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check to have links open new windows


Saturday, July 02, 2005
 
Rich

I don't agree with everything in this column, but this part is about right:

The president has no one to blame but himself. The color-coded terror alerts, the repeated John Ashcroft press conferences announcing imminent Armageddon during election season, the endless exploitation of 9/11 have all taken their numbing toll. Fear itself is the emotional card Mr. Bush chose to overplay, and when he plays it now, he is the boy who cried wolf. That's why a film director engaging in utter fantasy can arouse more anxiety about a possible attack on America than our actual commander in chief hitting us with the supposed truth.

If anything, we're back where we were in the lazy summer of 2001, when the president was busy in Crawford ignoring an intelligence report titled "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States" and the news media were more preoccupied with a rash of "Jaws"-like shark attacks than with Al Qaeda. The sharks are back, and the "missing girl" drama of Natalee Holloway has echoed the Chandra Levy ur-text. Even the World Trade Center is making a comeback, if we are to believe that the new Freedom Bunker unveiled for ground zero might ever be built.

AS those on all sides of the Iraq argument have said, the only way for Mr. Bush to break through this torpor is to tell Americans the truth. Donald Rumsfeld did exactly that when he said a week ago that the insurgency in Iraq might last as long as 12 years. If that's so, then what? Go ahead and argue that pulling out precipitously or setting a precise exit timetable is each a bad option, guaranteeing that Iraq will become even more of a jihad central than this ill-conceived war has already made it. But what is Plan C?


 
More Thread

Helter Skelter is coming down fast.

 
More Thread

Will Live 8 conclude with Roger Waters shooting Dave Gilmour? Stay tuned...

 
The Rove Factor

Spikey Mikey:

Its legal appeals exhausted, Time magazine agreed last week to turn over reporter Matthew Cooper's e-mails and computer notes to a special prosecutor investigating the leak of an undercover CIA agent's identity. The case has been the subject of press controversy for two years. Saying "we are not above the law," Time Inc. Editor in Chief Norman Pearlstine decided to comply with a grand-jury subpoena to turn over documents related to the leak. But Cooper (and a New York Times reporter, Judith Miller) is still refusing to testify and faces jail this week.

At issue is the story of a CIA-sponsored trip taken by former ambassador (and White House critic) Joseph Wilson to investigate reports that Iraq was seeking to buy uranium from the African country of Niger. "Some government officials have noted to Time in interviews... that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, is a CIA official who monitors the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction," said Cooper's July 2003 Time online article.

Now the story may be about to take another turn. The e-mails surrendered by Time Inc., which are largely between Cooper and his editors, show that one of Cooper's sources was White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, according to two lawyers who asked not to be identified because they are representing witnesses sympathetic to the White House. Cooper and a Time spokeswoman declined to comment. But in an interview with NEWSWEEK, Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, confirmed that Rove had been interviewed by Cooper for the article. It is unclear, however, what passed between Cooper and Rove.

...

Initially, Fitzgerald's focus was on Novak's sourcing, since Novak was the first to out Plame. But according to Luskin, Rove's lawyer, Rove spoke to Cooper three or four days before Novak's column appeared. Luskin told NEWSWEEK that Rove "never knowingly disclosed classified information" and that "he did not tell any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA." Luskin declined, however, to discuss any other details. He did say that Rove himself had testified before the grand jury "two or three times" and signed a waiver authorizing reporters to testify about their conversations with him. "He has answered every question that has been put to him about his conversations with Cooper and anybody else," Luskin said. But one of the two lawyers representing a witness sympathetic to the White House told NEWSWEEK that there was growing "concern" in the White House that the prosecutor is interested in Rove. Fitzgerald declined to comment.


 
Never Mind

Remember, Jeff Greenfield has suggested a "solution" to the "problem" which has nothing to do with illegal leaks for political revenge and intimidation, national security, or perjury. Nope, just about press freedom. Notice how Blitzer responds (I missed this the first time):

GREENFIELD: Yes. Wolf? I've got to make one other thing -- the one thing nobody's talked about: This might be a decent case for a presidential pardon, which doesn't get the reporters of the hook legally in the future, but says, you know, this is the wrong circumstance under which to send two people to jail. I know that sounds a little odd, but I've been thinking about this and it strikes me that, that might not be the worst solution to this.

BLITZER: All right. I suspect, though, that some people could say if the president decided to pardon these journalists, he might be participating in some sort of cover up.

GREENFIELD: I'd like to see the press attack the president for protecting the press. That would be an interesting approach.

BLITZER: I don't think the press would attack, necessarily, the president, but others might. We'll watch to see if he accepts your recommendation, if it's necessary. Hopefully that won't be necessary. We don't want to see Judith Miller or Matt Cooper go to jail.


It was so good he brought it up again the next morning. AND, he even invoked the Chewbacca defense ("murky!") to justify it:

GREENFIED: Well, part of it is "The New York Times" is not a defender. They don't face those kinds of things. But in the few seconds left, I've got to get a plug in for a possible weird solution to this.

S. O'BRIEN: What's that? OK. I'll take it. I'll bite.

GREENFIED: No, I'm serious.

S. O'BRIEN: What is it?

GREENFIED: A presidential pardon.

S. O'BRIEN: Convict them?

GREENFIED: No. A presidential pardon says we're not saying that it was right. We're not letting reporters off the hook when their evidence is really needed. But in this murky case, where they weren't -- you know, they don't have information on an ongoing crime, this is not a case where a reporter should go to jail. And given the Bush administration's relationship with the press, this may seem even cynical or weird, I'm not sure it's not a solution.

S. O'BRIEN: Or it might happen.

 
Convergence

It's looking like "Frog Marching Rove Down Yellowcake Road" might mean more than we ever imagined, as Josh Marshall suggests.

From E&P:

NEW YORK Adding to the growing intrigue in the Plame case, the grand jury investigating the leak of the covert CIA operative's name subpoenaed has a wide range of White House documents, including records of telephone calls from Air Force One and information relating to an internal working group dealing with Iraq, government sources confirmed to CNN on Friday.

