Sunday, January 23, 2011

Truest statement of the week

For three nights, Rachel Maddow has thumped the tub for more coverage of the Spokane bomb incident (link below). On Wednesday night, she said this:

MADDOW (1/19/11): I still do not know why this is not a national story. This was not a theoretical bomb invented by law enforcement, that some would-be terrorists thought was real but never posed an actual threat. This was not an intended bomb poorly-constructed that would not have caused extensive damage. This was the real deal.

And so far, it has barely made a national ripple. Page A15 of the New York Times today, one wire service report.

To read that New York Times report, you can just click here.

Should Spokane be getting more coverage? So far, there really isn't a lot to cover -- unless you want to start thumping the tub about an incident which remains murky. But in fact, Maddow grossly misstated the basic facts about the coverage which had appeared to that point. According to Nexis, the story had already been reported in a large number of national newspapers by Wednesday morning -- not just in the New York Times. Beyond that, it had been reported by Wednesday night on the Today show and on NBC Nightly News; on the Fox News Channel’s Special Report; on the CBS Morning News, the CBS Early Show, and the CBS Evening News (two nights); on Good Morning America, and on an array of CNN programs.

The Associated Press had filed three different reports.

Do you understand why you get handed "facts" like that? We don't understand either.

-- Bob Somerby, "BAZELON AT YALE! What has Lieberman done wrong? Don’t ask Slate’s resident Yalie" Daily Howler.

Truest statement of the week II

There are many things to criticize when it comes to Lieberman, but KO decided to gambol and play -- while feigning anger, of course. But then, a great deal of clowning could be observed on this news channel last evening. This clowning makes liberals and Democrats dumber. It burns up time which could be used for seeking winning approaches.

Does it teach us liberals to hate?

Was Maddow teaching her tribe to hate? We humans love inventing the demon. Verily, a millionaire preacher saw Beelzebub when Mike Pence emitted some very vile words on the floor of the House, in debate.

-- Bob Somerby, "NO SUBSTITUTE FOR THE OTHER! A millionaire preacher saw Beelzebub when Mike Pence engaged in vile conduct" (Daily Howler).

A note to our readers

Hey --
The edition shaped up much better than we thought.

We thank everyone who helped with this edition. The credits for it are Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

What did we come up with?
  • This one is Bob Somerby.

  • As is this one. We felt this was a one-two punch from Somerby and had to be noted as such.

  • The Iraq Inquiry has presumably concluded public testimony. If so, their final witness was Tony Blair, brought back for a second chance to lie and lie some more.

  • This is the epic. Ava and C.I. Reading it, I'm glad I talked them into this. They had nothing they wanted to say on the issue, they insisted. And, at that time, they were telling the truth. But this was the TV story of the week and since it is political, I knew readers of this site would be expecting an article. So I begged and pleaded and brow beat until they agreed to tackle it. They did an amazing job.

  • This was when the entire edition appeared to have fallen apart. And a roundtable was a feature that would allow us to bring up a few topics and have something to point to.

  • We wrote this after the roundtable. C.I. had wanted more on Iraq and we just didn't have time. Wally and Cedric pitched this and C.I. was immediately on board. In fact, I can't think of anyone who wasn't. Thank you so much to Isaiah who did the illustration.

  • Rebecca, Betty, Marcia, Stan, Ann and Ty wrote this and we thank them for it.

  • A short item.

  • We were looking for something on Lynne Stewart when we found this from Workers World.

  • An excerpt from an "Iraq snapshot" last week. This is a topic addressed in the roundtable.

  • Mike, Elaine, Rebecca, Kat, Ruth, Betty, Cedric, Trina, Ann, Stan and Marcia wrote this and we thank them for it.
And that's what we managed to pull together this week.


-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: Blair and inquiry, there and here

Friday, former UK Prime Minister and forever poodle Tony Blair testified before the Iraq Inquiry. The War Hawk called for war on Iran. Other than that, he had difficulty offering concrete statements which is only surprising to those who've never realized the blood lust of War Hawks.


The blood lust has seen the deaths of Iraqis, British soldiers, US soldiers and so many more in a war-torn country where violence continues with no apparent break in sight. This is the reality Tony Blair helped shape, this is the world Tony Blair destroyed.

Asif Mehmood (Pakistan's Nation) explains, "Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair first time [. . .] admitted that he ignored legal advice because he believed it was 'provisional'." Peter Goldsmith was Blair's Attorney General and while Blair did declare he thought the legal advice was "provisional," the reality is and was he knew it was no such thing. Tony Blair co-started a war of choice, an illegal war, and though he will forever back pedal and rationalize, what he did was criminal. Once the thought was that historians from many decades ahead might render that verdict; however, after last week's appearance, there's a good chance that "decades" won't be needed. Chris Ames (Iraq Inquiry Digest) points out, "Since Tony Blair’s appearance on Friday, comment has focused on what the actual evidence shows, rather than what Blair said. For me, this is a significant development, whatever the interpretation of that evidence was."

Andrew Gilligan (Telegraph of London) observed, "The central charge Chilcot has brought into focus is that the decision on war was the beginning, not the end, of the process; that an agreement on 'regime change' was made early and secretly with President Bush; and that it was done without factual justification, legal advice or proper military planning -- all three of which were later twisted to fit."

The illegal war was ot one of last resort. War Criminals like to portray their wars that way to make themselves appear rational and deep thinkers. Tony Blair is not rational and his only thought was "Kill! Kill! Kill!"

Blair was one of three forcing the war -- the other two were George W. Bush and the oft forgotten John Howard. In the US and Australia, there's been little interest -- among the elected -- in determining how nations were lied into war. Only in England have any inquiries taken place.

In the US, the rush has been on covering up the (ongoing) illegal war, on 'moving on' and on ignoring it. That's how the elected 'leaders' have responded, refusing answers and cloaking the country in ignorance. Ignorance assists governments in selling wars and possibly that's why the US government has adopted the pose it has.

TV: One Less Bag To Leak Gas

Last week looked like it might shape up into a discussion about the state of children's programming in the US, a discussion launched by a new MTV series. Instead, America's biggest -- if not most favorite -- blowhard sucked up all the oxygen in the room as people wondered: "Why?" and "Why, oh, why?" The answer -- indeed the questions -- like most of life's riddles can be found on a Carly Simon album.


Friday night, our modern day Betty Hutton announced his departure from MSNBC (click here for video). It was typical drama queen and, yes, he did strike his Scarlet O'Hara pose yet again by declaring, "As God is my witness" -- which has led so many to wonder if Keith Olbermann hated women so much just because he saw them as competition for -- or reality checks on -- his drag routines? Regardless, he was yet again explaining there was no place for women in his world as he referred to viewers as males.

