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September 04, 2008

Palin vs. The Gatekeepers

In early February of 2004 I embarked upon a journey of sorts. More than four years and interminable caffeine-laced mornings later here I am, still pounding away at the keyboard. I never dreamed in those early days at ScrappleFace that I would ever find myself blogging. For this final humiliation, I blame two people: Joatmoaf and a certain Colorado Cat who kept after me relentlessly. I can still hear her saying "You're not an echo - you're a voice. You have something to say and there are people who desperately need to hear it." What can I say? It was better than running for public office.

In the years that followed I was beset with my share of doubts and shadows. But also, I was enveloped by friends who lifted me up when I wondered whether I was on the right path? Blogging is nothing if not a cooperative and interactive venture; a uniquely symbiotic relationship in which writer and reader each take sustenance from the other. Despite all the effort that goes into blogging, it's sometimes hard to tell who benefits more from this partnership. Both come away enriched, and both are irretrievably changed.

In this, blogging is unlike any form of journalism that came before it - and despite the inevitable carping and belittling from those who make their living from writing for print or online media blogging is a form of journalism, even if an amateur and populist form of the craft. Blogging is corrected and informed by the voices of literally millions of readers who continuously fact check, snark, cross reference, question and argue over our posts in real time. They are our 'rigorous layers of editorial control', and they have caused us to correct ourselves and to retract our mistakes. They improve our content as well as add to it.

Blogging is, as I wrote many years ago, a vigorous conversation over the backyard fences of America and it has renewed and revitalized our interest and participation in civic life in a way that is particularly heartening in this era of political apathy and cynicism. It took a former housewife and mother with no interest in politics and turned her into an avid follower of current events, conversant with both foreign policy and economic trends. It got me engaged.

But there is little doubt that I would not be blogging if it were not for 9/11 and the war on terror. If you want to know how that day changed my life, you need look no farther than these two posts:

And At Night I Dream Of You: A Tribute to Lydia Estelle Bravo

The Boys of Summer
: for PFC Natchez "Little Fawn" Washalanta and Sgt. Jason Cook

They are perhaps not the best things I have written, but I could have written neither of them before that brilliant September morning. I think we all lost something on that day and some of us - many of us - live with ghosts now: ghosts who never quite leave our sides. We are at once made richer and poorer for that experience. Oddly, 9/11 initially bound us together as a nation as we drew near in grief and shock and horror. It is easy to light candles and mourn the dead. It costs us precisely nothing.

But as the shock wore off and the tiresome burdens of reality began to settle in, 9/11 also drove a wedge between us. As so often happens in political life, we mostly want the same things: freedom, security, affluence, happiness.

We disagree about the best methods of achieving them. As we went off to war, the deep divisions between us only worsened. In the late summer of 2006 I stood in the living room of a neighbor and was quizzed by a liberal Democrat down the street who knew my husband is an active duty Marine. At the time, because of his job and because I am a milblogger, I knew things were beginning to turn around in Anbar province. My neighbor spouted all the standard antiwar talking points to me.

I riposted with the latest from Anbar. Did he realize great things were afoot over there? Did he know the atrocities committed by the insurgency had awakened the latent anger of the sheiks? Had he even heard of Stephen Vincent?

The dazed look in his eyes spoke volumes.

I will give him this much credit: he asked me for links from the mainstream media. I went home and tried to find them.

They didn't exist. The thought occurred to me at the time: how is this any different than living behind the Iron Curtain? It doesn't matter, really, whether it is the government or some less centralized and controlled mechanism which controls what we see and hear. If we never find out the truth until it is too late: after we have voted, after our opinions have calcified, what good does news reporting do us?

The dominant narrative at the time was Thomas Ricks and a leaked classified memo that said Anbar province was "irretrievably lost". Looking back from today's vantage point, we all know how that turned out.

For the next 24 months, America was treated to a relentless barrage of negative punditry and "analysis" like this sneering summation from Slate's Fred Kaplan, which (in hindsight) turned out to be something less than prescient:

The benchmarks place such an overwhelming burden on Maliki's government, he'll unavoidably fail to meet them; when this failure becomes clear, and the American surge does little to improve matters, Bush—or, better still, his successor—will pull out with a shrug and the patina of good conscience, absolving himself of blame for the deluge that follows. Whether or not the leaders of the White House devised the new plan with this scenario in mind (and I don't think they did), it offers a tempting way out if worse comes to dead worst.

In hindsight, Kaplan proved to be triumphantly, unrepentantly wrong. Iraq has met 15 of the 18 benchmarks.

No less a Bush critic than the NY Times reports that "the Surge, clearly, has worked":

... at least for now: violence, measured in the number of attacks against Americans and Iraqis each week, has dropped by 80 percent in the country since early 2007, according to figures the general provided. Civilian deaths, which peaked at more than 100 a day in late 2006, have also plunged. Car and suicide bombings, which stoked sectarian violence, have fallen from a total of 130 in March 2007 to fewer than 40 last month. In July, fewer Americans were killed in Iraq — 13 — than in any month since the war began.

The result, now visible in the streets, is a calm unlike any the country has seen since the American invasion toppled Saddam Hussein in April 2003. The signs — Iraqi families flooding into parks at sundown, merchants throwing open long-shuttered shops — are stunning to anyone who witnessed the country’s implosion in 2005 and 2006.

Now if only someone would alert Barack Obama. Or better still, his campaign headquarters:

An astonishing thing happened on CNN Sunday evening: Lou Dobbs told his guests, "My colleagues in the national media are absolutely biased, in the tank supporting the Obama candidacy while claiming the mantle of objectivity," and they agreed.

...DOBBS: What happened to the post partisan lofty elevated discourse we're going to have, Miguel?

MIGUEL PEREZ, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I'm still waiting for it, unfortunately.

WEST: But who wants it?

PEREZ: Look, what the media has failed at here is putting pressure on Obama, especially, because McCain wanted to do those meetings together with Obama, those public forums.

DOBBS: The town hall meetings.

PEREZ: Yes, and Obama has really evaded the issue and the media has not been after him for it. And I think that's disgraceful.

