WE HAPPY FEW READ IT . . . It was a historic day, 8/20/04, when Chi Trib finally reported on Vets v. Kerry � after Kerry brought it up. Claims by its public editor et al. that it�s a Republican paper ring hollow. In editorials, yes, and these are for the most part well thought and argued. But in news coverage, it�s a paper whose editors seem to wait for cues from Big Mama in NY (NY Times). I would call it a national wannabe newspaper.
So it was See Trib, see Trib run, See Trib run with Bush-National Guard story 9/9/04, complete with above-fold page-one pic and story.
As it ran with "Kerry lied" stories about medals and his �71 atrocity testimony in which he betrayed his band of brothers? (It didn't.)
Next day, while blogosphere picked away at the Natl Guard story, a CBS-Dan Rather original, Trib ran a back-paper NYT story that half way down addressed the spurious-document question. It�s how a Republican paper plays stories, right? (Not.)
Meanwhile, a Chi Trib desk editor, Wm. B. Rood, jumped into the fray with his account of his and J. Kerry�s Viet Nam war exploits, defending K. from Republican critics. Big Sunday page one treatment. This after agonizing by him a newsie for whom neutrality on the day�s issues is the bedrock principle. It isn�t?
Chi Trib managing editor Jim O�Shea ran Rood�s account after his own agonizing. It�s not easy to come out of the closet.
Coming up in Chi Trib: a full account with comparable play � "beyond words," as Trib ads promise � of the anti-Kerry side of the story! Bet?
GOING ON HALF EMPTY . . . On 8/20 Sun Times had this head about Republican senatorial candidate Alan Keyes at the state fair: "GOP Conservatives rally behind Keyes," while Chi Trib for same story had "GOP Lukewarm toward Keyes."
THE BEAUTY OF PRO-LIFE . . . Mary-Louise Kurey in Chi Trib letter to editor Saturday 9/4, responding to columnist Eric Zorn, says an Illinois law Z. had spoken of as protecting accidentally born abortion babies has been disallowed in courts.
She also suggests placing the accidental infant in the arms of a waiting adoptive parent. Her letter could have been an op-ed. She is the archdiocese�s point person for pro-life issues, a former beauty contest winner and looks it, and articulate. She or someone like her would make a good op-ed regular.
Wouldn't that be something?
WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE . . . Alan Keyes is a "convicted" person, says former Gov. Jim Edgar, meaning he has (presumably strong) convictions. Convinced is the word. But somewhere in the haze of my memory is "convicted" used this way by preachers. Maybe Edgar heard it used that way in a Baptist church.
Its sole use in the King James version, in John 8.9, does not support its use for "convinced": "And they which heard it, being convicted [usual sense] by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman [caught in adultery] standing in the midst."
MORE LANGUAGE . . . Do grand juries hand up or hand down indictments? 9/9/04 Sun-Times story said "handed down." What the heck is it?
MORE LANGUAGE, NATIONAL SCENE . . . From the nation at large comes the "foaming jerk" sobriquet devised by author-commentator Michelle Malkin for TV man Chris Matthews, hound of the Baskervilles revisited, who has something of a saliva, even spittle, problem. He got excited talking to her, and she narrowly missed catching some of the flying stuff in her face, she reports. The MSNBC worthy who followed Matthews, Keith Olbermann, commended him: "Never prouder of you, Chris." She had alluded to what the "Unfit" book says of Kerry�s self-inflicted wound (allegedly incurred by aiming his launcher short in his first action and catching some shrapnel as it bounced back, for which he was chewed out by the boat�s senior officer).
This reverberated in the misty flats of Matthews�s mind as "he shot himself." With this he pummeled Malkin, refusing to pay heed to her repeating "self-inflicted wound," which to most is not the same things. "The unfair, unbalanced, and unhinged purveyors of journalism, or whatever it is they call what they do at MSNBC, should be ashamed," fumed Malkin later.
"Democrat Party water boys in the media are in full desperation mode," she continued. "I have now witnessed firsthand and up close (Matthews' spittle nearly hit me in the face) how the pressure from alternative media sources � the blogosphere, conservative Internet forums, talk radio, Regnery Publishing, FOX News, etc. � is driving these people absolutely batty."
WHAT WAS SHE UP TO? . . . Olbermann suggested she was following orders from the Swift Boat Vets to "steer the Kerry-Shot-Himself flotsam into the mainstream media," but she had been booked for the show to push a book of her own about internment of Japanese in WW2 and racial profiling in general. But Matthews�s producer, Dominic Bellone, had told her they wanted first to talk about Swift Vets� accusations. (She never did get to talk about her book.) Olbermann, meet Bellone. You two work in the same shop, you should get to know each other.
It was later that the irrepressible Matthews, caught up in his street-theater shtick in Herald Square, asked Zell Miller if he really meant spitballs, as Miller had just said in his stirring, provocative speech, in which he accused Kerry of voting against a string of weapons. Miller tried to explain metaphorical language to the hopped-up Matthews, but Matthews was having too much fun with fellow Democrats outside the Garden. Shortly after that, Miller raised the duel-in-the-sun idea, wishing they were both back in Georgia, where men fought it out.
IDEA ALERT . . . Well it is fun, when you get down to it, though not for the likes of Malkin and Miller. It�s not as much fun, however, as if Matthews and the irrepressible Bill O'Reilly were to do a show together, flipping for home field, and not in Herald Square. Matthews, who has about one-fifth the viewers if that many as O'Reilly, would be wise for rating�s sake to appear in O'Reilly�s home court.
Wherever it was held, it would be quite something � a series of interruptions interrupted by interruptions. You don�t have to be Irish � a Jewish friend told me his family specialized in fingers waved in each other�s faces � but I do know some commented on the noise my three brothers and I used to make while conversing with each other, and each of us pleads or pleaded guilty to being Irish. Be that as it may, a O'Reilly vs. Matthews card would be a sellout.
DOWD SPEAKS . . . Also from elsewhere, call-in radio host Brian Lehrer on WNYC in NYC on 9/2/04 [had a tip from the producer] told Maureen Dowd she had looked into Bush's soul � what Z. Miller said he had done � in her NYT columns. She denied it but right off began to tell what Bush was thinking.
All in all, Dowd made a good on-air interview, being an entertaining speaker, though a prisoner of metaphor and utterly liberal. She is also apparently unaware of her biases, rather her contradictions, as what I mentioned earlier, about not looking into souls. She does that all the time, and extrapolates wildly, sees White House as Addams mansion, etc., which is entertaining, I admit.
On the open-minded side, she sees Bushies as more credible in their threat to destroy terrorists than Edwards, for instance, but finds them "scary." Lehrer did not ask if there's a connection between making credible threats and being scary.
She finds Bushies vicious � Kerry knew Bush would try to "rip his throat out" � but mentions Clinton aide Carville without reference to his well-known tactics. She endorses all suspicions of homophobia, as in Arnold�s conceivably self-mocking convention-speech girlie-boy references. Listening to her gives a very good look at what's said at parties I'm not invited to. Not to say I'm invited to any.
She�s full of "subtext" readings, stuff she just knows, that�s all. She refers to "don't put me on couch" complaints by Bush pere but claims her analysis of the younger Bush � starting the whole damn Iraq war in part to one-up his father, for instance � is what anyone would conclude.
Anyone at one of those parties anyhow � like those of an earlier generation that film critic Pauline Kael attended (and Roger Ebert surely attends today), where nobody voted for Nixon the year he took all but Massachusetts. It�s fun being a liberal.
YET MORE OUTSIDE CHI . . . Barely noticed by main streamers was the AP story out of West Allis WI reporting boos from Bush-supporters at hearing Bush tell of Clinton�s heart trouble. When the boos evaporated in the wake of numerous witnesses� outraged complaints, AP pulled the story. But it had gone out to clients and ran in a number of places. The blogosphere doused the story and along the way took aim at a Knight-Ridder story out of Washington by science writer Seth Borenstein, whose head was sought on the platter following that of a reporter named Hays of AP, the West Allis perp.
I twitted Borenstein, whom I do not know, in an email, and he explained credibly how he had slipped the AP report into a story about Clinton, on deadline. He goofed, and knew it, "a rushed reporter stupidly � and in error � using an AP story in half a sentence and not crediting AP."
NEWSIES IN GENERAL . . . Tony Blair compared dealing with the media to living with "a demented tenant." You don�t know "whether to charm them or knock them over the head," as noted by Steve Richards, chief political commentator of UK�s Independent, reviewing a new Blair biography in Times Literary Supplement.
Or as Jacques Barzun observed in From Dawn to Decadence, "to public figures [the media resembles] a dog of uncertain temper, pacified by fresh news."
BACK ON THE HOME FRONT . . . Sun-Times Labor Day page one had big pic of beautiful beach-volleyballer's Speedo-covered butt, which was also very interesting. In same edition, sports columnist Mariotti refers to Cubs� "fragile team psyche," which is maybe a sports version of Maureen Dowd analyzing Bush?