His announcement brought a variety of responses. For example, Steven Weber insisted, at The Huffington Post, on seeing the announcement as time to yet again attack 'the other,' "They accuse, they lie, they do everything they have been bred to do to survive. And in doing so, they drag down the system, they drag down humanity, forcing all to live by their antiquated rules and eye-rolling superstitions. The gun fetishes and the god fetishes amount to one big ignorance fetish, a sad commentary on the failure of the intellect to overcome instinct." And you thought just his acting was bad. Mike Hegedus, at the same outlet, offered a more clear eyed appraisal. As usual The Docker Boys at The New York Times and Perez Hilton were lost while TMZ, by contrast, demonstrated it can get the gossip.

At The Washington Post, Greg Sargent stopped rubbing the obscene fat pockets under his eyes long enough to huff and puff and lament. What? Ethics is now something the Journolister Sargent -- who has raised concerns at The Post over his online links/reach-arounds -- worries about? Sargent managed to exemplify the worst reality about Olbermann and his groupies: Facts don't matter.

Their hero didn't put much emphasis on them, so why should they? Sargent is crediting Olbermann with getting Rachel Maddow her own show at MSNBC when everyone has long known it was Rachel Maddow's on air criticism of MSNBC's Chris Matthews -- quickly picked up by The Associated Press -- that resulted in MSNBC announcing they had signed Maddow to her own show -- thereby killing the criticism Maddow was making only days before.

Sargent's long been the Poster Child for Ultimate Fan Boy -- you sort of picture him still sleeping in footy pajamas and in his own urine -- so it would be easy to dismiss his loose grasp of the facts as a stray strand were it not such a pattern. And it was predominately Male Pattern Falseness -- women tended to stick to reality (see Hollywood Reporter's Sofia M. Frenandez, USA Today's Ann Oldenburg, Pop Eater's Rebecca Macatee, etc.). Among the many sufferers of Male Pattern Falseness?

Glenn Garvin (Miami Herald) practices the fact-free diet when he writes, "When Olbermann arrived in 2003, neither a political agenda nor an audience was discernible at the network." That was almost as laughable as David Folkenflik declaring to Scott Simon (Weekend Edition, NPR) yesterday that Olbermann made MSNBC, "A place where liberals could find their concerns and voices heard in a way that hadn't been the case on cable networks." The revisionary tactics are endless and we don't have the time or space to repeat all of them.

A political agenda was very obvious at MSNBC and, in fact, was what watered down the "MS" (Micro Soft) and beefed up the NBC. Bill and Melinda Gates found the e-mails in early 2003 not just irritating but embarrassing. The e-mails?

In 2003, MSNBC's prime time (like Fox, MSNBC prime time is where the crazy runs free; during the day, both networks attempt to offer some semblance of news) went conservative and then some with the most offensive addition being homophobic Michael Savage. It was Savage's addition that led to an online e-mail campaign to Bill and Melinda Gates and the fallout from that was only semi-resolved at the end of 2005 with NBC taking over a greater stake in MSNBC. It was very embarrassing for the Gates to be seen as humanitarians and also be partnered with GE in bringing homophobia to life via MSNBC.

The hiring of Savage wasn't an accident. Twelve days after the announcement that Savage was joining the MSNBC line up, MSNBC announced they were cancelling the cable network's highest rated program, Donahue. The same day MSNBC announced that axe falling, Rick Ellis (All Your TV) reported on an internal assessment by MSNBC which declared that with the US marching off to illegal war, Phil Donahue would be a "difficult public face for NBC in a time of war. . . . He seems to delight in presenting guests who are anti-war, anti-Bush and skeptical of the administration's motives." Along with Savage, they added the conservative Joe Scarborough. And they would 'delete' Ashleigh Banfield.


We're not into revisionary history. We're not advocates of feel-good journalism. And that's why it has been so offensive to read the 'reporting' on Keith Olbermann. "Keith led a resistant nation to the Mount." That's the subtext of so many of the articles in the last two days. But the reality is that no such thing ever happened.

In 2003, MSNBC was going conservative. It's popular host Chris Matthews (Donahue had more viewers than Matthews) had been high stepping from centrist Democrat to right-winger throughout the late 90s. MSNBC saw his 'success' (fawning -- which is what he still does today, but for Democrats) as the key to programming success. Besides, it was much cheaper to produce a Hardball than an Ashleigh Banfield in Pakistan for A Region In Conflict. Fox News had struggled in prime time and was now turning a profit with cheap talking head shows revolving around gas bags which required no locations, no investigations, nothing more than a mike, a camera and some room deodorizer.

Ashleigh is sort of the key to the whole story in fact, the Rosetta Stone of where we were, where we are and why. Even when she goes unmentioned, as she did all weekend, she is indeed the story.

MSNBC decided to go right-wing. Just knew that would turn it into a hit cable network. They had Chris Matthews right-wing program but they had much more. They had a climate that no one wants to talk about today. In March, the Iraq War hits the 8 year mark. There's a generation that's come of age after the invasion which may have no idea about the climate back in those days. Yes, you had Chris Matthews and G. Gordon Liddy on MSNBC licking their lips and rubbing their thighs together over the alleged penis bulge in Bully Boy Bush's 2003 "Mission Accomplished" drag outfit. That is sometimes remembered.

But MSNBC's decision to air that nonsense without apology or to axe Phil's show or whatever else happened in a climate where MSNBC knew they wouldn't be held accountable. Like Chris Matthews, Saturday Night Live has restyled itself and possibly Lorne intends to take heavy scissors to certain 2002 and 2003 broadcasts to protect the show from its own mistakes but in the post-9-11 climate, few were as big offenders as Saturday Night Live which seemed on an eternal mission to worship "America's Mayor" Rudy G. and which thought the height of political criticism was their skit of Bush's Iraq War "press conference" that largely consisted of blowing air darts at Helen Thomas so that she would stop asking questions. In fact, Helen Thomas was the butt of that skit. Not Bush leading a country into illegal war and lying about it, Helen Thomas asking the unpleasant questions was the butt of the joke. Back then, Saturday Night Live was at its most political and most conservative.

Not incidentally, back then Saturday Night Live was mocking Ashleigh Banfield for the 'crime' or 'joke' of reporting from Pakistan and Afghanistan. Back then, there was a strong push to refuse to listen. And Saturday Night Live was part of that push. Tina Fey and Lorne Michaels would like for you to forget that, but it is reality.