"We are complying fully with the request from the Department of Justice," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters Friday.

Government sources told CNN the federal grand jury was seeking any information about contacts between White House officials and more than two dozen reporters. The grand jury also asked for a transcript of a briefing by former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer.

The subpoenaed information regarding telephone calls to and from Air Force One, sources said, covered July 7-12, while the president was on a trip to Africa. The requested transcript was from a briefing during that trip as well.

...

Many of the documents subpoenaed Friday relate to the White House Iraq Group, a little-known task force. Newsweek reported that the group was created in August 2002.
The Newsweek report cites an earlier Washington Post article that lists senior political adviser Karl Rove, Bush advisers Karen Hughes and Mary Matalin, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and Vice President Dick Cheney among the group's members.

 
Digby

This is certainly something I've wondered about through this whole thing. Now, there's certainly a difference between journalists believing they probably knew who the leaker was and being sure that what they knew was actually true and not just conventional wisdom/gossip. Digby writes:

Moreover, is it normal that members of the press know the answer to a major mystery but they withhold it, as a group, from the public? I thought their job was to reveal the answers to major mysteries. In fact, this seems like the scoop of the decade. Back in the day, reporters were racing to get the news of semen stains and talking points on the air mere seconds before their rivals. Now, they all keep quiet?

This is a very interesting professional and ethical question for the media. Does the reporter's privilege extend to his friends? Here you apparently have quite a few members of the DC press corps with a piece of very juicy information (allegedly) about the most powerful political operative in the United States --- information that also has to do with an important matter of national security and a Justice department investigation. In some sort of friendship extension of the reporter's privilege they say nothing. Amazing.

And during the time they say nothing an election is held in which the political operative in question works feverishly to smear his client's opponent with scurrilous charges of borderline treason and cowardly behavior during wartime. The entire election is premised on the fact that the president, this man's client, is the only one capable of handling national security. His prior campaign had been waged with an overt promise to bring honor and integrity back to the White House. Still nothing.

Finally, when their friend seems headed to jail and his boss has agreed to turn over notes, they start to step up and reveal what they know.

Hookay. I think it's time to convene another conference on blogger ethics and professional journalistic standards. I get so confused about these things.

 
Live 8

Wandered over for a bit here in Philly. Clusterfuck would be a generous description, though one can't help but appreciate a massive free concert in a truly public space.

 
O'Donnell Speaks

Says another source confirms Rove.

Of course it could be another Rove ratfucking... We'll find out I suppose.

 
Howard Dean - Lead Singer of Green Day

Watching through Aol's stream. Billy Joe Armstrong just said "you have the power!"

 
Heritage

Ooops:

It began as a shouting match on a busy Capitol Hill street corner during the frenetic morning commute, a bike-vs.-car incident not uncommon in a big city.

But then the silver-haired, retired Navy lieutenant got out of his car, approached the red-headed ballet dancer riding a bike and allegedly shoved her to the ground, authorities said. He got back into his car and, as bystanders followed him, drove down the block to his nearby office, the bicyclist said.

The man was identified as Ted E. Schelenski, 64, vice president for finance and operations at the Heritage Foundation, a think tank that promotes conservative policies. He pleaded not guilty this week to a charge of simple assault.

 
Rover

From E&P:

Here is the transcript of O'Donnell's remarks:

"What we're going to go to now in the next stage, when Matt Cooper's e-mails, within Time Magazine, are handed over to the grand jury, the ultimate revelation, probably within the week of who his source is.

"And I know I'm going to get pulled into the grand jury for saying this but the source of...for Matt Cooper was Karl Rove, and that will be revealed in this document dump that Time magazine's going to do with the grand jury."

Other panelists then joined in discussing whether, if true, this would suggest a perjury rap for Rove, if he told the grand jury he did not leak to Cooper.


If true, this just brings us back to an old question. We know Rove was calling people in the media, like Chris Matthews, but no one had proven that he'd pushed this story before it appeared in Novak's column...


...Talk Left has more.

 
Open Thread

Because there is never enough thread.



Friday, July 01, 2005
 
Frog Marching Rove Down Yellowcake Lane

Multiple people have emailed to inform me that on the McLaughlin Group Lawrence O'Donnell has claimed that the primary Plame leaker was Karl Rove.

I've set the Tivo to record the next showing, but I can't as of yet verify this, but there you go...

 
Fresh Thread

WTF is with Brooke Shield's horrible apparent plastic surgery? [CNN]

Look people, plastic surgery sometimes works when you use it to look "better." Never use it to try to look "younger."

 
WWWA

In order to maintain my new online magazine format to keep the free speech protections provided by the constitution, I must inform you that prosecutors in Aruba either have or haven't charged 3 people for the murder of a missing white woman.

 
Your Liberal Media

CNN's "liberal" pundit, Waldorf, endorses Scalia for chief justice.

 
Friday Cat Blogging

Giving us their best imitation of the Washington press during their August vacations in Nantucket, resting up before they come back and tell us that the problem with Americans is that they don't work enough.



 
Inside Politics

There was always something eerily familiar about the bizarre pair of Novak and Valenti doing roundtable discussion on Inside Politics.

I finally figured out what it reminded me of.



reader and friend m provides some better pictures:



 
More Roe

CNN just flashed up poll results regarding Roe. 65% want a justice who would uphold Roe. 47% of Republicans want a justice who would uphold Roe (verus 46% who want one who would overturn it).

 
They Write Letters

John Martellaro writes to Romenesko (which I'll reproduce as there's no permanent way to link to it that I'm aware of):


From JOHN MARTELLARO: Where’s the outrage among journalists and other First Amendment partisans over the Miller-Cooper case?

Hunkered down in the same corner where it was the last time the sound and noble principle of the First Amendment had to be defended on behalf of a horrifically bad example of its use: the march of Illinois Nazis through the town of Skokie in the late 1970s.

