Jon confidently opened by repeating the title of the piece, a one-liner sandwich board style prediction that, "The Sarah Palin Phenomenon is doomed." He then insisted it will not be because of her performance in the ABC interview with Charles Gibson. No, no, no! Friedman says it is because the media will tire of her and move on.
Of course, Jon then spent two thirds of his column trying to belittle her by pointing out that she looked like a deer in the headlights during that interview, and that Charles Gibson, gentle as he was (according to Friedman), had just taken her down with his questioning.
Friedman forgot to mention what many others saw -- Charlie Gibson with a game face, skeptically peering over his readers, and down his nose at Governor Palin for the entire interview. In fairness, Charlie does tend to take on "airs" a bit as an interview style. But whatever controversy arose in this one, emerged from his obtuseness over the meaning of the so-called "Bush doctrine."
As for Friedman's column today, his "proof" demonstrates an equally embarrassing level of confusion on his part about that subject.
Let's review. Friedman says:
"Specifically, Palin seemed to have little idea about the Bush Doctrine, in which the U.S must spread democracy around the world to halt terrorist acts." (my emphasis)And, then Friedman added:
"Some analysts have suggested that Gibson knew more about the Bush Doctrine than the vice-presidential candidate."
Really? Some analysts? Friedman had named the New York Times and "the Washington Post-owned" Slate. And he added the AP.
But just as obviously, he did not include Pulitzer-prize winning columnist for the Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer, the person who actually coined the phrase, "the Bush Doctrine" way back in 2001.
Slight oversight, I guess.
Krauthammer has written a more recent column in the Washington Post, entitled Charlie Gibson's Gaffe, in which he notes that Charles Gibson obviously had no idea what he was talking about when he posed that question to Sarah Palin. Krauthammer then pointed out that there have been at least FOUR Bush doctrines over the past eight years.
Here is Krauthammer's explain from his new column:
The New York Times got it wrong. And Charlie Gibson got it wrong.Meanwhile, in his column today at CBS, Mr. Friedman -- apparently thinking that he was agreeing with Charlie Gibson -- also cited one of the four . . . "the Bush Doctrine, in which the U.S must spread democracy around the world to halt terrorist acts." (again, my emphasis)
There is no single meaning of the Bush doctrine. In fact, there have been four distinct meanings, each one succeeding another over the eight years of this administration -- and the one Charlie Gibson cited is not the one in common usage today. It is utterly different.
He asked Palin, "Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?"
She responded, quite sensibly to a question that is ambiguous, "In what respect, Charlie?"
Sensing his "gotcha" moment, Gibson refused to tell her. After making her fish for the answer, Gibson grudgingly explained to the moose-hunting rube that the Bush doctrine "is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense."
So, to repeat, in the interview with Palin, Charles Gibson specifically said the Bush doctrine "is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense."
Ooops! That should be just about as plain as the egg on your collective faces, Charlie and Jon!
Those are two entirely distinct ideas -- and as it turns out, they constitute approximations of two of the FOUR that Charles Krauthammer wrote about in Charlie Gibson's Gaffe.
But somehow, Jon Friedman has missed all of that, instead confidently asserting about Sarah Palin:
Since we're all clear on the nuances of the Bush Doctrine, we can move on to the Fickle Media Doctrine.
Now that we've built you up, it's about time for us to knock you down.
Sorry, Jon, low and outside. That was a wild pitch . . . not a strike.
Meanwhile, what should we call Friedman's pathetic column?
How does Friedman's Fumble sound? Or, given his combination of both ignorance and arrogance, am I being too kind?