Let me say publicly that DonBoy’s answer exudes a combination of intuitive genius and confidence that make me think DonBoy is going to do big things in his life. -- Steven D. Levitt (Freakonomics blog)
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Karl Rove's Briar Patch

The New Yorker has a piece up by Nicholas Lemann discussing the complaints of all sorts of people about the media (referred to throughout as "mainstream media", by the way, in an acknowledged echo of the Right's current favorite formulation). Lemann's first example, though, seems kind of odd. It's a conversation that New York Times executive editor Bill Keller had with Karl Rove on October 22:
One item that particularly drew Rove’s ire was a Times front-page story, by Ford Fessenden, which appeared on September 26th, under the headline “a big increase of new voters in swing states.” As Keller remembered it later, in an e-mail message to me, Rove “fired off complaints like a Gatling gun, some specific, some generic, some about specific writers, some about specific elements of specific stories.” When I spoke to Rove about his conversation with Keller, it was obvious that, to his mind, the September 26th story was No. 1 among the Times’ journalistic misdeeds during the campaign. The story left the impression that the Democrats’ organization was vastly superior to the Republicans’, especially in Florida and Ohio. Getting out the G.O.P. vote in those two states had for several years been one of Rove’s main projects, and he spoke about the article in roughly the same tone as a writer discussing a bad review of his magnum opus.
Are we to understand that, two weeks before election day, Karl Rove was upset that the core element of his strategy was not getting enough publicity? Rove's always seemed to like the below-the-radar approach. I suppose that he was to some extent worried about the bandwagon effect, but this strikes me as a fit of personal pique that, had it been effective in its supposed goal, could well have come back to bite him.

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