By Ben Barrack
Chuck Todd goes under the Bus after White House Trial Balloon goes up in Flames
To Swift-Boat: American political jargon that is used as a strong pejorative description of some kind of attack that the speaker considers unfair or untrue—for example, an ad hominem attack or a smear campaign.
MSNBC’s Chuck Todd has been carrying water for the Obama administration since its inception. In return – at least in this instance – that water was taken back by State Department deputy spokesman Marie Harf and dumped on Todd’s head. To boot, the water was quite cold; it signified a blow to what every journalist should have at the top of his list of things he values – his own credibility.
Here is Harf throwing Todd under the bus when being asked about Todd’s reporting that White House “aids” said Bowe Bergdahl was being swift-boated by fellow soldiers who called Bergdahl a deserter (h/t WFB):
It’s rather clear that when Todd reported earlier this week that White House “aids” were surprised to see Bergdahl being “swift-boat(ed)” – as relayed by Shoebat.com – the MSNBC reporter was being used by the administration to send up a trial balloon to see how such a charge would resonate with the public. It didn’t and Todd was left twisting in the wind.
That trial balloon was clearly laced with lead and Harf made sure Todd would take the fall.
While fielding questions from reporters, Harf was asked why there was so much “push back” from the White House in response to soldiers who served with Bergdahl. The reporter was asking why the White House “aids” would use the term “swift-boat” as a verb to describe what those soldiers were doing to Bergdahl. Harf’s response was one of feigned shock; she referred to “swift-boating” as a “loaded term” and then proceeded to say:
“I’m not going to comment on anonymous White House aides who may or may not even be people that work at the White House.”
May or may not even be people that work at the White House? The implication is that Todd may have grabbed some muttonhead off the street, put words in his mouth (to include a ‘loaded term’ attributed to the Obama administration), and cited him as a White House “aid”.
Such a claim would make Todd a muttonhead barely capable of dressing himself.
Translation of Harf’s words:
The White House brainstormed the swift-boat idea and pseudo-focus grouped it before sending a couple of its lackeys over to Chuck Todd to tell him to cite anonymous White House “aids” as being shocked that Bergdahl was being swift-boated. Since that didn’t do well at all, we have decided that Mr. Todd’s credibility is something we value less than our own hides, and we expect Mr. Todd to feel the same way.
If Todd does feel the same way, his self-respect is on par with that of a porn star. As for his credibility, by Harf’s own implication, Todd deserves no more than that of Dan Rather or Jayson Blair.
In fact, based on Harf’s claim, MSNBC should fire Todd for being so irresponsible. He should never be taken seriously by MSNBC’s viewers again. The truth is that the White House would pick up the phone and make that happen if Todd DID quote a muttonhead with no connection to the White House. His career would be destroyed if he mis-attributed that quote. It would have meant that the White House was being ‘swift-boated’ by Todd; it wasn’t. He’s being ‘swift-boated’ by the White House.
In Todd’s defense, he’s not the only one whose credibility the State Department – or even a named administration official – smeared this week. In fact, Harf herself – earlier this week – implied that soldiers who had accused Bergdahl of being a deserter were the actual liars, as relayed by Shoebat.com. In so doing, it was Harf who came extremely close to describing those soldiers as “swift-boat(ers)” without actually using the term.
As Shoebat.com relayed yesterday, Brandon Friedman, current Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs who ironically “launched and managed” the Office of Online Communications at the Veterans Affairs from 2009-2012, was actually more incendiary than the anonymous White House “aids” Harf suggested didn’t exist. Friedman suggested that Bergdahl was driven out of his camp by soldiers who were “psychopaths” and by “leadership” that was absent.
Translation: Everyone in Bergdahl’s platoon was a muttonhead except… Bergdahl… who was… the guy… who… ran into the arms of the Taliban.
Got it. By that logic, Bergdahl’s entire platoon should have deserted and hung a sign on the front gate that read “CROATOAN”.
Accusing someone of “swift-boating” means you’re accusing them of smearing someone else unjustly. Accusing someone of being a “psychopath” without evidence is itself smearing someone unjustly.
What this means is that if Chuck Todd has an ounce of self-respect, he will point to the words of Harf, who suggested Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers were liars, and Friedman, who suggested they were ‘psychopaths’. He doesn’t even have to name his White House sources, which is something “journalists” aren’t supposed to do anyway. Something else they’re not supposed to do is stand idly by while they’re accused of lying.
Then again, we are talking about Chuck Todd, who seems to like getting smacked around by the administration: