me say that I did some self-cringing last week, when I choose to
describe Tony as the "most fun" press secretary of the administration.
I was looking for something non-controversial, non-partisan and true to
say about the guy. "Fun" seemed like something he'd appreciate -- he is
fun. The biggest change in the press operations of the WH since he's
gotten there is that the briefings are no longer thuddingly boring. So,
really, "most fun" was kind of a low bar.
He's also a class act.
He clearly respects the press, and his tangles with them are leavened
with a humor and self-awareness that make him hard to dislike, even
when you violently disagree.
I -- and I'm sure my fellow bloggers here -- wish him well.
I'm guessing Cox's successors at Wonkette didn't get the memo. Emphasis mine, expletive edited for content:
At the end of his 2004 campaign, Howard Dean started Democracy for America, billed as a grassroots Democratic political action committee "dedicated to supporting fiscally responsible, socially progressive candidates at all levels of government."
Last week, DFA staged an online Dem presidential candidate preference poll. As a proud DFA member [meaning that I joined the email list], I just received the results of the poll. Hillary's advisers might want to dust off Hirohito's famous statement at the end of WWII to the effect that the situation "has not progressed entirely as we would have wished." Because Hillary finished in fifth place with 8.7%, behind Dennis Kucinich and barely one point ahead of Bill Richardson. Obama finished first with 28%, John Edwards a close second at 25%.
Now it's true that this is an unscientific poll, and that DFA surely attracts people from the liberal wing of the Dem party. But then again, isn't the conventional wisdom that Dem primary voters come from that same liberal wing?
Was DFA Executive Director Tom Hughes mortified by the results? He buried the mention of Hillary's embarrassingly bad performance in the eighth paragraph of his email!
Here's how Rev. Randall Balmer yesterday blogged his decidedly unorthodox read of Scriptural texts:
fundamentalist, I spent a lot of my childhood thinking and worrying
about the end of time as predicted in the New Testament book of
Revelation. I was taught that history would come screeching to a halt
and the world as we know it would dissolve in some kind of apocalyptic
Today's Edwards announcement is an object lesson in how easy it is for us in the blogosphere to run with something juicy without double-checking the facts and/or being very, very careful to precisely word our posts so that we don't tell readers to take something to the bank that hasn't been confirmed.
It's also a lesson in how to promptly and gracefully face the music and admit error.
Earlier today, Politico's Ben Smith ran with a single anonymous source today at shortly past 11:00 a.m. saying that former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) would suspend his presidential campaign so he could tend to his wife, Elizabeth, as she battles breast cancer.
That source turned out to be wrong. Edwards will continue his campaign and Smith promptly admitted and apologized for his error (his blog post was submited at 12:34 EDT, just after the Edwards announcement). [continued...]
Something rather extraordinary occurred last December which had extremely ominous implications for stock investors around the world, but got totally ignored by the media.
In fact, if not for a recent video posting at YouTube, and a March 20 article in the New York Post, these spectacular revelations would still be well under the radar.
On December 22, CNBC’s James Cramer did a web interview for TheStreet.com TV. In it, he told TSC’s executive editor Aaron Task about how he used to manipulate stocks and the market when he was a hedge fund manager, and explained how such people today can’t “do anything remotely truthful” if they want to make money (video available here).
As TSC reported in a recap at its website the same day (emphasis added throughout):
Rush H. Limbaugh, Sr., only had a storied legal career, the respect of Missouri Democrats and Republicans, and a stint of service to his country as Eisenhower's ambassador to India.
But to Newsweek's Holly Bailey, President Bush signing a bill naming a federal courthouse in honor of Rush Limbaugh's grandfather was a substantial distraction from the real "people's business" in Washington:
Never mind the whole U.S. attorneys' mess: President Bush is busy doing
the work of the people. What's he up to? On Wednesday afternoon, the
White House press office forwarded reporters this nugget from the
STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY
On Wednesday, March 21, 2007 the President signed into law:
342, which designates the United States courthouse in Cape Girardeau,
Missouri, as the Rush Hudson Limbaugh, Sr. United States Courthouse.
Bailey cleared up any confusion for readers who might be unaware that Rush Limbaugh is the third in a line of Rush Hudson Limbaughs, and that his grandfather was a hard-working and well-respected pillar of the legal community in southeastern Missouri who died 11 years ago at age 104.
But in closing her March 21 "Gaggle" blog post, Bailey snarked that it's "Good to know that the president isn't letting another little scandal distract him from the people's business." [continued...]
