Hey, remember when Howard Kurtz praised The Washington Times, saying it "has always been a legitimate newspaper" and made "an effort to be fair" to both parties during the 2008 presidential election? Or the time he said the paper "is far more balanced since John Solomon took over last year"?
Well, since Kurtz's former Washington Post colleague John Solomon resigned as the Times' executive editor, editorial page editor Rich Miniter was fired and is suing the paper, and 40 percent staff layoffs were announced, Kurtz has had a bit of a change of heart. In his article today on the paper's cutbacks, the Times is "a conservative alternative to much of the mainstream media" that attracted "marquee conservative names" to its banner and features "conservative editorial pages," "its recently launched Web site, TheConservatives.com" and a "conservative radio program."
Kurtz still makes time to praise Solomon for having "focused heavily on fairness, banning such practices as putting 'gay marriage' in quotes." He does not, however, attempt to reconcile Solomon's purported focus on fairness with Solomon's launch of the aforementioned conservative web site and radio program. Nor does he address the Times editorial board's anti-gay war against Department of Education official Kevin Jennings, or its use of scare quotes in identifying "Jeff Davis, Mr. Jennings 'partner' of 15 years." I'm sure he'll get to the bottom of those right after he's done with "Tiger watch."
Apparently that's what the party crasher story now revolves around, the fact that President Obama's social secretary, Desiree Rogers, wears designer dresses and, frankly, is a bit too full of herself.
That was certainly the take-away from the WashPost's thoroughly bitchy Wednesday profile by the newspaper fashion writer Robin Givhan. A classic hit piece, the Post article was loaded with venom and backed up by very few facts, and even fewer quotes. It was a classic hit piece in that prior to Wednesday, apparently the only person making the central charge in the article (i.e. that Rogers was "too busy basking in the limelight" to squash the party crashers) was the person writing the article; Givhan. Who then spent the entire article failing to prove the charge.
Noted Ta-Nehisi Coates at The Atlantic:
Here's a piece that will get you flunked out J-school. Robin Givhan barks at Desiree Rogers like she stole something--namely, her man--and makes the case for utter overuse of anonymous sourcing or, in some cases, no sourcing at all:
One of the oddest portions of the article was Givhan, who writes about fashion, criticized Rogers for caring too much about fashion:
Early in her tenure, Rogers made a trip to New York City during February's fashion week. She sat in the front row of runway shows such as Donna Karan and smiled for the flock of photographers who descended on the striking Obama gatekeeper with her pixie cut, stylish wardrobe and high-altitude heels. She dabbled in a world of hipsters and art scene know-it-alls in her attempt to bring a contemporary gleam to the White House. And she seemed to thrive on all the attention. She has come across as a big-picture manager, not one focused on details.
Readers were supposed to recoil in horror, I suppose. But note this nugget from the Chicago Tribune's Swamp blog, regarding the questions Givhan herself was asking the night of the WH state dinner:
A certain reporter was commenting on the attire that Rogers herself had donned for the occasion that night - a pale peach gown from the Japanese designer, Comme des Garcons.
The Post's own social correspondent, Robin Givhan, who was standing next to the print pool reporter working the dinner, asked Rogers that night: "Are you wearing Comme Des Garcons?"
"Of course," Rogers replied.
So, on the night of the state dinner, Post writer Givhan was very interested in which designer Rogers was wearing. But by Wednesday, Post writer Givhan, now penning a hit piece, had decided that nobody really cared which designer Rogers was wearing; except Rogers.
Sadly, that was not the end of the story. In fact, yesterday it seemed to gain momentum. Read this rather amazing back-and-forth from the WH press briefing. (Mediaite, has the video.) The reporter asking the loaded questions about Rogers (questions clearly inspired by the Post hit piece) was April Ryan from American Urban Radio Networks [emphasis added].
Q. Has there been any concern about Desiree Rogers' performance prior to this instance?
Mr. Gibbs: No.
