Recently in The State of Media Category

Daring Fireball: Charging for Access to News Sites

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Via Jay Rosen on Twitter, contrary to the Financial Times editor's assertion that most news organizations will be charging for online content within the year, John Gruber gets "it" and states it clearly:

Undeniably, there is money to be made in digital publishing with free reader access, but whether that revenue leads to profits depends upon the scale and scope of the organization. The potential revenue does not appear to be of the magnitude that will support the massive operations of existing news organizations. What works in today's web landscape are lean and mean organizations with little or no management bureaucracy -- operations where nearly every employee is working on producing actual content. I'm an extreme example -- a literal one-man show. A better example is Josh Marshall's TPM Media, which is hiring political and news reporters. TPM is growing, not shrinking. But my understanding is that nearly everyone who works at TPM is working on editorial content.

Old-school news companies aren't like that -- the editorial staff makes up only a fraction of the total head count at major newspaper and magazine companies. The question these companies should be asking is, "How do we keep reporting and publishing good content?" Instead, though, they're asking "How do we keep making enough money to support our existing management and advertising divisions?" It's dinosaurs and mammals.

And it's not really surprising that they're failing to evolve. The decision-makers -- the executives sitting atop large non-editorial management bureaucracies -- are exactly the people who need to go if newspapers are going to remain profitable.

Precisely. Pay attention guys. Josh is showing you what to do.

Matt Taibbi sets the WSJ straight

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Matt Taibbi sets the WSJ straight on disclosure standards and other facts regarding Hank Paulson's role in the recent economic turbulence we've experienced in a rant that must be read. The WSJ probably won't publish it so Matt did it for them.

Nice job, Matt.

Imprisoning journalists

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It's great that Roxana Saberi has been released. And yes, anyone who's listened to the news on NPR or any of the cable news shows knows about it. Funny though that we haven't heard about any of the journalists the US is holding without trial on a daily basis, much less a weekly or even monthly basis, from any of these same news sources.

Glenn Greenwald points out the hypocrisy in the media's coverage in this post:

Saberi's release is good news, as her conviction occurred as part of extremely dubious charges and unreliable judicial procedures in Iran.  And, as Ambinder suggested, her release most likely is a positive by-product of the commendable (though far from perfect) change in tone towards Iran specifically and the Muslim world generally from the Obama administration.  But imprisoning journalists -- without charges or trials of any kind -- was and continues to be a staple of America's "war on terror," and that has provoked virtually no objections from America's journalists who, notably, instead seized on Saberi's plight in Iran to demonstrate their claimed commitment to defending persecuted journalists.

Beginning in 2001, the U.S. held Al Jazeera cameraman Sami al-Haj for six years in Guantanamo with no trial of any kind, and spent most of that time interrogating him not about Terrorism, but about Al Jazeera.  For virtually the entire time, the due-process-less, six-year-long imprisonment of this journalist by the U.S. produced almost no coverage -- let alone any outcry -- from America's establishment media, other than some columns by Nicholas Kristof (though, for years, al-Haj's imprisonment was a major media story in the Muslim world).  As Kristof noted when al-Haj was finally released in 2007:  "there was never any real evidence that Sami was anything but a journalist"; "the interrogators quickly gave up on asking him substantive questions" and "instead, they asked him to spy on Al-Jazeera if he was released;" and "American officials, by imprisoning an Al-Jazeera journalist without charges or meaningful evidence, have done far more to damage American interests in the Muslim world than anything Sami could ever have done."

In Iraq, we imprisoned Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein -- part of AP's Pulitzer Prize-winning war coverage -- for almost two years with no charges of any kind, after Hussein's photographs from the Anbar province directly contradicted Bush administration claims about the state of affairs there.  And that behavior was far from aberrational for the U.S., as the Committee to Protect Journalists -- which led the effort to free Saberi -- documented:

Hussein's detention is not an isolated incident. Over the last three years, dozens of journalists--mostly Iraqis--have been detained by U.S. troops, according to CPJ research. While most have been released after short periods, in at least eight cases documented by CPJ Iraqi journalists have been held by U.S. forces for weeks or months without charge or conviction. In one highly publicized case, Abdul Ameer Younis Hussein, a freelance cameraman working for CBS, was detained after being wounded by U.S. military fire as he filmed clashes in Mosul in northern Iraq on April 5, 2005. U.S. military officials claimed footage in his camera led them to suspect Hussein had prior knowledge of attacks on coalition forces. In April 2006, a year after his arrest, Hussein was freed after an Iraqi criminal court, citing a lack of evidence, acquitted him of collaborating with insurgents.