DOBBS: Well, I think the way the national media in this country right is performing, is disgraceful. And I mean, when we - "The Washington Post" had the courage to admit that it - Deborah Howell, the public editor, the ombudsman for the "Washington Post" ran a piece this past Sunday acknowledging that "The Washington Post" has put Barack Obama on the front pages of the Washington Post three times as many times as Senator McCain. "Time" magazine has run seven covers with Obama. McCain two. I mean, this is not close, folks. And it is ugly. It is nasty. And I guarantee you, we are watching a shift in the way in which the media in this country, which is already reviled by the public, I believe it's going to be even worse.

I'm an advocacy journalist. I'm an independent populist. When I speak, people know where I'm coming from. When these news organizations are doing this and trying to pretend cloaking themselves in the mantle of objectivity, you know, they're silly, (trulish), absolutely in my opinion, despicable phonies. They need to step out, they need to be objective or get their opinions out where it can be examined...

When media donations favor the Democrats 100 to 1 and "news" story after "news" story harps on Joe Biden's alleged foreign policy expertise, yet inexplicably the much-vaunted international consensus on his plan to partition Iraq is missing in action, are we really to believe the press are impartial?

"The original 'Biden plan' seems less relevant in Iraq today than at any point," said Reidar Visser, a Norwegian academic and editor of the Iraq-focused website historiae.org. "The trend in parliament is clearly in a more national direction, with political parties coming together across sectarian divides.

"In other words, there is a very strong Iraqi mobilization against precisely the core elements of the Biden plan, and it would be extremely unwise of the Democratic Party to make Biden's ideas the centerpiece of their Iraq strategy," he added.

Today, even Kurds who already have their own autonomous enclave in northern Iraq say they oppose the "Biden plan".

What are we to think when Fred Kaplan, whose nearly flawless record of triumphantly spittle-flecked wrongness on foreign policy issues remains (like the Bush administration) sadly unimpeached, maintains that Biden's past mistakes should not be held against him? Why should we respect the foreign policy expertise of Barack Obama, who initially opposed the Surge and then (with the full benefit of hindsight - something denied the Bush administration) stubbornly resisted "changing course" when he had all the facts at his disposal? For Fred Kaplan, it appears to be sufficient that Joe Biden has "thought deeply" about foreign policy; but then the party of self esteem has always graded more on effort than accomplishment:

Whatever else one thinks of Obama and Biden, they have clearly thought a lot about these issues (in Biden's case, for decades). At committee hearings, their questions tend to go to the heart of the matter (though, admittedly, Biden often takes the long way around). And asking the right questions is the vital first step to making sound decisions. (In the secret tapes that he recorded during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, President Kennedy's knack for doing just that—while his expert advisers flailed about in cliché—was what stood out about him, and what probably saved the world from catastrophe.)

Biden has certainly thought a lot about foreign policy. So much so, in fact, that a mere change in administration is enough to effect a miraculous transformation in his Weltanschung. Suddenly, up is the new down and the wise and principled exercise of force for the good of mankind becomes arrogant and reckless unilateral military intervention of a kind unsanctioned by our German and French overlords. Would that all of our principles displayed such childlike elasticity:

One way to get past the magnificent charm, celebrated windiness, and political staying power of Senator Biden is through the lens of America's war with Slobodan Milosevic, whom the gentleman from Delaware famously looked in the eye and accused of being a war criminal. Senator Obama's choice for vice president turns out to be the archetype of what might be called the Kosovo Democrats. They are liberals who, during the 1990s, began to understand the necessity of the unilateral use of American force, even in the face of disapprobation at the United Nations, but changed their minds when the president defying the United Nations was a Republican and, in the war they initially supported, the going got tough.

The Kosovo Democrats supported President Clinton's decision to bomb Serbia in 1999, even though the war to prevent the cleansing of Kosovo's Albanians was not supported by a U.N. Security Council resolution. Declared the secretary-general at the time, Kofi Annan: "Unless the Security Council is restored to its preeminent position as the sole source of legitimacy on the use of force, we are on a dangerous path to anarchy." Mr. Biden would have none of it. He said in response, "Nobody in the Senate agrees with that. There is nothing to debate. He is dead, flat, unequivocally wrong."

This exchange is recounted in Ambassador Bolton's memoir, "Surrender Is Not An Option." Mr. Biden plays a role in that memoir because the senator from Delaware led the charge against Mr. Bolton in 2005 when Democrats prevented a floor vote on the nomination of the future ambassador to the United Nations. "My problem with you, over the years, has been, you're too competent," Mr. Bolton recounts Mr. Biden saying at one point during a colloquy on arms control in 2001. "I mean, I would rather you be stupid and not very effective." He concluded by saying: "I think you are an honorable man and you are extremely competent." Then he voted against Mr. Bolton.

Mr. Biden's foreign policy schizophrenia is apparent in the run-up to the Battle of Iraq as well. He said at the time that he did not consider Saddam Hussein an immediate threat and believed that America's top challenges ought to be North Korea and finishing the job against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Nevertheless, Mr. Biden voted for the war. With more than 100,000 American soldiers perched in Kuwait on January 31, 2003, Mr. Biden said in a speech before the World Affairs Council: "If we withdraw in these circumstances without a fundamental change in [Saddam's] behavior, I have reached the conclusion that that is even more damaging to us than if we were to go with an anemic cast of the willing to take him down."

This balancing act has been a hallmark of Mr. Biden's approach to the current global war in the last seven years. In 2003, he said he believed Saddam was pursuing nuclear weapons and could acquire them within five years. Two years later, Mr. Biden made it a point to call out the Bush administration for misleading and deceiving the public on pre-war intelligence.

In early 2006, Mr. Biden made a push to send even more troops to Iraq, arguing, with Senator McCain, that the current force levels were not enough to protect civilians from terror militias running roughshod throughout Iraq. But when the president in 2007 embraced a strategy to send more troops and focus on protecting the civilian population, Mr. Biden skedaddled for the hills, plumping for a policy that would have effectively partitioned Iraq into three autonomous federal states.

When President Bush rolled out his strategy to send a surge of reinforcements for our beleaguered expedition in Iraq, Mr. Biden made a point to say how he would be lobbying his Republican colleagues in the Senate to oppose the strategy. Nonetheless, in the months of the early primary days when Mr. Biden campaigned for president in Iowa and New Hampshire, he chastised some of his Democratic colleagues on the trail for promising to withdraw the troops from Iraq at too rapid a pace.

At what point does "deep thought" begin to resemble calculation?

