Monday, February 28, 2005

Calling J-School Baseball Fans

May 8, Sunday, 1:05 pm
A's vs. Yanks
Yankee Stadium

April 30, Saturday, 7:05 pm
Mets vs. Nationals
RFK Stadium

Who's down?

Email me:

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

this may be the most i've ever heard lemann say about us

"Is he a hero at Columbia Journalism School?" asked Nicholas Lemann, the school's 50-year-old dean. "Sadly, I think no. He's much more a hero to my generation of journalists. He's sort of a giant, but I don't think rising young journalists are reading him with the same degree of admiration."

Monday, February 21, 2005

Duke: Against Atavism, 1937-2005



"For Mr. Thompson the goal was to tell the truth - at least his version of the truth - and it did not much matter how he got there. "Fiction," Mr. Thompson said in an interview with The Associated Press in 2003, "is based on reality unless you're a fairy-tale artist. You have to get your knowledge of life from somewhere. You have to know the material you're writing about before you alter it."
[His] early work presaged some of the fundamental changes that have rocked journalism today. Mr. Thompson's approach in many ways mirrors the style of modern-day bloggers, those self-styled social commentators who blend news, opinion and personal experience on Internet postings. Like bloggers, Mr. Thompson built his case for the state of America around the framework of his personal views and opinions.”[Ed: !]

“Hunter S. Thompson had the gift and burden of being able to see the truth. He lived and died by his own truth, and he could not understand why so many around him were living lies. The problem is that not everyone has the courage to live so honestly according to what is in their heart.

Vayo Con Dios, brave one. You will be missed.”

"I read every word he ever published. If you want to know him, read his published letters. There is a great sadness attached to his brutal death. A sadness that will not soon pass. The famous and imfamous will rush to praise him and recall their brushes with his madness and how they barely saved their own souls by escaping in the nick of time. If you want to know how he feels about these thinly veiled self-promotional activities ... read his letters. If you want to touch his genius, go to the passage near the end of Hell's Angels and read the passage about ripping down the highway on a motorcycle at impossible speeds. There is only one guy I want to hear from at this moment ... Johnny Depp. Hunter let Depp inside his bubble at the end. I want to know what Depp has to say. Everyone else is just banging their own drum."

It is nice to see the love pouring out over the press in regards to Hunter. He is still respected by the finest writers.
He went to a place Homer wrote about. Herman Melville would have traded places with HST. Mark Twain and Hemingway were a far second. He wrote about things we were afraid of. We learned about our dark side from him. But was it really so dark? It must have been his time. His angels were definately there with him in the agony of his last moment. Some die and no one even knows. He was a lucky, talented and inspired many.
Hope you have caught the fleeting raimbow. RIP"

"Like Hemingway, Dr. Thompson wrote with masculinity and precision, yet at the same time we can see an extraordinary sensitivity and creative mind that sought to explore the truth through the written word. As to his death, we cannot call his suicide an act of cowardice or bravery, we will never be able to fully understand why he chose to leave, and we are in no position to judge what he did as we cannot experience the kinds of barriers he must have faced. But Hunter is gone and the field of journalism has lost a real hero and probably doesnt even know it."
"When The Going Gets Weird, The Weird Turn Pro." - Hunter S.
Thompson, 1937 - 2005

Bill Keller and Jeff Jarvis

Jeff Jarvis:

The other day, I wrote an open letter here to Bill Keller, executive editor of The New York Times, suggesting that we should get professional and citizen journalists, Timesmen and bloggers, together to find common ground. Mr. Keller responded.

Let me first confess that I'm late telling you about that response because, well, I'm lazy or busy (pick your excuse). I didn't even respond to Mr. Keller for two days because I didn't want to just dash off an email to the editor of the damned NY Times. He emailed me here and there wondering what had become of his response and my manners. So I apologize to him and you for not making it clear earlier that he responded promptly.

We had an enjoyable if sandy exchange of email. I said I would blog that we'd had that and wouldn't say more yet because the exchange wasn't over. He said I could blog as much of the emails as I wanted. He outdid me in the transparency derby and boy, am I embarrassed.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

U.S. newspaper industry struggling


"Print is dead," Sports Illustrated President John Squires told a room full of newspaper and magazine circulation executives at a conference in Toronto in November. His advice? "Get over it," meaning publishers should stop trying to save their ink-on-paper product and focus on electronic delivery of their journalism.

Rare is the paper these days that is not embracing the Web. In addition to their own sites, papers such as the New York Times, the Miami Herald and the Houston Chronicle e-mail free headlines and news summaries to people who don't have time for the newspaper but carry BlackBerrys and other electronic gizmos.

In December, The Washington Post Co. bought online magazine Slate from Microsoft Corp. to increase the paper's Internet footprint.

"I could argue pretty forcefully that the free model and the non-newsprint model is what we're looking at in the future," said San Francisco Chronicle editor Phil Bronstein. "Things are moving far quicker than we thought a few years ago" to new outlets besides ink-on-paper.

The San Francisco Chronicle is an example of the changeover underway: Its daily sales have dropped in recent years, but its Web site boasts more than 5 million unique visitors a month.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Anderson Cooper takes on Jeff Gannon

Check it.

Friday, February 18, 2005

2nd best

Freelance reporters for Homeland Security drill
Reporters wanted to participate in press component of Department of Homeland Security's TOPOFF 3 exercise for senior U.S. and local officials simulating a terrorist attack on the United States. Those selected will write copy for online news service reporting events within the exercise for an audience of exercise participants. This position will require seasoned reporters who can write quickly, using AP style, meeting tight deadlines, as if they were covering an actual incident for an actual online news service. Ideal candidates will be reporters with daily or wire experience who can write wire-style stories accurately, completely and quickly. You must NOT be currently employed by a real news organization and will be required to sign a nondisclosure agreement barring you from writing about this in the future.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

best job listing ever

Why bother with those meetings with Pulitzer jurors when you can answer this?

Reporters and journalist for Levi print ads
Looking for male and female reporters and journalists for Levi Jeans Print Ad. Shoot dates are March 3-6, 2005 at New York (will provide travel). MALE & FEMALE REPORTERS: ANY AGE AND ANY ETHNICITY. Real -looking, beautiful women with lean, good bodies, attractive, pretty, natural, approachable,and cool-looking. Real–looking men with good bodies, handsome, interesting, rugged. Lean bodies, not buffed. Must currently be a reporters and journalists. We WILL do a check to confirm.

"News industry advocates are urging passage of a proposed federal shield law..."

In Wake of Plame Ruling, Federal Shield Law Seen as Best Hope
By Joe Strupp
Published: February 16, 2005 12:40 PM ET

NEW YORK As the fallout continues from a federal appeals court's rejection yesterday of two reporters' claims that they should avoid jail for refusing to reveal sources in the Valerie Plame case, news industry advocates are urging passage of a proposed federal shield law as the best way to counter such legal actions in the future. [it. added]

Hopes hang on two versions of such a law that were introduced earlier this month in the House and Senate. Each would provide protection similar to that of shield laws currently on the books in 31 states and the District of Columbia.

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press yesterday called for a "coordinated effort" [see below] to support a federal shield law in the wake of the unanimous decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. That ruling denied an appeal from Judith Miller of The New York Times and Matthew Cooper of Time magazine, who were ordered jailed last fall for up to 18 months for refusing to disclose sources that leaked to them the identity of CIA Agent Valerie Plame. Lawyers for both plan to appeal, likely delaying any jail time for at least several weeks or months.

The ruling has heightened concerns about the need for a federal law in the wake of not just the Plame case but also several other federal investigations from Washington to San Francisco that have resulted in subpoenas or demands for sources from numerous reporters. While more than half the states have shield laws, none exist at the federal level.

"The decision in this case underscores that these are perilous times for journalists and the public's right to know," said Lucy Dalglish, the Reporters Committee executive director. "There are more than two dozen cases pending across the United States where journalists are being asked to operate as investigators for the government and litigants. The ability of the media to act as independent sources of information for the public is in jeopardy."

George Freeman, a New York Times attorney who has worked on the paper's defense of reporters in several cases, agreed that a federal law is imperative. "There is an inequity between the state and federal courts on this," Freeman told E&P today. "This would provide similar protection."

Two similar shield bills have been introduced in Congress in the past two weeks.

The first, H.R. 581, is co-sponsored by Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) and Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) and was introduced Feb. 2. The Senate version, S. 3440, is authored by Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), who introduced it on Feb. 9. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) offered his own bill in late 2004, but has yet to introduce a new version for the current session.

"Reporters rely on the ability to assure confidentiality to sources in order to deliver news to the public, and the ability of news reporters to assure confidentiality to sources is fundamental to their ability to deliver news on highly contentious matters of broad public interest," Boucher said in a statement after introducing his bill. "Without the promise of confidentiality, many sources would not provide information to reporters and the public would suffer from the resulting lack of information."

Freeman said the bi-partisan sponsorship is a strong sign that the issue is not being treated as just a political battle. "We're heartened that we have support from both sides of the aisle," he said. "I think everyone in Washington realizes this is the way information gets to the public."

Still, even the strongest supporters realize that the chances of getting a bill passed this year and signed by President Bush, who has shown little support for press access and rights, is slim. But they realize that just debating the issue in congress can move such laws a step closer to reality.

Irwin Gratz, president of the Society of Professional Journalists and a producer at Maine Public Radio, agreed that the pending bills are important as a strong response to the federal court actions. "Clearly, it would help us in a lot of places where there is no protection," he told E&P. "Reporters are pretty naked on this issue. We presume to have a First Amendment protection, but we really don't have much of anything nationally."

Bob Steele, the Nelson Poynter Scholar for Journalism Values at the Poynter Institute, also supported such a law. But, he stressed that even a federal shield statute would not give blanket protection on confidential sources.

"It is one step and it is a less-than-perfect step," Steele said. "It would not be absolute. Journalists would still have to justify in some cases why the shield law applies."
Joe Strupp ( is a senior editor at E&P.
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- Contact: Lucy Dalglish, (703) 807-2100

Reporters Committee calls for shield law passage in wake of today's D.C. Circuit decision

Feb. 15, 2005 - The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press called for a coordinated effort to support a federal shield law in the wake of the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia Circuit today that two prominent journalists do not have a privilege to keep sources of information from a federal grand jury.

"The decision in this case underscores that these are perilous times for journalists and the public's right to know," said Reporters Committee Executive Director Lucy Dalglish. "There are more than two dozen cases pending across the United States where journalists are being asked to operate as investigators for the government and litigants. The ability of the media to act as independent sources of information for the public is in jeopardy."

The shield bills current under consideration in Congress were introduced in early February by Reps. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) and Rick Boucher (D-Va.) in the House (H.R. 581), and by Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) in the Senate (S. 3440). A similar bill was introduced late in the last congress by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), but no action was taken.

