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.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Little Ronnie

I was busy yesterday and only got time to check out Monday's Democracy Now! today. I want to note something C.I. wrote on it:

"Did Former Marine Jimmy Massey Lie About U.S. Military Atrocities in Iraq? A Debate Between Massey and Embedded Reporter Ron Harris" (Democracy Now)
[C.I.'s commenting on the story above.]
Did former U.S, marine Jimmy Massey lie or exaggerate about killing civilians in Iraq to the media? Ron Harris, a reporter embedded with Massey's battalion says Massey's claims are not credible. We host a debate with Massey and Harris.
Ron Harris is a tool. And that's the mildest term I could use at this site. I've been on the phone with Dona and we're both very vocal on this debate. Harris monopolizes the interview, refuses to answer questions and constantly refers to Massey as "Jimmy." There's a crack made about "or 6 year-old boys" made by Harris that's a smear.
There are so many problems with Harris. Besides "Let me finish" (Harris who can't shut the ___ up. He can't shut up. And no one gives a damn about hearing his spin of why he's attacking Massey. No one needed to hear it once, let alone over and over.)
He's an embed in bed with the military. He says "we" at one point referring to the military (as we noted here last week he does that in print as well). Brown's got the war lust and now he's out to attack Massey. Or, as he says, "Jimmy."
How important is Harris that he's allowed to call him "Jimmy"? It's condescending. It's like when the Bully Boy called Cindy Sheehan "Mom." It's out of line. Groan as you listen to him holler "Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy" when Goodman's even asked Massey to speak.
Dona said listening to him ask in his "cracking voice that verged on the falsetto, 'Can I finish?' over and over" was enough to make her throw something at the TV. I was luckier. I only had to listen to Harris, I didn't have to also see him. Or I guess we should call him "Ronnie." Ronnie is what we will call the embed who got in bed with the military and gladly slept in the wet spot.
Ronnie tries to confuse Massey, tossing out terms like "deep cover" that are journalistic. It starts out civil, the discussion until Ronnie goes on the attack early on. Harris monopolizes the discussion as though he can win by sheer wordage.
The points are:
1) Things not observed have been repeated.
Massey acknowledges that (and has before) on his part. Ronnie can't do the same and blows off all attempts to pin him down on that point (I believe Ronnie channels Cher from Clueless for this topic: "Whatever").
2) Massey's book has only been published in France, in French.
Ronnie went on CNN last week to attack the book. Ronnie doesn't read French. Which goes to point one. (Ronnie claims to have spoken to the book's co-author. Since her husband has already written a letter to the Sacremento Bee chastizing the paper for their eagerness to distance themselves from Massey, it's doubtful that her comments to Ronnie, "whatever" they are, back up Ronnie's views and spin.)
3) Public record.
Ronnie dismisses criticism of his own reporting (he was a war cheerleader quick to note "chemical weapons" found in Iraq -- they weren't). That reporting bears Ronnie's name so one would assume Ronnie is responsible for it. (But Ronnie seems the type who rarely takes accountability.) By contrast, Ronnie refers to a paper's report of a statement by Massey. It's the only thing he can find to back him up and he never gives the name of reporter or the title of the piece. So no one can verify Ronnie's claims this morning. If such a report does exist, the fact remains that Massey didn't write it and if all other reports don't include Massey making such a claim in his many speaking engagements it is highly possible the press reporter got the quote wrong. (Shocking! Isn't it.)
On verify, Ronnie seems to think he knows what Massey knows and doesn't know. Seer Ronnie states that Massey can't prove his comments and that Massey knows that. Massey responds he has recordings for his book. Ronnie just sighs a lot and says "Jimmy, Jimmy" (honestly, it's like he's trying to promote Madonna's True Blue album).
Ronnie shifts the topic anytime it's uncomfortable for him and is prone to issuing self-serving statements (he really is shouting out to Madonna, this is just like Madonna's performance in Evita).
Jim's on the phone now (yelling, Dona's passed it over to him). Which is good both because he has a point he wants made and because hearing someone even more angry than Dona or I actually has a calming effect.
Jim: "Sgt. Massey. That's what Ron Embed On His Knees should call Jimmmy Massey. It's what he would call anyone else who served. As a member of the press who has decided to attack someone, he has no right to be so familiar with Massey."
I'll pull an Amy Goodman and say, "And that will be our final word." Seriously, that was the point Jim wanted to make.

If you haven't watched the segment, watch it. (Or listen to it.) This is disgusting. And what disgusts me even more is that Ron Harris is African-American.

I don't know why that's surprising though. We've seen Condi Rice and Colin Powell play (as Harry Belefonte said so correctly) the house negroes for the Bully Boy. We've seen Armstrong Williams (a very strange man) sell out for an exact dollar amount.

History's full of Uncle Toms.

But there's something so disgusting to see an African-American so quick to carry the administration's water. Three Cool Old Guys had already seen it Monday when I spoke to them but I was behind and had to catch up. They told me I'd be furious and I was.

Uncle Toms really aren't surprising. But, as an African-American, it still hurts to encounter them.

There's no built in nobility in my race, I know that. I know we've got the same ratio of jerks as any other race. But when you see someone so desperate to destroy a guy, and willing to play fast and loose with the truth, if you're African-American, or if your me anyway, you start thinking, "Why is this man willing to smear to protect the Bully Boy?"

He's also protecting his own ass. Ronnie was an embed who did as he was told. He signed on to the agreement all the embeds sign on with.

