The actor recently leveled a very detailed and convincing critique of the fawning, almost celebrity-like profile of Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson in September. Attending an inauguration ball, Affleck outlined his critique to Politico's Michael Calderone:
"Newsweek, I feel like, is basically culpable for the first [$350 billion]," Affleck said. "They did like this hagiography on Paulson. Did you read that?"
He continued: "They did that and they made it very difficult—it was one of many factors that made it difficult for people to say, [inaud] hold on a second, what is the difference between now and a week from now? Why can't we examine this more closely? Can we talk about this? Why is it that we can't have more transparency in this piece of legislation?"
"It's the same kind of fear and demagoging that was used to authorize the Iraq War, was resurrected to authorize a piece of legislation which then squandered a lot of our tax dollars—tax dollars, in fact, that we don't have," he continued.
"Long and short of it is, Newsweek, in deciding to tell all of America that we all have to put our trust in Henry Paulson, that's like a mediaocracy," Affleck added. "It's presumptuous and it damaged us in some ways."
Newsweek responded this way.
Kudos to Ben for catching us in our tracks. We are responsible for the bailout. And before we apologize, we thought it'd be nice to admit all the other problems we've thrust on you this year. Enough with the posturing, and let's get started. This year, Newsweek was responsible for:
1) That whole Hudson plane crash thing. We should have gone with that cover on goose hunting, after all.
2) This awfully cold winter. As you make decisions about your heating bill or your NEWSWEEK subscription, keep this in mind.
3) Michelle Obama's white ball gown. If only our design team had sent along those sketches we promised.
Get it? Those are things Newsweek is not responsible for. Ha-ha. It's a joke. Newsweek's making fun of Affleck because he's an actor and everybody knows actors don't know anything about TARP, or journalism. That's why Newsweek didn't even bother to address the serious nature of Affleck's comments. Because he's an actor and nobody in the Beltway media take actors seriously when they discuss current events because celebrities couldn't possible understand all the important and complicated facts and figures that journalists do, right?
Perhaps this Newsweek commenter put it best:
Your snarky comments didn't really address Affleck's point. Now I wouldn't say that I completely agree with him, but he isn't exactly coming out of left field with this. I haven't seen much in the way of real, critical, responsible journalism in quite a while, and having some hipster [...] rail against the comments of some celebrity doesn't really break the funk.
"This is William Kristol's last column."
UPDATE: The Times' garbages becomes the WaPo's treasure? Kristol's heading to the Post. (Although he'll do less damage, appearing just 12 times a year.)
UPDATE: Scoot Horton at the Daily Beast details the Kristol/Times divorce:
A source close to the Times familiar with the decision not to renew Kristol's contract makes clear that his neoconservative ideology and viewpoints were not a problem...The problems that emerged were more fundamental. Kristol's writing wasn't compelling or even very careful. He either lacked a talent for solid opinion journalism or wasn't putting his heart into it. A give-away came in the form of four corrections the newspaper was forced to run over factual mistakes in the columns, creating an impression that they were rushed out without due diligence or attention to factual claims.
Here's the lead [emphasis added]:
The Gallup Poll on Saturday released the first job-approval rating for President Obama, based on interviews during his first three full days in office: 68 percent.
Now that he's in office, Obama's approval ratings are starting to normalize, as partisan back-and-forth picks up. Just a week ago, Gallup found an astonishing 83 percent approval of how he has handled his transition, showing he had even won over most Republicans...
Gallup's initial job approval ratings were President John F. Kennedy, 72 percent; Dwight Eisenhower, 68 percent; Jimmy Carter, 66 percent; Richard Nixon, 59 percent; Bill Clinton, 58 percent; George W. Bush, 57 percent; and Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, 51 percent.
Fact: As Obama begins his first term, his job approval rating is the second-highest in modern American history, tied with the World War II hero when he was sworn into office. How does that make Obama's rating 'normal'?
In his book, A Slobbering Love Affair, Bernard Goldberg publishes the transcript of an interview he conducted with Rush Limbaugh, including the following:
LIMBAUGH: Bernie, I honestly believe the following: I believe that I, Rush Limbaugh, am responsible for the mainstream media's behavior today because they think I am the one who destroyed their monopoly beginning in 1988 when I started my show. Back then, we had the three nets, CNN, and the big papers. They owned what was news and what was not news. They owned commentary. Now they don't. I believe the creation of the New Media has made the mainstream media now openly competitive with the New Media, which is why they are so open now about choosing sides.