CNN was cable's News Channel. Or had been. As much as anything could. But CNN, by 2002, was part of the AOL-Time-Warner-Disney-Touchstone-CNN conglomerate and not really about news at all. The suits were still in a panic -- not over the fact that they'd allowed military psy-ops to intern and report at CNN but over the fact that the documented and sourced "Valley Of Death" report was one they had to walk away from and, most of all, that it had left the impression that they were 'unpatriotic.' In that climate, a lot of centrists -- wrongly beloved by many liberals in the audience as 'one of us' -- were cowed into going along with the march to war. (They would emerge a few years later, like Aaron Brown, for example, allowing that maybe they could have asked a few hard questions or presented a few anti-war voices but . . .)

That was the climate that led to war. A timid and fawning press (which we still have) afraid to do their jobs and those that tried to do their jobs repeatedly being attacked for the 'crime' of trying.

Fox News was riding high in the ratings and, just as NBC had once tried to copy the ABC ratings power house Three's Company with We Got It Made, MSNBC decided they could refashion themselves. Teri Copley was no Suzanne Somers and MSNBC was no Fox News.

But it would take a few years for them to grasp that.

Ashleigh Banfield was mocked by Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show. Might Jon Stewart today explain the latter? Explain how Banfield was doing anything that should have resulted in ridicule?

She was already under fire from her own network. When new-hire Michael Savage declared on the radio that Ashleigh was "the mind slut with a big pair of glasses" and that she "looks like she went from porno into reporting," there was fallout at MSNBC -- for Ashleigh Banfield. Instead of issuing a statement of support for Banfield, Eric Sorenson and the MSNBC suits said nothing publicly and privately told Banfield she shouldn't say anything.

It was saying something, specifically a campus speech in April 24, 2003, that led to an eventual parting. The 'controversial' speech included:

That said, what didn't you see? You didn't see where those bullets landed. You didn't see what happened when the mortar landed. A puff of smoke is not what a mortar looks like when it explodes, believe me. There are horrors that were completely left out of this war. So was this journalism or was this coverage-? There is a grand difference between journalism and coverage, and getting access does not mean you're getting the story, it just means you're getting one more arm or leg of the story. And that's what we got, and it was a glorious, wonderful picture that had a lot of people watching and a lot of advertisers excited about cable news. But it wasn't journalism, because I'm not so sure that we in America are hesitant to do this again, to fight another war, because it looked like a glorious and courageous and so successful terrific endeavor, and we got rid oaf horrible leader: We got rid of a dictator, we got rid of a monster, but we didn't see what it took to do that.
I can't tell you how bad the civilian casualties were. I saw a couple of pictures. I saw French television pictures, I saw a few things here and there, but to truly understand what war is all about you've got to be on both sides. You've got to be a unilateral, someone who's able to cover from outside of both front lines, which, by the way, is the most dangerous way to cover a war, which is the way most of us covered Afghanistan. There were no front lines, they were all over the place. They were caves, they were mountains, they were cobbled, they were everything. But we really don't know from this latest adventure from the American military what this thing looked like and why perhaps we should never do it again. The other thing is that so many voices were silent in this war. We all know what happened to Susan Sarandon for speaking out, and her husband, and we all know that this is not the way Americans truly want to be. Free speech is a wonderful thing, it's what we fight for, but the minute it's unpalatable we fight against it for some reason.
That just seems to be a trend of late, and l am worried that it may be a reflection of what the news was and how the news coverage was coming across. This was a success, it was a charge it took only three weeks. We did wonderful things and we freed the Iraqi people, many of them by the way, who are quite thankless about this. There's got to be a reason for that. And the reason for it is because we don't have a very good image right now overseas, and a lot of Americans aren't quite sure why, given the fact that we sacrificed over a hundred soldiers to give them freedom.
Well, the message before we went in was actually weapons of mass destruction and eliminating the weapons of mass destruction from this regime and eliminating this regime. Conveniently in the week or two that we were in there it became very strongly a message of freeing the Iraqi people. That should have been the message early on, in fact, in the six to eight months preceding this campaign, if we were trying to win over the hearts of the Arab world.

Dan Kennedy (at the Boston Phoenix) noted the suit's response in real time, "Ms. Banfield does not speak for NBC News. We are deeply disappointed and troubled by her remarks, and will review her comments with her. In the meantime, we want to emphasize how proud we are of the journalism produced by NBC News and of the men and women who worked around the clock, even risking their lives, to bring this story to the American public." And, as Kennedy noted, Banfield would soon be gone.

MSNBC's high-profile line up was Michael Savage, then right-winger Chris Matthews, Joe Scarborough, Pat Buchanan (who opposed the Iraq War and did so publicly -- along with Bill Press -- on the MSNBC progam Buchanan & Press) and others.

So to claim that MSNBC -- as many in the press are now -- never titled until their "Lean Forward" campaign currently is not only mistaken, it's a damn lie.

Another lie is that Keith brought liberalism to MSNBC for eight or so years. No. He was hired, in 2003, as the MSNBC press release at the time notes, to do an "irreverent look at the day's top news" and it would be similar to "a radio music countdown" only about "water cooler buzz" and not music. That's what his fluffy little show largely was for its first two and a half years.

Supposedly he garnered huge ratings. He did not.

Yes, he did better in the ratings than Michael Savage but, outside of some hopped up on drugs suits, who really ever thought that homophobia and Michael Savage's face would result in high ratings?

MSNBC destroyed itself and it took years for it to rebuild. We don't care for Olbermann but we'll credit him with parts of the rebuilding.

We won't, however, call him a ratings hit.

He wasn't. And his ratings didn't justify his salary. More importantly, his ratings weren't increasing (true of all of MSNBC's prime time line up). The ratings had long ago settled. Massive exposure had not led to higher ratings. This wasn't Cheers or Moonlighting where promotion and word of mouth would lead to a ratings smash. This was a show that had reached its highest level ever and, it turned out, that wasn't very high at all.

This also wasn't the voice of liberalism. In fact, it was a voice that damaged the American left.

For example, there were no stories on the environment that carried weight on Countdown. (It was Anderson Cooper that led on the Gulf Disaster, not Olbermann.) Certainly, the pollution of the Hudson River and its effects was never addressed. The ecology was reduced to 'smarter shopping.' So let's not kid on that front. There was no holding Barack Obama accountable for continuing two wars. So let's not kid on that front either.

Remember how we said Ashleigh Banfield was the Rosetta Stone? She really is. She's all over this story without even trying. For example, shortly after Olbermann made his announcement, John Nichols of The Nation was pouncing on it and lavishly praising Olbermann and those 'commentaries.' Where was Nichols' column on Banfield?

No where to be found and that's the worst damage that Olbermann and his kind have done. Ashleigh Banfield was an actual reporter (back when her own program first started, MSNBC was trying to ape CNN). And when she was vanished, The Nation and others didn't care. Actual overseas reporting wasn't defended. Does the world really need more Olbermanns or more Banfields? For John Nichols, the well known sexist, the answer is very clear: Pontification is more important than investigation.

