Sunday, December 24, 2006

The One about Keefer Madness and CJR

As Lureen e-mailed Friday, "You warned us about Keefer Madness." Yes, we did. As our tag line for the feature in the note to readers proclaimed: "If we were living a film directed by Roger Vadim, it would be called And Centrists Created Bully Boy . . ."

The feature itself? "Insanity: How Little Centrists Get Ahead and Destroy America."

The short version is that Washington City Paper wanted to do a hit job on investigative journalist Murray Waas. They crossed the line and then some and you might think the left (or what passes for it) would be all up in arms. Don't expect the Susan Seaforth Hayes of independent media to weigh in anytime soon.

But we will. And we'll note that Waas' health is his business and before ascribing crackpot theories to cancer survivors was beyond the pale and we hope that every cancer survivor in the country took note that Washington City Paper thinks you are a nut job. But, as usual, when there is stink, there is to be found one of the Insanity Triad and Keefer Madness has managed to slip away from what little discussion the vile matter has raised.

So we'll note what Waas himself wrote at The Huffington Post:

Email correspondence made public by Wonkette on Tuesday, as well as a draft of a story about me by the Washington City Paper, shows that one of my former research assistants, Bryan Keefer, provided the paper with confidential materials about stories that I was pursuing--but didn't write. The former assistant is also quoted in the story draft as claiming to know the identity of a confidential source during the time he worked for me.
The last claim is the most disturbing. I have never shared with an intern or assistant any information as to the identity of a confidential source. Most professional journalists share the identities of their confidential sources only with their editors. In my case, I would only do so with the permission of the sources themselves.
If a researcher for The New York Times or Time or Newsweek walked out the door with confidential files regarding yet unpublished stories, or attempted to disclose the identity of someone they thought was a source for one of the publication's reporters, they would almost certainly face the universal condemnation of the journalistic community.

Waas makes the above statement early on but it seems to be getting lost (and we'll assume it's lost intentionally by some). Keefer Madness strikes again.

Keefer Madness should "face the universal condemnation of the journalistic community." That includes CJR which (don't laugh, we're talking intent not actual deed) is supposed to rerpesent journalistic integrity. CJR needs to weigh in and they need to weigh in because, although Keefer Madness is no longer part of CJR Daily, they publish the foamings of Keefer Madness in the magazine.

They also need to weigh in because Keefer Madness was telling tales out of school. From the e-mails Keefer sent (via Wonketta):

Bryan Keefer wrote:
Interestingly, Waas just called my boss here at CJR Daily to complain about me, and, I think, try and pitch my boss on having CJR write a story about your as-yet-unpublished piece. My boss said Waas was very worried about you guys having his divorce records.
My boss al so told me Waas sounded very scared of me.
In any case, just wanted to give you a heads-up that Waas is apparently trying to cover his tracks and/or pre-empt criticism of him and/or discredit you preemptively - not that you didn’t already know that.

Steve, you say what?

Now let's note that the above was posted by Wonketta on December 19th. On December 20th, CJR Daily offered a "Blog Report" (there wasn't one of the 19th). Mark Boyer's got a topic to chew into -- but it doesn't include Keefer Madness. How does that happen? How do you do a 'Blog Report' for CJR Daily (a supposed watchdog) and ignore the fact that e-mails are now online from a former CJR Daily-er? E-mails written while Keefer was on the job and, in fact, on the clock? How do you call yourself a watchdog and ignore that?

Tell us please, is Gloria Coopoer preparing a "Dart" even as we type?

Or wil CJR, in all its forms and formats, continue to want to be hailed as a watchdog while it looks the other way?

We were sorry for Steve Lovelady but we were happy to see that CJR proper finally realized what a joke CJR Daily (and Campaign Desk before that) were. A lot of people offering shout outs to magazines that had paid them -- but never noting that fact -- a lot of people offering shout outs to bloggers they partied with (the aforementioned "clusterf*ck" which, for the record, didn't appear at CJR's Campaign Desk proper, it appeared at a Campaign Desk writer's private blog where he went on and on -- about the same people he offered daily shout outs to in the "Blog Report" -- how much fun they had getting drunk and hot tubbin' and, indeed, in the "clusterf*ck").

CJR Daily wasn't a journalism review, it was a "clusterf*ck" where supposed watchdogs plugged like crazy while never noting their own personal relationships or that, in the cases of magazines, they'd been on the payroll before (and hoped to be again).

We've noted all of this at length. And it was noted by CJR Daily in one of their laughable coded responses. At the time, Jim was pissed that they didn't even provide a link to our analysis in their response. For those who missed it, after we noted that The New Republic(an) always got a shout out in the Mag Report because the authors of it had been published in the rag, it was thought clever to write in the next mag report "I [HEART SYMBOL] The New Republic." That was in response to the magazine report parody where we wrote:

News Magazines scratching their heads find religion
Let me start by plugging The New Republic where I used to work as contract labor but not as a salaried employ so it's not really important that I ever tell readers that I'm usually highlighting the magazines that have published my work. (In the past, but fingers crossed, the future too, baby! Daddy needs some new capris!)
In the brave voice that no one but The New Republic (and any other magazines that have published me) has, The New Republic deals with all the important issues this week. Each and every one. They don't miss a thing at that magazine. They are the best. Hands down. The bestest of the bestest. I HEART THE NEW REPUBLIC. Their current ads on Air America say they are a lefty magazine so, even though Uncle Marty's been shooting down that idea for years, I better get my game on and call them a lefty magazine too or they'll start blaming me for circulation being flat for the umpteenth year in a row!
Hey, Michelle Cotts, I watched Rambo for the 80 millionth time this weekend! I got the war lust! Just like The New Republic, I can support any and every war! I don't even know who the contras were but if you supported them, me too! Freelance out to me! (Daddy needs a new pair of clogs!)