In today's action by the D.C. Circuit, the three-judge panel unanimously held that no privilege would protect Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper and New York Times reporter Judith Miller from being compelled to testify about their sources. The court held that the U.S. Supreme Court "unquestionably" answered the question about maintaining confidentiality before grand juries in 1972 in Branzburg v. Hayes.

This leak investigation began after undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame's identity was published by columnist Robert Novak in a July 2003 column. Novak cited two unnamed "senior administration officials" as his sources.

Following the Novak column, several other journalists, including Cooper, reported receiving the same information. Miller did not report on the allegations, but was subpoenaed after her name apparently came up during the investigation as another journalist who had also heard the disclosure.

The leak has been characterized as a politically-motivated attack on Plame's husband, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, because Wilson publicly criticized the Bush administration's assertion that Iraq had been attempting to buy uranium from Niger to make nuclear weapons. The unnamed sources disclosed Plame's name to point out that Wilson, who had travelled to Africa for the CIA in order to investigate the uranium claims, was only chosen because his wife suggested him for the assignment.

Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was appointed to investigate the leak last fall, which could lead to criminal charges if the leakers were aware that Plame was an undercover operative. Fitzgerald subpoenaed or otherwise demanded testimony from a number of journalists -- including Cooper, Miller, Tim Russert, host of NBC's "Meet the Press," and Walter Pincus and Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post -- before a grand jury concerning alleged conversations the reporters had with confidential sources. It is not known if Novak has been subpoenaed or if he has testified.

Miller received a subpoena to testify before the grand jury on Aug. 12. Cooper reached an agreement with prosecutors and testified about conversations with Libby on Aug. 24, but was then subpoenaed again Sept. 14. In October, Hogan held Miller and then Cooper in contempt, fined them $1,000 per day and ordered them to jail until they testify. The fines and sentences were stayed pending a consolidated appeal. The U.S. Court of Appeals (D.C. Cir) heard oral arguments on Dec. 8 and released its decision today.

More information about the federal shield bills and the grand jury investigation into the Plame matter is available from the Reporters Committee's Web site at:

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Shafer: Fire Floyd

Question 1. Should Miller and Cooper ditch the First Amendment defense?

Question 2. Does this really mean that a judicial remedy is unlikely, and the Bush administration knows that - which is why a legislative remedy is necessary?

Question 3. Will Dodd and Pence move their legislation in time to make a difference here, if not formally, than in the court of public opinion? (I find it unlikely.)
press box

Memo to Cooper and Miller

Fire Floyd Abrams. Hire Bruce Sanford.
By Jack Shafer
Posted Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2005, at 3:55 PM PT

Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit scuttled the appeals of Matthew Cooper and Judith Miller. Both reporters are contesting grand jury subpoenas to testify in the investigation of the leak of CIA covert agent Valerie Plame's name to columnist Robert Novak. Novak published Plame's identity in a July 2003 syndicated column.

Circuit Judges David B. Sentelle and David S. Tatel manhandled the defendants' attorney, First Amendment legend Floyd Abrams, during the Dec. 8 oral arguments before the appeals court, and today's decision only continues their thrashing. (Judge Karen L. Henderson asked only a couple of questions at argument and authored a brief concurrence today.) In the majority opinion, Judge Sentelle finds no merit in Abrams' assertion that a First Amendment privilege protects Cooper and Miller from the subpoena. Talk to the grand jury about your confidential sources or go to jail for contempt, he says to Cooper and Miller. Judge Tatel's nuanced and learned concurring opinion teasingly entertains the privilege notion before folding down the sheets on the two journalists' prison bunks and fluffing their pillows.

It's easy to blame Abrams for Cooper and Miller's predicament, especially now that some of the other journalists subpoenaed in the case, including Tim Russert, Glenn Kessler, and Walter Pincus, appear to have cut face-saving deals with the prosecutor to avoid jail. Maybe a First Amendment legend isn't what this case called for in the first place. Maybe Cooper and Miller would have been better served by having a criminal lawyer who knows how to bargain.

With New York Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. promising to appeal this decision, perhaps both Cooper and Miller might want to rethink the utility of hanging their whole case on this First Amendment defense. If I were running their defense committee, I'd give the case to Bruce W. Sanford.

Sanford, no First Amendment slouch, helped write the law that special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald is using to hunt Plame's leaker—the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982. (Interest declared: More than 10 years ago, Sanford represented me. On a much later occasion he bought me a nice breakfast, which I'm sure he billed to his firm.)

Victoria Toensing, another framer of the 1982 Act, and Sanford wrote last month in a Washington Post op-ed, that it's "time for a timeout on a misguided and mechanical investigation in which there is serious doubt that a crime was even committed. Federal courts have stated that a reporter should not be subpoenaed when the testimony sought is remote from criminal conduct or when there is no compelling 'government interest,' i.e., no crime."

Citing their intimate knowledge of the 1982 legislation, Sanford and Toensing explain how they drafted a dart gun of a law, and not the blunderbuss Fitzgerald keeps firing into the bushes. The law as they conceived of it was so narrowly defined that it's been used in only one prosecution, back in 1985.

Sanford and Toensing line up the specifics of the law like Burma Shave signs:

  • The law wasn't designed for the prosecution of government employees who unintentionally or carelessly divulged a covert agent's identity.
  • The agent must truly be covert in the eyes of the 1982 Act (they doubt Plame was).
  • The disclosure must be intentional and backed by the knowledge that "affirmative measures" are being taken by the government to conceal the agent's identity. (Plame was working a desk job at the CIA's Langley headquarters at the time of Novak's column, not a very compelling cover. Also, the agency seems to have done none of its usual jawboning to dissuade Novak from divulging Plame's identity when he called.)

