A Random Thought I Had That Everyone Else Had Years Ago

And that random thought occurred to me when I looked at the picture of Joe Biden illustrating Jim Geraghty's NR Corner post: Excuses for Joe Biden Skipping Debates Start to Pile Up: Gee, Biden looks more like that ventriloquist's puppet every day.

Now, who was that guy? Google, google, google…

Oh, right. The ventriloquist was Jeff Dunham. And I was thinking of his cranky geezer puppet Walter. And‥

I discovered that Dunham was way ahead of me:

Cheap shots, but funny ones.

But (ahem) getting back to that Geraghty post:

Over at the Atlantic, David Frum argues that Joe Biden should decline to debate Donald Trump this autumn, urging the president and his team to issue a statement declaring: “The Constitution is not debatable. The president does not participate in forums with a person under criminal indictment for his attempt to overthrow the Constitution.”

Frum contends that the networks are urging the debates to go on as scheduled because they expect a ratings bonanza and cannot distinguish their financial interest from the national interest. And he is absolutely convinced that it is in the national interest that Biden and Trump never appear on a debate stage together. Frum is echoing the thoughts of Senators Dick Durbin of Illinois and Chris Coons of Delaware, who suggested that Biden shouldn’t debate Trump because it would “elevate” his opponent.

Biden is free to make any decision he likes, but those who oppose Trump shouldn’t fool themselves about the way many voters will interpret a decision like that. If the 81-year-old Biden refuses to participate in debates later this year, many Americans will conclude that it’s because he’s too old and that either he or his staff fears what Biden would say, or how he would appear, over the course of three 90-minute presidential debates. Yes, Biden looked fired up in his most recent State of the Union address, but in the end, all Biden had to do was read off a teleprompter and pause for applause. Debates are much tougher, and the opportunities for gaffes and unflattering moments are plentiful.

Even if one or more Trump-Biden debates come off, you couldn't pay me to watch.

Well, you couldn't. Or at least wouldn't. Nor would I expect you to. Sorry, didn't mean to imply otherwise.

We are left to wonder what debate-evading excuses Frum, Durbin, and Coons would have made up if Nikki Haley had been the GOP nominee.

Also of note:

  • Commie Radio goes full Stalin. Never go full Stalin. But at least NPR has the story: NPR suspends veteran editor as it grapples with his public criticism.

    (No, I'm not kidding. That link goes to the NPR story.)

    NPR has formally punished Uri Berliner, the senior editor who publicly argued a week ago that the network had "lost America's trust" by approaching news stories with a rigidly progressive mindset.

    Berliner's five-day suspension without pay, which began last Friday, has not been previously reported.

    Yet the public radio network is grappling in other ways with the fallout from Berliner's essay for the online news site The Free Press. It angered many of his colleagues, led NPR leaders to announce monthly internal reviews of the network's coverage, and gave fresh ammunition to conservative and partisan Republican critics of NPR, including former President Donald Trump.

    Indeed, Trump reacted with his usual caps-lock subtlety:

    Can't have that!

    At the NR Corner, Jeffrey Blehar has an interesting take on the essay: Uri Berliner Burned His Bridges at NPR, Then Set the House Ablaze.

    When I read it, I had two reactions, one to the text and one to the subtext. The text of Berliner’s piece was of course an eloquent and sensitively written exposé of the accelerating editorial rot behind the scenes at NPR. Berliner’s argument is not about bias — NPR’s liberal tilt is structurally unavoidable given the kind of people who want to work there — as much as it is about the complete internal corruption of journalistic ethics. (To wit, his discussion of the Hunter Biden laptop scandal is the ultimate confirmation of priors for suspicious conservatives: “I listened as one of NPR’s best and most fair-minded journalists said it was good we weren’t following the laptop story because it could help Trump.”)

    The subtext of the piece, however, was clear: “Now that I’ve aired our dirty laundry, I dare you to fire me before I eventually resign.” This was, for all its eloquence, functionally a career-terminating act. The various official responses from NPR, including a defensive rebuttal from NPR’s standards & practices editor and a five-day suspension without pay for “freelancing without permission,” indicate clearly that he is now persona non grata. To be fair, Berliner either certainly expected this or should have. As Phoebe Maltz Bovy aptly asks, “How many jobs are there where you could write a big essay about your beef with your workplace and keep your job?” Berliner was clearly dismayed enough about the situation at NPR that he was prepared to leave, and since as an NPR liberal he is more genteel than Homer Simpson, he chose to burn his bridges publicly and rhetorically, rather than literally.

    That last link goes to…

    Blehar also notes Berliner's references to NPR's new CEO, Katherine Maher. Who is described as the "Kwisatz Haderach of white wokeness, presumably bred through generations of careful genetic selection to be the supernaturally perfect embodiment of Affluent White Female Liberalism."

    Overstated? Well, for additional information on that, Matt Taibbi provides New NPR Chief Katherine Maher's Guide to the Holidays. (Only partially free, but enough.)

    Dumb old me didn't realize that one of Maher's previous gigs was at the Wikimedia Foundation. Where, if you responded cash-wise to one of Jimmy Wales' Wikipedia beg-a-thons, you were mostly funding a lot of tedious wokism.