After the parody went up (April 3, 2005), the 'response' went up. It was a joke and we weren't all that sad when CJR proper decided that enough time had been wasted on the echo chamber of mutual scratched backs. (Steve Lovelady did strong work and Liz Cox Barrett did and does.)
For the record, Dona and Jim (long before this site started) attempted to directly address the problems of CJR Daily (then called Campaign Desk) and were repeatedly blown off. It was an embarrassment from the start (though Keefer Madness thinks being nominated for a Webby means something -- in a "It's an honor just to be nominated" and beaten out by non-professionals who weren't bankrolled).

So it was something we covered regularly here. And we'd say we nailed it rather accurately.
For those who doubted, we'll offer excerpts from two of our "Watchdog Daily" parodies and then the reality of what went on at CJR Daily via Keefer Madness' e-mails.

From April 3, 2005's "CJW Daily from Corporate Journalism Whores (parody for your laughing pleasure) :"

We have vastly expanded our blog coverage since those copycats at Slate started doing blog reports and since those meanies at The Third Estate Sunday Review exposed our clusterfuck. That means I now pick a conservative blogger to write about in addition to clusterfucks.
Check the time stamp on this post. It's past three o'clock! And I'm writing about the morning blogs!
You know what that means, I've spent an hour online. Twenty minutes reading the blogs Candy Perfume Boy bookmarks for me, ten minutes posting my resume and reading online classifieds, five minutes checking my account balance, and twenty-five minutes trying to track down that dancing baby from Ally McBeal. Has anyone seen the dancing baby lately? I miss the dancing baby.
I feel like I'm kind of like Ally McBeal because I think I'm cute when I don't make sense. If you think I'm full of b.s. you can find something else to read or track down the dancing baby!Where's the dancing baby? I must find the dancing baby. Once, at senior prom, this guy told me I looked like Calista Flockhart. Okay, he said Camryn Manheim. But that's close. They both worked on David E. Kelley shows and they both played attornies.
Where's that dancing baby?

Note, that was parody. Now from October 23, 2005's parody "Watchdog Daily:"

Now what am I supposed to write about?
God. S.L. is staring at me with that cross look he gets when he thinks I'm online looking for the Dancing Baby. Things used to be way, way cooler around here. I'm hitting the head. Back in 10.
Good news! In the men's room (I just prefer the men's room), I found the new oversize TV Guide. That's a magazine. See, you start thinking it's not going to work out, that you're going to get fired which means losing your boyfriend because if you're not buying the Revlon make up, then he's not staying, and losing your apartment, which means moving back with your parents (again!) and having to hear every other day, "What ever happened to that nice Dell? He seemed so nice?" while also having to hear about your younger sister who is married, with three kids, a lovely home with a pool and three car garage and it's all just enough to make you go running in search of Zingers or Little Debbie Snack Cakes, when boom! you spot the TV Guide on the floor.

Again, parody. Now for the reality, via Wonketta, from the keyboard of Keefer Madness, while he was at the office, on the clock, supposedly working, Keefer Madness' actual remarks are in bold print, followed by our comments:

My boss says no dice - sorry (he was kid of mad that I even asked).

Oops! Hope S.L didn't think you were searching for that Dancing Baby!

However, since I’m bored at work today, I may have a lead on who “circumlocutor” is for you.

Today? Today you're bored at work? Every day read like you were bored at work.

There’s someone who has posted on under the name circumlocutor who is apparently named [Redacted] (the ititials “[Redacted]” are one of the posters on cicumlocutor).
[Amazon link]
He’s listed as being in Baltimore, but it seems like too much of a coincidence …

Did you stumble upon that while surfing for the Dancing Baby? You certainly weren't surfing as part of your job duties.

Jason Cherkis wrote:
Sorry about your job. What are you going to do ?
To: Jason Cherkis

From: Bryan Keefer
Subject: Re: quick question
Date: Sat, 12 Aug 2006 09:42:34 -0700 (PDT)
Thanks. CJR pretty well sucked for the past four months or so, and I was already looking around for new employment, so I have few leads. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to a nice, long vacation …

Already looking? Checking the online classifieds, were you? "CJR pretty well sucked for the past four months or so" -- things used to be way cooler, eh, Keefer Madness?

CJR, in all of its forms and mutations, needs to publicly respond. Keefer Madness owes Murray Waas and journalism an apology. As for our parodies . . .

When they go up, they're fact based. That's why they're funny and why they usually result in angry e-mails from those being parodied. What a reader may see as a throw away line, the lampooned grasp includes a bit of personal reality they weren't aware was public. We'll continue our parodies (regardless of topic, they're very popular). But while Lureen's right that we did warn about Keefer Madness and his buds, we also warned (repeatedly) about CJR Daily.
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