The politics of political reporting

But enough about me for a moment; let’s talk about another Seattle media entity of interest to nearly as many people: The Seattle Times.

On his blog, Postman writes about a memo from Executive Editor David Boardman directing staff members to refrain from participating in the upcoming presidential caucus and primary, fearing that it might compromise the Federation’s profession’s prime directive: objectivity. Boardman worries that primary list is a public record, as is which party’s ballot one chooses, and that some jerk might look it up: “Count on The Stranger, the Weekly and the political blogs to do just that,” Boardman frets.

Huh. Actually, the thought never occurred to me. Thanks for the idea Dave. Boardman continues:

“In this age of sharply partisan talk shows and blogs, our credibility and impartiality are more precious than ever. They are the capital we have to carry us into the future, the qualities that most separate us from all of the other places readers and Web users can go for news and information.”

Um, actually, what most separates stodgy old media from all us “other places” is that we generally offer our audience a more compelling and entertaining read. If blogs and other online media continue to gain audience at the expense of newspapers, it certainly isn’t because we have some competitive advantage or marketing muscle. So perhaps, maybe, could it be that we simply provide a better product? And if so, wouldn’t the Times be better served by hiring themselves some edgy new columnists rather than trusting that “credibility and impartiality” will eventually win the day? (FYI, I know of a newly unemployed radio host who would jump at the opportunity for a regular column.)

In fact, since journalists do have opinions and partisan leanings, wouldn’t it be more honest to be up front about it and say “Yeah… I’m a Democrat” and then let readers understand your reporting within that context? I’m not saying journalists shouldn’t strive to be objective or impartial — there’s room for both traditional journalism and the advocacy kind that I practice — it’s just that it’s kinda disingenuous to imply that they actually are.

Just a thought.

Comments

  1. 1

    THE Puddybud The Prognosticator... spews:

    Unholy shit – David Goldstein just blew away the Pelletizer claim with this: “In fact, since journalists do have opinions and partisan leanings, wouldn’t it be more honest to be up front about it and say “Yeah… I’m a Democrat” and then let readers understand your reporting within that context?”

    Hey dumb bunny – another one of your BULLSHITTIUM pellets just went kablamm.

  2. 2

    THE Puddybud The Prognosticator... spews:

    Goldy: This is a shocker. You are starting to tell the truth about the leftist MSM? When did this epiphany happen? Are you looking for some righty contributions to the David Goldstein mortgage fund?

    Keep telling more truths and I may cough up a few $$$. I’m I’m I’m finger cramping…

    I bet Piper and Marvin may contribute $$$ if you keep this up. Shit, I wonder if I can talk Mark The Redneck to start the installment plan and pay his debt if more truths appear.

    I need to see more truths and less liberal kool-aid. Leave the drinking of the warm white sticky kool-aid to Clueless.

    Deal or No Deal?

  3. 3

    spews:

    Here’s a clue, Goldy: Postman made no mention of any complaints from either Times employees or their union, which would indicate there were none.

    The management memo applies to those employees who do political reporting, not staffers who work the society page or take classified ads.

    As was mentioned in Postman’s piece, it’s an ethical imperative that those who report political news not only be impartial, but also appear impartial; anything that compromises that, such as identifying with a particular political party, compromises that.

    Of course, reporters have opinions, but Postman himself, supported in the comments section by Danny Westneat, cautioned against anyone making a mountain out of this very small molehill.

    No one would ever mistake you as an objective reporter; God forbid, no one is that dumb! The rules of blogging don’t fly in print and broadcast media, which brings me to you writing a column. You couldn’t write with a blogger’s edge if you want to appear in print in The Times, the P-I, or even a community weekly like the Kirkland Reporter where I write a bi-weekly column.

    In a real sense, you’d have to go shirt and tie recognizing that what you write goes into lots of homes and businesses in a way completely different than either HA or even your late radio program. What works for the Daily Kus or Huffington doesn’t pass AP style book muster.

    It’s not about providing “a more entertaining read;” for some, porn fits the model. It’s about reporting the news without discernable bias or enthusiasm for one side or the other. I don’t want to know the reporter’s POV, I want to know what went on at the event he covered.

