The Pulitzer Prize for Right-Wing Distortion


More Lefty "death threats" (not)

Attytood wants to give The Pulitzer Prize for Right-Wing Distortion to Michelle Malkin, here.

She's a good candidate, but I dunno. What about poor old Cyrus Nowrasteh? The poor guy had to get paid, oh, I imagine, a few hundred thousand bucks to write an ABC miniseries about the most important event in American history in decades -- one in which thousands of people died. He makes a mockery of it, by distorting it through a perverted prism of right-wing lies, and even so, the network decided to pay $40 million to produce it and give it away without any advertising; another gift worth many millions.

Can your heart stand it?

Wait, there's more.

He's getting "death threats." No details, of course. Did The Wall Street Journal's editors ask him for them? Haha.

Dollars to doughnuts says that's a fiction, just like the phony scenes he pretends are accurate.

One of the many afflictions facing American political life is the lack of an honest conservative intellectual cadre. The leading voices of the movement, The Weekly Standard and The Wall Street Journal editorial page, routinely voice statements that they, themselves, are too intelligent to believe. But they know that if they throw it out there, it will be picked up by the idiots on cable TV and talk radio and will control the discourse. Today, the Journal editors lead with an edit called "Fun Union Facts," here ($).

They write: "Hard-working union members deserve to know, for example, that of the AFL-CIO's $82 million in discretionary disbursements from July 2004 to June 2005, only 36% went to representing members in labor negotiations -- which is what unions were created to do. A whopping $49 million, or 60% of its budget, instead went to political activities and lobbying, while another $2.4 million went to contributions, gifts and grants."

So the standard, the editors pretend, is what "unions were created to do." Never mind that the right to collective bargaining is being taken away by politicians controlled by the political donations of big business and the judges they appoint. "Politics" is something that unions are supposed to ignore, as their very ability to continue to exist is being undermined.

They write, "Dues-paying workers of the world might want to ask: Why is Mr. Sweeney spending more of their money trying to raise taxes, or fighting for the cultural left, than he is on collective bargaining?"

Excuse me, where is any evidence that Sweeney is spending money "fighting for the cultural left?" (Evidence, you say? Haha.)

They write, "As for financial management, let's just say some of these union chiefs are having fun in their jobs. ... And the Plumbers forked over $225,000 on Nascar advertising." Excuse me, but I don't even understand this one. How in the world could it be "fun" to buy advertising designed to reach NASCAR fans? Is buying advertising like getting drunk and doing coke with hookers? Nobody ever told me.

Of course the accusation does not withstand a second's scrutiny. But that's not the point. The point is to portray unions as somehow partying with their members' monies like Junior Soprano. The editors don't like unions. Fine. But why pretend to be stupid about it?

Because it's easier than being honest, that's why.

Why does Joan Didion hate America?

Let's Go you know who. Did someone say "best record in the majors?"

From Free Press:

Second Secret Study Surfaces at FCC

Whistleblower leaks radio ownership report buried under Powell administration

WASHINGTON -- A Federal Communications Commission study on the negative impacts of radio consolidation came to light Monday after being buried at the agency for at least two years. This was the second secret FCC study on media ownership to surface in as many weeks.

"This is a scandal," said Josh Silver, executive director of Free Press. "Apparently, FCC officials are willing to deep-six any research that contradicts industry's pro-consolidation claims. They can't be trusted. There needs to be an independent investigation and a full review of all research conducted under the leadership of Michael Powell and Kevin Martin."

The study, a "Review of the Radio Industry" conducted by the FCC Media Bureau, found that the Telecommunications Act of 1996 had led to a drastic decline in the number of radio station owners -- even as the actual number of commercial stations in the United States had increased.

A copy of the study is available at


One way to get journalists to write about your product is to invite them to a lunch at Per Se, which, for dinner, has a prix fixe menu of -- last time I checked -- $210 not including wine, tip, and tax, of course, and is impossible to get a reservation at anyway. (Think I'm kidding? See here.) Normally, I would rebel against this kind of thing, what with all the corruption and manipulation it involves, but in this case I'm playing along. The product they were plugging was a new CD in which old Ray Charles vocals from a concert he did with the then-Count Basie Band were stripped and cleaned up and then mixed into a new recording of the same songs by the current Count Basie Band, produced by Concord Records and distributed by Starbucks. The reasons I'm playing along are:

a) The music is really terrific.

b) Norman Lear is co-owner of Concord, and he's a great American.

c) Starbucks is, as far as I can tell, a model of social responsibility for corporate America.