And that's sad and it's telling. And it certainly explains why Olbermann and his MSNBC co-stars have been able to escape serious criticism from so many for repeatedly altering facts to create a stronger narrative. It's also true that if Ashleigh Banfield had been Ashton Banfield, she might have gotten some support. She certainly wouldn't have had Michael Massing's bitchy comments about her hair style appearing in The Nation had she been a man. And, if she really wanted support from the echo chamber of the left, she'd need to be a man who embraces sexism the way so many of the left commentators do.

Keith Olbermann embraced it. Bob Somerby long documented that reality but basically stood alone in doing so (two notable exceptions were Rebecca Traister and Rachel Sklar). And in 2008, we saw FAIR and the so-called News Dissector Danny Schechter refusing to call out the sexism Olbermann utilized and bathed in repeatedly. That damaged the left, make no mistake. The use of sexism and the refusal to call it out did great damage to the left. While Bob Somerby was able to call out Olbermann, it turns out that some left writers were as well.

At least privately.

Last summer, The Daily Caller did their stories on Journolist -- a listserv among self-styled lefty journalists -- and one of the revelations that got very little attention was the story about the number of writers objecting to the sexism of Keith Olbermann and doing so in 2008. But doing so privately, among themselves. As one left voice after another lodges objections, along comes Luke Mitchell (then with the notoriously sexist Harper's magazine) to declare, "Olberman is irritating and his obvious sexism is reprehensible. But yes, someone going on TV and saying that torture is bad is a net positive." Because women don't matter and because domestic abuse -- in Luke Mitchell's mind -- isn't torture and possibly also not considered abuse. Sexism breeds abuse. But Luke Mitchell didn't care. He just needed a man to say "torture is wrong." Apparently because he worships the penis and because, without a man saying it, it might not be true in his mind.

With all the writing about Keith Olbermann over the last two days, it's surprising just how little attention has been paid to his sexism. Niall Stanage (Salon) was one of the few to go there:

Olbermann’s claim to the moral high ground here was strictly relative. This is a man, after all, who once reported an allegation that Paris Hilton had been punched in the face under the tagline "A Slut and Battery." Hilarious, no?

Olbermann's gone and, as telling as what's being discussed, it's what's not being discussed that really tells the tale of both Olbermann and so much of the left. As for his departure? The answer can be found in track ten on Carly's Boys In The Trees album:

Now in the place where I come from
The people don't grow on trees (except some of the boys)
And you can't treat people like meat
Without getting brought to your knees
Now and then baby . . .

1-23-11, Ava and C.I. note: "A timid and fawning press (which we still have) afraid to do their jobs and those that tried repeatedly being attacked for trying." has been reworked into "A timid and fawning press (which we still have) afraid to do their jobs and those that tried to do their jobs repeatedly being attacked for the 'crime' of trying." as a result of questions in the e-mails. We hope that clarifies the sentence.


Jim: This is a hastily put together roundtable. Our e-mail address is Participating in this roundtable are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, and me, Jim; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man; C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review; Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills); Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix; Mike of Mikey Likes It!; Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz); Ruth of Ruth's Report; Trina of Trina's Kitchen; Wally of The Daily Jot; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. Betty's kids did the illustration.


Jim (Con't): First off, Lisa e-mailed to note the year-in-review at Fork Party.that I mentioned last week. She encourages everyone to check it out. As do I. I really love the visuals they have. And second off, please check out the work they're doing over at My Dog Ate My Blog. And I'll use that as my jumping in point. In a nice e-mail, My Dog Ate My Blog invited us to contribute something. That's a kind offer. But totally unrealistic. Let me explain why. We didn't plan a roundtable this edition. What happened is Ava and C.I. went off to write their TV article and the rest of us worked on several pieces that just didn't come together. Watching the clock, Dona said, "Enough! Short pieces!" At which point, we managed to pull off two short pieces, Mike and the gang will have Highlights which will give us three articles, we'll do an editorial on Blair and Iraq which will be four and we'll do a truest or two. We'll also have Ava and C.I.'s in depth piece on Keith Olbermann which is so strong that no one will notice anything else -- which is good, most won't realize how weak the edition is. So the point is, we can barely pull it together here each week to come up with new content. It's a wonderful offer and very sweet of them but we have enough problems here with new content. Okay, I'm going to toss to Jess who'll give a brief summary of some of the stuff that won't be in this edition. Jess.

Jess: We tried but were unable to complete -- to any level of satisfaction -- an article on WikiLeaks. Possibly next week. Part of the problem, Mike feels, is that we were attempting it without Ava and C.I. I don't think anyone would disagree with his assessment that their strong voices were missed. Trina had mentioned the possibility of this at her site and she and Jim are very strongly in support of this article. I stress that because we'll probably try to return to it next week. What basically happened was that Ava and C.I. were going to tackle a topic and Jim stopped them with his opinion that the biggest TV news was Keith Olbermann and there was no way that they couldn't write about that topic. They had known Thursday what was coming but hadn't followed the press. So writing about it required them to spend over two hours on the phones and online hunting down stories to see how the press was playing it out. After all that, they probably spent another hour writing the piece at least. That was three hours that we didn't have them assisting us and, as Mike pointed out, they were sorely missed. We do hope to do a piece on WikiLeaks next week. It will not be a puff piece, it will be a critical thinking piece.

Jim: Thank you, Jess. Ava, do you want to add anything?

Ava: I'll just add that we didn't plan to write it, we didn't want to write it. We spent more time on the phone trying to find our angle than anything else. We were speaking to a friend with ABC News who said something about "place that I come from" which led C.I. to sing, "In the place that I come from . . ." A song off Carly Simon's Boys In The Trees. And that finally gave us an in and then a friend at CNN raised Ashleigh Banfield which gave us another way into covering it. Otherwise, we would still be trying to figure out our angle.

Jim: If I can just follow up, that is an issue, right?

Ava: Yeah, how we're going to approach a story is important to the writing of it. It's like your designing a house from scratch and trying to figure out where the closets will go. After we got that down, we knew we could write it. Even so there were times writing it where one of us would say "Break!" and we'd stop and go walk around for a bit because -- Honestly, because we were afraid we'd miss a main point. It's easy to roll over one or two when you're trying to get done and I have no idea how long that piece is but it feels like the longest thing we've ever written.

Jim: Okay.

Dona: And the reason he went to Ava is because one of the pieces killed -- and killed due to time, we're all ready to go to sleep and still have an editorial to go, we've already chosen two "truests" of the week -- was Jim asking C.I. and Kat questions based on e-mails. Jim was really looking forward to that and they'd agreed to it but our inability to pull anything together for the bulk of the writing session means that segment got killed.