    For a reporter to insist that his or her slant be made a part of the story is typical of the narcissism of the age: it ain’t all about you! Reporters craft a product much like anyone else, and the product isn’t what’s of interest to the reporter or advances his or her agenda, it’s what meets the needs of the customer, the reader.

    I write an opinion column, albeit for a small weekly owned by a large chain – so small the publisher doesn’t allocate enough bandwidth to post my columns. My son the staff sergeant reports the news for the European edition of Stars & Stripes. Read some of his stuff at http://www.stripes.com/search.asp?searchnow=Y and come back and tell me what his opinions are on the events he reports. Believe me, he has them, but he knows it’s not his job to display them or allow them to creep into his reporting. He takes his ethical responsibility very seriously.

    I recently had a conversation with my editor about edgy columns, and he was strong in his conviction that:

    “I think you need to be careful that your columns don’t come off as red-faced — where your anger is obvious. It clouds the message and makes it seem like a rant, not a serious look at a certain topic…no matter how valid the points. Tone is an important element to column writing. ”

    Is it something you’d read to your mother? Or grandmother?

    While the blogosphere is a new and emerging semi-journalistic format, it has a way to go before it gets its sea legs. I’ve been critical of the MSM and The Times in particular holding up blogs, including HA, as an alternative. But the complete “fit” isn’t there yet. Just as it took a long time for broadcast journalists to be taken seriously, be prepared for a long haul for the blogosphere.

    And not all “skills” are transferable.

    The Piper

  4. 4

    THE Puddybud The Prognosticator... spews:

    No Goldy, it is disingenuous for your leftist PINHEADS to say their favorite kool-aid producers such as Keith Olbermann are “objective”?

    Waaaaa haaaaa haaaaa haaaaa haaaaa haaaaa haaaaa haaaaa haaaaa haaaaa haaaaa haaaaa haaaaa haaaaa haaaaa haaaaa haaaaa haaaaa haaaaa haaaaa haaaaa haaaaa ahhhhh!

  5. 5

    THE Puddybud The Prognosticator... spews:

    Speaking about the Politics of Political Reporting – Direct from the New York Times Political Page:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01.....38;ei=5070

    “Mr. Nazarbayev walked away from the table with a propaganda coup, after Mr. Clinton expressed enthusiastic support for the Kazakh leader’s bid to head an international organization that monitors elections and supports democracy. Mr. Clinton’s public declaration undercut both American foreign policy and sharp criticism of Kazakhstan’s poor human rights record by, among others, Mr. Clinton’s wife, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.”

    PuddyStudy: “My name is William Jefferson Clinton and I’m in it for the money”.

  6. 6

    The Blatantly Obvious spews:

    WOW Puddyboo quoted the NYT in exposing an alleged Bill Clinton scandal!!! Not the liberal NYT??? Noooo!!!

    Seems Puddyboo had another one of his BULLSHITTIUM pellets just go kablamm.

  7. 9

    The Blatantly Obvious spews:

    @ 7 and you think that changes the fact that your whole “liberal media” shtick just blew up in your face?

    Yeah, I imagine you can’t tell when your bullshit blows up… your BS is all you can ever smell.

  8. 10

    Does your neighbor torture cats? spews:

    What if you learned that your affable neighbor who you enjoyed drinking beer with was snatching cats off the street and torturing them? Would you continue to associate with the guy? Would your respect for him be increased or diminished?

    On this blog there are regular posters Puddy and Piper. Someone argued in a different thread that although Puddy and Piper don’t share the opinions of most folks on this thread they should be still be treated with respect.

    But Puddy and Piper helped enable Bush to illegally invade and occupy a country and kill hundreds of thousands of it’s citizens. And Puddy and Piper continue to support Bush’s use of torture and killing of civilians including children.

    Who is the worst human being? The torturer of cats? Or Puddy and Piper the enablers and supporters of mass killing and the use of torture?

    Treat these two with respect if you will. But I would argue that enablers and supporters of war crimes are not wiorthy of respect.

  9. 11

    The Blatantly Obvious spews:

    You can really tell the Republitards are in trouble when they still keep trying to make hay on Bill Clinton’s willy problem.

    How is that working for ya puddybuddy?

  10. 12

    rob spews:

    Re: 8, It is good to see that at least someone in the media isn’t intimidated by the Clinton Crime Family. He also wrote this.

