillizza had in mind.)
And he refers to Ford's 50,000 vote loss to right wing Republican Bob Corker in November as "closer-than-expected" instead of pointing out that Ford's consistent pandering to the right made him the only loser among Democrats with targeted races. To Cillizza, Ford had nearly pulled off "a stunning upset" by focusing on the future instead of the past-- which I'm sure has great meaning in Cillizza's and his paymasters' minds-- instead of mentioning that Ford lost while Democratic challengers with races every bit as tough-- like Jim Webb, John Tester, Claire McCaskill, Sheldon Whitehouse, Sherrod Brown-- won by not confusing voters as to who was the bigger right wing asshole.
It was the third paragraph that inspired me to write a piece about the anatomy of a puff piece. "At first glance Ford and the DLC appear to be a perfect fit. First elected in 1996 to a House seat his father formerly held for more than two decades, the younger Ford has been forced to beat back the idea that he is a lightweight on issues. His seat atop the DLC should considerably strengthen his heft on domestic and foreign policy matters." Cillizza follows that with a string of positive adjectives and then a quote from thoroughly discredited Beltway hack, Al From, about how the washed up Ford is part of "a new generation" of Democratic leaders.
I kept reading to see who Cillizza would dig up to present the other side of the picture-- about how Ford and the DLC are corporate tools who always sell out the interests of working men and women to whore for political dollars from Big Business. Maybe that got edited out of Cillizza's piece. I doubt it. Oh wait! Maybe this is the other side of the story, fair and balanced bit: "While the DLC has drawn considerable criticism from the liberal blogosphere for advocating so-called Republican lite policies, Ford insisted that the organization is miscast by its Democratic detractors." Does the DLC write that for Cillizza word for word or is his being so in sync with them that they know they don't have to?
And in backing Bush's Iraq plans, Ford uses the old DLC Lieberman strategy of painting mainstream Americans and mainstream Democrats as fringe: "Democrats aren't going to win if we are perceived as the anti-war or anti-national security party." What the DLC, Ford and Chris Cillizza seem to have forgotten is that Harold Ford lost and that real Democrats who challenged Bush for real won. I think the Post needs to re-examine who they have writing about politics for them.