My favorite urban legend of the left these days is the one about the mysterious bulge underneath’s G.W. Bush’s suit-jacket caught in this Salon photo of the first round of debates. The idea, speculated Salon’s David Lindorff (you have to subscribe or put up with a bunch of ads to read) was that Bush had a huge receiver with wire strapped to his back during the debate through which he channeled outer-space aliens–no, no, Karl Rove!–feeding him the answers to tough questions.
I found the bulge story hilarious: the idea that you need a wired receiver, especially one the size of a shoebox as Bush’s was supposed to be–in this, the era of BlackBerries and wireless everything else. Wouldn’t a tiny hearing aid-style receiver dropped inside Bush’s ear have done the job just as efficiently? But as National Review’s Byron York, writing for the Hill, notes, the most bizarre feature of the bulge story is that reporters for the Big Media not only took it seriously but passed it on! York writes:
“On the basis of that good old shoe-leather reporting, The Washington Post ran a story the next day discussing ‘widespread cyber-speculation that [Bush] was wired to receive help with his answers.’
“When the Post asked the Bush camp for comment, the president’s aides tried to laugh it off. When the paper insisted on a serious answer, several officials ‘flatly denied’ that there was anything unusual about the wrinkle in the president’s coat.
“The Post had no evidence, beyond the Internet speculation. But that speculation, along with Lindorff’s Salon article based entirely on the same speculation, was apparently enough to merit publication.
“The same for the [New York] Times, which based its story on ‘rumors racing across the Internet.’
“The paper of record added that ‘the prime suspect was Karl Rove, Mr. Bush’s powerful political adviser.’
“In both stories, it appears the Post and the Times placed particular faith in the judgment of Lindorff.”
Lindorff, as York points out, is one of the pioneers of the Bush Is Hitler concept that fuels much of the political theorizing of the left these days. And these are the same Big Media who looked down their noses at–and refused to report on for days–the Internet-driven stories of the Swiftvets about John F. Kerry’s service in Vietnam.