(I catalogued similar specifics in an October 2003 Slate column, "Stop the Investigation.")

What could Sanford do for Cooper and Miller that Abrams can't? For one thing, he could tack away from the First Amendment argument. Even though I'm a First Amendment extremist, I found Abrams' oral argument before the D.C. Circuit to be wishful and flabby. I don't know of any court, let alone the Supreme Court, that is likely to hold that reporters possess a near automatic right to ignore grand jury subpoenas.

If I'm right, a fresh law jockey might be the ticket. In their op-ed, Sanford and Toensing called upon the special prosecutor Fitzgerald and the two reporters to ask Judge Thomas Hogan, who oversees the grand jury, "to conduct a hearing to require the CIA to identify all affirmative measures it was taking to shield Plame's identity." They conclude their piece, "Before we even think about sending reporters to prison for doing their jobs, the court should determine that all the elements of a crime are present."

And if that strategy fails, Cooper and Miller should find the right guy to cut a face-saving deal with Fitzgerald. For all Fitzgerald's Javertian tendencies, I doubt if he wants to be remembered as the guy who jailed reporters from Time and the New York Times.

The last shot, of course, is the Supreme Court. But the Supremes don't have to take the case, and my guess is that they won't if it's argued on First Amendment grounds, preferring to let their Branzburg precedent stand.

Regardless of the specific legal theory on which they proceed, Miller and Cooper could do worse than coax an insanely bright legal argument out of the guy who helped write the law Fitzgerald is swinging like a meat hook.

Jack Shafer is Slate's editor at large.

Escalation: What Remedy, Judicial or Legislative?

Note that the WH is speaking about a judical remedy when it says: "We'll leave it to the courts to address that matter," McClellan said.

Others, like Dodd, Lugar, Pence and Pinch are asking for a legislative remedy. This quote speaks for itself. But see this on Pence.
"If the findings of this decision are upheld, they will also severely restrict all citizens’ ability to make fully informed electoral decisions. When you thoughtfully consider the innumerable ramifications of this decision, it becomes absolutely apparent that they are a direct threat to our newspaper, our Company, our profession and our democratic form of government. This is why we must individually and collectively urge our friends, family, colleagues and neighbors to write their members of Congress and support a federal shield law recently introduced by Senator Richard Lugar and Congressmen Mike Pence and Rick Boucher." - Arthur Sulzberger Jr. (emp. added.)

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Fed Court Rules Against Miller, Cooper - Floyd Protests

(thanks Gawker)

To the Staff:

The United States Court of Appeals today decided that a New York Times reporter, Judy Miller, and a Time magazine reporter, Matthew Cooper, must disclose confidential sources to a grand jury investigating the leak of the name of a woman who works for the CIA or go to jail for up to 18 months.

As you know, Judy (and we believe Matthew, as well) will not do this. We support her fully in this decision and will now pursue all avenues of appeal, including asking the United States Supreme Court to review the case. The consequences of this landmark case are almost impossible t overestimate. When we consider the many complex issues that we face at home and abroad, it is hard to imagine a more inopportune moment to restrain the free flow of information. Given all that is at stake, we all need to know much more — not a lot less — about the major issues of the day.

While confidential sources and unattributed quotes are not our favorite part of the journalistic process, they are an important factor in how Washington and most of the rest of the world operate. Unless we are content with newspapers that are just reprints of press releases, official pronouncements and news conference transcripts, we must accept such sources as a way of life. The Times goes very far in trying to tell our readers why someone won’t speak on the record. But when individuals do speak to us confidentially, they do so knowing we will protect their identity.

If the findings of this decision are upheld, they will also severely restrict all citizens’ ability to make fully informed electoral decisions. When you thoughtfully consider the innumerable ramifications of this decision, it becomes absolutely apparent that they are a direct threat to our newspaper, our Company, our profession and our democratic form of government. This is why we must individually and collectively urge our friends, family, colleagues and neighbors to write their members of Congress and support a federal shield law recently introduced by Senator Richard Lugar and Congressmen Mike Pence and Rick Boucher.

We can take some solace and inspiration from the fact that we’ve been in this position before — in fact, quite a few times. The first for The Times was in 1857, when we published an editorial criticizing lobbying activity involving congressmen who were paid to support a piece of legislation. A congressional committee was established to probe the charges. Instead of pursuing our story, it sought out our reporter — a Mr. Simonton — and asked him to reveal his sources. Mr. Simonton, bless his heart, refused, was held in contempt by the House of Representatives and served 19 days. Mr. Simonton was finally released and the House members in question resigned when the full story became public.

In 1978 a New York Times reporter, Myron Farber, was ordered to jail, also for doing his job and refusing to give up confidential information. He served 40 days in a New Jersey prison cell. In response to this injustice, the New Jersey Legislature strengthened its shield law, which recognizes and serves to protect a journalist’s need to protect sources and information.

As we did in 1857, in 1978 and many times in between, we will stay true to our values. We have confidence that as the United States Supreme Court and the American public review the full details of the Judy Miller and Matthew Cooper case, the reporters? courageous decision to protect their confidential sources will be fully vindicated.


Well, here we go.....
Tuesday, February 15, 2005 · Last updated 10:17 a.m. PT

Appeals court upholds ruling in CIA leak


WASHINGTON -- A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld a ruling against two reporters who could go to jail for refusing to divulge their sources to investigators probing the leak of an undercover CIA officer's name to the media.

The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit sided with prosecutors in their attempt to compel Time magazine's Matthew Cooper and The New York Times' Judith Miller to testify before a federal grand jury about their confidential sources.

