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See the World Through My Daughter's Eyes (Rodale, October 2003),
Saturday, January 10, 2004
The Democrats and the war (a
semi-correction). Media Log reader F.C. thinks a correction is in
order for my item
on the New Republic's endorsement of Joe Lieberman, whom I
called "the only one of the nine Democratic presidential candidates"
to support the war in Iraq.
"In fact," writes F.C., "Gephardt,
Edwards and Kerry all voted to authorize Bush to use military force,
and Gephardt was among the first Democrats to do so
I semi-agree. John Kerry, depending
on how things are going on any particular moment, can sound as
antiwar as Howard Dean these days, so I will definitely stick with
leaving him out of the prowar mix.
As for Gephardt, he said at the
time of the vote that he thought it represented the best chance for
Here's a postwar Gephardt statement:
I said to President Bush
in the Oval Office, a number of times early last year, that he had
to get the UN, he had to get NATO, he had to start the
inspections, he had to weld together an alliance to do whatever
needed to be done. He failed at that. We're now seven months into
the event, or eight months, and he still hasn't gotten it
That said, Gephardt did vote "yes"
on the Bush administration's request for $87 billion to help
reconstruct Iraq. So did Lieberman.
On the other hand, Kerry and
Edwards voted "no." And though Edwards has not sought to distance
himself from his prowar vote with quite the vigor that Gephardt has,
about the $87 billion were pointed:
The policy this
administration was pursuing in Iraq was not working. It needed to
be changed. And I wanted to say absolutely clearly that it needed
to be changed.
What's beyond dispute is that no
one other than Lieberman has made this
kind of statement:
Look, long before George
Bush became president, I reached a conclusion that Saddam Hussein
was a threat to the US and to the world, and particularly to his
own people who he was brutally suppressing. I believe that the war
against Saddam was right, and that the world is safer with him
Which is why I called Lieberman the
only one of the nine to support the war. If I had added the word
"unreservedly," I suppose that would have gotten it exactly
More on the Herald's
unlabeled front-page ad. WBUR Radio weighed in on Friday. Click
to see the fake front. You can also listen to a commentary by Boston
University journalism-department chairman Bob Zelnick.
posted at 10:29 AM |
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Thursday, January 08, 2004
Ben Bradlee departs
Globe. Veteran Boston Globe staff member Ben
Bradlee Jr. - on leave to write a book about Ted Williams - has
decided not to return. Globe editor Marty Baron's
to the staff has been posted on Romenesko. A copy was sent to Media
Log as well. It reads:
To the staff:
I am sorry to report that we are
saying farewell to a colleague whose 25 years of dedicated service
to The Boston Globe has brought some of its finest journalistic
Ben Bradlee Jr. has served this
paper in a wide range of capacities - as investigative reporter,
state government reporter, national correspondent, foreign
correspondent, the editor overseeing State House and City Hall
bureaus, the Assistant Managing Editor for local news, and Deputy
Managing Editor for Projects and Investigations.
To each of those jobs, he
brought passion, fierce competitiveness, and a drive to get at the
truth. Ben has held us to high standards and high ambitions, and
he has become a dear friend to so many here.
Over the past year and a half,
Ben has been on a leave of absence while researching and writing a
book on Ted Williams. He will continue to work on that book, his
fourth. A few weeks ago, Ben said he had concluded that now would
be a good time to move on to another phase of his life, and in
that I know he has our best wishes.
He also has our thanks for his
many contributions to the Globe's success. I am particularly
grateful for his invaluable leadership on the investigation of the
priest sex-abuse scandal, where he always pressed forward and
never settled for less than the full story. The book that emerged
from that investigation, "Betrayal: The Crisis in the Catholic
Church," would never have been published without Ben, who
conceived the project, oversaw the reporting, and personally
Ben won't be far away, and I'm
sure he'll be available for good advice, journalistic inspiration,
or maybe just a drink among friends.
Bradlee, 55, had been at the
Globe for 25 years. Among his books is Guts and Glory: The
Rise and Fall of Oliver North, published in 1988, in the midst of
the Iran-contra scandal.
And yes, his father is the retired
executive editor of the Washington Post, the legendary
Benjamin Crowninshield Bradlee.
posted at 7:21 PM |
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Where's Marty? Perhaps the
only surprising thing about the New Republic's endorsement of
Joe Lieberman is that boy wonder editor Peter Beinart is taking
pretty much sole credit for it.
