Time is not yet on our side (but it's getting a little closer)


Krauthammer and Kristol kicked out of Time: Good for the country, bad for Why We're Liberals. OK, they're being replaced by National Review editor Ramesh Ponnuru, here, but that's OK. Nobody was ever saying that Time should not publish any conservatives. It's that they shouldn't publish discredited conservatives who are wrong all the time and consistently abuse liberals in McCarthyite language and while employing McCarthyite tactics to mislead Time's readers on purpose. (And by the way, Ramesh is a journalist, while Kristol and Krauthammer are not -- another point in favor.) A genuine Krugman/Meyerson-style liberal would be nice too. The Atlantic has Young Matt (who has no link to Altercation, we could not help but notice), but how about Young Ezra? In any case, with Sullivan foaming about Hillary for The Atlantic, that leaves Joe Klein as Time's lone liberal-hating emulator of the late, unlamented Tailgunner Joe. I realize Time, and particularly Rick Stengel, is too invested in Klein to save us the scourge of his insult-filled channeling of the likes of Peter Hoekstra, and so we will just have to take what we can get.

The rest of the world will be talking about Time's choice of Vladimir Putin over Al Gore as Person of the Year, here. While not as nutty as last year's choice, I see the pick of Putin as a failure of nerve. Time did not want to take the, um, heat for picking Gore, which would tarnish its centrist credentials among conservatives and ad-buyers. (And I think General Petraeus was thrown in just for the sake of the appearance of balance. The war is already lost. Petraeus is Iraq's Creighton Abrams ...) Nobody is going to get furious about Putin, but the joke will be on Time because this issue is not going to fly off the newsstands, to put it mildly.

Our man Boehlert notes that Bill Clinton is right about the campaign coverage. I don't think "horserace" accurately describes the type of vacuous campaign coverage that has sprung from this cycle. What we're seeing flourish this time on the trail is something else entirely. This is a new, more disturbing (immature?) brand of pseudo-journalism that's delivered with an extra dose of attitude and informs and enlightens even less. Read more here. Then again, when Howie Kurtz and Mark Halperin are pretty sure of something, you can't go too far wrong if you automatically believe the opposite.

Lifted from Tapped:


Turns out C-SPAN is not just painfully mind-numbing, but it also leans decidedly right in its coverage of think tanks, according to a new evaluation by the Center for Economic and Policy Research. The study finds that right-wing think tanks got 51 percent of C-SPAN's total coverage in 2006, while left-of-center think tanks only got 18 percent of their coverage (a mere 5 percent of which were "progressive" think tanks). The other 31 percent of coverage went to centrist groups. So what happened to C-SPAN's stated mission to provide their audience political coverage "without editing, commentary or analysis and with a balanced presentation of points of view"? Well, you don't need editing or commentary to create an imbalanced presentation when you get to choose whose ideas get coverage.

Here's the question though: Is this a deliberate, ideological snub to progressive voices? Or is it just deference to ideas that have been long-portrayed as the most sensible and acceptable by the rest of the mainstream media? I'm actually more inclined to believe the former, that this isn't an ideological choice by C-SPAN but a decision made because the larger media scape has constructed the illusion that conservative voices are more rational and aligned with what Americans think. And C-SPAN is pretty much designed to be a vehicle for "objective" maintenance of the status quo, so it makes sense that they'd tend toward the conservative. It's either that or conservatives are just more boring, and therefore better suited for the C-SPAN model.

--Kate Sheppard

Historical bonus post:

"Getting a little fat, though..." Arthur Schlesinger on Norman Mailer

From Journals: 1952-2000 (New York: Penguin Press, 2007) by Arthur Schlesinger Jr. May 15, 1985:

The topic this year was Literature and American Society, and I persuaded Norman Mailer to make an appearance, which he did on the 14th. It is interesting to see how much Norman fits into the American literary tradition -- and how little aware he is of the character of that tradition. He is what Tocqueville prophesied -- "strong and rapid emotions, startling passages, truths or errors brilliant enough to rouse [the readers] up and then plunge them at once, as if by violence, into the midst of the subject. ... Style will frequently be fantastic, incorrect, overburdened, and loose, almost always vehement and bold ... immense and incoherent imagery, with exaggerated descriptions and strange creations. ... Man himself taken aloof from his country and his age and standing in the presence of Nature and of God, with his passions, his doubts, his rare prosperities and inconceivable wretchedness, will become the chief, if not the sole, theme."


My fondness for Norman and for his beautiful Norris continues to grow. Norman, once so prickly and exhibitionistic, has become in late middle age charming, funny, astonishingly considerate, even tender, but without any loss in seriousness and honesty. He has lived dangerously, and it has come out all right. He is getting a little fat, though. (pp. 593-594)


Radiohead box set

EMI has put out a Limited Deluxe Edition box set featuring all seven full-length Radiohead EMI albums spanning their first decade as a recording unit 1993-2003. Each of the discs are repackaged in digipak sleeves featuring the original artwork and booklet. The albums are Pablo Honey (1993), The Bends (1995), OK Computer (1997), Kid A (2000), Amnesiac (2001), I Might Be Wrong (live, 2001), and Hail To The Thief (2003); 79 tracks total. People can argue forever about which incarnation of the band they like best. The thing about them that's key is that, like U2, the Mekons, R.E.M., and a few, but not so many other bands of recent, they continued to grow on every CD. That doesn't make the later ones "better," but it makes the whole thing honest and interesting and, on occasion, great. I totally disagree with the critical consensus on behalf of OK Computer. I think it's their least listenable record. But while EMI has lost the band, they've done a lovely job with this box, which is actually priced pretty well. Your call if you've already got most or all of it on the originals... Read about it here.

Correspondence Corner:

Name: Jason Boskey
Hometown: Blairsville, GA

All this concern about drug testing is definitely understandable. However, where is the concern about employers checking a prospective employee's credit report? At least with a drug test, you're checking to determine whether the prospective employee is taking part in illegal behavior. There is no such concern as it relates to someone's credit score.

Name: Rick Kane
Hometown: Locust Grove, Virginia


Not that we have been perfect, and not that we have not had our bad apples, but as an institution, we JAGs have pushed back hard at what we saw was dishonorable, dangerous, and illegal conduct. Apparently, that is more than this administration can take. So I hope to rouse the other Altercators to follow up on Phil Carter's Blog and this Boston Globe article about this attempt to intimidate lawyers from giving their honest opinion and to honestly represent their clients, whether the Government or the Detainees.

Name: Brian Gygi
Hometown: Richmond, CA

Your statement that "One of the great mistakes liberals made in the 1970s was to try to win in the courts what they could not win at the ballot box" willfully disregards the political realities of the time. (BTW, since you are ragging on Nader, I will assume you are including court cases in the '60s as well, unless you want to say the ones in the '70s were somehow qualitatively different.) It would of course be preferable to win legislative victories rather than judicial ones but given the makeup of the Congress at the time it just was not possible. And of course to get all the old fuddies out of office is a very long-term proposition (see Thurmond, Strom). So do you want to say to blacks, women, gays, differently abled folk (pick your group) "I'm sorry, you are going to have to wait to have your wrongs righted until we can vote out enough incumbents?"

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