We couldn't care less whether South Carolina flies the Confederate flag over its Capitol. That Southerners should be sentimental for the Old Confederacy at this point is absurd. Still, Gore's was a nasty ploy.
It was also hypocritical, given that?as Drudge pointed out in a Monday posting?the flag of Bill Clinton's home state of Arkansas itself bears elements derived from the Stars and Bars. That flag flew over the Arkansas State House in which then-Gov. Clinton maneuvered, and it stood in his office.
Gore's campaign declined to comment on Clinton's implicit endorsement of the Confederacy's crimes.
Even better was Drudge's unearthing of comments made by some of New York City's stupider Democratic politicians last July, when Mayor Giuliani flew the Arkansas flag over City Hall after his visit there. City Councilman Bill Perkins called the flag "a smack in the face of those who were victims of slavery..." Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields said the display was "an insult to African-Americans and those who have struggled in the Civil Rights movement."
We look forward to seeing Perkins and Fields prostrate themselves before their mistress Hillary Clinton?erstwhile First Lady of the great Confederate state of Arkansas?when the Senate campaigns gain momentum. And we congratulate Drudge.
Merger Maniacs If all the hand-wringers and high-fivers are correct, the proposed merger of AOL and Time Warner heralds the triumph of the Internet, the obsolescence of Old Media and/or the death (and how many times have we heard this) of a free press.
Among the most hysterical, an op-ed in the Jan. 14 New York Times by Tom Rosenstiel (director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, a Beltway scam) and Bill Kovach (curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism, another scam, at Harvard) declared the merger a harbinger of "the end of America's independent press," a doom ivory-tower "experts" have been forecasting since William Randolph Hearst was a lad. Funny how when independent journalism thrives (cf. Drudge), these same experts fail to recognize its legitimacy.
The best responses to the merger have been the most skeptical. In the Times' business section this Monday, Denise Caruso pointed out that AOL is hardly synonymous with the Internet; it's not even a particularly good portal to the Internet. It's a separate, proprietary online entertainment and services provider that also happens to offer inefficient access to the Net. The merger isn't about either the Internet or journalism, but simply about "high-speed delivery of digital entertainment" within the closed AOL system. (And if you depend on CNN for all your news and AOL for your Internet access, you deserve whatever you get from them.)
Besides, as John Cassidy brilliantly and concisely explains in this week's New Yorker, the deal's at least nine months from being completed, and, as a stock swap, highly vulnerable to external economic forces. If it collapses, he writes, it may signal not the triumph of a new Net economy, but "the end of the Internet stock boom."