Lieberman's politics - moderate on
social and economic issues, hawkish on national security - are
perfectly in alignment with those of Martin Peretz, the magazine's
principal owner and editor-in-chief.
Yet Peretz's name didn't even come
up last night when Beinart appeared on CNN's Paula Zahn Now to
BEINART: It was a vigorous
internal debate within the magazine. In fact, in this issue of the
magazine we're publishing, four dissents in favor of other
candidates. At the end of the day, as the editor in consultation,
I made this decision feeling it was our responsibility to take a
ZAHN: That's a nice way of
saying, you're the big cheese. You ultimately sign off on the
BEINART: After listening to a
lot of people.
Of course, the phrase "editor in
consultation" leaves a lot of room for the involvement of others,
including Peretz. But clearly a judgment was made to portray this as
the decision of the magazine collectively, led by Beinart. And it was
easier to do that this time around, since Peretz isn't known to be
personal friends with Lieberman or any of the other candidates, as he
was and is with Al Gore.
The endorsement itself is freely
available, so have
a look. What it really
comes down to is one thing: TNR supported the war in Iraq, and
Lieberman is the only one of the nine Democratic presidential
candidates to do the same. For instance, there is this:
Fundamentally, the Dean
campaign equates Democratic support for the Iraq war with
appeasement of President Bush. But the fight against Saddam
Hussein falls within a hawkish liberal tradition that stretches
through the Balkan wars, the Gulf war, and, indeed, the cold war
itself. Lieberman is not the only candidate who stands in that
tradition - Wesley Clark promoted it courageously in Kosovo, as
did Richard Gephardt when he defied the polls to vote for $87
billion to rebuild Iraq. But Lieberman is its most steadfast
advocate, not only in the current field but in the entire
That's a fair assessment. And I'm
reasonably sure that Lieberman would never have resorted to the
duplicitous arguments about weapons of mass destruction that were
used by the Bush White House to concoct its case for war.
But, short of the prospect of Iraqi
nukes, how could Lieberman - or anyone else - have convinced the
American public that waging war was the right thing to do? As
horrible a dictator as Saddam Hussein was, the chaos in Iraq today
shows that this war was a terrible idea. Now that we know
there were no weapons, what do we tell the families of American
soldiers (not to mention Iraqis) whose lives have been lost?
The editorial is accompanied by
pieces from the TNR staff favoring John
Clark, and Howard
Nowhere in sight: Massachusetts
senator John Kerry.
Ed Gillespie, lying liar.
Even though Wes Boyd, head of the lefty political website
has clearly explained that he had nothing to do with the ad comparing
George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler that had been posted by a contest
participant; even though the ad was removed as soon as it was brought
to his attention; Republican National Committee chairman Ed
rant is still up on the
party's website, GOP.com.
Here is MoveOn.org's
And here's an analysis
by Timothy Karr at Mediachannel.org,
complete with the requisite link to an unhinged column in the
right-wing New York Post.
New in this week's
Phoenix: John Kerry battles to revive
his moribund presidential campaign.
And the Narco News Bulletin
posted at 9:54 AM |
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Wednesday, January 07, 2004
Front page for sale. I
couldn't find one while I was running around the Back Bay earlier
today, but a colleague just handed it to me: a very, very
special edition of today's Boston Herald, given to her free of
charge at Downtown Crossing.
Free, but not without a cost.
Because the front is a mock cover that looks like the
Herald, but that is apparently a full-page ad for JetBlue, which
today - according to the lead "story" - "launches its
much-anticipated nonstop service from Logan Airport to Orlando, Tampa
The splash reads "JetBlue Arrives,
Promises a Free TV to All Who Fly." There's an asterisk next to "TV,"
and an explanation that the head refers merely to "the complimentary
satellite TV on JetBlue, not an actual television set."
Other tidbits include "Flight
Attendant Gives Passenger Entire Can of Soda," "Blue Potato Chip
Discovered, Enjoyed by JetBlue Passenger," and weather reports from
JetBlue's destination cities.
Something you won't find:
any mention of the fact that this is an advertisement, not
Flip open the paper, and there is
today's unadulterated Herald. So, yeah, it's a free newspaper
once you get past the front-page ad.