The Huffington Post is featuring a post by the man who blasted Hillary Clinton with an edit of the Apple Computer spinoff of George Orwell's anti-authoritarian "1984." The creator of the video is the former Internet communications director for Sherrod Brown's 2006 Senate campaign and until today was employed by Blue State Digital; a company that provides internet technology services to many presidential campaigns, including that of Barack Obama.
The video creator is Philip de Vellis and he explains his reasoning as follows:
Perhaps channeling her youthful experience as a cheerleader, CBS's Katie Couric pumped her rhetorical pom poms for Al Gore in a "Couric & Co." blog today.
Below you can see how she lauded his "triumphant" return to Congress on her "Couric & Co." blog at CBSNews.com, all the while insisting "scientific consensus" is on Gore's side and that Congress should "act boldly" on the issue.
In time for the Persian New Year, CBS's Melissa McNamara trawled the blogosphere (including MySpace blog entries) and found bloggers who think Iran's Islamic extremist government has a point about "300" being "anti-Persian." In doing she, she produced a handful of blogs that appear to generate light traffic and in at least one case is just a rambling screed.
McNamara told readers that the "Islamic Republic News Agency" (IRNA) finds fault with the film's version of historical events. She left out that IRNA is Iran's official state-controlled news/propaganda service. CBSNews.com's resident "Blogophile" also noted objections from an Iranian newspaper, Hamshahri, which she described simply as "Iran's biggest circulation newspaper."
That's akin to a journalist during the Cold War describing Pravda as simply the Soviet Union's best-selling newspaper. Hamshahri co-sponsored a political cartoon contest that the Iranian government held last year that generated hundreds of entries that were anti-Jewish or anti-Israeli. Portions in bold are my emphasis:
First, Congress should relent and allow these sessions to take place in private. Sure, I would love to see Rove grilled in public— who wouldn’t? I mean, watching Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, question Rove could be a pay-per-view event in many parts of the country. A long, savory public hearing would be good for my career, I suspect, and sure would beat talking more about the paternity hearing for Anna Nicole Smith’s baby. But I am willing to get behind private sessions if it gives the President a measure of comfort about releasing his subordinates to talk candidly about who did what to whom and why when it came to firing those eight federal prosecutors. So, Point One of my Plan is: Private Hearings.
Oy, did Google's algorithims ever misfire. There at the top of my Gmail inbox this morning was an ad, which the Google wizards presumably determined to be geared to my predilections, for a book called . . . "Why Mommy Is a Democrat."
I suppose Google was right, in the sense that the ad piqued my interest, though the odds of my buying a copy of the book are as remote as Outer Mongolia. But let's have a look. According to the About page:
Why Mommy is a Democrat brings to life the core values of the Democratic party in ways that young children will easily understand and thoroughly enjoy. . . this colorful 28-page paperback illustrates the Democratic principles of fairness, tolerance and peace, and concern for the well-being of others. It's a great way for parents to gently communicate their committment to these principles and explain their support for the party.
Why Mommy is a Democrat may look like a traditional children's book, but it definitely isn't just for children. With numerous subtle (and not-so-subtle) swipes at the Bush administration and the Republican party, Why Mommy is a Democrat will appeal to Democrats of all ages.
What do you do when you're a liberal columnist and there's a pet issue of yours the media aren't being biased about (stem cells) because they haven't covered it, because, well, they're too busy being biased about other stories (Alberto Gonzales, Iraq)?
If you're Slate founding editor and former "Crossfire" host Michael Kinsley, you hack out a blog post about it.
Mucking around Time's "Swampland" political blog, Kinsley expressed frustration at a new development in the stem cell funding issue he thinks has gone underreported in the mainstream media:
Elias Zerhouni, the head of the National Institutes of Health,
testified to a Senate committee that he favors a lifting of Bush's
limit on stem cell research. It leaves us fighting disease (and foreign
competition) "with one hand tied behind our back," Zerhouni said.
Clearly prepared to say what he said, Zerhouni offered a vivid
metaphor: he called stem cells the "software of life."
story did not seem to make the paper editions of either the New York
Times or the Washington Post. (The Wall Street Journal had a very short
blurb on page one and no longer story.) All the papers had it on-line,
of course. But isn't this a pretty big deal?
MSM-think: when you have no facts on a controversy, offer up the Democrats' anti-GOP conjecture. That was ABC's modus operandi this morning.
