Does the ‘Kinsley Rule’ Apply to Journalists, Too?

Posted by Michael Walsh
Big Journalism
January 12, 2010

Michael Kinsley, the former editor of Slate, once defined a gaffe as what happens when a politician inadvertently blurts out the truth. But what about when a card-carrying member of the MSM does the same thing?

David “advisor to presidents” Gergen is perhaps the most conventional of the conventional-wisdom purveyors in Washington. To paraphrase Mary McCarthy on Lillian Hellman, every word that comes out of his mouth is a cliche, and that includes “the,” “but,” and “and.” Almost nothing he says is ever original, insightful or thoughtful, although he delivers his empty phrases in a professorial honk that seems to convey authority. If you want to know what everybody else within the Beltway is thinking, Dave is your go-to guy.

So that’s why this clip from last night’s debate between Scott Brown and Martha Coakley, competing in a special election next week for the open Massachusetts Senate seat, and moderated by Gergen, is fascinating…

…Note how easily Gergen reached back for what he thought was a blazing fastball — “You’re going to sit in Teddy Kennedy’s seat!” — and discovered that it was a hanging curve that Brown knocked over the Green Monster at Fenway, where it’s still bouncing around somewhere on the Mass Pike.

But that is how these people think: it’s Kennedy’s seat. That’s the narrative. But for the first time in half a century, the media’s wishing it were so may not make it so…

The rest of the commentary is at

Comments are closed.