Media, politics and culture.
AS something of a historian/activist on the subject of the atomic bombing of Japan, I was relieved to watch the HBO "The Pacific" series conclude two days ago (re-runs airing this week)with an unusually non-triumphal treatment of the subject, especially coming after two months of viewers watching sympathetic U.S. military men getting butchered by the "Japs," as they were usually called.
Now, one might expect that a series produced by Hanks, Spielberg and their colleagues to tread lightly here, but I feared a more justifying tone. Instead, they delivered only a brief mention of the dropping of a bomb on cities that killed thousands "in a blink." Soldiers, naturally, were shown celebrating the Japanese surrender but there were no further mention of The Bomb. Viewers could draw their own conclusions, which given most treatments on this subject, was a relief.
Iwatched the entire series and found it a bit disappointing after "Band of Brothers," some of them unavoidable (grim, lookalike Pacific islands no match for Europe), others perhaps not (less vivid characters who disappeared for entire episodes). Given my longtime views that the use of the atomic bombs on highly-populated cities, it was valuable to, once again, experience some of the carnage that preceded that. In my own writing, and with Robert Jay Lifton (including articles for The Nation and our book Hiroshima in America), I have expressed immense sympathy with the common response of soldiers who served in the war, and their families: The Bomb seemed to save American lives, even as it cost 250,000 civilians in Japan.
That view is understandable, but also avoids the historical evidence that has piled up over the decades. Although not clear cut, my reading of it has been: the bombings could have, and should have, been avoided.
I don't want to rehash that here, but just note that "The Pacific," in leading up to the one Hiroshima mention, had presented a couple of episodes in which the killing of Japanese civilians on Iwo Jima and Okinawa hit home to the lead character in the series, Eugene Sledge, who went on to write one of the best combat books from the war. When he hears the news of the atomic bomb, he does not smile, just looks grim, and when he returns home from the war he remains haunted, and refuses to wear his uniform, even to attract young women.
In any case, more than sixty-four years after the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the bomb is still very much with us, as evidenced by last month's great nuclear summit and new proposals to curtail stockpiles presented by President Obama.
Yet despite some positive signs from Obama, I fear that moving very far in the direction of a no-first-use policy for the U.S. is still a long way off in America. Perhaps the strongest reason is this: most Americans, our media and our leaders (including every president), have endorsed our "first-use" of the bomb against Japan. This remains true today, with little shift in the polls or change in heart among our policymakers and elected officials.
There has also been little change abroad—where the use of the bomb in 1945 has been roundly condemned from the beginning. Indeed, US support, even pride, in our use of the weapon has given us little moral standing in arguing that other countries should not develop nuclear weapons and consider using them, possibly as a first, not a last, resort (that's our policy, remember).
So it all goes back to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
While I respect the views of a range of historians on this matter, and the opinions of the men who fought in the Pacific, I happen to believe the war would likely have ended very shortly without it (or a bloody American invasion), largely because of the Soviets finally declaring war on Japan—an event long-dreaded by Japanese leaders. Yes, there was a day when conservatives like John Foster Dulles, columnist David Lawrence, Admiral William Leahy and General Dwight D. Eisenhower clearly condemned the use of the bombs.
But the key point for today is this: how the "Hiroshima narrative" has been handed down to generations of Americans—and overwhelmingly endorsed by officials and the media, even if many historians disagree—matters greatly.
Over and over top policymakers and commentators say, "We must never use nuclear weapons," yet they endorse the two times the weapons have been used against cities in a first strike. To make any exceptions, even in the past, means exceptions can be made in the future. Indeed, we have already made two exceptions, with over 200,000 civilians killed. The line against using nuclear weapons has been drawn... in the sand.
And, as I noted, the fact that the United States first developed, and then used—twice—the WMD to end all WMDs has severely compromised our arguments against others building the weapon ever since. Hiroshima was our original sin, and we are still paying for it, even if most Americans do not recognize this.
That is why I always urge everyone to study the history surrounding the decision to use the bomb and how the full story was covered up for decades. There is certainly, in the minds of the media and the American public, no taboo on using nuclear weapons, and it all started, but did not end, with Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This is what nuclear abolitionists—or even those who (like Obama) simply want a partial easing of our first-use policy—are up against.
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: email@example.com.
<< AFTERNOON UPDATES >>
Bombing in Kabul that killed 5 Americans today took us to grim milestone: 1000 U.S. military dead in Afghanistan. Took us 5 years to reach 500 but only 2 years for the latest 500. Will media give this anywhere near the play it devoted to 1000th killed in Iraq? Commemorative plea and video here.
Can't Make This Up Dept. Family values Rep. Souder who is quitting after affair with aide (see links below) shot "abstinence" video with her.... Too many jokes to keep up with. This from Lizz Winstead: "Some people make sex tape w/mistress. Souder makes abstinence tape. Now that's kinky!" ....Vanity Fair blogger: Souder lectured my dad on sex.... Wash Post has interactive page on recent sex scandals.
Meanwhile, Richard Blumenthal, Democratic candidate to succeed Chirs Dodd in CT, at press conference says "I regret" having "misspoken" on his Vietnam service but refuses to apologize and says NYT gave misleading account....Why Blumenthal will survive .....GOP candidate in CT who claimed to have fed the scoop to NYT now has scrubbed bragging about that from her campaign web site.
Mark Potter swallows fly live on NBC -- Today shows it in super slow-mo.
Dan Rather with major HDnet report on high-toned Portland as "Pornland," with child prostitution problem. Here's video and his blog post.
Polls close tonite in PA at 8 and AK at 8:30. Plenty of good places to follow results, but TPM always among best. Check by Twitter feed @MediaFixBlog also.
Robert Redford cuts new ad urging Obama to show leadership on energy reform. ....Ace bloggers Glenn Greenwald and Matt Yglesias having big debate on how much to blame Obama for retreat on some civil liberaties and other subjects....Fun from Michael Kinsley: Kagan represents more Americans than Scalia with his 9 kids.
My new piece on how HBO series "The Pacific" handled the atomic bombing of Japan in its closing.
<< TOPS ON TUESDAY MORNING >>
Breaking: "family values" GOP Rep. Mark Souder from Indiana to quit due to affair with female staffer. TPM has video of him preaching abstinence and the evils of condom distribution. Steve Benen attempts a list of other family value guys who've lost value.
Dodd man out? NYT probe exposes frontrunner Blumenthal in Connecticut race in U.S. Senate has lied about service in Vietnam. A GOP opponent claims to have fed NYT story. Nate Silver declares Dems need new candiidate. Josh Marshall of TPM says he may not be doomed. Blumenthal campaign manager calls story full of "lies" and promises press conference today.
Don't miss: great Huff Post mashup video of 2010 campaigns so far, from "demon sheep" to the Chicken Lady:
EBERT: THUMBS DOWN ON BRIT HUME Tar balls wash up on Key West beaches, from oil leak? ...Pro Publica: Whistleblower sues to stop another BP operation.....Roger Ebert tweets response to Brit Hume asking "Where's the oil?" in mocking danger of Gulf leak: "Where's your brain?" Watch Brit:
TV TONIGHT PBS Frontline tonight with important report on Army guy who survived Iraq—only to be killed by three of his buddies back home....NYT reviews Tuesday CNBC show on Obese America—finds it useful but flawed. Speaking of which, review written by Alessandra Stanley.
IRAQIS PLAY HARDBALL: McClatchy's Nancy Youssef: Iraqi national baseball team gets first look at American baseball in visit to U.S. Also: They attend their first prom.
GWEN vs. JAY: Gwen Ifill responds to Jay Rosen's call to shut down her PBS "Washington Week" show, calling him "self-appointed media critic."
THAT OTHER VOLCANO Mount St. Helens exploded 30 years ago, and Boston Globe as usual has tremendous photo gallery.
DON'T CLICK ON THIS IF YOU'RE DRIVING Cool idea catching on as "thumbs socks" being distributed for free to texting-while-driving addicts, with cool campus guy Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) from NBC's Community out front. See PSA:
THE OTHER RED IN RUSSIA How Russian journalists often pay, with their blood, for writing about graft and corruption.... There may not be much change at all in Brit foreign policy under Tories, reports New Yorker's estimable Steve Coll.
GITMO OR LESS On the Media public radio show has interview with Carol Rosenberg, longtime McClatchy ace, one of "banned" Gitmo reporters.
HEZBOLLAH BABE?: McClatchy updates hysterical rightwing attack on first Arab-American to get exalted MIss USA post.
BACHMAN A REAL CHARACTER (140) Andrew Romano reflects on his profile of Rep. Michelle Bachmann—written entirely in "tweets."
BETWEEN IRAQ AND HARD PLACE My new piece here on how it took years (and years) for mainstream media figures to come out for U.S. pullout in Iraq—but today marks 6th anniversary of the first leading MSM journo to speak out.
<< TODAY's LAFF >>
To celebrate its fifth anniversary, YouTube asked Conan O'Brien to pick his five favorite videos. Here's an unlikely but fun choice, PInky the Cat. No, he does not play piano.
When I was editor of Editor & Publisher for many years following the U.S. invasion of Iraq, I continually charted the failure of major newspapers to come out for the beginning of a phased American troop withdrawal. Yes, many editorials in The New York Times and other papers criticized the pace of "victory" and Bush's handling of the occupation, but calls for a pullout were few and far between.
In fact, today marks the sixth anniversary of the first prominent mainstream media voice—Al Neuharth, founder of USA Today—proposing a withdrawal. Almost no one else of his stature followed for many years. There was no "Cronkite moment" coming from network TV.
Just last week, President Obama announced a delay in our current promise to withdraw troops. So here's a step down memory lane, from a column I wrote for E&P back in May 2004.
May 17, 2004: Al Neuharth tells me that he has written exactly 818 weekly columns for USA Today and his latest, on Friday, which advocated a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq—and urged President Bush not to seek re-election—has drawn "the fifth or sixth biggest reader response" of any of them. That's not to say the feedback is all positive. "It's split," he reports. "Rabid Democrats love it and rabid Republicans not at all. As usual, the independents are the most thoughtful." The heavy response, he says, "is not necessarily any testimony to my column but it shows the country is bitterly split on this subject."
So far, on this issue, among the top names in journalism, Neuharth is pretty much a Lone Ranger, but he has been in that position before. "I'm just an old fighting infantryman," Neuharth explains, "saying our troops don't have a real fighting chance."
On May 7, I called for at least one major newspaper, on its editorial page, to urge a phased U.S. pullout from Iraq. This might spark a long overdue national debate on the subject. Until now, the vast majority of editorials—and both presidential candidates—have urged "staying the course," even sending more American troops.
That column gained wide attention but so far no significant movement among the top papers. Dozens of readers have sent me supportive e-mails, or revealed that their local paper was teetering on the brink of making such a call, or proudly informed me that the small paper they edit—such as Lancaster Today in Texas—had already come out for withdrawal.
Now along comes Neuharth calling the Iraq adventure "the biggest military mess miscreated by the Oval Office and miscarried by the Pentagon in my 80-year lifetime."
Over the phone, Neuharth points out that he does not speak for the USA Today editorial page, but as the newspaper's founder, with a widely read column in the nation's largest circulation paper, his view surely has some impact. Still, he says he is "just another opinion writer" who is "not out to save the world."
But he hopes to influence other opinion leaders. "The more authoritative folks, whether they are editors of papers or political figures, they are a little afraid to say, 'Yes, we need to get out,' because they are afraid of being accused of cutting and running," he says.
"I was a mild critic of the way we went into the war, and I've written that the [weapons of mass destruction] issue was bogus and I was never convinced this was worth going to war for. After the last few weeks with the prison abuses and the retaliation in Iraq, I felt that it was time for somebody to say, 'Look, it's time for us to quit justifying our position and find a responsible way to get out' ... something I'd been thinking about a long time.
"But I have a sense that everyone is afraid to touch it. You're not supposed to be critical of a president in wartime.
"Well, I was in a war and one of the things I'm preparing for right now is the World War II Memorial celebration in Washington later this month, where I am on a panel with Mike Wallace. They are bringing a lot of us old farts back for our swan song. It made me think a lot more about how troops are supported in certain wars and ultimately abandoned in others, as happened in Vietnam—and I think will happen here. I just think it's inexcusable if a president or secretary of defense doesn't prepare well and can't give full support for troops they send into battle."
Still, Neuharth worries that "media leaders are reluctant to express" a strong view that puts them too far "out front." He fears "it's going to keep getting worse in Iraq" and because of that Bush himself "may try to reduce troops... the call to send more troops will not be followed."
That would be good news for a large segment of readers who have responded to his column: National Guardsmen and reservists. Fighting in Iraq more than a year after the purported end of the war "is not what they signed up to do," Neuharth comments.
WELCOME to Daybook, our daily early a.m. collection of the greatest media and politics hits and misses as we “limn the morning.” 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
<< AFTERNOON UPDATES >>
From Think Progress and The Guardian: The allegedly serious rightwing writer Daniel Pipes is seriously upset that new Miss USA is first Muslim in that role, seeing terrible trend in beauty contests as a form of "affirmative action." And he's not alone on the right. Meanwhile, Markos of Daily Kos tweets: Conservatives are angry she "won't end up as a Fox News anchorwoman."
Rachel Maddow's commencement speech at Smith yesterday, with video.
Supreme Court rules some sex offenders can be kept in federal prisons indefinitely, beyond end of sentences.
Important NYT story today: Major study again finds British soldiers who faced combat in Iraq and Afghan exhibit far fewer PTSD and heavy drinking later. Likely reasons? They include: fewer of them serve brutal multiple tours -- and they get lifetime health benefits, not the five years many in U.S. get from V.A. See quote at end for real kicker.
Interesting: Peter Beinert's New York Review of Books piece on American Jews and Israel, (which we linked to earlier below), as it turns out, was meant for NYT Magazine but....read on.
The always provocative Charles P. Pierce in Esquire on BP: "I'm willing not to insist on leg irons when we haul these fools away."
Tiny paper that just won Pulitzer gets creamed by readers for reporting that a local high school baseball player urinated on the field during the National Anthem....Simon Johnson in review of Michael Lewis book asserts that the economic meltdown very much like the Vietnam catastrophe--brought to us by "the best and the brightest."
Andy Borowitz tweets that he only has 90 seconds every week on the new Jon Meacham PBS show on Frdiay nights--so he wants to know who Ken Burns slept with there.
Very useful roundup of major stories on Afghanistan and Pakistan in several newspapers...Obama signs bill, inspired by Daniel Pearl, to promote press freedoms abroad--but restricts press access to event.
My new piece here on how it took years (and years) for mainstream media figures to come out for U.S. pullout in Iraq -- but today marks 6th anniversary of the first leading MSM journo to speak out.
<< ANOTHER MANIC MONDAY >>
Great episode last night on how and why the non-accidental oil slick accident happened, the sins of Deepwater Horizon and interview with one of the last men out alive..
Robert Reich at Huff Post argues it's time to make BP pay! "Watch not what they say but what they do. The only way BP will pay more than $75 million—and the costs of the spill will easily top that—is if they're required by law to do so."
McClatchy: Voting tomorrow across U.S. tests strength—and limits—of Tea Party....Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, final polls show Specter-Sestak dead even. Specter still clings to Magic Ballot theory.?
NOT TOO BREITBART? Much-awaited New Yorker profile of Andrew Breitbart and his "empire of bluster" has arrived. "No battle is too petty for Breitbart, no target too small or pathetic." But he also fantasizes about going duke city with Sean Penn. Refuses to talk about Drudge. News: He plans to launch Big Jerusalem, Big Environment (with climate change skepticism) and Big Tolerance. Also: former MTVer Kurt Loder is a pal. Overall piece: lengthy but soft. Little critique of ACORN probe.
THAT KAGAN THESIS: New GOP attack line against Kagan: She wants to ban books! ....Media Matters: Her "controversial' Princeton thesis did not support socialism or Marxism. Note: As MIke Allen notes today, did you know John Roberts' thesis was on Marxism and Bolshevism?
OH SEO CAN YOU SEE? search optimizing friending name and trend dropping. So I should have used title for this blog feature, JUSTIN BIEBER FOR MONDAY....Yes, the Wall Street Journal has a pay wall, but here's how you can cheat and get around it.them, lost in favor of
FOR PETE'S SAKE: Roy Greenslade of The Guardian today resurrects Pete Seeger's ode to the newspaperman—and his/her union, short video below and full lyrics here.
PLAME READY FOR TAKEOFF: I'm sure she once thought she'd never see this sentence: Valerie Plame Wilson is at the Cannes Film Festival this week. Yes, it's partly for the screening of Fair Game, based on her memoir, but this weekend she also spoke at debut of Countdown, the anti-nuke documentary that she's featured in.
MAKING JOURNALISM EASY Nick Kristof tweets: "In Kinshasa airport, 3 different police officials asked me for a bribe. Easy way for me to report on Congo's corruption."
PAUL OVER EVERYTHING Paul Krugman: Rightwing pushed GOP to the right long ago—it's just that now the media is noticing. And don't expect the extremists to lose grip for a long time. Meanwhile, at his blog, Krugman provided a new graph showing global temps at alltime high the past 12 months. Suck on that, climate change deniers.
BECK AS IN WRECK Glenn Beck delivered commencement address at Liberty University, cried, paid tribute to Jerry Falwell, told grads, "Cabs smell worse in the summer." Read and watch at Crooks and Liars. Should be a doctorate in inhumanities?
AIN'T THAT A SHAME Times-Picayune in NOLA will keep fighting attempts to get names of online commenters. Local officials are accusing them of "defamation."
TWEET HOME, ALABAMA You've probably seen at least one of the wacky TV spots that have come out the current campaigns in Alabama, such as the battle over who could mock evolution the hardest. Now here's the topper. Love the Facebook references (no Twitter?), close-up of the horse and the appearance of the rifle near the end.
SPOILER ALERT ON 'LOST' FINALE From Andy Borowitz: "Everything on the island turns out to be controlled by two sleep-deprived writers."
THE WORM HAS NOT TURNED Mark Bowden in the June Atlantic: Remember that horrid "Conficker" worm that invaded computers 18 months ago. Well, surprise, it's there, "lurking." Article title: "The Enemy Within."
ISRAEL, CHOMSKY, AND AMERICAN JEWS Amira Hass of Haaretz on Noam Chomsky being denied entry into Israel for lecture—evidence of a "totalitarian regime." .....Democracy Now! has Chomsky speaking from Jordan on the incident.....
BUT IS IT GOOD FOR THE JEWS? Peter Beinart in NY Review of Books on "The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment," and what they need to do to stop the troubling new trends in Israel and save "liberal Zionism." Yes, Frank Luntz is here, too. Spencer Ackerman already has a response to his old friend.
SLIMING NEMO NYT has an oil slick interactive map that won't go out of relevance any time soon, given latest attempts to stem...
<< TODAY's LAFF >>
In honor of the wacky new British government, here's the classic Monty Python "Ministry of Silly Walks"— you may have seen the TV sketch but this one is live, with the "good Palin," Michael.
WELCOME to Daybook, our daily early a.m. collection of the greatest media and politics hits and misses as we “limn the morning.” And return for updates Sunday, added at top. Plus: Don't forget to keep up with fresh items, events and analysis on Twitter @MediaFixBlog. In Comments section at bottom please let us know how we are doing and how to improve this! Email me at: email@example.com.