He gave up his self-respect when he did.

Now he's willing to tear apart a guy who was doing what what Ronnie supposedly respects (serving the country) just to keep the truth from coming out.

I found it disgusting.

But there's a lesson here.

Some people will always sell out to suck up to power. Ronnie did.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Bisquits & Ethics

Tired but posting. Three Cool Old Guys told me yesterday that I had to put the editorial from The Third Estate Sunday Review up here:

"Editorial: Bisquits and Ethics"
Guantanamo Bay. Where the doctors and the interrogators play. Where seldom is heard an ethical word . . .

Jane Mayer told us of the Bisquit program -- Behavioral Science Consultation Teams. They share medical issues, these doctors, with military intel and advise them on how to make the "interrogations" more effective. Such as what phobia a detainee may have.
Mayer's article was entitled "The Experiment" and we think that's an appropriate description of what's going on in Guantanamo. Medical professionals aiding and experimenting . . . on human beings. The Nazis conducted experiments on those they imprisoned.So how much can you take, America? How much can you tolerate and stomach to let Bully Boy continue his Terror on the World?
The SERE program developed these or similar techniques. The purpose then was to condition the military not to break under torture. Now the same knowledge is being used to harm.
Are you okay with that? What about when, as Laura Flanders pointed out on last night's The Laura Flanders Show, when these techniques migrate to our shore and our system of "justice"?Don't think they'll migrate? They weren't supposed to migrate from helping to train our military but now they're being used to harm.
They'll migrate if America doesn't find the guts and courage to say "no" now.
There is no justice in Guantamo Bay. There's no justice in what we're doing to people including people who were not even legally adults when we imprisoned them there -- imprisoned them with no charges, no contact with the outside world, no trial.
"These things take time."
Bully Boy's had over three years. How long does it take for you to grasp that this isn't the American way, it's the Bully Boy way. It goes against every principle we believe in.
And the courts have tended to agree that despite Bully Boy's power grab, they still have a right to rule on his actions. Monday the Supreme Court decided to review the Bully Boy's claim to military tribunals. So naturally, certain Republicans moved quickly to subvert the Court. We're not surprised that, we've actually grown used to that reaction from the Republicans.What did surprise us was the gang of five, Democrats who voted with the Republicans. Kent Conrad, Ben Nelson, Mary Landreau, Ron Wyden and the ever shameful Joe Lieberman. They've offered a variety of lame excuses. Kent-o Conrad wants to offer that on Veteran's Day, he heard that a law to keep the courts out of this would be a good thing.
That's his excuse. That's what he offers. Friday conversations to justify Thursday votes.
It's going to come up for a vote again in the Senate (nine senators were absent when the measure passed).
What kind of message will be sent that time? That we're scared little babies prepared to turn over all our rights, sell out all of our beliefs and that we have no faith at all in the justice system that this country built?
The so-called patriots of the right seem intent on tearing down everything they can. While saying they love the country. What exactly do they love about it? They attack every freedom that this country is supposed to embrace.
So which are you? Someone determined to dismantal our constitutional government (or just starve it down to the size where you can drown it in a bath tub)? Or maybe you're part of the look-the-other-way crowd?
At some point, you have to face reality unless you want to live the rest of your life in denial.
In dark times of the past, what's saved the country has been the courageous voices determined to speak out. These days, we hear a lot of silence. Some might call it apathy but we call it cowardice.
It's time for Americans to look at what's going on and ask themselves if this is okay? If this three year plus detention is okay with Americans?
If you don't stand up and speak out, you're aiding in the destruction of every belief that people fought for. Fought on battle fields, fought in courtrooms, fought in work places, fought anywhere that a light could be shone on the destructive path we were headed down.
In the past we were usually able to righten the course. But seems like we had a lot more brave voices then. It's time for people to start finding their voices and to join in singing "Save the Country." What's going on in Guantanamo Bay isn't just a nightmare, it's an American tragedy as we allow what we're supposed to stand for and believe in to be destroyed, month after month, year after year.

That's a great editorial and I didn't work on it so I'm not bragging on myself. Here's who is responsible for that editorial:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz
Wally of The Daily Jot

The other thing that they told me was that Air America Radio is thinking of cancelling Morning Sedition. That's the show hosted by two guys, but they used to have a woman when the show started, one White, one African-American.

Is the radio network just determined to go all White?

I doubt C.I. will write about this because I know the attitude there is that when Lizz Winstead was "disappeared" the network sent the message that they aren't about "family." They really did push that when they came on. But the other thing they pushed was Al Franken. C.I. calls Franken "Baby Cries a Lot" at The Common Ills.

I think that's being kind.

He brings on his friend from the AEI and he brings on the old guy from, I think, Nixon's administration who started the war on social security but he and Baby Cries a Lot never mention that. You listen and you think, "What are all these Republicans doing on this show?" I mean, is it Meet the Press?

Here's some other things you notice:

1) There's about one woman guest for every four men.

2) Episode after episode can go by without ever hearing the voice of an African-American.

It's a show by a baby boomer, white, male for others just like him.

Three Cool Old Guys pointed out that if they replace Morning Sedition with another White male host, you will have no African-American hosts all week. On the weekend, you'll have Kyle Jason and Chuck D's shows. Each airs just one night. And they both air late night. Guess us black folks stay up all night cause we being sleeping all day?

That's the message Three Cool Old Guys think the radio network sends out.

I thought this was supposed to be a liberal network?