Jim: And let me give an example of that. Justin Hesse e-mailed wanting to know why, on her 2010 year-in-review, Kat didn't include Sarah McLachlan whose Laws Of Illusion Kat praised.

Kat: And to Justin I'd say I still love the album but I had ten slots to fill for the best of the year. When I wrote that piece -- and even now -- I didn't feel that Laws Of Illusion was one of the ten. I love it and listen to it. And a year from now I may feel differently. The example I always use is the Rolling Stones' A Bigger Bang. I really loved that album when it came out but when I did my year-in-review, I didn't put it that high on the list. However, in the time since, it has continued to be an album I play and many on the list I no longer do. It's my opinion at that moment and time.

Jim: And that was one of the milder topics. I really wanted to do that piece. Wally, look back on the week and tell me anything that particularly stands out.

Wally: That maybe someone else wouldn't notice? How about the fact that the House Veterans Affairs Committee still hasn't scheduled any hearings and will apparently go through the month of January without any hearing. Last week, we attended a House Armed Services Committee hearing that was nothing but basic points about the Committee itself. I don't mean that as an insult, just noting that the Armed Services Committee has at least done something. House Veterans is doing nothing. I really find that amazing. I can't believe there's not a huge outcry for them to get to work.

Jim: Alright. Marcia, same question.

Marcia: I'm assuming this is leaving out the Chilcot hearing since that's the subject of the editorial. I'm blanking. I spent the week last week fact checking morons. Let me think a minute about what other people were covering. Wait, C.I.'s "I Hate The War" -- let me pull that up. Okay, "Since Saturday, 4 US soldiers have died in Iraq and a fifth has been injured. And it's a sign of both how much is going on in Iraq currently and how little most US outlets are paying attention to Iraq. Three, four years ago, could you imagine the US military announcing 4 deaths in one week -- 3 in one day -- and picture it receiving so little attention?" I think that's a huge point and one really worth underlining. Back in 2006, if I'd been reading this site or any other community site --

Jim: You hadn't started your own site then.

Marcia: No, I hadn't. But if I'd been reading any of the community sites and the week had gone by without anyone registering that, I'd have been shocked, true. But I also would have been shocked if Democracy Now! and all the rest had also ignored it. Now last week, the community covered it. But it was "Democracy Now! and all the rest" that ignored it. Amy Goodman reduced it to a single sentence and thought that passed for coverage. In 2006, we would have been screaming our heads off. These days, so few even notice.

Dona: Can I jump in? Mike and I are texting during this about what we have and don't have and we're counting this as the eighth piece and we still need an editorial but how we're doing that is by excerpting from C.I.'s Thursday snapshot. And I know there were some thoughts on that. Click here for our repost -- we are reposting that section of it -- but basically Project Censored wanted to whine about infotainment and yet offer listener's nothing at all. Now on our end, where it mattered was that a few of you especially wanted to comment. That was Rebecca, Betty, Mike and Stan who all cover TV at their websites. Rebecca's doing Brothers & Sisters, Betty's doing Desperate Housewives, Mike's doing Chuck and Fringe and Stan's doing No Ordinary Family. Starting next month, Marcia will resume writing about The Event. Rebecca, let me start with you.

Rebecca: It was really cute to listen to that first segment, the two men trashing this and that. C.I. didn't name the sports star. I think she was wanting not to wallow in the trash and I can understand that and I also know that her opinion was the sports star broke no law and she didn't see the point in joining in the blood leeching off of him. But the men were blaming infotainment press and all but, as C.I. noted, they didn't call out the sports press which was all over the story. And I bring that up because this is what pissed all of us off, sports never gets called out. Who covers TV for The Progressive or The Nation? No one. But they both use Dave Zirin to cover sports. Sports writing reaches a predmoninately male audience. Is that why the allow sports in their alleged political journals? I don't know but I know that the sexism is rank.

Betty: And I would agree with that and point out something that we all work from. We're all reposting C.I.'s Iraq snapshots. If I'm writing about Desperate Housewives, there's a chance someone not paying attention to Iraq will come across news of it because they're reading my take on Desperate Housewives. I know that I've gotten a few new readers in the last months as a direct result of my one day a week coverage of that show. And while the show is not Shakespeare, it is the arts and I don't see anything wrong with covering television. I don't watch reality TV -- which was the main object of scorn in that broadcast -- but that's because it doesn't interest me. If it did, you better believe I'd be writing about it.

Dona: Mike?

Mike: Well, one thing is that we're usually including some other stuff as well. The snapshot's every day -- that we include it -- but usually we've also got something else in there as well. Betty and Stan, for example, will generally include some political analysis from Hillary Is 44 in their posts if that site published anything that day. But this is really a Rebecca thing, period. Rebecca comes from p.r. and she was the one who first really grasped -- or at least put words to -- that we could reach a lot more people with wider topics. Meaning that the five of us are covering different shows instead of all of us showing up on the same day to write about Chuck or whatever. And that's not a minor point. I couldn't do the snapshot. Sometimes, I'll do a post where I write about two or three news stories out of Iraq and that's really straining my blogging abilities, honestly, for one post. But I can write about something different from what anyone else is doing and thereby do my part to increase awareness of Iraq. And I do take that seriously.

Ty: I know Stan needs to speak and I'm sure Marcia should come in on this since she does cover The Event. But I want to point out that there is a feeling among many readers that Mike and Marcia are inclusive of Republicans. Our mail here often includes Republicans and they will often cite Mike and Marcia in their posts. They don't say, "As opposed to that evil Betty!" But they do make a point to say that Mike and Marcia seem eager to speak with them.

Mike: Marcia's pointing to me. For me, I think it comes down to the fact that I voted for Scott Brown and I supported his run. I am glad to have Republican readers. I try to be respectful of them. But for me, at my site, since the start of it in 2005, I would say that I was a Democrat -- and I am -- but talk about how we shouldn't vote blindly. In 2008, I voted for Ralph Nader and that backed up what I was saying for some people. But it wasn't until Scott Brown's race that it really did become clear to a lot of other readers. So for me, that might be why some respond that way. And all readers are welcome at my site and all the community sites. Marcia?

Marcia: Republicans know where I'm coming from because it says so on my site, that I'm an African-American lesbian. And I think, from e-mails, there was an initial concern on the part of some that visit that I would be attacking them. I don't think I have. I know my defense of Sarah Palin when she's wrongly slammed is a big deal to a lot of Republican readers of my site. And I've defended her for some time. She's not someone I would most likely vote for but I'm not going to attack her with lies. And I think that's really what's being responded to, my attempting to be fair. The fact that I'm willing to try, I think, is why some readers feel welcome. And I do see that, how Republicans would feel the most welcome at either Mike or my site. And that's not an insult to anyone else but it's a longer discussion than we have time for here.

