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See the World Through My Daughter's Eyes (Rodale, October 2003),
Saturday, October 04, 2003
Okay, lock Rush up and throw
away the key. I now believe that the Limbaugh quote I cited on
Thursday may have been the only sane thing he ever said about the war
1995 quote from Limbaugh
dug up by Newsday columnist Ellis Henican:
Let's all admit something.
There's nothing good about drug use. We know it. It destroys
individuals. It destroys families. Drug use destroys societies.
Drug use, some might say, is destroying this country. And we have
laws against selling drugs, pushing drugs, using drugs, importing
drugs. And the laws are good because we know what happens to
people in societies and neighborhoods which become consumed by
them. And so if people are violating the law by doing drugs,
they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they
ought to be sent up.
Henican's got lots of other good
stuff, too, so read the whole thing.
Here's a teaser
from the National Enquirer, which broke the story.
Unfortunately, you'll have to buy it to read the article. Just find a store where they don't know you.
posted at 12:53 PM |
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Callahan, too. The Boston
Herald's got a problem with one of its own. The paper deals with
it straightforwardly today.
Johnson reports that the
alleged monologue by WEEI Radio (AM 850) blabber John Dennis about
gorillas and black schoolchildren was actually a dialogue involving
Dennis and his cohost, Herald columnist Gerry
For the past few days, everyone
(including me) has been reporting that Dennis -- commenting on Little
Joe, the gorilla who escaped from the Franklin Park Zoo -- had said
that he was "probably a Metco gorilla waiting for a bus to take him
But Greater Boston, the
public-affairs program of WGBH-TV (Channel 2), obtained an audio
tape, and it turns out that it actually went like this:
Callahan: "They caught him
at a bus stop, right -- he was like waiting to catch a bus out of
Dennis: "Yeah, yeah -- he's a
Callahan: "Heading out to
(Disclosure: I was a panelist on
Greater Boston yesterday, and was on the set when the tape was
Meanwhile, pressure continues to
build for Dennis either to quit or be fired by WEEI. I'm not going to
call on Dennis specifically to go. The problem is the genre of
idiotic, racist, homophobic locker-room sports-guy talk more than it
is any one individual.
But it sounds like, during a call
to WEEI yesterday in the midst of his two-day suspension, Dennis said
all the right things, admitting that not only did he say something
"stupid," but that he's got "sensitivity issues" to deal with as
And now WEEI (and the
Herald) has to decide what, if anything, to do about Callahan,
Globe, by the way,
buries the Callahan revelation in a long piece about Boston city
councilor Jim Kelly's refusal to call for Dennis's firing, and fails
to credit Greater Boston's exclusive.
Arnold, not getting
"It's too bad nobody came
up to me before and sat down and said I still feel hurt about what
you said," he said Friday, "and I could have apologized right then
and there. I never got the chance."
in the New York Times today
The waitress said she told
Schwarzenegger at the time: "If you're ever some place and some
woman throws hot coffee on your head, it will be me." He laughed,
"He thought it was the funniest
thing. And then the whole table laughed because, if Arnold
laughed, the whole table laughed."
October 2 (The woman said Schwarzenegger had told her, "I want you
to go in the bathroom, stick your finger in your [vagina],
and bring it out to me.")
Limbaugh: a hypocrite after
all? I've gotten a number of critical comments regarding
Thursday item, in which I
absolved Rush Limbaugh -- accused of having a serious pill problem --
of the charge of hypocrisy when it comes to the war on
Several Media Log readers say the
one quote I found is more than counterbalanced by numerous other
comments the Formerly Rotund One has made over the years.
They may have a point. On Friday,
Washington Post media reporter Howard
Kurtz noted that, in 1999,
Limbaugh said that "by legalizing drugs, all you're going to do is
define further deviancy downward."
what Limbaugh said about
the drug story on his radio show yesterday:
Now, here's the nub of it
at the moment. The story in Florida is -- it really is an emerging
situation. I watch what's being reported on television and it
changes from morning to morning, hour to hour, day to day. I don't
know yet what I'm dealing with there, folks.
I really don't know the full
scope of what I am dealing with. And when I get all the facts,
when I get all the details of this, rest assured that I will
discuss this with you and tell you how it is, tell you everything
there is, maybe more than you want to know about this. You can
believe me and trust me on that. I don't want to answer any
questions about it now, as I say, until I know exactly what I'm
dealing with, and at that point I will fill you all in.
Pretty weird, huh? To say that it's
not exactly a denial is almost beside the point.
posted at 10:37 AM |
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Friday, October 03, 2003
More on the WEEI story.