Being the astute observers of the political scene they are, most NewsBusters readers have surely watched the YouTube-based anti-Hillary campaign ad that has been making the rounds. It is a take-off on the famous Apple computer ad, which in turn was inspired by George Orwell's anti-authoritarian epic "1984." In the current version, an ominous Hillary, appearing on a wide screen to an audience of automatons, represents Big Brother in the same way IBM did in the Apple original. Barack Obama, represented by a woman athlete of a certain age, plays the hero, hurling a hammer into the screen to smash the state and free the prisoners.
Looks like "Couric & Co." are looking for summer interns for CBS's "Springboard" program. And college journalism students are in luck, they can write up an original story on global warming to get the job:
Here is how it works. First, create an original story based on one of three topics: climate change; the American Spirit; or Iraq war veterans. These are issues that have all received extensive coverage on the CBS Evening News and at CBSNews.com – but we want to hear YOUR take.
But wait, there's more. The "best submissions will be posted online." I'm curious just how balanced those "best submissions" will be. I for one am relishing the possibility of MRC summer interns dissecting the bias of CBS summer interns. [continued...]
[Note: Link to YouTube video showing Capitol spray-paint at bottom of post.]
In her March 18 article, the Washington Post's Brigid Schulte informed readers about why Gathering of Eagles counter-protesters set out to guard the Vietnam War Memorial on March 17 during the scheduled anti-war protests:
At a Jan. 27 antiwar rally, some protesters spray-painted the pavement on a Capitol terrace. Others crowned the Lone Sailor statue at the Navy Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue with a pink tiara that had "Women for Peace" written across it.
Word of those incidents ricocheted around the Internet.
“That was the real catalyst, right there,” said Navy veteran Larry Bailey. “They showed they were willing to desecrate something that's sacred to the American soul.”
Yet a review of major newspapers in Nexis found few mentions of anarchist anti-war protesters who spray-painted the U.S. Capitol steps in late January. In fact, the New York Times yielded no reporting on the defacement, while the Washington Post only ran a brief item on page B2 three days after the fact.
Here's the 170-word squib from the Post’s Elissa Silverman in the January 30 paper:
From a March 14 Washington Post live chat with Post associate editor Robert Kaiser (h/t Howard Mortman of extrememortman.com). Portions in bold are my emphasis:
Washington: How is the lobbying system not legalized bribery, and
wouldn't ending lobbying by the rich empower the rest of us and
revitalize our democracy?
Robert G. Kaiser: How would you end it? Isn't lobbying a form of speech? Isn't speech protected by the First Amendment?
keep in mind, though many lobbyists do represent rich corporations,
there are also many representing labor unions, teachers, non-profits,
environmental groups, civil liberties advocates and so on. Even
newspapers have lobbyists.
CBS legal pundit Andrew Cohen is back at it again with a new blog post at Katie's e-sandbox, "Couric & Co.":
always, thank you for taking the time to read my post and to write a
response. The more dialogue and discussion and debate we have on this
topic the better. It is true that Janet Reno, as her predecessors
before her had done, asked for the resignations of U.S. Attorneys. This
is standard operating procedure designed to allow the President to have
in place his own federal prosecutors. What is different about this
current episode is that a Republican White House sought to replace
Republican-appointed federal prosecutors mid-stream who were by all
accounts doing precisely what they had been asked to do. We now know,
from last week’s testimony, why in some cases this was so and the
answers we got make it clear that the reasons were not high-minded or
...among other format changes under the new Rick Kaplan era.
PublicEye editor Brian Montopoli passed along the usual talking points senior management in broadcast news outlets always give when they are trying to save a sinking ship. You know the drill. "This time, more hard news. We swear!"
Unfortunately Montopoli left out some hard news in his own March 12 blog post:
NewsBusters previously reported that the AP, NBC's "Today," and ABC's "Good Morning America" reported as a curiosity some Mayan priests who complain that President Bush brought evil spirits with him to Guatemala.
Well, CBS's Peter Maer didn't want to be left out apparently. He wrote up a little something at "Couric & Co.," Katie Couric's e-sandbox on CBS's Web site.
Maer's account, like the others mentioned, seems to leave out two key facts for their readers.
I know print publications tend to move slower than online outlets, but this is ridiculous.
On March 6, The Washington Post featured a story by staff writer Darryl Fears entitled "In Diversity Push, Top Universities Enrolling More Black Immigrants." Fears found critics who complain that some university admissions diversity policies end up drawing in more foreign black students at the expense of accepting more black American students for admission.