But at the very least, the front
should have been prominently labeled as an ad. This isn't just a
violation of the traditional wall separating business and editorial -
this is an out-and-out demolition.
posted at 5:03 PM |
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Bush's mind: empty, closed, or
both? Check this
out from Elisabeth Bumiller's profile of national-security adviser
Condoleezza Rice in today's New York Times:
Richard Haass, the former
director of policy planning at the State Department who is now the
president of the Council on Foreign Relations, recalls going to
see Ms. Rice in July 2002, well before the president began making
a public case for ousting Mr. Hussein, to discuss with Ms. Rice
"the pros and cons" of making Iraq a priority.
"Basically she cut me off and
said, 'Save your breath - the president has already decided
what he's going to do on this,'" Mr. Haass said.
Not that you can blame Bush. After
all, there were all of those dangerous aluminum
tubes and stores of
yellowcake to be gotten rid
And as Bush recently
to Diane Sawyer when she pointed out that the White House had
actually accused Saddam Hussein of having weapons of mass
destruction, "as opposed to the possibility that he could move to
acquire those weapons":
"So what's the
posted at 11:06 AM |
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Tuesday, January 06, 2004
Hunting really stupid humans
with David Brooks. Josh
Somerby have already
explained why David Brooks's column
in today's New York Times - claiming that criticism of the
neoconservatives is a form of anti-Semitism - is so deeply
But let me zero in on just one
part. Brooks writes:
Theories about the tightly
knit neocon cabal came in waves. One day you read that neocons
were pushing plans to finish off Iraq and move into Syria. Web
sites appeared detailing neocon conspiracies; my favorite
described a neocon outing organized by Dick Cheney to hunt for
Really? Is this what all of us
liberal and lefty conspiracy theorists are buzzing about these days -
that Dick Cheney likes to shoot humans when there aren't enough
pheasants to blast out of
I fired up Google and got to work.
First, I came across this
post on the website of the
Portland (Oregon) Independent Media Center titled "9-11 Director
CHENEY RAPES CHILDREN and has a history of playing HUNT THE HUMAN in
Wyoming." It begins:
This whole neocon
monstrosity of America is a sick place. Its shallow media lets
these type of people into power here. SUMMARY: Cheney is involved
in 'testing,' hunting, and raping children who were Monarch Mind
Control Slaves when he was the sole Representative for Wyoming in
the 1970s. Below is some testimony from one of his child victims.
Well, this certainly explains how he could have the composure or
sang froid to be the Bush Administrations's 9-11 Director as he
oversaw the deaths of thousands in the World Trade Center, told
the military planes to standdown, and let the plane hit the
Pentagon (without ordering the evacuation of it as he could have
over 30 minutes earlier, and without ordering the evacuation of
the fourth plane hit location, the Congress, either). Cheney
ordered the fourth plane shot down as well, even according to
nimrod Bush. Cheney is one sick asshole who deserves the electric
Crazy? Well, yeah, of course. But
to read Brooks, you'd think he'd learned of this nuttiness by paging
through the Dean
for America weblog.
But wait: it gets better. Because
it turns out that the only other entry I could find for Cheney and
human-hunting involves - yes! - Bill Clinton! Check
connection is their love of hunting mind controlled men, women and
children, The Most Dangerous Game. Cathy describes one of
experiences at Swiss Villa when Clinton and Bush went hunting with
dogs for herself, her daughter, Kelly and two mind
controlled "toy soldiers", one of whom had Italian-looking
Swiss Villa appeared deserted,
except for Bill Clinton and George Bush who stood at the edge of
the woods with their hunting dogs at the ready to embark on " The
Most Dangerous Game of human hunting. (Clinton shared Bush's
passion for traumatising and hunting humans)...Bush and Clinton
alike in camouflage pants, army boots, and wind breakers. The
two shared the trademark of sharing a cap with cryptic meaning.
This time, Bush's camouflage cap had an orange insignia which said
"Dear Hunter". Clinton's blue cap read, "Aim High" and had a
picture of a rifle on it. Clinton appeared awkward with his
hunting rifle, while Bush looked like an expert marksman with his
black rifle and elaborate scope.
"The rules of the game are
simple" Bush began, triggering me by using the same words that
always preceded the most dangerous game.
Clinton interrupted; "You run,
We hunt "
Bush continued: 'This will be
called " Hunt for a Virgin"' ( Clinton chuckled) 'and she's
it. He pointed to Kelley who was still in my arms. "I catch
you, she's mine"
Clinton spoke up: 'You'll have
plenty of time to play with the dogs because they'll have
you pinned down while we... ' ( he slid a bullet in the chamber
for emphasis)'... hunt down the bigger game.' Clinton
glared a the "toy soldier" with the waxy face. Toy soldier was a
term I often heard referring to the mind-controlled robotic
'"special forces'"young men who operated under the New World
And on and on it goes.