Gorillagate is about to get bigger. Watch Greater Boston today
at 7 p.m. on WGBH-TV (Channel 2).
posted at 4:14 PM |
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If you've seen one black
columnist named Howard ... If you take a look at the
sports website of the
Boston Herald right now, you'll see a hype that reads "Manly:
No bash by the Bay."
The column, in fact, is by Howard
Bryant. Both Bryant and Manly are African-American.
Media Log reader M.L. tells me this
is the second time this has happened recently. No, it's not racism.
But it does make you wonder whether someone at One Herald Square
really does think they all look alike.
Whoever that someone is ... he or
she needs to be more careful.
posted at 11:16 AM |
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John Dennis's simian
stupidity. Yesterday I described John Dennis as the
man in the media (second
item): he made a grotesquely racist remark comparing gorillas to
black school kids, and he got away with having to issue nothing more
than an apology.
Today, he's a little less lucky.
The management of WEEI Radio (AM 850), under pressure from the city
council and the community, suspended
Dennis for two days. Will
that be enough? Stay tuned.
This is really a mind-blowing media
scandal. It's hard to imagine what the thought process was that led
Dennis to blurt out that Little Joe, the gorilla who briefly escaped
from the Franklin Park Zoo, was "probably a Metco gorilla waiting for
a bus to take him to Lexington." Yes, Dennis has apologized, but why
did it even enter his head in the first place?
Dennis -- a former sports anchor on
Channel 7 -- is one-half of the Dennis & Callahan morning
team, which specializes in lowbrow and offensive humor. I'm not a
frequent listener, but I'm familiar enough with it. Their speciality
is crude jokes about gays and lesbians. Until now, I wasn't aware of
their having indulged in racism, but maybe I just haven't been
listening at the right time.
Callahan, a columnist for the
Boston Herald, comes across like a guy totally within his
element -- that element being cruel locker-room humor for dumbass
white boys. Dennis is more like the nerdy kid who can't believe he's
being allowed to hang out with the jocks.
Loathsome as Callahan's act can be,
I suspect his instincts are such that he would never make this kind
of mistake. Dennis, by contrast, comes across as way, way too eager
to ingratiate himself with his new buddies.
What should happen next? I don't
know. More than anything, WEEI management should stop acting like it
wants to get away with as little as possible -- an apology here, a
two-day suspension there, some public-service announcements for Metco
-- and deal with this in a serious and public way.
A Boston Globe
today argues that Dennis got off "far too lightly." I can't disagree
Meanwhile, over at the
Herald, it looks like it's going to be columnists Howard Manly
and Callahan, in the parking lot, right after work: Manly
today (sub. req.) refers to
Callahan as Dennis's "reactionary sidekick."
This isn't over. Nor should it
posted at 11:06 AM |
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Thursday, October 02, 2003
Rush on drugs. The media
world is going wild today over a
report in the New York
Daily News that "Rush Limbaugh is being investigated for
allegedly buying thousands of addictive painkillers from a
black-market drug ring."
What would appear to be delicious
about this scandal is that Limbaugh is a big-time conservative who's
hung out for years with the just-say-no crowd. What could be better
than learning that the "moralizing motormouth" (the News's
phrase) has a thing for Oxycontin, a/k/a "hillbilly
Okay, had your moment of
schadenfreude? Me too. Now, calm down. It appears that Limbaugh may
not be such a hypocrite after all. For quite some time, Limbaugh has
advocated an end to, or at least an easing of, drug
Here's a transcript
of some comments he made in 1998 on his radio show. An
It seems to me that what
is missing in the drug fight is legalization. If we want to go
after drugs with the same fervor and intensity with which we go
after cigarettes, let's legalize drugs. Legalize the manufacture
of drugs. License the Cali Cartel. Make them taxpayers and then
sue them. Sue them left and right and then get control of the
price and generate tax revenue from it. Raise the price sky high
and fund all sorts of other wonderful social programs.
I'm no Limbaugh fan, and I'm glad
quit ESPN under pressure yesterday
after making racially insensitive remarks about Philadelphia Eagles
quarterback Donovan McNabb.
But though Limbaugh may indeed have
a substance-abuse problem, at least he's got his head screwed on
straight about society and drugs.
Under the sheets with John
Dennis. The luckiest man in media today is John Dennis, co-host
of the execrable Dennis & Callahan show on WEEI Radio (AM
According to this
item in the Boston
Globe (scroll down a bit), Dennis has apologized for comparing
escaped gorilla Little Joe to black Metco students.
