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More Huffing and Puffing

2:01 PM, Jul 17, 2007 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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So apparently Arianna overheard a telephone conversation between WEEKLY STANDARD editor Bill Kristol and, well, Huffington has "no idea who was on the other end," but the WWS has made inquiries and can report that her account of the call is mostly fiction. No matter.

Still, we find it amusing that she's not even embarrassed about writing (boasting) about her eavesdropping. At least when the Bush administration eavesdrops on calls, they don't write about it...they leave that to the New York Times.

Kristol won't condescend, despite my prodding, to notice Arianna's screed, but I think she owes all her readers an apology. She's set a dangerous precedent that means any right-winger who overhears one of her readers' conversations can write it up, and that would be really, really, terrible--even worse than the NSA program--since her readers were actually plotting to off the vice president last time we checked in on them.

But even stranger is the sycophantic post at the site today from Steve Clemons. Clemons praises "liberal blog-phenom diva Arianna" for her snooping, which he discussed with her "at her Washington home last night at a grand affair of her many blogging and political friends in Washington." Surprisingly, Clemons "agreed with her that what she heard Kristol say on the train...show[s] that modern neoconservatism has become a reality-denying cult."

I suppose anyone who recognizes the considerable military progress that's been made in Iraq over the last few months is then a member of this 'neoconservative reality-denying cult,' to include most recently CNN's Barbara Starr, who reported today on American Morning:

"Kiran, it is an extraordinary thing. I hope everyone can hear me. We are absolutely walking through the marketplace as we speak. General Pace just stopped and brought some fruits and vegetables from a dealer here in the market. He is stopping to say hello to every little kid he can find and take pictures with them. What's really extraordinary here is, of course, Ramadi was the real heartland of al Qaeda, if you will, just a few months ago. So many U.S. troops lost their lives on these streets and the battle for this city. Now, today, the streets are quiet. Rebuilding is underway. Perhaps one of the most extraordinary things is they have not have an IED attack on the streets of this city since February. It's not to say that there aren't plenty of problems around. Lots of security challenges to overcome, but I don't think anyone really expected even six months ago that a chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff would spend the afternoon walking around the streets of the city. It's a pretty extraordinary event."

There's one last turn to this story. We hear that Kristol also couldn't help overhearing a cell phone conversation on the train that afternoon. It involved a boisterous, overly accented harridan. He couldn't understand much, since he only heard one side of the call, but it sounded like a lot of gibberish about a problematic moose and squirrel that she and a colleague (Morris?) were hatching various schemes to entrap. The individual in question remains unidentified.