You know in your head that the principle is right. In your heart, you have nothing but contempt for the individuals who are taking advantage of it for their own selfish ends.

There can be no debate that confidential sourcing is essential to good journalism and that journalists – and those who benefit from its proper execution – should stand fast for that principle. There also should be no debate that Cooper and Miller engaged in astoundingly bad judgment in granting anonymity to sources in this particular case.

The whole purpose of anonymous sourcing is to level the playing field between the powerful and the powerless. Anonymity is supposed to be granted to sources who fear some kind of retribution for speaking the truth -- being fired, being sued, being assaulted, etc.

It was never intended to be used the way it has been utterly abused in recent decades by the Washington press corps: to gain a competitive advantage against other reporters. Their passion is not for the public interest but for career-advancing scoops, and to get them, they are willing to give the powerful a shield that allows these Washington mandarins to engage in political gamesmanship with their peers, to float trial balloons, to spread disinformation without consequences or -- in the case of Valerie Plame -- to commit a felony offense in order to exact political punishment against opponents further down on the political food chain.

What should be a valuable tool for speaking truth to power has been put in serious jeopardy by vain fools who have completely lost sight of the reason why First Amendment protection exists in the first place. It's not there to make it easier for them to strut and preen on Sunday morning televised gabfests.

Reporters who do the real work of watchdog journalism in this country -- most of whom rarely if ever go to Washington, D.C. – are the ones who will suffer for this.

 
How it Used to Work

In the early 90s, when the Democrats were in control of the Senate, President Clinton consulted with the ranking minority member, Orrin Hatch, about SC appointments. Hatch himself bragged in his autobiography that he was the person who suggested Ginsburg and Breyer.

This rather important fact will, of course, be left entirely out of the media conversation on this topic.

 
What We're Going to Get

Was just on a conference call with Senator Kennedy and a bunch of online magazine publishers. I think the key point to come out of it is that when it comes to the question of is Bush going to nominate a conservative extremist who would invite a confrontation or someone more like O'Connor who could be a consensus candidate, all signs point to extremist. He pointed out that conservative groups are poised to dump $18 million into this process, something which would be entirely unnecessary if a consensus candidate were in the pipeline.

 
History

Nathan Newman gives the most convincing explanation I've yet heard for why Rehnquist hasn't announced his retirement (though he likely will in a couple of months).

O'Connor's retirement announcement doesn't change this, as she is officially staying on until her successor is confirmed.

 
Not One Democrat

Unless I missed one, it took over 2 hours before a single person was on CNN to represent the Democratic view. There certainly wasn't one on before 11:45.

 
Back to the 19th Century

Yglesias is surely correct that the near term concerns are economic issues that will face the court. I don't know how these issues can be easily soundbited pre-emptively, though perhaps if a nominee has some horrible anti-worker or anti-consumer rulings in their past an issue can be made.

 
The Party of Abortion Rights

Planned Parenthood v. Casey was a 5-4 decision.* It's difficult to imagine that whatever wingnut Bush has to offer up to please the base wouldn't flip that, and effectively overturn Roe. I doubt Republicans will actually be happy with that, the ones who want to get elected anyway, because I think they understand what Democrats don't seem to - people in this country quite strongly favor abortion rights (it's important to remember that all the laws they enacted to use as test cases have bee written in such a way to guarantee that the Court in its current form would shoot them down in order to keep the issue alive for one more election cycle). Yes, the "ick" factor causes people to embrace the curtailing of abortion rights around the edges, but that's mostly because people who are made slightly uncomfortable by the issue want to have a little bit of an "out."

When Roe goes, there will be much confusion among Democrats I imagine. The anti-abortion machine is in place and it is far stronger than the abortion rights machine. Since the media gives deference to anything under the cover of religion, and equates religion with conservatism, the anti-abortion machine will have much more uncritical treatment by the media.

When this moves to legislatures - federal and state - odds are the temptation by Democrats will be, as it generally is, to compromise, to find the center as defined by Tim Russert. To stand, then, for nothing.

The removal of the constitutional right to have a say in what goes on in your uterus will certainly be a bad thing, but it will also certainly be a political opportunity for the Democrats to define themselves, if only they seize it.

As a secondary issue I've always been a bit puzzled by those who think that the Roe decision somehow made politics nasty. When legislatures have the power to legislate this issue, it will be, at least for a time, the central issue for every candidate in every state and federal election. It will be all abortion all the time.


And, it will be nasty.

*People in comments have reminded me that until O'Connor's retirement the "pro-Roe" crowd numbered 6. So, perhaps this issue will be punted for another couple of years. Someone make sure Stevens has a good doctor.

 
Neuharth

This is a quite a big deal. Via E&P I see that USA Today founder Al Neuharth has a rather harsh anti-Iraq war editorial.

President Bush went on the air this week to pretend again that things are OK in Iraq. Shades of President Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam nearly 40 years ago.
The most important similarity between Iraq and Vietnam is that both Democratic and Republican presidents lied to us in wartime. To refresh your memory, here's how we got out of the Vietnam quagmire:

• Walter Cronkite, CBS-TV news anchor known as "the most trusted man in America," after a combat tour of Vietnam in 1968 declared, "There is no way this war can be justified any longer."

• Johnson lamented to aides, "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America." He announced he would not run for re-election.

The crucial difference between Vietnam and Iraq is that there is no Cronkite to call Bush's bluff. Without a strong, trusted, non-political voice, too many of us remain Bush-blinded. Bush tried keeping the wool over our eyes again Tuesday on national TV by repeatedly tying Iraq to 9/11. That charge is as phony as his discredited prewar claim that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.


 
WSJ

I saw this earlier this morning and it kind of froze my brain up. Roger Ailes flags it. Just contemplate these two sentences being written by the WSJ editorial board:

It may be that he too has concluded that talking to the press is no crime, in which case he may by now only be pursuing a perjury rap against the leaker. If that's true, Mr. Fitzgerald will have earned a place in the Overzealous Hall of Fame."

