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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

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Recalling a "Mini-Culpa" on Iraq: Lessons Learned?

IT occurs to me at times, such as this one, that so many years have passed since the U.S. invaded Iraq -- seven years and two months, to be exact -- that a whole generation of young people probably scratch their heads or surf to a new page when they read "Judith Miller" or "WMD" or "aluminum tubes" or  "run-up to war."   This is sort of the way I felt about college students who came after me in the early 1970s regarding the U.S. escalation in Vietnam seven years earlier.  

Perhaps I am reminded of this because of the approach of Memorial Day, when the media used to publish or read off the names of all of the U.S. dead in Iraq (when the number was not so high), and the recent publicity about the upcoming Hollywood film about the Plame/CIA leak case.

In any case, it may be useful to reprint below a Judy's-turn-to-cry column I wrote for Editor & Publisher six years ago today, after The New York Times finally owned up, at least partly, to some of its gross errors of omission and commission during that notorious "run-up" to the Iraq invasion.    Jack Shafer at Slate famously called it a "mini-culpa."   The Washington Post later did its own, also inadequate, self-critique.  

Younger readers may learn something from what follows.  Old and young alike may be reminded that we are still paying dearly for the gravest journalistic malpractice--some paying far more than others.   And Judy Miller still gainfully employed--at Fox News, natch.

_____

AFTER months of criticism of The New York Times' coverage of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq -- mainly directed at star reporter Judith Miller -- the paper's editors, in an extraordinary note to readers this morning, finally tackled the subject, acknowledging it was "past time" they do so. Following the sudden fall last week of Ahmad Chalabi, Miller's most famous source, they probably had no choice.

While it does not, in some ways, go nearly far enough, and is buried on Page A10, this low-key but scathing self-rebuke is nothing less than a primer on how not to do journalism, particularly if you are an enormously influential newspaper with a costly invasion of another nation at stake.

 Nowhere in it, however, does the name of Judith Miller appear. The editors claim that the "problematic articles varied in authorship" and point out that while critics have "focused blame on individual reporters ... the problem was more complicated."

Yet, clearly, even in the Times' own view, Miller was the main culprit, though they seem reluctant, or ashamed, to say so. This is clear in analyzing today's critique. The editors single out six articles as being especially unfortunate, and Judith Miller had a hand in four of them: writing two on her own, co-authoring the other two with Michael Gordon. The only two non-Miller pieces were the earliest in the chronology, and they barely receive mention.

Starting nearly a year ago, E&P called on the Times to reassess Miller's work, and renewed the call more often than any other publication.

While refusing to name Miller, the Times'  critique plainly and persistently finds fault. In referring to one of the bogus Miller pieces, the editors explain, "it looks as if we, along with the administration, were taken in." Then, just as tellingly, they add: "And until now we have not reported that to our readers."

The editors observe that administration officials now acknowledge "they sometimes fell for misinformation" from exile sources, mentioning Chalabi as one. So, they note, did many news organizations, adding, "in particular, this one," an amazing admission.

Then consider this: "Editors at several levels who should have been challenging reporters and pressing for more skepticism were perhaps too intent on rushing scoops into the paper. Accounts of Iraqi defectors were not always weighed against their strong desire to have Saddam Hussein ousted. Articles based on dire claims about Iraq tended to get prominent display, while follow-up articles that called the original ones into question were sometimes buried. In some cases, there was no follow-up at all."

Yet nowhere does the Times suggest that it is penalizing any editors or reporters in any way.

One of the false Miller and Gordon stories (touting the now-famous "aluminum tubes") did contain a few qualifiers, but they were "buried deep." When the pair followed up five days later they did report some misgivings by others, but these too "appeared deep in the article." When the Times finally gave "full voice" to skeptics the challenge was reported on Page A 10, but "it might well have belonged on Page A 1."

Of course, the same could be said of their note today, which also falls on Page A 10.

Another Miller article, from April 21, 2003, that featured an Iraqi scientist (who later turned out to be an intelligence officer), seemed to go out of its way to provide what the Times calls "the justification the Americans had been seeking for the invasion." But in hindsight there was just one problem: "The Times never followed up on the veracity of this source or the attempts to verify his claims."

Yet the critique ends on a hopeful note: "We consider the story of Iraq's weapons, and of the pattern of misinformation, to be unfinished business. And we fully intend to continue aggressive reporting aimed at setting the record straight."

But Executive Editor Bill Keller continued to defend the editors' note, and blamed "overwrought" critics for overreacting to the Times' WMD coverage. Asked why he finally published the editors' note, Keller (quoted in The Washington Post) replied: "Mainly because it was a distraction. This buzz about our coverage had become a kind of conventional wisdom, much of it overwrought and misinformed."

With his managing editor, Jill Abramson, he penned a memo to staffer, explaining that the critique in the paper was “not an attempt to find a scapegoat or to blame reporters for not knowing then what we know now.” The problem of course was that certain reporters ignored, or only paid lip service to, evidence that “we know now” but was also available then.

 

DAYBOOK for Wednesday: With Afternoon Updates!

WELCOME TO DAYBOOK, our daily morning collection of media and politics hits/misses from a wide variety of sources.   And return for updates every afternoon.  Plus: Don't forget to keep up with fresh items, events and analysis on Twitter  @MediaFixBlog and @GregMitch.   Email me at:  epic1934@aol.com.

AFTERNOON UPDATES

GUY NAMED JOE   Joe Biden tells veterans he did NOT serve in Vietnam, adding, "I don't want to make a 'Blumenthal' mistake here."  When will it become a verb, you know, "to blumenthal" when you lie or exagerate for gain? 

VIEW TO A KILL   Coast Guard just gave BP okay to try the "top kill" on leak....ProPublica:  More reports of illnesses from the Gulf emerge. 

NIKKI TIME:   TPM has wild update on S. Carolina alleged "sex scandal" story--with blogger Will  Folks publishing frantic  text messages from days before he went public this week with claims of affair with married frontrunner candidate Nikki Haley.  AP reporter wrote texts, as did GOP operative (who confirms authenticity).  And TPM later adds this.

PIMPING OUT A PLEA   Anti-ACORN "filmmaker"  James O'Keefe pleads to misdemenor today for incident at Sen. Landrieu's office--gets probation, fine, must do 100 hours of community service (with Acorn?) 

PALIN POETRY:   Remember when making poems out of Rumsfeld prose proved so easy--and popular?  Now Slate tries it with our new poet laureate, Dame Sarah.   One verbatim sample:  "Contested primaries! So I'm glad to see/  The contest in California's GOP."    And:  "Great destiny, our destiny!  To be reached by—responsibly!"

PALIN HATE MAIL:  Wash Post blogger Dave Weigel (he's hardly a liberal) wrote piece yesterday defending Joe McGinniss moving next to Palin in researching book.  He reports today he got more hate mail than any time previous, and prints samples...Slate also defends McGinniss.

