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  • Everything is Beautiful ...


    I'll be on a panel on "The Future of News" at Princeton tomorrow that will be livestreamed. You can get the info here. So Tim Russert and New York Times reporter John Harwood were talking on Meet the Press this weekend, and there was this exchange:

    HARWOOD: And one of the interesting things they're going to make, which many Republicans would find ironic, is McCain's people are going to say that the press is pro-Obama. Now, John McCain's benefited from very friendly press coverage for many years, but he's going to try to argue, which will have a corollary benefit of rallying conservatives, if he can pull it off, of saying, "The press wants Obama to win. I'm pushing back, too." RUSSERT: In 2002, John McCain referred to the press as his base. HARWOOD: They were his base. RUSSERT: Speak for yourself, Harwood.

    Russert has, in recent days, said that McCain has "really been given this grace period to go around the country, unify his party, raise some money, put a campaign together, and he's benefited from enormously. There's no doubt about it." Russert noted that easy press coverage of McCain has been going on for "some time," but promised that when "Senator McCain is back in the media's light, he'll receive the same scrutiny." So Russert has been talking a big game about getting tough on John McCain. One wonders how he apparently excuses the failure to hold one of the country's major politicians accountable up to this point, but nevertheless, for right now: We're waiting, Tim. We've said it before and we'll say it again: if there ever was an appropriate time to start a business news network that takes an "everything is beautiful" approach to reporting, all the time, the past seven months certainly weren't it. The Fox Business network still hasn't released its Nielsen Ratings info, last reported to be only 6,000 daytime viewers, and now the bosses are rearranging virtually the entire programming lineup. We'll pass on the cheap Titanic-deck-chairs line, but hope that any reports of a Fox Weather Channel that aims to put a smiley face on the upcoming global warming catastrophe prove to be false. McCain Suck-up Watch: Reuters reported that Sen. John McCain's campaign "is preparing to take $84 million in public funding after the Republican Party convention in September and he is challenging [Sen. Barack] Obama to stick by last year's pledge to use public money and its accompanying spending limits," but did not note that Federal Election Commission chairman David Mason has taken the position that McCain cannot opt out of public financing in the primary without FEC approval, as McCain has attempted to do, or that McCain could be breaking federal laws by exceeding spending limits within the public financing system for the primary." More here. Mazel tov to Jane Eisner on being named the new editor of The Forward. And congratulations to me and the rest of the search committee for the great job we did in advising publisher Sam Norich to choose her. Now everybody let's get to work ... From TomDispatch: Ann Jones, author of Kabul in Winter, writes her second TomDispatch report from strife-torn West Africa, where the war against women never ends. In it, she tells a remarkable tale of the way in which some women have begun to fight back and transform themselves via the digital camera as they document their daily lives. Jones, who works with the International Rescue Committee, writes:

    Digital cameras are the tool. I arrive with them and lend them to women, most of whom have never seen a camera before. I teach them to point and shoot -- only that -- and then I turn them loose to snap what they will. I ask them to bring me some photos of their problems and their blessings. They work in teams, two or three women sharing a camera and very nervous at first. (Some women actually shake.) It takes the whole team to snap the first photos: one holds the camera, another points, another shoots. The teamwork they build is a step to solidarity.

    For these women, in Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, the photos -- often of the everyday physical violence men commit against women, of women abandoned, of the economic violence that passes for women's work -- then become the basis for group discussion, even for the first all-women's photography exhibits in villages or cities. And from this comes a new sense of the ability to change what is seen by all, and even a new consciousness. As one of the photographers told her women's group, "Some people use cameras. Some people are cameras. Me, I'm a camera." Jones comments: "For me -- listening in, asking questions -- it's like the old days of the women's movement in the U.S. and the informal consciousness-raising get-togethers that blew the collective mind of my generation. Now a senior citizen, I have the privilege of surfing another wave of feminism, a distant continent away." Correspondence Corner: Name: Tyrone Mason
    Hometown: Mililani Let's see, we have two candidates worth over $100 million each, through marriage or associations, and one has a private jet. They are the salt of the earth, share and know the daily struggles of the hardworking men and women, and both are at a disadvantage: one being a woman and the other his age. Then we have another candidate, worth approximately $3.4 million, self-made millionaire (in recent years), through his own works (writing books), paid his own way through school; he is the elitist, he does not share or know the struggles of the hardworking men and women, and to top it off, his advantage (according to GF): he's black. Rod Serling and his writers with their wild imagination never conceived of such a show. Name: Jon
    Hometown: Ottawa I really wish someone would ask Hitchens if he can imagine a point where things could get bad enough in Iraq that he would admit that supporting the war was a bad idea. I am all but convinced he could not, and if that's the case, that really tells you all you need to know about his moral and intellectual compass. To me, the guy has invested so much mental energy into picking fights that he has simply forgotten how to think. If he wants to smear Obama by the company he keeps, he should take a look in the mirror. I hope Bill Kristol and David Horowitz make for good friends. Name: Ron Kampeas
    Hometown: Washington Hitchens is right that the paper is unreadable (although who among us can claim not to have written an unreadable college paper), but wrong that Michelle Obama is "much influenced by the definition of black 'separationism' offered by Stokely Carmichael and Charles Hamilton in their 1967 screed Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America." So wrong that it's worse than McCarthyism, which implies guilt by association -- it's a lie, because there is no association. She uses the work as a definition of separationism, positing it against other integrationist models. This does not suggest it influences her any more than a scholar who cites Mein Kampf for a definition of Nazism would be influenced by Hitler. As Pierce might say, Jeebus. Name: Mark Shotzberger
    Hometown: Dover, DE Once again, this cremation story shows how the MSM can blow anything 50 times out of proportion. The crematorium doe cremate both human and pet remains, but not in the same facilities. The facility has three separate ovens, two for humans and one smaller one for pets. The extra costs of cremating Rover or Fluffy in the human crematorium would be prohibitive. So they own a smaller one. The facility was recently toured by an Air Force general as well as DoD representatives and was cleared of any wrongdoing and will continue to receive military remains. Funny, none of the outlets who spread the story in the first place have reported this. But as we all know, facts are boring! Name: Mark D
    Hometown: Chicago I teach in a public high school where the Internet is policed by a semi-automated filtering system. Altercation and all of Media Matters seem to make it past the censors intact. However, when I clicked on Eric's link to Pierce, the filter stopped forward progress and gave me the following reason: Provocative Attire. I know it has to do with the Esquire site, but it is amusing to contemplate: Pierce and provocative attire.