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RJ Eskow

RJ Eskow

Posted: December 1, 2005 01:16 PM

Woodward and Meese on Video - Two for the Road


A right-leaning “video blog” has posted a five-year old video exchange between Edwin Meese and Bob Woodward. Start your irony meters! Bob says he busts his sources if they lie or mislead him. While Meese obviously hates confidential sources for all the wrong reasons, he embarrassingly gets the better of Woodward.

A warning: the video has all the production values of a principal’s announcement over elementary school loudspeakers (couldn’t the kids from the Audio/Visual Club have lent a hand?) and announcer Leslie Dutton speaks like she’s talking to Harrison Ford in the second act of Regarding Harry.”

(An aside: I've always thought the message of that movie was "Shoot a yuppie in the head and you get a pretty nice guy." Another other interpretations?)

The occasion for the Woodward/Meese encounter was a panel discussion on “Prosecutors and the Presidency.” When Meese complains that unnamed sources frequently mislead the public, Woodward response is that public sources manipulate the media on the record, too – hardly leading with his best shot. This dialog ensues:

MEESE: But then you can tell who they are … an unnamed source can never be held accountable.

WOODWARD: Oh, yes, all the time …

MEESE: By who?

WOODWARD: By the reporter. If you were given inaccurate information, it’s your job to straighten it out. And I’ve gone to sources who have misled me and blown the whistle on them.

You can stop chuckling softly to yourself now.

While moderates and liberals occasionally appear on the “Full Disclosure Network,” they give the lion's share of their video time to rightwingers like Meese and Brent Bozell, and also tend to feature a blogger I hadn’t heard of named Michael Williams. When I went to Williams' site this morning I was greeted by a tribute to Duke Cunningham’s days as a Vietnam fighter pilot – I kid you not. (What's next? John Wayne Gacy: He did bad things - but he was one heck of a clown! And he could juggle ...)

In watching Woodward and Meese I could’ve sworn I got a glimpse of Bob’s future: Falling stars don’t die, they just do dinner theater. Freddie Roman’s still working Vegas at 80, but by next year Bob will be working the “video blogs.” Maybe he can team up with Meese again – two ethically-challenged guys with once-famous names and a trunkload full of memories, on the road again. “Travelin’ along, singin’ a song …”

Hey. Beats sitting home with the scrapbook and the memories.
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(UPDATE: I received an angry commment over at Night Light from Leslie Dutton, who accuses me of being "selective" because I didn't mention her Emmy. I actually did mention it in two pararaphs that I had to cut for length. I left in the statement that moderates and liberals occasionally appear on their site, but I left out the Emmy. My first reaction to her was snarky, but I'll put the para's back - and try to err on the side of fairness. I don't mind conservative organizations setting up video blogs and running panels - sounds like a good idea, in fact. I'm just a "full-disclosure" type about funding and agendas. Oh, and I've corrected the movie title and Duke's war.)

RESTORED PARAS: To be fair to Full Disclosure: other points of view are occasionally represented (Murray Frumson, Gloria Allred), Dutton has received an Emmy, and their program on prosecutors and the Presidency looks thorough. But they're tilted well to the right, which shouldn’t be surprising for a group whose parent organization (the American Association of Women - the only more generic name, I guess, would be "The American Association of People") is best-known for fighting tuition support for illegal immigrants in California. They brought a lawsuit against the state's University system to force higher tuitions for illegal aliens, an initiative Dutton spearheaded.

Their Board of Directors contains two Republican activists, Esther Rushford Greene (active in the Davis recall) and former Santa Monica mayor James Reidy, late of "Vets for G. W. Bush" - although their political affiliations are not revealed on the AAW site. Clearly the AAW has particularly strong feelings about immigrants – one Full Disclosure piece is headlined “Illegals Kill Cops Who Wait for Feds to Enforce” while another complains that "Feds and cops parse names for immigrants" (presumably while they kill cops). "What is the difference between an illegal alien and a criminal, and a person who is 'out of status'?" asks Ms. Dutton in her opener.

A Night Light