Jim: Can you give it to me in three sentences.

Marcia: Of the community's night time bloggers, Mike and I are the most topical. Elaine's covering peace. Rebecca's doing feminism -- and I don't know how many readers absorb that immediately but that is what she's doing. Stan and Betty are focused upon the Democratic Party mishaps. That's more than three. Sorry. Mike and I are the most prone to covering the day's topical events. Ruth is as well but she also veers off into historical topics. If you just want that day's cycle, that's us.

Jim: Okay. Stan, it was your turn when we went off on a sidebar.

Stan: I would just point out that this community has a huge number of sites. That's really something. C.I. starts The Common Ills and you end up with 14 ongoing websites -- including this one -- and three that started and stopped. That's pretty amazing. And Trina's covering the economy and doing a great job and C.I.'s covering Iraq and doing a great job. So you start a site, and I was the last one to do so, and you figure out what you can offer. I can't be Trina or C.I., so I play to my own strengths. And I like movies and that's largely what I write about more and more. But it does register with some people and, for example, I've gotten more e-mail on my decision to walk away from V than anything else. And overwhelmingly, the e-mail was supportive of that decision.

Ty: Stan walked away when ABC stopped streaming the show. Ruth, you were covering a show -- and Betty was grabbing it as well -- and now you've stopped. Want to talk about that?

Ruth: Well we were covering Cougar Town. We stopped. We stopped when ABC stopped streaming. They are back to streaming but they are at least one episode behind. We have nothing against the show, in fact, I still watch it each Wednesday night. But, as with Stan's objection regarding V, we did not see the point in promoting a show that was not streaming. I do not think this is minor, either. The net has changed so much since it started and it has certainly changed since I have been on it, roughly seven or so years. I have been on it as a user. It is six or so years that I have been on it writing. And I think people will look back in ten years and wonder, with dismay, about some of the changes that took place. I think Stan's objection will stand as an important stand and people will wonder why others did not object.

Jim: Elaine, you wrote about a TV show last week. Harry's Law which airs on Monday nights, NBC. And you do not do that usually. Do you want to say anything on this topic?

Elaine: What I would point out, what I'd rather talk about, is that Project Censored had an hour of air time on KPFA. They used it to promote a really bad column from 2008, to trash the public -- that was the third segment -- and not much else. While whining about serious stories that go uncovered, they offered no serious stories. It was embarrassing. Like C.I., I support Project Censored. I am eager to hear their Thursday broadcasts on the KPFA Morning Mix. However, I don't need junk food and that's all they offered.

Jim: And the Obama to Hitler?

Elaine: That was the first segment, a large portion of it. It didn't make for an informative segment. On the left, some called and/or compared Bush to Hitler --

Rebecca: I did!

Elaine: Yet somehow that's not a part of the tired story that made up the 2008 column which made up the first segment of the KPFA show last Thursday. It was all half-a-truth as opposed to reality. I don't have time for it and, at this late date, I can't imagine anyone who does.

Jim: Okay. Ann and Cedric were asked by me ahead of time if it was okay to bring up a personal question about them from an e-mail. They said yes, so here it is. From Anthony H., "As a newly wed couple, have you had to get used to each other's cookings and what sort of thing do you usually eat?"

Cedric: That's it? When Jim said "personal question," I thought the e-mail was going to be much more probing. Okay. I cook about two nights a week and we order in about once or twice. That leaves three for Ann to cook. I don't count my night when I'm doing volunteer work for the church because I don't eat dinner at home. Ann?

Ann: I'd go along with that count. In terms of what we usually eat. This has been a late session, writing edition. And around 3:00 a.m. our time -- we're participating by phone and not on the West Coast -- Cedric and I were both just starving.

Cedric: We really were.

Ann: And I mentioned there were some grapes but Cedric didn't want that. He wanted ice cream and had me wanting it. Then I mentioned that we had half a lasanaga still and we ended up tearing that apart with the promise that we'd go for ice cream when the sun came up. However, Cedric found four lemons that I'd picked up Saturday morning at the store and we devoured those instead. That story has no rhyme or reason and I share it because that's our eating. Don't try to make sense of it. Don't try to find a pattern.

Jim: Isaiah and Trina, we're winding down. We haven't heard from you.

Trina: Looking back on the week what stands out the most is the continued failure to cover Iraq. Panhandle Media could work itself into a non-stop frenzy when they thought they could smear the blood of the Tuscon tragedy onto Sarah Palin. When they couldn't, they went back to their half-assed work habits. It's amazing how much they ignore Iraq. I think you can see that in Greg Mitchell over at The Nation, in fact. When WikiLeaks was doing document dumps and they required reading and analysis, he wasn't covering it. When Julian Assange's story hijacked WikiLeaks and turned it into a soap opera of non-stop gossip, suddenly Greg was interested. That's what we get from Panhandle Media. They can't talk about the issues or the things that matter but if there's a gossip fire, they're hopping on the ambulance and rushing to it.

Isaiah: I agree firmly with everything Trina just said. I am really appalled by the refusal to call out the continuation of the Iraq War but even more unsettling may be our so-called 'independent' media's refusal to acknowledge that it does continue.

Jim: Okay, we're ten minutes over. C.I. said before we started if we did go over to just eliminate her. So take that up with her. This is a rush transcript.

The Hidden Correspondence

Last week, Rosa Prince (Telegraph of London) reported, "In written evidence submitted ahead of his second appearance before the inquiry, the former prime minister was asked about secret messages he sent to Mr Bush in the build-up to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq. It emerged this week that the head of the civil service, Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell, refused requests for extracts from the notes to be released after consulting with the ex-premier." Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian) added, "Britain's top civil servant, Sir Gus O'Donnell, is preventing the official inquiry into the Iraq invasion from publishing notes sent by Tony Blair to George W Bush -- evidence described by the inquiry as of 'central importance' in establishing the circumstances that led to war. O'Donnell, the cabinet secretary, consulted Blair before suppressing the documents, it emerged tonight." And to make clear who was pulling the strings, Gonzalo Vina (Bloomberg News) explained Steve Field, spokesperson for UK Prime Minister David Cameron, stating today that the decision to censor did not come from his boss, "It's very much the Cabinet secretary's decision." What is in the letters? How long until the world knows?


Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, January 18, 2041.
LONDON -- British Prime Minister Antonio Clegg today ordered the release of the long suppressed private correspondence between former Prime Minister Tony Blair and one-time White House occupant George W. Bush.
The release follows the death last fall of Mr. Blair who overdosed backstage o the Ugly Rumours reunion tour and comes just as Mr. Bush has again been placed on a sexual predator list.
The letters read like purple prose and reveal a dimension of the relationship between the two men hitherto unknown.
"You stiffen my bloody resolve," writes Mr. Blair in one letter, "while causing the front of pants to stiffen and I am not referring to starch."
In what may be a reply, Mr. Bush writes, in Crayola, "Two weeks from now, when this little war is over and done with, you and me going to go to the Crawford ranch and I'll be fixing us stuff to eat, wrestling up some grub, wrestling with you, you and me in our underwear, just the two of us, touching and feeling and eating and stuff."
Cherie Booth attempted to stop the release of the letters and claimed her late husband, from beyond the grave, also opposed the release and had the support of US pundit Peggy Noonan who has long spoken to those "on the other side."
Reached for comment . . .

3rd Estate Fashionistas

Doesn't it seem as though Michelle Obama dresses just to ensure that we have something to write about?


Last week, she dressed for the State Dinner. And hilarity. The weird bumps of the back of her hair were mirrored in weird bumps at the front and back of her dress.

Worst of all may have been the color which was neither red nor orange but managed to grab the harness the worst harshness of both. Even worse, it appeared she'd been wearing the dress when her husband had been putting his name to a signing statement and then pen had exploded all over her dress -- thereby explaining the streaks of black running this way and that in no discernible pattern.

All in all, it stands as one of her worst fashion choices and is made even worse by the fact that the Chinese press covered it thereby exposing her inability to dress for s**t to billions and billions of people.

The State visit to where?


China's President Hu Jintao visited the United States last week and US President Barack Obama just looked bored.

If he was bored, it wasn't from being tired over cramming for the visit. In fact, everything about the visit suggested Barack hadn't been briefed. We'll boil it down to one simple point: The next time a foreign leader is welcomed into the White House, it's on behalf of the American people -- they're the owners of the people's house so, no surprise, Barack forget all about them.

Honoring Political Prisoners & POWs

This is a repost from Workers World.

Meeting honors political prisoners & POWs

Published Jan 22, 2011 10:54 AM

The 15th Annual Dinner Tribute to the Families of our Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War was held at the Martin Luther King Jr. Labor Center in New York City on Jan. 15. This year’s theme was “Fanning the Flames of Liberation: Educating Our Community About Our Freedom Fighters!”

The families of nine political prisoners/prisoners of war were presented and honored, including one of Malcolm X’s daughters. They were saluted for their courage and sacrifices to the struggle for self-determination and liberation.

The dinner tribute was sponsored by the Malcolm X Commemoration Committee and activists in Service Employees union Local 1199. The program included libation, cultural presentations and speakers from the committee and from former political prisoners. Keynote speakers were 2008 Green Party vice presidential candidate Rosa Clemente and Jihad Abdul-Mumit, Jericho Movement national chairperson and former prisoner. Moderator was Brother Zayid Muhammed.

Among statements read was one from Herman Ferguson, former prisoner, co-founder of the Malcolm X Commemoration Committee and original member of Malcolm’s Organization of Afro-American Unity.

Participants observed a moment of silence for prisoners who committed their lives to the struggle and died in prison. Most of the prisoners being honored have been in jail for more than 35 years and are scheduled to never be reunited with family or friends. Some are serving life sentences for fighting for a better world, a world without racism and oppression.

Speakers stressed the importance of coalition building, collaboration and strengthening the movement, as well as the need to expand outreach nationally and internationally. Plus the need to find more effective ways of fighting the system. The National Jericho Movement circulated a petition calling for congressional hearings on the legacy and continuing impact of the FBI’s illegal counterintelligence program known as Cointelpro.

The meeting acknowledged several political prisoners who had been imprisoned for more than 35 years and denied parole. At the same time, speakers pointed out that the New York state parole board released Malcolm X’s convicted killer this past April after he served the last 20 years in a work-release program.

Also mentioned was that Mumia Abu-Jamal was denied a crucial Supreme Court hearing and that a biased propaganda film against Mumia, “From the Barrel of a Gun,” has been made. A progressive film, “Justice on Trial,” addressing evidence and issues relating to violations of Mumia’s constitutional rights has also been produced.

Among those honored was people’s lawyer Lynne Stewart, now serving 10 years, as well as her family. A moving statement from Stewart was read by Rosa Clemente.

All those present were encouraged to write and visit prisoners being held throughout the U.S. criminal injustice system to let them know they’re not forgotten. To become involved, visit or email

Articles copyright 1995-2011 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011
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One radio hour with nothing to say

This is from C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" which ran Thursday.

