The New Road to Riches: Public radio! ...Minnesota Public Radio is resisting a state law requiring that it disclose salaries over $100,000 if it wants to keep getting state subsidies:
(excerpt from unlinked source)
[State Rep. Marty] Seifert said MPR would rather skip the state money than list its salaries. MPR had received state money in the past, and Seifert said the $500,000 salary of MPR's chief executive officer William Kling was one of the motivations for his legislation. [Emph. added]
Newsweek Senior Editor and columnist Jonathan Alter has been inflating the Bush-Cheney duo into an Evil Empire of sorts, utterly undeserving of office (and acting "like a dictator." ) His column this week was titled "The Imperial Vice Presidency," which would have been a laughable headline in the pre-Cheney days. Alter began by endorsing the wild rhetoric of CNN's biggest hothead:
Fox News's exclusive interview with Vice President Dick Cheney was, as CNN's Jack Cafferty sniped, "like Bonnie interviewing Clyde," but Brit Hume posed some good questions.
From there, Alter spun the theory that the modern presidency (and vice-presidency) must submit to press scrutiny, for the press is a proxy for the public:
In Friday's daily Washington Post online chat on politics, Dana Milbank cracks wise about his trip to the woodshed over wearing a hunter-orange getup to mock Dick Cheney on MSNBC, but won't answer the simple question debated in the Sunday column of ombud Deborah Howell, whether he's an opinion columnist or some other kind of columnist, as this questioner discovers:
Washington, D.C.: Do you buy all the talk going on around you saying Dana Milbank doesn't have an "opinion column" or offer an ideology?
Ellen Ratner has nailed a 'No Foreigners Need Apply' sign to the Statue of Liberty. On this morning's Fox & Friends Weekend, Ratner opined that no foreign company, regardless of nationality, should operate our ports, or for that matter other significant chunks of our economy.
Claimed Ratner, the real issue is "what kind of jobs, what kind of outsourcing are we going to do in this country?"
When fellow "Long & the Short of It" guest Jim Pinkerton said that foreign policy considerations [such as the potential relevance of the port deal to our ability to get intelligence and site bases in the Middle East] are more important than who gets port jobs, Ratner replied skeptically "is it?" Apparently for Ratner, the ability of the longshoremen's union to place a favored few of its own is more important than our country's national security objectives.
Reporting on a fresh development in the Fannie Mae accounting scandals, the media again dropped another opportunity to raise the Clinton administration connections. But when it was Enron which defrauded investors, the media wouldn't let the public forget the connections Enron executives had to President Bush.
After Enron’s collapse, the media frequently reminded the public of political ties top executives in the failed energy company had to the Bush administration. The same standard, however, wasn’t applied to mortgage broker Fannie Mae (FNM), whose former CEO served in the Clinton White House and was speculated to be on presidential hopeful John Kerry’s short list for Treasury secretary. The print media continued that double standard in covering a comprehensive new report on the scandal released February 23 by former Sen. Warren Rudman (R-N.H.).
During this afternoon’s Situation Room, CNN’s Jack Cafferty mocked the President for referring to the Bush administration as "my government." Yesterday morning, President Bush, while responding to a reporter’s question on the controversy surrounding the management of six U.S. ports being turned over to a United Arab Emirates-owned company, remarked that the transaction had been vetted by "my government" and that the ports would remain secure.
This innocuous phrase seemed to tick Cafferty off during his daily Cafferty File segment shortly before 4:15pm.
Jack Cafferty: "Is it still Bush’s government? Remember in the cabinet meeting he said, don’t worry about security, my government has taken a look at this and everything’s alright?..That’s unbelievable."
Silly as this may sound, Cafferty took great offense that the President of the United States had referred to his administration as, well, his. Cafferty, bafflingly, interpreted "my government" to mean that President Bush had decided to take sole ownership of the U.S. government. When anchor Wolf Blitzer reassured Cafferty that it is indeed "our government," Cafferty fired back angrily:
Cafferty: "Well, not, not according to President Bush it isn’t. It’s my government, he said."
Today's CNN.com carries the AP story "'Daily Show' humor befuddles governor." The article centers on Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who made a recent appearance on the program and now claims he didn't realize it is a spoof. "'It was going to be an interview on contraceptives ... that's all I knew about it,' Blagojevich laughingly told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in a story for Thursday's editions. 'I had no idea I was going to be asked if I was 'the gay governor.'"
Blagojevich, who is running for reelection this year, is not identified in the CNN/AP article as a Democrat. Yet the same show also featured an appearance by an Illinois state legislator. He is identified as a Republican.