That's old news to Cybercast News Service correspondent Nathan Burchfiel, who beat Fears to the story not by a day or a week, but one month.
See for yourself. An excerpt is posted after the page break. [cont'd...]
WASHINGTON, D.C.-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's demand to have regular use of a luxurious C-32 for flights to her San Francisco home and other official trips was publicly rebuked by the U.S. House today via the Cantor amendment to the Advanced Fuels Infrastructure Research and Development Act (H.R. 547) by a vote of 385-23.
As originally reported in the New York Post, the aircraft has a game room, stateroom, showers, a communications center and seats 42 to 50 people and it costs taxpayers $22,000 an hour to operate, according to the Air Force.
"The request by Speaker Pelosi to have a private jumbo-jet is an extravagance that taxpayers should not have to pay for," said Cantor.
Before the 30-day window of Google News expires, let's see how much coverage the rebuke received (searching on "Pelosi rebuke" and "Pelosi rebuked," both without quotes; the first search was narrowed to February 7-11 to avoid hundreds of listings relating to the Iraq Troop Surge Resolution "rebuke," as spun by the press, of President Bush) as of 9:30 PM on Sunday, March 4:
I was at the 2007 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) for only part of the first day, but I think Politico.com writer Jonathan Martin's characterization of CPAC attendees as gloomy about the crop of 2008 hopefuls to be a little over-dramatic.
Caroline Daniel of the Financial Times, on the other hand, had a less dramatic view in her March 3 article, "Conservatives search for presidential candidate."*
Daniel reported that many attendees feel no one candidate captures all that they are looking, but noted in closing "some conservatives are willing to overlook" socially liberal stances from candidates like Giuliani if they are solid on the War on Terror.
I seem to be detecting a trend. There's a current in the MSM that fears Rudy Giuliani, perhaps sensing he might be best positioned to defeat the Dem candidate. Such folks console themselves by clinging to the belief that the GOP won't nominate Rudy, or at least won't avidly support him if he is the candidate, given his liberal positions on some issues.
This evening's Hardball offered a perfect example of the phenomenon in the person of Craig Crawford. Time and again, the MSNBC analyst returned to the theme:
"Getting onto the social conservative stuff: abortion, gay rights, etc., [Rudy at CPAC] did make the case that I'm 80% with you, better than most marriages, a pretty good line, but at the end of the day, they're important issues to these people, and I just really wonder, the more they learn about him, and just how liberal he really is on those issues, I think it's going to matter to them."
"Maybe I've just covered these social conservatives and these Republican races for too long to believe they're suddenly going to forget about that stuff, no matter how much they like Giuliani otherwise."
"I think if Giuliani wins this nomination, and he well could, social conservative voters are not going to play in the general election, and that's going to help Democrats."
"I really do believe a lot of these [socially conservative] voters and a lot of these groups are losing interest in politics."
"I don't think they've heard all the details of his personal life, and the judges [the liberal ones in NYC Rudy appointed] we're talking about."
Jim Vandehei, ex of WaPo, now with Politico.com, was dubious of Crawford's notion: "I think that the conventional wisdom must be wrong, this idea that once conservatives get to know Giuliani's record. I mean, how can they not know his record? Everybody's talking about it."
CBS News "PublicEye" editor Brian Montopoli suggested in a recent blog post that conservatives are unfairly attacking liberal Web sites for comments posted by readers that lament that a terrorists attack in Afghanistan did not succeed in killing Vice President Cheney.
Montopoli says that both right and left-wing sites have their share of nutty commenters, which, to some degree is a fair point. There are fring loonies and flamers on the Internet on both sides of the aisle.
What Montopoli seems to miss then is that the objection conservatives like Sean Hannity have raised is not so much the sin of commission by nasty commenters but the sin of omission by Web site administrators and editors.
It's a legitimate question to ask why people wishing for the assassination of the Vice President of the United States are not banned from a politically-oriented site.
The CBS blogger also has skewed the matter by comparing this controversy with the Ward Churchill row from a few years ago:
Two days ago a NewsBusters reader alerted me to some missing comments on a February 26 blog post by Evening News anchor Katie Couric at CBSNews.com.:
When I first saw this post on Couric's website last night (around 10:30 PM ET), I thought it was great that there were *12 pages* of comments appended to her post -- with every single one criticizing her and Al Gore for being limousine liberals and attacking the mistakes in her post. But when I looked at it again today (11:00 AM ET), all the comments have disappeared.
CBS's Greg Kandra addressed concerns about the missing comments in this February 28 post to "Couric & Co.":