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Tilting at Windmills

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January 22, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

HOWELL AND ABRAMOFF....One of the least appealing aspects of the blogosphere is its obsession with "media criticism," most of which, upon examination, turns out to have about as much heft and substance as a Krispy Kreme donut. Just in the past day or two, for example, I've come across this from a conservative, complaining about a passing remark dating the start of the current North Korean crisis to 2003. I've come across this from a liberal, complaining that the New York Times dared to even quote someone from the Discovery Institute. And I've come across this from a libertarian, complaining about differing coverage of Samuel Alito and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, despite the fact that the difference was due to the reality of what people were actually saying and doing at the time.

But sometimes the criticism is spot on, and the mainstream media would do well to figure out when those times are. I mean, what can possibly explain this week's spectacle, in which the Washington Post's ombudsman, Deborah Howell, made a simple factual error (namely that Jack Abramoff made "substantial campaign contributions to both major parties") and then stonewalled for days instead of issuing a quick and straightforward correction?

And then the followup reaction, in which (1) Howard Kurtz brushed off Howell's mistake as merely "inartfully worded," (2) Howell finally issued a statement but declined to admit any real error, and (3) Jim Brady, the Post's online executive editor, panicked and shut down comments on one of their blogs because he didn't like the barrage of abuse readers were directing their way?

Flame wars are ugly things, to be sure, but I think Brady is dead wrong when he says, "I dont think the tone would have been much different if shed posted something on Monday or Tuesday. The basic issue here is that she didnt deliver the exact message her critics wanted her to." In fact, if Howell had posted a simple correction to her column on Monday saying that she had made a mistake and Jack Abramoff donated money only to Republicans and left it at that instead of straining to justify her original error none of this would have happened. The messenger may have been rude and crude in this case, but the messenger was also right.

POSTSCRIPT: By the way, why is it that Howell's original column still doesn't have a correction appended? Nobody reading it either at the Post site or via Nexis would have any idea that she had made a mistake.

Kevin Drum 2:42 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (90)

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Comments

well actually, Krispy Kreme donuts have a whole lot of heft.

Posted by: morris on January 22, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, why are you so strident and abusive?

Posted by: nemo on January 22, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

why is it that Howell's original column still doesn't a correction appended?

because the washington post is pravda without the funny-looking letters?

Posted by: benjoya on January 22, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

Gullible or Credulous?....You Make the Call
http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2006_01/008008.php

But for Kevin Drums post, I would not have known about the market for college application essays. Thank you Kevin for putting the spotlight on the corruption of culture. And thank you Bess Kargman for raising it to Mr. Drums level of attention.

Mr. Drum frames his post as a question well not so much a question as a statement calling Bess Kargman not credible or gullible and painfully nave. He then acknowledges the mean-spirited way in which he frames the issue and lamely attempts to justify his judgment by labeling her op-ed a humdinger.

In the Kevin Drum court of opinion, you judge the messenger and ignore the substantive issue. In Kevin World, you are a liar or nave, in either case; you are the subject of his scorn and ridicule.

Mr. Drums post is mean-spirited. If he wanted act responsibly, he would contact Ms. Kargman (she left her email address in his comments section) and ask her questions about her experience. He would also apologize for his mean-spirited post. Equipped with enough information to make a fair and informed judgment, he could then post a blog entry about the issues she raised and her credibility or naivet.

What am I talking about? This is Kevin Drum... Smear away!

Posted by: Neil Sagan on January 22, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Here's what I really don't understand. In todays column, Howell writes:

But there is no doubt about the campaign contributions that were directed to lawmakers of both parties. Records from the Federal Election Commission and the Center for Public Integrity show that Abramoff's Indian clients contributed money to 195 Republicans and 88 Democrats between 1999 and 2004. The Post also has copies of lists sent to tribes by Abramoff with his personal directions on which members were to receive what amounts.

Is this true? Have these lists been made public? If so where? If not, why not? Did I miss something? Isn't this pretty important?

Posted by: doctorem on January 22, 2006 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

For a long time, I tended to dismiss the "conservative bias" claims as just mistaking editorial laziness for bias. But the WaPo's treatment of this enitre issue reeks of bias.

The factual errors are so egregious, the disdain for valid criticism so palpable, the "correction" so gudging and mealy-mouthed that I can find no other valid explanation than extreme bias.

Posted by: Derelict on January 22, 2006 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

Completely wrong Kevin. The liberal criticism of Howell is NOT spot on. In fact the liberal criticism was completely wrong. As Jim VandeHei of the Washington Post reported.

Link

"As a bit of background, Deborah Howell, our ombudsman, wrote that Democrats got Abramoff money, too. It was a somewhat inartful way of making the point that Abramoff's clients, at his direction, gave money to members of both parties"

"It is also a fact he directed money to Democrats, sought help from Democrats and worked with some Democrats on behalf of his clients."

"based on my understanding of the investigation, which is more of a spectator, the prosecutors are focusing on Republicans at this point. that could change, obviously"

So contrary to what liberals are saying, liberal Democrats like Harry Reid and Bryan Dorgan might be indicted in the future.

Posted by: Al on January 22, 2006 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

....Abramoff's clients, at his direction, gave money to members of both parties"

This claim is false.

It is also a fact he directed money to Democrats...

This claim is false.

So contrary to what liberals are saying, liberal Democrats like Harry Reid and Bryan Dorgan might be indicted in the future.

This conjecture is laughable.

Posted by: bobbyp on January 22, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin asked:
By the way, why is it that Howell's original column still doesn't a correction appended? Nobody reading it either at the Post site or via Nexis would have any idea that she had made a mistake.

Let me venture a guess:

They believe they create reality and it's in their interest that this bi-partisan corruption meme continue unchallenged.

What do I win?

Posted by: merelycurious on January 22, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Here's the Washington Post evidence that Abramoff directed large amounts of money to liberal Democrats Carnahan, Cleland, and Daschle.

Link

Posted by: Al on January 22, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

doctorem, the weak evidence supporting that partisan claim is at best $4k sent to Dems vs $155k sent to Repubs.
See e.g., here

Posted by: rilkefan on January 22, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

I am sick and tired of people making excuses for the MSM's right wing bias ("working the refs", afraid of "appearing too liberal", sloppiness). The media lie for the right, knowingly, consistently, repeatedly. If they were to tell the truth Bush and the Repugs might be thrown out of office and the corporate media owners might be in danger of losing their tax cuts (remember they have yet to be made "permanent"). The reporters know this, do you think any of them forget what happened to Ashley Banfield and Eason Jordan?

Always remember what Mr. Felt told us, oh so many moons ago: "Follow the money!"

Bill Rudman

Posted by: Bill Rudman on January 22, 2006 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

One thing that has struck me as weirdly insightful in the whole flap is the underlying assumption by Howell and the Post that they know what "really" goes on with lobbying -- that it is all about power, and not about ideology, that "of course" a lobbyist like Abramoff would be "directing" contributions to both parties.

They're so afraid of being taken in by partisan spin, they can't be taken OUT of it.

The facts aren't complex. Abramoff was a kingpin of the K Street Project. The purpose of the project was to steer all lobbying, campaign contributions and policy toward Republicans. Abramoff made all his contributions to Republicans. Clients who had been contributing to Democrats before they hired Abramoff, contributed LESS to Democrats after they hired him, and more to Republicans.

Abramoff has now confessed to multiple felonies, and is cooperating with prosecutors interested in higher ranking Abramoff associates who may have committed crimes with Abramoff, or to his knowledge.

Why was merely reporting the facts so hard?

I think it's cuz the Post is so sure of its own hardboiled expertise on such stuff, they're beyond going where the facts lead 'em.


.

.

Posted by: theAmericanist on January 22, 2006 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

Comments on comments on comments:

>....Abramoff's clients, at his direction, gave money to members of both parties

--This claim is false.

COMMENT: I think that is an overreach. We don't know whether the money came at Abramoff's direction or not.

>It is also a fact he directed money to Democrats...

--This claim is false.

COMMENT: We don't know that it is true. We might have reason to entertain a provisional presumption of falsity, but that's not the same as calling it "false."

>So contrary to what liberals are saying, liberal Democrats like Harry Reid and Bryan Dorgan might be indicted in the future.

--This conjecture is laughable.

COMMENT: I think "laughable" is out on a limb. Fact is, if we were onniscient, we would probably find that some of the tribal donations came at Abraham's behest and some did not. My own guess is that at the end of the day we would find that most of the Dem money did not come at A's behest, but some did; and that most of the GOP money did, but some did not--but this is conjecture.

Posted by: Buce on January 22, 2006 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

I think there is another spin on Howell, at least as plausible as "right-wing shill." My read is that she is a flyweight punching above her class. She made a stupid remark and found that she had walked into a bandsaw. The sensible thing would have been to say: right, wrong, sorry about that. Instead, foolishly, she chose to hang tough. Proving once again that it ain't the crime, it's the coverup.