    Bill: “We Just Have to Slow Down Our Economy” to Fight Global Warming
    January 31, 2008 9:26 AM

    Former President Bill Clinton was in Denver, Colorado, stumping for his wife yesterday.

    In a long, and interesting speech, he characterized what the U.S. and other industrialized nations need to do to combat global warming this way: “We just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions ’cause we have to save the planet for our grandchildren.”

    http://blogs.abcnews.com/polit.....st-ha.html

    Slowing the economey must be the new vote getter for democrats, at least the out of state out of district democrats that have so much money they can donate to Darcy Burner.

  11. 14

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Reminds me of the character Jack Burden in “All the King’s Men,” and the answer’s the same: ____________ (name of Democratic candidate) doesn’t need the Seattle Times to get elected. The people will not be stopped.

  12. 15

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    And remember what Sean Penn’s character, Willie Stark, in the same film says: “If you don’t vote, you don’t matter.”

    Remember, you have to vote in the Feb. 9 Democratic caucus to help pick the Democratic nominee, and you have to vote in the Feb. 19 Republican primary to help the other party pick their nominee (and they need all the help from us they can get ‘cuz there’s not a chance in hell they can do it right themselves).

  13. 16

    I-Burn spews:

    @10 You clearly are around the bend. Politics, unless you are a fanatic like yourself, is a difference of opinion. You have so much of the zealot in your diatribe that it’s obvious that you’d have no problem being one of the strongarms that radical organizations use to crush dissent.

    Nothing that either of the gentlemen you mention have said makes me believe that either of them agree with, or support, *anything* illegal. By your logic, since you are spreading a falsehood, nothing you say about anything is reliable.

    Hate is incredibly destructive. Let it go, man. It harms no one but your own soul.

  14. 17

    spews:

    Puddinghead @1,

    You’re a fucking moron. That was a for instance. I wasn’t implying that most journalists are Democrats, simply that revealing one’s partisan leanings would be more honest than not.

  15. 18

    Winston Smith spews:

    #12 Rob, Bill Clinton did not advocate slowing down the economy to combat global warming. It is a lie started by an ABC News reporter, based on a quote he took out of context.

    Since you could not be bothered to read what actually Clinton said I will post it here for you:

    “. . . maybe America, and Europe, and Japan, and Canada — the rich counties — would say, ‘OK, we just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions ’cause we have to save the planet for our grandchildren.’ We could do that.

    “But if we did that, you know as well as I do, China and India and Indonesia and Vietnam and Mexico and Brazil and the Ukraine, and all the other countries will never agree to stay poor to save the planet for our grandchildren. The only way we can do this is if we get back in the world’s fight against global warming and prove it is good economics that we will create more jobs to build a sustainable economy that saves the planet for our children and grandchildren. It is the only way it will work.

    “And guess what? The only places in the world today in rich countries where you have rising wages and declining inequality are places that have generated more jobs than rich countries because they made a commitment we didn’t. They got serious about a clean, efficient, green, independent energy future …”

    Exactly the opposite of “slowing down the economy.”

    You can read more here: http://www.sadlyno.com/archives/8637.html

  16. 19

    THE Puddybud The Prognosticator... spews:

    Here’s the truth about the Politics of Political Reporting:

    “The New York Times Company announced today that in December total Company revenues from continuing operations decreased 22.4% compared with December 2006, when our fiscal calendar included an additional week; excluding the estimated impact of the additional week in 2006, they decreased 8.2%. Advertising revenues decreased 25.2%; excluding the additional week, they decreased 12.0%. Circulation revenues decreased 17.8%; excluding the additional week, they increased 0.6%.”

    PuddyStudy: People are waking up to the continuous left-wing kool-aid delivery of the New York Times; so they have to try and keep circulation with an “objective” story now and then as I wrote about above. But left wing idiots such as BO_Breath@6 never look at the big picture, just a political snippet to attack, attack, attack! Kool-aid drinkers such as Clueless run to Kurse and Morons because it’s the knee-jerk reactive thing to so.

    Now how many of you read the totally factless, corrupt story about “Across America, Deadly Echoes of Foreign Battles”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01.....wanted=all

    Well other news media accurately pointed out the amount of crime committed by the 18-24 age group in America is was around 27 per 100,000. The returning Iraq-Afghanistan vet rate is actually lower, less than 4 per 100,000 because those values included vets returning home over the almost 5 years which the article authors forgot to divide by; much better than the general population. Did the NY Slimes run a retraction? I haven’t seen it. Puddy reads everything while liberal morons accept NY Slimes news as fact.

  17. 20

    THE Puddybud The Prognosticator... spews:

    Here’s MORE truth about the Politics of Political Reporting:

    Now if you remember cuz Puddy does Lizette Alvarez? She cowrote the article I referenced above “Across America, Deadly Echoes of Foreign Battles”

    Well she wrote this one Puddy also placed on this blog and dissected.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02.....wanted=all

    “Critics also say that Latinos often wind up as cannon fodder on the casualty-prone front lines. African-Americans saw the same thing happen during the 1970′s and 1980′s, an accusation that still reverberates. Hispanics make up only 4.7 percent of the military’s officer corps.”

    Yet, if Linda did some research: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RL32492.pdf – This report is updated all the time too.

    “American War and Military Operations Casualties: Lists and Statistics” Linda’s reporting wouldn’t be considered kool-aid!

    “The New York Times Company announced today that in December total Company revenues from continuing operations decreased 22.4% compared with December 2006, when our fiscal calendar included an additional week; excluding the estimated impact of the additional week in 2006, they decreased 8.2%. Advertising revenues decreased 25.2%; excluding the additional week, they decreased 12.0%. Circulation revenues decreased 17.8%; excluding the additional week, they increased 0.6%.”

  18. 22

    THE Puddybud The Prognosticator... spews:

    More on (not the moron Clueless) THe Politics of Political Reporting:

    Piper, Marvin Stamn, ChristmasGhost, Rob, MTR-G, Troll, Correctnotright and rhp6033 another free PuddyTip:

    Whenever the left wing MSM morons (even the 16%ers here) place left-wing political data in articles or blogs, you too can validate it just like Puddy does in daily PuddyStudies.

    I have no worries the dull knifes represented by Rujax! or the idiot class represented by Clueless will want to get educated with facts. I expect ProudASS to make some dumb comment later today!

    http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/index.html

    Enjoy libbies. Facts do hurt the liberal mind.

    To My friends Whom Think Right: Puddy will be working on a big project soon so my time will be somewhat limited keeping the truth alive here. I need you guys/gals to carry the truth torch okay?

  19. 23

    THE Puddybud The Prognosticator... spews:

    Don’t Worry Goldy I have a retort coming for you…

  20. 24

    correctnotright spews:

    @10: That someone, who disagrees with Puddy and Piper, but thinks they should be treated with respect is ME. I treat all people with respect – even if I disagree with their OPINIONS.

    I do not support moral relativism. I do not support torture and I will work against any politician that supports torture. Waterboarding is torture – period. I am ahsamed of my country and my AG for not simply stating that waterboarding is torture and that anyone who has tortured (or authorized torture) will be prosecuted and we will never do it again – period.

    However, just becasue I disagree with a person does NOT mean I will discount ANYTHING they have to say.

    For instance I disagree with Hillary Clinton on the war in Iraq and I agree with Obama. I suupport Obama over Clinton for this and other reasons – but I will vote for the Democrat in the general election – even if it is Hillary:

    “In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001.
    It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security.”
    “So it is with conviction that I support this resolution as being in the best interests of our nation. A vote for it is not a vote to rush to war; it is a vote that puts awesome responsibility in the hands of our President..”
    - Hillary Clinton 2002, floor speech right before the war authorization.

    “I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.
    “I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda.”
    – Obama 2002

    Quoted from a letter writer to TPM and reflective of my opinions on this difference between Clinton and Obama on Iraq. I think Obama makes the better case and shows better judgement – despite his supposed inexperience.

  21. 25

    rhp6033 spews:

    Gee, I wonder if Fox News will also caution its employees against participating in politics, because it might make them appear less “fair and balanced”?

    NAAAWWWW.

    I still have to chuckle over Puddy’s continued rant that the “MSM” is overwhelmingly Democratic. That’s like complaing because all the scientists believe the earth is round, not flat.

