The Press Conference Rag
Billy Flynn and Election Day.


As Axelrod, a former “City Hall reporter” — in other words, “Daley Machine hack” — for the Chicago Tribune well knows, the journalistic “narrative” is the whole battle. And when you can effortlessly move from the newsroom to City Hall to the political consulting firm to the campaign managership of the man who’s the odds-on, Abe-Attel favorite to be elected the next POTUS, well . . .  

Can you spell Jim Lehrer, Tom Brokaw, Gwen Ifill, and Bob Schieffer, the hosts of the forthcoming debates? Even Arnold Rothstein couldn’t have fixed that fight!

Which, besides Joe Biden’s mouth, is what worries me a little. For years — hell, decades — we on the virtuous Left have gotten away with hiding behind the First Amendment, blah, speaking truth to power, blah blah, all the news that’s fit to whatever, blah blah blah. That’s partly because we realize we’re the Tammany party and you’re the Stupid party. Thank Gaia.

But now we know that you know what “what’s fit” means: Whatever we say it is. After all, your definition of “fit” and ours is radically different, and we’re just amazed that you’re finally, belatedly waking up to that fact. In the end, it really is all about premises. Or “talking points,” as we say.

And we’ve got ‘em and you don’t. We’ve got New York and California and all of New England — places where, on balance, life is pretty good as long as you’re rich and you can afford to hire your Mexicans instead of competing with them for jobs and seats on the commuter trains. We’ve got the okey-dokey, you betcha, Scandi-doofus upper midwest and Pacific northwest, where life is either real good (Minnesota and Washington, until the al-Qaeda cells and footbath agitators take over and put an end to “liberalism”) or real bad (Michigan, where your beauty-queen governor has gone, as they say in Britain, “tits-over-teacups”)

Meanwhile, you’ve got Kansas, the Little Bighorn, the south, and the rest of those gun-totin’, God-fearin; Christian states where nobody we know lives, and who knows, maybe even Ohio and Pennsylvania, where they still cling to God, guns, and coal miners.

But so what? We’ve got the ADD, ADHA, trial lawyers, shrinks, grief counselors, teachers, public employees’ union, gays, lesbians, and transgendered, ABCNBCCBSMSNBCPBSNYT crew. And now we’re about to find whether there are more of us than there are of you, at $175 an hour.

Which gets me back to Chicago. In the end, Miss Hart beats the rap, but she’s superseded at her moment of greatest triumph when a random broad pops a cap into some sucker’s keister outside the courtroom and the media — excuse me! The Chicago Tribune! – scuttles off in pursuit of the latest sensation, and the not-quite-pregnant Ms. Hart is left to face her “loving husband” Amos, and the rapacious Billy Flynn.

You can imagine how well that works out. The next thing we know, she’s hawking a cheap vaudeville act with one of her fellow murderesses from the Cook County jail. But hey — it’s all showbiz!

As I said, that’s what worries me. Because, as Frank Rich and Mo Dowd might say, any resemblance between these fictional characters and real persons is entirely coincidental.

– David Kahane is entirely fictional character. Which doesn’t mean that he’s not always right. You can remonstrate with him, or not, at kahanenro@gmail .com, c/o [email protected]. Or not, as the Billy Flynn/Billy Fallon case may be.


Sign up for free NRO e-mails today:

NRO Polls on LockerDome

Subscribe to National Review