You never know what wacky line you're going to find leafing through the back pages of Time magazine, and in placing their bets in this week's elapsing issue, Time film critics Richard Corliss and Richard Schickel predict "Brokeback Mountain" will win the Best Picture Oscar. When they try to guess a reason why it might confound the betting line and not win, they suggest: "The Academy remains a somewhat conservative body, and although this is a handsome and superbly acted film, it may not yet wish to endorse that 'gay cowboy' movie."
That avoids the question: if the Academy is so moderately conservative, then what explains the rash of nominations for "Brokeback," and "Capote," and "TransAmerica"? In fact, they contradict themselves a bit in their note on Felicity Huffman's Best Actress nod for playing a guy who wants to be girl: "Terrific performance in a picture that has not found an audience.Its transgressiveness doesn't even set it apart in the year of Brokeback Mountain and Capote." If the Oscars are a field of "transgressive" films, how can the Academy nominating them be even remotely conservative?
Via Fishbowl DC, we learn that Howard Mortman's created a new feature on his blog asking famous media types what they read on the Internet. In the early going, both Newsweek top political reporter Howard Fineman and ABC correspondent Jake Tapper list some typical major-media sites, but more interesting to the reader is their claims to digest a balanced diet of blog intake on a daily basis.
Here's the Fineman list, when we separate the blogs on ideological lines. On the right, he lists InstaPundit, Michelle Malkin, Hugh Hewitt, Real Clear Politics, and a little less bloggy (sans Taranto) Opinion Journal. On the left, he views Daily Kos, Atrios, Talking Points Memo, the Huffington Post, Wonkette, and (I'd include on the lib side) CJR Daily. He likes his pal Mickey Kaus, and Slate and Salon in general. In a bow to his "Hardball" buddy Chris Matthews, he also lists "Hardblogger."
CBS is in trouble for a "48 Hours" story that changed the front page photo of a Missouri newspaper. The original front page photo from the Columbia Daily Tribune showed convicted murder Ryan Ferguson wearing an orange prison jumpsuit. CBS altered the newspaper's front page by putting in a different picture but representing it as from the newspaper. The new picture showed Ferguson wearing a suit and tie.
The story, entitled "Dream Killer," questions whether Ryan Ferguson was convicted unjustly.
"48 Hours" executive producer Susan Zirinsky says it "was an egregious oversight for us not to know it," although "we don’t feel it changed the editorial value of the story, per se."
The Columbia Daily Tribune interviewed Bob Steele on the ethics of CBS' actions. Steele teaches ethics at the Poynter Institute, a journalism training center in Florida.
Sports columnist Harvey Araton ventured onto thin ice with an anti-Bush metaphor on Wednesday while relaying the simmering feud between Olympic speedskaters Chad Hedrick and Shani Davis:
“And at the root of the conflict is Davis's belief that Hedrick has been attempting to swift boat him here at the Olympics, use him as a prop as he wraps himself, Texas-style, in the flag, for the purpose of increasing his commercial appeal, while claiming that the feud has elevated their skating and is good for the sport.”
To translate Araton's esoteric comparison: Hedrick is President Bush (they both hail from Texas, you see), and Davis is a stand-in for John Kerry, unfairly attacked by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. We think.
NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman is for many the voice of the center-left foreign policy establishment in the U.S. So much so that, in introducing him this morning, GMA host Charlies Gibson declared that Friedman's latest book should be required reading. Given Friedman's status, his nuanced and not-altogether-bleak assessment of the situation in Iraq on this morning's GMA merits consideration.
It was tempting to headline this entry with the provocative notion Friedman floated that perhaps only a Saddam was capable of holding Iraq's fractious components together. But Friedman was by no means endorsing Saddam's despotic rule, musing rather whether Saddam was a cause or an effect. As Friedman put it:
Washington Post sports columnist Mike Wise took apart Bryant Gumbel's racial trash-talking about the Winter Olympics in Friday's paper as I hoped a sports writer would. (Although you could grumble that it would have more punch on the front page of Sports instead of the top of the Olympics section on E-11, But let's face it, on the test of its newness, we're all writing about "earlier this month" instead of "last night.") Wise began by noting that in sports TV, Gumbel was a racial pioneer in a pretty white sportscasting bastion, much like speed skater Shani Davis or bobsledder Vonetta Flowers, and then followed up:
Gumbel has a right not to like the Winter Olympics. He can trash curlers, lugers and snowboard-crossers all he wants. But who made him arbiter of all things culturally diverse? Superimposing your own idea of diversity upon athletes from 80 different nations, essentially equating diversity with only race, is just inane.
