In an interview with his alma mater, Pomona College, New York Times executive editor Bill Keller most fondly remembered his Times career in the 1980s: "Probably, my favorite assignment was covering the final years of the Soviet Union, and the satisfaction was cumulative. The individual stories—examples of a society coming to terms with its history, flickers of freedom and dissent, signs of the emptiness and corruption of the old regime—added up to a sense that a society widely regarded as unreformable was on the verge of climactic change." But at the time, we weren't so impressed with his grip on whether "freedom" was the right definition for Gorbachev's Soviet Union:
"Watching the Supreme Soviet invent itself is a little like speed-reading the Federalist Papers." -- Moscow reporter Bill Keller in The New York Times Magazine, August 27, 1989.
But then, Keller was quite smitten with Gorbachev, like many liberal journalists, as he declared again in 1996:
New York Times executive editor Bill Keller has a funny way of expressing humility. Slate’s Tom Scocca found he expressed surprise that media reporters are obsessed with his newspaper, so much so that one writer live-blogged his recent appearance on NPR’s On Point with Tom Ashbrook. But his metaphor – the media reporters are “oxpeckers” while he is a massive African rhinoceros -- sounded more than a little haughty:
One of the things that continually surprises me about this job is the fascination of those outside The Times with every micro-facet of our work. Recently I did an hourlong radio call-in show, and The NY Observer actually live-blogged it. Seriously, my own wife isn't as interested in what I do all day as John Koblin, Michael Calderone, Jacob Bernstein and the rest of our obsessive chroniclers. These guys always remind me of oxpeckers, those little birds that ride on the backs of large African mammals and eat their ticks.
In his weekly “The Final Word” column for USA Today, “Out of the closet...well, almost,” features reporter Craig Wilson recalled in Wednesday’s newspaper: “I once knew a gay youth who was bullied. Me.” He soon, however, pivoted to “when I came out to my parents, they were not surprised.” But, “the real trouble came when I told my mother I had become a Democrat.”
Appearing as a guest on Tuesday’s Last Word on MSNBC, Mark McKinnon - former media advisor to the Bush and McCain presidential campaigns who writes a column for the Daily Beast- blamed Sarah Palin for the Republican Party’s failure to recapture control of the Senate, charging that "she put up some candidates that really weren’t qualified." He continued: "They lost. We lost. The Republicans could have taken the Senate if not for Sarah Palin. And so her stock is falling and pretty rapidly now, I think."
He soon reiterated: "It wasn't strategic. It was impulsive and it cost the Republicans the leadership of the Senate."
After quipping that Palin is "getting closer to her sell-by date," McKinnon also mocked Palin as being unworthy of comparison to Republican hero Ronald Reagan. McKinnon: "You know, she's comparing herself to Ronald Reagan. And, you know, I didn't know Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan was not a friend of mine, but I can guarantee you this, Sarah Palin is no Ronald Reagan. And she talked about his movie. She didn't even get the name of his movie right."
In a Thursday Washington Post column exploring how 2010 is the best year for conservatives since 1980, George Will insisted that "NPR's self-immolation" over the Juan Williams firing made it clear the starting point for deficit reduction is "public" broadcasting subsidies. The column ended with these lines:
The 2010 elections made "card check" as dead as government subsidies for broadcast journalism may soon be.
As icing on conservatism's 2010 cake, there was NPR's self-immolation. It fired Juan Williams, ostensibly for speaking about certain feelings he has - and deplores - regarding some Muslims in some settings. NPR probably fired him because his views are too heterodox for some NPR liberals who favor diversity in everything but thought.
With all the hype about Keith Olbermann's brief suspension and his triumphant return to MSNBC Tuesday, one would have expected his ratings to explode as first-time viewers tuned in to see what all the fuss was about.
When the dust settled, the "Countdown" host's total viewers rose 35 percent from last Thursday's show before the controversy began, but most embarrassingly, Rachel Maddow actually bested the most conceited man on television in the all important 25-54 year-old demographic (via Steve Krakauer):
Kicking off the panel discussion segment of last night's "Special Report," Fox News anchor Bret Baier aired a clip of Democratic Sens. Kent Conrad (N.D.) and Evan Bayh (Ind.) warning about the need to reform entitlement spending in order to preserve America's long-term financial solvency.
Baier then contrasted the frankness of the admission from the "two moderate Democrats" with the scary campaign rhetoric weeks earlier from liberal Democrats about Republicans and their ideas -- real or imagined -- to rein in entitlement spending.
Using his best attempt at a football analogy, Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) tried to explain Wednesday that Speaker Pelosi is the best choice for the Democrat House leadership even though she is unpopular with the American voters -- or in football, the home fans.