<< SUNDAY WE'LL BE TOGETHER >>
NYT public editior Clark Hoyt considers criticism of use of euphemism "targeted killing" instead of "assassination," and more in that vein.
Colbert, GA. decides not to invite Stephen Colbert to its Fourth of July picnic—refusing petition to change pronunciation from Cull-bert to Coal-bare.
Elizabeth Warren: Forget left vs. right. It's greed vs. fairness, banks vs. families and like that.
L.A. Times: Kagan's views on abortion far from clear..... Gingrich: no hearings needed, withdraw nomination, she's "anti-military." ....Jay Rosen tweet re: Glenn Greenwald on ABC's "This Week" today: "did what he was there to do: he busted the Washington consensus, criticizing Obama and the Republicans." Let's go to the video.
Israel bars Noam Chomsky at border as he arrives for lecture.
THANK HEAVEN FOR LITTLE BOYS: Frank Rich on George Rekers, hypocrisy and "heaven sent rent boys."
SPECTER OF DEFEAT? Arlen in new ad now going after Sestak from the left, calling him "pro gun control." .... Wash Post previews Tuesday primaries around USA.... Palin backs Brewer, misreads laws, says "come visit Arizona." The trifecta!.....Rolling Stone: Rove secretly running GOP again and raising $135 milion war chest.
THAT '70s SHOW: Don't miss high school photo of Ben Bernanke with shaggy hair and moustache on page 8 of NYT biz section today.
MUMBLES and SIGH: Listen to two of our great modern philiosophers chat: Bob Dylan with Tom Waits. Plus: that Seth MacFarlane video (funny until Ali arrives).
SLICK OIL SNL last night: "A now a message from the people who ruined our oceans." Video here.
IRAQ VIDEO: That Wikileaks "Collateral Murder" video removed from YouTube after "copyright" claim.
GUNS & MONEY: Andy Borowitz: "Palin favors selling to people on the no-fly list, as long as they pay the new $25 carry-on fee."...The Onion can be serious: Its CEO offers actually useful advice for journalists.
THE REVOLUTION STARTS NOW: Video charts explosive growth, influence, of social media.
FARM AID: Wait until Willie, Neil and Mellencamp see this: who needs a drummer when you got an old tractor to keep time?
<< SATURDAY's ALL RIGHT FOR LINKING >>
Jon Stewart lampooned it the other night but now it's here: Next attempt to stop oil leak in the Gulf is known as "Junk Shot"--tossing golf balls and other crap at it.
Tribute to the late Lena Horne in NYC yesterday: "She did not give up....She did not give out." From pinup girl to political activist.
Our kind of activist: Florida woman claims url that might have been used by GOP for 2012 convention in Tampa—and uses it to carry photos of Gulf oil leak.
ANTISOCIAL NETWORKING IN CHINA Andy Borowitz: China Stops Spying On Its People; Will Use Facebook Instead.
U.S. ERR WAYS: What could possibly go wrong? Gail Collins on the move to allow people to carry guns in airports and other nuttiness. Palin, of course, makes an appearance.
NAKED SAVAGE Shooting fish in a barrel: PolitiFact fact checks Michael Savage claiming Kagan is a "Marxist."
QUOTE OF THE DAY By the CEO of BP: "The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume."
AMERICA NEEDS A MAC DADDY? Bill Maher last night on HBO got into a verbal knife fight with Newark Mayor Cory Booker over religion. Later he declared that while tea partiers say "I want my country back" he says: "I want my country forward." Forget faux "fuddy duddy" Obama claiming he doesn't know how to use an iPod and too much tech in our lives. America needs to focus on a jobs program—"Steve Jobs." We need an "iAmerica."
AMERICA NEEDS A GOOGLE PRESS? James Fallows responds to reader critiques of his big Atlantic feature on the future of journalism. He still thinks Google will play a big part, it will be "robust" in ten years, but next few years may be rough.
WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? As a tea partier?
GOOD MORNING SUNSTEIN NYT puts up its entire Sunday magazine, for free, at its site—includes major profie of Obama appointee (and husband of Samantha Power) Cass Sunstein....Coming up: Glenn Greenwald on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday, debut of Plame/CIA leak flick at Cannes on May 20.
VERY 'CRUDE': Bill Moyers and Michael Winship on that Chevron vs. fillmmaker controversy I've mentioned a couple of times already. First Amendment crisis?
MILiBAND OF BROTHERS: They battle for leadership position in Labour party in UK. One of them, like Nick Clegg, former Nation intern!
<< TODAY's LAFF >>
Sarah Palin tells some "redneck" jokes, claiming (with her $5 million earnings lately) to be one in spirit. Now THAT'S funny.