Right now -- as the American press corps celebrates itself for demanding Saberi's release in Iran -- the U.S. continues to imprison Ibrahim Jassam, a freelance photographer for Reuters, even though an Iraqi court last December -- more than five months ago -- found that there was no evidence to justify his detention and ordered him released.  The U.S. -- over the objections of the CPJ, Reporters Without Borders and Reuters -- refused to recognize the validity of that Iraqi court order and announced it would continue to keep him imprisoned.

One finds only a tiny fraction of news coverage in the U.S. regarding the treatment of al-Haj, Hussein, Jassam and these other imprisoned journalists as has been devoted to Saberi.  It ought to be exactly the reverse:  the American media should be far more interested in, and opposed to, infringements of press freedoms by the U.S. Government than by governments of other countries.  Yet the former merits hardly a peep, while the latter provokes all sorts of smug and self-righteous protests from American journalists who suddenly discover their brave commitment to press freedoms when all that requires is pointing to a demonized, hated foreign government and complaining.

There's more. Be sure to check out the information included in his updates to his post.

And to the news media, why don't you turn your investigative reporters loose on some of the stories behind the imprisonment of these other journalists? Or is it only American journalists held by foreign governments that are worthy of your coverage?

Dan Malloy turns the table on Fox News

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Connecticut Bob was at a meeting with Dan Malloy, mayor of Stanford, last Friday night and posted this clip about Malloy's experience with Fox "News".

Dan Malloy appeared at the Milford Democratic Town Committee meeting and covered a variety of issues in great detail as part of his potential run for governor to an appreciative gathering.

During the Q&A portion of the talk, Mike Brown asked Dan about his famous appearance on "Fox & Friends". Malloy launched into an amusing anecdote (video below) that explained the sad and pathetic attempt at a very typical FoxNews "gotcha" that distorted the facts for their own political agenda.


Malloy's experience is completely congruent with Michael Smerconish's experience which he described during an appearance on CNN's Reliable Sources [via Crooks and Liars]. Now that Malloy has described the background, here's the actual interview on Fox.



Mayor Malloy did a terrific job of controlling the narrative despite Doocy's repeated attempts to distort the agenda.

Items of Interest

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~ How Fox News books people to appear on show, paraphrased:

We need someone to come say that Obama's cocky and his cockiness is going to hurt him.

Oh, not interested? Okay. We also need someone to come on Neil's show and say that Hillary can't be trusted.

Michael Smerconish shares his emails with Fox News producer. Ahh... nothing like "Fair & Balanced".

~ Michael Scherer posted Obama's response to a foreign policy query at his Trinidad press conference with this comment.

...[it] reads to me as just about the clearest, most succinct statement yet of Obama's diplomatic approach (with a little editing).

He's right. Go read it yourself. It's so nice to have a grownup who does nuance and outreach in charge again.

~ And speaking of Obama, Mark Halperin who isn't usually an Obama fan put up a post titled "Why Obama is Exceptionally Good at His Job". He makes some good points.

~ This should be very interesting. Nick Bauman points out that the awarding of a Pulitzer Prize to NYT's David Barstow for his investigative story on "former military officials who were organized by the Pentagon to cheerlead for Bush administration war policies as "analysts" on cable television" creates a new threshold for the news organizations that relied on those analysts and ignored the original story.

~ I didn't know this about Tom Friedman. File this under learn something new everyday and wonder how this influences his journalistic endeavors.

What She Said

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Digby has a good post up about using anonymous sources, Dana Milbank's whining cluelessness and the failure of "he said, she said" journalism.

CNBC Under Siege

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Via Sully, CNBC takes a few more hits from "serious people":

Yale University chief investment officer David Swensen pulls a Stewart:

Jim Cramer exemplifies everything that's wrong with the advice -- and I put advice in quotation marks -- that is given to individual investors. Investing is a serious business. We're talking about retirement security of American citizens, and he turns it into a game. It's a game where his listeners lose. It's ridiculous. These high-turnover, rapid trading strategies enrich the brokers. If you look at Jim Cramer's approach on an after-fee, after-tax basis, the individual doesn't have a chance.

