Friday, February 13, 2004

Does Kerry have a glass jaw? Drudge's new intern rumor-mongering involves him. He turned out to be right about Monica. Will his new very vague disclosure force the mainstream media to give the story more traction? Here's betting it will, although it has little in the way of sources or specifics. But the story's been floating around for quite a while, pushed by the nefarious former Kerry and Clark aide Chris Lehane, as noted in the Wonkette blog and elswhere:

FROM CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY'S CRAIG CRAWFORD: "Drudge item on Kerry intern issue is something Chris Lehane (Clark press secy) has shopped around for a long time -- it was one reason the Gore vetters in 2000 shied away from Kerry as a running mate choice -- their conclusion that it wasn't bad enough to disqualify him, except for the fact that they couldn't risk it as they were trying so hard to distance themselves from Clinton's personal failings (note: Lehane worked for Gore at the time -- and briefly advised Kerry during this campaign). The Kerry camp has long expected to deal with this, and have assured party leaders they can handle it."
This has a ring of truth, and not just the Lehane part. Of course Kerry's people think they can handle this. Whether they actually can. . . ?

The Kerry news is breaking fast and has already moved on Thursday afternoon on the obscure Press Association wire -- but still hasn't been picked up by agenda-setting major national news outlets as of Friday night. On Friday morning, Andrew Sullivan asked: "Maybe this will be the first time that a true firewall is established between the web, the Brits and the rest of the media. Maybe I'm wrong and this won't break out as a major story. That in itself would be a media milestone. (On the other hand, Drudge got 15 million hits in the past 24 hours - twice his normal traffic.) Can we all pretend we didn't hear this and carry on as normal?"

The basic outlines of the story were outlined in this wire story:


BYLINE: Mark Sage, PA News, in New York

"Allegations against Vietnam war hero John Kerry today threatened his runaway presidential campaign.

Right-wing news web site The Drudge Report - which broke the Monica Lewinsky scandal - claimed a woman close to Senator Kerry recently left America at his behest.

It also reported that his former rival for the Democratic nomination, General Wesley Clark, told reporters in an off-the-record conversation last week: "Kerry will implode over an intern issue."

Internet columnist Matt Drudge said three reporters could confirm the comments by former Nato Supreme Allied Commander Clark, who quit the race for the party's nomination yesterday amid poor results.

He also claimed that Time magazine, ABC News, Washington Post and Associated Press - where the woman in question was said to have once worked - had been investigating her relationship with Kerry for several days.

Decorated Vietnam veteran Kerry is married to Theresa Heinz Kerry, the wealthy heiress to the food empire.

Drudge claimed a close friend of the mystery woman approached a reporter late last year claiming "fantastic stories".

He also suggested that behind-the-scenes panic in the Kerry camp was prompting former campaign front-runner, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, to increase his attacks on Kerry in the last few days.

Drudge said that explained why Dean decided to reverse his decision to drop out of the race if he failed to win the Wisconsin primary on February 17.

Senator Kerry, from Massachusetts, is currently the runaway favourite to win the Democratic ticket to run against President George Bush in November.

He has won 12 of the 14 state primaries and caucuses held so far.

Kerry was born on December 11, 1943 in Denver, Colorado. He has two children from his first marriage, and three step-children with his current wife.

A Kerry campaign spokesman had no immediate comment in response to the claims."

For John Edwards, especially, all this scandal-mongering is very good news indeed. The Drudge story will be on the cable chat shows tonight, and doubtless in some national mainstream news organizations by tomorrow.

So the political chattering classes will finally be able to discover: Can Kerry take a punch?

Friday Update: On Friday morning, the Don Imus show on MSNBC and syndicated radio read the Drudge item -- and Kerry came on later to deny the story. The Columbia Journalism Review's Campaign Desk press critique blog offers a round-up of which blogs are flogging the Kerry story and which are ignoring it. Most, like Art Levine Confidential, are using some variation of the "Will this story hit the mainstream?" angle, or piously noting how fast gossip spreads during the age of the Internet. Of couse, in updating the tried-and-true formula that allows the respectable press to promote tawdry gossip -- "Has the press gone too far?"-- the blogs and media commentators are speading the unsubstantiated Drudge report, while seeming to hold themselves above it.

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?