Q. No one has questioned the president or told the president that she is a very last-minute person, poor planner?
Mr. Gibbs: No, I think you — you all have been to and seen, either whether you're part of a pool, whether some of you've been to receptions, the remarkable work that they have done in pulling off a lot of events here. The first family is quite pleased with her performance, and I've heard nothing uttered of what you talked about.
Q. Well, what about the issues of her being in fashion spreads early on in the administration? Did you put the brakes on that? I mean, that is — it's been raised. It's now public. It's — you know, you saw it in the magazines, her pictorials. You saw her on the cover of –
Mr. Gibbs: There's a — I get Sports Illustrated in my house.
Q. Was there a concern in this White House that she came out being, some might have called her the belle of the ball, overshadowing the First Lady?
Mr. Gibbs: I don't know who "some" are, but I've never heard that.
Q. It's been bantered around Washington. It's been in Democratic circles as well as Republican circles, by high-ranking people.
Q. Did she invite herself to this dinner or was she a guest? Did the president invite her or did she put her name [on the list.] Did she invite herself?!
Wow. Just, wow.
Way back in 2007, Media Research Center president L. Brent Bozell III wrote a column chastising the media for giving celebrities -- liberal celebrities like Alec Baldwin and Sean Penn, in particular -- platforms from which to opine on matters of national significance. Bozell's argument, in a nutshell, was that these celebrities, for all their passion and verbosity, are no more "mentally impressive than a plate of mashed potatoes."
Well, Bozell must have a very soft definition of "mentally impressive," as NewsBusters announced this morning that their newest blogger is "legendary country and rock musician" Charlie Daniels, best known for his 1979 hit, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." Daniels' lesser-known works include crypto-Confederate anthems like "The South's Gonna Do It Again," and charmingly offensive anti-Muslim ditties like "This Ain't No Rag, It's a Flag." Just to dispel any doubt as to what kind of "rag" Daniels was singing about, the first line of the song helpfully explains that "we don't wear it on our heads."
And fittingly enough, Daniels' first post for NewsBusters deals with alleged Ft. Hood shooter Nadal Malik Hassan and the threat of radical Islam. You can read it if you want -- he seems to have culled most of his arguments from the comments sections of third-rate conservative blogs and offers nothing new, thought-provoking, or rational. In truth, all you need to know about Daniels' thoughts on America's relationship with the Muslim world can be gleaned from these two sentences: "I know that all Muslims are not terrorists. I have met some who seemed like fine people." That's very big of you, Charlie, to allow the possibility that some of the Muslims you've met could be fine people.
I would also recommend checking out the Soapbox blog on Daniels' website, in which he opines on various political matters. The "Open Letter to Immigrants" was a particularly fun and patronizingly offensive read ("We have our own laws in this country, some will make sense to you and some won't.")
If Bozell considers Baldwin and Penn to be on par with a plate of mashed potatoes, then Daniels is something like day-old grits.
Best graph from the Washington Times' press release announcing "changes to refocus its position as a provider of vital information and insight to readers in the nation's capital, across the country and around the world":
News focused on strengths. The Washington Times news operation will operate in a highly focused manner, investing in Washington Times' well-established core strengths that include exclusive reporting and in-depth national political coverage, enterprise and investigative reporting, geo-strategic and national security news, and cultural coverage based on traditional values.
Shorter WT: We will go back to putting "gay marriage" in scare quotes.
From Mike Huckabee's December 2 Q&A with Christianity Today:
Would you vote for the health-care bill if the Stupak amendment [that bans funding for abortion] was retained in the final version?
Absolutely not. First of all, I don't have any confidence that the Democrats in the House plan to honor that in the long term, and secondly, if abortion wasn't even a part, it's still going to create huge deficits. It's a job-killing bill. It intrudes into an area of people's responsibilities and rights as citizens. I think the bill on its face is unconstitutional, in that it requires the purchase of a product for a person to exercise his or her rights as a citizen. We already decided that's unconstitutional when we outlawed the poll tax that required people to pay money in order to vote, because the Supreme Court declared that you can't make people pay money in order to enjoy the rights and benefits of citizenship. That's exactly what this bill does, and I think it's an outrage and an insult to the Constitution and to the citizens of the United States.