 
Boom

Fox says O'Connor is about to announce retirement...

...CNN confirms.

Let's hope Bush nominates someone who be a judge for all Americans.

 
Live 8

Haven't been able to get too excited about it. Perhaps I should've tried to score some blogger online magazine journalist credentials for the event. I'll probably just open up my window and hear what I can hear...

 
Plame

Richard Cranium on why Plame matters.


I think there's one caveat here - if Time magazine "did the right thing" they did it in the wrong way and for the wrong reasons. If the right thing to do was hand over the papers they should've done it a long time ago.


Thursday, June 30, 2005
 
Halliblog

This is basically how the nervous nellies in the campaign finance community and the pro-reg people at the FEC seem to be thinking:

Suppose Halliburton, a corporation with close ties to the Bush-Cheney ticket, set up a blog to help their ticket win. If the blogger had journalistic status, there would be no limit on what the corporation could pay the blogger or spend bankrolling the blog's activities. There would be no restriction on coordination between the blog and the Bush-Cheney campaign.

The blog could solicit campaign contributions, steer traffic to the Bush-Cheney campaign website, amplify an attack strategy against their opponents, and directly advocate a vote for or against. The blog also would not have to disclose where it was getting its funding and would not have to publish any disclaimer alerting readers that it was a virtual extension of the Bush-Cheney campaign.

As technology evolved, maybe the Halliburton-sponsored Bush blog would make and circulate videos that could be posted on the blog, and e-mailed to millions of voters, with all the costs paid by the corporation and with no restrictions as to content, disclosure or disclaimers, Darr said. But in their testimony, bloggers said one sure way the FEC could undermine the democratizing potential of the Internet is to imagine abuses that have not occurred and to impose regulations that would require every blogger to hire a lawyer and an accountant for fear of violations.


Look, the basic issue is that no one has figured out the grand "if only I had 10 million bucks to spend I could have the most trafficked site on the internet" issue. If that were true, it would happen. It doesn't. Who the hell would read a Halliburton blog or website? If they had 10 million to spend on it, what would they spend it on?

Many of the most popular websites are low tech and require little money or bandwidth (aside from the bandwidth which inevitably results from having a lot of traffic). Think Drudge. Aside from the proliferation of intrusive pop-ups, that dude's site hasn't changed in 8 years. As I told the FEC, aside from maintaining a computer, paying for my basic broadband connection, etc... I've probably had about $150 in direct expenses to keep this site running.

The only way I can really imagine that a "Halliburton blog" devoted to glorifying dear leader and Dick could really attract traffic based on the amount of money they spent would be if they, say, offered 10 free Itunes downloads in exchange for reading the propaganda of the day or other kinds of freebies. And those kinds of expenditures could easily be called illegal in-kind contributions without actually stopping the operation of such a website.

It'd be nice if we could spend our time thinking about important things.

 
Ho Ho Ho

Justice is unimportant, just the comfort of the Nantucket crowd.

GREENFIELD: Yes. Wolf? I've got to make one other thing -- the one thing nobody's talked about: This might be a decent case for a presidential pardon, which doesn't get the reporters of the hook legally in the future, but says, you know, this is the wrong circumstance under which to send two people to jail. I know that sounds a little odd, but I've been thinking about this and it strikes me that, that might not be the worst solution to this.

BLITZER: All right. I suspect, though, that some people could say if the president decided to pardon these journalists, he might be participating in some sort of cover up.

GREENFIELD: I'd like to see the press attack the president for protecting the press. That would be an interesting approach.


 
Kelo

Quite a few of us in left blogistan have taken a lot of criticism for our support of the recent Kelo eminent domain decision or our tepid objection to it. One talk radio host who I'm a fan of expressed a desire to smack me in the face over it.

I don't want to go into a long discussion of this. I think probably the decision was correct - it certainly reflected established law and practice in any case - and was probably preferable to most alternative decisions.

However, I also quite welcome the Kelo backlash. It was probably Nathan Newman who took the lefty "contrarian" view of the case which got me thinking more about it (too lazy to hunt up the exact post). I'd spent some time in New London in the past few years and certainly see what's happening there as nothing more than a land grab. I'm familiar enough with some of the players to know that motives are almost certainly not pure. I would've liked the process there to be stopped. However, as with many things, the question wasn't "is this bad" - the question was "should the Supremos establish some precedent to keep this kind of thing from happening." The answer to the first question was of course yes. The answer to the second one was arguably, if not definitively, no.

I also don't think that in this case there should be any kind of federal remedy. Preening members of Congress who are pushing against this kind of use of eminent domain while simultaneously pushing for privately owned toll roads, which would certainly need the power of eminent domain to get built, are just, well, strutting for the cameras. A federal remedy seems rather silly.

But, by all means, let there be a backlash. Eminent domain has been used for years, sometimes for good and more often for ill, in the name of urban renewal or neighborhood improvement. Minority and poor neighborhoods were generally the targets. I'm quite happy for more middle class people to be a bit angry at the idea that the state can make you sell your house to them. When an issue goes from being something that can happen to other people to something that can happen to you, maybe you start to take notice.

So, please all you people who are concerned about this issue - make it a local one, make it a state one.

 
Exporting Wingnuttery

One of the several reasons I opposed our little Iraq adventure was because I thought this gang was incompetent. That was always the reason which was most derided by the 101st Fighting Keyboarders and Generals Sullivan and Hitchens.

But holy shit. Who could've imagined they'd be this incompetent?

 
The Liberal Media

Jeff Greenfield just told Wolf Blitzer:

This might be a good case for a presidential pardon.


You know, pardoning Judith Miller. So she doesn't have to testify. So Fitzgerald can't make the case he presumably might be making against a prominent Bush administration official.


Sure, Jeff. Sounds like a great case to me.


...sam heldman reminds us:

Ken D nailed it above -- civil contempt (i.e., putting somebody in jail in order to induce them to comply with a court order, such as an order to testify, with the proviso that they can get out of jail as soon as they agree to do so) is not a crime, and therefore not pardonable. Jeff Greenfield was supposed to know something about the law, wasn't he??