Stewart has so far devastated Cramer by simply showing evidence of his terrible, terrible judgment on stocks. The Bears stuff was just brutal - and Cramer's inability to take responsibility, like the neocons who still refuse to concede their Iraq mistake, makes him look weak. But then there's James Poniewozik. ... You want to look away.

NY Times, WSJ and Washington Post Editors: Major FAIL

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The editors and reporters of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post should have a huge black mark on their performance review assessments this year.

David Fiderer has done your job for you.

Senator Chris Dodd has been slandered by your news articles and your editorials and you ought to be ashamed that a blogger has dug up the details on just how that happened rather than your own investigative reporters.

Go read and learn something.

This is not a good thing

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The slow-motion demise of the print news media organizations leaves American democracy at risk. But it's in competition with the bad economic news, financial frauds, the ailing auto industry, and the last days of a pathetic Bush administration and it's not getting much coverage. The New York Times notes what's happening:

The much greater loss, the journalists say, is the decline of Washington reporting on local matters -- the foibles of a hometown congressman or a public works project in the paper's backyard. One after another, they cited the example of the San Diego paper's Washington bureau for exposing the corruption of Representative Randall Cunningham, who is known as Duke.

In accepting a Pulitzer Prize for that work in 2006, "we were bold enough to hope that it would be the first of many, but it turned out to be the high point," said George E. Condon Jr., the last bureau chief. "No matter how much great journalism is done by national organizations, they're simply not geared to monitor closely a member of Congress from, say, San Diego, who's not a national leader."

[...]

As bureaus shrink, they cut back on in-depth and investigative projects and from having reporters assigned to cover specific federal agencies.

"We used to cover the Pentagon, combing through defense contracts, and we're covering some of that out of Dallas now, but basically we don't do it anymore," said Carl Leubsdorf, chief of The Dallas Morning News bureau, which had 11 people four years ago, and now has four. "We had someone at the Justice Department, but no longer. We can't free someone up for a long time to do a major project."

Few newspapers travel with the president now -- only three or four on some trips -- where a dozen would have been the bare minimum a few years ago. For those that still participate, the shared cost of travel and the rotating burden of providing pool reports has soared. The Senate press gallery was recently remodeled in a way that left room for fewer reporters' carrels, and no one complained. [...]

"From an informed public standpoint, it's alarming," said Representative Kevin Brady, a Republican from the Houston area, who has seen The Houston Chronicle's team in Washington drop to three people, from nine, in two years. "They're letting go those with the most institutional knowledge, which helps reporters hold elected officials accountable."

An active and investigative press is an essential component of our democracy as recognized by our founders its inclusion in the First Amendment:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Here's to hoping that the journalists and newspapers figure out how to uphold their responsibility to monitor our government on behalf of citizens everywhere. As much as we bloggers protest when they fail in some portion of holding the government responsible, the bottom line is that their role is an essential part of our democracy.

One does wonder if the greed that infected Wall Street has not also infected the corporate ownership and management of the news media organizations to the point of endangering their existence. When is too much profit squeezed from an organization that can't support it and remain viable in the long term? Who sets the line? Are they thinking about the importance of the press's mission to our democracy? I suspect the answer is no.

NYT: What autoworkers really make

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The NYT's Economic Scene blog breaks down the $73 an hour number that's tossed around so blithely by the chattering class and finds it skewed, to say the least. And who provided the number? The car companies did as part of a PR strategy used during publicity about labor negotiations.

NYTautoworkerwages.gif

But it is not comparing apples to oranges to use that figure when comparing the wages of non-Detroit autoworkers with those of the Big 3. This chart lays out the basics but the article is even more enlightening. Go read.

John Brennan, Glenn Greenwald and the State of the Media

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Glenn Greenwald deserves an award for his efforts at keeping the media honest about their reporting on John Brennan and why his name was withdrawn from consideration as director of the CIA. As one of the "liberal bloggers" whose name is maligned in some of the reporting, I greatly appreciate his efforts at setting the record straight. His conversation with Tom Gjelten of NPR over his reporting is the epitome of such efforts. It culminated in this statement by Tom at one point:

Okay. That would be fair. That's how I should have said it. You're absolutely right. I should have said it that way. That's a little bit - and I'm sure you recognize this - I short-handed it and sometimes it's necessary to short-hand things and sometimes when you do that, you over-simplify what is a more complicated issue. I acknowledge that.

Unfortunately, NPR isn't the only media organization that's engaged in this misrepresentation and the conversation between Tom and Glenn begs the question, "Who's manipulating who and for what purpose?" Glenn goes into more detail in this post, "The CIA and its reporter friends: Anatomy of a backlash":

The backlash from the "intelligence community" over John Brennan's withdrawal -- which pro-Brennan sources are now claiming was actually forced on Brennan by the Obama team -- continues to intensify. Just marvel at how coordinated (and patently inaccurate) their messaging is, and -- more significantly -- how easily they can implant their message into establishment media outlets far and wide, which uncritically publish what they're told from their cherished "intelligence sources" and without even the pretense of verifying whether any of it is true and/or hearing any divergent views...

Glenn goes onto to quote example after example of media verbiage which explicitly misrepresents what the liberal bloggers actually wrote. How difficult is it for journalists to actually go out and read the liberal blogs? Had they actually done so rather than taking John Brennan's word for it or that of his supporters, one hopes they would have found it much more difficult to write what they did.

Mr. Greenwald goes onto point out just why this is such a serious affront to good journalism and democracy in 5 well-made points that should trouble any thinking person.

All of this illustrates the unparalleled power which the "intelligence community" exerts over our political debates, how easy it is for them to manipulate intelligence reporters who depend on cooperation with their intelligence sources and who thus identify with them and happily amplify whatever they are fed, and -- most of all -- how profoundly unrealistic is the expectation that, now that Democrats are "in control," they're just going to blithely proceed to impose all sorts of new restrictions on the CIA and the rest of the Surveillance State -- let alone launch probing investigations and impose accountability for past crimes -- without much of a major fight.

Just consider what all of this "reporting" has in common:

(1) All of these reports rely exclusively on pro-Brennan sources, allies and friends of his in the CIA who have fanned out to plant their storyline with their favorite reporters. [...]

In all of these accounts, Brennan's false claims of unfair persecution -- that he was attacked simply because he happened to be at the CIA -- are fully amplified in detail through his CIA allies, most of whom are quoted at length (though typically behind a generous wall of anonymity). But Brennan's critics are almost never quoted or named ... The "reporting" is all from the perspective of Brennan and his CIA supporters. None of these journalists even entertain the idea of disputing or challenging the pro-Brennan version.

(2) None of this reporting even alludes to, let alone conveys, the central arguments against Brennan and the evidence for those arguments.  Unmentioned are his emphatic advocacy for rendition and "enhanced interrogation tactics."  None of the lengthy Brennan quotes defending these programs are acknowledged, despite the fact that not only bloggers, but also the much-cited psychologists' letter, emphasized those defenses (that letter complained that Brennan "supported Tenet's policies, including 'enhanced interrogations' as well as 'renditions' to torturing countries").  The seminal article on these CIA programs by The New Yorker's Jane Mayer -- who interviewed Brennan and identified him as a "supporter" of these programs despite "the moral, ethical, and legal issues" -- does not exist in the journalists' world.  

What instead pervades these stories is the patently deceitful claim typified by Newsweek's Michael Hirsh, who asserted that the case against Brennan was made "with no direct evidence" and then chuckled that this is "common for the blogging world" -- an ironic observations given that Hirsh himself is either completely ignorant of the ample evidence that was offered or is purposely pretending it doesn't exist in order to defend the CIA official Hirsh lauded as "the first-class professional."  That's how the persecution tale against Brennan is built -- by relying on mindless reporters to distort (when they weren't actively suppressing) the evidence against him.

(3) In these accounts, Brennan is described in reverent terms ("first-class professional"; a "natural candidate"; "the guy who's most qualified for the job") while his critics remain unnamed and unseen though dismissed with derogatory, demonizing terms ("some ill-informed bloggers"; "ill-informed but powerful activists"; "a few obscure blogs"; "bloggers" who don't "have that familiarity").