Posted by: Buce on January 22, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Come on, Kevin, get real. Tristero over at Hullabaloo is pretty obviously *not* just complaining that the Times quoted someone from Discovery.

Posted by: Scott E. on January 22, 2006 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

If the Post's business is to state the facts, it made a mistake.

One doesn't apologize if one hasn't made a mistake.

From this it is easily concluded that stating the facts is not the Post's business.

The people running the Post have correctly divined the nature of truth and falsity in the revolutionary context.

The 'truth' or 'falsity' of a statement is entirely a function of whether or not the statement supports the Party in its special role as the vanguard of the revolution.

Howell's original piece advanced the Party and its leading role in the Revolution.

Therefore Howell's piece was true.

Posted by: V.I. Lenin on January 22, 2006 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

One of the least appealing aspects of the blogosphere is its obsession with "media criticism," most of which, upon examination, turns out to have about as much heft and substance as a Krispy Kreme donut.

In truth, I think the examples you use really misunderstands what blogs do well, or at least usually pretty well.

Blogs, fundamentally, are good as a system, not as individual components. Yes, sometimes a blogger will get things way wrong. In fact, most bloggers a good portion of the time will get things wrong.

But what to watch for are the points on which blogs converge. Those points tend to stand up very well to obvious criticisms, otherwise they are knocked down early on in the process. Blogs basically enable a very fast feedback mechanism in which logic and evidence (and some reflecting emotion as well) plays a critical role. Each component part is typically reasonably smart, but together, as a system, they tend to be VERY smart (though even there important exceptions exist).

What makes the effect of blogs so powerful is that, once those converged upon points are adopted by the blogosphere, armies of participants go after the traditional media and politicians and barrage them with very hard to answer objections.

And I don't think that the media really responds much to simple numbers of critics; they respond to a large number of critics who also have a legitimate argument. They know they have messed up, and they know they can't pretend they haven't (unless, I must say, they're the NY Times).

Really, if you don't get this point, you don't get the true significance of blogs, in my opinion.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 22, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Many Republican allies (willful and otherwise) are happy to purposefully conflate the issue of Abramoff money/lobbying with the larger "problem" of lobbying in general.

Clearly this is a concerted effort to diffuse the blame due to the Repubs on this little matter.

Just think if the coverage for some of Clinton's misdeeds was in a similar vein.

The Monical Lewinsky affair would have presented a great opportunity to investigate politicians and their Washinton girlfriends (or boyfriends, if you're a closeted Republican!), and provoked pseudo-thoughtful ruminations on the modern state of marriage vows.

The Whitewater "scandal" would be painted as an example of how politicans and rich folk routinely work their connections to make cash and pad their nest eggs. This could have prompted a useful examination of wealth creation and economic polarization in America.

Funny, I don't remember either event being covered like this.

Posted by: Morpholino on January 22, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Here's the Washington Post evidence that Abramoff directed large amounts of money to liberal Democrats Carnahan, Cleland, and Daschle.

Link
---
that graphic wapo is pointing to in justification of the claim that "abramoff directed" money to dems is misleading, at best.
it is a photoshopped slice of a page showing this tribe's donations. luckily it is the one slice that has the names of 3 dems, and it is photoshopped as if torn just after Dascle and just before Delay.
And to say "abramoff directed" money to dems is to ignore that this tribe had been giving to dems for years, and that their donations to dems actually decreased after hiring Casino Jack.
This has been reported by bloomberg news. See my post here for the relevant links.

Posted by: warbly on January 22, 2006 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, what do you have against Krispy Kreme donuts?

Posted by: Gregory on January 22, 2006 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Its not media criticism. It's a basic respect for the truth and competence. Howell doesn't have it. Her editors don't have it. Professional journalism has become the sport of yes men and yes ladies, who fear for their own jobs rather than the fate of the nation. Kevun consider your own innability to pursue the Bush AWOL story after the Monthly started signing your pay check.

Many on the left have given an equal stature to voices who oppose progressive positions only to find those voices are paid to lie and obfuscate, as the white paper for payola scandal has begun to reveal. Many have give venerable institutions a pass only to find out that they have actively participated in the propaganda for a war and general glowing suport for a presidential team incapable of thinking beyond PR management and the insanity of lobbyist desires.

Kevin, the New York times had Pulizter Prize winning reporters coordinating war policy with the same team that was actively working against the veterans within our own government agencies to create the mental domestic conditions that enabled our current disaster. Without constant care and feeding of that message to the populace there would literally be a second American revolution. None know this more clearly than the Presidnet who has cited numerous times his ability to take office without "blood in the streets".

With the current Republican Corruption probes we now have demonstrated that the editors at the highest levels across newspapers are coordinating articles and coverage to present an agenda that favors a specific political party in the biggest corruption scandal in the history of the nation. And that further the details of the scandal show that "party" is actually a naked criminal enterprise rather than a group of people who ascribe a particular philosophy. It's not post modernistic thinking, it lying. It's not the advication of aggressive policy, its theft.

And let's not even talk about the Orwellian blanket that the Times wrapped the Risen story in to help Team Cheney's re-election. What would have happend in 74/75 if Nixon had the press and television working for him instead of against him?

The consequences of the corporate culture's attempt to dot-com our domestic and foreign policy will start to physically be felt this year across the nation when China and Japan start to pull the plug on our debt. As we sex-up our case for Iran and the Euro and the yaun make gains we will never take back, even our now unpublished M3 will not be able to cover-up the disaster. There has been a whole lot of lying and theft in a whole lot of places and the bill has been due for it for a while.

Will you at the Monthly plug your ears go to your cocktail parties and pretend everything is fine, or will you help focus attention on the truth so that we can prevent the whole nation from imploding when the next major screw-up occurs? We already lost the fifth largest port in the world. How many more people must dies, and how much of the country must be destroyed before those who have the responsibility to report and hold power accountable fo so?

That you have even tried to frame the question as you did, Kevin, speaks volumes of how cheaply you have sold yourself? Is your paycheck really worth your children's future?

Posted by: patience on January 22, 2006 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin - You might have chosen someone else for your example of liberals making trivial complaints about the media. Coming just a few days after Tristero spent an entire column tearing into your hypothetical question on the bombing in Pakistan, it does look a little unsavory.

Nevertheless, for what it's worth, I did think Tristero's negative comments were a whole lot of hot air.

Posted by: HungChad on January 22, 2006 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Tristero drags down the quality of Hullaballoo by orders of magnitude every time he/she posts there. I hope Digby revokes his privileges.

Posted by: rilkefan on January 22, 2006 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

I don't read all of tristero's posts, but she is spot on with her criticism of the NYtimes treatment of the debate on evolution.

Posted by: marky on January 22, 2006 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

If memory serves me right, tristero is a he.

Posted by: Gregory on January 22, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

I think one of the most appealing aspects of the blogosphere is the ability of bloggers to take the mainstream media to task. Bloggers now have the ability to hold the feet of the mainstream press to the fire the way muckraking reporters once held politicians up to severe scrutiny.

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 22, 2006 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

HEre's the exact retraction I expect from her. Nothing else will suffice:

"I apologize to our readers for being a dishonest shill for the right wing. My mendacity in claiming that Abramoff gave money to Democrats was not a simple mistake, but rather, a deliberate attempt to keep our readers misinformed, in order to weaken the public outcry that this scandal would otherwise have generated. I have many powerful freinds, who have provided me with the contacts I need in order to maintain such a successful career in political journalism. Being honest to my readers would have jeopardized these relationships, and destroyed my career. Clearly, it is more important for a journalist in today's world, to maintain good cronies than it is to do what most people incorrectly believe is the whole point of journalism in the first place: inform our readers.
In light of this misbehavior, I will now resign, and commit sepukku, in hopes that I can somehow regain some modicum of honor and credibility, even in death."

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on January 22, 2006 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

Comment 1: "'It is also a fact he directed money to Democrats.' This claim is false."

Comment 2: "We don't know that it is true. We might have reason to entertain a provisional presumption of falsity, but that's not the same as calling it 'false.'"


Buce, you're wrong. If we "don't know that it is true," then it is not "a fact" that that Abramoff "directed money to Democrats."

Posted by: Rat on January 22, 2006 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

Comments on Comments on comments on comments:

>....Abramoff's clients, at his direction, gave money to members of both parties

--This claim is false.

COMMENT: I think that is an overreach. We don't know whether the money came at Abramoff's direction or not.

further comment on the comment on the comment: OK--have it your way. The claim is highly likely to be without merit. The evidence is tenuous to the point of being spurious. In political terms--it is false.

>It is also a fact he directed money to Democrats...

--This claim is false.

COMMENT: We don't know that it is true. We might have reason to entertain a provisional presumption of falsity, but that's not the same as calling it "false."

comment on the comment on the comment: An assertion of "fact" to support the claim can reasonably be expected. No supporting evidence is given. The evidence to entertain a "provisional presumption of falsity" is overwhelming. If it walks like a duck...yada, yada... This is not epistomology. This is not a trial. This is partisan combat. You are giving aid and succor to those who would say anything to deflect the overwhelming evidence of partisan corruption.

>So contrary to what liberals are saying, liberal Democrats like Harry Reid and Bryan Dorgan might be indicted in the future.

--This conjecture is laughable.

COMMENT: I think "laughable" is out on a limb. Fact is, if we were onniscient, we would probably find that some of the tribal donations came at Abraham's behest and some did not. My own guess is that at the end of the day we would find that most of the Dem money did not come at A's behest, but some did; and that most of the GOP money did, but some did not--but this is conjecture.

Comment on the comment on the comment: Your conjecture is so much self serving mush. The validity of my conjecture stands. The idea that Reid or Dorgan will be indicted on anything having to do with this shitstorm is absurdly self-evident. The fact that you would entertain the remote possibility of an indictment of either of these two reflects poorly on both your judgement of the probabilities in play and your grip on reality.

How 'bout those Steelers, eh?

Posted by: bobbyp on January 22, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

What would have happend in 74/75 if Nixon had the press and television working for him instead of against him?

After the discovery of the watergate breakin, there would have been about a week's worth of debate on the "Criminalization of Politics"(TM), and that would have been that. Probably Grover Norquist would now be president.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on January 22, 2006 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

Funny, I don't remember either event being covered like this.

Dead solid perfect. Well said, Morpholino.

Posted by: bobbyp on January 22, 2006 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

I was on that Howells thread, both the original one and the second one after the initial delete.

Anyone who thinks that qualified as a horrific flame war has spent much time on forums. A lot of people were angry at the unresponsiveness of the Post, as well they should be. But I saw poster after poster going out of their way to be straightforwardly factual and direct in calling for a retraction. If she'd done that in the first place the whole thing never would have got going. And even then, the worst snark was pretty mild by comparison with what you'd see, well, here for instance on a bad day. I think I went as far as to say "WP=W Propaganda." Gosh how scathing.

Criminy, if that's the worst you ever have to endure during a so-called flame war.... I mean, heck, "right-wing shill" isn't even an insult in some quarters. Lot more respectable than some stuff you could do for a living. Look at Jim Gannon/Guckert frinstance. Big step up in the world for him.

Posted by: DrBB on January 22, 2006 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory, I am pretty sure Tristero is a she.

Posted by: marky on January 22, 2006 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

I join with several others above and ask you to expand on your dismissal of Tristero's criticism of the Times in this instance.

Frankly, I am puzzled. Could you expand, please?

Posted by: bobbyp on January 22, 2006 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

I think the reasons Howell provoked such a firestorm are:
1) this came on the heels of the ridiculous Froomkin mess that she and John Harris created out of whole cloth for the sole purpose of appeasing one Bush/Cheney 04 staffer-turned-blogger;
2) she made a mistake and won't admit it. her resume would indicate she's new to DC, but she's adopted the blinkered smugness of a CW-spewing blowhard so well you'd think she was channeling Russert or Joe Klein.
3) she doesn't seem to have a keen grasp of the meaning of 'ombudsman'; without doubt in the Froomkin mess, and I'm pretty sure in this one too, she wasn't acting as a readers' representative, but as a spokesperson for the Post. As I told her in a very polite email, she's simply not very good at her job.

What happened to Ashleigh Banfield and Eason Jordan. I don't watch much TV anymore, precisely because they've become boring recyclers of RNC spin.

Posted by: Jim on January 22, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

osama_been_forgotten: Here's the exact retraction I expect from her ... In light of this misbehavior, I will now resign, and commit sepukku

The sepukku thing seems a little over the top. I'd settle for sack cloth, ashes, and a life of penance warning other would-be journalists of the dangers of fellating one's political masters.

The rest of your suggested apology is dead on.

Posted by: alex on January 22, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

I am sick and tired of people making excuses for the MSM's right wing bias

Arguments like "the Post is a shill for the GOP" are attempts to make sense of a confusing situation. If written out in full they would be "the only thing I can think of to explain what I have observed is that the Post must be a shill for the GOP."

Josh Marshall, however, is a more careful observer. He doesn't see "shill" behavior, but a form of routinized risk-aversion and hassle-avoidance:

Indeed, when you actually watch -- from the inside -- how mainstream newsrooms work, it is really not too much to say that they operate on two guiding principles: reporting the facts and avoiding impressions of 'liberal bias'.

It's the "avoiding impressions of..." part that tends to get overlooked when a controversy like this one erupts. Howell wants to avoid the impression of being on anyone's "side," and she wants the Post to avoid that impression as well. So does Len Downie, so does John Harris.

That is the only way they can think of for journalism to maintain non-combatant and "observer" status amid the culture war and political divide. It must continually point to itself and say, "See? we got the other side in there." Thus: "The Democrats had a response to Bush's weekly radio show and here's a snippet of it..." Thus: "Did you see that? We called up the RNC and got their fax blast points about Gore's speech, and here they are. You saw that, right?..."

Problem is that impression management of this kind is actually a kind of propaganda skill, incompatible with another top commandment in journalism-- maintaining a high standard for factuality, accuracy, and call-em-as-we-see-em candor.

So if you're a responsible reporter and you call up the RNC spokesman and get the response to Gore's speech, you're just going to have to accept that when the spokesman tells you something minimally plausible but fundamentally untrue you're going to attribute it, quote it accurately, and run with it it. Now you're involved in the propaganda machine yourself, but it happened as a result of trying to be balanced and responsible and "avoid the impression of..."

I believe that's the contradiction Howell, and John Harris, and Leonard Downie and even Jim Brady don't grasp, or don't want to face because there are no answers to it within the ancient wisdom of the mainstream newsroom. Howell was engaged in impression management in her Jan. 15 column, and it distorted her descriptions. "See? Sue Schmidt was tough on Clinton during the Watergate scandal, but now she's being tough on the Republicans. What a pro!"

Posted by: Jay Rosen on January 22, 2006 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, re the Reason piece:

And I've come across this from a libertarian, complaining about differing coverage of Samuel Alito and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, despite the fact that the difference was due to the reality of what people were actually saying and doing at the time.

I take your point to be that the Democrats and assorted insterest groups have been going on and on about the "balance of the Court" this time, whereas the Republicans and the usual interest groups on the other side of the aisle didn't much during the Ginsburg hearings. So that there was no journalistic failure here. People said stuff, and the press duly reported what they said.

Except . . . did the press take a minute to think about what they said? In particular, to notice that it was 99%, well, methane-producing cow product? No one I've ever heard of seriously believes in "balance" on the Supreme Court as that phrase has been used lately. No liberal would say that Scalia, should he retire, ought to be replaced by as close an analogue as possible, lest the "balance" change. No conservative would say that Ginsburg, should she retire, ought to be replaced by as close an analogue as possible, lest the "balance" change. The whole business is almost pure posturing, leavened only by the suggestion that ensuring the Court's members are likely to be able to work well together is probably a good idea.

Now, had the media examined this "balance" business and honestly evaluated the motives of the people who used that language, and compared it with what was said re Ginsburg and the motives of those who said it, that would've been good journalism. (I don't recall the Ginsburg hearings well, but the main conservative talking point about her was IIRC just that she was too liberal, period, not that she was more liberal than Byron White, and that that precious ecosystem, the SCOTUS, would be perilously disturbed were it nudged leftward.)

Posted by: waterfowl on January 22, 2006 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if Bush is going to be charged in the Abramoff fallout?

I wonder when we'll find that this Whitehouse and GOP corruption extended into the newspaper business as it has the TV media, that folks like Howell might actual be on the payroll of mobsters in Washington. Why else does she simply not care about factual reporting? The Bush admininstration is nothing short of sheer corruption. Time to change these people full out with criminal acts, Bush right alone with his good buddy DeLay.

I can remember a time when it didn't matter whom was in the Whitehouse, Republician or Democrat, that any press journalist always simply wanted answers and were very tough about follow up questions and finding answers but that has change in the last 5+ years. We've seen the press actually providing Whitehouse damage control to this administration, and this IS in a manner reporters NEVER did before. There is something horribly wrong with the press this days and it's VERY obvious.

Judith Miller was certainbly not alone in what she was doing. And it has been corporations that seek to corrupt US government - congress members and media members all to willing to just let it happen. I never imaged this many people would so willing sell out themselves and their country - the way Judith Miller did this - the way Woodward is doing it now.

Bush is a criminal and he is a liar and that's a fact. Bush isn't a conservative - he's a criminal and yet I don't see congressional Dems fighting the image, in fact they are going right along with Ms. Howell. The Democrat Party is doing NOTHING in the face of this corruption, nothing serious at all or worthwhile like Harry Reid was this week on PBS Newshour using the seriousness of this situation as nothing short of simple political fodder. Reid was simply playing politic with fallout from the Abramoff scandal - as this scandal was mild case mere politic diffences - instead of a actual crime.

I honestly don't know which party is more contemptible anymore.

This isn't the bloggers fight - it's Dems fight but the Dems don't want to fight this with any real message and there is no way in HELL that its that hard to come up with the truth. Reid seem all to happy to let the Abramoff's of world win.

Posted by: Cheryl on January 22, 2006 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

The WAPO and Howell are being dishonest.

Their reasoning is that tribes gave money to Democratic congressmen, Abramoff told the tribes to give money to congressmen, and therefore Abramoff must have told the tribes to give money to Democratic congressmen.

The dishonesty is that they know that isn't really 'logic', and probably isn't true, but think they can put it over based on their reputation and connections.

This is a common practice at the WAPO, and not one that I find to be informative or interesting.

Posted by: serial catowner on January 22, 2006 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

NOTHING TO SEE HERE..MOVE ALONG...NO NO DEMOCRAT EVEN TALKED TO ABRAMHOFF LET ALONE TOOK A CONTRIBUTION FROM HIM...IF YOU DON'T INCLUDE THE FREE GIFTS AND IN KIND CONTRIBUTIONS SUCH AS FREE USE OF HIS SKYBOX:

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV): "Law-Enforcement Authorities And Others Said The [Abramoff] Investigation's Opening Phase Is Scrutinizing ... Minority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat ..." (Jerry Seper and Audrey Hudson, "Abramoff-Linked Probe Focuses On 5 Lawmakers," The Washington Times, 1/11/06)


"[A]bramoff Did Hire As One Of His Lobbyists Edward P. Ayoob, A Veteran Reid Legislative Aide. Manley Acknowledged That Ayoob Helped Raise Campaign Money For His Former Boss. Lawyers Close To The Abramoff Operation Said That Ayoob Held A Fundraising Reception For Reid At Greenberg Traurig's Offices Here." (Jeffrey H. Birnbaum and Derek Willis, "Democrats Also Got Tribal Donations," The Washington Post, 6/3/05)

Dems And Lobbyist Gifts:


Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND): "Law-Enforcement Authorities And Others Said The [Abramoff] Investigation's Opening Phase Is Scrutinizing ... Byron L. Dorgan, North Dakota Democrat ..." (Jerry Seper and Audrey Hudson, "Abramoff-Linked Probe Focuses On 5 Lawmakers," The Washington Times, 1/11/06)


"Republicans Weren't The Only Guests In The Skybox: Senator Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.), Now The Top Democrat On The Indian Affairs Panel, Held A Fund-Raiser In The Abramoff-Controlled MCI Center Skybox In 2001." (Eamon Javers and Lee Walczak, "'Fear And Loathing' Among The GOP," BusinessWeek Online, 4/25/05)

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA): "[T]wice Used Abramoff's Skybox For Fundraisers - Once In 2002 And Again In 2003 - Without Reimbursing. He Also Collected $17,000 From Smith And Other Abramoff-Related Sources In 2003. The Sac & Fox Gave $4,000 More To Harkin In 2004, About Six Months After The Federal Government Allowed The Tribe's Casino To Reopen." (Sharon Theimer, "Lobbyist Helped Sen. Write Tribal Pleas," The Associated Press, 12/3/05)


Reps. James Clyburn (D-SC) And Bennie Thompson (D-MS): "The Records State [Jack Abramoff's Firm] Preston Gates Paid Hotel And Airfare For [Rep. Bennie] Thompson [D-MS] And [Rep. James] Clyburn [D-SC] For Travel To The Island In January 1997. The Two Lawmakers Filed Reports To Congress Saying A Private, Nonprofit Group, Not Abramoff's Firm, Paid The Travel." (Larry Margasak and Sharon Theimer, "AP: Lobbyist Paid For Lawmakers Travel," The Associated Press, 5/3/05)


Dems And Lobbyist's Pay-To-Play Systems:


Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR): "Two Members Of Abramoff's Lobbying Team -- Ron Platt And Eddie Ayoob [Former Reid Staffer] -- Presented The $2,000 [Check From The Mississippi Choctaw's] To Lincoln At A June 2004 Fundraising Luncheon In Washington ..." (Paul Barton, "Convicted Lobbyist Donated To Campaigns Of 2 Arkansans," Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 1/5/06)


Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI): "Stabenow Got $2,000 From The Saginaw [Tribe In Michigan] In March 2002, Around The Time [Sen. Conrad] Burns' Sent His First Letter Requested By The Michigan Lawmakers. She Later Thanked Burns In A Senate Speech For His Help. She Received $2,000 More From The Saginaw About Six Months After Her 2003 Letter." (Sharon Theimer, "Lawmakers Helped Abramoff Tribes Get Federal Money, Collected Donations," The Associated Press, 11/25/05)


Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI): "[R]an Second [In Abramoff Money], With $128,000 [Between 1999-2004]. From 1999 To 2001, Kennedy Chaired The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Which Solicited Campaign Donations For House Candidates." (Jeffrey H. Birnbaum and Derek Willis, "Democrats Also Got Tribal Donations," The Washington Post, 6/3/05)


Dems' "K Street Project":


House Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD): "In An Effort To Counter The GOP's Vaunted 'K Street Project,' Senior House Democrats Are Quietly Reaching Out To Democratic Lobbyists In The Business Community ..." (Brody Mullins, "Hoyer's Own 'K St. Project,'" Roll Call, 5/21/03)


"[D]emocratic Leaders Hope The Outreach Program May One Day Rival A Far-Reaching And Disciplined Campaign Led By Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-Texas) ..." (Brody Mullins, "Hoyer's Own 'K St. Project,'" Roll Call, 5/21/03)

An Unnamed Democrat Lobbyist Involved In The Effort: "Hoyer Has Taken A Page Out Of The Republican Playbook ..." (Brody Mullins, "Hoyer's Own 'K St. Project,'" Roll Call, 5/21/03)

"[A]n Investigation Of The [Foxcom] Agreement Could Touch On House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Whose Office Brokered An Early Meeting For The Company With Committee Staff." (Josephine Hearn, "Pelosi Calls For Investigation Into Ney Dealings With Wireless Firm," The Hill, 10/20/05)


"[A] Member Of Hoyer's Personal Staff Stepped In To Arrange A Meeting Between Foxcom Executives And The Committee's Democratic Staff Director, The Late Bob Bean." (Josephine Hearn, "Pelosi Calls For Investigation Into Ney Dealings With Wireless Firm," The Hill, 10/20/05)

THIRD PARTIES AGREE: ABRAMOFF IS A DEMOCRAT PROBLEM


Larry Noble, Executive Director Of The Center For Responsive Politics, A Non-Partisan Government Watchdog Group, Says Democrats Are Just As Caught Up In The Abramoff Scandal. Noble: "I Would Say, Broadly Defined As A Question Of The Tribes' Buying Influence In Washington, It Includes Democrats." (Donald Lambro, "Dean Denies Party Ties To Abramoff," The Washington Times, 1/11/06)


[Spokane, WA] Spokesman Review: "'Abramoff Was A Republican Operative, And This Is A Republican Scandal,' Said Jim Manley, A Spokesman For Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. Wrong. This Isn't A Partisan Problem, It's An Institutional Problem. And The More Fuel Members Of Congress Heap On A Bonfire Of Public Scorn, The Quicker The American Political Institution Will Turn To Ash." (Editorial, "Leadership Needs Moral Cleansing," [Spokane, WA] Spokesman Review, 1/6/06)


Alex Knott, Analyst At The Non-Partisan Center For Public Integrity: "It's Mostly A Bipartisan Scandal." (Steven Thomma, "Scandal Sullies Both Republicans And Democrats," Knight Ridder Tribune, 1/15/06)


Nicholas Von Hoffman, Columnist For Liberal Magazine The Nation: "Some Of These Politicians Are Acting Like Bold Rogues, Neither Contrite Nor Repentant. Senator Harry Reid, The Democratic Minority Leader Who Was Into Abramoff For $60,000, Isn't Giving A Penny Of It Back. 'I Don't Know Him,' Reid Says Of His Suddenly Anonymous Financial Benefactor." (Nicholas Von Hoffman, Op-Ed, "Do The Crime, Do No Time," The Nation, 1/6/06)


Von Hoffman: "'I Don't Want To Know Him. I Know Nothing About It Other Than What I Read In The Newspaper ... This Is A Republican Scandal.' Harry, You're Going To Have To Do Better Than That. Of Course, You Don't Want To Know Him, But Harry, This Isn't A Republican Scandal." (Nicholas Von Hoffman, Op-Ed, "Do The Crime, Do No Time," The Nation, 1/6/06)

Matthew Continetti, Staff Writer For The Weekly Standard: "Reid Might Not Have Taken Money Directly From Abramoff, A Lifelong Republican And Conservative Activist, But He Did Accept Donations - Some $66,000 Worth - From Abramoff's Clients, Indian Tribes Operating Casinos Throughout The United States." (Matthew Continetti, "The Friends Of Jack Abramoff," The Weekly Standard, 1/16/06)


Continetti: "[R]eid's Willingness To Do So, And His Reluctance To Return The Abramoff-Related Funds, As Many Of His Republican Colleagues Have Done, Suggests That Washington's Latest Lobbying Scandal May Be More Complex Than Partisans Have Let On, And More Difficult For Democrats To Make Partisan Hay Out Of Than Pundits Now Think." (Matthew Continetti, "The Friends Of Jack Abramoff," The Weekly Standard, 1/16/06)

Posted by: Patton on January 22, 2006 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

"What am I talking about? This is Kevin Drum... Smear away!"