 
Chimpeachment

Zogby:


President Bush’s televised address to the nation produced no noticeable bounce in his approval numbers, with his job approval rating slipping a point from a week ago, to 43%, in the latest Zogby International poll. And, in a sign of continuing polarization, more than two-in-five voters (42%) say they would favor impeachment proceedings if it is found the President misled the nation about his reasons for going to war with Iraq.

The Zogby America survey of 905 likely voters, conducted from June 27 through 29, 2005, has a margin of error of +/-3.3 percentage points.

...


In a sign of the continuing partisan division of the nation, more than two-in-five (42%) voters say that, if it is found that President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should hold him accountable through impeachment. While half (50%) of respondents do not hold this view, supporters of impeachment outweigh opponents in some parts of the country.


 
Cash

Corn says a likely reason for Time's actions is that it would've cost them money. I did actually know that. What I really meant was that I didn't understand how this decision fits within the mythos of the "media protects their sources at all costs." Cooper was, presumably, willing to actually go to prison to protect his source. However, Time is likely not willing to sacrifice a bit of cash for the same reason.


The point is that it's a longstanding tradition that the ethics of journalism require that journalists protect their sources to protect their profession. In one act, Time has basically thrown this concept out the window. It no longer matters if journalists are willing to protect their sources. Those who pay their salaries (some of those, anyway) won't back them up, so the commitment of the individual journalist is largely irrelevant.

And, now, will all those people writing impassioned defenses of source protection and the journalists who protect them now write angry condemnations of Time? Will Howie Kurtz bash his bosses?

 
Interesting

The Republicans are going to push legislation which would revoke federal funds from states which used eminent domain to seize property for purposes they don't think is appropriate.

No matter one thinks of the appropriateness of the Kelo decision, this is yet another interesting move by the states' rights crowd.


...and, meanwhile, they want to encourage privately developed toll roads, which of course would require eminent domain to obtain the necessary contiguous land parcels. Such consistency.

(2nd link thanks to lerxst)






(seen on CNN)

 
Your Liberal Media

Alterman:

Why Rove felt compelled to launch this particular McCarthyite missive now is not ultimately knowable. Perhaps he is growing desperate, as the President's popularity ratings spiral south, and Americans--by a 49 to 44 percent margin--tell pollsters that George W. Bush, not Saddam Hussein, holds the greatest responsibility for the horrific war in Iraq. But Rove is no dummy. He knows he can say just about anything about anyone and conservative pundits will bark "Amen." His vicious denigration of the patriotism of so many New Yorkers (and American soldiers, I might add, many of whom are liberals) was not so different from the false and malicious charges leveled not merely by Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh but also by allegedly responsible commentators, including Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Peter Beinart. (It was Beinart, you will recall, who, in his famous "A Fighting Faith" article, introduced the redbaiter's well-worn tactic against MoveOn.org of seeking to blame the organization for petitions it did not write and websites it did not control. He also sought to draw an equation between the questioning of the Administration's military strategy and the support of the communist side during the cold war.)

Rove's defenders, including White House press secretary Scott McClellan and New York Governor George Pataki, changed the subject to Durbin rather than offer even meek criticism of the second most powerful man in America (after Dick Cheney). But remember: Durbin paid tribute to America's ideals. Rove not only lied about liberals, he mocked the very concepts of "moderation," "restraint" and "understanding" as un-American. Durbin criticized no one but the torturers; Rove slandered more than 20 percent of Americans who proudly identify themselves as liberals.

And where were the mainstream media in all this? With just a few honorable exceptions they were passing along without prejudice Rove's slander and lies and the deliberate distortions of Durbin's words. Typically, Washington Post media cop Howard Kurtz adopted the White House spin with a report titled "Down­playing Durbin, Jumping on Rove." The smart guys at The Note explained that Democrats were asking for this kind of thing with their general wimpiness. Apparently, it's not a reporter's bus­iness to decide what's true anymore, just who sounds more macho.

There's a lesson for liberals in all this: American politics has become a game with no rules and no referee. Play by the old rules--fairness, honesty, good faith--and face political extinction.

 
Senator Biden Has Switched His Home State

He is now officially the senator from the great state of Bank of America.

 
Terry Returns

From Afghanistan. Well, he's been back for awhile, but he's just resumed blogging publishing his online magazine. Some of you may remember sending him pens.

 
Principles

I really don't understand this.

NEW YORK - Time Inc. said Thursday it would comply with a court order to deliver the notes of a reporter threatened with jail in the investigation of the leak of an undercover CIA officer's name.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan is threatening to jail Matthew Cooper of Time and Judith Miller of The New York Times for contempt for refusing to disclose their sources.

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear the reporters' appeal and the grand jury investigating the leak expires in October. The reporters, if in jail, would be freed at that time.


You see, the way this works is that it allows our media to collectively pretend that Cooper was a stand up journalist fighting to preserve his source anonymity until the very end while letting his employer, Time Magazine, bail him out. We can preserve the myth that journalists are noble crusaders, that Cooper was grand and good and noble because he was "willing" to go to jail for his source, even as the publisher makes the whole battle moot.

When it comes to defending the supposed principles they were fighting for, this seems like a rather bad outcome. The whole point was that to protect the freedom of the press you had to protect the identity of confidential sources. From this perspective Time taints their entire publication -- you can't rely on anyone working for that magazine to protect their sources because the publishers/editors will sell out all of their journalist's sources.


Wednesday, June 29, 2005
 
A Life Transformed

Since I ceased being a blogger an hour or so ago and became the publisher/editor/chief political correspondent/cat photographer/scifi critic/media critic/missing persons expert/blogger ethics expert/janitor for an exciting new online magazine, my life has truly been transformed. I discovered, in my coupon clipping box, a deed for a 6000 sq. ft. Nantucket cabin. I've been to 17 parties hosted by the charming and delightful Sally Quinn. I've played Bridge with Nedra Pickler, and twister with Candy Crowley and Jeff Greenfield. I've convened 38 panels on blogger ethics, something I never managed to do when I was actually a blogger. My debut appearance on Meet the Press will happen this Sunday, where I will be given the opportunity to weigh in on the topics of "Bush or Christ - Who best to worship this Sunday?" and "The Democrats - Traitors or Losers or Both?"

