McDermott makes list of author's 100 worst Americans
Paris Hilton's parents; the Rev. Al Sharpton; the guy who gave us "Fear Factor;" and Rep. Jim McDermott. At first glance, they don't have...
Seattle Times Washington bureau
Paris Hilton's parents; the Rev. Al Sharpton; the guy who gave us "Fear Factor;" and Rep. Jim McDermott.
At first glance, they don't have a lot in common. But they are linked for eternity in a new book, "100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (and Al Franken Is # 37)."
McDermott, as it happens, is No. 38. The Democratic congressman from Seattle apparently doesn't pose as big a threat to democracy as comedian-and-leftist radio talkster Franken. But McDermott presents more of a problem than, say, feminist Gloria Steinem, at No. 42, or Enron's disgraced chief executive, Kenneth Lay, who lumbered in at No. 45.
Almost as bad for the United States as McDermott is the city of Seattle, which is described as "ground zero for overpriced coffee," home of more "progressive loonies than anyplace else on the Left Coast."
"100 People" is the latest in a trilogy by Bernard Goldberg, an Emmy-winning former CBS News correspondent, who hit the jackpot in 2001 with "Bias," a book on the alleged liberal leanings of the media. His follow-up was "Arrogance," again decrying liberals. The books became bestsellers after they were widely touted by conservative think tanks, blogs and talk-radio folks.
Is McDermott upset by Goldberg's latest? "Ha. I think the author is undercaffeinated," McDermott laughed. "He just needs a decent cup of coffee."
As for Seattle's defenders, the president of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, Steve Leahy, said, tongue in cheek, "Perhaps this will give us a whole new tourist slogan: 'Loonies? Just another part of Emerald City's charm.' "
1. Michael Moore, filmmaker
2. Arthur Sulzberger, publisher of The New York Times
3. Ted Kennedy, Democratic U.S. senator, Massachusetts
4. Jesse Jackson, Democratic African-American activist
5. Anthony Romero, American Civil Liberties Union's executive director
6. Jimmy Carter, former Democratic president
7. Margaret Marshall, chief justice, Massachusetts state Supreme Court
8. Paul Krugman, columnist at The New York Times
9. Jonathan Kozol, education scholar and author
10. Ralph Neas, president of People for the American Way
The book assails McDermott's pre-Iraqi war statement that President Bush "would mislead the American people." Today, McDermott says, "The truth is that the president did mislead us, and the people in Seattle knew it first because I told them."
In an interview, Goldberg said that he wasn't just including McDermott because of what he said on the eve of the Iraq invasion, it was where he said it — Baghdad. "You have to reach a certain level of indecency to make it in the book," Goldberg said. "I think he reached that."
The main issue in "100 People" is that America has lost its civility, and its public demeanor is held hostage by trashy TV shows and celebrities, where profanity and near-nudity are the only way to get a producer's (and the consumer's ) attention. But Goldberg admitted that it's the list that will get the publicity for the book itself.
Already, avowedly Republican Web sites such as INDCjournal.com have been prepping the "buzz" by rampant speculation about who would make the list. Fox News Channel has booked Goldberg for interviews. Media mogul Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corp., which owns Fox, also owns Goldberg's publisher, Harper Collins.
The "100" list counts backward and culminates with a photo of movie producer Michael Moore, who made "Fahrenheit 9/11," a documentary argument against President Bush and the war in Iraq in which McDermott played himself. The top 20 include Sen. Edward Kennedy, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Democratic Chairman Howard Dean and billionaire George Soros, who spent millions to defeat Bush in last year's presidential election.
"Heck, I'm in good company," McDermott said.
There is another name with a Seattle connection: Rolling in at 95 is singer Courtney Love. Goldberg's only description of her in the book is unprintable.
McDermott says Seattle is smarter, more politically astute and better read than most of the country. "Goldberg can talk about me if he wants, but don't attack my city," he said.
Goldberg responded, "It takes Seattle to create a Starbucks; that wouldn't happen in Kansas City."
"He's right," McDermott said. "He just doesn't know why."
Alicia Mundy: 202-662-7457 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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