"We agree with the District Court that there is no First Amendment privilege protecting the information sought," Judge David B. Sentelle said in the ruling, which was unanimous.

Floyd Abrams, the lawyer for both reporters, said he would ask the full appeals court to reverse Tuesday's ruling. "Today's decision strikes a heavy blow against the public's right to be informed about its government," Abrams said in a statement.

In October, Judge Thomas F. Hogan held the reporters in contempt, rejecting their argument that the First Amendment shielded them from revealing their sources. Both reporters face up to 18 months in jail if they continue to refuse to cooperate.

The special prosecutor in the case, Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, is investigating whether a crime was committed when someone leaked the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame. Her name was published in a 2003 column by Robert Novak, who cited two senior Bush administration officials as his sources.

The column appeared after Plame's husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, wrote a newspaper opinion piece criticizing President Bush's claim that Iraq had sought uranium in Niger. The CIA had asked Wilson to check out the uranium claim. Wilson has said he believes his wife's name was leaked as retaliation for his critical comments.

Disclosure of an undercover intelligence officer's identity can be a federal crime if prosecutors can show the leak was intentional and the person who released that information knew of the officer's secret status.

Cooper is a White House correspondent for Time who has reported on the Plame controversy. He agreed in August to provide limited testimony about a conversation he had with Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, after Libby released Cooper from his promise of confidentiality.

Fitzgerald then issued a second, broader subpoena seeking the names of other sources.

Miller is facing jail for a story she never wrote. She had gathered material for an article about Plame, but ended up not doing a story.

Prosecutors have interviewed President Bush, Cheney, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell and other current or former administration officials in the investigation. Journalists from NBC and The Washington Post also have been subpoenaed.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan declined Tuesday to comment on the appeals court ruling. "We'll leave it to the courts to address that matter," McClellan said.

"The president has made it clear that he wants to get to the bottom of this matter," he said, adding that Bush also has urged anyone with information on the case to come forward.


On the Net:

U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit: http://www.cadc.uscourts.govinternetinternet.nsf

Monday, February 14, 2005

My tough independent question is...

White House Briefing - February 14, 2005

The following transcript of a recent White House "Press" briefing comes to our attention:

Spokesman: Good morning. A lot of admin stuff this morning. Copies of the President's schedule will be distributed this afternoon. Copies of the vice president's itinerary are on the table in the back. Various bogus news stories and fake news briefings will be available on the web for those on our payroll, just change the names as you see fit. It's all make-believe but please make it look good. W-2s are in the mail, scribes (Laughter). Now, questions? Bill?

Reporter: yes, Bill Jones here, a.k.a. Tom True, a.k.a. Rev. Wholey Rowler. My tough independent question is, Do you think that the President is even more handsome today than he was a week or ago? And, really, is there any end to how dashing and gallant he can be? Whatta hunk.

Spokesman: Thank you, that's a good point. The president strives to meet all his challenges with equanimity. He's a War President after all. And, Bill, your 1099 form is misplaced and accounting can't pay you without it. Can you work on that? Sarah?

Reporter: Sarah Fistooch or Melanie WangerBanger or Lynne Shiny of here. How does the President get through day being soooooo right all the time and having to work with all those subhuman Democrats and those lying cheating bums, sex perverts and drug addicts?

Spokesman: Now, don't be so tough on Rush and Bill O'R. (Laughter) Seriously, Sarah, the War President understands this is a diverse world we live in full of both good people and the Spawn of Satan who are the Democrats as you so independently have written in your web page and its ancillary Follow-up, Sarah?

Reporter: Sort of. Why do I have to pay taxes on my White House bribes and boodle in the District of Columbia when I live in Virginia? No child left behind. It is very annoying to get all these checks no child left behind and then see them whittled down by my having to actually pay taxes. No child left behind. I am quite rich, you know, I thought I didn't have to pay taxes.

Spokesman: Thanks, Sarah. We'll look into that. It is not this administration's policy that a rich person should ever pay taxes. That's what the poor are for. Hank?

Reporter: Aye. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, In my dream, behold, I stood upon the bank of the river: And, behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, fatfleshed and well favoured; and they fed in a meadow: And, behold, seven other kine came up after them, poor and very ill favoured and leanfleshed, such as I never saw in all the land of Egypt for badness: And the lean and the ill favoured kine did eat up the first seven fat kine: And when they had eaten them up, it could not be known that they had eaten them; but they were still ill favoured, as at the beginning. So I awoke. And I saw in my dream, and, behold, seven ears came up in one stalk, full and good: And, behold, seven ears, withered, thin, and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them: And the thin ears devoured the seven good ears: and I told this unto the magicians; but there was none that could declare it to me. How long will our Mighty President, May His name Be Glory, Wonderful, have to endure the blasphemous and sinful sight of yon perverts Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck in their debauchery and poisonous relationship??? It is ye olde virtue for the President to lay a warm, wet kiss on Joe Lieberman but thunder & brimstone be on these cartoons!!!

Spokesman: The War President does not believe his kissing of Senator Lieberman, D-Iraq, conflicts too much with his opposition to same-sex sex. Incidentally, Reverend, we all love your new web pages, and www.thelambshallliedownwiththelion(wink-wink).com. The checks in the mail. Next.

Reporter: Joe from Faux News Channel. Does this brilliant President ($1,000, please) plan to use -- having a little trouble reading this, you guys might get bigger type on these "questions" you give us to ask (Laughter) -- his great manly wisdom ($2,500, more) to respond to outcry from the heart of honest good clean America over the Weapons of Mass Destruction in the bankrupt, busted Social Security building ($3,000), the biological weapons and nuclear program there? ($7,500) Bleat bleat bleat.