This is not my ego speaking, Bernie, but since I started in 1988, look at what has happened. There were 125 talk stations in 1988. Now there are over 2,000. Right-wing blogs have sprung up. FOX News prime time is simply talk radio on TV. So all this New Media pisses off the mainstream media. They are in open competition with us and as such have now been forced to openly declare what they used to hide behind their so-called objectivity: and that is their liberalism. [pp. 55-56]
Because honestly, what other prominent conservative blogger delivers unintentional hilarity as consistently as she does? (Talk about a crowded field of contenders.) She's a treasure for the funny bone.
Her latest bout of comic relief is here. The gist is that while visiting a random bookstore she spotted a display put out during inauguration week of a bunch of books and magazines featuring Barack Obama. But--and this was the newsworthy part, according to Althouse--there were not swarms of people crowded around the table. And she posted pics to prove it!
"Despite shrines to Obama, bookstore was nearly empty," read the side-splitting headline.
Ah, right-wing blog logic. Borders Books, which is in the amidst of an economic free-fall by the way, put out a lots of Obama-related products. But when Althouse stumbled into a store in January (a traditionally dead time in the publishing industry), on a Friday night at dinnertime, there weren't many shoppers around.
So Althouse, naturally, suggests the media interest in Obama is misplaced. That people don't really care, or maybe don't even like him. Actually, Althouse seems to suggest Obama is causing people to stay away from bookstores. That he' s responsible for the downturn in shoppers because before the Obama shrines, bookstores were packed with people. (I told you she's comedy gold.)
Her bookstore visit was all the proof Althouse needed to prove her point.
She ignores Obama's sky-high approval ratings.
She ignores the record-breaking number of people who turned out in D.C. for the inauguration.
She ignores the nearly 40 million people who watched the swearing-in on TV.
She ignores the new online-traffic records set during the inauguration.
She ignores the fact that newspapers geared up for historic inauguration press runs in order to meet demand for Obama news.
None of that matters people, because Ann saw what she saw. And conservatives wonder why their end of the blogosphere isn't taken seriously?
Oh, speaking of. Ann, did you ever figure out who slipped that listening device into Obama's ear during the prez debate last autumn? Just checking....
In his most recent column, Media Research Center's Brent Bozell made an egregious factual error while (cough, cough) chastising the press for not doing its job properly.
Specifically, Bozell was hyping the incorrect story that Obama's inauguration cost much, much more than Bush's bash in 2005:
For the record, the 'lavish' Bush inaugural cost $43 million. Final tallies are not complete, but according to some sources, like the Guardian newspaper, the Obama inaugural will cost more than $150 million.
That's not accurate. The final tally of Bush's inauguration, including all the money the federal government spent on security and logistics, was $157 million. Bush supporters raised $43 million, and then taxpayers spent $115 million more. From the New York Times, January 6, 2008:
In 2005, Mr. Bush raised $42.3 million from about 15,000 donors for festivities; the federal government and the District of Columbia spent a combined $115.5 million, most of it for security, the swearing-in ceremony, cleanup and for a holiday for federal workers.
While highlighting how much (supposedly) less expensive Bush's inauguration was in 2005 as compared to the estimates for Obama's, Bozell wrote that Bush's inauguration cost $43 million. It did not. It cost $157 million.
So the question now becomes, will Bozell correct his error? Will a man who makes a living criticizing the press admit to his own obvious factual error?
We're waiting Brent....
P.S. Does Brent really think that the government spent $0 on security for Bush's 2005 inauguration? Because the $43 million he cited didn't cover security. Does Brent think that the 6,000 law enforcement and 7,000 troops that were deployed throughout Washington, D.C. for the 2005 swearing-in, the armed Coast Guard boats that patroled the Patomac River, didn't cost taxpayers a single penny? That they were there voluntarily? Either Brent doesn't understand how the government works (i.e. its money goes toward paying military and law enforcement costs), or Brent made a rather enormous factual error in his column.
Which one is it Brent?
We love the fact that the Michael Franc item (please not the headline again) never mentions the fact that Obama has stated specifically he won't try to revise the Fairness Doctrine.
Ah, NRO journalism. (Hmm, oxymoron?)
After eight years of zombie-like behavior, where members didn't even care when the Bush White House waved in a former male prostitute using an alias so he could ask phony questions at press briefings, on Day One of the Democratic administration it's a whole new vibe.
And oh man, are reporters pissed at how Dems are running things. I mean, it's a disaster:
There have been a handful of rocky moments so far. Some press staffers found their name cards misspelled on Wednesday and phone lines weren't properly hooked up. Reporters trying to reach the press staff got emails bounced back.
Also, press aides informed reporters that the doors of the lower press office will be locked until 8:30 am, an inconvenience for those on the early shift. Following a USA Today blog item, there was confusion about whether the Whitehouse.gov site would regularly publish pool reports since there was a "pool report" link on the site. And in the hours before Gibbs' briefing, the northwest gate of the White House started running out of temporary passes.
No wonder Chuck Todd compared it to Gitmo!