    If the guys and gals who study the issues and observe the politicians up close day after day tend to vote Democratic, that ought to tell you something!

  22. 26

    THE Puddybud The Prognosticator... spews:

    Goldy: Uhhhhh, I’m the fucking moron because your are closed minded to facts about MSM voting patterns? I actually thought you were seeing the light on outside the Motel 6 Room Tom Bodett left for you since 1986. Poll after poll has the donkey party receiving 85% or more of the print, view, and hear MSM.

    Did you forget the cheering in the Seattle Times newsroom when Karl Rove resigned? Puddy doesn’t forget. Well there just went any chance of you getting some paypal bucks from me!

    As serious as a heart attack is, I was going send you real $$$. I was thinking between $25-$50. Me and the wife were going to do this as one of our weekly acts of kindness. But with that post above you showed me I was wrong to think you were actually coming around.

  23. 27

    THE Puddybud The Prognosticator... spews:

    Rhp6033: The voting study went back into the 1970s for voting patterns. I posted it three times on this blog.

  24. 28

    THE Puddybud The Prognosticator... spews:

    rhp6033: Can you refute this from 2004?

    Did the majority of the liberal media line up against Bush in 2004? Wasn’t it approximately 87-88%?

    Didn’t the so-called intellectual elites had come out against Bush? You know the Paul Krugmans (what a joke), Laurence Tribes, Jesse Jacksons, Al Sharptons, Lanny Davis’, James Carvilles’, Donna Braziles’, Washington Liberal Stink Tanks, etc?

    Didn’t the liberal MSM bury the good news being reported out of Iraq until after the election?

    Didn’t the foreign press pull for the French candidate John Effin Kerry?

    Didn’t your make drugs legal hero I don’t pay income taxes $$$BMaire George Soros waste millions trying to oust Bush? (See next line).

    Didn’t your buds in the 527s (supported by George Soros), you know the MoveOns, CAP, Think Progress, Media Matters, pour $$$MM in a campaign to defeat Bush?

    Didn’t the liberal MSM always run to these above characters looking for quotes of the day?

    The Prosecution Rests

  25. 29

    rhp6033 spews:

    “Didn’t the liberal MSM bury the good news being reported out of Iraq until after the election?”

    Uh, no. It seems to me that it went the other way around. Lots of coverage of those “purple thumbs” in 2004, and not much coverage of the fact that the guys that were shooting at our troops had boycotted the election. The news coming out from Iraq after the election was much worse (deservedly so, as the situation deteriorated). The fact is, the news media will report explosions and attacks on U.S. soldiers. I guess you want them to ignore that, and instead focus on how good life is in the Green Zone?

    I heard those same arguments during the Vietnam War, and they had as much credence then as they do now.

    Despite this, Faux News is still complaining about the “lack of good news in Iraq” being reported, but was (and still is) having a really hard time finding those stories themselves. If there was that much good news coming out of Iraq, don’t you think they should be reporting it themselves, instead of spending so much time arguing that somebody else should be doing so?

    I actually have a lot of friends and aquaintences that are pretty right-wing. One of the frequent comments I hear is the circulation of some rumor or another, along with “Well, you know the media isn’t going to report this, but the truth is…”, followed by a statement for which there is ABSOLUTELY NO BASIS IN TRUTH. In the past two months, I’ve heard that preface placed in front of claims that (a) We’ve actually found Iraqi WMD in Iraq and Syria, (b) the Iraqis love us, its actually Iranian Revolutionary Guards shooting at us in Iraq, (c) 90% of all child abuse in this country is committed by illegal immigrants, (d) the Democrats have a secret plan to abolish the constitution once Hillary/Obama/whoever becomes President, (e) Obama is a radical Muslim who took his oath of office on the Koran and will turn over our nuclear weapons to Al Quida as soon as he takes office…., etc.

    The attacks on the MSM is just an excuse to tell people to ignore the facts that are being reported.

  26. 30

    I-Burn spews:

    @29 The media bias was not as pronounced during the Vietnam war, but it was there. The North Vietnamese themselves give credit to the media for their victory. For you to claim there is no bias in Iraq is unbelievable. Anecdotal, granted, but all of the milblogs that I read paint a far different picture than does the MSM. Surely you don’t believe that a coincidence?

