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See the World Through My Daughter's Eyes (Rodale, October 2003),
Friday, May 16, 2003
Mistakes are made. SB points
out something I
should have noticed: the
quote that "God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew" came not
from Pat Robertson but from one of his minions, Bailey
I've been thinking a lot about
blogging lately, and this particular error plays into that. We all
make mistakes from time to time, but it's far easier to screw up when
you're writing a blog than when you're writing a piece for
publication. You've got more time, it gets edited -- you know the
We're at a moment when journalistic
standards are under fire as never before. Do blogs add or substract
from the sum total of our understanding? Is blogging an alternative
to the mainstream media, or is it simply just one more thing for
people to distrust? Am I contributing to that distrust?
Yes, there are some people who can
bang out blog items flawlessly, almost never making a mistake. Right
now I'm not sure I'm one of them. The idea is simple enough -- you
rifle through the papers, you hit a few websites, you write, and then
you go to work. But right now I'm wondering whether I'm really one of
those people who can consistently do this sort of speed journalism
without ever (or hardly ever) making an error.
I expect I'll muse about this more
in the coming days and weeks. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts
posted at 11:26 AM |
Jacoby's wrong about
Robertson. Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby must have missed
one when he penned
ode to the heretofore
undetected philo-Semitism of that great theological thinker Pat
Robertson. Quoth the good reverend:
With all due respect to
those dear people, my friend, God Almighty does not hear the
prayer of a Jew.
Robertson, as you'll see if you
follow the link, has also muttered darkly about the relationship
between communism and Jews.
Jacoby might also read this
exchange of letters between Abe Foxman, national director of the
Anti-Defamation League, and Robertson. Foxman accuses Robertson's
Christian Broadcasting Network of showing a film called The Easter
Promise that "is saturated with sinister
caricatures of Jews
reminiscent of the anti-Semitic stereotypes promulgated only in the
darkest periods of Christianity."
Foxman also notes that Robertson
had not acted to take The Easter Promise off the air despite
having been tipped off about its "vile" content five years
Robertson's response is all
unctuous solicitude. But the bottom line is that he accuses Foxman of
being an agent for the Democrats. Robertson closes:
But Abe, I understand your
game. It is clear that your focus is not the defense of worldwide
Jewry, but the domestic political agenda of the Democratic Party
of the United States who has done more to poison the relations
between Jews and Christians in America than you. I marvel that the
Board of the Anti-Defamation League hasn't restrained you some
This despite the fact that Foxman
makes not one political reference in his letter.
It is true that Robertson has been
a staunch defender of Israel. But Jacoby really needs to be less
promiscuous about which friends of Israel he chooses to
posted at 8:50 AM |
McGrory's Raines column runs.
Today's Globe contains the Brian McGrory column that had
killed earlier in the week
Raines, Jayson Blair, and Mike
Barnicle. Or, at least,
this is a version of it; who knows what got changed?
McGrory, an Irish-American who was
promoted to fill the slot of another Irish-American, is very, very
concerned about the perils of diversity. That said, it's not a bad
column -- he worries, rightly, that this whole affair will be used to
discredit African-American journalists.
posted at 8:50 AM |
Thursday, May 15, 2003
New in this week's
Phoenix. I take a look at New York Times executive
Raines's culpability in the
Jayson Blair scandal. Plus, an NECN documentary on a remarkable camp
in Maine that brings together Israeli
and Palestinian teenagers.
No blogging today, as I will be
taking part in an all-day seminar and will be disconnected from both
my laptop and the news.
posted at 6:41 AM |
Wednesday, May 14, 2003
Toeing the tax line. Do
not stop presses, but this is pretty amusing nevertheless.
Toe-sucking political consultant turned conservative commentator Dick
Morris has been identified as one of Connecticut's most notorious tax
deadbeats, according to this
story by the Associated Press.
the actual list.
Morris, the architect of Bill
Clinton's post-1994 "triangulation" strategy, pops up on Fox News
these days, often on Hannity & Colmes, no doubt to make
Sean look good. Next time will Hannity lambaste Morris for immorality
or praise him for striking an anti-tax stand?
Of course, with Morris there's
always a third way. In this case, he denies the
Here's Morris's latest
column in the Hill,
in which he handicaps the Democratic presidential candidates. His
lead: "The very first thing to understand about the 2004 Democratic
primaries is that they do not exist." Well that ought to save
everyone a lot of time.
His early favorite in the
non-primaries is Joe Lieberman -- "[b]ut only if he gets off
his butt and raises some money." Hey, Dick: get off your butt and pay
posted at 11:09 AM |
An unwarranted gift. In a
time of fiscal meltdown, why does House Speaker Tom Finneran want to
spend $100 million on R&D for the technology industry?