(4) Concerns over torture and rendition -- despite being widespread among countless military officials and intelligence professionals -- are uniformly depicted as nothing more than ideological idiosyncrasies from the dreaded Left ("left-wing hit job on Brennan"; "largely on the left"; "left-leaning bloggers and columnists"; "Obama's liberal base"; Obama's "most ardent supporters on the left"; "liberal critics"; "liberal bloggers"; "confined to liberal blogs"; "the Democratic base").

Thus:  non-ideological, pragmatic, Serious centrists (which, as everyone knows, is what we need now) are free of this nattering fixation on all this "torture" talk.  Serious adults know that it's time to move on and not hold grudges.  It's only the shrill ideologues on the Left who care about such things and want to hold it against those who defended these programs.  Depicting one's critics as confined to "the Left" is a time-honored Beltway method for rendering the criticisms unserious, and it's in full force here (and, as Digby ironically notes, it is the Right, far more than the Left, that has waged war against the CIA in recent years; the Left has largely defended the CIA against manipulation and abuse by the Bush White House). 

(5) What all of this is -- more than anything else -- is a clear warning to Obama from the CIA about the dangers of paying heed to anti-torture and pro-civil-liberties factions, and they're not really even hiding that.  They're explicitly expressing the message as a warning:  "the President-elect risks sending a troubling signal to the intelligence community."  As Mazzetti and Shane put it after speaking with their favorite sources:    Obama risks "alienating an agency with a central role in the campaign against Al Qaeda."

Those warnings are issued with an eye towards the events they know full well are imminent:  debates over how legally restrained the CIA should be in its interrogation and detention powers; demands that light be shined on what the CIA spent the last eight years doing at the behest of Dick Cheney and with the legal imprimatur of David Addington's cabal; and, most of all, efforts to hold those who committed war crimes accountable (efforts which would and should be directed at high-level Bush policy makers and legal advisers who enabled those crimes, not lower-level intelligence agents, but which the CIA nonetheless fears).

His conclusion should wake more than a few of us up.

What happened with John Brennan is very straightforward and ought not be particularly controversial. This is someone who explicitly defended some of the most controversial Bush interrogation and detention policies. Everything that Obama said about such policies, and everything his supporters believe about them, should, for that reason alone, preclude Brennan from being named to any top intelligence post, let alone CIA Director. It's just as simple as that.

But, as has been historically true, many in "the intelligence community" are outraged by what they perceive as outside "interference" -- as though the CIA shouldn't be subjected to the same set of oversight, limitations, and democratic accountability, debate and restrictions as every other part of government. That something as straightforward as the John Brennan controversy can produce this level of backlash from the intelligence community is a very potent sign of the formidible barriers to real reform of our interrogation and detention framework and, especially, to the prospects for meaningful disclosure of, and accountability for, past crimes.

It appears as if some of the Cheney-Bush attitude about accountability has infected government agencies and the management of our national security. We need some one at the CIA who is willing to put it back on the right track; not use his "influence" to push access journalists into PR journalism on his behalf, which in the end, only demonstrates just how unqualified John Brennan is for the position based on ethical grounds.

Al Jazeera English reports

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Sometime ago I subscribed to the Al Jazeera English channel on youtube. It is interesting to see world news coverage from their perspective. Here's a selection from their coverage of the last 5 days. The last one called Street Food (2 parts) is absolutely fascinating -- a bit of history, current events, tourist, and culinary taste trip through Mumbai all in one.

Just imagine some of this coverage on US media channels.

-- Al Jazeera English reports (video) on the tearing down of a Hare Krishna temple and dispossession of land in Kazakhstan.

Human rights groups have put Kazakhstan in the spot light for its treatment of religious minority groups.

A long running dispute between the authorities and Hare Krishna followers could end with the destruction of the country's only Hindu temple.

Robin Forestier Walker reports from Kazakhstan.

-- More reporting from Al Jazeera English on South Korea's "Fighters for a Free North Korea" activists. It's an interesting story.



-- The story on voting in Kashmir, India -- a part of Al Jazeera's Inside Story series.

Voters in Indian-administered Kashmir started heading for the polls on Monday, November 17, amid tight security. Voting for the 87 assembly seats comprising the state government is being held in seven stages until December 24, 2008.