    And the claims of your supposed “lot of friends and aquaintences that are pretty right-wing” really differs in substance from the claims you can find on any Lib blog (like this one)how? You know, things like: the government is listening to every one of your phone calls, the Bushitler regieme will stage a coup to avoid giving up power, or Bush ordered the demoliton of the World Trade Center on 9/11, etc… Get my drift?

  27. 31

    Sam Adams spews:

    I may not agree will you, but I have no problem with the context in which these are expressed.

    The MSM IMO has an agenda but insists they a “neutral.”

    coughbullshitcough

    Goldy & Co are lefties and proudly state so. I can live with that.

  28. 32

    I-Burn spews:

    @31 I concur. I have no problem with anyone having a particular leaning. Just don’t try to blow smoke up my ass about how unbiased you are. I think that’s where the MSM is blind. Enough people now have access to alternative forms of information that the media no longer have complete control of the message. They haven’t quite accepted that yet. Once they do, and can acknowledge that they’re not quite as unbiased as they’d like us to believe, then they might even experience a resurgence of viewers. Until such time, they’ll continue their decent into irrelevancy.

  29. 33

    The Good Book spews:

    Notes on Eric Alterman’s history of official deception & its consequences, When Presidents Lie:

    Liberal Media star Eric Alterman has written a profoundly conservative book demonstrating that truth is sometimes better served by truth than by a bodyguard of lies.

    Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Alger Hiss confected riddles and enigmas from the fog of war to hide their betrayal of eastern Europe in 1945. At Yalta, with Stalin, they codified a new world order of disorder and legitimated tyranny.

    Publishers Weekly asserts that the lies of Yalta created the “matrix for a half-century of anti-Soviet paranoia.” Paranoia is the preferred word of leftist intellectuals who conspired a liturgy for a half-century of post-Yalta Cold War, and these are their leftist catechisms: The Cold War was created by the paranoid style of American politics. Joe McCarthy, not Joe Stalin, was the greater Cold War threat to America. Joe McCarthy, not Joe Stalin, was the personification of Cold War paranoia. We, not the imperialist and evil Soviet Union, were the Evil Empire.

    Eric Alterman is a leftist intellectual, but he moves past smelly leftist anti-American orthodoxies about anti-Soviet paranoia. His discussion of Yalta is (reassuring in a book about lies) truthful. His subsequent discussions of Cuban missiles, Tonkin irresolutions, and Iran-Contra are (surprising from a writer for the neo-Marxist Nation) fair. Balanced. In fact, his abstract of October 1962 is brilliant in its honesty.

    When Presidents Lie is so good, in fact, that it seems churlish to quibble, but here are my caveats, quibbles & bits:

    * By referring to “his district,” Alterman implies in the ‘Yalta’ chapter that Senator Arthur Vandenberg was Congressman Vandenberg;

    * In the Cuba chapter Alterman refers to Senator Kenneth Keating as Representative Kenneth Keating;

    * In the same chapter Alterman invents a Speaker of the House named “W. Everett Dirksen”;

    * In the Contra chapter Alterman cites 1988 responses to Reagan’s scandal by the Bush Administration. George H.W. didn’t have an administration in 1988;

    * In Endnote 39, page 326 (hardcover), Alterman writes that “In an April 7, 1945, diary entry, Harold Ickes suggests that the specter of Yalta was one of several factors that had created tension between the new president and his secretary of state.” Very prescient of old Harold to be writing about our tense new president several days before we had one.

    Finally, for what it’s worth, FDR at Yalta was willing to pay any price and betray any principle to enlist Soviet support for the invasion of Japan. In the war-fogged context of early 1945, seeking Soviet support was probably worth the cost of truth’s betrayal.

  30. 34

    rhp6033 spews:

    @30: “And the claims of your supposed “lot of friends and aquaintences that are pretty right-wing” really differs in substance from the claims you can find on any Lib blog (like this one)how? You know, things like: the government is listening to every one of your phone calls, the Bushitler regieme will stage a coup to avoid giving up power, or Bush ordered the demoliton of the World Trade Center on 9/11, etc… Get my drift? ”

    Uh, no, I don’t get your drift. Are you saying that I don’t have any friends or acquantences that are right wing? If you followed this blog, you would know that I am an Evangelical Christian who happens to be a Democrat. Surely that would be enough of an explanation to veryify that I am in a position to hear such statements on a regular basis.