Posted by: Neil Sagan on January 22, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK


Good question. What *are* you talking about? Kevin drum and smearing is about like saying Tinkerbell is mean-spirited for always pointing her magic stick at people.

Kevin may be a milquetoast or undecided, but he's anything but crude or mean. His unending civility is a primary reason we love to "come here" to discuss stuff.

Posted by: MarkH on January 22, 2006 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

BLOWS A BIG WHOLE IN THE DEMOCRAT STORY THAT THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS WEREN'T RELATED TO ABRAMHOFF:


"""According to documents and tribal officials familiar with the Abramoff team's methods, the lobbyists devised lengthy lists of lawmakers to whom the tribes should donate and then delivered the lists to the tribes. The tribes, in turn, wrote checks to the recommended campaign committees and in the amounts the lobbyists prescribed."""


"""According to documents and tribal officials familiar with the Abramoff team's methods, the lobbyists devised lengthy lists of lawmakers to whom the tribes should donate and then delivered the lists to the tribes. The tribes, in turn, wrote checks to the recommended campaign committees and in the amounts the lobbyists prescribed""""

""""According to documents and tribal officials familiar with the Abramoff team's methods, the lobbyists devised lengthy lists of lawmakers to whom the tribes should donate and then delivered the lists to the tribes. The tribes, in turn, wrote checks to the recommended campaign committees and in the amounts the lobbyists prescribed""""

Posted by: Patton on January 22, 2006 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

Well, my observation is that traditional media people, reporters but particularly editors, are incredibly thin skinned and defensive. Perhaps it comes from too many years of being the digger and not the dig-ee, or just the arrogance that is necessary to do the job, but the slightest hint of criticism sets the trad media into paroxyms of defensiveness that would get most Americans sent to the employee assistance program for counseling at best and just fired on the spot at worst.

They wouldn't accept this defensiveness and refusal to answer from their subjects, but they demand that it be accepted in them.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on January 22, 2006 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

Oh Kevin, you are so "reasonable" these days, so even handed. You take umbrage at a liberal poster complaining about the religion reporter's review of a book on evolution in the NY Times Sunday Review of Books. However, you rather mischaracterized the nature of his complaints.

For the record, the Times reviewer stated that she thinks something called "evolutionism" should be taught in religion class (along with the other creation myths), because she perceived in the (unnamed) evolutionary theorists that she claims to have read have a "spiritual" aspect implicit to their ideas of progress.

Of course, the problem is that evolutionary theorists reject that these processes represent a "progression" leading inexorably from simpler organisms to ourselves (or any other extant organism). To even imply such a thing is enough to get nailed in a freshman biology class at my university. On this basis, it seems quite unlikely, at least to me, that this person has read any of the important modern evolutionary theorists. People like Dobzhansky, Simpson or Mayr, who created the new synthesis of evolution and genetics in the 1930s. Or even a modern popular view like that of Richard Dawkins. And if she did read it, she certainly didn't understand what she read. And so I ask, what was she doing reviewing this book?

Sorry, this bullshit has to be called out at once, the post was spot on.

Posted by: Ba'al on January 22, 2006 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

Harkin pays for his use of skybox
By Josephine Hearn

Sen. Tom Harkin failed to account properly for two fundraisers he held in lobbyist Jack Abramoffs skybox at Washingtons MCI Center in 2002 and 2003, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and a spokeswoman for the Iowa Democrat.


FEC rules require that lawmakers and their fundraising committees pay for the use of such facilities or report the cost as in-kind donations in monthly or quarterly reports.

Harkin only recently discovered that the events had been improperly accounted for, said his spokeswoman, Allison Dobson.


Harkins disclosure is the latest example that the expanding Abramoff scandal has the potential to ensnare a few Democrats.

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) reported a $1,800 in-kind donation from the Choctaws for use of the same box in 2001. Dorgan has said that, despite having held an event in Abramoffs skybox, he did not know the lobbyist.

Dorgan, who was among the lawmakers receiving the greatest amount of campaign contributions from Abramoffs tribal clients, is now the vice chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, which is leading an investigation into Abramoffs questionable dealings with the tribe.

A principal lobbyist working on the account with Abramoff was Stephanie Leger Short, a Democrat married to Toby Short, a legislative assistant in Dorgans personal office.

It was unclear at press time whether the Indian Affairs Committee would call Leger Short as a witness in the upcoming hearing. Leger Short, who once worked as an aide to former Sen. John Breaux (D-La.), now heads up federal lobbying for the state of Louisiana.

The name on the outside of the skybox said Jack Abramoff."


Posted by: Patton on January 22, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

One of the least appealing aspects of the blogosphere is its obsession with "media criticism," most of which, upon examination, turns out to have about as much heft and substance as a Krispy Kreme donut.

Boy, am I glad I read this entire post. I begin my reading at Bloglines and this RSS feed doesn't display the entire entry.

I assumed based on the lead sentence that Kevin was going to once again play daddy and chastize everyone who criticized the nice media. Truth be told, my immediate reaction was that I have had enough of equivication and "above it all". I was a literally about to remove this bookmark.

I also assumed that Kevin simply stayed away from this subject all week because of his potential relationship with the WaPo, at least as a periodic op-ed columinst.

I must now admit my guilt of making a poor assumption and admit that I am pleasently surprised that Kevin understands what is an extremely straight-forward issue.

Thank you Kevin for restoring some of my faith in you. I don't mind differing views and we all don't have to agree on every issue. However, it is issues like this where people demonstrate whether they are forthright and logical vs. simply being a hack who simply spouts talking points without second thought.

----

By the way, I think Brady's response demonstrates his true colors. I also have seen no evidence of an overwhelming set of crude and deragatory comments at the post. His statement of hundreds of such comments does not pass the smell test as there were few if any posts questioning why comments were being deleted in the comments section on the post in question. This occured the previous day when they said they encountered a software issue.

Additionally, this magic list showing contributions directed to Democrats has still not appeared in full, though every single post reporter trots it out in their talking points. This thing must be dynamite one way or another. Alternatively, the Post employs a bunch of hacks willing to photoshop and crop graphics to implicate Democrats to serve their personal purposes.

It is clear to me that the Post has been a party to the Media equivalent of the K Street Project. The rules are set...follow our lead, or miss out on all of the free food.

It is a shame and a travesty.

Posted by: justmy2 on January 22, 2006 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

Is this true? Have these lists been made public? If so where? If not, why not? Did I miss something? Isn't this pretty important?

See my post above....these lists are either being saved for maximum damage to Democrats, or they are being held back for minimum damage to Republicans. I can think of no other explanation why the Post has not been willing to release these documents over the past year.

None!

Posted by: justmy2 on January 22, 2006 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

Just keep in mind, Indian tribes were heavy Democratic contributors long before the AbraMafia rode into town. That the tribes gave money to Dems is a specious argument at best.

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 22, 2006 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

Jay Rosen: I believe that's the contradiction Howell, and John Harris, and Leonard Downie and even Jim Brady don't grasp

Jay: They have lost the benefit of the doubt in my mind. They are no longer neutral observers. I don't know if they are Conservative shills, but they certainly are power shills. It seems that the same complaints that many on the left are making now are almost identical to those of the right when the left was in power. They want their access and are simply willing to ignore straight forward facts and reasoning in an effort not to make the party in power upset.

Now this may be how Washington works, but it doesn't allow them to plead ignorance. They are willing accomplices.

This quote from Len Downie will always remind me that he is unqualified to be the editor of one of our nation's most prominent newspapers.

[Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard] Downie Jr. said he believes the Swift Boat Veterans coverage had been fair and properly scrutinizing. 'We have printed the facts and some of those facts have undermined Kerry's opponents,' he said. 'We are not judging the credibility of Kerry or the (Swift Boat) Veterans, we just print the facts.'

As if one the first rules of journalism is not to evaluate the credibility of your sources to determine if you are truly reporting a fact...it says a whole lot about the recent direction of the Post.

Posted by: justmy2 on January 22, 2006 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

If you think that quoting the Discovery institute is not legitimate grounds for complaint, you might want to look a little more deeply into the Discovery institute.

I think Tristero's complaints were completely justified.

Posted by: Tad Brennan on January 22, 2006 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

So this is what the left has been reduced to: insulting, abusing, and ragging on seventy year old ladies. And to what purpose? Even if you win your battle with her, what will it get you? An electoral victory? Hardly. A proof of your moral superiority? Of course not.

