Fred Thompson writes a really funny, excellent deconstruction of lazy campaign journalism. In 2007, the story was circulating that Thompson was too lazy to win a presidential primary. One reporterer claimed that he was driven around the Iowa State Fair rather than walk. What followed, he writes, was the journalistic pack running with scraps of inaccurate anecdotes:
Four years from now, I fully expect to read about a 2007 trip to the Iowa State Fair where I was driven around in the back of a stretch Hummer with tinted windows while sporting mirrored sunglasses and a Moammar Qaddafi cape, and being fed grapes by a nubile campaign volunteer.
Here is what happened at the fair.
In the first place, I was escorted by my former colleague in the U.S. Senate, Iowa senator Chuck Grassley. Chuck is a grassroots, pig-farming citizen politician who visits every county in his state every year. Needless to say, Chuck has not spent a lot of time in a golf cart. We walked all over the fairgrounds, shaking hands and visiting with the butter queen, the pork queen, and every other queen that was available. I patted sows and kissed babies (and maybe vice versa). I made one impromptu speech to a little gathering. Chuck and I laughed and poked fun at each other as we worked our way around the fairgrounds. In other words, it was the same kind of day I had had countless times before in Tennessee.
Chuck and I dressed basically the same. As for the shoes: Ladies and gentlemen, I am prepared to take the oath: I am not now, and never have a been, a wearer of Gucci shoes. I have never tried a pair on. I have never been alone in the same room with a Gucci shoe. And I most certainly was not wearing a pair while I was visiting the pigs in Iowa. I must correct this slur upon my reputation!
It's a terrific window into what it's like to be on the receiving end of pack journalism. It also makes me like Fred Thompson a lot more.