The lid is off: L.A.'s mayor faces some N.Y. tabloid-style questioning at a news conference. The L.A. Times reporter who didn't get the story doesn't know quite what to make of this new state of affairs--I detect a mild sneering tone! Luke Ford sees a "beautiful synchronicity." ... I think Angelenos may be actually getting interested in local politics for once, which will give us better government in the long run. Special interests (e.g., unions, developers) have less power when people are actually paying attention. [What will happen if all the pols in power are no longer womanizers, etc.?--ed Not a serious possibility.] ... 1:43 P.M.
Bob Wright diavlogs with my brother Steve on bloggingheads.tv (about Scooter Libby and Barry Bonds, among others) and at the end tries to extract dirt from him on me. Ha! After one lucky question, Wright gets a schooling in the concept of omerta. ... 1:37 A.M.
Sunday, July 8, 2007
Web 1, Downie 0? I was hoping to be able to violate at least one of Slate-owner WaPo's "Ten Principles for Washington Post Journalism on the Web"--but it turns out that's not easy to do. Take Principle #7:
We recognize and support the central role of opinion, personality and reader-generated content on the Web. But reporters and editors should not express personal opinions unless they would be allowed in the newspaper, such as in criticism or columns.
What opinions would not "be allowed in ... criticism or columns"?** This is a decisively permissive standard, no? A reporter could blog "Bush lied, people died" or "Hillary scares the daylights out of me." Len Downie could even tell Web readers for whom he might vote if he slipped up and actually thought about voting. ... P.S.: In fact, #7 doesn't sit very comfortably alongside Downie's earlier monastic ban on activities that might "seem" to compromise a reporter's ability to report fairly. If you denounce Obama, op-ed style, mightn't that "seem" to be compromising to many readers? ... [via Romenesko] 11:18 P.M.
The New York Times is for withdrawal of U.S. troops from most of Iraq, except maybe the Kurdish north. Even the promising Anbar-type initiatives--which seem to require an aggressive U.S. military presence--are apparently to be abandoned. The Times admits the result of the withdrawal will "most likely" be chaos, including "further ethnic cleansing, even genocide." But it still prefers withdrawal. Jules Crittenden finds this morally curious, and so do I. ... I could be convinced that withdrawal is justified because the ensuing burst of sectarian killing will be short, followed by relative stability--preferable, in the long run, to continued occupation. I could be convinced we should abandon the goal of a unitary Iraqi state and focus on some sort of engineered partition. I hope I couldn't be convinced that we should abandon Iraqis to "genocide" just because the resulting deaths can be blamed on Bush. Does that mean they don't count? . ...
P.S.: Do you think there's really a threat that Bush will be able to sell the idea that the U.S. military is to blame for an Iraq disaster if it runs out of troops next spring? I don't. At this point Bush couldn't sell the nation on coming in out of the rain, let alone a wacky argument that he's not responsible for the military. ... Ponnuru has same reaction. ...
P.P.S.: This seems like the next card for Bush to play--a Sunni-initiated "no confidence" vote in the Iraqi parliament against al-Maliki. If it succeeds, "surge" skeptics wouldn't have Nuri to kick around any more. Juan Cole suggests the vote would be close. ... The obvious question Cole doesn't get to is whether whoever replaces Maliki would be willing to make the fabled 'political compromises' (on oil revenues, de-Baathification, etc.) and whether those compromises really can curb sectarian violence at this point. Note that al-Sadr would be part of the anti-Maliki coalition. ...
Backfill: Omar of Iraq the Model is relatively pro-surge--at least he was on June 27, saying "the results so far have been astounding." He focuses mainly on the turn against al Qaeda, acknowledging that the "internal struggle for power will not end by pacifying al-Qaeda or the militias." Still ... 9:14 P.M. link