Saturday, October 3, 2009
I hope no sadists frequent this site, but if any do, they would be well advised to take up viewing Ian Kelly's repetitive torture at the hands of the press on CSPAN. Kelly is the State Department's designated spokes dumpling and punching bag. He seems a very nice fellow and is an expert on Russia. I just finished listening to his latest press briefing which consisted, as always, of his ineffectual attempts to field the mind-numbingly tendentious interrogations of the DC press Corps. It's a Punch and Judy show, and it's impossible not to feel acute sympathy for this rumpled little man who the Obama Administration cast, naked, into the arena. Sickening images of a tree sloth with no means of escape cornered by ravenous ocelots come to mind.
He is relentlessly assailed with questions so detailed and so obviously in the service of some "gotcha" scenario, that there is really no possible answer without revealing state secrets or compromising continuing diplomacy. The reporters badgering Kelly know this. But Kelly's attempts to avoid doing either, while obsequiously serving the public's right to know is an exercise in the impossible.
Kelly's predecessor, Richard Boucher knew better. His attitude toward the press was perfect. That is, he had that air of superiority and professionalism that wordlessly put the ocelots back up their trees. The only way to deal with sadists is to turn the tables, whereupon they generally turn into masochists. As long as Kelly represents the State Department as a harassed store clerk trying to oblige, the Punch and Judy show will go on.