And more importantly, at what point can the reading public legitimately question a professional media who, by every available metric, have demonstrably NOT been evenhanded in their coverage of either the war on terror or this election? How can Howard Kurtz, whom I genuinely believe to be one of the bright spots in a dim profession, speak of a war on the media?

The truth is that for years and years, the media have been at war with the facts. Kurtz states that the media are no longer the gatekeepers:

Bloggers on the left and right increasingly drive media coverage by turning up the volume on questions until they are difficult to ignore. Sometimes they are right, as when they questioned what CBS's Dan Rather said were National Guard documents in a 2004 report on President Bush's military service that led to Rather's ouster as the network's anchor. And sometimes they are wrong. Last year, the New Republic retracted a soldier's dispatch on petty wartime cruelty in Iraq, and National Review Online acknowledged that two blog postings by a former Marine about military movements in Lebanon were misleading.

Major newspapers, magazines and networks no longer play their traditional gatekeeper role in the digital age, as was evident during the eight-month period when the National Enquirer was charging former senator John Edwards with fathering an out-of-wedlock baby. Most national news outlets did not report the allegations until last month, when Edwards acknowledged an affair with a former campaign aide but denied being her child's father.

Still, traditional media outlets can amplify and legitimize such reports, which might be why the McCain campaign is fighting so hard to keep the Palin allegations confined to the Internet. Denouncing the news media as biased also plays well with many Republican voters.

Mickey Kaus is right when he calls unreported and underreported stories "the undernews". What Kurtz seems not to want to face is that millions of Americans remain oblivious to blogs. Until they see such stories in the mainstream media, they don't exist. The press ignored the Swift vets and their allegations, and what few outlets gave them a hearing heaped their allegations with scorn to the point where the term "swift boating" has now become synonymous with smear campaigns. How many Americans know that the Kerry campaign used lawyers to threaten and harass local radio stations who planned to air the documentary Stolen Honor? Can anyone imagine the furor if the RNC had used similar tactics against Michael Moore?

It is the blatant one-sidedness of the mainstream media that makes the public mistrust them so: their arrogance and their refusal to submit themselves to the same scrutiny they demand of the subjects of their own news stories.

Intellectual honesty like William Saletan's is a rare thing in their over politicized world. In the midst of one of the ugliest political campaigns on record, it takes a twisted but intellectually honest beautiful mind to apply unintended pregnancy rates to the daughters of every presidential candidate in recent memory and conclude:

An unintended pregnancy rate of 6 to 7 percent, in a population of 37 women, means two to three pregnancies per year. Even if you discount the rate further, on the grounds that these are the wealthiest and best-educated families, the notion that none of these young women got knocked up before their parents' nominations or elections is—pardon the term—almost inconceivable. If you're a politician, and your daughter gets pregnant out of wedlock, you can be systematically excluded from the sample of nominees by self-selection, voters, or running-mate vetters. But not if the pregnancy never becomes known.

If any of these daughters conceived, but no pregnancy or birth was reported, what happened? One possibility is miscarriage. But the Guttmacher analysis suggests a different answer: Most unintended pregnancies in the higher income and education brackets end in abortion.

Remember that before you judge or poke fun at Sarah Palin. She's not the candidate whose daughter messed up. She's the candidate who didn't get rid of the mess.

Fred Kaplan wouldn't have asked that question. It wouldn't have interested him because it doesn't harm the Bush administration or help Michelle Obama's children. That's a shame, because I pick up a newspaper or browse to Slate Online, not to have my political biases confirmed but to learn more about the world I live in. I subscribe to The Atlantic and The New Republic because it does me good to read authors I disagree with, even if they make me angry sometimes.

I found myself, when Sarah Palin was first chosen, agreeing with some of the more reasonable of her critics. I was skeptical about her experience, but then I am skeptical of Barack Obama's experience. Unlike so many of the commentators I read daily, I apply the same criteria across the board, regardless of political orientation, and by those criteria I find all of the candidates in this race lacking for one reason or another.

This is truly an unusual race, historically. If you divorce yourself from partisan blather, it is almost unprecedented to have two Senators with no governmental executive experience both nominated by major parties and still in the running.

That is odd. And yet the press continue to shill for Barack Obama as though this nonpartisan, nonracial fact were not in evidence. Joe Biden is also inexperienced by conventional standards, but you'd never know this to hear his defenders in the unbiased media. So this brings us back to Lou Dobbs and his comments about the dividing line between commentary and news coverage. And it brings us back to the line between advocacy journalism - between months and months where the media were well aware of the John Edwards story and rightly (in my opinion) refused to touch it, and where they leapt on the filth about Sarah Palin after how long?

How many days, Howard, before there were three front page stories in the New York Times about, not the candidate (mind you) but her daughter?

For what office is Bristol Palin running?

There is no "war on the press". For years now, the press has had a running war on their political opponents. The unpalatable truth here is that more than half of the American public now believe you are out to get Sarah Palin.

This should give the media pause because you own the megaphone.

If you are honest, if you really care about covering the news (as opposed to waging ideological war on your opponents), perhaps you need to steel yourselves to take a long, hard look at the way you are doing your jobs. You have lost the confidence of the public you serve. That is no accident.

Accountability is not just for those you claim to watch. Those who claim the right to be above the law had better be able to demonstrate some ability to police themselves.

In a system where everyone else must submit to checks and balances, who provides the check over your power to ruin lives and reputations, if the media are above the law? You'd better come up with a good answer.

And fast.

Update below the fold.

I've been thinking some more about this.

Via Glenn Reynolds, I found this analysis of Kurtz' "War on the Press" argument:

...What we're witnessing, I think, is the death of a media paradigm that we lived with comfortably for, oh, the last year or two. And John Edwards is to blame! Here's the relevant typology:

Model One: There's the press, and the public. The press only prints "facts" that are checked and verified. That's all the public ever finds out about. The press functions as "gatekeeper."

Model Two: Model One broke down with the rise of blogs, which (along with tabloids and cable) often discuss rumors that are not "verified." The public finds out about these rumors, as rumors. And it turns out that blogging obsessively about rumors is a pretty good way to smoke out the truth (see, e.g., Dan Rather).

But in Model Two, the rumors still don't get reported in the "mainstream media"--the respectable print press, the non-cable networks--until they are properly confirmed. Blogs and tabloids are a sort of intermediate nethersphere between public and the elite MSM that serves as a proving ground where the truth or falseness of the "undernews" gets hashed out. Stories that are true then graduate to the MSM.

