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Friday, January 27, 2006

Ethics? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Ethics!

Arianna Huffington's relentless efforts to slog through the tedious hours of pompous beltway bloviating and the ridiculous kabukis played out on Press the Meat from week to week have finally paid off. Tim Russert whips around this morning and snaps like a toy poodle who's just been peed on by a Great Dane. What happened to the benign Sunday morning patriarch we look to for wisdom and thruthiness?

He appears to be in a bit of a snit.

It's hard to imagine, but I don't think Father Tim thought twice about accepting a gig for which he normally charges $50,000 to $60,000 to give a speech on ethics in the media. We can assume his supporting cast has grown accustomed over the years to stifling their guffaws at his disproportional self-image and didn't tip him off to the absurdity factor. So he was no doubt surprised when Arianna pointed out the obvious: that the man who has done more than anyone to normalize wingnut eliminationist rhetoric in mainstream political discourse, who equipped himself with an inviolable set of principles when it meant covering for pedophilia fantasist Scooter Libby but whipped them off quicker than a pair of whore's panties when it came to Richard Clarke and who still has not explained his extremely dubious role in the whole CIA leak case but feels free to limbo around this awkward fact as he covers the story from week to week, might be a bit challenged giving a lecture on the ethics of anything but most especially the media.

It probably never occurred to him that the little wink-wink, nudge-nudge action with fellow bloviator James Carville last week over Carville's new XM radio sports show was inappropriate due to the fact that Timmeh's son is Carville's co-host and Russert was using precious NBC moments more aptly devoted to, say, the NSA leak case to push his kid's show without bothering to clue the audience in.

But it sure as hell jostled his gated community gravitas when someone pointed it out for him.

Big white bwana man went whimpering to Lloyd Grove at the New York Daily News this morning, resurrecting his rather phantasmagorical 1996 claim that Arianna hired a private detective to follow his wife around. An assertion for which he has no proof other than something he read in an Ed Rollins book (more reliable recitations can be found scratched into the walls of bus station bathrooms), but as a regular practitioner of fact-free journalism this is not a problem for Father Tim.

This ethics conference should be a real hoot: Peggy Noonan will talk about the secret communiques of Vatican II as revealed to her by Flipper, Fred Barnes' chin will be dusted for George Bush's ball prints and Tim will serve up $50,000 worth of pontification on his favorite theme -- "It's news if I say it is."

This is a man whose limber set of "ethics" was openly and officially mocked by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. Whoever booked this rodeo clown show must be a fan of the theater of the absurd.

Feel free to leave your paeans to the righteousness of Father Tim at the Tim Russert blog. He'll see it.

Update: The guy who ghost wrote Rollins' book says it was all aa crock of shit.