So, obviously, just for the heck of it, the left wants to beat up on an old lady, and then complains when the woman turns out to be a feisty fighter.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 22, 2006 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz, if a seventy year old woman wants to put herself out there as a competent professional, then what is the problem? You would not want us to commit the sin of age discrimination, would you? If she is so frail and cannot take the heat, then she should have the good sense to remove herself from the arena.

Posted by: jcricket on January 22, 2006 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

So this is what the left has been reduced to: insulting, abusing, and ragging on seventy year old ladies.

It is not only insulting little old ladies. It is misogynistic attacks on little old ladies.

Let's remember the true lesson here: the extreme left wing are misogynists.

We already know that the extreme left wing are racists. Now we have proof that the extreme left wing are misogynists too.

Posted by: Al on January 22, 2006 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

"feisty?" Good grief.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 22, 2006 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

Look, Abramoff was at he center of the Republicans' corrupt money machine, but he was also a lobbyist, and a lobbyist who doesn't do his job isn't going to have clients. A lobbyist who told his clients never to donate to Democrats, even when those Democrats were in positions important to decisions involving the clients, wouldn't remain a lobbyist for long. But note that the tribes gave more to Democrats and less to Republicans in the time before they hired Abramoff, so it does seem that Abramoff was doing his best to maximize donations to Republicans while still appearing to represent his clients' interests.

The question isn't whether Abramoff's clients gave to Democrats (which is perfectly legal), even if the donations were "directed" by him. The question is whether any Democrats were bribed or did anything else illegal. And so far there is zero evidence of that. The whole discussion about donations by the Indian tribes is irrelevant and borderline racist.

Posted by: KCinDC on January 22, 2006 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

"feisty"

You call that cowardly non-response "feisty"?

What planet do you live on?

Go Seahawks!!!!!

Posted by: bobbyp on January 22, 2006 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

Come on, Kevin, get real. Tristero over at Hullabaloo is pretty obviously *not* just complaining that the Times quoted someone from Discovery.

And even if it had just been that complaint, it would still have been perfectly legitimate. DI is a collection of cranks without any social, political or scientific merit; they should be ignored and they shouldn't be quoted, let alone in the credulous (or even sycophantic) way that the NYT did.

Posted by: Anarch on January 22, 2006 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

yeah bobbyp, I'm with ya:

GO SEAHAWKS

(Geez, hope no one thinks I'm patton)

Posted by: jcricket on January 22, 2006 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

There's another huge gaping problem - what the hell is an ombudsman, ostensibly the voice of the readership within the management doing writing columns on partisan subjects? If you are to represent the readers' concerns (liberal, conservative, libertarian, environmental, whatever), in a faithful way, you simply cannot go publicly expressing an opinion on the issues they are concerned about, or even really being one of the reporters you're supposed to monitor. It is a quite evident conflict on interest. The Post should know this, and should either remove her as ombudsman or as a columnist. She has no business being both.

Posted by: Eric E on January 22, 2006 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

Neil Sagan: Mr. Drums post is mean-spirited. If he wanted act responsibly, he would contact Ms. Kargman (she left her email address in his comments section) and ask her questions about her experience. He would also apologize for his mean-spirited post. Equipped with enough information to make a fair and informed judgment, he could then post a blog entry about the issues she raised and her credibility or naivet.

Give me a break. Kargman breezed in and claimed she had information that mitigated her naivete or guilt (pick one), but that the Post gave her a word limit so she couldn't include said info. I pointed out that we have no such word limit here, and invited her to explain herself. She ran away like a scared bunny. I got your Kargman credibility right here.

Posted by: shortstop on January 22, 2006 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

Looking at the NY Times book review that people have complained about, I honestly can't for the life of me see what's seriously wrong with it.

Most of what people seem to find objectionable, e.g., talk of "evolutionism", is really the product of the self-identified "ardent Darwinian" author of one of the books reviewed, himself a philosopher of science. As best I can make out, the reviewer is simply paraphrasing the points made in that book.

Someone explain to me the error in this review, please? Surely, it can't be simply quoting someone from the Discovery Institute? Who else is going to speak for ID, for Christ's sakes, however intellectually disreputable it might be?

What's the smoking gun offense in this review?

Posted by: frankly0 on January 22, 2006 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

wow Kevin. I don't know if you ever bother to read this far down in the thread but your characterizaton of Tristero's analysis is so off base and misleading that I can scarcely believe that your wrote it. Really. What the hell were you thinking when you wrote that: I've come across this from a liberal, complaining that the New York Times dared to even quote someone from the Discovery Institute.

Man. that is such a dishonest treatment of that post at digby that I don't even know where to begin. What the hell is happening to you, man.

Posted by: brent on January 22, 2006 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) has a lot of good media criticism. Here's one about censoring anti-war views off TV:

http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=2721

Posted by: Tony Christini on January 22, 2006 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

Well, brent, didn't tristero, in fact, complain about the quote from the person at the Discovery Institute? As best I can make it out, the complaint was based on the idea that the NY TImes reviewer had the gall to quote this person (which quote struck me as quite appropriate in the context) without spending anything like enough time trashing the person and the Discovery Institute.

Of course, tristero went on to make some other points. Mostly those, too, amounted to the idea that the reviewer wasn't following some strict, simplistic party line about what scientists "really" believe about the philosophical assumptions behind their science, and their talk about the meaning of that science.

I gotta tell you, the whole thing smacks of a kind of anti-intellectualism.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 22, 2006 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

The General has the last word about the Howell dustup.

Posted by: G. Jones on January 22, 2006 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

Well, brent, didn't tristero, in fact, complain about the quote from the person at the Discovery Institute? As best I can make it out, the complaint was based on the idea that the NY TImes reviewer had the gall to quote this person (which quote struck me as quite appropriate in the context) without spending anything like enough time trashing the person and the Discovery Institute.

Yes tristero complained about the quote and went on to note that the quote was not put into anything like a reasonable context. To quote from the post:

Shulevitz lets some creationist from Discovery rail against Judge Jones' brilliant decision in Kitzmiller v. Dover for somehow imposing his religious opinions on others. You'd never guess that during the trial, this very same judge listened patiently for hours while creationist "experts" demonstrated from their own words that "intelligent design" was just a new phrase for the same old creationism and that in fact these same "experts" had repeatedly stated that "intelligent design" was invented to bring religious ideas back into public schools.

In fact one would not get anything like that contextualization from the review. Now maybe Kevin believes and maybe you believe that that contextualization is either incorrect or irrelevant. I would think that you are both wrong but it is beside the point that I am trying to make. That point is that to characterize Tristero's argument as being about merely the inclusion of an ID's opponent quote is deepy dishonest. What he states quite explicitly is that the book review is mischaracterizing the debate as a debate between religion and science when it is really no such thing:

This mischaracterization persists despite considerable evidence that it is simply not the case that this is a religion/science clash of civilizations. Rather, it really is a fight between a handful of well-funded lunatics clamoring to make their particular religion - and no one else's - a State religion and the rest of us, who know that that is one of the stupidest fucking ideas ever.

Maybe Tristero is wrong. I don't think so but again this is beside the point. One would not even guess at his actual argument from the way Kevin characterizes it.

Posted by: brent on January 22, 2006 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

Here's the offending quote from the ID guy, in its full context in the first paragraph of the NY Times review.

In the merely controversial part of his decision last month banning "intelligent design" from biology classes in Dover, Pa., Judge John E. Jones III ruled that intelligent design, a theory that attributes the complexity of life to supernatural causes, amounts to religion, not science. In the part that really drove some of the theory's supporters crazy, he pronounced it "utterly false" to think that evolution is incompatible with faith in God. An editorialist on the Web site of the Discovery Institute, a research group that promotes intelligent design, declared that the judge had no right to tell him what to believe. "This is like a judge assuring us that it is 'utterly false' that Judaism is inconsistent with eating pork," he wrote.

I can only say that I find that quote pretty unremarkable in that context. Yes, the reviewer didn't actually get into the whole background of that trial, and how outrageous ID is. But that wasn't where the review, or the books that were being reviewed, were really going.

Can this be a serious complaint?

And let me say this. If, indeed, the judge said that it is "utterly false" to believe that evolution is incompatible with faith in God, that is, ANYONE'S faith, I DO think that's legitimately incorrect.

Why shouldn't someone believe on faith things that are incompatible with the findings of science? Who are we to presume to say they can't? Certainly Jesus' purported miracles, for example, were incompatible with science, right? Otherwise, where's the miracle?

The real problem with ID is that it PRETENDS to be scientific, when emphatically it is NOT. It is indeed simply incompatible with the findings and methodology of science. For the vast majority of people, so much the worse for the faith assumed by those ID "theorists"; it is the best evidence that it's not worth believing in.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 22, 2006 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

I can only say that I find that quote pretty unremarkable in that context. Yes, the reviewer didn't actually get into the whole background of that trial, and how outrageous ID is. But that wasn't where the review, or the books that were being reviewed, were really going.