So far, around 55 per cent of Indian-controlled Kashmir's 6.4 million strong electorate have turned out to vote, including many Muslims, who separatists and rebels are urging to boycott the elections to protest against New Delhi's hold over the Himalayan region.

Indian-administered Kashmir was put under direct federal rule in July, after the state government collapsed following its controversial decision to donate land in to a Hindu pilgrim trust. About 70 per cent of the region's population is Muslim. This year has seen some of the biggest anti-India protests in the Kashmir Valley since an insurgency began in 1989.

Part 1 --



Part 2 --



-- Al Jazeera English reports on how the world financial credit crisis has impacted Hungary's economy.


-- Street Food: "In the first of a new series Al Jazeera's Divya Gopalan attempts to understand the real Mumbai by taking a culinary journey through its Street Food."

Part 1



Part 2

Attention Journalists: Questions that Must be Asked

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TPM pointed out this post by David Cay Johnston, "the former NYT reporter who won a Pulitzer for his reporting on tax policy". He addresses journalists but his points are equally applicable to any following what's going on in Congress and on Wall Street.

Mr. Johnston starts with this point:

In covering the proposed $700 billion bailout of Wall Street don't repeat the failed lapdog practices that so damaged our reputations in the rush to war in Iraq and the adoption of the Patriot Act. Don't assume that Congress must act instantly, as so many news stories state as if it was an immutable fact. Don't assume there is a case just because officials say there is.

The coverage of the Paulson plan focuses on the edges, on the details. The focus should be on the premise. And be skeptical of what gullible Congressional leaders, most of them up before the voters in a few weeks, say after being given a closed-door meeting on supposed horrors.

The Administration has scared the markets and some key legislative leaders, but it has not laid out a coherent, specific and compelling need for this enormous proposal, which is the equivalent of a one-time 55 percent income tax surcharge. (Instead the money will be borrowed, so ask from whom and how this much can be raised so quickly if the credit markets are nearly seized up with fear.)

Ask this question -- are the credit markets really about to seize up?

He goes onto to outline how available credit appears to be to business people of his acquaintance as well as the continued offers for credit that he's receiving personally. He asks a lot of good questions about why banks aren't renegotiating loans with people who can afford their current loan rates but not the new rates that they are about to balloon up to. He asks why ridiculous loan packages are still being offered on the internet. He asks why banks aren't working with landlords and small business owners.

Then he asks why journalists aren't asking these questions. He points out that the media appears to be going along with the administration's urging to rush through and do something.

Yes! Yes! Yes!

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Craig Ferguson, host of The Late, Late Show and a new American citizen delivers the word to the media and the citizens of this country. This is the epitome of a righteous rant to which we all must say. Amen brother, preach it. [via]



The second half of Craig's admonition:

New heights of stupidity

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No one could do any better than Glenn Greenwald in describing the inanity of the current focus of the McCain campaign, the trad media and the chattering classes.

Just for the record, here's the complete Obama statement which has been twisted by the McCain campaign. I won't go into the history of how many times McCain and Obama, much less other politicians, have used the same phrase in discussing various policies and issues over the last 2 years.

John McCain says he's about change too, and so I guess his whole angle is, 'Watch out George Bush -- except for economic policy, health care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy and Karl Rove-style politics -- we're really going to shake things up in Washington.

That's not change. That's just calling something the same thing something different. You know you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig. You know you can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change, it's still going to stink after eight years. We've had enough of the same old thing.

Here's the video. It seems Andrew Romano of Newsweek's The Stumper blog agrees.

Political Facts of Life

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It's another viral email that unfortunately has more truth in it than many would like to admit. It definitely skewers the media, old and new. [via]

  • If you're a minority and you're selected for a job over more qualified candidates you're a "token hire."
  • If you're a conservative and you're selected for a job over more qualified candidates you're a "game changer."
  • Black teen pregnancies? A "crisis" in black America .
  • White teen pregnancies? A "blessed event."
  • If you grow up in Hawaii you're "exotic."
  • Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers, you're the quintessential "American story."
  • Similarly, if you name your kid Barack you're "unpatriotic."
  • Name your kid Track, you're "colorful."
  • If you spend 3 years as a community organizer growing your organization from a staff of 1 to 13 and your budget from $70,000 to $400,000, then become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new African Amerian voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, then spend nearly 8 more years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, becoming chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, then spend nearly 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of nearly 13 million people, sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you are woefully inexperienced.
  • If you spend 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, then spend 20 months as the governor of a state with 650,000 people, then you've got the most executive experience of anyone on either ticket, are the Commander in Chief of the Alaska military and are well qualified to lead the nation should you be called upon to do so because your state is the closest state to Russia.

WSJ, Newsweek, NYT, WaPo, AP, NPR, even Fox: McCain/Palin Lie to American People

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The trad media seems to have figured it out. John McCain and Sarah Palin are lying about the signature item they're using in all their stump speeches. That Bridge to Nowhere -- Sarah Palin fully supported it. And when she realized that it wasn't going to happen -- that Congress was killing it -- she still took the money and used it elsewhere.

Here's how the Wall Street Journal reported it.

She endorsed the multimillion dollar project during her gubernatorial race in 2006. And while she did take part in stopping the project after it became a national scandal, she did not return the federal money. She just allocated it elsewhere.

"We need to come to the defense of Southeast Alaska when proposals are on the table like the bridge," Gov. Palin said in August 2006, according to the local newspaper, "and not allow the spinmeisters to turn this project or any other into something that's so negative." The bridge would have linked Ketchikan to the airport on Gravina Island. Travelers from Ketchikan (pop. 7,500) now rely on ferries.

A year ago, the governor issued a press release that the money for the project was being "redirected."

TPM points out in Meme Taking Hold?:

Roughing up the RNC protesters, Beijing style

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Funny how much St. Paul this week looks like Beijing in the last month or so. Police intimidating peaceful people because they're afraid they may present the wrong image. It's yet another RNC convention whose organizers and supporters so fear the presence of any who might present messages contrary to their own that they are willing to violate, or have violated on their behalf, the First Amendment rights and civil liberties of American citizens.

It's just like Philly in 2000 or NYC in 2004. The Philly 2000 story by dengre provides a highly revealing look into how these actions come about and I strongly encourage you to start with it. The comprehensive NY Times report on just how extensively the police infiltrated and spied prior to the convention, issued in March 2007, gives some clue as to what is happening now. The Wikipedia summary of the police actions at the 2004 RNC convention gives an idea of the scope of the activities they viewed as suspicious.

Frank Rich noticed it too

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I've written more than once about the state of the media, lamenting the mush and drivel and desertion of duty that is so prevalent. Frank Rich noticed it too and today he wrote about it.

All week long a media chorus had fretted whether he could pull off a potentially vainglorious stunt before 80,000 screaming fans. Well, yes he can, and so he did.

But was this a surprise? Hardly. No major Obama speech -- each breathlessly hyped in advance as do-or-die and as the "the most important of his career" -- has been a disaster; most have been triples or home runs, if not grand slams. What is most surprising is how astonished the press still is at each Groundhog Day's replay of the identical outcome. Indeed, the disconnect between the reality of this campaign and how it is perceived and presented by the mainstream media is now a major part of the year's story.

Frank goes on to outline how the Obama campaign was not taken in by this narrative but that the McCain campaign was.

Hillary's Smash Hit at the 2008 DNC

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Hillary was great. She did exactly what needed doing right from the start of her speech. And all the nattering nabobs of negativity are just nattering nincompoops looking for a way to say something controversial so they can get paid for spinning.

In case you missed it, here's the video. Her delivery was spot on.



Other people thought so too. The Boston Globe called it "The Speech of her Life". The right-Leaning Us News and World Report did a roundup of the rave reviews. Margaret Carlson at Bloomberg had a great take on it. The LA Times has a transcript of the actual speech up. Blogger reports from the floor of the convention indicate that it was really inspiring there as well.

The disunity myth being pushed by the nattering nabobs is just that - a myth. From MissLaura at dkos: "Blue Hampshire blogger Mike Hoefer got an important piece of PDMA (Party Disunity My Ass): Kathy Sullivan and Mary Rauh, New Hampshire state co-chairs of the Clinton and Obama campaigns, respectively, address the traditional media's insistence on pushing the myth of disunity."

The audio is not great but the gist of it is, what party disunity? They both say that the media has blown it way out of proportion.