WELCOME to Daybook, our daily collection of the greatest media and politics hits / misses from a wide variety of sources. For today's Daybook--and other MediaFix articles -- go here NOW. And return for updates all day, always added at top. Fun videos and "today's music" at the bottom. Plus: Don't forget to keep up with fresh items, events and analysis on Twitter @GregMitch. And let us know there how we are doing. Again: Latest Daybook and more here.
WELCOME to Daybook, our daily early a.m. collection of the greatest media hits and misses as we “limn the morning.” And return for updates this afternoon, always added at top. Plus: Don't forget to keep up with fresh items, events and analysis on Twitter @MediaFixBlog. In Comments section at bottom please let us know how we are doing and how to improve this!
<< AFTERNOON UPDATES >>
Quote of the Day? Russell Crowe: "If Robin Hood was alive today he would be looking at media monopolization..."
Michael Kinsley slams Tea Party in new Atlantic as not really "patriotic." Piece titled: "My Country, Tis of Me.".... Mediaite notes new Birther conspiracy theory catching on at Google: the first three digits of the president's social security number suggest something....fishy. Dive in, if you want.
Jim Hightower: The rightwing "loons" should stop suggesting the oil leak was an "act of God."
FLASH: Brooklyn's The Hold Steady performing on Colbert tonight.
Salon: "The most influential conservative publication you've never heard of." It's a newsletter called Imprimis. And now you've heard of it....Holiday Inn latest sponsor (now more than 100) to drops ads from Glenn Beck's show.
Correction of the Day: The august BBC had to apologize for putting up a Web page devoted to ex-PM Gordon Brown's "legacy" -- and then leaving it blank.
Greg Sargent: While media focuses on Tea Party and rumbles on the right the big news in next week's primaries may come on the left. .....Another liberal "Drudgey" site, via longtime blogger Oliver Willis, launched, National Confidential.....and new from the Free Press folks: Media Fail site with (obviously) plenty of blatant examples submitted by, and voted on, by readers.
Andy Borowitz tweets a "Lost" spoiler: "Six years have vanished and viewers will never get them back."
George Will, very uncomfortably, has had to face off against Al Sharpton, Bill Maher and our own Katrina vandenHeuvel in recent weeks on ABC's "This Week," thanks to Jake Tapper at the helm, and now this Sunday he gets Glenn Greenwald.
Renegade Thai general shot -- while being interviewed by NYT reporter. Plus, photo taken minutes before at site.....Don't miss goofy photo of Rand Paul (left)--Ron Paul's son who seems headed for victory in Kentucky--on front page of Wash Post today on TV set in shorts (he just came from soccer game)
Spin picks its top 125 albums of past 25 years and Achtung Baby hits the top. Not a bad choice. Steve Earle's El Corazon got to be up there.....Annual Sidney Hillman prizes announced for "social justice" journalism. Big wins for Bloomberg and the tiny but amazing High Country News for its report on abuse of immigrants at dairies.
Pro Publica's daily picks for the best in investigative/accountability journalism.
<< MORN IN THE USA >>
Juan Cole: Karzai defeats Obama 2-1....Alissa Rubin in NYT: Distrust of Afghan leaders threatens entire U.S. war strategy....USA Today: For the U.S., Afghan costs now outpace Iraq....Scott Horton of Harper's on Obama's "Black Sites."....New America Foundation has a "clickable drone strike" map at Google, updated frequently.
The Guardian: U.S. to extend Iraq withdrawal date due to recent surge in violence. Gee, how could we have guessed? ....Fire Dog Lake has Obama's official memo on extension....Meanwhile, U.S. soldiers there remake hit "Blah Blah Blah" video to back gay comrades.
McClatchy: criminal charges likely in Gulf oil spill....James Fallows, you'll recall, suggested ovelaying the size of the Gulf oil spill on maps of entire states and regions to get an idea of the scale. Now he shows that even that doesn't really show the full extent.... Great series of articles on BP and oil leak (and other subjects) at The Lens site which investigates New Orleans and Gulf issues.
Jon Stewart on that photo of Cameron and Clegg outside 10 Downing Street yesterday: "It looked more like a before and after diet commercial."
THE FUTURE OF ONLINE NEWS? Big piece coming Sunday in NYT Magazine, just posted, by Andrew Rice on online journalism "entrepreneuers." There are many "stirrings of creativity" with startups but "no one knows how to value the product anymore."
PARTIES NOT HEARTY New NBC/WSJ poll finds 31%, alltime high number, find political system "broken" and want third party. But Facebook, facing protests on many other fronts, today launches its "Congress on Facebook" page, highlighting innovatives uses.
ON THE CAN-PAIN TRAIL, 2010 AND 2012 Chickens coming home to roost? Harry Reid seems to be rebounding in Nevada in likely run against the chicken lady, whose GOP opponent is gaining on her.... Meanwhile, Joshua Green at The Atlantic thinks Specter may be done in Pennsylvania, and looks at the race for the "Murtha" seat, too. And Gail Collins contributes a fun "Annals of Arlen" column.