BITS & PIECES   Rand Paul fires campaign manager.  Also, Libertarians say they will run candidate against him in KY.....Fox today really pushing what they call "the Sestak scandal" and suggesting may be "impeachment" of Obama to come.....This ain't no party (nor disco): David Byrne at journal goes more deeply into why he's suing Charlie Crist for use of Talking Heads song......The Brits revealed today they have exactly 225  nuclear warheads. Does that mean Tories get 180 and LibDems 45.

MINI ME   My new piece on NYT's "mini-culpa" on Iraq coverage, marking 6th anniversary.

WEDNESDAY MORNING BECOMES ELECTRIC

LEAKED DOCS Documents released by congressional panel reveal what happened in final minutes before Gulf oil rig explosion--and maybe how could have been halted....After threatening to cut off live feed of its "top kill" attempt to stem oil leak, BP agrees to show live today.  Gov. Jindal to offer commentary on CNN.....

CHENEY TO BLAME?  Marc Cooper:  Obama may be buried in oil spill disaster....McClatchy:  Actually, it's legal issues that are driving (or not driving) BP's response....White House official admits to Maureen Dowd, hey, maybe we SHOULD have probed Cheney and his oil dealings after all. 

BP TWEETS Twitter feed @BPGlobalPR has more followers than BP's official site.  Sample tweet today:  "New solution: Everybody drive your cars into the gulf with your gas caps open! You'll get a full tank and we'll only charge $20 cash!"  Another: "We feel terrible about spilling oil in American waters, we'll make sure the next spill happens where the terrorists live."

DRONES OVER ARIZONA? He's sending 1200 National Guard troops, but Arizona Gov. Brewer asks Obama if he can  spare any predator drones from Afghan to patrol her border.

B-BALL, NOT  BP:  Obama talks to Marv Albert from White House court during NBA game last night:  “I probably play [basketball] once every two to three weeks, not as often as I’d like. But during, say, the health care debate, when things are just going crazy over on Capitol Hill, a lot of times I’ll just come out here and shoot or I’ll play a game of HORSE and it takes an edge off things. .. Nobody ever lets me win because if you let me win, you’ll never hear the end of it. I’ll talk a little trash about you. I’ll make you feel bad about yourself if we beat you real bad."

A REAL CORKER Wash Post reviews GOP senators meeting with Obama yesterday.  Sen. Pat Roberts: Obama should have taken a "valium."    And maybe, roll over, Fido?

RETRIEVES WIN  Rep. Labrador gained GOP primary win in Idaho, defeats Palin-backed candidate accused to plagiarizing Obama 2004 speech.

ALAN ALDA AVAILABLE?   Bill Maher tweets: "If there's another Korean war do u think at least they'll bring back M*A*S*H?"

THE RIGHT STUFF  Alternet excerpts upcoming book,  "How Obama's Election Drove the American Right Insane." ....John Stossel's views on Civil Right Act so neandertthal even Bill O'Reilly  takes him apart......Clarence Thomas'  not-as-silent wife launches Tea Party project--and you can buy the t-shirt..... Minuteman founder Jim Gilchrist accused of selling political endorsements....

SLICK AD PARODY  The folks at Second City update BP commercial:

YOO DIRTY RAT:  NYT today seems to think torture advocate's views on Elena Kagan are worth half a page.  No, I'm am not kidding--or linking.

LOSING IN PAKISTAN   NYT video on how U.S. is being defeated -- in media coverage there of "conspiracies."

BUSH: COLD TURKEY?  George W. Bush in speech reveals that his upcoming memoir begins with decision to stop drinking, says his first line comes from Laura:  "Can you tell me a day in which you have not had a drink?”  Her gain, our loss?

ELENA WHO?  New CBS poll finds that 72% of Americans still don't know enough (or anything) about Kagan to form a view.   Probably half think she was an American Idol contestant this year.

GOIN' TO CAROLINA   Palin's pal,  NIkki Haley in S. Carolina, accuses enemies of being behind sudden sex scandal claims....while Folks, her "accuser, " says he has years of emails and texts and his site stands behind him.  He talks to TPM about protecting his own reputation.   The NYT got to story today, complete with nice color photo of Haley and Folks--with Mark Sanford....

GOING FOR GALT  Mike Allen previews George Will's column for tomorrow on sales of Atlas Shrugged:    Over 600,000 copies since Obama took office.  Still, George, that's not as big a surge as gun and ammunition sales.

MESS WITH BILL  David Leonhardt analyzes finanacial reform bill and four ways need to improve it and make it work.  Much more at Ezra Klein's "wonk" page.

ONLINE GETS TOOLED/SCHOOLED   USA Today falls for iPad-on-your-steering-wheel hoax.....  But for real:  miracle digital tool can let you avoid all Justin Bieber items on the Web.  Great gift for Father's Day by the way....Also: a new sarcasm-detection program.  Really great, huh? .....Garrison Keillor: In a world where everything's free on the Web, what will happen to publishing? 

BITS & PIECES   Vanity Fair:  At high school in Georgia students dress up in KKK outfits in school cafeteria for class project. ...Sen. Jim Webb to vote "no" on DADT.  Is compromise, maybe, in trouble? .....Sexism a Givhan? Wash Post fashion writer denies it re: column on Kagan not crossing her legs.... Texas executed 12th prisoner yesterday.  Rest of nation:  11.   Another Bush legacy.

TODAY's LAFF   TV reporter should stick to day job--or maybe not even that.

 

DAYBOOK for Tuesday: With Afternoon Updates!

WELCOME TO DAYBOOK, our daily morning collection of the greatest media and politics hits/misses from a wide variety of sources.   And return for updates every afternoon,  added at top.  Now you can enlarge type here by hitting middle  "A" just above at  right.  Plus: Don't forget to keep up with fresh items, events and analysis on Twitter  @MediaFixBlog and @GregMitch.   Email me at:  epic1934@aol.com.

AFTERNOON  UPDATES

What if a (gasp) hurricane hits the Gulf slick? Season is coming.....Pro Publica: more reports of illness from the Gulf as BP keeps using suspect substance.....Jimmy Fallon:  "It's pretty hard for fans of Lost now that it's finally over. If people want to get their fix, they'll have to follow that other group that's lost and confused in the middle of the ocean. You know, B.P."

Sarah Palin  "welcomes" new next door neighbor Joe McGinness to Wasila via Facebook--he'll be there for five months working on a book about her.  She promises to get workin' on a new fence.....Joe once tried to win a dinner with her ....

TPM:  Palin's pal,  NIkki Haley in S. Carolina, accuses enemies of being behind sudden sex scandal claims....while her "accuser" says he has years of emails and texts and his site stands behind him.  He talks to TPM about protecting his own reputation.

George W. Bush in speech reveals that his upcoming memoir begins with decision to stop drinking, says his first line comes from Laura:  "Can you tell me a day in which you have not had a drink?”  He gain, our loss?