Dennis reportedly said that the
gorilla, who hung out for a while at a bus stop before being
recaptured, was "probably a Metco gorilla waiting for a bus
to take him to Lexington."
Obviously what Dennis said was far
worse than the remarks that got Limbaugh into trouble at ESPN. You
could also make a case that Dennis's little joke was worse than the
anti-Palestinian diatribe that got John
"Ozone" Osterlind fired
from WRKO Radio (AM 680) in August.
Of course, Limbaugh is a ratings
monster in political radio who was out of his element doing sports on
TV, and Osterlind was not considered vital to the future of
Dennis, by contrast, is one-half of
a hit show. It just demonstrates that if you've got the numbers, you
can get away with just about anything.
Dylan on the Man in Black.
Dylan has posted a
wonderful tribute to Johnny Cash. (Thanks to P.C. for the
Understanding dyslexia. I
worked with the Boston Globe's Gareth Cook from 1996 through
'98, when he was the Phoenix news editor. I never would have
guessed that he's got dyslexia -- certainly not from the blistering
edits he sent back to me.
Anyway, Cook has written
terrific column about his
lifelong struggle with this learning disability. It should be a
must-read for teachers and parents.
New in this week's
Phoenix. Former Republican political operative
Buckingham settles in at
the Boston Herald; some thoughts on the death and life of the
Palestinian-American scholar Edward Said; and things are looking up
for Democratic political consultant Michael Goldman, recovering from
a serious leg infection.
Also, Herald employees are
a buyout, but no one can
answer the question everyone's asking: Can layoffs be
posted at 8:16 AM |
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Wednesday, October 01, 2003
It's Karl Rove. Those White
House spinners who insist that Bush political guru Karl Rove had
to do with leaking the name
of Joseph Wilson's wife, then-CIA operative Valerie Plame, to Robert
Novak and other journalists ought to get themselves over to
Guardian's audio website.
Click on "White House blamed for
naming CIA agent," which will open up an audio file of
Guardian reporter Julian Borger explaining the leak story for
the benefit of British listeners. Among other things, Borger says:
The finger has so far
pointed at Karl Rove, who is the political maestro in the Bush
team, and there is no one closer in political terms to Bush than
Karl Rove. And several of the journalists are saying privately,
yes, it was Karl Rove who I talked to. Now the thing is that
the journalists are not going to name Karl Rove publicly, because
you don't name your sources, and to do would discredit them as
journalists. So the White House is safe for the time being. But
Karl Rove's name is very much out there.
So why doesn't Rove publicly
release journalists he may have spoken with from any promises of
confidentiality that were made? I think we know the answer to
Thanks for Media Log reader J.D.
for the link.
Al Gore, cable mogul. It
looks like the former vice-president is about to take his first step
toward building a
liberal alternative to the
Fox-Rush axis. And thanks to Y.H. for that. (I see that Drudge has it, too.)
posted at 12:53 PM |
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Tuesday, September 30, 2003
A genuine White House scandal.
It's taken more than two months, but the mainstream media are
finally in full battle cry over the matter of who leaked the name of
former ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife to the media -- including,
most prominently, syndicated columnist Robert Novak.
Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, is a
CIA operative or analyst; precisely which is apparently a matter of
some dispute. Wilson contends that the White House deliberately blew
her cover as retaliation for an op-ed piece he wrote for the New
York Times debunking the Niger yellowcake claims.
Wilson points the finger squarely
at George W. Bush's political guru, and has
been quoted as saying:
I don't think we're going
to let this drop. At the end of the day it's of keen interest to
me to see whether or not we can get Karl Rove frog-marched out of
the White House in handcuffs. And trust me when I use that name. I
measure my words.
Here is Sunday's
Washington Post story,
which did much to move this nauseating scandal into public view. Here
is today's New
York Times follow-up.
Marshall has more on this
than you have time to read -- but scroll down and read his thoughts
on the damage that may have been done to Plame's work on weapons of
Shafer offers some smart
(if overly cavalier) background and context.
Limbaugh is desperate.
Another scandal, all but
forgotten. The Boston Globe today runs an op-ed by
Clinton-administration official Jeffrey
Connaughton on the Bush
White House's decision to let some 140 Saudi nationals -- "including
two-dozen relatives of Osama bin Laden" -- flee the US immediately
Connaughton's column prompts me to
dig up a piece that former Massport executive director Virginia
Buckingham wrote for the Boston Globe Magazine last
Buckingham -- now the deputy
editorial-page editor of the Boston Herald -- wrote about how
stunned she and other officials were over the quick getaway at Logan
The next night, we
experienced another surreal moment: the bin Laden family airlift.