There was a presentation, which gave lots of information about the recording process. Norman spoke. Paul Shaffer schmoozed the crowd a bit. The president of Starbucks spoke too, but left before I could tell him about my conversation with Jurgen Habermas about whether Starbucks and Barnes & Noble worked for him as proper places for the "Public Sphere" to recreate itself. (I actually have had this conversation with Habermas twice; which is the same number of times I've met him. Don't ask me why I keep bringing it up. Navasky writes about this in his book, but it is also apparently discussed here.) Anyway, you can read all about Ray Sings, Basie Swings here. (I'll give the goody bag to charity.)

Correspondence Corner:

People, I can't publish any letters that don't have a name (and preferably) a place inside them. I don't want to publish your emails and that's all most of them had with which to identify themselves. So please include them. I made an exception for the one below because I needed it to clear up a misunderstanding from yesterday. But otherwise ...


Welcome to your new home. i'm a reporter at the LATimes and, like most here, a huge admirer of dean baquet who, among other things, is my direct supervisor. he's the best idea guy i've met in 25 years in the business, the kind of guy who will send you off to report on the 9/11 hijackers -- as he did me -- and tell you to go where you need to go and stay as long as you need to stay, then never bat an eye when that turns out to be 20 countries and three years, but instead call you up when you're in the middle of east nowhere in yemen and say, what'd you learn today? tell me something cool....the point being, i don't think he has a fallback position. he's supremely confident, loves his job and wants to do it right.

Eric replies: I hope it was clear that I, too, am an admirer of Dean Baquet. What may have been unclear was that the scenario of which I spoke was intended to be purely speculative. I did not intend to imply that Baquet had had any conversations with anyone about replacing Keller. Nor do I have any privileged access to the man's thoughts. I just think, given the way the world works, it makes sense.

Name: Brian
Hometown: NY, NY


I had missed the Times item on Vidal-Naquet's death. Parenthetically, he was the victim of a slander campaign by Chomsky, who always falsely claimed that Vidal-Naquet was one of those who wanted Faurisson's free speech rights suppressed. Vidal-Naquet played the role Chomsky should have played and claims to have played--a merciless critic of Faurisson and a supporter of his right to free speech. (Chomsky as you know mixed up the support for Faurisson's free speech rights with weird claims that Faurisson was an "apolitical liberal," that he, Chomsky, had "seen no evidence" that Faurisson was an anti-Semite (despite having read Faurisson's remarks to the effect that the "so-called 'holocaust' was a gigantic hoax perpetrated by the state of Israel or world Jewry." (I'm paraphrasing rather than quoting. Vidal-Naquet was the hero here, and far ballsier in his career than Chomsky was ever called upon to be (death threats against him during the Algerian War, etc.)

Name: Scott Pierson
Hometown: Olympia, WA


Hope you had a good weekend. I like your new digs; have fun settling in--I hate living out of boxes, don't you?

Anyway, had to share this: I got a Republican campaign call tonight at dinner. The fellow read his boiler-plate about how George W. Bush and the Republicans have done so much for America, but need my help making sure they win the upcoming elections in order to continue the good work.

"So, how about it? Can we count on your support in the upcoming elections?" he asked.

"Count on me to vote Republican?" I asked.

"Yes, sir," he answered.

I laughed a big belly laugh and said, "There's no way I'm voting Republican after the way the Republicans have driven this country right down the toilet for the last 6 years. I will definitely be supporting Democratic candidates."

Pause, then he chuckled, "You're my kind of people. Actually, I agree with everything you just said--but you didn't hear that from me."

I laughed and said, "Hey, you gotta earn a paycheck where you can. Take care."

"You too."

End of call. Common ground is sometimes found in the most unlikely places.

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