Yanking Our Chain

In the spirit of the manifesto, I want to weigh in on a story that is getting some mention on other Bush-hater weblogs. From the National Enquirer (yeah, I know): Bush’s booze crisis.

Family sources have told how the 59-year-old president was caught by First Lady Laura downing a shot of booze at their family ranch in Crawford, Texas, when he learned of the hurricane disaster.

His worried wife yelled at him: “Stop, George.”

Following the shocking incident, disclosed here for the first time, Laura privately warned her husband against “falling off the wagon” and vowed to travel with him more often so that she can keep an eye on Dubya, the sources add.

Worth a chuckle in the checkout line at Vons, along with the stuff about alien babies with two heads, but not much more, right? Well, watch how the chain gets forged, link by link:

Capitol Hill Blue (who I’ve previously pledged never to link to, on the grounds that they are “lying fucktards“, but I think linking to them to dismiss what they’re saying is an exception) links to the National Enquirer piece from Dangers of a drunk Dubya. Then the otherwise-sensible Thomas More of Utopia links to CHB: Drinking again? And now I’ve seen the same thing being mentioned casually in comments at Daily Kos, and I’m sure it will continue to make the rounds.

So, for the record, allow me to state that I am not one of those who is at all swayed by this. Sure, it’s possible that George Bush is drinking again. But neither the National Enquirer nor Capitol Hill Blue’s speculation to that effect counts in any way as evidence for it. I link to it here not to spread the meme, but only to call bullshit on those who are doing so.

And I hereby do so: This story is bullshit.

Update: And now, having actually poked around some more, I’m forced to climb down a rung or two from my snooty pronouncement. The Wikipedia entry for the National Enquirer makes the case that the tabloid is actually more reliable that I was giving it credit for being. It tends not to do the “space aliens ate my brain!” stories, but instead focuses on celebrity gossip. Because of the risk of being sued, goes the theory, they actually have upgraded their sourcing and fact-checking since 1981, when Carol Burnett famously won a libel case against them for charging that she had been seen drunk in public.

Among other things I’d forgotten is the fact that the Enquirer originally broke the Monica Lewinsky story.

Anyway, having given it a second look, I’m no longer prepared to cite the article as bullshit, or those linking to it uncritically as co-bullshitters. (Besides the people I mentioned previously, see also Steve Gilliard: Is Bush drinking again?) I’m not saying I believe the Enquirer article to necessariy be accurate, but I now think it represents an interesting data point.

One Response to “Yanking Our Chain”

  1. ethan-p Says:

    Bullshit or not, I’m soooo gonna pledge Upsilon Sigma Omega house (US W. House) next year! I heard that those guys throw the best friggin parties on campus! (Campus, federal government, what’s the difference?)

    They’ve got their own executive chef, free beer, booze, and all of the yayo your nose can handle. I hear that’s where the older chicks go to party. I’ll bet that those older chicks all put out — mmmmmm, Connie Rice!

    Whoooooooooooooooooooooooey – go Dubya!

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