So what's the point? Simple: why is
David Brooks shoveling this garbage out there as though it were
something that's actually being talked about by those who oppose the
Bush-Cheney policy of pre-emptive war? And why is he portraying the
human-hunting crap as though it were directed at Cheney and his
neocon friends, when in fact a cursory examination reveals that
Clinton - the original victim of the vast right-wing conspiracy - has
been dragged into it as well?
When Brooks got an op-ed
columnist's slot at the Times last year, my biggest question
was whether the paper's right-wing critics would be appeased by
hiring someone so moderate.
Well, it's increasingly looking
like Brooks has decided to reinvent himself. And it ain't
posted at 4:53 PM |
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Monday, January 05, 2004
A very bad day for Dick
Gephardt. Even without Al Sharpton and Wesley Clark, yesterday's
Democratic presidential debate in Iowa still felt too
Though Media Log was pleased that
the bloviating Sharpton was MIA, Clark appears to be emerging as the
consensus choice as Howard Dean's strongest challenger.
So you had the worst of both
worlds: seven candidates, not much of an improvement over nine; and
the most potentially interesting confrontation failing to take
For my money, then, the most
interesting subplot in this lowered-stakes debate was John Edwards's
absolute evisceration of Dick Gephardt. Gephardt, from neighboring
Missouri, has to win the Iowa caucuses. Gephardt himself would
surely tell you otherwise, but the plain truth is that if he can't
win there, he can't win anywhere.
And Gephardt was having a pretty
good day, appearing more animated than usual and seeming to get more
face time than most of the other candidates.
But then he mistakenly said that
all of his opponents had voted for NAFTA and for free trade with
China except Dennis Kucinich.
"Can I respond first to what was
just said?" interjected Edwards. "Because it was very skillfully
done; he lumped everybody together."
Note the little trick Edwards pulls
here: Gephardt not only wronged me, but did it in a way that shows
he's a skilled politician.
According to the transcript,
First of all, I didn't
vote for NAFTA. I campaigned against NAFTA. NAFTA passed before I
got to the Congress, to the United States Senate.
And I might add, you could pick
out any one vote of anybody on this stage - you
[Gephardt], for example, voted for fast-track authority
for Bush I that led to the passage of NAFTA.
So the point is - and I don't
believe you're not for American workers; I do. I absolutely
believe that. But I think you could take any one vote from any
candidate and distort it. And we ought to tell the truth about
This is first-rate political
gamesmanship on Edwards's part.
First, he sets the record straight.
Next, he points out that not all of Gephardt's votes have been in
accord with his anti-NAFTA stance. Finally - and this is the best
part - Edwards deconstructs the debate, explaining that plucking out
single votes and beating people over the head with them is just
You can see how Edwards got to be a
zillionaire as a trial lawyer. The wonder is that he hasn't done
better in his presidential campaign.
Gephardt's response was as
flat-footed as Edwards could have hoped for. Roll the
GEPHARDT: Well, John, you
weren't in Congress when NAFTA came up, so you couldn't vote. But
you voted for the China...
EDWARDS: But you just said I
voted for it.
EDWARDS: Does that mean you're
wrong? You'll take it back now?
GEPHARDT: I'm quite willing to
say that you weren't there and you didn't vote for it.
But you voted for the China
agreement, and it's had a bad impact here in Iowa, and it's had a
bad impact in your state of North Carolina.
Adam Nagourney reports
in today's New York Times that Gephardt "appeared to redden a
bit" during this exchange. The color on my TV set must be off, but I
should think he would have.
Thanks to Edwards's deftness, it
turned out to be a fairly good day for Dean, despite Joe Lieberman's
effective attack on him for refusing to make public all of his
records from his years as governor of Vermont.
Dean is in defensive mode, trying
to protect a lead that, though substantial, may not be quite as big
as it was a few weeks ago.
The Dean strategy: (1) eliminate
Gephardt in Iowa; (2) eliminate John Kerry in New Hampshire; (3) try
to withstand a post-New Hampshire surge from Clark or, less likely,
Edwards certainly helped Dean with
part one yesterday.
posted at 8:56 AM |
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MEDIA LOG ARCHIVES
Dan Kennedy is senior writer and media critic for the Boston Phoenix.