WFAN sports radio in NYC reporting NFL will announce Super Bowl coming to Jersey in 2014.... 

Clarence Thomas'  not-as-silent wife launches Tea Party project--and you can buy the t-shirt.....Minuteman founder Jim Gilchrist accused of selling political endorsements....

Hold the Curry:  NBC's Ann Curry gave commencement speech and praised college for some of its famous graduates -- but she had the wrong Wheaton in mind.

BITS AND PIECESUSA Today falls for iPad-on-your-steering-wheel hoax.....  Vanity Fair:  At high school in Georgia students dress up in KKK outfits in school cafeteria for class project. ....If you haven't caught up yet with Rep. Alan Grayson's "War Is Making You Poor" effort......Wash Post:  CIA considered making a gay sex tape for Saddam.   Was he hiding more than WMDs? .....Poynter includes me in survey of how somewhat well-known journos describe themselves in Twitter bios......

TUESDAY'S NUGGETY GOODNESS

Wash Post: White House still "conflicted"  on oil leak, but quotes Obama in a meeting: "Plus the damn leak!" ....Bob Herbert, reporting from Louisiana, slams BP as longtime menace, calls on Obama to act.....Krugman:  Fire Salazar .....

Don't Ask/Don't Tell compromise in the works via White House, could be historic week...remember, Gallup found 70% of Americans back repeal....

John Fogerty will be performing his old post-Creedence hit "Centerfield" at the baseball Hall of Fame induction this year (ex-CF Andre Dawson going in) and describes the inspiration for NYT.  Sadly, it was Yankee greats, not his local guy Willie Mays, he had in mind. 

Politico exclusive: FBI documents reveal details of threats against lawmakers.  Mainly come from men with guns, of course.  One guy vowed to kill Sen. Stabenow over fear gov't would cancel Hannity and Limbaugh.

CONAN GETS CATTY  Conan O'Brien tweets:  "I've decided to start tweeting about world events, so I read four newspapers. Man, is it me or can Garfield be a real dick?"

LIFE DURING WARTIME For first time, more U.S. troops in Afghan (94,000) than Iraq (92,000).....Dan Froomkin:  Surge failing in Afghan?  In any case, argument for more money for wars seems weakened....Gen. McChrystal getting worried himself, sees "bleeding ulcer" .....Hawkish Fred Hiatt of The Wash Post hails the absence of "vitriol" on our wars, so Glenn Greenwald looks at  why so few seem to really be that upset (in America) about continuing wars in Iraq and Afghan--so few really think they suffer and there is little partisan divide on this one area.  They ignore the financial costs, of course.

RUSH, TO JUDGMENT  Media Matter factchecks Zev Chafets' puff-book on Limbaugh....from the right, David Frum reviews book and questions Rush's claims to be a "common  man".....What a shock:  Fred Thompson's new book is a stinker, says WSJ.  Classic line:  “I suppose everyone remembers where they were when they realized they were not going to be the leader of the free world.”

BETTER RUN, RUN, RUN AWAY:   David Byrne suing Charlie Crist for $1 million for using Talking Heads song "Road to Nowhere" in Florida campaign.  Earlier, his opponent, Marco Rubio,  had used Steve Miller's "Take the Money and Run" and was told to quit. Here are the Heads:

 

PALIN COMPARISON  PolitiFact checks Palin's claims about Obama and BP money.  Partly right and wrong, and Palin got money in 2006....Andy Borowitz: "IDEA: Why don't we try to plug the oil leak with BP executives?"

FOREIGN AFFAIRS   Democracy Now!  New book details unsavory connections between Israel and apartheid S. Africa.... .Israel denies bombshell report in The Guardian  that it offered nuclear weapons help to apartheid South Africa....NYT blockbuster by Mark Mazzetti on covert plans okayed by Obama and Petreus.....

BITS & PIECES Pro Publica:   Probe finds Boys Scouts of America slow to respond to sex abuse charges.....My daughter and son told me this months ago but now it's official: Our beloved Guinness is "officially" good for you, sez the BBC.....Violent video games reduce crime?  Some new evidence for it.

NIKKI's FINK?  Now there's a claim he has phone and text records to prove it.   Yesterday, Will Folks, a top S. Carolina political blogger (and former Mark Sanford staffer),  admitted he had affair with married GOP  frontrunner for governor (and tea party fave) Nikki Haley --but then she "categorically" denied it. Sarah Palin sent her best wishes and urged Haley to ignore "lamestream media"  and voters to avoid "liberal rag."....But  the blogger, who has a mixed record but claims to support Haley politically, says he came forward only because major media working on story.  A reporter for American Conservative believes the story will pan out, and if it does, that's all, Folks....

DOUBLE STANDARD?   The Oregonian in Portland has yet to report the DUI arrest of its editorial page editor.  This sort of thing not uncommon at newspapers, though often close calls.

<<<< TODAY's LAFF >>>>

Because Wag the Dog's take on politics and the media never gets old.  'It's not a war...it's a pageant."   With Hoffman and DeNiro.  Albania (don't tell Jim Belushi) wants our freedom "and we just found out they have the bomb."  Anticipating Iraq?  

 

Monday Daybook Updated: Blumenthal Apologizes; Another GOP Sex Scandal?

WELCOME TO DAYBOOK, our daily morning collection of the greatest media and politics hits/misses from a wide variety of sources.   And return for updates every afternoon,  added at top.  Now you can enlarge type here by hitting middle  "A" just above at  right.  Plus: Don't forget to keep up with fresh items, events and analysis on Twitter  @MediaFixBlog.  Email me at:  epic1934@aol.com. 

<<<<< AFTERNOON UPDATES >>>>>

Nikki's fink?  Will Folks, a top S. Carolina political blogger (and former Mark Sanford staffer),  admits he's had affair with GOP  frontrunner for governor (and Sarah Palin fave) Nikki Haley -- but now she "categorically" denies it..... Sarah Palin sends her best wishes and urges Haley to ignore "lamestream media"  and voters to avoid "liberal rag."....But danger for Haley (and Palin) is - -the blogger, who has a mixed record but claims to support Haley politically, says he came forward only because major media working on story.  If pans out, that's all, Folks.... 

Israel denies bombshell report in The Guardian (see below) that it offered nuclear weapons help to apartheid South Africa.

Remember when we brought you that over-the-top TV campaign spot from Alabama for Dale Peterson?  And then the Funny or Die parody?  Now there's a hysterical mashup: 

 

Better run, run, run away:   David Byrne suing Charlie Crist for $1 million for using Talking Heads song "Road to Nowhere" in Florida campaign.  Earlier, his opponent, Marco Rubio,  had used Steve Miller's "Take the Money and Run" and was sold to quit...Today is Bob Dylan's 69th birthday.  He still said it best about certain type of media back in 1965:  "Something's happenin here, but ya don't know what it is, do ya, Mr. Jones?" 

Ms. magazine with major probe just up on its site: "This exclusive in-depth investigative report on Scott Roeder, the murderer of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller, questions whether he was really a 'lone wolf.' One-on-one interviews with Roeder along with extensive research have produced startling revelations about Roeder's associations with justifiable homicide advocates in prevalent extremist groups like Army of God, and suggest that the threat of violence from anti-choice extremists is far from over."

The Onion has good news for lost  "Lost" fans: episodes still airing--in parallel universe....NYT's conservative pundit Ross Douthat says on blog he was let down by finale.... 

BITS & PIECES:   The Daily Show and Colbert both off for another week, but here's a collection of seven of their segments on ever-more-wacky Arizona.....Who was richest U.S. president? The Atlantic tallies it up and ranks JFK first, followed by George Washington, Jefferson, Teddy Rooseveltt.....To Heller and back:  CJR reviews new Christopher Hitchens memoir titled Hitch-22.

<<<<< MONDAY, CAN'T TRUST THAT DAY >>>>>

Richard Blumenthal, the Connecticut Senate candidate, finally apologizes for misstatesments about Vietnam service, in letter sent to Hartford Courant last night.....tensions rise on the Korean peninsula  overnight.....

Obama will get "visibly tougher" vs. BP on oil leak this week, a top EPA official tells Politico.   And new from Mother Jones:  "It's BP's oil."   But ace blogger  Digby asks: What if  the leak CAN'T be stopped?  While NYT's Revkin today says that if BP's "top kill" fails on Wednesday, Obama must take over, no matter what law says.

Krugman:  as corporations--and Rand Paul and Tea Partiers who support them--raise shouts at Obama, he needs to "find his inner FDR" and say, like FDR, that he welcomes their hatred... And James Fallows in The Atlantic wants him to be more like Eisenhower (remember the warning about the military-industrial complex?)  in certain ways.

Max Blumenthal's no doubt excellent doc on Fox/Tea Party etc. airs tonight on IFC as first in new Media Project series running this week...Stones' Exile on Main Street their first #1 on Brit charts in 16 years...

McClatchy:  U.S. war veterans with brain injuries still struggle to get help.

FOOL'S RUSH IN My new piece on NYT panning new Zev Chafets book on Rush Limbaugh--after publishing his puff pieces on same subject in magazine and op-ed page.

"LOST" AND FOUND  What you missed watching "Lost" finale: Steve Earle and the Pine Leaf Boys on "Treme."  Well, it re-runs all week.....The Simpsons have some fun with it......Andy Borowitz:  Consolation for "Lost" fans after finale:  "if u need your weekly fix of confusion, there's always C-SPAN."

ISRAEL'S NUKES--AND MORE ON SETTLEMENTS The Guardian publishes what it calls first documentary proof that Israel, indeed, has nuclear weapons--based on attempted sale to, get this,  South Africa....Another  strong piece on Israel from Peter Beinart:  'Settler fanaticism is a cancer that has grown from within Israel.'

THE "ANTI-OBAMA":  Wild TV spot by Les Phillips, black Republican running for office vs. Obama (and Bill Ayers) :

 

DOUTHAT's RIGHT THING  NYT's Douthat hits Rand Paul as a "paleo-conservative," not a libertarian, like his Dad.....Even WSJ editorial hits Paul (race for Senate "not a libertarian seminar")....

ON THE CAN-PAIN TRAIL: .Rahm and Dems plan to fight off losses in November by running against Tea Party and other "no government" folks....For real: Nevada bans voters wearing chicken costumes to the polls as it would be obvious putdown of chickens-for-cash  Sue Lowden  running for Senate....

PALIN SHOOTS "CRAP"  Some bizarre stuff in big NYT piece on Palin and Alaska, plus Todd Palin asks Times' reporter, "Are you the guy who’s been writing all that crap about us?”

BITS & PIECES:  Barney Frank wants final negotiations on The Hill on financial reform televised in full to end closed door deals.....  PolitiFact will now be fact-checking not just main guests but roundtablers on ABC's "This Week".....Doug Limon's "Fair Game" on the Plame/CIA leak case shut out at Cannes.... AP:  Study finds kids in rural areas as likely as those in cities to die from guns--due to high suicide and accident rates....The Independent reports Mark Twain left behind auto-bio not to be published for 100 years--and it will come out later this year.  Includes history of an affair and even a sex toy?

YES!  AND IT COUNTS:  We earlier noted that Marv Albert's interview with Obama -- on the White House basketball court -- will air tomorrow before NBA playoff.   Now you can see photo of it.

COLLEGE TRY:  Some of you may especially (ouch) enjoy this New Yorker spoofy guide to parents of recent college grads. 

DEATH AND NO TAXES   A deeper look at the two "anti-government" sovereign movement guys (father and son) who killed two cops in Arkansas--just the latest rightwing incident of this sort.

<<<<< TODAY's LAFF >>>>>

Bill Maher on Friday's HBO show compares U.S. conservatives to British Tories--who are allowed to be "sane."

'NYT' Still Schizoid on Limbaugh

WE noted last week the oddness of The New York Times publishing an op-ed by Zev Chafets that was nothing more than a wet kiss to Rush Limbaugh--and a sales pitch for Chafets' new book, An Army of One,  about the Big Man.   We'd thought the paper might have had enough of Chafets' nonsense after his Times Magazine feature piece almost two years ago  was roundly accused of the same kind of puffery.

Now, for Monday's paper, Janet Maslin has panned Chafets' book, saying that even the few mild criticisms in the magazine piece had disappeared in a "de-clawed" narrative.  Sample: "Mr. Chafets shoos unwanted facts and individuals out of the way relentlessly, in accordance with what seems like a case of Stockholm syndrome." She notes Chafets "might also have tried harder to fathom Mr. Limbaugh’s attitudes about race and gender."

But refusing to leave well enough alone, the Times online also published tonight a lengthy  excerpt from the Chafets book. 

It opens by putting Limbaugh's famous statement about Obama as he took office--"I hope he fails"--in the most favorable possible light.   Later he compares Rush to Muhammad Ali "who defeats his enemies in intellectual combat with half his brain tied behind his back."  

And so on.   Read it if you must.   

 

 

\

Weekend DAYBOOK: With Sunday Updates!

WELCOME TO DAYBOOK ,  OUR DAILY early morning collection of the greatest media and politics hits/misses from a wide variety of sources.   And return for updates every afternoon,  added at top. Plus: Don't forget to keep up with fresh items, events and analysis on Twitter @MediaFixBlog. Email me at:  epic1934@aol.com.

<<<< SUNDAY UPDATE >>>>

George Will on "This Week" calls Rand Paul "frivolous."  Says he's wrong about not legislating morality--with 1964 Civil Rights Act "we did" .....Palin on Fox today--that mean Rachel Maddow was mean to Rand Paul the other night and now Sarah is going to stamp her feet until the media quits it....Also, she still strongly backs offshore drilling.

NYT public editor largely backs probe of Richard Blumenthal and his wobbly accouts of Vietnam service.  But Clark Hoyt does point out flaws, including failure to post that full video... Maureen Dowd also tackles Blumenthal....  Frank Rich on  Rand Paul:  yeah, he's an extremist with troubling racial views, and the tea partiers are wack, but Dems better get their own troops as fired up as the rightwing populsits....

Incredible NY Post cover on matador who was impaled by bull, and survived!  

Like Ike: James Fallows on Obama's West Point speech:  Pretty good, but read Ike's.  Everyone remembers the "military-industrial complex" part but there's more.

Givhan take:  Wash Post fashionista Robin Givhan complains that Elena Kagan won't cross your legs like a proper lady.  

ON THE CAN-PAIN TRAIL:   For real: Nevada bans voters wearing chicken costumes to the polls as it would be obvious putdown of chickens-for-cash  Sue Lowden  running for Senate....GOP finally wins a House special election, in Obama's native (unless you're a Birther) Hawaii, as two Dems split 60% of vote allowing Repub to win.....Crist now leads in Florida poll....

WE HAVE MET ENEMY AND IT IS US:  Great piece on deregulation and oil leak by NOLA Times-Picayune outdoors writer.  

BITS AND PIECES   Fergie (no, not the Black Eyed Peas singer) caught in Brit newspaper sting offering to sell access for cash.....New book  enters the NYT bestseller list at #8 tomorrow and here's how they list it:  "----My Dad Says.".....Fun photo mis-placement from London......and witty Huff Post satire of meeting Obselete Anonymous (print, cassettes, video stores etc.).....as oil slick nears Key West, Jimmy Buffett changing name of anthem to "Margaleakaville"?

"LOST" IN 60 SECONDS:  Andy Borowitz: Consolation for "Lost" fans: "if u need your weekly fix of confusion, there's always C-SPAN." ....The feline version, as (some) await the finale.  Frankly, we thought it already aired last Tuesday, starring Arlen Specter. 

<<<< SATURDAY GETAWAYS >>>>

 Rand Paul suddenly cancels Sunday "Meet the Press," citing fatigue, which may not please his lunch pail backers, not to mention veterans.   Maybe he thought the invitation said, "Tweet the Press."  But in any case he now says, "Bleep the Press."   Luke Russert of NBC, whose father once hosted the show, tweeted: "Dr. Paul, if you can't answer tough questions how are you going to be able to make tough decisions as a Senator?Meet the Press ought to replace Rand with....Rep. John Lewis.

Joe Conason on the roots of his "racial resentment" .... On his HBO show last night, Bill Maher on Rand and his dad: "The shit doesn't fall far from the bat." ....New Newsweek piece naturally sees both sides of Paul, right and wrong.....GOP may be singing new version of old Phil Spector hit, let's re-name  it  "Duh-Do-Rand-Rand":  Met him on a Tuesday and our hearts stood still, but then when he walked us home...

Obama at West Point today promises to wind down in Iraq--while defending surge in Afghan.  But promises a "new" national security approach based on diplomacy and alliances and repudiates Bush's go-it-alone and pre-emptive war making....

EXTREMISTS KILL MORE COPS Police identify Ohio man with extremist  "anti-government views" -- part of "sovereign citizens" fringe --  after  gunning down two cops in Arkansas with an AK-47. The Southern Poverty Law Center released Internet footage they say is Jerry Kane preaching the sovereign citizen philosophy.....Great editorial here in Memphis Commercial-Appeal on case (links to Aryan Nation and more) and growing danger to cops post by extreme right. 

YES!  AND IT COUNTS   Legendary b-ball announcer Marv Albert interviewed legendary b-ball fan Obama on White House b-ball court, to air May 25...

PETTY STATEMENT Richard Blumenthal, still under attack by NYT for misstating his VIetnam veteran status, was still awarded Dem nomination for senate in CT last night--taking stage to Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down."  Not "Free Falling"?  Meanwhile, NYT ed Bill Keller defends coverage here.

SOME SPAM FROM  ROUBINI "Dr. Doom" Roubini on Maher's show:  Banks are now "bigger to fail." He also advised: Forget gold, Spam a better investment, lasts 1000 years in the can.

VIAGRA BLUES  Study finds Viagra can lead to hearing loss.  Well, most men act like they never hear "no" anyway.

EXILE ON GUY STREET  Major NYT arts & leisure piece coming tomorrow on the Rolling Stones' new Exile on Main Street  re-issue/update.  It's "steeped in questions, not easy nostalgia."....Salon on DVD Stones extra--the suppressed Robert Frank film.  I was one of few to see it in 1970s due to word-of-mouth screening at the New School.... Some footage below:

 SHALES AND SEXISM  Wash Post ombud Andy Alexander in tomorrow's column hits Tom Shales for his column in which he suggested PBS host Alison Stewart would have been more comfortable sitting on Bill Clinton's lap.

BRITS THE THING TO DO   Glenn Greenwald on the new Brit gov't  (unlike in the U.S.) really making changes -- led by our home boy Nick Clegg -- on civil liberties issues.  "What was once a fringe position there has now become the mainstream platform of their new Government:  that it's imperative to ensure that their country is not 'a place where our children grow up so used to their liberty being infringed that they accept it without question.'"    Daily Kos: Rep. Kucinich does have a new bill banning "extra-judicial" killing of U.S. citizens.

SAVAGE KAGAN--AND SCOTUS TWEETS  Charlie Savage in NYT:  Kagan's writings back broader exectuive power..... Hotline:  Justice Breyer testifies that he is "impressed" by Twitter, but Scalia snorts, "clueless."

 <<<< TODAY's LAFF >>>>
Loudon Wainwright's classic  "I Wish I Was a Lesbiian," the anime version.

DAYBOOK for Friday: Hot Afternoon Updates on Media & Politics!

WELCOME to Daybook, our daily morning collection of the greatest media and politics hits/misses from a wide variety of sources.   And return for updates every afternoon,  added at top. Plus: Don't forget to keep up with fresh items, events and analysis on Twitter @MediaFixBlog. Email me at:  epic1934@aol.com.

<<<< AFTERNOON UPDATES >>>>

Rand Paul attempting to back out of Meet the Press on Sunday, insiders there say.... this morning on Good Morning America says Obama's criticism of BP is "un-American,"  and also again declines to say private businesses can't discriminate... or that gov't should set minimum wage.... Ruth Marcus of Wash Post on Paul--and Robert Bork.... pro-GOP Rasmussen finds Sestak up by 4 points on Toomey in PA.

NYT "search of archives" finds more instances of Blumenthal misstating Vietnam service...while evidence emerges that Tea Party candidate for senate in Calif was not "shot at" in Lebanon...

Hotline:  Justice Breyer testifies that he is "impressed" by Twitter, but Scalia snorts, "clueless." 

Playboy Rep. Souder offiicially quits the House.  Heading to the park? .... Palin campaigning for candidate who thinks Puerto Rico is a country.......Al Franken introduces Student Non-Discrimination Act in the Senate ....

BITS & PIECES:   Google turns home page logo into playable game of PacMan.....From Nieman Watchdog: Has Obama created a Social Security death panel?.... Bono injures back in rehearsal, undergoes surgery.  More time to write NYT column? .....Anyone else think those Sex and the City 2 TV ads in the desert only remind you of the Ishtar disaster?  .... Guy who made famous "N-word" sign gets job covering Tea Party at Wash Times....Former gossip king Lloyd Grove, one of my old  Crawdaddy writers, reviews new book on Murdoch and the WSJ....

TV TONITE:    John Fund is a panelist on Bill Maher's HBO show tonight, and here he is this morning at the WSJ complaining about media still hitting Rand Paul and the tea partiers while sucking up to the SEIU and other unions....Responding to Lena Horne's recent passing, PBS airing doc tonight, and Turner Classics showing two movies in prime time.

<<<<  FRIDAY ON OUR MIND  >>>>

Senate passes financial reform bill, with four GOP votes.  American Prospect on what's next.    Simon Johnson, despite some setbacks, sees a turning point... Ezra Klein with links to half a dozen key appraisals.  Eric Alterman sizes it up.

Yes, that's Bono showing off his dance moves for the President at the White House this week.   With Bob Geldof, he was interviewing Obama for the Toronto Globe & Mail.

Rand Paul this morning on Good Morning America says Obama's criticism of BP is "un-American,"  and also again declines to say private businesses can't discriminate....Andy Borowitz tweets that Paul is showing "a shocking disregard for freedoms that Richard Blumenthal pretended he fought to defend.".....Maddow follows up on her Wednesday night "tuning fork" moment with Rand Paul.  Read about it here and video below.

 


 

A PAUL OVER AMERICA?  TPM flashes back to resignation of Rand Paul spokesman over racist My Space page.... Just uncovered, letter Paul wrote to Kentucky paper in 2002  backing legal discrimination....  Mike Calderone at Yahoo! asks where the national media has been about all this until now, since much of this came out locally?...

WATTS THE STORY AT CANNES  My new piece on reviews of first Hollywood film on the Plame case debuting at Cannes today, with updates today.

TURNING JAPANESE?  Krugman:  Yes, "lost decade" looming but, no,  we are not looking like Greece.  More like Japan.   Whew, that's a relief.  Like the food better, anyway.

FROM THIS "OFFICE" TO YOURS   No matter where you work, possibly even at home, you may relate to the IT guy going postal as he exits The Office last night.

 BILL MAHER PREVIEW   John Fund is a panelist on Bill's HBO show tonight, and here he is this morning at the WSJ complaining about media still hitting Rand Paul and the tea partiers while sucking up to the SEIU and other unions.

FOOD ON THE MOVE:  My old colleague Michael Pollan reviews five new books in an upcoming NY Review of Books essay called "Food Movement Rising," now online.

HORNE SOLO:   Responding to Lena Horne's recent passing, PBS airing doc tonight, and Turner Classics showing two movies in prime time.  

ON THE CAN-PAIN TRAIL:    David Brooks equates Rand Paul and Bill Halter as extreme candidates, dreams about rise of moderates (like him?) ....Yes, MoveOn has been backing Halter for weeks, but now AFSCME says it will spend $1.4 million to defeat Lincoln....Steve Benen on the latest on "Chicken Lady" Sue Lowden.  You can't make this stuff up....Wash Post conservative (and former Bush speechwriter) MIchael Gerson on the dangers the Tea Party pose to the GOP....

TONY SOPRANO WACKS BECK Glenn Beck complains that he met Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) in Madison Square Garden at Cirque du Soleil this week—and the actor called him "Satan."    

 

 

WHATZA ATM?  Aren't small, red state senators supposed to be more in touch with their far fewer constituents?  Omaha World Telegram reveals that Nebraska's two senators have used ATMs a combined total of maybe five times in their lives.  

ELIOT, PHONE HOME  Yesterday we noted MSNBC rumors, now CNN expressing interest in Eliot Spitzer for Campbell Brown's  show.

BITS & PIECES:   Pro Publica: TImes Sq bomb probe now focusing on Pakistani major.....Chris Matthews told Jay Leno last night that Cheney to blame for BP leak ....South African paper publishes cartoon of Prophet Mohammad—complaining that followers lack sense of humor   NYT reviews new film John Rabe about a true-life German industriallist, kind of a Schindler's List but this time with the Rape of Nanking....Our favorite NYT online headline yesterday:  "Maradona Runs Over Cameraman, Berates Him, Announces World Cup Roster—in That Order."

 <<< TODAY'S LAFF >>>

The classic "Even Stephen / Steven" debate between Colbert and Carell on Iraq, in retrospect. 

Hollywood Film on Plame/CIA Leak Case Debuts Today

WE'VE previewed the first Hollywood probe of the Plame/CIA leak case—and director Doug Liman’s views—for months, and today the big day finally arrived:  Fair Game, starring Naomi Watts as Valerie Plame Wilson and Sean Penn as husband Joe,  was screened at the Cannes Film Festival, as the only U.S. film in competition.  So, what do the critics think?
 
Reuters reports that it “was well received at a press screening at the Cannes film festival on Thursday despite a handful of boos.”    USA Today suggests that as the closing credits rolled talk among reporters was of possible Oscar nods for best picture and lead actor and actress.  Hollywood Reporter claims it "might be one of the best spy films ever."  The Times of London gives it four out of five stars and calls it a "thriller" that "delivers a knockout punch"  to the Bush administration: "It will no doubt leave Washington’s right-wing talk radio jocks incandescent with rage, particularly the sleazy, bullying performance by David Andrews as Scooter Libby."

But Richard Corliss of TIME just weighed in calling the film a bit "clumsy" and hitting Penn's too nervy performance as Joe Wilson.   The unpredictable Manohla Dargis of the NYT commended its "solid" first hour before in plunged into "hooehy."  Variety found it too "streamlined" and "righteous," with Penn in too "typical" a role for him.   Salon has some qualms but thinks it will "play well" with liberals and get serious play at Oscar time. 
 
The first word came via Roger Ebert in a couple of early morning tweets, one revealing that some were calling the film “anti-American” while he found it very “pro.”  Later he added that  it "makes a case for Bush, Cheney and Rove deliberate lies justifying the Iraq War."   But remember that the recent Paul Greengrass/Matt Damon film Green Zone  made a similar case, and bombed at the box office.  Director Doug Liman has a new blog post today. 
 
As we revealed some time ago, Cheney and Rove and Judy Miller are not actually depicted on the screen, although Liman compares Cheney to the shark in Jaws (deadly but largely invisible).  Now we can report: It opens with the classic song “Clint Eastwood.”   And much of it focuses on Plame as spy and a visit to Iraq well before we get to the Robert Novak etc. leak.  
 
