Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Woodman tumbles

Mike phoned me to see if I was going to blog tonight. I told him probably and he pointed out that Elaine takes Thursday off because she has to run a group therapy session and that Seth's busy with work and school so if I do blog can I grab one thing from Democracy Now!?

Mike's a good friend and Democracy Now! is a good show so I'll pull something to spotlight and just do a mix post. First Democracy Now!:

FEC Announces Investigation of Hip-Hop Mogul Combs
The Federal Election Commision will investigate a conservative organization's complaint against hip-hop mogul Sean Combs, also known as Diddy. The National Legal Policy Center alleges Combs violated federal electoral and revenue laws by using a voter registration drive to promote the election of John Kerry in last year’s Presidential elections. Combs helped found the group "Citizen Change", which held a widely-publicized campaign to enlist young voters. The group cited instances where speakers made anti-Bush comments at Citizen Change events.

Do they really want to go there? Do they want us to turn around and note all the White churches that used their church's time to push Bully Boy? And didn't they learn anything from their attacks on Kanye West? African-Americans aren't too fond of seeing a bunch of White right-wingers (sometimes with a token Uncle Tom) trashing us.

They just gave P Diddy publicity and you can be sure no one will be trashing him in the Black community over the next few days. We know how to close ranks when we are under attack.

Lot of people seem to be closing ranks over Bob Woodward. Is it the cat that's got CJR Daily's tongue or is the coward? Me thinks it's the coward.

What does CJR Daily cover? The press. And where is there Bob Woodward story? It's no where to be found. Judith Miller? They yapped and yapped about her. There's not a bit of difference between the problems that led to Miller leaving the New York Times and those that Woodward faces now.

Both lived on anonymice. Both concealed things from their editors. Both were involved in Plamegate.

Is Bob Woodward an employee of the Washington Post or their chief client? That's the sort of question CJR Daily should be asking. (I haven't spoken to C.I. today. I did speak to Rebecca and I know from her some of what is going on at CJR but only a little.) So CJR Daily wants to cover the press in "real time" but can't find the "time" to cover what's going on with Bob Woodward.

Are they scared? Are they afraid of offending the biggest name in journalism? This all reminds me of the kid gloves treatment Doris Kearns Goodwin got when she was outed for plagiarism. It didn't stick to her. She can still go on Meet the Press and tubby Tim never will ask, "Is that your final answer? Are you sure that is your final answer or did you swipe it from someone else?"

A dumb kid like Jayson Blair sees all that sort of thing happen so it's no surprise he betrays the public and thinks he can get away with it and be rewarded for it. The biggies get protected and the little guys who do the exact same lying get their heads chopped off.

Where's the ridicule towards Doris Kearns Goodwin?

If you're white and of the clubby little set, people take a pass. Like CJR does today and yesterday on Bob Woodward. They are supposed to be the watchdog organization on the press and they've yet to write a piece on this. (Their whiney ass, embarrassing blog report doesn't count.)

C.I.'s nicest about CJR. The rest of us would love to heap the ridicule they've earned on them.
C.I. will participate, at The Third Estate Sunday Review, with a piece that's humorous and that sends up but that's about it.

I'm not slamming C.I. for that. I understand. CJR, in all its forms, can do great work. But they aren't doing great work these days. Their silence on Bob Woodward puts the coward in CJR, Coward Journalism Review. They ought to be ashamed. Even AJR (American Journalism Review) has weighed in on the topic of Woody.

Rebecca's not silent on Bob Woodward at her site. Here's something from "little miss run amuck bob woodward:"

his books read like transcripts of a barbara walters tv special.
so who can pretend to be surprised that it turns out while he was saying 'nothing to see her, move along' the whole time he's being less than honest?
hasn't his post-career since watergate been built upon being less than honest?there are 2 set of rules at the washington post, there are the rules for bobbo and then there are the rules for every 1 else.
'little miss run amuck' could have been and should have been bob woodward's name. while judy miller was still a reporter - yeah kiddies, once upon a time, she was a real reporter - bobbo was already a practicing get rewarded for stenography and bobbo certainly has been rewarded.
year after year he's trotted out as the 'brave' reporter who once helped break the watergate story. smarter voices ask the janet question: 'i know you used to do nice stuff for me, but what have you done for me lately?'
forget barney, he is the white house pooch. belly scratched, head petted and fed, he was neutered and white house broken long ago.
need more info? check out c.i.'s 'Editorial: Someone explain to Bob Woodward that a reporter reports.'

I heart Rebecca. She's so passionate and so funny. Another writer I love, obviously, is C.I. and let's note "Editorial: Someone explain to Bob Woodward that a reporter reports:"

How ethical was it for him to weigh in on a case which he could be forced to testify on (and was forced to)? How ethical when he's not being upfront that he has his own conflict of interest?When he's saying on national TV that he doesn't have a "bombshell," that he doesn't even have a "firce cracker"?
He had something but he sat on it. And he failed to disclose while repeating cloaking himself in the guise of "objectivity" and wrapping himself in the name of the paper.
Bob Woodward was always the lightweight of Woodward & Bernstein (think of him as the McCartney of the two), willing to play the access game and that's partly why he's had his long career at the Washington Post and why Carl Bernstein moved on to other things.Now Woody, of the dipthong and "calcium in the backbone," is exposed as a party to something that resulted in a criminal investigation. He weighed in on that investigation. He never told the public that he was involved.
How ethical was that?It gets better. From the Post article:
Citing a confidentiality agreement in which the source freed Woodward to testify but would not allow him to discuss their conversations publicly, Woodward and Post editors refused to disclose the official's name or provide crucial details about the testimony. Woodward did not share the information with Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. until last month, and the only Post reporter whom Woodward said he remembers telling in the summer of 2003 does not recall the conversation taking place.
That's Walter Pincus. Once again, Woody has one version and Pincus another. (Think of Howie Kurtz's critique of the Post's coverage of the lead up to the war for another example of where Pincus and Woody's memories differ.)
Is that how it works? You can disclose to a grand jury but not to the public? Not if you're a reporter. If you're naming the source, you're naming it. If you're a reporter. Can you imagine what would have been said of Judith Miller if she'd tried that tactic?
Woody sat on a story. While sitting on it, he went around, identified with the paper, and weighed in on an investigation. Now Woody's has testified and named his source but wants to say that it's not the public's business.
It very much is the public's business. In June of 2003, he was a party to a conversation that was news but he elected to stay mum on the topic -- except when taking to the airwaves to attack Fitzgerald and to dismiss the issues involved.When you name your source to the grand jury, you name it to the public. You can't name for a criminal investigation and then, if you're a reporter, say, "Oh well I won't name to the public."
Why? Because naming to the public is your damn job.
A reporter reports.Confidentiality, like pregnancy, does not come in "bits." It's an either/or. Either you're pregnant or you're not -- either you do protect the confidentiality or you don't.
Woody needs to name his source.
The fact that he's taken to the airwaves to refute the importance of an investigation that he's now been drawn into only makes that more necessary.
He has outed his source to a grand jury. There is no more "confidentiality."The press does not function behind closed doors. It is supposed to serve the public.
The Post should force him to make a public apology for offering opinions on a case that he was involved in without revealing his own involvement. He deceived the public.
He weighed in using his name and reputation (such as they are) in what can be seen as an attempt to sway public opinion.
The opinions he offered now seem far less than objective.
If Woody can't come forward with his information, the Post needs to place him on unpaid leave.

If you missed it, and you may have because the ethics involved haven't gotten as much attention as the other details, Howie Kurts hemmed and hawwed around the ehtics in a piece in the Post.
I've used tehcnorati to read up on this and don't see anyone but C.I. that's raised the ethics issue. (C.I. would point out that the issue was raised to C.I. by people at the paper.) Maybe it's being discussed out there and technorati just doesn't pick up those posts?

I know they rarely pick up mine. I put the tags in, like Rebecca's asked us all to do, and most of the time, I don't even register on their pages.

Hope everyone has a good night.