Spokesman: Tough questions as always, Joe. (Laughter) The War President knows that the Social Security program is a hotbed of liberal al-Qaeda terrorists wanting to kill our babies in their cribs, as you would have asked if you had turned over the card and read them ALL, Joe. We'll be invading this outpost of tyranny soon. Next? Who's that back there. Haven't called on you for so long I've forgotten your name.

Reporter: Smith from the AP. Speaking of Iraq, the war has been going on for .... (Question drowned out by cries from the rent-a-reporter corps of "Commie," "Pinko rat," "Why don't you go back to your lover Saddam?," "Blue state wimp!" and the reporter from a legitimate newspaper was beaten and escorted from the building by the Secret Service) Spokesman: I don't know what's happening to the neighborhood, here, when we actually get press people in the press briefing. That'll be it for today. You're the best media corps money can buy. (Applause.)

Copyright 2005, Hartford Courant

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Finally, Bob Gets a Little Lovin'


February 13, 2005
Robert Moses, Superhero?

THE most famous image of Robert Moses depicts the chairman of the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority - just one of his many titles - standing on a red I-beam suspended over the East River, arms on his hips, a roll of drawings in his hand: the master builder at work. Behind him, on the opposite shore, is the United Nations complex - just one of the hundreds of city-altering projects Mr. Moses captained between the 1920's and 1960's, decades in which, having consolidated political power through a genius for writing legislation, he shaped New York City.

What is the legacy of the man responsible for building many of the city's beloved parks and river crossings, but also acre after acre of controversial public housing? Was Mr. Moses, who envisioned Jones Beach and Lincoln Center as well as the ruinous Cross Bronx Expressway, a savior or a scourge?

Particularly since the publication in 1974 of Robert Caro's book "The Power Broker," an exhaustive, critical look at the master planner, Mr. Moses' life and work have come under intense scrutiny by academics and policy wonks. Now it is time for an absurdist theater troupe to take a whack.

"Boozy: The Life, Death and Subsequent Vilification of Le Corbusier and, More Importantly, Robert Moses" opens at the Ohio Theater in SoHo on Tuesday. The latest production of "Les Freres Corbusier" - a group best known for staging last year's Obie-winning "A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant" - places Mr. Moses as the visionary hero in an epic struggle between heaven-sent inspiration and group-think mediocrity. Along the way, the show sketches the combustible, imagined romance between the antiestablishment urban theorist Jane Jacobs and the group's namesake, the architect Le Corbusier. It features a walk-on by a Daniel Libeskind impersonator (the man himself was approached but declined), and depicts Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Benito Mussolini and Josef Goebbels - played by obliging rabbits in full costume - as they implore Mr. Moses to transform the world through sacred geometry.

With the stage at times invaded by a traffic jam of remote-control cars and a cabal of hooded Masons dancing to Philip Glass, it would be easy to see the production as fun and games. But Les Freres' intentions are more profound: to engage their audience, as the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site carries on and the debate over the West Side stadium intensifies, in a nuanced discussion of urban planning.

"You want to get a lot of information out there, but you can't lecture or people will just tune out," said Aaron Lemon-Strauss, the show's producer. "In the end, this is theater - we'd teach a class at Hunter College if we didn't want to entertain."

Liberties have certainly been taken (it seems unlikely that Goebbels and Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi ever French kissed), but the show - conceived by Juliet Chia (who also designed the lighting), David Evans Morris (the set designer), and Alex Timbers (the director) - aims to portray the historical essence of the unlikely cast through what Mr. Lemon-Strauss referred to as "negative argument."

In the Scientology pageant, Les Freres lionized the sect's founder, L. Ron Hubbard, in order to critique him. In "Boozy," we get Robert Moses, martyr and visionary, pitting his wits against the forces of design-by-committee for the greater glory of the city he loves. "If you read any of the Caro book, you see Moses as a racist, classist villain," said Jacob Grigolia-Rosenbaum, who, at 6 feet 4 inches tall, plays the famously Napoleonic planner. "Portraying him as a Christ-like superhero has been fun."

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Would You Accept Dating Advice From This Man?


Gannon Get a What-What?

Thu Feb 10 2005 20:49:03 ET

White House spokesman Scott McClellan On Thursday challenged liberal media activists, who are currently feigning outrage over events surrounding "Jeff Gannon," to examine the definition of reporter in the new century.

"In this day and age, when you have a changing media, it's not an easy issue to decide or try to pick and choose who is a journalist. It gets into the issue of advocacy journalism," McClellan said.

"Where do you draw the line? There are a number of people who cross that line in the briefing room.

"There are a number of people in that room that express their points of view, and there are people in that room that represent traditional media, they represent talk radio, they're columnists, and they represent online news organizations."


Thursday, February 10, 2005


Wednesday, February 9, 2005

The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

In light of the mounting evidence that your Administration has, on several occasions, paid members of the media to advocate in favor of Administration policies, I feel compelled to ask you to address a matter brought to my attention by the Niagara Falls Reporter (article attached), a local newspaper in my district, regarding James "JD" Guckert (AKA Jeff
) of Talon News.

According to several credible reports, "Mr. Gannon" has been repeatedly credentialed as a member of the White House press corps by your office and has been regularly called upon in White House press briefings by your
Press Secretary Scott McClellan, despite the fact evidence shows that "Mr. Gannon" is a Republican political operative, uses a false name, has phony or questionable journalistic credentials, is known for plagiarizing much of the "news" he reports, and according to several web reports, may have ties to the promotion of the prostitution of military personnel.

Several weeks ago when it was revealed that radio/TV host Armstrong Williams had received payment from your Administration in exchange for his vocal support of the 'No Child Left Behind' initiative, I was stunned. For years now I have been leading the fight in Congress for fairness and accountability in the media; the Williams revelation only underscored the need for a media that has integrity, is balanced and expresses the local interests and concerns of its consumers.

Since that time, two more members of the media have been found to have received money from your Administration in exchange for their vocal, yet undisclosed support of Administration policies.

And just this morning we have learned that "Mr. Gannon" has resigned his post at the, so called, Talon News amid growing concerns over his controversial background and falsified qualifications. In fact, it appears that "Mr. Gannon's" presence in the White House press corps was merely as a tool of propaganda for your Administration.

Mr. President, I am sure we both agree the White House Press Corps is an honored institution in America that should be beyond the scope of partisan meddling, and that a free and independent media is the cornerstone of our success as a democracy. Likewise, I am sure we can both agree the American people have the right to expect that journalists who question their President everyday are experienced, independent, and perhaps most importantly, unbiased in their approach.

I was already concerned about what appears to be an organized campaign to mask partisan propaganda as legitimate news by your Administration. That we have now learned this same type of deception is occurring inside the White House briefing room itself is even more disturbing.

That is why I am asking you to please explain to the Congress and to the American people how and why the individual known as "Mr. Gannon" was repeatedly cleared by your staff to join the legitimate White House press corps?

Mr. President, your Administration has driven the so-called "values" debate in this country. But the most important value for those of us in public service should always be honesty and integrity, particularly when considering the manner in which we conduct our affairs of state.

I would appreciate your prompt response on this matter.


Louise M. Slaughter
Ranking Member, House Committee on Rules


From the Niagara Falls Reporter on Monday, February 7, 2005

Dear Rep. Slaughter,

As a small newspaper located in your district, we are asking for your help. It has come to our attention that an individual who calls himself "Jeff Gannon" has been credentialed by the White House to attend press briefings and presidential news conferences.

He is affiliated with an organization called Talon News, and is frequently called on by White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan and President Bush. This individual has no background in journalism whatsoever, and his "syndicated column" appears solely on his personal Web site, According to the Philadelphia Daily News, "Jeff Gannon" isn't even his real name.

In his biography at the Talon News site, where he holds the title of "Washington Bureau Chief," he claims to be a graduate of the "Pennsylvania State University System" and the Leadership Institute Broadcast School of Journalism.

While the 23 schools in the Penn State system award diplomas, the system itself does not, and the Daily News investigation has thus far failed to turn up a "Jeff Gannon" who holds a degree in education from Penn State, as this person claims he does. Furthermore, the Leadership Institute Broadcast School of Journalism is a right-wing diploma mill where anyone with $50 and two days to waste can receive a degree.

As for Talon News itself, it seems to consist solely of a Web site that links directly to a Republican site called Both Talon and GOPUSA have the same mailing address, a private residence in Texas. It isn't clear whether anyone at Talon News is paid, as one portion of its site asks, "Want to join the Talon News team? Click here to find out more about being a volunteer reporter for Talon News."

Looking at the staff biography section of the site, none of the 10 individuals listed appear to have any training or previous experience in journalism, although all list credentials as Republican activists.

We respectfully ask your office to look into how a partisan political organization and an individual with no credentials as a reporter -- and apparently operating under an assumed name -- landed a coveted spot in the White House press corps.


Bruce Battaglia, publisher, Mike Hudson, editor in chief, Rebecca Day, senior editor, David Staba, sports editor, Bill Gallagher, national correspondent, John Hanchette, senior correspondent, Frank Thomas Croisdale, contributing editor, Bill Bradberry, contributing editor, Niagara Falls Reporter.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Dean Lemann's musings on the state of MSM

Why is everyone mad at the mainstream media?
Issue of 2005-02-14 and 21
Posted 2005-02-07

Just before last fall’s Presidential election, Bill Keller, the executive editor of the Times, and Philip Taubman, the paper’s Washington bureau chief, went on the road to inspect the candidates’ campaigns. In Florida, on October 22nd, they arranged to have drinks with Karl Rove, the White House’s chief political strategist, and Dan Bartlett, its head of communications. It was supposed to be a friendly get-together, and that’s how it went for the first few minutes, until Keller asked Rove what he thought of the Times’ coverage. It’s the sort of question that editors often ask important people, in the same spirit that a politician asks, “How’m I doing?,” usually hoping for an answer somewhere in the lower-middle range of politeness and candor. But Rove, Keller told me not long ago, “pounded on us for two cocktails’ worth of conversation.” Saying what? “It was three kinds of things,” Keller explained. “It was Bush accomplishments we had ignored, flaws in the Kerry record that we had put inside the paper, and a number of pieces we had done looking hard at the Bush record. In their view, that all amounted to arming the Kerry campaign.”

Keller and I were talking in his office in the Times newsroom at nine one morning, a moment when most newspaper offices are empty and expectantly quiet, like a theatre a couple of hours before the curtain. Keller took his time describing the conversation, to suggest that he wasn’t dismissing the criticisms out of hand. “Your initial reaction, especially in someone as ferocious as Rove, is to drop into a defensive crouch,” he said. “But I try not to do that. I listened, with a fair measure of skepticism, because a lot of it is calculated. But there was some genuineness to it. He went through a long litany of complaints. I do think he was channelling a feeling about the New York Times that’s out there in the land, that we should be concerned about, or at least aware of.”

One item that particularly drew Rove’s ire was a Times front-page story, by Ford Fessenden, which appeared on September 26th, under the headline “a big increase of new voters in swing states.” As Keller remembered it later, in an e-mail message to me, Rove “fired off complaints like a Gatling gun, some specific, some generic, some about specific writers, some about specific elements of specific stories.” When I spoke to Rove about his conversation with Keller, it was obvious that, to his mind, the September 26th story was No. 1 among the Times’ journalistic misdeeds during the campaign. The story left the impression that the Democrats’ organization was vastly superior to the Republicans’, especially in Florida and Ohio. Getting out the G.O.P. vote in those two states had for several years been one of Rove’s main projects, and he spoke about the article in roughly the same tone as a writer discussing a bad review of his magnum opus. He gave me a highly detailed, twelve-point critique, and then, in the interest of conciseness, he boiled down the twelve points to two or three.

Continue reading . . .

blogging while on the job can be perilous

beware the perils of blogging about your work when you get a job - even at a newspaper, yes. A CSM story here has more on that.. it's truly appalling - whatever happened to first amendment rights?

Monday, February 07, 2005

Talking on the Air and Out of Turn: The Trouble With TV

NY Times:

Last Sunday, Times reporter Judith Miller appeared on MSNBC's "Hardball With Chris Matthews" to discuss the Iraqi elections. In the course of the conversation Miller said sources had told her the Bush administration "has been reaching out" to the Iraqi political figure Ahmad Chalabi "to offer him expressions of cooperation." She continued, "According to one report, he was even offered a chance to be an interior minister in the new government." This led Matthews to interrupt Miller, exclaim "Wait a minute!" and press her to elaborate.

Now, Matthews is the sort of television host who will interrupt a guest about as often as he blinks, and his reliance on exclamation is roughly equal to his reliance on breathing. But to anyone who has tried to follow the jagged contours of Ahmed Chalabi's connections to the Bush administration, Miller's statement was a shocker. This piece of news hadn't appeared in The Times that morning; it didn't appear in The Times the next morning; as I write this column, on Friday, it still hasn't appeared. A lengthy analysis of the election aftermath by reporter Dexter Filkins, published Tuesday, didn't even hint of any current contact between Chalabi and the Bush administration.

How blogs are shattering the arrogance of the Columbia Journalism Review and why that's good for journalism

Washington Examiner:

Joseph Newcomer had never heard of the Columbia Journalism Review, the magazine of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, before friends told him to check out what CJR said about him in the January/February 2005 issue. Newcomer, a Microsoft programming teacher who has studied typesetting for decades, suspected the hubbub was about his recent assertions that CBS's 1972-73 memos on President Bush's National Guard service were fakes.

Sure enough, "Blog-Gate," by Corey Pein, a CJR assistant editor, said Newcomer was a "self-proclaimed" expert whose r/sum/ "seemed" impressive. His conclusions were "bold bordering on hyperbolic." Newcomer's font analysis, posted on his Web site, www.flounder. com., was "long and technical, discouraging close examination."

Then, without asking Newcomer for help on those long, technical parts, Pein concluded that Newcomer's ability to replicate the CBS memos with Microsoft Word (not available in 1972) proved nothing. Blogs had not been instrumental in exposing CBS and, through it all, "liberals and their fellow travelers were outed like witches in Salem, while Bush's defenders forged ahead, their affinities and possible motives largely unexamined."

Newcomer, who voted for Sen. John Kerry in November, was baffled. When I spoke with him recently, he told me that The New Yorker once called his wife, a botanical illustration expert, to ask whether a certain plant could grow in a certain area, because a fiction writer had mentioned it in a piece. That was fact-checking. CJR "did not do any fact-checking," he says. Pein did spend weeks researching his story, even traveling to Texas to report it. He wrote that CBS screwed up. But the suggestion that blogs were "guilty of many of the very same sins" that CBS committed, and that Newcomer did not know what he was talking about, set the blogosphere howling. More than 40,000 people read Pein's article the first week it was online (CJR's circulation is 22,000); CJR received over 100 letters. Many featured the same theme: "This was spin-doctoring, not media criticism," says Tim Graham, director of media analysis at the right-leaning Media Research Center. Pein received nasty letters noting his youth and his politics (he graduated from Washington's Evergreen State College, known for its lefty bent, in 2003).

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Delacorte Schedule


<>Feb 3
Victor Navasky, editor, publisher, editorial director, The Nation

Feb 10
Hendrik Hertzberg, senior editor, The New Yorker

Feb 17
Mike Tomasky, editor-in-chief, Tango Magazine

Feb 24
Elise O’Shaughnessy, editor, Prospect Magazine

March 3
Maer Roshan, editor-in-chief, Radar Magazine

March 10
Adam Moss, editor-in-chief, New York Magazine

March 24
Lewis H. Lapham, editor, Harper’s Bazaar

April 7
Amy Gross, editor-in-chief, O Magazine

April 14

April 21
Stephen B. Shepard, editor-in-chief, BusinessWeek

Wednesday, February 02, 2005


Somebody call Han Solo and tell him to get the Falcon fueled up.

Today, Mike Pence (R-IN) introduced on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives an act that would create a federal shield law that would protect journalistic confidentiality.

Please find the video here.

UPDATE: More on Pence. And More.

UPDATE2: And get a load of this whopper. Develo......well, you know.

And then there is this and this. And this. And it goes on and on. And on.

FLASHBACK: The Dodd Letter. Taricani.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

committee to protect bloggers..

a site that looks set to grow?