NYT reviews new Obama book by Newsweek's Jon Alter today, finds much of it familiar but still valuable. Final graf cites Obama on besieged but still wanting to run for second term--to keep Mitt Romney out of the White House.
See my new post previewing Jack Hitt article in forthcoming Harper's on "Palin Porn."
WATTS UP WITH PLAME MOVIE The new Doug Liman film Fair Game, based on Plame case and starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watt, about to be screened at Cannes--we previewed it here last week and will follow what's next. I just posted the first clip from it here.
SCHOOLS NOT DRONES Nick Kristof: As Times Sq bombing shows, Pakistan bigger threat than our ostensible enemies. We need to build schools there and lower tariffs, for one thing.
BLACK ON BECK Great Lewis Black bit on "The Daily Show" last night on Glenn Beck's "Nazi Tourette's" syndrome (he makes more Nazi references than the History Channel) as we see Glenn link everyone from Al Gore to ACORN to Hitler.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Back in Black - Glenn Beck's Nazi Tourette's|
ALL THE NUKES THAT FIT While grumbles continue on the Kerry-Lieberman energy bill, Politico reports that one industry is happy with almost all of it -- the nuclear industry.
DOWN TO ZERO Economist James Galbraith tells Ezra Klein that the real threat of our giant deficit is...zero.
OUT ON STRIKES? Ever wonder how umpires' ball and strike calls for a whole game line up with what the machines show? Boston Globe looks at one game. You be the judge.
"Get out of there" clips from several dozen movies. With variations involving "hell" and other unprintables. Also "Get the president out of there."
The upcoming Hollywood version of the CIA leak case, based on memoirs by Valerie Plame and husband Joseph Wilson, was screened at the Cannes film festival, which has just opened, as the only American film in competition. We previewed Fair Game last week, based on "leaks" from director Doug Liman. The first clip from the film (see below) has been released.
It finds the couple--Naomi Watts and Sean Penn--in a playground with their kids running about, as Penn angrily confronts his wife over what he has just learned: that she may have written something that got him "sent" to Africa on that famous uranium fact-seeking mission related to Iraq WMD.
In the scene, she denies that she did that as he claims that if this gets out his career is ruined, and asks her to speak out. She suggests that maybe he did not think of his family first when he wrote that New York Times op-ed that drew so much attention (from Dick Cheney, of course). Anyway, the clip is all Penn and Watts (who co-starred last in 21 Grams), but the rest of the movie is reportedly much more dynamic, with intrigue, a trip to Iraq, and Cheney resembling the shark from Jaws--evil but underwater, as Liman put it.
Jack Hitt has a front-of-the-book essay in the June issue of Harper’s, coming in two weeks, on image politics, from Kennedy and Reagan to Sarah Palin, whose achievement, he observes, “goes a long way toward explaining why the Democrats can’t (and won’t) gain political traction even with a popular president, an easily blamed predecessor, and the control of both chambers of Congress.”
It’s a thoughtful piece but the headline promises something more: “Is Sarah Palin Porn?” He introduces that rather small part of his article by recalling that she favored “sassy t-shirts” in college (I May Be Broke But I’m Not Flat Busted) and wore “harlot-red pumps” during the 2008 campaign which had been sold under the name “Naughty Monkey Double Dare.”
One lengthy passage will no doubt gain attention, explaining why Hitt thinks she can do the same kind of “aspiring porn” she famously accused Levi Johnston of doing with his Playgirl spread.
"She showed off major leg in a racy spread with Runner’s World, wearing a pair of tight, short shorts…In other pictures, she wears skintight leggings and assumes saucy “warm-up” positions. For her fans, it was an issue to keep in that special place where Mom never looks. When Newsweek ran the tight-shorts pic as a cover image, Palin swiftly denounced it as “sexist.” But she recently showed up at John McCain’s side in Arizona and thrilled her followers by wearing a black leather jacket, cut in butch style, with zippered accents defining her breasts. Palin knows her fan base, and she knows what they want…."
This may be a bit over the top, and Hitt (a contributing editor at the magazine) later notes her "bitchy tweets," but he does conclude the piece on a sensible note: "She inhabits that dimension occupied by tabloid royalty. She’s Northern Exposure meets Jersey Shore, with less cowbell and more moose. Sarah Palin has her own show all right, and it’s not just on Fox. It’s on every channel, across all platforms, all the time, and, for now, the world can hardly wait for the next episode."
WELCOME to Daybook, our daily early a.m. collection of the greatest media hits and misses as we “limn the morning.” And return for updates this afternoon, added at top. Plus: Don't forget to keep up with fresh items, events and analysis on Twitter @MediaFixBlog. In Comments section at bottom please let us know how we are doing and improve this.
<< AFTERNOON UPDATES >>
See my new post previewing Jack Hitt article in forthcoming Harper's on "Palin Porn."
From the great Jonathan Landay of McClatchy: new report finds Afghan army still "riddled" with "corruption and feuding." Jeremy Scahill, watching Obama press conference with caped crusader Karsai, tweets: "Obama said he and McChrystal are 'accountable' for civilian deaths in Afghanistan. Really? How?"
New NBC/WSJ poll finds 31%, alltime high number, find political system "broken" and want third party.
The new Doug Liman film Fair Game, based on Plame case and starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watt, about to be screened at Cannes--we previewed it here last week and will follow what's next. I just posted the first clip from it here.
If you missed the Greenwald/Lessig debate on Kagan on Democracy Now! today it is here....New Pulitzer winner Kathleen Parker hits Kagan as "miles away" from mainstream America. She once said much the same about Obama in a column I critiqued (and she later backtracked a bit).... Colbert last night: Yes, critics are right, Kagan might be too young for court--big Justin Bieber fan, we hear.
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Kagan Worship - Dahlia Lithwick|
Path to power? We've got Clegg as deputy PM in Britain and now another former Nation intern, David Millband, declares to head Labour, and is now favorite. He says LIb Dems joining Tories means Labour only voice for left.
Dead dolphins wash up on Gulf coast....Military bloggers unite to hit Don't Ask, Don't Tell...And other soldiers remake a hit video to protest same..... Pro Publica's daily list of top journalistic probes....Current Drudge topper: Kagan argued for "distribution of speech."... Another NYT obit shocker: Callie Angell, 62, expert on Warhol films and daughter of writer Roger Angell, dies in a suicide in New York.
Cool photo of Lena Horne with Medger Evers.
<< NEW MORNING >>
It's come to this: Top latenight story came from Politico. A longtime close friend of Elena Kagan reported that she is not gay. Eliot Spitzer chimed in, too--saying he did not date her (actually a relief?). Even before then, Andrew Sullivan finally announced that while he was glad he had pushed the issue, he would now not say another word about it after withering criticism (from, among others, yours truly).
We know you've been waiting for this: Heeb magazine's fun take on the Kagan nomination. Among other things, the "New Jew Review" folks point out that the USA is less than a century has gone from debating whether their should be a Jew on the high court to seemingly banning Protestants!
Jon Stewart notes media focusing on Kagan being short, smoking, playing poker--what, she's Danny DeVito?...Meanwhile, over at CNN, Larry King asked Laura Bush WHY she felt guility about that fatal car crash when it was just an "accident." I give her credit for reminding him that she ran a stop sign, though she did quickly add that she was an inexperienced driver and the night was awful dark.
BRIT'S ALL OVER BUT THE SHOUTING: The Guardian on Cameron appointing cabinet officers--and ex-Nation intern taking over as "deputy PM." On Cameron taking over after deal with Clegg: Simon Jenkins says he's been dealt toughest hand for any PM ever and is not really in power but "on probation."
Billy Bragg tweets on Brit election aftermath: "Enough ass-kicking. Tactical voting stopped Tories getting majority. Dry your eyes, let's start the fightback."
Let's not let this Cameron moment pass without sending you again, below, to the great Pulp parody "Common People."
RED ERICK REFORMED? NYT profiles rightwing Red State editor, now with CNN, Erick Erickson. Absurdly claims he is as tough on conservatives as liberals. Says there is a "new" Erickson after all the criticism he (and CNN) got after CNN move.
HOW JOURNALISM WILL SURVIVE James Fallows in the new Atlantic on how to save journalism. It ain't easy or easy to describe. But he concludes that the future, "Guess what, is bright." Google, of course, a key player.
CJR on the "emerging ecosystem" of the new investigative reporting--but can nonprofits and under startups survive after early funding dwindles?
You will surely enjoy this hysterical correction to a newspaper story and I refuse to divulge the frigging punchline.
ON THE CAN PAIN TRAIL After opponent raised issue in TV spot, candidate in Alabama denies that he believes in...evolution.
Rep. Mollohan defeated in W. Va. primary by more conservative Democrat. But Salt Lake paper suggests Utah GOPers may now target...Orrin Hatch. Plus: Jimmy Carter's grandson won a Senate seat in Georgia yesterday--and now RIchard Nixon's grandson gets in the act.
New Specter ad swaps out Bush for Obama, mashup below from TPM.
A WIDER SHADE OF PALIN Sarah Palin announced she'll have a new book in November. Well, at least it's not another baby.
NEW "CHARM OFFENSIVE" Now we're warming up to Karzai again. What to expect out of today's meeting, by Fred Kaplan.
McClatchy: Pakistan can't find links to Times Square bomber. As I predicted.
TAKE "GLEE" AND SEE Newsweek writer responds to criticism of his piece about gay actors. This won't end it. Now a "Glee" writer has joined a "boycott" on Newsweek. P.S. The inevitable Facebook campaign for Carol Burnett to host SNL has begun. Who's next? Phyllis Diller?
<< TODAY's LAFF >>
From The Onion, semi-literate given cable news show. Wait, this is a spoof???