Can this be a serious complaint?

Whether or not it is a serious complaint, the fact is that it is not the complaint that Kevin characterized it as being. To say that Tristero was merely complaining that the article even deigned to mention a creationist's argument is not only incorrect but a dishonest representation of the post. I have disagreed with Kevin on many of his posts in the past but I have never known him to be deliberately dishonest so this surprised me and that is essentially what I stated in my first post.

Now with respect to the judge's argument that evolution and faith in god are not imcompatible, he clearly meant it, in context, in an inclusive sense. He was quite obviously stating that it is possible to believe in both given that there are scientists who do believe both. He was obviously not saying that it was impossible to believe in one and not the other. What would even be the point of trying to make the latter argument? Of course noone on earth believes believes that.

Posted by: brent on January 22, 2006 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

brent,

I'm not sure why you believe that Kevin was purporting to characterize the WHOLE of tristero's post, rather than one point it makes (in fact the first point). Certainly it suffices for Kevin's larger point that some aspect of the post was far off the mark.

And I don't know what the judge was really claiming. Certainly, from the standpoint of the ID advocates, it's NOT particularly relevant to THEM that there are other religions, other faiths, which DO find evolution compatible with their own faith.

Obviously, what matters to these people is that THEIR faith is incompatible with evolution; THAT is the sticking point; I can't imagine any reason they would have to argue the more general point that NO ONE'S faith is compatible with evolution.

It would be nice to see a more detailed characterization of what the judge said, exactly, on this point.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 23, 2006 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

Again. It is quite clear to me that nowhere in the post was Tristero making the point that the NY Times should not even quote ID advocates. The point was that this quote did not give a proper context to the debate - a debate which the article then went on to discuss. I believe Kevin's characterization of it misrepresents this point and I do not think anyone actually reading the post, including Kevin, comes away from reading Tristero's post thinking that ID's position should simple be ignored by the mainstream press. I don't know to state my point any clearer than that.

With respect to the judge's discussion of the compatibility of faith and science, I think his point is stated quite clearly:

Both Defendants and many of the leading proponents of ID make a bedrock assumption which is utterly false. Their presupposition is that evolutionary theory is antithetical to a belief in the existence of a supreme being and to religion ingeneral. Repeatedly in this trial, Plaintiffs scientific experts testified that the theory of evolution represents good science, is overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community, and that it in no way conflicts with, nor does it deny, the existence of a divine creator.

If you are trying to say that this should not be a controversial point than obviously I agree. But it is abundantly clear that for ID advocates it is and that is what Judge Jones addressed quite directly.

Posted by: brent on January 23, 2006 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

brent,

Let me just focus on one point.

Consider the sentence from the judge,

Repeatedly in this trial, Plaintiffs scientific experts testified that the theory of evolution represents good science, is overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community, and that it in no way conflicts with, nor does it deny, the existence of a divine creator.

Isn't this assertion on its face seriously wrong? How is the testimony of scientific experts somehow determinative of whether or not belief in evolution is compatible with the existence of a divine creator? Who are THEY to presume to speak to that issue, or the judge to rely on such testimony? Isn't THAT issue clearly a matter of religion and faith to which scientists, as scientists, are NOT competent to speak?

I can certainly understand why the ID people would find this assertion remarkably arrogant and offensive. Personally, I just find it stupid, unless it has some meaning other than the obvious one (which certainly happens in the law).

Posted by: frankly0 on January 23, 2006 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

This is why the internet will be the end of traditional news services like newspapers. Newspapers have generally been monoliths without real competition except from rival newspapers. As the capitalist need to consolidate markets advances monopolies, newspapers have only received criticism from a peer review perspective outside the average readers' perspective. Now that the internet makes all information available to all people, newspapers are critized in real time by their readers about their suspect reporting, which they never had to contend with before and, it is apparent from the Post's reaction, are not comfortable with. Old media editors are unable to understand they no longer control the public consciousness with their local print monopolies.

A growing number of readers, soon to be a majority, are able to find contradictory information immediately and then respond to it. Newspapers are not equipped to handle this new information feedback. Newspapers' traditional control of information in a community is over and unless they adapt to the new decentralizing ability of the internet, they will become media relics of the past, like gothic cathedrals.

Posted by: Powerpuff on January 23, 2006 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

frankly0,

Wow. You and I clearly interpret that statement and the definition of compatible wildly differently. Given your interpretation I find it hard to believe that we could even come close to seeeing eye to eye on this one.

But just to clarify my position on what you have just posted, I can't imagine who should address the question of whether or not science is compatible with any belief system, religious or otherwise, if not a scientist. This is, after all, a question about the boundaries of scientific inquiry. Who but an evolutionary scientist should address whether or not evolutionary theory even addresses the existence of God? Do you really mean to argue that theists should be the ones addressing the epistemological boundaries of evolutionary theory?

The alternative, of course, is that an ID spokesman gets to define evolutionary theory as being incompatible with belief in God. Not just incompatible with their specific religious beliefs but incompatible or antithetical to a general belief in God. This is not only flatly untrue given that there are many many scientists who clearly do believe in both. It seems the very definition of arrogance.

Posted by: brent on January 23, 2006 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

brent,

My basic point is that scientists are NOT competent to speak to the question of whether the existence of a divine being is, or is not, compatible with evolution. That entire question is entirely outside the realm of science. What they ARE in a position to say is what I have just said, namely that science simply does not address the issue of a divine being, at all, period. They can bear witness to the idea that they do not regard THEIR particular belief in God as incompatible with their scientific views, but then they are going outside the strict realm of science to make that claim, and are bringing in their faith.

I do think that an ID spokesman, or any religious person, is in a privileged position to say whether or not their particular belief in God is compatible with evolution. In effect, it is simply a matter of faith whether or not those beliefs are compatible. No outside person can presume to tell them that they are simply wrong, in fact, about this.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 23, 2006 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK
One of the least appealing aspects of the blogosphere is its obsession with "media criticism," most of which, upon examination, turns out to have about as much heft and substance as a Krispy Kreme donut.

But not nearly as unappealing as the adoption -- apparently from the punditocracy of the MSM -- of the practice of trying to establish credibility by leading with a graph bashing others who engage in doing exactly what you'll be doing with the rest of your piece so as to say "I'm usually on the other side, but..."

Posted by: cmdicely on January 23, 2006 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK
My basic point is that scientists are NOT competent to speak to the question of whether the existence of a divine being is, or is not, compatible with evolution.

Sure they are, even if not uniquely so. Some may even be better positioned than most others, since they are likely to have a better idea of what evolution is, which is a rather key point to that inquiry. They aren't exclusively competent to do so, however.

That entire question is entirely outside the realm of science.

So? Being a scientist is not an exclusive vocation which makes you especially incompetent to speak on matters outside the scope of science.

They can bear witness to the idea that they do not regard THEIR particular belief in God as incompatible with their scientific views, but then they are going outside the strict realm of science to make that claim, and are bringing in their faith.

They are also competent -- evolutionary scientists themselves particularly so -- to evaluate the compatibility of any well-defined concept of God with evolution, without regard to whether they believe or disbelieve in that particular concept.

I do think that an ID spokesman, or any religious person, is in a privileged position to say whether or not their particular belief in God is compatible with evolution.

I see no rational underpinning for this belief.

In effect, it is simply a matter of faith whether or not those beliefs are compatible.

I don't think it is a matter of faith whether two propositions are compatible, even if belief in one of the two can only be justified on the basis of faith.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 23, 2006 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

The Washington Post, like the rest of the corporate-owned mass media from which the vast majority of Americans get virtually all of their information, is deliberately and blatantly shilling for the Republican Party, and is deliberately and blatantly disinforming and deceiving the public.

Their ultra-rich owners, CEOs and top management support right-wing Republican power with its policies of transferring taxation from capital to labor, deregulating their industry to allow the huge media corporations to buy up more and more TV and radio stations and networks and print media, and increasing and entrenching the power of corporations over human beings.

It really is that simple.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 23, 2006 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

Abramoff was a kingpin of the K Street Project.

I do not think this is correct. Abramoff did not have the deep pockets of defense contractors or energy companies or AIPAC. Abramoff had to basically steal from Indian casinos to have the bucks to pass around and wield power. Without the money from the tribes Abramoff is just another schmuck wannabe. The kingpins of the K St. Project are the CEO of Northrop Grumman, who intorduced Negroponte by his first name this week at the World Affairs Councils meeting, and the American Gas Association, who hold parties and fund raisers for scum like Rep. Pombo. These orgs are not being touched by the Abramoff scandal, and they keep on lobbying with the big bucks they do not have to steal because their money comes from 'legitimate' businesses.

Posted by: Powerpuff on January 23, 2006 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely and brent,

Look, let's just go back to the Jesus miracle example I used.

In the Bible, Jesus supposedly turned water into wine, and made loaves appear in empty baskets.