All the broadcast network evening newscasts on Thursday led with fears of “civil war” in Iraq, a topic of much cable focus too during the day, but unlike ABC and NBC, the CBS Evening News decided to highlight a slam at the Bush administration from a liberal hero, crusading anti-war Democratic Congressman John Murtha. After presenting the administration's view that Iraq is not falling into civil war, CBS White House correspondent Jim Axelrod showcased how, over still shots of Murtha, in uniform, getting a medal and in Iraq: “Democratic Congressman John Murtha, a former Marine colonel who's among the most outspoken critics of the war, says the administration is misjudging." Viewers then saw a soundbite from Murtha: “It's not going to get better. They've been overly optimistic. This is a civil war where two participants are fighting with each other trying to win supremacy, and our troops are caught in between." (Partial transcript follows.)
National Public Radio's "Diane Rehm Show" is created at American University NPR station WAMU (88.5 FM), but is nationally syndicated to about 100 stations. Today's first hour tilted to the left. On one side was retired Air Force officer Randall Larsen, a founder of the Institute for Homeland Security, calmly arguing that the DPW deal is not a grave threat. On the other side was a pile of Democrats arguing against soft-on-defense President Bush: Sen. Chris Dodd, Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, and P.J. Crowley of the liberal Center for American Progress, a former staffer on Bill Clinton's National Security Council. That's 3-to-1 liberal (unless you count the host and make if 4 to 1).
On Monday, Rehm's first hour focused on presidential secrecy, with an unopposed liberal duo of "historians," the former Washington Post reporter and columnist Haynes Johnson and Tim Russert's favorite pop-historian, former LBJ aide and Hillary pal Doris Kearns Goodwin. (At least Tuesday's show on voting rights featured conservative expert Roger Clegg.)
Ex-ABCer Josh Gerstein reports in the New York Sun on the struggles of Al Gore's cable channel, named Current TV. We not only learn it's not widespread enough to be studied for ratings, but that it has an unsurprising liberal bias, a potentially Tipper-shocking appetite for raunch, and a legal problem: those greedheads at Minnesota Public Radio are taking them to court over the "Current" name. First, Gerstein's report on the liberal bias:
The network's staff is clearly wary about the channel being perceived as political. Mr. Gore is not an on-air presence. According to a question-and-answer posting on the channel's Web site, it is "absolutely not" a requirement that videos present a Democratic Party viewpoint.
British tech site The Register reported that Linda Callahan was trying to sign up for an email account with Verizon and was not allowed to because her name was blasphemous to Yahoo, which is in partnership with Verizon.
Yahoo banned any name that has "Allah" in it, including Callahan or Kallahar. The blasphemy policy didn't, however, cover God, Jesus or Buddah.
The Bush administration secretly required a company in the United Arab Emirates to cooperate with future U.S. investigations before approving its takeover of operations at six American ports, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. It chose not to impose other, routine restrictions.
Later in the story we read:
Outside legal experts said such obligations are routinely attached to U.S. approvals of foreign sales in other industries.
"They're not lax but they're not draconian," said James Lewis, a former U.S. official who worked on such agreements. If officials had predicted the firestorm of criticism over the deal, Lewis said, "they might have made them sound harder."
You know the old line: find me a one-handed expert. The kind that doesn't say 'on the one hand, but on the other hand.' The Today show found one this morning. Terrorism expert and former National Security Council member Roger Cressey was single-handedly unequivocal in his support of the UAE port deal when interviewed by Matt Lauer.
Lauer: "Take the politics out of it. Will this really damage national security especially at these ports?"
Cressey: "The simple answer is that it won't. We've had foreign ownership of the ports . . . for a number of years now. The American security apparatus is still going to have responsibility for how security is dealt with. So it won't."
On his February 22 Scarborough Country, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough gave time to conservative radio talk show host Laura Ingraham to relay her experiences talking to American troops and doing her show in Iraq, and what she saw that contrasts with the predominantly negative view of the Iraq War as reported by the mainstream media. Scarborough found that her words confirmed the sentiments of e-mails he has received from U.S. troops in Iraq that "there is a huge disconnect from what Americans are hearing in the media and what they're seeing on the ground over there," which is "misleading the American people on how things are really going in Iraq."
Ingraham began by passing on the "great respect and admiration between American military trainers and their Iraqi counterparts," and the "important cooperation between average Iraqis, who are giving more tips to American and Iraqi forces than ever before."