A few days back I pointed out an article from the New York Daily News which seemed to follow the sop-to-Bush story line almost exactly — finding countless anonymous members of the permanent White House staff who just can’t stop counting their blessings that they’re out of under the Clintons’ thrall.
When I wrote that post I professed surprise that Thomas DeFrank, the Washington Bureau Chief of the Daily News would go in for this sort of stuff.
But perhaps I was a bit too charitable.
It turns out that DeFrank was also the author of one of the more melodramatic and Bush-bowing articles on the now-disproven White House vandalism story.
As in most of these articles, DeFrank included the obligatory mentions of how the White House was trying to keep a lid on the vandalism stories, even as they were of course also leaking them to the reporter in question:
Nevertheless, the White House relentlessly soft-pedaled the vandalism, refusing to release estimates of property damage and denying that a formal investigation was underway. Press secretary Ari Fleischer downplayed his statement that aides were cataloguing the damage.
In fact, DeFrank didn’t just retail the standard vandalism anecdotes. He even had a few I hadn’t heard before. Like the “telecommunications staffer with more than a quarter-century of service [who] was seen sobbing near his office one night last week” because of all the destruction.
(You just can’t make this stuff up! Well, I mean, not unless your initials are AF or RB.)
Anyway, what I didn’t know before was that DeFrank is also a bit of a Bush family pal and has been friends with the president for years. He cowrote Jim Baker’s diplomatic memoir The Politics of Diplomacy. And perhaps most striking, while writing the first of these two pieces, DeFrank was also in the hunt for a job in the Bush administration. According to this article in the Weekly Standard, DeFrank was in the running for Defense Department Spokesman before eventually being passed over for Victoria Clarke.
Is DeFrank still looking for a White House job? If so, please let Talking Points know, because he’d totally be up for being a Washington Bureau Chief again. Especially a gig with so much editorial freedom!