It's a good question, and
columnist Steve Bailey is
posted at 11:09 AM |
Tuesday, May 13, 2003
Gasp! She dissed Nixon! The
media template has been established: Teresa Heinz Kerry is
outspoken and controversial. And nothing can change
that -- not even sitting down for an interview with the
New York Times' John Tierney
and saying little of note.
Here's how Tierney's piece
Even with two aides
monitoring the interview, Teresa Heinz Kerry, the first Democrat
to generate serious buzz in the presidential campaign, could not
resist being candid when she was asked the other day her opinion
of a warning issued by Richard M. Nixon in 1992. "If the wife
comes through as being too strong and too intelligent," Nixon had
said, referring to a newcomer named Hillary, "it makes the husband
look like a wimp."
Ms. Heinz Kerry, the wife of
Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts and one of the nation's
leading philanthropists, promptly fired back at Nixon, leaving his
wife as collateral damage. Saying that the former president had
"personal quirks," she referred to his marriage to Pat Nixon and
said with a shrug, "Well, we know Richard Nixon wasn't too much in
contact with how women should be."
Casually insulting a dead
president and first lady was probably not the message her aides
had hoped for in the interview on Friday afternoon at the Pierre
Hotel in New York. But then, ever since Mr. Kerry was discussed as
a possible presidential candidate, he has often been overshadowed
by his wife's frank comments about everything from her marriages
past and present, her prenuptial agreement with Mr. Kerry, her
botox treatments and the Bush adviser who accused her husband of
looking French. As the Kerry campaign gets under way, she is being
described as either its greatest strength or its biggest
In other words, what Heinz gave
Tierney were some exceedingly ordinary observations about Richard
Nixon, our most despised former president, and how he related to
women. But these comments must be made to fit the template, so
Tierney writes that she "[c]asually insult[ed] a dead
president and first lady." Really? Is that how any sane person would
And, as the end of Tierney's
opening suggests, what is to follow is all rehash. Yet this
substance-free profile made the front page.
Okay, I like his line about Heinz
being "the first Democrat to generate serious buzz in the
posted at 9:03 AM |
Paying tribute to Elizabeth
Neuffer. The Globe has set up an
online guestbook for people
to share their thoughts about Elizabeth Neuffer. Many comments from
her colleagues, many from those who knew her from other walks of
life, and a few just from ordinary readers. It's sad and
posted at 9:03 AM |
Monday, May 12, 2003
Elizabeth Neuffer's legacy.
It's sad but predictable that an outrageous eruption of journalistic
wrongdoing -- the apparent fabrications and plagiarism of former
New York Times reporter Jayson Blair -- has entirely
overshadowed the death of Boston Globe reporter Elizabeth
But Neuffer is what this business
is, or should be, all about. A tremendous reporter with an uncanny
ability to drop into dangerous, chaotic places and make sense out of
them for those of us back home, Neuffer and a Globe
translator, Waleed Khalifa Hassan Al Dulaimi, were killed in a car
accident in Iraq on Friday.
The Globe's Mark Feeney
fine obituary that appeared
in Saturday's paper. You'll also find links to her recent reports
Neuffer appeared on NPR's Fresh
Air on December 3, February 3, and, most recently, March 20. You
can listen to Terry Gross interview her by clicking
here. Enter "Elizabeth
Neuffer" in the "Find a guest" box.
Neuffer had a real sense of
ordinary people's humanity. Her Globe reports from Rwanda and
Bosnia, which she expanded on in her 2001 book, The
Key to My Neighbor's House: Seeking Justice in Bosnia and
Rwanda, are perhaps her
most lasting legacy. I haven't read the book, but I've long followed
her newspaper work.
I had exactly one encounter with
Neuffer -- brief and from afar. At one point during the endless
toxic-waste lawsuit, which
I covered as a staff reporter for the Woburn Daily Times
Chronicle in the 1980s, plaintiffs' attorney Jan Schlichtmann
held a news conference outside the federal district
Nothing particularly striking to
report -- just that I remembered her and remembered her name as she
established a reputation for herself. She was a great journalist, and
if there's any justice, she'll be remembered long after the likes of
Jayson Blair are forgotten.
posted at 9:15 AM |
David Farrell on the Big
Dig. I'm late in getting to this, but I want to call your
attention to some online commentary by former
Globe columnist David Farrell,
who observes that the entire Central Artery/Tunnel Project never
would have been necessary if Tip O'Neill and Michael Dukakis hadn't
blocked construction of the Southwest Corridor and the Inner
(What Southwest Corridor and Inner
Belt? Well, that's Farrell's point.)
A couple of counterarguments: (1)
it wasn't all Democrats, as Republican governor Frank Sargent had a
lot to do with the no-new-highways decision; (2) those massive
highway construction projects would have destroyed entire
neighborhoods, and thus there were good reasons for canceling them.
Still, Farrell reminds us of the
law of unanticipated consequences.
posted at 9:14 AM |
MEDIA LOG ARCHIVES
Dan Kennedy is senior writer and media critic for the Boston Phoenix.