Media Ethicists 0, Readers 1: That widely-denounced Patrick Healy story on the state of the Clinton marriage was the NYT's #2 most-read story of the month. The Times' readers have a point, no? More Clinton gossip, please! (And better.)... P.S.: The ability of the Web to measure the popularity of individual stories--most-read, most-emailed, most blogged--may in fact prove a powerful solvent of respectable journalistic caution. Exhibit A is the Los Angeles Times, where story selection is vastly better recently--e.g. front page coverage of a fatal shooting at a Westside high school, in a newspaper that previously tended to consider splashy crime coverage too tabloidish. One reason for the LAT'simprovement may be that--thanks to the paper's Web site--its editors are now aware of which pieces actually interest their readers. ... Of course, it's always possible that editors will make their coverage too tabloidish while whoring after Web hits. That is not a danger at the LAT! ... P.P.S.: And overpaid Times writers no longer produce lazy columns smugly boasting about how tough, even-handed, and clever they are. ... Oh, wait. Sorry. I take that last bit back. ... [Thanks to reader G.] 11:03 P.M.
There must be a good backstory to the blowhardish Rick Kaplan's exit from MSNBC, don't you think? TV Newser and Lloyd Grove nibble around the edges but don't quite have it. ... Maybe WaPo's Howie Kurtz can finally cover Kaplan, now that he's not also working for him! ... 10:18 P.M.
X + Burkle = Fun! California Democrats picked state Treasurer Phil Angelides to run against Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Here's an interesting Google page to get the fall campaign started! ... [Reader JPS emailed you that?--ed No. He's fallen strangely silent! But true believers don't need an order from his cave to know what to do.] 2:18 A.M.
Is Freedom Contagious? The Boston Herald's columnists are now free. How much longer will Maureen Dowd, Thomas Friedman, and Paul Krugman remain trapped behind Pinch's wall? ... 1989 is coming to 42d Street! ... 1:37 A.M.
Is It Good for the Yahoos? This seems to be the best site for official returns from California's 50th Congresssional District, in which a Democratic supporter of the Senate's McCain-Kennedy "comprehensive" immigration approach is challenging a Republican supporter of the House "enforcement" approach--and the main reason the Republican might lose is that an even-tougher-on-immigration Minuteman-type third party candidate is stealing some of his votes. ... Even the Democratic candidate ran ads portraying herself as tough on immigration ("stronger enforcement at the border, better support for border agents and no amnesty"). ... As of this writing, with almost 60% of the vote in, the Republican is nevertheless winning. Tomorrow, Fred Barnes and William Kristol will explain why this means the immigration issue has "flipped" in favor of the losing Senate approach. ...
Update: Republican Brian Bilbray has won. ...
More: ABC's The Note mocks the Dem excuses (e.g. "it's a very conservative district") but bizarrely ignores the immigration issue, instead drawing a lesson about the GOP's "party apparatus that is adept at turning campaigns to local issues." Immigration isn't a local issue; it's a national issue! Maybe National Republican Congressional Committee chair Tom Reynolds stressed the power of "local issues" in his post-victory spin because his party's leader, President Bush, is on the unpopular, losing side of the national issue that seems to have mattered in this race. But just because immigration gets ignored in both parties' spin doesn't mean it wasn't important. ... Newt agrees. ...
P.S.--Anti-excuse: Bruce Cutler, who actually lives in the 50th Congressional District, notes a factor that should have mitigated the GOP edge in the district: The only big contested primary race (for governor) was on the Democratic side, which would normally be expected to draw Democratic voters, but not Republicans, to the polls. ...
Still More: MyDD's Stoller argues, delusionally, that the "story of the night" is that Republican Bilbray "won on a progressive platform." Stoller tries to "clarify a bit" in a postscript:
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