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Mayhill Fowler

Mayhill Fowler

Posted: August 14, 2008 02:20 PM

"Who Is Mary Matalin?"


Mary Matalin, I've always admired your feistiness and fine mind -- and over the last year I appreciate as well how difficult it is for women in media, for there is indeed an undercurrent of sexism, and that means you, Jake Tapper, yukking it up on This Week with George Stephanopoulos about Brit and Paris being stupid (Paris Hilton may be a party girl, but that does not mean she is stupid -- in fact, I suspect she is very smart) -- but Mary, you have let me down. How could you? Jerome Corsi? Having chosen Corsi's Obama Nation, at least you could have done a decent job with the editing. You're old enough to know that choices have inexorable consequences. You're old enough to know that truth always finds its way, in the end. Don't you remember your Shakespeare? The little candle that throws its beams in a naughty world? You should be carrying one of those candles. And to think I'd always thought of you as a Portia.

Ah well, from childhood I've seen that politics is a nasty business. So it's probably useless to try to set the record straight about a few things Corsi says about my husband and me in the mercifully brief section of Obama Nation called "Who Is Mayhill Fowler?" But for the record:

1. I am not a "self-appointed freelance journalist." If only, Jerome and Mary, you could know how amusing and false is "self-appointed!" But I digress. The fact is that in the first week of June 2007 Amanda Michel, the director of Off the Bus, telephoned to ask me to join the new citizen journalism project at Huffington Post. Also, freelance implies paid. I am not paid for my work. As of June 2008, I am reimbursed for some but not all my expenses; I do not receive a salary.

2. My husband is not a McCain supporter. He has been a Democrat his entire life. He always votes the Democratic ticket. While I'm on the subject of my husband, he does not own yachts -- not in Turkey, not in America, not anywhere. Don't journalists know how to do research anymore? I think not. As all attorneys have to take Continuing Education of the Bar classes to keep their licenses, so journalists should go back to school for refresher courses. That means you, Bart Sullivan, with the Washington Bureau of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. Don't you know better than to believe what you google-garner from internet gossip?

3. I was never "turned away" from an Obama fundraiser with Bill Bradley. If you had done a modicum of research, you would have found that I wrote about that fundraiser, to which I was invited and which I attended, in an OffTheBus post dated January 30, 2008. Bill Bradley: McCain/Huckabee Toughest GOP Ticket. This might be the time to state also that my editors, not I, put the titles on my pieces. On February 3, 2008 I posted on OffTheBus another Obama fundraiser piece: Teddy Kennedy Campaigns for Obama in Two Californias. San Francisco TV personalities Phil Matier and Andrew Ross are the source of the "turned away" misinformation -- and again, guys, don't believe everything you read on the internet. You, too, are old enough to know better.

What Jerome Corsi writes about me is of little importance -- although it is fun to kvetch. And what's a scurrilous book about Barack Obama, in the end? The outcome of Election 2008 is going to hinge on the three debates (and possibly the fourth vice-presidential one) and the intensity of the Obama Campaign's get-out-the-vote effort. I'd say more -- but prognostication is an invitation to a jinx.

But Mary, Mary -- your intelligence! You've betrayed it. When you tell the New York Times that Corsi's book, which you are publishing, is "a piece of scholarship, and a good one at that," you know that's not true. You're smart and educated and well aware that book scholarship requires the use of primary sources, interviews and fact-checking. You know the exact worth of internet gossip as a resource. The real reason you are publishing Corsi's book is that you want to defeat Barack Obama. In Corsi's world view, Obama and I both are venal; but whoever we may be and neither of us is perfect, to paraphrase Senator Obama's frequent comment about himself, nevertheless the venality would seem to be all yours.