Sunday, February 11, 2007

Arianna: Putz is part of the "right wing noise machine."

From "Reliable Sources" 2/11/07:
KURTZ: Let me move on to the Nancy Pelosi plane issue. This was a story broken by "The Washington Times," saying that the Pentagon had turned down the House speaker's request for a larger military jet to take her to California. It turns out this is mandated under post- 9/11 security rules, Glenn Reynolds, and some conservatives kind of slammed her as a pampered princess.

Was this a legitimate story or not?

REYNOLDS: I think it's legitimate, and partly because it was in the week when she was coming out and making a very big deal on global warming. The plane that she originally had requested was actually a military version of a 757 airliner. And her staff said she wanted to have room for an "entourage," which was perhaps an unfortunate choice of word.

But, you know, it worked out OK in the end. She is now flying in the same plane Dennis Hastert used to use, which is a 12-seat commuter jet that has the range to reach San Francisco nonstop. So everything is fine.

But, you know, it's been sort of a campaign of mine in my blog to point out that a lot of people who are speaking out about global warming and the urgency of the problem are also flying around in private jets. And I think people should start flying commercial.

KURTZ: All right.

Arianna, you know, Nancy Pelosi says she didn't even ask for this plane, the request was made by the House sergeant-at-arms. And no less a figure than Tony Snow, from the White House podium, said this was a silly story.

So was the mainstream press snookered here?

HUFFINGTON: I would say this was the dumbest story of the month. And there were many dumb stories this month.

The fact is that this was, as you said, a matter of security, a matter for the sergeant-at-arms, and it was -- the precedent had been set by Denny Hastert post-9/11. And the only difference was that you need a different kind of plane sometimes to get to San Francisco than you need to get to Chicago without stopping and wearing a diaper like the astronaut.

So, that was really the simple fact. And it was another prepackaged false scandal that the right-wing noise machine tried to make a big deal out of.
And Putz still is.

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