Model Three: I thought Model Two would be a workable model for years, until either the MSM itself went totally online or until almost all voters stopped paying attention to it. I was wrong! The Edwards scandal did Model Two in. For months, the MSM failed to report the increasingly plausible rumors of John Edwards' extramarital affair even as it became the widespread topic of conversation in blogs, in the National Enquirer, and among political types. The disconnect turned out to be painfully embarrassing for the MSM, especially when the rumors were finally "verified" with Edwards' confession. A lot of what we are seeing now is the MSM not wanting to go through another Edwards experience.

Why can't the MSM bear to fulfill its Model Two role? a) No press person likes to not be the center of attention. You want to talk about what people want to talk about. That's how you make money, for one thing. And maintaining a disciplined silence on a rampant undernews rumor--even an unverified one--made too many reporters feel as if they worked for Pravda; b) Suppressing an undernews scandal about a Democrat subjected the MSM to charges of pro-liberal political bias (to which respectable organizations are particularly sensitive, because they are largely true); and c) even much of the left was disgusted by the MSM's behavior regarding the Edwards rumor.

We are now, I think, making the next logical leap, to a model in which unverified rumors about public figures are discussed and assessed not just in the blogosphere or the unrespectable tabs but in the MSM itself. I say welcome! With NYT reporters and bloggers all openly discussing unverified reports,, whatever is true will become un-unverified that muhch faster. And the public is proving, by and large, to be quite capable of distinguishing between stories that are true and rumors that are still being investigated.

We're not quite there yet--the unverified rumors that Palin had faked her pregnancy were printed in the MSM, but the McCain campaign itself gave the MSM implicit permission by saying it was releasing the news of Gov. Palin's daughters real pregnancy in order to scotch the fake pregnancy speculations of bloggers. And Schmidt's tormenters were still only checking out rumors, not printing them. But the avalanche of questions to which Schmidt is being subjected--and his discomfort--suggests that the MSM is in the process of shifting to a new role, in which it aggressively investigates and discusses rumors rather than waiting for the industrious blogosphere to force its hand.

They waited with Edwards. They don't want to go through that again. It helps, of course, that this week's rumors involve a Republican.

Once reporters start peppering campaigns with questions, after all, I suspect it will be impossible to keep a lid on whatever rumors the MSM is peppering the campaigns about. That's particularly true in a "synergistic" world where a reporter like Howard Fineman not only writes for Newsweek but also appears on cable shows that have an imperative to discuss whatever is hot now. It's particularly true in a Drudgian world where the activities of MSM reporters-what they're working on, what questions they're asking--is itself news for the Web. In that world, the line between "checking out" tips and open discussion of at least the non-actionable rumors can't really be maintained and shouldn't be, given the truth-divining virtues of widespread publicity (which functions as an APB to the citizenry to come up with evidence).

It's tempting to assume Steve Schmidt's cries are cynical, reflecting a desire to gin up a war between his candidate and the intrusive, condescending elite media--a war in which voters will side with his candidate. Why doesn't he just do his job, under Model 2, and answer the MSM's questions? But it's also likely Schmidt's anguish is at least in part authentic shock at the looming inability of even Model 2 to keep a lid on unrestrained speculation. When even MSM reporters start behaving like bloggers--when candidates' can't squelch discussion of their rumored sins, but have to wade into a non-stop public debate about them--the job of a campaign strategist will get a whole lot harder. ...

Two points here:

First of all, as I mentioned above the fold, Kaus seems to assume that (if we accept that Model Two is passe and Model Three is now the de facto standard for investigative reporting) the media will play it straight down the middle. Pardon me if I doubt that premise. During the speculation on why the Edwards scandal was not pursued more closely (actually, at all) Jack Shafer offered the following theory:

So why hasn't the press commented on the story yet? Is it because it broke too late yesterday afternoon, and news organizations want to investigate it for themselves before writing about it? Or are they observing a double standard that says homo-hypocrisy is indefensible but that hetero-hypocrisy deserves an automatic bye?

That's my sense. Consider how the press treated Jesse Jackson when he admitted to having fathered a daughter outside of his marriage. The baby arrived in 1999, but Jackson didn't go public about it until 2001, after the National Enquirer scheduled its story about the little girl and her mother. Jackson, who loves preaching to others about their morality, suffered less than two seconds of opprobrium from the press after his admission.

If hetero-hypocrisy truly deserved a pass from the media, why did they jump all over Sarah and Bristol Palin? Let me offer an alternative theory.

Perhaps the press observe a double standard under which liberal hypocrisy gets little or no coverage, but conservative hypocrisy gets disproportionate coverage? This theory stands up far better. When was the last time the LA Times ordered its writers not to cover a sex scandal involving a conservative?

And how many liberal blogs have banned their own bloggers for leaking salacious personal details about a conservative politican?

The problem with the Internet, as we've seen, is that it makes it far too easy to sully an innocent party's reputation by deploying rumor and innuendo which (once unleashed, disseminated and amplified by blogs and email) can never be fully rebutted or retracted. The Netroots learned this early on, and have intentionally used this tactic to harass and intimidate their political opponents. No tactic is too base or despicable, from delving into the sex lives of their victims to stalking female victims, threatening them, and releasing their social security numbers. Unleashing vicious rumors by proxy (which take time, effort, and money to rebut in the media) will prove a potent political weapon.

Knowing they have an ally in the media who are likely, given past performance, to pursue these kinds of vile rumors selectively against conservatives and withhold similar scrutiny of progressives will only encourage attacks on family members of politicians.

Who in their right mind will go into politics knowing their spouses and children are likely to become the victims of hateful tactics like this? There is, quite literally, no way to protect them.

And now the media have become accomplices of the kind of despicable people who went after a married mother of five, questioned the parentage of her Down's syndrome baby and, on the basis of a photograph taken in 2006, tried to imply her 17 year old daughter had given birth to the child. Even the most elementary investigative reporting could have shown these allegations to be ludicrous. There was no reason for reporters to ask Steve Schmidt about DNA testing for a married mother. The idea that she should have to submit to such an indignity on the basis of unverified Internet rumors is beyond the pale.

The idea the Rielle Hunter should have to submit to DNA testing is beyond the pale. None of this is anyone's business. People's sex lives ought to be private unless for some reason there are allegations that they have committed a crime or their sexual conduct was committed within the course and scope of their public duties, as in the case of Bill Clinton. Then, as distasteful as it is, the allegations must be investigated. At that point, private sexual conduct is no longer private because the individual brought what should have remained private conduct into the public sphere.

