Wednesday, September 15, 2004

all in the family

the new unauthorized biography the family: the real story of the bush dynasty is out and if the excerpts online are any indication, it's juicier than wrigley's gum.

the mainstream media has gone into attack mode against the book instead of bothering to actually research any of its claims like you'd think journalists would want to do (logic would dictate that if many of the allegations in the book are false, at least some of them would be fairly easy to prove wrong). matt lauer on the today show turned out to be an aggressive interviewer for once, though he himself ended up caught in a lie (or at least a bit of prevarication):

Kelley: “Matt, you play golf with the former President Bush?”

Lauer: “I have never played golf with him.”

Kelley: “You know that he's is a gregarious man. He's gracious. That's a very, very nice thing. That's in the book. The reason this looks so negative to people is that for years and years and years, we've had a very crafted public image. It looks like ‘The Donna Reed Show.’ Now we've got a little bit of ‘The Sopranos.’ Every family has got negatives and positives.”

(uber-right site newsmax actually tries to count this as a blow against kelley, but if they had done 15 seconds of research on google they would have turned up not just a story, but pictures and video of lauer and poppy bush in a "putting contest"... perhaps not a full-on 18 holes, but surely "playing golf" by some definitions [akin to saying "we never played basketball; we played HORSE"]... not that i really expect anyone on a site like newsmax [or even much of the mainstream media] to actually do 15 seconds of real research about this book, lest they turn up something true.)

so far the most explosive allegation (or the only one many are bothering to repeat) is that georgie and one of his bros (neil?) snorted some rails of coke at camp david, during poppy's presidency.

One of Kelley's sources -- and the only one on the record -- was Sharon Bush, the deeply aggrieved ex-wife of W's younger brother Neil. She is now in strong denial mode, even though her own publicist, who was present at a lunch where she told Kelley the story, confirms the accuracy of Kelley's account. Nonetheless, Lauer produced the Bush divorcee after his interview with Kelley to repeat her denials.

(i believe the publicist's actual quote was "i can't deny this account", but he's her f'n publicist so if there were any way he could deny it, he would. the fact that he won't proves, if not that bush was damaging his nasal passages as late as 88-92, that sharon bush did at least say so to kelley.)

but that's not even the only damaging drug-related claim in the except online at! that excerpt also claims that laura bush used to sell pot (not that i'd hold that against her), and... well, just read the excerpt, at least.

this isn't just some rambling screed or the unibomber manifesto. kelley's book is thoroughly researched, annotated, and was vetted by four different lawyers at doubleday. the us media is neglecting its duty by attacking her without at least poking their noses around into some of her allegations. like kelley said to salon:

It's interesting, from talking with the media today, the European media is much less intimidated than the American press. The Americans are all saying, "Well, why should we listen to you. Look at the books you've written." Well, excuse me, those books have stood up, I stand behind everything in those books, they've stood the test of time. And this book will too. So I see how this media spin is working, and I'm not surprised. You'd think the media would look at my book and follow up on it -- all right, she says here they instituted drug testing in the National Guard at such and such time, let's call up and find out if that's true. But don't beat me up just because I've come to you with almost a thousand sources. You know, I've gone through four sets of lawyers, because I'm dealing with a sitting president.

like kelley said to lauer about sharon bush now denying the coke david story, "Matt, I have three independent witnesses to what was said between me and Sharon Bush. That's good enough for a court of law. It should be good enough for you and me." this book is no joke, and the us media is doing you and me a disservice--and perhaps worse, doing the story a disservice--by not treating it more seriously and following up. of course, some of the allegations might turn out to be false. but no rational person could really believe that all of it is false. if even half of it turned out to be true, it would be quite damning. which is probably exactly why they aren't following up too much.

i'm pretty tempted to run out and buy this book... the "director's cut" of thx-1138 just came out on dvd so i've considered running off to borders to buy them both. but i wouldn't get to start reading it tonight anyway (it's comic day after all), and i still haven't come even close to finishing cryptonomicon or the other books in my "to-read" pile, so maybe i'll exercise some restraint over my capitalistic urges for once. or more likely i won't.

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