The New York Post calls it “superb” and actually hails the acting of longtime foe Sean Penn.   The lefty Guardian, however, finds the film a little to “stolid” and “by the book.”   But the IFC site calls it "stirring" and "ambitious and engagng cinema."  Indie Wire praises it for not being "sensationalistic" but it may go too far in the other direction.  Time Out is also not sold, but one wonders if more politically savvy types will lap it up.  (And Sean Penn is getting heat for skipping the festival--in favor or helping out in Haiti this week.)    First clip from film below:

 

Thursday DAYBOOK: Now With Afternoon Media/Politics Updates!

WELCOME to Daybook, our daily morning collection of the greatest media and politics hits/misses from a wide variety of sources.   And return for updates every afternoon,  added at top. Plus: Don't forget to keep up with fresh items, events and analysis on Twitter @MediaFixBlog. Email me at:  epic1934@aol.com.

<<< AFTERNOON UPDATES >>>

What a shock--Rand Paul says he was sandbagged and won't appear on Maddow show again.  For reason, scroll down the page a bit for video.   Paul has been forced to announce today that, no, he would not work to repeal the 1964 Civil Rights Act.....leading Will Bunch to "quote"  Paul:  "I will oppose any effort to fire cannons on the Union stronghold at Fort Sumter."  UPDATE:  Just uncovered, letter Paul wrote to Kentucky paper in 2002  backing legal discrimination. 

Repubs hit back by recalling that Robert Byrd once belonged to the KKK.   But that was, like, 200 years ago..... Good Ezra Klein take on Rand: He's "not a racist but he is an extremist." ....  Mike Calderone at Yahoo! asks where the national media has been about all this until now, since much of this came out locally?..... Joe Conason on how hawkish GOP neo-cons are trying to deal with Paul.....Natch, John Stossel backs Paul on repealing part of Civil Rights Act.

Bill Kristol now pushing Campbell Brown, who is exiting CNN, for Senate in NY.  Remember, her husband is conservative Dan Senor.   Palin redux for Bill? 

Wash Post reveals:  FBI launched  three separate probes of classified info leaked to Robert Novak in the 1980s.....New evidence which helps or hurts NYT case against Blumenthal on Viet service arrives--as NYT public editor says he is looking at it.

The Guardian: book borrowed by George Washington returned to library!  What, no fine? 

My new piece on reviews of first Hollywood film on the Plame case debuting at Cannes today.

BITS AND PIECES:   Lance Armstrong denies new doping claims--then crashes in race and taken to hospital.... CNN headline on site asked:  "Miss USA: Muslim Trailblazer or Hezbollah Spy?"  Yes, most trusted name in news ...... Meanwhile, I watched BP director on MSNBC this afternoon tell Andrea Mitchell  what's really threatening Gulf residents is not oil leak but "alarmist" claims by scientists...National Academy of Sciences report on global warming urges U.S. to cut emissions and institute carbon pricing.

<<< MORNING BECOMES ECLECTIC >>>

Day we feared arrives :  Blanket of BP crude hits Louisiana wetlands.  Gov. Jindal has worse day since that time he had to give official GOP speech on national TV. Story, pictures, video here. NYT:   Prominent oceanographers hit gov't for failures on Gulf oil leak, failures to do studies and "allowing BP" to hide the true scope.....Mother Jones: Why is BP still running this show? 

Facebook lands on TIME's cover today with heading: "Friends Without Borders."

Election aftermath:  White House belatedly embraces Joe Sestak....   Beyond Rand Paul, other fringe candidates threaten GOP candidates....George Packer in The New Yorker warns that Paul in the Senate will further its "descenet" into "mass media" hell....First poll in Arkansas finds Halter with small lead, but BIll "Big Dog" Clinton says he will return to native state to hunt for Lincoln.

Andy Borowitz tweets:  "If incumbents are voted out of office in November, that's really going to hurt their sex lives."    House Democrats may plan ethics probe of Rep. Souder's affair. 

NEW EVIDENCE?    Video has surfaced of entire speech it hit CT candidate Blumenthal for, quoting him saying he served "in" Vietnam--but in  first part of speech he clearly said he merely served in Vietnam era.   NYT defended what it did here.....But CJR and NPR also question NYT handling of Blumenthal story, noting local press didn't think it big deal.

SNAKES AND PLAME:  The Naomi Watts/Sean Penn movie Fair Game about the CIA leak scandal screens at  Cannes.  Roger Ebert tweets this morning that it  "makes a case for Bush, Cheney and Rove deliberate lies justifying the Iraq War."  Also notes that it is being called "anti-American" but is reallly "pro." Much more by me later. 

RACHEL vs. RAND  Rand Paul announced his candidacy on Rachel Maddow's show months ago and last night returned for what he thought might be a friendly chat about his big win on Tuesday.  Nah.  She held his feet to the fire on his claims that he would oppose Civil Rights Act of 1964 and more (see below).  Joe Scarborough comments: “He needs to come up with an answer today, or Kentucky will be Arizona: a battleground for ugly, racial politics. He has 24 hours.”

 


RUSH JOB  Zev Chafets, who wrote that hideous puff job on Rush Limbaugh awhile back for the NYT Magazine, now pens op-ed for paper saying Limbaugh, not Tea Party or anything else,  is main reason for Republicans "doing so well lately." 

AFGHAN PROBE:   Spencer Ackerman with breaking report on major probe of U.S. soldiiers causing civilian deaths in Afghanistan, with at least one already in custody, he suggests.

PULLED PORK:   JIm Hightower awards his "Icky" awards to the "grossest" corporate "hogs." 

TEAR DOWN THAT WALL, MR. MURDOCH Wall Street Journal online brought to you free today, thanks to Sprint--but they should pay you to read the editorial page.   For example:  Karl Rove today explains why Tuesday's primary and election votes were a huge setback for...Obama.

WIKILEAKS PROFILE:   A major one from Wash Post.   Wikileaks gets about 30 leaks a day,  but paper still wondering where are its damn sources?

ONE FIN DAY  TPM:  Scott Brown of Mass. voted to filibuster financial reform yesterday but may vote for it yet as new votes loom. Much more on fin reg today by Ezra Klein.

BITS AND PIECES:   Fun McClatchey piece on Elena Kagan,  girl reporter....Eliot Spitzer wooing MSNBC--and vice versa..... $600 million art heist in Paris....Floyd Landis (finally) admits doping and says plenty of others, including Lance Armstrong did the same. ... I watched Megyn Kelly on Fox yesterday afternoon once again hit women who bring sex harassment suits -- after one sued her idol Gene Simmons....as usual, good array of stuff monitoring rightwing politics from Dave Weigel. 

CHOMSKY BAN  Haaretz:   Israel should apologize to Noam Chomsky for banning him from entry this week.

 <<< TODAY's LAFF >>>

The TLC cable channel "used to be about learning" but now it's the home of, what's the opposite? Sarah Palin.

 

DAYBOOK for Wednesday: Afternoon Media/Politics Updates!