After his foolish comment Tuesday night about how it seemed like President Obama had entered the "enemy camp" in West Point when he gave his speech about the U.S.'s future military campaign in Afghanistan, MSBNC's Matthews last night apologized to West Point, its officers, and its cadets. That's a good start, but Matthews still needs to apologize to Obama, because he insulted the president as well.
Matthews needs to apologize to Obama, and to Democrats, because Matthews' idiotic comment was born out of the pundit's ingrained CW that Democrats can't do national security and that the armed forces are naturally distrustful of Democratic presidents. And that when a Democratic leader visits West Point he's somehow entering foreign or hostile territory.
Note to Matthews: Obama's the commander-in-chief. No Democratic president ought to have to prove to talkers like Matthews that the military remains loyal to the President of the United States.
Defending Newsweek's global warming panel, which was sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute and featured API president Jack Gerard -- but no representative of environmental groups -- Newsweek director of external relations Mark Block insisted "These events are transparent. They're on the record. ... There's no concern of appearance of impropriety because it's an open and transparent process." Newsweek's Howard Fineman, who moderated the panel, agreed earlier this week: "I see nothing wrong with an open, on-the-record balanced discussion like this."
"Open"? "Transparent"? That's interesting, because when a Greenpeace staffer caught up with Gerard after the event and asked him how much API paid for his seat on the panel, Gerard refused to answer.
So: By "balanced discussion," Newsweek means "the panel doesn't include environmental groups, but does include oil lobbyists who pay us" and by "transparent," they mean "but we won't tell you how much they pay us."
Rev. Sun Myung Moon, who claims Jesus spoke to him and chose him as God's Messiah, has already lost $2 billion on his failed Washington Times. And it turns out that maybe $3 billion was the magic number, because the newspaper just gutted its newsroom, a clear indication that the right-wing welfare days at the Times may be over.
But oh, what a glorious conservative jobs program it was for nearly three decades, as Moon created thousands of jobs over the years for a product nobody really wanted--the WashTimes. Now with a new generation of Moon leaders looking at the blood-red books, the Times just fired nearly half the staff and is going to become a free give-away daily.
In other words, the WashTimes has pretty much closed up shop in terms of being an actual, functioning newspaper.
Can't say we're going to miss it. And here's why.
UPDATED: Times leaders insist the future is online and especially the site it recently launched, TheConservatives.com, which, of course, is an odd site to own if you're, y'know, a supposedly professional news organization that doesn't take sides politically, which is the odd claim execs there have always made. But remember how, those same Times leaders said not to fret because they were hard at work on launching a similar liberal site, so it's not like the paper was partisan.
At the time we laughed out loud. And we're pretty sure those guffaws were dead-on, because we can't imagine the Times was ever serious about hosting a liberal site, and now, given the fact that nearly half the company just got pink-slipped, it seems even less likely.
Like this one:
Heatwave puts Moscow's white Christmas on hold
Or this one:
Record warmth and strong winds
Or this one:
Hot summer tipped after record November
Or this one:
Record heat in November
Or this one:
Heat, rainfall records for November in SA
Or this one:
November among warmest on record
Or this one:
Lincoln has record November temperatures
Or this one:
November more like summer than winter
Or this one:
November enters record books as seventh warmest on record
And on a personal note, I sure wish Sean Hannity would explain why, in December, rose bushes are in full bloom in my North Jersey garden.
Eighty advertisers have reportedly dropped their ads from Glenn Beck's Fox News program since he called President Obama a "racist" who has a "deep-seated hatred of white people." Here are his December 2 sponsors, in the order they appeared: