Wednesday, October 27, 2004

"I'm not really an exhibitionist, but watch this!"

Back in 1999, when Nicole Kidman was junketeering for Eyes Wide Shut, she kept telling reporters that she's really a very shy girl, who just happens to appear naked in a lot of high-profile movies. She is not--she said repeatedly--an exhibitionist. Right.

By the same token, lots of journalists have recently taken to public declarations of their voting intentions. Like Nicole Kidman, I'm sure this has nothing to do with exhibitionism.

Instead, as Jacob Weisberg helpfully explains at Slate, it's all about fairness and "the distinction between opinion and bias." I believe him!

That said, it's worth taking a look at Slate's list of staff endorsements. You will be unsurprised to learn that John Kerry is going to carry the Slate offices 46 to 5. What might surprise you, however, are some of the fairly crazy explanations offered by Slaterns in defense of their endorsements:

* Phillip Carter: Bush "employ[s] lawyers to eviscerate the rule of law"

* Sara Dickerman: "I'd like to see the Social Security, due process, freedom of speech, and the right to choose when and if to have a family preserved for my newborn child"

* Mia Fineman: "I don't want to see our government further colonized by the fundamentalist Christian right."

* David Greenberg: "I'd vote for practically anyone instead of Bush, because I don't think he really believes in democracy."

* Jon Katz: Bush "seems to me to be mixing politics and religion, in this case talking to God rather than listening to advisers, foreign leaders, or voters."

* Laura Kipnis: Bush "appoints theocrats and neo-segregationists to the federal bench"

* Dahlia Lithwick: Bush has "lost sight of the fact that what makes Americans both strong and free is the rule of law"

* Charlie Powell: "Bush and Co. stole the 2000 election."

* Dana Stevens: Bush "and his cabal of gnarled trolls have taken our great country (not to mention all of the Middle East) down a path that it's possible no election will ever be able to fix."

* Robert Wright: "[Kerry's] a long way from being the Messiah, but at least he's not the anti-Christ."

Is this stuff nuts? You betcha. But here, once again, is Slate editor Jacob Weisberg, explaining "the kind of journalism Slate practices": "When you advance a hypothesis, you must test it against reality. When you make a political argument, you must take seriously the significant arguments on the other side."

Yeah, that's the ticket. It's not like they just want attention or anything.

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