But in this case, the media need to have a little decency. Decades ago, they kept the news of JFK's infidelities out of the public arena. I'm not so sure I have a problem with that. Though I don't approve, I don't care what he did in his off hours. That is none of my business.

All I ask as a citizen is that the media make some attempt to be evenhanded in their coverage of the news. I'm still waiting, but my trust level is not high. Until they show me some evidence that they can be trusted to treat both sides of the political spectrum fairly, I'm not willing to let them delve into every aspect of even innocent family member's lives.

There are some things we don't have a right to know.

Posted by Cassandra at September 4, 2008 09:00 AM

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They are our 'rigorous layers of editorial control'

We just keep you real, Cass. We don’t want you to become a ghost or something, after all.

We disagree about the best methods of achieving them.

We also disagree on what prosperity and freedom are, fundamentally. It is not just a difference in methods. It is a difference in goals.

I subscribe to The Atlantic and The New Republic because it does me good to read authors I disagree with, even if they make me angry sometimes.

It does you good to see what they come up with from flawed philosophies? Interesting.

There is no "war on the press". For years now, the press has had a running war on their political opponents.

That is precisely why they had a running war on their political opponents. When you don’t fight back and declare war on them, why should they stop attacking you? Cause it makes you feel bad? Cause Israelis want it to stop?


In a system where everyone else must submit to checks and balances, who provides the check over your power to ruin lives and reputations, if the media are above the law?

Didn’t you know that? It was Shariah and Inshallah, Cass.

Violence, force, brutality, ruthlessness, and killing have always been the checks placed upon the exercise of human power.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at September 4, 2008 04:03 PM

"Meanwhile, the Blog Princess is trying to finish several projects at work. Sorry, priorities."

Well, I'm impressed. What's your caffeine level? :)

Posted by: socialism_is_error at September 4, 2008 04:16 PM

It's been a long, and at times, strange, trip since that fateful Tuesday morning, Cass. But leaning over the backyard fence has always reminded me about how information, and ideals, travel through and become part of a free society.

Nevermind that my own neighbors have put up guard towers. It's the thought that counts, and your thoughts are counted dearly.

Posted by: spd rdr at September 4, 2008 04:24 PM

Cassandra, I love this post and I wholeheartedly agree with your analysis. I can't figure out how to do the "trackback-thing" so I'll just tell you here that I've discussed the post and linked to it on my blog. As I said there, "AMEN, Cassandra, AMEN!"

Posted by: lela at September 4, 2008 04:30 PM

spd darlin', I'd never have made it this far without you guys :)

So load up the snark cannon. I wouldn't have it any other way.

It does you good to see what they come up with from flawed philosophies?

Yes, Ymar. Sometimes I don't know what I think about something until I hear someone articulate an idea that is clearly wrong. It throws everything into relief, and by trying to figure out why it strikes such a false note, you discover the lines between wrong and right.

I don't always see everything in black and white.

Posted by: Cass at September 4, 2008 04:38 PM

Thanks, lela :)

I disabled my trackbacks a long time ago. I don't really believe in them. I know it's inconvenient, and I'm sorry.

It just seems that people use them to game the system, and since traffic isn't one of my priorities it wasn't that big a loss. The only thing I do regret is that people can't see links like yours. I'm happy to have people note them in the comments, though!

Posted by: Cass at September 4, 2008 04:40 PM

I don't always see everything in black and white.

'T ain't the *color* that matters -- it's the *focus*...

Posted by: BillT at September 4, 2008 05:21 PM

Actually, when Lela (or anyone for that matter) signs in with her URL you can see it when you hover over her name with your cursor. So you can go to her website.

Posted by: DL Sly at September 4, 2008 06:28 PM

"'T ain't the *color* that matters..."

So what are you saying? You've switched to the fire engine red thong? I really don't think it's your *color*.


Posted by: DL Sly at September 4, 2008 06:32 PM

Go ahead -- focus on *that* thought for a while...

Posted by: BillT at September 4, 2008 06:35 PM

Keep focusing...

Posted by: BillT at September 4, 2008 06:37 PM

bthun -- drag the fainting couch in here, quick!

Posted by: BillT at September 4, 2008 06:38 PM

I tried that fire engine red thong thing last night.

It didn't work neither! :-o

Posted by: JHD at September 4, 2008 07:56 PM

> and they have caused us to correct ourselves and to retract our mistakes.

There's a simple fix for this, Cass.

All you have to do is become a Democrat and attract lefty commenters. You'll still get lots of snark, whines, bitching, and vitriol, but there is a virtually guaranteed lack of actual fact involved, so no corrections or retractions would ever be necessary.

Right now, all readers of this comment should go take some antihistamines, to fend off the anaphylactic shock of the idea of becoming a Dem.

In the event that this is not sufficient, bee sting kits may be used.

In the event that such is not available, my condolences to your families.



Posted by: Obloodyhell at September 4, 2008 07:59 PM

It's only been about 5 years? Seems like a lifetime since the old Scrappleface days. How many battles, literal and figurative, have we been through in that time? 100s? Damn I'm getting old! You of course never age! ;-)

Hellova' post btw. I haven't had time to follow the links but I'll get around to it. Hopefully! :-)

Posted by: JHD at September 4, 2008 08:01 PM

> I was skeptical about her experience, but then I am skeptical of Barack Obama's experience.

The thing that matters, which I have yet to see anyone actually address, is that she's not running for the top spot. She's the veep. She can watch and learn and work towards the kind of knowledge and experience needed to actually perform the job.

At the start, her actual job is as quipped:
Wake up in the morning and ask, "How's McCain's health going?"
Unlike Obama, she does not need to learn under fire. And she's *already* got a head start on him there.

Posted by: Obloodyhell at September 4, 2008 08:18 PM

Thanks, JHD.

I can't believe you guys have hung around this long.
Must be all that money I'm paying you!

Or the red thong.

As for me never aging... we'll talk about that when my next birthday rolls around :p

Posted by: Cass at September 4, 2008 08:20 PM

> "AMEN, Cassandra, AMEN!"





Posted by: Obloodyhell at September 4, 2008 08:22 PM

You'll still get lots of snark, whines, bitching, and vitriol,

But will you still get someone like me, Cass?