I feel sad for the rest of the bloggers in the losersphere. See ya suckers. Oh Brit? Watch this drive!

 
Recruiting

I think lukery will win his ten bucks.

Last month they said they'd need 9760 per month through September for the Army to reach its annual goal of 80,000 recruited. Now they're claiming the June goal was 5650 and claiming they exceeded it by 500.

Operation Yellow Elephant is failing.

 
New Format

Just to warn people that the new format necessitates a few changes around here. First, I'm going to add the WWWA news ticker to make sure we all keep abreast of the latest developments on missing white women everywhere. Second, there will be no more bad news about the war. It's all good in Iraq, and if you disagree you're undermining and a traitor. Third, a lot more TomKat coverage. TomKat is what the nation wants to hear about, and since every other news, commentary, and editorial outlet is doing TomKat watch, so must we do it here. Fourth, sharks bitches! SHARKS! Fifth, I plan on doing an entire issue entitled "The Internet Transforms Modern Life," because I've got quite a scoop about that. Sixth, I plan to begin a series about how Leprechauns will save Social Security as long as we add private accounts. Seventh, Lou Dobbs will write an occasional column entitled "The Brown Menace." Eighth, a regular feature will promote books containing known falsehoods. Ninth, John Tierney will occasionally guest blog edit the magazine for a semi-regular "proof women are shit" edition. And, finally, number 10, Mallard Filmore will be the daily comic because there's nothing funnier than a duck reading John Stossel transcripts.

 
FEC Follies

Well, it's basically 3 Democrats versus 3 Republicans, and unless the Republicans pull a "let's support something unreasonable in hopes that it opens the door for Congress to chuck McCain-Feingold out entirely," it's the Dems who are the presumptive "bad guys" in this (they can, of course, prove me wrong and I hope they do).


The entire process has, in fact, driven me rather crazy as I've spent the last couple of days thinking about this stuff way too much. No one has yet to give me a satisfactory answer to any variations of the following simple questions:

Why is somebody who prints up and mails out weekly vanity newsletter entitled to the media exemption but not me?

Why is Michael Savage entitled to the media exemption but not me?

Why is Salon.com entitled to the media exemption but not me?

 
Subscribe to the Strib

Unless you want to live in Hugh Hewitt's America.


(Scroll down to "quick hit")

 
Well, That Was Fun

Actually I've had more pleasant experiences. It's difficult because in a sense each commissioner had an agenda and they tended to ask leading questions in hopes of obtaining a certain answer, but not being quite familiar enough with either their pet concerns or all of the arcane nuances of campaign finance law I wasn't always entirely sure just what they were getting at...

 
FEC

Well, I went to one of the sessions this morning and will be testifying later. I skipped out on the middle session because I really don't need to hear what Kristinn of the Free Republic has to say about anything.

Reading the tea leaves, my take is that enough of the commissioners are moving towards a reasonable place on this stuff, though whether they make it all the way remains to be seen. At the heart of the issue, really, is why anyone would imagine those communicating through outlets blessed by Time Warner, Disney, and General Electric should get a pass from intrusive regulation while those operating on the internets, where there are no scarcity issues and no barriers to entry, should face scrutiny.

Hopefully I will help them to understand that just a bit more, though I think they're starting to get it....

 
Open Thread

Because there is never enough thread.


 
Principles

What can one say:

NEW YORK When Matthew Cooper of Time magazine and Judith Miller of The New York Times return late Wednesday afternoon to face the federal judge who ordered them to jail last fall for refusing to reveal confidential sources, two different outcomes may emerge.

While New York Times officials have maintained that Miller will not reveal the source who leaked to her the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame, a source close to Time Inc. told E&P that the company is considering handing over documents that would reveal the source.

 
Polled

That's a representative sample (certainly, it may genuinely be a representative sample of those who actually watched the speech):

A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll of Americans who watched President Bush's Iraq speech Tuesday night showed that 46 percent had a "very positive" reaction to what they heard.

The poll was taken immediately after the speech, and the 323 adults interviewed were 50 percent Republican, 23 percent Democratic and 27 percent independent. The margin of error was plus or minus 6 percentage points.

Another 28 percent said they were "somewhat positive" about what they heard, and 26 percent said they had a "negative" reaction.

"It's difficult to tell from these poll results how the speech will affect general U.S. public," said CNN polling director Keating Holland.

"Many Americans did not watch the speech. Those who did were 2-to-1 Republican, so most were arguably already in the president's camp."

 
Corned

David Corn:

Bush's speech will not alter the landscape--here or in Iraq. It was the rhetorical equivalent of treading water. Before the speech, NPR had asked me to talk about the address afterward with a conservative pundit. Minutes before we were to go on, an NPR worker called. We've decided, she said, that there was not enough in the speech to warrant an analysis segment. I could hardly protest.

 
Dear Ben Shapiro and Jonah Goldberg:


And to those watching tonight who are considering a military career, there is no higher calling than service in our Armed Forces. We live in freedom because every generation has produced patriots willing to serve a cause greater than themselves. Those who serve today are taking their rightful place among the greatest generations that have worn our Nation's uniform.


Love,
George W. Bush

 
So, What'd I Miss?

Amazing that the best place to avoid seeing Bush's speech was DC. Anyway, did he wear a cool new Star Trek uniform?


...Reid sez:

“Tonight’s address offered the President an excellent opportunity to level with the American people about the current situation in Iraq, put forth a path for success, and provide the means to assess our progress. Unfortunately he fell short on all counts.

