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Notes and observations on the press, politics, culture, technology, and more. To sign up for e-mail delivery, click here. To send an e-mail to Dan Kennedy, click here. For bio, published work, and links to other blogs, visit

Saturday, June 12, 2004

HOW LAZY CAN YOU GET? Look at what former Republican congressman Mickey Edwards writes in today's Boston Globe:

One of my colleagues at Princeton said recently that if one went to Google and typed in the word "waffle," Kerry's name would come up. I haven't checked it out, but a newly reported Los Angeles Times poll found that nearly half of voters questioned called Kerry a flip-flopper.

"I haven't checked it out." Okay, it's a jibe, but in order for it to work there ought to be something to it, right? Well, go over to Google, enter "waffle," and click on "I'm Feeling Lucky," which is where other politically oriented jokes reside (for instance, try this with "weapons of mass destruction").

Done? What do you have? "Welcome to Waffle House!" The waffle with two eggs, sausage, or bacon sounds particularly good, although it could prove fatal.

Now, go back to Google, enter "waffle" again, and hit the regular "Google Search" button. Results 1 through 10 are for recipes, movies, anything but politics. Result #11, though, takes you to, home of the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign. I clicked, but the page to which Google linked does not actually have the word "waffle" (or "waffler") on it. Google probably found an outdated page in which some Bushoid referred to Kerry as a "waffler." No, I don't know it for a fact, but unlike Edwards I at least tried to check it out.

At long last ... Result #44 brought me to a different "Waffle House," put together by some Kerry-hating cretin who has a banner on his site reading "Make the French Happy! Vote for John Kerry." There's also something called "Kerry = Al Qaeda Employee" and an animated graphic starring the, uh, senatorial unit. Is this what Edwards is referring to? Oh, wait, never mind - Edwards has already admitted that he doesn't know what he's referring to.

As for Edwards's citation of the LA Times poll, the flip-flopper finding is accurate, but here's what he leaves out:

... Kerry led Bush by 51% to 44% nationally in a two-way matchup, and by 48% to 42% in a three-way race, with independent Ralph Nader drawing 4%.

Lifting Kerry is a powerful tailwind of dissatisfaction with the nation's course and Bush's answers for challenges at home and abroad. Nearly three-fifths believe the nation is on the wrong track, the highest level a Times poll has recorded during Bush's presidency.

Edwards's column is called "The Iconoclast," and is apparently intended to provide some pro-Bush counterweight to the op-ed page's generally pro-Kerry tilt. That's fine. But dishonest, selective, lazy spin isn't in anyone's interest - certainly not the reader's.

OPERATIC. Media Log reader Elisabeth Riba corrects my assertion that you have to pay for the Web browser Opera. It turns out that there's a free version available if you don't mind looking at ads. I don't, so I downloaded the latest version and gave it a quick spin. I was unimpressed - it seemed a bit slow, and type spacing looked weird. But I know there are Mac users who swear by it, so I'll keep playing with it to see whether it's me or the software.

posted at 10:49 AM | 1 comments | link


It was a google bomb that people on the right came up with. Such things are very specific, though. Try "waffles" and you'll get Kerry's homepage.

By Steve Brady™, at 4:59 PM  

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Dan Kennedy is senior writer and media critic for the Boston Phoenix.

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