WELCOME to Daybook, our daily morning collection of the greatest media and politics hits/misses from a wide variety of sources.   And return for updates every afternoon,  added at top. Plus: Don't forget to keep up with fresh items, events and analysis on Twitter @MediaFixBlog and @GregMitch. Email me at:  epic1934@aol.com.

<< AFTERNOON UPDATES >>

THE DAY AFTER:  David Brooks and Gail Collins debate results of yesterday's voting.  And David mourns loss of  sex hypocrite Rep. Mark Souder....Rand Paul: Just a kinder, gentler Glenn Beck?  And BTW, the Rand is short for Randal--not homage to Ayn Rand.....Roundup of other Rand reviews from Nate Silver, David Frum ("GOP has lost its antibodies"), more....Jonah Goldberg just now on Fox: lesson of yesterday is that Obama is "poisonous," somehow overlooking Dems 7 for 7 in special elections under Obama....

NEW EVIDENCE    Video has surfaced of entire speech it hit CT candidate Blumenthal for, quoting him saying he served "in" Vietnam--but in  first part of speech he clearly said he merely served in Vietnam era.   NYT just defended what it did here.

ALABAMA MAN:   That now-famous wacky commercial for Dale Peterson, Alabama candidate for Ag Commissioner inspires this Funny or Die takeoff:   

BITS AND PIECES   "Frontline" gets $6 million to expand year-round....Today's investigative reporting around the Web you should be reading, from Pro Publica....Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine hitting Arizona law and rightwingers  in several tweets today, including: "when the REAL Tea Party happened in the 1700's, it was an attack against a CORPORATION."..... NYT invites those serving in Afghanistan to send photos, videos, stories.  Already up: soldiers from Ft. Drum discuss "fear."

'TIMES' FOR A CHANGE As Linda Thompson once asked in song, "Did she jump or was she pushed?"  NYT announces that longtime managing ed Jill Abramson is "temporarily" shifting to overseeing digital side only.  Welcome part of Web trend -- or something more? 

THAI TAKEOUT:  Top reporting of conflict in Thailand today: gripping tweets by Mark MacKinnon of Toronto's Globe & Mail, with death and injuries (including colleagues) all around him.  He just thanked Tweeps for RTing his reports, leading to arrival of ambulances.

BROWN OUT: Campbell Brown losing 8 pm show on CNN.  Maybe "Law & Order" could find home there.  Already rumors of Eliot Spitzer getting show.   Or could do "Bleep My Mom Says" with Betty White....CNN with first photo of hapless Times Sq bomber since arrest....Megyn Kelly on Fox this afternoon again attacking women who bring sex harassment charges, this time inspired by suit against her heart throb, Kiss's Gene Simmons... .

RAZZING RASMUSSEN:  Markos reveals the GOP-friendly pollster's "dishonest game," most recently failure to poll when he'd likely be proven wrong.  Also check disparity between his polls and all others on the "generic" Dem vs Rep vote question.

 

<<  WEDNESDAY  WAKE-UP CALL >> 

Big night for Democratic insurgents as Lincoln forced into runoff with Halter in Arkansas and Arlen Specter felled by shot from the Grassy No. No magic ballot theory could save him. As Phil Ochs might have said, "Arlen Specter find yourself another party to be part of."  

Also, Democrat Critz easily and surprisingly held on to Murtha's House seat in PA.  And Rand Paul win in Kentucky actually provides better chance for Democratic pickup there.

Howard Dean calls it big night for progressives in TPM talk.....Big night for labor, among winners named by Marc Ambinder....There have now been 7 special House elections in past year—Dems have won all, but you'd never know it from Fox.....The Oregonian on former NBA big man Chris Dudley winning GOP primary for governor....Chuck Todd tweets this morning:  "Blanche Lincoln is in BIG trouble.  History and physics of runoff elections with incumbents not on her side."  

Special report from Reuters on Afghan/Pakistan shift: How the White House "learned to love the drone." 

 

UNWED TEEN PREGNANCY PAYS  Bristol Palin to hit lecture circuit speaking on abstinence for big bucks.  Hopefully will not ask Rep. Souder's mistress to video tape it. 

1000 MILESTONE IN WAR  As U.S. miltiary deaths in Afganistan reach 1000, commemorative plea and video here.  But not exactly massive media coverage today, though NYT revives its "faces of the dead"...Excellent PBS "Frontline" report last night on war vets' problems back home also included troubling claims by some of them about shooting of Iraqi civilians.  

RATHER A STARTLING REPORT Dan Rather with major HDnet report on high-toned Portland as "Pornland," with child prostitution problem.  Here's his video and blog post.

KING MIDAS IN REVERSE  Mother Jones exposes Goldline, and Glenn Beck hyping—Rep. Anthony Weiner announces probe. ...Speaking of gold: NYT with major piece on Goldman Sachs clients worried about conflicts of interests.

BLUMENTHAL, DAY 2  NYT follows up on Blumenthal/Vietnam probe—and tough editorial suggests his missteps may be "disqualifying" for his CT Senate candidacy.....Wash Monthly:  Many Republicans swept into office in1994 revolt have been felled by sex or corruption scandals.

TEACHERS UNION'S LAST STAND:   That's premise of NYT Magazine feature coming this Sunday by Steve Brill—just posted online..... Below: Cool commercial for ....teaching.

DISASTER WATCH McClatchy: BP withholds oil leak facts—and government lets it.....Tom Friedman: Gulf oil disaster is not Obama's Katrina but his 9/11—in sense that he is not using aftermath to rally country for new energy direction.....Much here from Ezra Klein on latest twists in financial regulation on The Hill—including how Blanche Lincoln's primary woes may play out with that.

FILM WATCH Doug Liman, director of Fair Game, which screens tomorrow at Cannes, on why he picked Naomi Watts to play Valerie Watts—and how he made her seem like super-secretive spy......Upcoming doc film on Jimmy Breslin and the rise of NYC newspapers. ....My new piece on how HBO series "The Pacific" handled the atomic bombing of Japan in its closing.

BORNE BY MISS USA  Huff Post's NY editor calls background of new Miss USA "whorish"—for pole dance with clothes on in radio contest.  Maybe he is hoping for a "nip slip" and more page views.

DEMOCRACY NOW! NOW:  Two buddies on Democracy Now!  today talking election:  Will Bunch and our own Katrina vanden Heuvel.

MIEN OF STEELE Michael Steele, last seen hitting Elena Kagan for Thurgood Marshall ties, now has op-ed hailing Brown v. Board of Education—which Marshall fought for winning side.

TRIANGULATION  Teacher who used Obama assassination as geometry problem now placed on leave, may be fired.

FRENCH KISS OFF: French gov't approves new bill banning wearing of burkas.

<< TODAY's LAFF >> 

If you missed yesterday:  great Huff Post mashup video of 2010 campaigns so far, from "demon sheep" to the Chicken Lady:

 

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