“There is a growing feeling among the American people that the President’s Iraq policy is adrift, disconnected from the reality on the ground and in need of major mid-course corrections. “Staying the course,” as the President advocates, is neither sustainable nor likely to lead to the success we all seek.

“The President’s numerous references to September 11th did not provide a way forward in Iraq, they only served to remind the American people that our most dangerous enemy, namely Osama bin Laden, is still on the loose and Al Qaeda remains capable of doing this nation great harm nearly four years after it attacked America.

“Democrats stand united and committed to seeing that we achieve success in Iraq and provide our troops, their families, and our veterans everything they need and deserve for their sacrifices for our nation. The stakes are too high, and failure in Iraq cannot be an option. Success is only possible if the President significantly alters his current course. That requires the President to work with Congress and finally begin to speak openly and honestly with our troops and the American people about the difficult road ahead.

“Our troops and their families deserve no less.”



Tuesday, June 28, 2005
 
Open Thread

Because there is never enough thread.


 
Irresponsible

Apparently some FEC commissioners believe the media exception should only apply to those who are "responsible." Missed that part of the constitution.

Sometimes I wonder if these people ever actually consume what constitutes our media these days. Do they ever watch/listen to Imus? Savage? Limbaugh? Tucker Carlson?

...Kos says it was a deliberate softball question.

 
Timetable

Bush, 1999:

I think it’s also important for the president to lay out a timetable as to how long they will be involved and when they will be withdrawn.

 
The Press

Not to get meta, but god I get annoyed every time my name pops up:

Duncan Black _ who founded the www.atrios.blogspot.com blog _ featured a headline Monday on his Web site, "Bite me, Congressman," that linked to a diatribe against a Republican House committee chairman over global warming.


First, it wasn't the headline, it was the content of the post. Second, it didn't link to a diatribe it linked to this rather non-diatribe like post by Chris Mooney. Third, it wasn't "over global warming" it was over a member of congress sending an intimidating letter to a scientist.


Monday, June 27, 2005
 
Journalismists

I'm not in the mood to pick fights with people who are roughly on my team today so I'll skip the linkage, but I find a lot of the talk about the Miller/Cooper cases a bit puzzling. There are a lot of people who think that it's a major blow to freedom of the press if Miller/Cooper go to jail. It is true that the Sentelle penned opinion which may lead them there is not something those of us in favor of press freedom should be happy with, but that's a separate question of whether this is really the test case onto which people want to hang their source privilege hat.

There are also those who continue to want to draw the distinction between "journalists" and "other people." As someone who's about to go testify to the FEC and argue that what I do doesn't differ in any important way from what other players in the "legitimate" media do I find this very troubling. Journalism is not what people are, it's what they do.

The ability to maintain source confidentiality should not hinge on what one's job description is. A journalist should not and cannot have blanket immunity from ever testifying in court about what they know. That's an abuse of a privilege, and the kind of abuse which tends to lead to the limitation of the scope of that privilege.

Reasonable people can disagree about whether the Plame case situation crosses the line between maintaining source anonymity and covering up a crime. Certainly I sympathize with those who believe that any erosion of press freedom should be of concern. But the self-righteous claims of absolute privilege ring rather hollow in this case.

 
Liars

A majority say the Bush administration "intentionally misled the American public."

57% say thay intentionally exaggerated the evidence.

 
Indeed

What Roxanne says.

(I'm less sympathetic to the idea that any kind of privilege should apply here, but unless there's some reason to distinguish between Cooper and Miller other than We Hate Judith "The Queen of All Iraq" Miller (which we do), they presumably deserve equal treatment under the law).

 
Ominous

The summer of 2001 was declared "summer of the shark" despite the fact that the number of shark attacks wasn't abnormal. Then a little tragic event happened and they shut the hell up about sharks for a little awhile.

Kurtz and Rather had this exchange around that time;

KURTZ: Do you think now that we are headed into an era of more serious and sober news, as opposed to you know, the devoting lots of air time to sharks and Tom and Nicole and stories of that kind, or, three months from now, six months from now, as this story ebbs and flows, will we slip back into covering mini-scandals and celebrities and some of the lighter fair in the news business?

RATHER: Well, it is a key question. I wish I had the answer to it, Howie. I hope, and I honestly do believe that for a long period now there will be rethink among American journalists, in particular those who have some television, about concentrating more on serious news.

But I've thought that any number of times before, for example, in the wake of the Gulf War, I thought there would be a re-emphasis on foreign coverage. There wasn't. I thought there would be a sort of return to our journalistic base camp of trying to report more about things that are important, perhaps at the expense of things that are interesting, like celebrity news.

And I was wrong then. So I am really reluctant to make a prediction. But I think, given the seriousness of what's happened here, that for at least the short and medium range future that there will be a re-emphasis on more serious news coverage. I certainly hope so.

KURTZ: It does have the feel of a major league wake up call. Given the very widespread and low opinion of the news business, particularly in the last 10 or 15 years, why do you think that in a recent Pew Research Poll, 89 percent gave positive marks for the media for their coverage of this tragedy over the last couple of weeks. Why the shift?

RATHER: I hope it's because the coverage was pretty good. Mind you, I think we deserved what we got in the preceding 10 or 15 years, and I do not exempt myself from that criticism. I think the public was right on point.

But when this story broke, I mean, what journalist could not say, man, this is really serious for my country, and for that matter, for the world, and I want to get out and do a really responsible job. And even those journalistic entities who had strayed very far from what I consider to be the best journalism pulled themselves together. So I think it must be that the public looked, and they listened, and even though we made mistakes, saw how hard we were trying and felt that we did a pretty good job.


CNN just spent 22 minutes at a live press conference about a shark attack.


 
Don't Show It

I don't think it matters much either way, but I agree with David Corn that it'd be pretty silly for the networks to show Bush's speech. I also agree with him that usually I'd be annoyed if they didn't. But, there's no actual event prompting this speech other than his declining poll numbers, and somehow that doesn't really seem like a good enough reason. Press conference, yes. Speech alone, no.