"What the Republicans and others in these campaigns are asking us to do is to say 'Well, because the Jets fans are booing Eli Manning, take him off the field'," the congressman explained.
Leftist community organizing group ACORN "should pay back $3.2 million in federal funding, mostly because it hasn't shown that its lead-removal work was performed at a reasonable cost," the Associated Press's Kevin Freking reported today. "The auditors also said that some of the grant money was spent inappropriately."
"Congress has cut off ACORN's federal funding after allegations of voter registration fraud and embezzlement. The group began closing its operations in March," Freking noted.
"Leading hip-hop generation intellectual" and frequent pundit show talking head Marc Lamont Hill -- who's always on the lookout for instances of "intolerance" and "hate," and has never let even non-existent instances of "racism" slip by his view -- says he knows the reason why New Jersey Governor Chris Christie won't run for president: He's too fat.
“He can’t win, let’s be honest ... I’m going to say this and don’t get mad – he’s fat.He’s fat for a politician. He doesn’t have the body type to win. There are other issues – look at that!!" (as he looked at a screen image of Christie.)
To emphasize his (supposed) point about "image over substance," Hill exclaimed, “Look at Sarah Palin!”
Sunday’s Parade magazine supplement (distributed in many American newspapers) carried a column by liberal Detroit sports writer Mitch Albom titled “Mr. Smith Flees Washington.” The modern Jimmy Stewart he’s selected is departing Rep. Bart Stupak, last seen caving into Team Obama on the abortion portion of the ObamaCare bill. How was that Mr. Smith resisting Washington ways?
But in his own life, Mitch Albom is more like one of those self-interested Washington lobbyists (except in the state capital of Lansing). On The Michigan View, Henry Payne reports that in an October 17 column in the Detroit Free Press, Albom slammed GOP gubernatorial candidate Rick Snyder's “unusually specific pledge to end a 42 percent tax subsidy for the movie and television business -- a business that Albom, himself a writer of film scripts - admits to lobbying for.”' Albom's a multi-millionaire for massive book-slash-movie projects like "Tuesdays with Morrie."
Lobbyist Albom says that eliminating the tax subsidy "would be bad for Michigan. I was involved in bringing these tax incentives to our state. I helped with their creation, testified before the Legislature, met numerous times with the governor and her staff." But why stop there? Why not a subsidy for his struggling newspaper? Or fellow struggling book authors? Or....
"CNN Newsroom" host Don Lemonis miffed at the GOP -- and he let CNN Senior Political Editor Mark Preston know it on Sunday night. When Preston noted that since the Republicans are once again in the majority in the House of Representatives, they're going to have "to come up and they have learn how to govern," Lemon responded that "They have to learn how the answer the question. Because one person said, was talking about his run for president and the interviewer kept asking him, what are the specifics. Well, my family and I are going to take the Christmas time and pray. I wanted to throw stuff at the television." Mere moments before, Lemon indicated to Preston that he had watched every single Sunday morning talk show and "was so frustrated with these (Republican) guys. Like, why aren't they answering the questions."
Forget beer and/or Slurpee summits. In a Post Partisan blog entry from last night reprinted in today's Washington Post, writer Jonathan Capehart suggested President Obama and presumptive-Speaker John Boehner (R) should forge a bond over cigarette breaks during legislative negotiations:
The Olbermann-lovers at the far-left Daily Kos blog believe in the Vast Keith Conspiracy – that Olbermann contributed to three Democrats as part of a large-scale plan to embarrass MSNBC president Phil Griffin and underline just how important and popular the left-wing bomb-throwing is, especially with young voters. In a Monday morning post titled “The Brilliance of Keith Olbermann,” the blogger “willynel” found only genius:
I think Keith knew exactly what he was doing.
I really think that what Keith Olbermann did was a stroke of genius.
I think he made a bet that this would happen, that the would be suspended and that he would get overwhelming support from his fans and his co-workers. Why else would he not say that he is sorry?
As Ethiopian runner Gebre Gebremariam closed in on a victory in his first New York City marathon, NBC announcer Al Trautwig described the unbelievable poverty in Kenya and Ethopia, and then shifted into social commentary on the Ethiopians: "They're closer to the earth. They're from the earth. They're closer to the rhythms of the planet than we ever were. We torture the planet to our needs. They don't have any of that. They're one with the earth."
Politico on Sunday featured two pieces at its website that make one wonder if Republican senator-elect Marco Rubio of Florida should be a strong contender for the GOP's vice presidential nominee in 2012.