My staff was told that a private jet was arriving at Logan from
Saudi Arabia to pick up 14 members of Osama bin Laden's family
living in the Boston area. "Does the FBI know?" staffers wondered.
"Does the State Department know? Why are they letting these people
go? Have they questioned them?" This was ridiculous. But our
power to stop their arrival or departure was limited. Under
federal law, an airport operator is not allowed to restrict the
movement of an individual flight or a class of aircraft without
going through a byzantine regulatory process that had, to date,
never succeeded. So bravado would have to do in the place of true
authority. [Massport aviation director Thomas] Kinton
said: "Tell the tower that plane is not coming in here until
somebody in Washington tells us it's OK." He then repeatedly
called the FBI and the State Department throughout the night. Each
time the answer was the same: "Let them leave." On September 19,
under the cover of darkness, they did.
Bad company. Boston
Herald sportswriter Ed
Gray today comes out as a
gay man. He writes:
I'm out because I no
longer, in good conscience, choose to ignore the unabashed
homophobia that is so cavalierly tolerated within the world of
sports. I'm out, because the silence of a closeted gay man only
serves to give his implicit approval to bigotry. I'm out, because
I refuse to continue hiding from the truth that an openly gay man
has as much right as a straight man to play sports or report on
Unfortunately, Gray comes out right
next to columnist Gerry Callahan (they're side by side both in print
and on the Herald website), whose WEEI Radio (AM 850) morning
specializes in homophobic "humor."
posted at 8:48 AM |
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Monday, September 29, 2003
A critique of pure blogging.
I have not been following the Daniel Weintraub saga all that
closely, so I appreciated today's
New York Times piece
on the matter.
Weintraub writes a weblog for the
Bee. A couple of weeks
ago, the Bee announced that Weintraub would be required to
submit new posts to his editors before uploading them to his blog,
Insider." The policy change
may or may not be related to the fact that he'd written a post a few
overly touchy supporters of Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante may
have found racially insensitive. (Oddly enough, the Times article, by Michael Falcone, makes no mention of this angle.)
With the boilerplate out of the
way, my question is this: What's the big deal? Some bloggers,
Mickey Kaus, are outraged,
but Weintraub himself seems okay with it. Moreover, it strikes me
that to the extent there's any controversy, it has to do with the
overwrought sense of importance that some bloggers have about
themselves and what they're doing.
As best as I can define it, the
only pure blog is one that is written independently of any
media organization. Folks like Josh
Reynolds are out there on
their own, and God bless them for it.
Those of us who are blogging for
our employers are engaged in something different -- essentially,
writing something that looks like a blog, reads like a blog, and in
many respects is a blog, but that may be more akin to an
online column, subject to certain constraints. That's true of Media
Log, as well as such fine blogs as Altercation
(Salon), and, yes, Kausfiles, whose author gave up his
independence in return for Microsoft's filthy lucre. (Hey, Mickey:
Good for you!)
Neither fish nor fowl:
Schechter, who writes his
indispensable "Dissector's Web Log" for Mediachannel.org,
but who is also the boss.
Now, what the Bee's critics
seem not to want to acknowledge is that if you're blogging for
someone else, you're getting edited somewhere down the line. Here's
how it works at Media Log Central: I upload my posts myself, without
the intervention of any editor. But my editors and I talk about what
works, what doesn't work, and what I might do differently the next
time. And were I to write something that never should have seen the
light of day, guess what? It will come down.
That's the way it should be. The
extra value that a news organization can offer is, after all, editing
-- the collective judgment of experienced people, and not just the
sensibility of one person.
Blogging for a news organization
doesn't have to be a contradiction in terms. Unless you think the
words freewheeling and responsible don't belong in the
Hannity & Colmes,
explained. The most accurate description I have ever read of the
Fox News Channel's dreadful Hannity & Colmes program
appears in the current New York Press (scroll way, way down,
Rigged Talk Show").
Here's the clincher:
The dynamic and
charismatic ultra-conservative [Sean] Hannity squares off
nightly against the weak, conciliatory and center-left
[Alan] Colmes, who is just about the least effective
spokesman for the liberal cause imaginable. If that weren't
enough, rightie-tightass fuckhead Dennis Miller was recently added
to the show as a weekly commentator.
Be warned: fuckhead is mild
compared to some of the other language used to describe this
John Carroll, blogger. His
posted at 1:30 PM |
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MEDIA LOG ARCHIVES
Dan Kennedy is senior writer and media critic for the Boston Phoenix.