Right now, all readers of this comment should go take some antihistamines, to fend off the anaphylactic shock of the idea of becoming a Dem.

I already can come up with better arguments than the Dems. And I ain't talking about arguments against theirs, I'm talking about somebody like Jeff coming here and talking about vet66. I can make Jeff's points better to vet66 than Jeff can make his own points.

Then there's the Irvine folks and the what not.

There's no shock to becoming a Dem. It's just getting your mind into a different gear.

I can't believe you guys have hung around this long.
Must be all that money I'm paying you!

Naw. Gosh, gee willigers, it's just the great eating.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at September 4, 2008 09:28 PM

The Marines at the Gates of Heaven would immediately recognize Palin and let her in for a chat with the higher ups, in case corruption had spread in the Heavens.

Yet, people think the media can close their gates to her? Who do these people think they are?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at September 4, 2008 09:30 PM

Ditto what spd rdr and JHD said. Great post, which I have little to add to, except that the Republic is in trouble when so many people are ill-informd, whether they be Democrats or Republicans, or something else. I think deliberate ignorance of the present and history feeds the outrage, too.


It does seem a long time, but them maybe it was only yesterday?

I've had the time of my life bantering with all you guys. It's been great.

Cassandra, I originally pictured you as a statuesque blond with long hair, a prototypical "Californian" as that's where you were when you started. How was I to know you were nothing like that? Truth in advertising!

It's funny how I have pictured some of our friends over the years. I originally pictured Pile On as some huge hunkering guy hunched over a computer keyboard, typing in his spare wit.

But I always saw JHD as Donny Osmond. :D

spd rdr? What to say about him but his incredible razor sharp wit, and the willingness to actually be serious occasionally and make his incredible legal insights available is pretty much worth the price of admission all by itself. Heigh-Ho, I must say.

Cricket, the mom to us all. The nicest person to blog here, all the time. La Femme Crickita.

Masked Menace, KJ, Mathmom, Joatmoaf, Camojack, Tex Ritter....Tex Ritter?!

And that's when I woke up.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at September 4, 2008 09:43 PM

It's funny...I haven't been around very long - mere months compared to you long-timers (because "old farts" is too condescending). Yet I used to read over at Jet Noise all the time. It was nothing like I had ever read before and, at the time, I was a n00b to blogging.

Then I drifted away from Jet Noise, got wrapped up in whateverthehell was going on at the time, and eventually stumbled my way over here...just in time for Cass to shut this place down. However, I *never* put 2 and 2 together and never made the connection that Cass here was Cass from Jet Noise.

There are a few blonde roots amongst the red, I tell ya. IIRC, it wasn't until just a short while ago that it finally dawned on me that the Cass that I loved to read over at Jet Noise was the same Cass I love to read here.

Not the sharpest tool in the shed sometimes but I make do.

Posted by: The Rookie at September 5, 2008 02:02 AM

"I think we all lost something on that day and some of us - many of us - live with ghosts now..."

Yes, we all lost something - mainly a sense that "all's right with the world". It showed us that all is definitely not right.

On the other hand, we gained something (at least most of us did) - the ability to think more clearly about things, and talk to one another about them. To talk to people clear across the country - and then some.

Sometimes being hit smack in the kisser brings a little clarity of mind (after the initial rude shock). I think that's happened with a good part of the country. The rest seem to belong to that sad group who are too dumb to know when they've been hit.

By the way, there's an anniversary coming up real soon. Leave us not forget.

Posted by: ZZMike at September 5, 2008 04:42 AM


I don't ever have writer's block (though some of you may wish I did!) but lately I've had a lot of days when I just don't feel like writing anything, which surprises me a bit. But then I look back on how long it's been and how verbose I get and think, "Well dang woman - you used up all the words a long time ago!"


Posted by: Cass at September 5, 2008 07:03 AM

Cassandra, I originally pictured you as a statuesque blond with long hair, a prototypical "Californian" as that's where you were when you started. How was I to know you were nothing like that?

You poor thing! :)

No, I am just a plain old brunette!

You know a while back I was going to do a post about brunette jokes. You always see blonde jokes and someone at the Cotillion had posted some redhead jokes and they were pretty funny. So it occurred to me: you never see brunette jokes. So I googled them. Boy was I sorry!

Brunette jokes, it turns out, all center around 2 themes: supposedly we brunettes are mostly jealous of blondes. Oh. And we are all flat chested.

*sigh* :)

And it seems we hang around parties waiting for the guys who are left over after the blondes take all the good ones! Luckily for me, I married a guy who actually likes brunettes. He must be one in a million.

Anyway, I always wanted to dye my hair blonde while my husband was deployed. Or brilliant red. Never did it though. Closest I got was last year when he was in Iraq. My crazy Ukranian friend has a million wigs. I went to visit her and she did my makeup and dressed me up in a bunch of different outfits and I tried on all of her wigs and we took pictures for The Unit in Baghdad.

Boy, was that a hoot :p I got to be a blonde, a raven haired beauty, several shades of redhead, etc.

I will say for the record that I liked the blonde wigs least of all, but the shades were picked to go with her skin tone (which is nothing like mine - I have what you might call light olive or tawny skin) so I may have needed a golden blonde for it to look right. I really thought the ash blonde made me look too pale - I need vivid color and contrast.

Posted by: Cass at September 5, 2008 07:14 AM

The gold standard of sewer diving sensationalism and voyeurism that would have made the tabloids of years past hang their collective heads in shame, is today, what seems to pass for news. And pass it does among our more enlightened, progressive, tolerant, intellectually superior twitters, er, heralds.

"There are some things we don't have a right to know."
Or a need to know. Nor should any law abiding citizen not directly and actively engaged in the public arena have to tolerate such intrusions into their lives. Certainly not without some legal protection and recourse.

Being a dusty old Neanderthal, there are times when I think I would like to see a return to the Code Duello. After all, these same folks are always nattering on about the over population of the planet by the vermin we know as human beings. But that's when I usually wake up.
*cough* *cough*

Just to touch on what Mr. Rdr and Mr. Brouhaha mentioned. As another relative noob round heah I can not speak to much of your blogging history or of many of the folk Mr. Rdr and Mr. Brouhaha named.

What I can say is that your efforts and the insight that you share on this site are appreciated beyond anything I can say. At least without embarrassing myself.

And the contributions made by your cadre of villains are something I look forward to reading every morning.

I have no idea what you or anyone else in the halls of VC might look like, but I do know that the parts that matter are bright and shiny. May you all live to a healthy, happy and productive age of at least 1101110(base 2).

So in summation, let me say this about that...

Best regards,

Posted by: bthun at September 5, 2008 08:17 AM

"...lately I've had a lot of days when I just don't feel like writing anything,..."

I recall the purchase of a book that was going to be a veritable treasure trove of post material........

Posted by: DL Sly at September 5, 2008 11:31 AM

Thanks for the articulate and well thought out essay! I especially appreciate that you look at everyone with the same critical eye. I agree with pretty much everything you have to say, and I like the way you say it! Keep up the good work please.

Posted by: chickia at September 5, 2008 12:11 PM

I can't help but notice the tenacity of the non-elite (or should we say, the natural aristocracy) in asserting itself. Almost like the tenacity of a drill; drills were made to break the unbreakable things in the world. They're slow, and loud, and they move around a lot, but anything that doesn't get out of the way gets pummeled. So, here's an old song I'm dedicating to your efforts and the efforts of all of the John Henrys of the new media:

Captain said to big old John Henry,

That old drill keeps a-coming around.

Take that steam drill out and start it on that job

Let it whop, let it whop that steel on down

Let it whop, let it whop that steel on down.

Posted by: RiverC at September 5, 2008 12:11 PM

Just don't bust yer guts like John Henry...

Posted by: BillT at September 5, 2008 12:26 PM

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 09/05/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

Posted by: David M at September 5, 2008 12:28 PM

And it seems we hang around parties waiting for the guys who are left over after the blondes take all the good ones! Luckily for me, I married a guy who actually likes brunettes. He must be one in a million.

I was always partial to the smart ones. Just wierd that way I guess. I married a redhead (and yes, she DOES have that temper), but I've dated blondes and brunettes.

I dunno, it's kinda like going to a restaurant. Sometimes you want Italian, sometimes you want Mexican, sometimes you want Chinese. Now mind you I'm not referring to ethnicity (though that can apply too), but to flavors. Blondes can be attractive, but they're just different things to appreciate than brunettes. One of my favorite 'types' of brunette is the raven black hair with the piercing blue eyes (or heaven help me, green). I would actually rank that higher than blonde. But that's me.

Posted by: MikeD at September 5, 2008 12:31 PM

I agree with you there, Mike.

As a brown-eyed brunette, I've always thought that blue-eyed and green-eyed brunettes are just heart-stoppingly lovely.

I also like dark auburn redheads with those sort of wine colored brown eyes. That's a very dramatic combination you don't see all that often. There is nothing particularly special about brown eyes and brown hair (and trust me! I'm not saying that to get compliments). It just happens to be true - statistically it's an extremely common combination.

The one exception, I think, is very Latina women (which I'm not). They can be exceptionally lovely and feminine looking. I've always thought it funny that both men and women like looking at women. I'm not in the least sexually attracted to other women. Some women are, but I have never seen it, myself. But a pretty woman will always catch my eye because she is pleasing to look at and I like beautiful things.

Posted by: Cass at September 5, 2008 12:51 PM

That should have been "very *petite* Latina women".

Type much?

Posted by: Cass at September 5, 2008 12:53 PM

Not sure why.

I was very consistent in the kind of guy I dated, looks-wise. Hard to remember after all these years!

I did date a few who were 'off the reservation': three blonde guys, one with blue eyes, one green, and one with brown. One really tall redhead, complete with freckles, very early on. Two with brown hair, green eyes, again early. One black guy :p

But almost every other guy could have been poured from the same mold: fairly tall, muscular, dark brown hair, brown eyes.

Posted by: Cass at September 5, 2008 01:00 PM

On the Biden plan for partitioning Iraq:

I also thought that I was clever in proposing that as a solution, until I found out about the Iraqi National Soccer Team. Even the Norwegian guy you quoted above doesn't take these sorts of anecdotal clues into account, but little ol' down-in-the-trenches folks like me (and people like Gov. Palin) do pay attention to the little things.

The Iraqi soccer team has been very good in recent years, made the quarter finals in the 2005 World Cup, and won last year's Asian Games. Iraqis of all stripes celebrated these achievements with delirious joy. Sunni, Shia, Kurds, Christians, you name it -- they flooded the streets, bombs or no bombs (I imagine the home-grown insurgents were among the celebrants, anyway). Something united them, if for a few hours on a few occasions. No nation shows uniform, lockstep unity, and usually only comes together to celebrate ot mourn a common experience. Iraq has had such a national experience through their athletes. Proof enough of a sense of nationhood for me.

The problem with the likes of Senator Doll-Hair-Implants-from-America's-2nd smallest-State and his armchair diplomacy, is that he can't see the common forest for the esoteric policy trees.

Posted by: Roderick Reilly at September 5, 2008 01:15 PM

Cass ~

I'm with you. I stick with the same 'type' of guy - taller with good meat on their bones. MacGyver is 6' and abotu 200-210 lbs. That's about how I like them. Of all of the guys I have dated (which isn't many), only one was "off the reservation", so to speak.

Only an inch or two taller than me with blonde hair. Tended toward the lean side.

Obviously it didn't work out.

Posted by: HomefrontSix at September 5, 2008 01:25 PM

There is nothing particularly special about brown eyes and brown hair (and trust me! I'm not saying that to get compliments). It just happens to be true - statistically it's an extremely common combination.

I did alright with my brown eyes. Actually, it's my one good feature (I get a LOT of comments about my 'big pretty eyes'). And a great deal of classical poetry deals with brown eyed women ('oxen eyed' may not sound like much of a compliment these days, but for the Greeks and Romans, that was a big one).

And lets face it, 'brown' is a cover for a LOT of different colors. There's very light brown (which can be a bit disturbing if it's light enough), there's the brown so dark its hard to tell where the pupil ends (and oh sweet lord is that hot), there's hazel, there's speckled...

If you can't tell, I like eyes. But on the whole, I think you're right Cass, brown is the most common, and thus the least striking visually. But my sister (who got all the looks in the family) is a VERY beautiful woman and her hair is brown and she too has brown eyes.

Posted by: MikeD at September 5, 2008 01:31 PM

I'm with you. I stick with the same 'type' of guy - taller with good meat on their bones.

My bride is a tall woman (5'9") and she had VERY strict rules about what she did and did not like in men. They HAD to be taller than her (I am 5'10" or so and she told me had I been a half inch shorter, she'd have never gone out with me), they could not be blonde or redheaded (she's since said she'd make an exception for Brad Pitt), and they HAD to have shorter hair than her. Since I was an Army boy, that was no problem either. Her big turn on is backs. She used to watch the crew teams at her University because she liked to look at their backs.

Posted by: MikeD at September 5, 2008 01:34 PM

I can't comment [subliminal man says, other than saying what MikeD said is pretty good] being a happily married guy [plus Walkin' Boss has hired someone in a black bird with electronic a/v capabilities! ={8-0 ] other than to say Walkin Boss is a keeper, petite 5'4" firecracker (I'm almost a foot taller and 100 lbs heavier and I have to admit that she can whup me =;^} ), active outdoors type, brown hair, green eyes, loves teaching children. Grim will appreciate this part, she's currently attempting to get an Equestrian team off the ground at the private school where she teaches. That and she mends me, up on cripple creek... Lucky guy I is.

Ahhh, but if I were young and single with an urge to mingle... Variety, as is said, tis the spice of life.

Posted by: bthun at September 5, 2008 02:46 PM

Well, like the bride tells me bthun, I'm allowed to look (in her words, I can read the menu, as long as I eat at home).

Posted by: MikeD at September 5, 2008 04:01 PM

Equestrian sports are expensive -- good luck to her. I think they're highly valuable, though. Moreso than most sports, they really do teach a lot of character.

Posted by: Grim at September 5, 2008 04:03 PM

Oh yeah, MacGyver is allowed to look. Encouraged, even. I'll point out the lookers FOR him. It's never bothered me.

Posted by: HomefrontSix at September 5, 2008 04:09 PM

I heard some comments, not in Cynthia McKiney's domain, Grim, but close, concerning Sarah Palin.

It went something like this.

"What do you think of Palin?"

Black Woman chatting with long unseen friend: "F**K Her. She's got what, a 17 year old pregnant girl?"

And that was about it for the conversation, except laughter from both sides in the conversation. No mention of Bristol being married. Hell, they didn't even know her name, probably, nor the name of her fiance.

You see, the media knows that they don't need to make the debate about Sarah Palin's daughter. So long as they make the headlines about Bristol, that will be the first thing people see and perceive. And if the first impressions are negative, people naturally associate negative impressions with the first proof of it that comes around. And the first proof happens to be 17 year old Bristol.

Once you get on that kind of thinking, you don't need anything else. It becomes self-reinforcing, like drug addiction.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at September 5, 2008 04:30 PM

"I think they're highly valuable, though. Moreso than most sports, they really do teach a lot of character."
Indeed. Character, courage and responsibility.

Posted by: bt_shakin'-the-bush-boss_hun at September 5, 2008 05:28 PM

I can't say the stereotype of brunettes being jealous of blondes and being flat-chested are true...

I've been told I have pretty brown eyes, but that hasn't really seemed to get me anywhere. There was a time I wanted to be a redhead, and I used to do that at-home hair color to give me red highlights. A number of years back, I let my stylist in Arkansas do whatever highlights he wanted in order to hide my gray hairs which were getting more numerous than I cared to have at that age. I quit with the high-maintenance hair when I went back to school about 3 years ago and was looking to cut my expenses, but I recently let my new stylist here in Texas do them again. I've gotten nothing but compliments from people since I did.

And, I don't know that I've ever had a "type". I've not dated much, but I've been attracted to all sorts of guys over the years: pretty boys, cowboys, preppy athletes, men in uniforms; skinny guys, muscle-y guys, guys in between.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at September 5, 2008 11:44 PM

Great post.

Posted by: Huan at September 6, 2008 09:37 AM

I can't say the stereotype of brunettes being jealous of blondes and being flat-chested are true...

FWIW, I can't ever recall being particularly jealous of any type of girl/women - in fact, the ones most likely to make me feel threatened (looking back) tended to be brown eyed brunettes :p Not sure why.

When I was a girl, I used to watch other girls get mad at their friends for "stealing" some guy they were interested in. That never made any sense to me at all.

The thing is: either a guy is interested in you, or he isn't. And if he isn't or the other woman is way out of your league, there really isn't a whole lot you can do about it, is there? You certainly don't want to chase after someone who isn't interested in you. That's not going to change his mind.

That aspect of male/female (guys do it too) behavior never made any sense to me. My POV was always that I was a good person, and there were going to be guys out there who were interested in me and ones who (through no fault of my own) wouldn't be. After all, there have been perfectly nice guys who liked me that for whatever reason just didn't do it for me.

I don't know why people internalize that. Sure, it hurts sometimes. But it isn't a judgment on you. Sometimes, it might be a reflection on your behavior if they showed initial interest and then cooled off. That might mean you got serious too soon, and it's definitely true that both men and women prize more highly what they aren't too sure of. If they know you'll walk away if you're not treated well, that makes a huge difference to how you get treated.

But I think mostly it's a combination of the fact that people have a sort of 'template' of what they're looking for, which you may or may not fit, and the fact that people take you at your own valuation.

Posted by: Cass at September 7, 2008 02:28 PM

Some people are too insecure, so they need boy toys or girl trophies to prop up their self-confidence.

A loss of that stature can be crushing on their precious and delicate psyches, Cass.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at September 7, 2008 03:40 PM

> But almost every other guy could have been poured from the same mold: fairly tall, muscular, dark brown hair, brown eyes.

Ummm, what did your father look like when you were about 10, Cass?

That's (assuming a positive dynamic) a strong connector. Nothing like absolute, but it's a factor in one's triage mechanism. (and yes, there is a similar one for males with the mother figure)

You can't underestimate the significance of the protective father figure on the developing female psyche.

It's not exactly imprinting, but it does relate to it.

Posted by: Obloodyhell at September 8, 2008 05:02 PM

Test: Watch the media response to a billionaire Mexican buying a major share of the New York Times.

There will be very little coverage of it. But if FOX bought that much interest in the NYT there would be outrage and coverage by every media outlet.
They're both are positive about New York Times Co.'s future, and investor Carlos Slim Helu, who has a 6.4% stake in the company, "wants to be along or with us for the ride," publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. said in his annual "State of the Times" address.

Posted by: Mick Gregory at September 12, 2008 09:22 AM