    “the government is listening to every one of your phone calls, the Bushitler regieme will stage a coup to avoid giving up power, or Bush ordered the demoliton of the World Trade Center on 9/11, etc… Get my drift? ”

    I agree that most of those statements are out in left field (please excuse the pun).

    Except perhaps for the wiretaps, in which case the “every one” statement is certainly an exaggeration. But I’ve been unpleasantly surprised by this administration often enough not to discount the possibility that they are indeed intercepting targeted calls and e-mails for political purposes. It wouldn’t be the first time Republicans had engaged in such conduct – remember the Republicans trying to use “national security” to justify the Watergate burglary by saying that they had evidence the Democrats were receiving money from foreign sources (implying that it was the N. Vietnamese)? Or using similar excuses for going through the IRS files of their critics? Perhaps more important is the “chilling effect” which is caused by the belief that the government has the ability to use wiretaps for political purposes – it might cause government critics to decide that they have too much to lose to engage the government in useful debate, if it will result in personal and professional retaliation. You might think that’s not a bad thing as long as a Republican is in charge, but will you feel the same way with the Democrats in charge?

  31. 35

    correctnotright spews:

    @30: I-burn
    sorry – the “media” bias during vietnam?????

    It took the publications of the pentagon papers to show the coverup and the lies around vietnam.

    According to the daily body counts on TV, we had killed almost all existing vietcong and they were hanging on by a thread – until the Tet offensive showed how we were being lied to be the MSM.

    “During the second half of 1967 the administration had become alarmed by criticism, both inside and outside the government, and by reports of declining public support for its Vietnam policies.[15] According to public opinion polls, the percentage of Americans who believed that the U.S. had made a mistake by sending troops to Vietnam had risen from 25 percent in 1965 to 45 percent by December 1967.[16] This trend was fueled not by a belief that the struggle was not worthwhile, but by mounting casualty figures, rising taxes, and the feeling that there was no end to the war in sight.[17] A poll taken in November indicated that 55 percent wanted a tougher war policy, exemplifing the public belief that “it was an error for us to have gotten involved in Vietnam in the first place. But now that we’re there, let’s win – or get out.”[18] This prompted the administration to launch a so-called “Success Offensive”, a concerted effort to alter the widespread public perception that the war had reached a stalemate and to convince the American people that the administration’s policies were succeeding. Under the leadership of National Security Advisor Walt W. Rostow, the news media then was inundated by a wave of effusive optimism.”

    From Wikipedia quoted under fair use.

    Remind you of the surge and the current media?

  32. 36

    THE Puddybud The Prognosticator... spews:

    rhp6033: Good try at “Uh, no. It seems to me that it went the other way around. Lots of coverage of those “purple thumbs” in 2004, and not much coverage of the fact that the guys that were shooting at our troops had boycotted the election.”

    That happened after our 2004 election……In early 2005. And there was plenty of “those missing would kill those who showed up” coverage.

    I see you couldn’t refute the other statements. THe use of selective argumentation.

  33. 37

    I-Burn spews:

    @35 “According to the daily body counts on TV, we had killed almost all existing vietcong and they were hanging on by a thread – until the Tet offensive showed how we were being lied to be the MSM.”

    You are aware that after Tet, the VC pretty much *were* gone? After that it was mostly increasing numbers of NVC regulars. And that is when Cronkite decided the war was unwinnable.

    Here is something else from Wiki on that same topic of media bias:

    “Conscientious reporters themselves were the first to admit that objectivity sometimes went out the window for some of their colleagues. Ron Stienman, NBC’s Saigon bureau chief from 1966 to 1968 described how this occurred: “We were developing a new breed of reporter…they often developed egos that limited their ability to express anything other than heated excitement. Some correspondents injected themselves too deeply into the story…and became part of the story, skewing it from the inside. Self-importance clouded the tales they were there to tell, and nuance and subtlety died on the battlefield.””

    So yes there was media bias in Vietnam.

    Whether of not the US should have been in Vietnam, or if the war was prosecuted in the most expedious manner are seperate issues.