Essay Question: How is the American Prospect different from Armstrong Williams?New York Post'sRyan Sager is seemingly onto some significant conflicts of interest at TAP and NPR. ... If the New York Times took more than $100,000 from General Motors to produce a special issue on Regulation in the Auto Industry, wouldn't there be a stink? Why is it any different if you substitute "Carnegie Corporation" for "General Motors" and "campaign finance regulation" for "auto regulation"--and "American Prospect" for "New York Times"? Perhaps TAP editor Bob Kuttner has an answer to Sager's charge. ... P.S.: And I've always thought that NPR's acceptance of grants ostensiby to finance coverage of particular topics was highly compromising. ... P.P.S.: Sorry. I forgot--NPR doesn't care about money! It's public radio! ... Update: Sager has a bit more on the TAP mess here, including a Kuttner comment. It seems the Carnegie issue was first of a series of "foundation sponsored" issues! Do they sell themselves to a different foundation every other month? ... 2:40 A.M.
Sunday, March 20, 2005
New BMW Slogan: "It Could Be Uglier!" There's something desperate about the automotive press' attempts to prevent the new BMW 3-series from being another, bigger, Chris Bangle-supervised styling failure. Even John Kerry never got this sort of on-message, across-the-board spin support from his media friends. "3 series spared: Redesign shows mercy on everybody's favorite car," is Car and Driver's cover line. "It's a very strict design effort, with none of the flamboyant 'flame surfacing' of the Z4 and 5-series," writes the LAT's Dan Neil. "This is the most harmonious of recent BMWs," declares Automobile in a carefully constructed sentence. ... But it's still not ... how to put it ... attractive to men, sir! A duller version of Bangle's pretentious expressionism that has replaced the smooth functionalism of earlier 3-series BMWs--look at the multiple gothic creases in the new car's hood, for example. (Note to Dan Neil: that's "flame surfacin'"!) The effect is jangly and costive, all the way back to the dumb Gummi Bear taillights. It already looks old. ... You used to buy BMWs because they were good cars and beautiful too. Now the second factor has disappeared. This is Chris Bangle's achievement. The Kia Spectra (which the BMW resembles) is a strict design effort too! ... Update: Toyota's Lexus brand has famously undistinguished styling, but Lexus' new 3-Series competitor is better-looking than its rival. Humiliating for BMW. ... 2:06 A.M.
Form 180 Update--Special Tenterhooks Edition: From the Philly Inquirer:
The word in Washington is that Kerry will sign the form soon.
Preemptive spin: Kerry's military records, when fully opened, better show something at least mildly embarrassing! If they're completely innocuous, why couldn't Kerry have signed Form 180 a year ago and cleared up many of the rumors that helped sink his candidacy (and his party)? ... Kerry's belated action could raise as many questions as it answers! ... 12:17 P.M.
Saturday, March 19, 2005
For the Record: Here's how ABC's Peter Jennings, barely concealing his disdain, ended his evening newscast's coverage of the Schiavo case this evening:
The story for today and we suspect that it's for today only.
You think so? I don't. ... Update: Reader O. suggests Jennings was merely saying, in effect, "this is a fast-changing story." That might be plausible if Jennings' kiss-off hadn't followed a Jake Tapper piece asking "how serious was Congress really about trying to save this woman's life?" and quoting Norman Ornstein to the effect that it was all a stunt. ("If they really wanted to intervene and stop the removal of this feeding tube, they had the ability to do so.") ... Tapper's piece was preceded by an interview with an ABC correspondent in Florida who noted the small number of pro-tube protesters at the scene--and by Linda Douglass' piece mocking Republican talking points on the Schiavo case, which Jennings introduced by declaring, "After seven years, members of the House and of the Senate have decided this is urgent." ... Correction: I take it back. He didn't conceal his disdain. ... 7:20 P.M.
The Nep Missteps! National Review'sJonah Goldberg writes, in what's supposed to be the clincher paragraph of a recent column: