Saturday, July 16, 2005

The Press Meets The Press

I've been intending on blogging about the recent controversy involving two journalists held in contempt, Karl Rove, Robert Novak, and the leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame's name for sometime now. Currently, I'm still compiling all the facts and details involved (and I'm also rather busy with personal stuff), but I still want everyone to know about something related to the whole debacle. Tomorrow morning, Tim Russert will interview Time reporter Matthew Cooper on NBC's Meet The Press. I've been a big fan of Russert's work for a long time, as he may be the most unbiased TV journalist I've ever seen. He never shies away from the tough questions no matter who he asks them of. Other guests include RNC chairman Ken Mehlman, former Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta, and famed journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. A full rundown on tomorrow's show can be found here. The show can be seen from 9-10 a.m. EST in all markets except Washington D.C. and New York City, where it is broadcast from 10:30-11:30 a.m. EST.

And I know this sounds like a commercial, but nobody from NBC asked me to tell you all that.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Reality Check

I was thinking about a longer post today, but John Hawkins of Right Wing News wrote an article on the misconceptions involving the Iraq war so thorough that little extra commentary is needed. Called "Debunking 8 Anti-War Myths About The Conflict In Iraq," it takes apart everything from the idea that President Bush lied about WMD to the concept that the Downing Street Memo means anything particularly dire. Although the link is to a conservative site (which is probably going in the BlogRoll after reading this gem), take a look at this no matter your politics while keeping an open mind, as all of its arguments are well-supported. I honestly don't think I can make any of the points within the piece as well as Hawkins already did, so I suggest you check it out even if you're on dial-up.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Analysis Of A Media Blackout

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I was curious to see whether Ed Klein's The Truth About Hillary was a.) the truth and b.) worth reading. I walked down to my local Waldenbooks, pulled a copy off the shelf, and skimmed through it. Noticing the myriad unnamed sources and loaded language, I immediately flipped to the bibliography only to find that many of his cited "sources" were other gossipy anti-Hillary books. So much for a good read. Several other bloggers like myself are staying far away from the book. As said by writer Leon H, "I think it's telling that the right-leaning blogosphere is the most radical element of our party, and by an overwhelming majority, even we are shouting this book down."

Although the book is a loss, the MSM coverage of it is interesting. And by "interesting," I mean "nonexistent." The only thing more interesting is that Klein is getting shut out of the networks, yet his book is still in the top 5 on the Times bestseller list thanks to Drudge and several other Internet sources. This wouldn't be a big deal if Kitty Kelley (author of election-time anti-Bush hatchet job The Family) hadn't received so much coverage in comparison back in the fall. According to the Howard Kurtz-authored article linked above, Kelley was granted a three-part interview on NBC's morning news program Today, despite the fact that some of her own sources disputed the book's allegations. Kelley also got a favorable book review in the New York Times and front page coverage to boot, whereas the Times published a sidebar column in the book section on Sunday denouncing Klein's book as "easily this year's most vilified" by critics. Oddly enough, the Times have not yet published a review of their own (although it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what it would be like).

This is one of the things I most dislike about bias: the double standard is applied with impunity and is obvious to almost everyone except those applying it. If Kitty Kelley gets an interview, then Ed Klein deserves one too. Also, if Kelley was ignored by a program, then Klein should also be ignored. Bill O'Reilly refused to have him on The O'Reilly Factor because he didn't invite Kelley on previously, and Joe Scarborough retracted his invitation for Klein to appear on Scarborough Country because he thought The Truth was trash. The two of them did the right thing in this case. Problem is, many others didn't do the right thing back in the fall. As Scarborough put it:
After learning the stories were inflammatory, the sources were weak, and the book's relevance was less than zero, I canceled the booking. Why? Because it was the right thing to do. But being the contrarian I am, I just wonder: If other networks aren't allowing Mr. Klein on, then why did they allow Kitty Kelley [who wrote a book on the Bush family] during the presidential election? Just curious.

The reason why they let Kelley on and not Klein is the double standard at its worst.

One other note: There has been some discussion about Hillary suing Klein for libel. I doubt that'll happen, and here's why. The ultimate defense against libel is, of course, truth. While I don't buy The Truth as being nothing but the truth, if a libel suit came up, the truths and the lies would get separated very quickly. Even if a small grain of fact exists among all of the hearsay within Klein's book, it would likely be exposed by any legal action. That exposure would hurt Hillary much worse than a book that is mostly being bought by people who already didn't like her in the first place. Unless the entire book is a load of crap (possible, but a million rumors often hold at least one truth), don't expect to see the Clinton camp do much about this in the courts.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Meaning Of Selfish

Conservative commentator Robert Novak wrote an article two days ago that is packed literally to the brim with political intrigue and touches on multiple subjects. The meat of the commentary centers around the 2008 presidential campaign (John McCain is "70% probable" to run) and the Supreme Court, where conservative Appellate Judge Edith Jones is considered a prime appointee in part because her gender would cripple the feminist lobby's influence on her confirmation. The most shocking information within the piece, however, involves Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) and one really, really expensive birthday party.

According to Novak:
[Rangel] has written to lobbyists who represent corporate interests before the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, where he is the ranking Democrat, asking for contributions from $1,000 to $10,000 "to underwrite" his 75th birthday party. (Emphasis added - Ed.)

Hillary Clinton and Wesley Clark will both speak at the event. If the amount requested is any indication, then U2 will be on hand to entertain the guests while Rangel chats up multiple Playboy Playmates and sips Cristal. Oh, wait...Charles Rangel isn't Hugh Hefner? I couldn't tell for a moment.

To put it simply, this is nuts. Rangel represents Harlem in Congress; in fact, he's done so for 18 terms. He doesn't need any cash for his re-election campaign because he's running unopposed. Although he does give other Democratic candidates cash via his National Leadership PAC, I doubt this money is going to serve any purpose aside from making sure Rangel is the most happening grandpa in Congress on his birthday. With all due respect, Rep. Rangel, one of the main tenets of your job is to represent the people. Don't blow the fruits of corporate generosity strictly on yourself.

And while you're at it, give Mr. Hefner back his red silk pajamas.