On Morning Mix (KPFA's morning show), Mickey Huff and Adam Bessie kicked things off -- and into the gutter -- with a lot of huffing and finger pointing. Excerpt:
Adam Bessie: As you know, anyone with a thought and a connection to the computer can get onto the participatory networks -- Facebook, MySpace and so on. And what was fascinating in the research that we found, in a section called Junk Food News Feed is that [Bessie now yammers away about a male celebrity -- we're not interested] was covered less than the decision to pull out of Afghanistan by Obama [what decision was that Adam Bessie, you moron?] . However, when you looked at what people were talking and writing about on social networks and by the cooler, they were talking more about [male celebrity] according to a Pew study at that time. So basically what we found with the internet, again, was basically unprecious, anybody and everybody can get on there, is that people are really becoming what they eat and after years of consuming junk food news, now they go on social networks and you can create your own junkfood news. Instead of having to watch [female celebrity] on The Today Show, you can have your friend be [mispronounces female celebrity's name] or you can be [again mispronounces female celebrity's name] and write about the trials and travails of your own life or somebody else. And you can also write about celebrities. And so we're now -- The sea change I think we're seeing is that we're participating in this infotainment society.
You think? Adam Bessie surely is participating in it. First off, how is it news that many people are concerned with their own lives? Most people are concerned with their own lives. The Confessions was not Saint Augustine writing about Descartes, it was Augustine writing about himself. The idea that people would write about their own lives should not be shocking to an English professor -- even a junior college English professor. Second, Barack didn't announce he was pulling out of Afghanistan, he announced a troop "surge" into Afghanistan. Sorry professor, your example, which you bring up? You damn well better know what you're talking about. Third, the male celebrity? A sports star. Covered in the sports press during the 'scandal' but Adam Bessie forgets them, doesn't he?
Adam Bessie? Did he have anything to contribute other than a whiney voice and a lot of stupid? Nope. He and Mikey blathered away forever about Barack being compared to Hitler. They did this on January 20, 2011. Point? It was the exact same remarks and 'findings' Bessie already wrote about in this bad December 1, 2008 column at OpEdNews. Who's wasting time? Who's oversaturated with infotainment? (And, as usual, Bessie ignored that Bush was compared to Hitler during the eight years he occupied the White House.)
Then what did we get? Another junior college professor. This one couldn't pronounce "suggest" -- but for some reason included the term in the copy he wrote for himself to read aloud. Robert Abele offered commentary which was snide and ugly and his attempts to link Sarah Palin with the Tuscon shooting were appalling. He 'shaded' throughout. For example, he said right-wing radio is responsible for a number of Republicans believing Barack Obama is Muslim. But Abele didn't explain who was responsible for Democrats believing that. In fact, he didn't even acknowledge that the poll he was referring to found only 46% of Democrats stated Barack was a Christian. Take any of Abele's items and check Bob Somerby's archives at The Daily Howler -- you'll usually see how Abele shaded one thing after another with his half-the-story approach. And why the heck isn't Bob Somerby invited on the program to begin with? Oh, that's right, he's not condemning the people.
"It's so hard," huffed Kristina Borjesson, "to try and get these people to understand that there's a whole universe of information that they should be looking at . . ." And if you're feeling smug and thinking, "Yeah, Tina, sock it to those right-wingers!" . . . Well, you might want to pause. She was referring to the public. You know, "these people." So frustrating, so uninformed. Way to win people over, Borjesson. She then insisted she didn't watch TV news anymore because, in her opinion, "they've made themselves irrelevant with ranting [. . .] opinion journalism." Thanks for sharing your opinion which was opinion -- maybe even ranting? -- but wasn't news. Finger Pointer, condemn thyself.
"In the meantime," she called out from her high horse, "what's going on in Afghanistan? What's going on in Iraq?"
What is going on in either? You didn't find out from her or from the hour long Morning Mix. You know what? That's an hour of radio that we need. What you offered? We don't need that at all. Don't need it, don't want it. You had nothing to offer for a full hour. While slamming the MSM for wasting people's time, you had nothing to offer.
I can sit here all day and call out this outlet and that outlet for not covering Iraq but if I'm not covering it here, I'm a hypocrite because I'm in charge of what goes on here.
By the same token, they are in charge of what they do each Thursday on Morning Mix. Today they were full of themselves and how other people don't cover Iraq . . . as they refused to cover Iraq. Borjesson was insisting that even now we need to be covering the lies that got the US into Iraq. Well, Borjesson, where's that going to take place? You didn't go into those lies, Mickey didn't. But you finger wagged at everyone else, now didn't you?
Land of snap decisions
Land of short attention spans
Nothing is savored
Long enough to really understand
-- "Dog Eat Dog," words and music by Joni Mitchell, from her album of the same name
Which brings us to professional liar Greg Mitchell. (Liar? Changing your errors online after they're called out and 'forgetting' to note your changes makes you a liar.) Greggy wants credit for, well, let's let him tell it: "As I've done for more than seven weeks, I will be updating news and views on all things WikiLeaks all day, with new items added at the top." Oh, is he covering WikiLeaks' revelations? Writing about those?
He's not writing a damn thing. If you were generous, you'd call his bits and pieces "Tweets." It's basically a glorified gossip column with a dozen items.
Nothing is savored long enough
To really understand
Our focus is Iraq. When WikiLeaks did their Iraq release in October, we covered it for two weeks here (here and here) every day. At Third, Ava and I wrote "TV: The WikiLeaks reports" and "TV: Media of the absurd" on the media coverage in real time. The Nation and Greg Mitchell weren't interested in covering the Iraq leaks. Greg Mitchell's still not interested in actually covering anything. He's Louella Parsons offering chatty, breezy gossip items. Or, if you prefer, he's like a character in Heathers, rushing in insisting, "Did you hear? School's cancelled today because Kirk and Ram killed themselves in a repressed homosexual suicide pact."
Greg Mitchell showed up on Antiwar.Radio and the real decay of journalism is hearing the former Crawdaddy writer thinking his gossip blog on WikiLeaks is somehow covering something. He was bragging about how popular the tweets are. And that now he's turning "the live blog" into a book. How about you do something of value right now instead of finger pointing that "The media forgot about it" [WikiLeaks revelations]. And how awful that Scott Horton said that Greg was "doing great work." (In fairness to Scott Horton, he clearly hasn't read the "live blog" Greg Mitchell is doing.) What Mitchell does most days is a Julian Assange watch -- with the same whiff of sexism that was there in his Crawdaddy work and which he carried all through his career.
In every culture in decline
The watchful ones among the slaves
Know all that is genuine will be
Scorned and conned and cast away
-- "Dog Eat Dog"
And be sure that Greg will continue to scorn and con and cast away that which is genuine as he does his bad gossip column. (Which is not a "live blog." Someone explain the term to him. You live blog a trial. He could "live blog" the Iraq Inquiry. But just blogging during the day really doesn't count as "live blogging.") The interview with Mitchell is frightening for just what a condemnation it is of so-called independent media. Around the time Greg's confessing, "Frankly, I don't have time read everything I link to," you realize how little standards he ever had.


This piece is written by Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Kat of Kat's Korner, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Marcia of SICKOFITRADLZ, Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends, Ann of Ann's Mega Dub and Wally of The Daily Jot. Unless otherwise noted, we picked all highlights.

"I Hate The War" -- Most requested highlight by readers of this site.

"No Ordinary Family," "Desperate Housewives," "brothers & sisters," "Regis and franchises,"
"Harry's Law" and "Chuck, Third" -- Stan, Betty, Rebecca, Kat, Elaine and Mike cover TV and Ann covers radio:

"THIS JUST IN! THE WHITE HOUSE HAS A PLAN!" & "It's a win for Barry" -- Wally and Cedric on the Celebrity in Chief.

"Gloria Feldt plays sexist" and "Women's Media Center is not being a freind to women" -- Trina and Ruth call out the sexist notions that shouldn't be coming from self-identifying feminists.

"Media Lens stinks up the Kitchen" and "Dave Lindorff: Racist idiot" -- Trina calls out the sexist, Betty calls out the racist.

"iraq," "Tony Blair," "Tony Blair needs to be tried for War Crimes," "Tony the War Criminal" and "Iraq" -- some of the coverage of the Iraq Inquiry.

"That popular post" and "Buying (and selling) a cab company" -- Kat and Kat.

"That Idiot Riverdaughter" -- Marcia on RD.

"The Third Man" -- Stan goes to the movies.

"Bye-bye" -- Isaiah reaches into the archives for this departure.

"The worst show on Pacifica" -- Ruth details why Against the Grain is Pacifica's worst radio program.

"The Killer Claims Not To Understand English" -- Elaine on the criminal Luis Posada.

"Showing them what they bought" & "THIS JUST IN! THE PUPPET ON THEIR STRING!" -- Barack parades China through the White House.
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