 
More Grokster

After reading Matt's take, it seems like that Grokster decision wasn't so bad after all, though I wouldn't have known that from listening to CNN's inane reporting on it. If the liability issue mostly comes down to how such technology is marketed, rather than what it's used for, then civilization will continue to march onward...

 
Santorum

Santorum on the clergy abuse scandal. Stunning:

When the culture is sick, every element in it becomes infected. While it is no excuse for this scandal, it is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm.

 
Republicans: Soros Can't Buy Nationals

I don't know whether to laugh or cry about this stuff.

 
Cheney Slanders Hagel

Watch the video.

Then, if you want, call Hagel's office for a response.

Washington, D.C. Office
248 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Tel: (202) 224-4224
Fax: (202) 224-5213

transcript here.

 
Tuesday Speech

My prediction is that the goal is to make people believe that we're at war in a country called Afghaniraqistan.

 
Worse and Worse

Well, at least Judy may go to jail today.

NEW YORK In a lengthy memo published the newspaper's Web site, Bill Keller, executive editor of The New York Times, announced several new policies in response to a recent report by the paper's Credibility Committee. Among them is a fresh attempt to diversify the Times' staff and viewpoints, and not in the usual racial or gender ways, but in political, religious and cultural areas as well.

The aim, he wrote, is "to stretch beyond our predominantly urban, culturally liberal orientation, to cover the full range of our national conversation."

The point, Keller wrote, "is not that we should begin recruiting reporters and editors for their political outlook; it is part of our professional code that we keep our political views out of the paper. The point is that we want a range of experience. We have a recruiting committee that tracks promising outside candidates, and that committee has already begun to consider ways to enrich the variety of backgrounds of our reporters and editors.

...

Keller said there had already been successes, namely, the coverage of conservatives by David Kirkpatrick and Jason DeParle, and a number of recent Sunday magazine pieces. "I intend to keep pushing us in this direction," Keller declared.


The Sunday magazine has become unreadable.


Sunday, June 26, 2005
 
Fast Trains

New Japanese train to go 360 kph (223mph).

Let's imagine that it could realistically average 160mph.

Philadelphia to Pittsburgh: <1.5 hours
Boston to Washington: <3 hours
Los Angeles to San Francisco: 3 hours
Los Angeles to Phoenix: <3.5 hours


Well, you get the idea...

 
Thermonuclear

It's been obvious, but now it's 150% certain. The new strategy is criticism of iraq=criticism of afghanistan=support for taliban=support for al qaeda = cheering on crashing twin towers. Cheney on Chuck Hagel:

Since 9/11, we've had people like Chuck Hagel and other politicians and we've had people in the press corps and commentators who've said we can't do Afghanistan.


Amazingly, this was 3 days ago and it was pretty much ignored.


...Will Bunch has more.

 
What's Hagel Going to Do About It?

I was just about to ask that question, but I headed over to Big Media Matt's place to see if he'd beaten me to the punch, which he has.

 
Props

I'm surely not the first person to make this observation, but it makes me physically ill when I think about the fact that Bush is going to use members of the military as props in his Tuesday night speech to the country.

 
DeLay vs. DeLay

Tom Delay speaking to the College Republicans:

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), in a bit of a role reversal, came to the defense of Rove by repeating some of the most provocative lines to College Republicans and saying, "That's not slander. That's the truth." The National Republican Senatorial Committee sent out an e-mail fundraising appeal proclaiming "Karl Rove Is Right.


Tom DeLay on 9/20/2001:

DELAY: Well, there's no American that wants us to fail, that's for sure. When we went home, every member that I've talked to had the same experience that I had. Everywhere I went, it didn't matter who you were talking to -- I ran into some of the most liberal constituents that I had. People would come up to me, hug me, kiss me. They would -- they'd just say they're with us, you know, "We want this done and we want it done right, and we're with you." I mean, the prayer rallies that we went to, the vigils that we saw.

 
Groundhog Day

Whenever I go to a Nexis search to see what various pundits were writing about Iraq at the time I always mess it up the first time. When I put in a search range for the dates, I always put in the Fall of 2003 as the starting point, instead of the Fall of 2002, as it's still hard to comprehend that we've been in Iraq for over 2 years.

This is from a George Will column in August of 2003:

Abizaid briskly defines the modest, nuts-and-bolts but potentially momentous development that must happen soon: "We've got to do a lot more to bring an Iraqi face" -- beyond the nearly 60,000 Iraqis already under arms in reconstituted security forces -- "to the security establishments throughout Iraq very quickly." As Wolfowitz says, the basic U.S. strategy is to "get us into the background before we become the issue."


So, almost 2 years ago, we had Wolfowitz hitting exactly the same themes that they're hitting now - we've trained a bunch of Iraqis and all we need to do is train a few more.

 
Enlist

I've written this before, but I really want to get back to this point in as unsnarky a way as possible, because this is a serious issue. Given the obvious problems with military recruiting it's absolutely stunning that no prominent leader has put out a patriotic call to enlist. We joke about the College Republicans, but why didn't Senator McCain go give a speech politely suggesting that they consider serving their country?

We all know the basic answers to this question, but the media and our political leaders have been unwilling to confront exactly what those answers mean.

 
In Through 2008

This Week:


George Will: There is the 2008 election in this country that could produce a victory for the insurgents."

George Steph: How is that?

George Will: By a crack in the American... by electing a president who says 'if elected I will withdraw.'


Fareed then gently reminded Will that our army is going to be fucked by the end of 2006 unless Operation Yellow Elephant starts having more success.

Then Will said that Iraq is our Chechnya.

Someone pour me a drink.

 
Therapy

AP:

LONDON - U.S. officials held secret talks in Iraq with the commanders of several Iraqi insurgent groups recently in an attempt to open a dialogue with them, a British newspaper reported Sunday.

The commanders "apparently came face to face" with four American officials during meetings on June 3 and June 13 at a summer villa near Balad, about 25 miles north of Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, according to The Sunday Times.



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