Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Whispers from Bumillie

With two named sources (Bully Boy at a press conference and "Kenneth M. Duberstein, who managed the Supreme Court nominations of Clarence Thomas and David H. Souter for Mr. Bush's father") Elisabeth Bumiller once again proves why she stands heads and shoulders above anyone else serving in The Elite Fluff Patrol with this morning's New York Times teased out article entitled "Announcement of Supreme Court Nominee May Be Soon."

Refusing to surrender her command of the squad (they'll have to pry the fluff from her soft, soggy mind!), Bumiller demonstrates that, new policies or not, you can still get an article into the Times built around such questionable "sourcing" as:

Administration officials
Both Republicans and Democrats said (if Duberstein's representing "Republicans," Bumiller provides no name, or quote, for "Democrats)
Republicans close to the White House
A Republican with close ties to the administration
White House officials
Republicans said
Both Republicans and Democrats said
Republicans and Democrats also said
Senate aides
Democrats said

Have fifteen paragraphs of "reporting" ever before resulted from such loosely "sourced" and "attributed" sources?

Gentle whispers to bring the anonymice out from their holes. She's not just the squad leader, she's the pied piper!

Did no one think to ask her, "'Republicans said?' What Republicans!" Did no one think to ask her why, since she repeatedly cited "Democrats," she had no quote from Democrats?

Bumiller approaches with her steno pad and all of D.C. goes into "deep background" mode.

Whispers, Bumiller tosses out whispers, so as not to scare the anonymice.

Does the Times know the policy changes they are supposed to be implementing? Does this article follow the changes provided to the public?

Will Bumiller ever have to offer something more concrete than "some Republicans" or "some Democrats?" Presumably, they are Senate Democrats. But Bumiller can't even inform the reader of that. They may not be Senate Democrats.

They may not even be Democrats. Bumiller's sourcing-grip has been loose for so long she may be referring to John McCain as "some Democrats" and readers would never know otherwise.

Did Bumiller ever see the film Ben? In that movie nice little rat Ben is the leader of a pack of rats, ones that attack. Anonymice can do that. They can burn a journalist. They can cause havoc on a journalist. Since Bumiller works for the Times, I find it hard to believe she's not made the connection.

Maybe she saw Ben but just didn't make the connection to her own life? Or maybe she's too busy singing, "The two of us need look more . . . we've both found what we're looking for."
("Ben," sung by Michael Jackson, was written by Don Black and Walter Scharf.) Heaven help her when the anonymice come home to roost.

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