Now some people take this as a metaphor for the generosity of the people Jesus inspired, the idea being that they provided the wine and bread themselves, without any supernatural intervention.

Others believe that, literally, Jesus turned water into wine, and made the loaves of bread appear out of nothing, with explicit supernatural intervention.

Now a scientist can be called upon to say that he doesn't believe that turning water into wine, or making bread appear from nothingness, is scientifically possible. He can also say that, in his own set of beliefs, belief in those "miracles" is compatible with his scientific views, because he adopts the first account I put forth.

But is he in a position to say that the predictions of science are fully compatible with the miracles? Prsumably, ONLY IF he refuses to adopt the second sort of account, the literal account, of those miracles.

But THAT is a matter of faith, of a particular faith. And the scientist is in NO position to speak generally about what OTHER people believe.

Likewise for evolution; a scientist, qua scientist, can ONLY speak to what his science tells hims about divine beings, namely nothing. Qua scientist, he has NOTHING TO SAY about whether or not evolution is compatible with a belief in divine beings. If someone else says, MY belief in God IS incompatible with evolution, how can he presume to contradict them on that point?

Is this really hard to understand?

Posted by: frankly0 on January 23, 2006 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

I do think that an ID spokesman, or any religious person, is in a privileged position to say whether or not their particular belief in God is compatible with evolution.

Well here is exactly the problem and where I see you misinterpreting the judge's statement. The issue isn't whether or not, as you say, their belief is "compatible with evolution" but whether a belief in God is compatible with a belief in evolution.

To go back to the statement: ...the theory of evolution... in no way conflicts with, nor does it deny, the existence of a divine creator. I see that that as essentially another way of stating what you just did which is that science does not address the issue of the existence of some Supreme Being. If that is a true statment about what science addresses, then how can anyone say that belief in one is incompatible with a belief in the other. Moreover, who is in a better position than a scientist, religious or otherwise, to define what science does or does not say with respect to a belief in God. Again, this is precisely a question about the boundaries of scientific inquiry. Scientists are saying "hey, evolution isn't anti-belief in God. Hell it doesn't even address the question of whether God exists. Thus, it is perfectly consistent (or compatible if you wish) to believe in both." Now Creationist advocates may believe that is not the case but what is in dispute is not their beliefs but their understanding of what science has to say with respect to those beliefs.

Posted by: brent on January 23, 2006 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

Likewise for evolution; a scientist, qua scientist, can ONLY speak to what his science tells hims about divine beings, namely nothing. Qua scientist, he has NOTHING TO SAY about whether or not evolution is compatible with a belief in divine beings. If someone else says, MY belief in God IS incompatible with evolution, how can he presume to contradict them on that point?

Neither the scientist or the judge is interested in telling anyone about whether their particular belief is incompatible with anything. It seems quite plain to me that the judge's statement does no such thing. As he says, their presupposition is that evolutionary theory is antithetical to a belief in the existence of a supreme being and to religion in general. It is the defendants who are presupposing a definition of evolutionary theory that makes it antithetical to science and he is on quite solid ground to argue that this definition of evolutionary theory is flatly incorrect. He states repeatedly that the defendants are, of course, quite free to believe whatever they like about evolutionary theory, God or anything else. They are just not allowed to impose a definition of science in the classroom that is not accepted by the scientific community. So yes, your point is difficult to understand. I frankly don't see the controversy here.

Posted by: brent on January 23, 2006 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK
Now a scientist can be called upon to say that he doesn't believe that turning water into wine, or making bread appear from nothingness, is scientifically possible. He can also say that, in his own set of beliefs, belief in those "miracles" is compatible with his scientific views, because he adopts the first account I put forth.

But is he in a position to say that the predictions of science are fully compatible with the miracles? Prsumably, ONLY IF he refuses to adopt the second sort of account, the literal account, of those miracles.

His ability to say that the metaphorical interpretation is consistent with established scientific theory is not dependent on his believing it, nor is his ability to say that the literal interpretation is not.

I'll repeat what I said before, a scientist with expertise in a field is particularly well equipped to answer whether any well-defined proposition is consistent with scientific theory in that field, and that is completely independent of whether or not they believe in the proposition or not.

Likewise for evolution; a scientist, qua scientist, can ONLY speak to what his science tells hims about divine beings, namely nothing.

This is inaccurate and/or irrelevant. The question isn't what can a scientist say about divine beings, its whether a scientist say about the consistency of the idea of a supreme being, a divine creator specifically, with evolutionary science. A scientists, qua scientist, can answer quite a lot about that question, because it is a question of what does evolutionary theory exclude, not a question about "divine beings". If there is any interpretation of a divine creator not necessarily and logically excluded by evolutionary theory then, whether or not determining the existence of such a creator is itself within the realm of science, an evolutionary scientist, as such, is well-equipped to say that the concept of a divine creator is not contrary to science.

That does not exclude the possibility that there may be particular concepts of divine creation that are not compatible with science. But then, that's not the issue with the court case you took issue with.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 23, 2006 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

Hello,

I have a request of the board. Does anyone have any decent blog posts or stories about the "Froomkin Flap"? I've heard it mentioned several times, including on this very thread, but I seemed to have missed the whole spat.

Posted by: Dismayed Liberal on January 23, 2006 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

That does not exclude the possibility that there may be particular concepts of divine creation that are not compatible with science.

But were the ID exponents REALLY arguing that NO religion, NO faith that believes in "God" can accept evolution? How could they possibly argue that, when, quite demonstrably, any number of mainstream religions accept both God and the findings of science?

Clearly, they must have been arguing that, as far as THEY are concerned, THEIR religion and belief is incompatible with evolution.

And again, how can a scientist contradict them on that point? If the creationists believe, as a matter of faith, in the literal version of the Garden of Eden, in which Adam and Eve were created fully formed from essentially nothing, how can a scientist claim that that religious faith is wrong as a matter of faith? And isn't the creationist fully in his rights, as a matter of faith, to say that evolution contradicts his views? How much detail does he need to know that the Eden story and evolution are incompatible? It requires no scientist to see THAT contradiction, right -- even the most elementary understanding of the meaning of the term evolution contradicts the literal Eden story.

What the scientist can do is to say is that it would conflict with science, just as he can say that Jesus miracle of the wine and bread would conflict with science.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 23, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

But were the ID exponents REALLY arguing that NO religion, NO faith that believes in "God" can accept evolution?

Well no. They were arguing and do argue until today that evolution is inherently atheistic and that is what the judge addressed as opposed to what it is that you think he is addressing. You seem to think that he is trying to make some argument about what position the defendants should hold on their religion. He isn't and I don't think his statement can be reasonably interpreted that way.

Clearly, they must have been arguing that, as far as THEY are concerned, THEIR religion and belief is incompatible with evolution.

If that was the limit of what they were saying, believe me nobody would give a shit about any of this. This case was about what to do with science not what to do with religion.

And isn't the creationist fully in his rights, as a matter of faith, to say that evolution contradicts his views?

He can say, as a matter of faith, logic, delusion or anything else, whatever the hell he wants. The question is, is it an accurate understanding of science and particularly the epistemological underpinnings of science. It isn't and the judge said so. Again, not especially controversial.

Posted by: brent on January 23, 2006 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK
But were the ID exponents REALLY arguing that NO religion, NO faith that believes in "God" can accept evolution?

Was that the actual argument? Yes, they, in fact, argued that evolution contradicted the idea of faith in a divine creator.

How could they possibly argue that, when, quite demonstrably, any number of mainstream religions accept both God and the findings of science?

That's one reason why their argument is unpersuasive.

Clearly, they must have been arguing that, as far as THEY are concerned, THEIR religion and belief is incompatible with evolution.

You seem to operate on the assumption that it is impossible for people to argue for a position which is clearly false. This premise is inaccurate.

The ID proponents emphatically deny that their problem with evolution is centered around advancing a particular mode of religious belief.

You'd like them to have been arguing about their particular religion, but that's not the argument they made.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 23, 2006 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

The W.Post has made a huge mistake that will threaten their long term ability to remain a relevant media company. If the Post were to allow anyone to comment on all of their stories and op-eds they would become the most popular website of all time. It is their parochial attitude of desiring control over all of their content that will be their demise. All they have to do is look at what allowing commenting has done to the Washington Monthly, making it a daily rather than a once a month read. I do not know the traffic stats for WM, but I bet it has ten to a hundred times the traffic it had before it became Political Animal.

Posted by: Powerpuff on January 24, 2006 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

Let's say I give two cookies to my kid every day after school for a year. Then along comes my spouse and tells me to give my kid one cookie per day.

One could technically say that my spouse "directed" me to give my kid one cookie, but that is clearly misleading. More accurately, my spouse "directed" me to STOP giving my kid a cookie. And I am quite sure that my kid would see it that way, just as I'm sure that was how the Dems viewed Abramoff's work.

A journalist who gave a damn about the truth would make sure to reflect that reality in their reporting.

Posted by: cramer on January 24, 2006 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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