Tuesday, December 14, 2004
The Trouble With Beinart II Ron Brownstein makes a so-obvious-everyone-else-missed it point: It was a lot easier for Democrats to put the anti-communist struggle "at the center of their hopes for a better world" when a Democratic president (Truman) was waging that struggle than it is for them to put the fight against "totalitarian Islam" their centerpiece when its being waged by a president from the opposing party. ... Give the Dems a President with a term of anti-jihadism under his or her belt and Beinart's project will almost take care of itself. (And yes, this is a Catch-22, in that Dems are unlikely to elect a president until they hit on an appealing anti-terror strategy.) ... Backfill: See also Taranto from ten days ago ... 5:42 P.M.
Today's Press-as-Special-Interest Overreaction: A Massachusetts judge is suing the Boston Herald for libel. He's apparently using, as evidence of "actual malice," statements a Herald writer made on the O'Reilly TV show. WaPo gets a quote:
"When reporters who write stories, then go on the air to discuss" them, said Lucy Dalglish, executive director for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, "things tend to escalate. . . . If their appearances are going to be used to craft evidence of malice and reckless disregard for the truth in a print story, we're in very dangerous territory. I think this will have very serious implications for journalists." [Emph. added]
So what reporters say on TV isn't evidence of their state of mind, the way it would be with any other citizen? Reporters should be able to go on TV and say anything they want without worrying about libel? ... Sometimes maybe Ms. Dalglish should just say "no comment" instead of giving the impression that the First Amendment is a special interest loophole written into the Constitution on behalf of the media industry. [Isn't "very dangerous territory" press-advocate code for 'we know we have no case but we have to be outraged anyway.'--ed. You mean 'If we cry wolf this time, we'll have more credibility next time.' I don't think that works in this case. And it's exactly how a special interest behaves.]... P.S.:WaPo notes:
While editors scrutinize and sanitize reporters' words before they appear in print, no one performs that function in live TV interviews.
No editors around here neither! But bloggers, unlike live TV guests, do have a brief window--between typing and publishing--that allows for self-editing and second thoughts. (I had some on this very item.) ... Kausfiles--Sanitized for Your Protection! ... My protection, anyway. 12:50 A.M.
Monday, December 13, 2004
Here's a half-debunking of the latest too-explosive-to-be-true election-stealing angle. ... We wouldn't have to pay attention to these far-out stories if Florida had used voting machines with a d--- paper trail. ... P.S.:RottenDenmark seems asleep at the switch on this one. Update: Not any more. ... 1:16 P.M.
Faster neighborhoods. ... 12:41 P.M.
Even if the latest allegations about Marc Rich--that he helped broker Saddam's oil-for-food deals--prove accurate, that won't be the main reason Clinton's pardon of the fugitive financier was scandalous. Saddam could presumably always get someone to broker his lucrative schemes--if not Rich, then another high-level operater. The Marc Rich pardon was scandalous mainly because it taught a generation of Americans that you could buy your way out of punishment. ... But buy with what? ... Here's an instance where the convenient case for public figure privacy in matters of sex--made most conveniently by Clinton himself, but also by Jeffrey Toobin,*** Andrew Sullivan, etc.--completely breaks down. It turns out to be fairly important whether Clinton was or wasn't not having sexual relations with Denise Rich, Marc's glamorous ex-wife, who lobbied for the pardon (or with someone else who might have gotten to Clinton). It's hard to explain Clinton's gross error any other way. Lord knows I've tried! ... Someday some historian will focus on this sort of interpersonal causal chain and win a National Book Award for his provocative thesis--as Philip Weiss memorably put it, "Follow the nookie." But if reporters had been more irresponsible in reporting on Clinton's personal life--and less cowed by the Stephanopouloses and Carvilles--actual voters would have had this highly relevant information in real time when they made their decision in 1992. ... P.S.: Do Democrats really want to elect the woman who let all this happen under her nose? Just asking! ...